You guys, I am SO EXCITED about this week's episode! Two reasons:

1. I got an amazing plotting tool from another author that I feel has tremendously helped enhance the storytelling. You tell me. 

2. Natalie's past and present are mirroring each other more than ever before. 

I know I said there're only two reasons but there's another. KYLE! The way you've all been voting, it's been Team Jake this entire time. But I think Team Kyle is about to expand. 

Not gonna lie. I totally wanted Natalie to end up with Jake when I started this project but now, I really don't know. Do you guys watch Sex and the City? It's my favorite show of all time. And I remember how torn me and millions of other SATC fans were torn between Aidan and Big. Natalie hasn't been put in a position to choose YET but she may have to make some tough choices soon. 

And if you think things will be complicated after this episode, just wait until the next episode. So excited to hear what you lovers think!

 

ONE MORE THING: To anyone living in the Carolinas. I've been praying for your safety all week and will continue to do so until Hurrican Florence and its wrath are far behind us. Anyone in the hurricane's path, please, please stay safe, I'm thinking of you all. 

If you've missed any episodes, you can get them all here:

My Two Husbands Episodes 1-9

If you don't remember what happened in episode 9, here's a quick recap (WARNING! Spoilers from Ep. 9!!):

Natalie and Kyle want to get away and have a reset. Bahama's cruise? Yes, please! Only Jake can't watch the dog since he'll also be out of town those same days. Within minutes of being on the boat, Natalie and Kyle rekindle their flame and all is well until she spies someone on the deck that looks an awful lot like Jake. Is it him? 

Back in the past . . .

Jake's in Vegas and communication is slim. Natalie's never felt lonelier. That is until Kyle shows up with pizza and beer. Finally, there's someone around who actually cares but does he care too much? And what is Jake up to that keeps him so busy all the time?  Find out now on My Two Husbands- Episode Ten!

Episode Ten

NOW

Oh, my God, it is!

It’s him!

I swallow hard and my stomach twists into a reef knot as I watch Jake drink his seltzer and ice at the bar fifteen feet away from us. Ugh, this piña colada is spoiling in my gut as we speak. My ex leans over and kisses the woman in the barbie pink bikini. I blink my eyes open and shake my head again. Am I really seeing this?

Kyle peels his back off the lounge. “What is it?”

I don’t want to tell him.

For obvious reasons.

This is supposed to be our cruise. Our chance to get away. Hmm, maybe we can. The boat’s still docked. Maybe there’s still time to get off the boat before—

“Is that Jake?” Kyle lifts his shades. “Holy shit, it is.”

“What is he doing here?” I mumble under my breath, climbing off the chair and slipping into my rubber flip-flops.

“Who’s he with?”

Who cares! He’s with us on this boat.

I turn to Kyle, nostrils flaring, blood pumping over eighty knots a minute. “Did you tell him we were going on this cruise?” He followed us here. I know it. I can feel it as I dig my nails into my palm.

“No, I didn’t tell him anything.” At this point, Kyle stumbles to his feet.

Honk, Honk!

Kyle and I glance up at the cloudless sky and the ship begins to glide forward. Dammit! It’s too late. It is crazy that I want us to make a jump for it? No, Natalie, that would be going overboard.  

“Hey, Jake!” Kyle calls across the pool.

My ex-husband turns slowly until his gaze lands on us. His dark brows flick up in surprise.

Really, Jake?

Are you really surprised?

He smiles and waves us over. Kyle proceeds ahead, slowly but inevitably. I snatch my towel from the lounge and trek across the wet paved poolside to the mosaic, sea glass colored tile. Jake’s girlfriend, or whatever, swivels her chair around. Wait a second. I know those cheekbones. Is he seriously with—?

“Emily?” Kyle blurts out just a few feet from his almost-fiancée.

Emily flashes a stark, whitening-strip smile at my husband. Geez, could this get any worse? With irritation boiling my blood, I stomp my foot against the slick tile. My traction-free sandal slides beneath me taking me with it.

Oh no. I’m going down.

I slip sideways. My plastic piña colada glass flies out of my hand and crashes against the tile just like me.

Ouch! My hip!

The steel pan sounds from calypso music playing overhead are replaced by the gasps from the surrounding pool crowd.

Oh. No. I. Didn’t!

Heat spikes up my face and I squint my eyes in pain. What beautiful bruise I’ve just given myself. Don’t cry, Natalie. Don’t you dare shed a tear!

“Honey, are you okay?” Kyle pulls me upright by my arms like a heavy rope.

No, I’m not okay! “I’m fine,” I say, gritting my teeth.

“Did you hurt yourself?” Jake asks, hovering over me the same as Kyle.

Yeah, want a list of all the ways I’ve hurt myself. Marrying Jake would be at the top.

“I’m fine. I’ll be fine.” I shove them off and wrap the towel around my body. “What are you doing here?”

He shrugs like we just ran into each other at our neighborhood grocery store. “I told you I was going out of town this weekend.”

That’s true. But he didn’t say he was also going to the Bahamas. I look to Emily, my husband’s ex—the one who never liked me. She arches her back just enough to ensure we all know she’s a D cup. Something my ex-husband used to refer to as the Daaaammncup, to which I would cross my arms over my small C’s and say, “Very mature, Jake.”

“What are you doing here?” Kyle asks his ex.

She inches closer to Jake and he puts his arm around her tiny, tight waist. “Jake and I are together now.”

Kyle has the same reaction I did just a few minutes ago.

“Yeah, we ran into each other at the Pelican Bar about a month ago and things just kinda took off from there,” Jake offers.

Kyle looks at him with a hint of betrayal in his eyes. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“We haven’t exactly been talking much since I left.”

Touché but still. Dating your best friend’s ex. That’s like . . . exactly what Kyle did to him. Hmm. This is either the most carefully executed revenge prank or my life’s a soap opera.  

“Kinda funny, us all ending up on the same boat like this, isn’t it?” Emily says.

That’s one way to put it.

My husband and I both mutter some affirmative answer as we put the pieces together in our minds.

Jake motions to the bar. “Hey, why don’t I buy you guys a drink?”

Kyle opens his mouth and I know my keep-it-together husband is about to say yes.

“No, thanks,” I interject. “We were actually going to head back to our stateroom,” I glare at Jake, “see if we can unload our clothes . . . from our luggage.” Why am I feeling the need to have angry sex with my husband who I’m not even angry with? And why do I want Jake to know about it? I’ve spent the last year keeping things under wraps, trying to protect his feelings. Well, he’s over me now, apparently, and I am so over him. I look to my handsome, good man. “Right, honey?”

Kyle grabs me by the waist, putting pressure on my sore hip, and I bite my tongue as he pulls me closer. “Yeah, we gotta go.”

“Have fun,” Emily says. “I know we will.”

I wait until Kyle and I turn away to roll my eyes. We walk along the deck toward the doors and I swear everyone is staring at us. Do they know there’s some seriously, stranded drama on this love boat? I lock eyes with a woman who gives me a long, pity filled look. Then, my foot slides again, this time going forward.

Oh, no. Not again!

 “She’s gonna fall again!” someone calls out.

I squeeze my eyes shut, preparing for another collision, this time on my ass.

Kyle grabs my arms, saving me from more humiliation and bruising. “I got you.”

My heart races and I’m not sure if it’s from the close encounter with the floor or with him. I gaze into his sky blue eyes as the corners of his mouth turn up. I know he’s got me. He always has. “Thanks.”

“Let’s go buy you a better pair of flip-flops.”

“Good idea.”

***

We take the elevator down to our deck and I’m grateful for the dry carpet beneath my bare feet. The ship moves and I feel my stomach swirl again. Ugh. I never get seasickness this early. Maybe it’s see-sickness from seeing Jake with Emily on our cruise. Turning the corner, we pass other guests sporting swimsuits and Hawaiian shirts along the narrow hallway toward our stateroom. Our suitcases are waiting, tucked near the door. Kyle grabs the bags and we shut ourselves inside.

“So, that just happened,” I say, sitting on the bed, sheets still wrinkled from before. It’s like we’re miles away from the happy, sex-crazed couple that boarded this ship.

Kyle shakes his head, baffled. “I don’t even . . .”

“Jake and Emily together, like how did that happen?”

“They met at a bar, I guess.”

I fold my arms. “Ugh. So cliché.”

He wrinkles his brow. “You met me at a bar, remember?”

Oops. I feel my cheeks flush along with my unrelenting nausea. I met Jake at the bar too. “Yeah, but we were in our early twenties. It’s different.”

“I supposed.” He sits next to me. The smell of chlorine and coconut sunscreen lingers on his skin.

I sit quietly for a minute thinking about the whole scene. How I fell like a clumsy dumbass in front of my husband, my ex, and my husband’s ex! Not to mention a crowd of strangers I’m stuck with for three days. My stomach churns again and I wish desperately to erase it from my mind. So embarrassing. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if Emily didn’t resemble a long, legged supermodel. With all of the tanning she did back then, I did not think she’d age that well. Maybe Sloan was right and both our exes got revenge bodies. Too bad there’s no way to tell her. No signal out here on the ocean.

I look over at Kyle who seems just as deeply lost in confused contemplation. Is he thinking what I’m thinking? “It must’ve been weird seeing Emily again.”

“Yeah, I mean, not really. I run into her from time to time at the taco shop by my office.”

“You do?”

“Yeah, she works over in that area too. I thought I told you that.”

My gaze traces the low ceiling. Maybe he did. I don’t think I would have paid much attention to it since I found out that the reason they broke up wasn’t because she said no to his marriage proposal but because she knew he had feelings for me. That’s why she didn’t like me very much. I have a feeling that’s not going to change anytime soon.

“So,” I say, giving Kyle a suggestive gaze. “You wanna order room service and hide out in here for the next three days?”

***

Yeah, right. We’re mature adults. We don’t hide from our exes. Historically, we just move them into our house. With thousands of people on the boat, you think it’d be easy to avoid them. But I’ve caught glimpses of Jake and Emily every which way. It’s annoying having to worry about where they are and if we’re going to run into them again. And at the same time, it is what it is.

After the evening show, we decide to burn off our decadent four-course dinner by dancing the night away at Rhumba, the ship’s nightclub. Music fills the dark hallway leading the dimly lit bar divided by decorative pillars. The dance floor is packed with passengers that are barely legal, bumping and grinding to a popular new Latin beat hip-hop song. Bright neon orange and pink spotlights swirl around their vibrant, half drunk faces.

Kyle and I approach the bar on the far wall and the ship teeters back and forth. I take in a deep breath. Usually, a glass of red wine at dinner will knock any queasiness away, but for some reason that second glass isn’t doing anything for it.

“You want another drink?” my husband calls over the music.

“I’ll take a shot. Still feeling a little blah.” I’m hoping that a shot of liquor and moving my body around on the dance floor will keep this sickness at bay.

I shoot back the cold shot and close my eyes, feeling myself settle with the liquid singeing my insides. Yeah, that’s better. I open them again. Only now I’m not feeling so settled. Jake and Emily are here and they’re heading our way. I glance up at Kyle, who’s staring straight ahead with a friendly, carefree smile.

“Hey guys,” he says.

I blink my eyes wide and stand up tall. I busted out my skin-tight aqua blue, bodycon dress and glimmering silver stilettos, hoping to compensate for my earlier mishap. Not to mention, if I’m going to compare myself to Emily, I might as well level the playing field.

“Didn’t think we’d see you here,” Jake says. Has he been avoiding us too?

“Well, the night is young,” Kyle offers. “Can I buy you two a shot?”

I shoot Kyle a look and Jake mirrors it.

“Sorry, club soda for you and a cosmopolitan for you?” Kyle asks.

Emily grins, shooting my husband an appreciative look. “You remembered!”

Oh, god. Now I’m really going to be sick. I shake my head. Forget it, Natalie.

Jake squares his jaw. “Sure.”

And just like that, we’re a standing around in a little circle talking about who knows what. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to make small talk in a situation like this? I hope not, because I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Soon after, the alcohol kicks in and my seasickness fades away. Somehow our little circle has shifted—Kyle and Emily are having one conversation while Jake and I have another. Don’t worry. My husband and I still have our fingers intertwined. He’s staking his claim and I’m staking mine.

“Well, this is weird,” I say.

Jake nods. “Tell me about it. When you said you were going to the Bahamas, I thought you were gonna fly there.”

“Yeah right. The last time I rode that dinky little plane to the island, I thought I was going to die.”

“Oh, I guess I missed that.” Yeah, because it was on my honeymoon with Kyle. And despite what you might think, Jake was not there.

The crowd around the bar grows thicker and the four of us seem to have been herded to a corner. I breathe in the warm humid air, smelling hints of orange and pineapple from spilled cocktail and, of course, Jake’s signature scent. It’s the one thing of his that I can’t get over. It pulls me in every time. But I’ve learned to resist it.

The song changes to one of my favorites and I feel a jolt of energy.

“Oh, this is my jam!” I call out and yank at Kyle’s hand. “Let’s go dance!”

I pull my husband deep into the packed dance floor, hoping to lose Jake and Emily. I’m almost successful. Almost. I can still catch glimpses of Jake and Kyle’s ex dancing close on the other side. He sways his hips with hers and twirls her around. It’s so weird seeing him dance like that with someone the way he used to dance with me. Umm, I don’t think I like it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want him but I don’t know if I want anyone else to have him either. Geez, what a sick, twisted thought.

The boat rocks again, throwing me off my balance. Luckily this time I can catch myself, but my stomach is not nearly as balanced. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s projecting up. Uh oh.  

I rise on my toes to meet Kyle’s ear. “I have to go to the bathroom. I’ll be right back.”

“Do you want me to come with you?”

“No,” I say. “I’ll be back.”

I push my way through the dancers and haul ass out of the club, following signs for the nearest bathroom. My face feels hot and clammy like it’s turned green. Finally, I slam the stall door closed behind me. Without a care for the other women in the vicinity, I release the undigested contents of my dinner—colored in burgundy wine. It’s as disgusting as it sounds but I feel so much better. I let go of a sigh and wipe my mouth with a tissue. Now I just need a little fresh air.

Stumbling out the sliding doors, I find the railing and rest my body against it, breathing in the warm salty air.

“Hey, you okay?” A deep voice calls behind me.

I whip around at the familiar tone. “Jake, what are you doing out here?”

“I needed to get out of that stuffy club. Same as you, I guess.” He takes a spot on the railing next to me.

I scoot away, feeling something else surface, something else I want to vomit. “What are you doing, Jake? You don’t talk to me for weeks and you start dating Kyle’s ex-girlfriend and bringing her on our cruise? Is this your twisted way of getting back at him? At us?”

He takes a defensive stance. “I’m not dating her out of spite.”

“Then why are you with her?”

“Because she gets it!”

“Gets what?” I yell.

Jake backs down but his eyes are still fixed on mine. “She knows what it’s like to be in love with someone who’s in love with somebody else.”

His words hit me like a wave crashing on the rocks, pulling me under a fierce rip current. He’s . . . he’s still in love with me? I shake my head, stepping away. “What . . . why are you telling me this?”

“Like you didn’t know. Nothing’s changed for me, Quinn. I feel exactly the way I felt that day my kitchen caught fire.” It’s like I’m drowning in his confession and I don’t know how to get out. “I know you feel it too. That’s why you said my name when you were with him. He may be living in your house, but I still live here.” He presses a direct finger to my heart.

Fresh tears burn my eyes and I swat his hand away making space between us. “Just stop it, okay! You don’t know what you’re talking about. I hate you!”

He grabs me by my arms and pulls me close. “No, you don’t.”

“Yes, I do. Now, let me go!” I shove him off but his grip is strong. Almost as strong as his emotional hold over me.

“I love you, Quinn.” Our eyes lock together and no matter how much I want to, I can’t look away. He leans in and I inhale his sweet scent at full force. I want to push him off, throw him overboard but my knees are weak and so is my spirit to move. Why is he doing this? And why can’t we let each other go? His lips meet mine and the sensation is so familiar.

 

THEN

“Wow, you eat kale?” I ask while Kyle bags the heavy, leafy greens, and drops them into his shopping cart.

“It’s an acquired taste.”

I grimace, thinking about the time I added the veggie to my banana smoothie. “I’m not a fan.”

“I bet I could change your mind. I make a killer kale salad,” he says in a hamburger commercial sales voice.

I chuckle. “That is by far the weirdest thing you’ve ever said to me.”

“You’re laughing now but pretty soon kale will be the only cruciferous vegetable you crave.” He holds my stare for just a moment. He’s been doing that a lot lately.

“Cruciferous, huh?” And I’ve indulged it. But that’s all it is. No harm in a few lingering glances, right?”

“Yep.”

I take a head of romaine lettuce from the pile and toss it in my basket. “I guess you can learn a lot about a person by grocery shopping with them.”

Kyle peeks in my cart. “I can tell you enjoy Greek salad.”

I roll my eyes, shoving his shoulder. “You only know that because you’ve seen me eat it a million times.” Okay, a million is a serious overstatement but Kyle has been coming to my house for dinner most nights of the week these days. He mows my lawn once a week even though he doesn’t even mow his own lawn. Someone else does it for him. He brings my trashcans to the curb on Thursday evenings and watches The Work Place with me on Tuesdays. It’s like he’s my surrogate husband. Only we don’t have sex. Which, from what I’ve heard, is pretty typical marital behavior. And currently the norm for my own marriage.

Where’s Jake, you ask? That’s a loaded question. Physically, he’s been in Vegas for months, much longer than he anticipated. We don’t see each other nearly as often as I thought we would, given the circumstances, and getting ahold of him is becoming increasingly difficult. Emotionally, I have no idea where he is. With the lack of contact, it’s like we’re not even friends, let alone married.

For a while I was blue, missing my man, wanting him to come home and feel his hands run over every inch of my body. Then I got angry. Really freaking furious. I hopped on the first flight to Vegas just so I could tell him to his face. He diffused the situation with his touch, with his words, with his . . . I was sure things would turn around after that but they haven’t. So now I’m in this place where I don’t really know how I feel. I don’t know when he’s coming back. And I don’t know how I’ll feel when he does.

Oh, zucchini! I snatch one of the smooth, green vegetables. It’s a big one. “This thing is huge!” I say, drawing my eyes up all ten inches of it.

Kyle takes it from me, lightly tossing it in his hand. “Eh, I’ve seen bigger.”

“It’s too much.” I grab one of the modest, slimmer six inchers. “This is better, but I don’t know if it’s gonna be enough. Maybe I should get two.” I grab another, examining them both.

“What are you making again?” Kyle asks.

I smile. “Zucchini boats, remember?”

“Oh, right. Whatever you think.”

“Yeah, two average zucchini are better than one,” I say placing them next to the red bell peppers.

We push our carts side by side towards the fruit aisle. Seventies pop music plays softly overhead and I hum along with the familiar tune.

Kyle stops in front of a plastic display of samples. “Pineapple?” he asks, grabbing two toothpicks worth.

I pop it in my mouth and the tartly, sweet tropical flavor bursts over my tongue. “Mmm.”

 He smiles. “I think I’m gonna get some.” Pineapple’s one of those fruits I never get because it’s a pain in the ass to cut. But it’s so good. “Hey, wanna use these for piña coladas?” He grabs the pre-sliced package.

“You totally read my mind,” I say.

The corners of his mouth turn up into a proud smile.

We take our time down each aisle reading labels and discovering new, tasty items. Grocery shopping for me is usually a race to get in and get out as soon as possible. Time is money, after all. But Kyle makes it feel like a fun outing.

We get to the checkout and he helps me unload everything on to the conveyor belt. The lady at the check out reads my total and I swipe my credit card on the machine.

“Wanna stop by later for those piña coladas?” I ask my shopping partner, waiting for my receipt.

“Definitely,” he says, loading his own groceries.

“Ma’am.” The cashier cuts in. “I’m sorry, can you swipe your card again?”

I glance at the machine. The word declined in bold, block letters on the screen. Huh? I swipe it a second time, this time watching the transaction. It flashes declined again.

“That’s so weird. Let me try another one.” I grab a different plastic card and repeat the same thing. Declined, declined, declined!

“Yeah, that one’s not working either.” The lady gives me a pitiful look and now everyone else in line is beginning to glare impatiently.

 “Hey, aren’t you Natalie Quinn?” The guy behind Kyle calls out, pointing at me.

Of course someone recognizes me right now. I give a friendly wave and nod.

“Call 5-5-5, 1-0-1-0 for a real estate win with Natalie Quinn!” He sings my radio jingle. And he’s not shy about it.

“Oh, that’s you?” the cashier says. “I know that song. Call 5-5-5, 1-0-1-0 . . .” Shoppers in the next line are staring, recognition brightening their previously bored faces. I still haven’t paid for my groceries and I’m not sure I can. Now they’re going to think I’m a real estate flop.

I dig into my wallet. “I think I have some cash.”

“It’s okay,” Kyle says. “I’ll get it.” He swipes his card like it’s nothing.

“You don’t have to do that.”

“It’s fine. I’m sure something funny is just going on with your accounts.”

It doesn’t feel very funny right now but he’s probably right. “I’ll pay you back.”

“It’s on me. I eat at your place a ton anyway. This is the least I can do.”

“Thank you.”

While Kyle checks out, I push my cart quickly but coolly, passing several people singing, “Call 5-5-5, 1-0-1-0 for a real estate win with Natalie Quinn!”

Get me out of here!

As soon as I exit, I pull out my phone and log on to my bank account. My cards are maxed out? I click the link and it’s nothing but withdrawal after withdrawal from various locations in Las Vegas. A grand here, five hundred there, all in the last few days. Someone must’ve stolen Jake’s credit card. Unless . . . 

I dial him immediately. My face prickles with heat. What could be going on? It goes straight to voicemail. “Dammit!”

“You okay?” Kyle’s voice calls behind me.

I turn back unable to look him in the eye. “Our credit cards and maxed out and Jake phone is going to voicemail. I don’t know what to do. Can you try him?”

Kyle hesitates for a moment. Does he know something? “Sure.” He pulls his phone from his pocket and steps away. I watch him stands silent for a few moments, then hang up. “Voicemail.”

“I’ll try him again.”

By the time Kyle and I get to our respective cars, I’ve called Jake half a dozen times. It. Never. Rings. I shoot off a panicked text message, then begin slamming my groceries into my trunk. “Dammit! Why is his phone off?”

“Whoa,” Kyle says, grabbing one of the bags from me. “You’re going to break your eggs.”

I let out an aggravated growl at him like he’s to blame, but his expression doesn’t change. “I’m sorry. I’m just so frustrated right now.”

“I know,” he says. “It’s okay. We’ll get ahold of Jake and get to the bottom of all this. It’s going to be fine. I’m not going to let anything happen to you.”

I feel a slight release at his words. I know that I shouldn’t but the truth is . . . I’m afraid of what’s going to happen next. I feel like I’m about to lose everything and it’s all because of my husband.

“I’m gonna load my bags in your car and I’ll drive you home, okay?” he says, pulling his cart over.

I shake my head. “No, you don’t have to do that. I can drive.”

“I know you can, but you shouldn’t. Besides, I have the pineapple.”

I let out the smallest of laughs. How did he do that?

Back at my house, Kyle helps me unload my bags and stuffs his cold groceries in my garage refrigerator. I sit at the kitchen table tapping my finger on the table staring at my phone. Kyle calmly chops his precut pineapple into little chunks and tosses them into the blender along with ice, rum, and creamy coconut.

“C’mon,” he says, handing me a cold glass. “Let’s go to our usual spot.”

I follow Kyle out to the patio and we each take a lounge chair. Lily follows us out, making herself comfy on the warm concrete next to my feet. Sipping from the plastic straw, the slushy, sweet drink fills my mouth. And for the moment, my anguish is eased. “This is so good.”

He takes a sip. “Yeah, not bad.”

“I haven’t had one of these since my twenty-fourth birthday.” I suck down the icy drink until a sharp pain ripples along my forehead. “Ouch!” I soothe it with my hand.

“Brain freeze?”

“More like bank freeze.”

“I’m sure there’s a good explanation,” he says.

I look at my phone. Nothing back from Jake. “If you knew something, you would tell me, right?”

“Yeah, of course.”

“Okay, because when I asked you to call him you seemed like you didn’t want to. Like maybe you knew what was going on.”

He lowers his head and sets his drink on the patio table. “That’s not why I hesitated.”

“Then why did you?”

He lets out a long sigh and my stomach tightens at what’s next. “I haven’t talked to Jake in a few weeks. We . . . we had an argument.”

Huh? “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“Because it was about you.”

“About me? What about me?”

He keeps his eyes lowered. “I told him that he needs to come back and be here for his wife. But he said that he couldn’t right now. And I told him that whatever he thinks is so important doesn’t matter as much as . . . as you.”

“You said that?” I don’t know if it’s the high emotions or his words alone, but tears begin to surface.

Finally, he looks at me. “Yeah.”

“Thank you. I don’t understand why he can’t see that as easily as you can. Why can’t he be more like . . .”

“Me?”

I feel a little guilty saying it but, “Yeah.”

“Because he’s Jake. He’s stubborn and proud.” Don’t I know it.

“And you’re steady and kind.” We gaze at one another. So many times I’ve looked into his blue eyes wishing they were the brown ones belonging to Jake. But in this moment, I’m glad it’s Kyle.

He breaks the stare and perhaps even the spell we’re falling under. “I should go.”

“Right,” I say. “Want me to take you back to the store to get your car?”

“No, I’ll get a cab.”

I help carry his groceries out while we wait for his ride.

“So, The Work Place? Tomorrow night?” I ask.

“Sure.”

The cab approaches the house and I wait for Kyle to turn and leave but he just stands there staring at me.

“You know, Jake really is an idiot. He has no idea how lucky he is to have you.” Kyle reaches out his hand, smoothing my hair away from my face, softly grazing my cheek. My heart flutters at his touch. My chin tilts up, lips parted and parched for affection. He steps closer and closer until his nose touches mine. Am I really about to kiss my husbands best friend in our driveway?

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