Page 39

Unexpected Love Story (Love 2) Natasha Madison 2022/8/3 13:50:52

When I come back out, Emma is sitting at the counter, eating a peanut butter sandwich. “Boy, were you right to stay home.” I look over at Gabe, who is stirring the soup.

“Did you eat?” I ask her, picking up the knife to continue buttering the bread.

“Barely. We walked into the barn and my hay fever started acting up right away. So I hightailed it back home and I’m taking this water bottle.” She picks up the bottle in her hand. “I’m calling it a night. My body aches.” She walks up the stairs, and I turn around to look for a frying pan.

“Crystal,” he whispers, and I shake my head no, “we are going to discuss this.”

I look up the stairs again, then bend to grab the pan. “No, we just got caught up in the moment.” Putting the bread in the pan, I add the cheese. “It can’t happen again.”

“Why?” I turn my head to look at him. “Why not?” I tilt my head, not sure I heard the right words. “I’m single; you’re single.”

“You’re my boss.” I open the drawer to take a spatula out. “It just can’t happen.” I don’t have time to say anything else because the other girls come in all giggling and a little tipsy.

“This country air,” Ava says, walking up the stairs, “I need to sleep.”

Corrine and Olivia follow her up the stairs. “I’m so tired; my legs are fucking killing me.”

I look up the stairs and listen to the doors slam. “Please,” I whisper to him, “not here.”

“I’ll give you this, but when we get home …” he says, turning the stove off and pouring the soup into two bowls.

So we sit at the island eating tomato soup and grilled cheese, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

“Okay, everyone, drive safely,” I say as I get behind my wheel. We all pull away from the log house. I have never felt more unease in my life. The kiss was wrong, so fucking wrong, yet I couldn’t help but want more. Her standing next to me, her in my space put me on my last nerve, and let’s not even discuss the fact that only a wall separated us last night. I stared at that white wall almost all night long, which was a mistake because the team bonding bullshit the next day kicked my ass.

I just couldn’t fucking get anything to work for me. The girls kept swapping out on me, and I swear to god, I would kill one of the instructors; I just didn’t know which one. By the time I get into town, it’s almost noon, so I hit up Walker’s place. When I knock on the door and get no answer, I take out the emergency key under the mat. Like no one is going to look there, right?

“Anyone home?” I yell, walking into the house. Seeing it empty and quiet, I go to Walker’s room and find him still in bed. “It’s almost fucking noon,” I say from the doorway.

“I thought you were gone on your weekend retreat?” he asks me as he rolls off the bed and goes straight to the medicine cabinet.

I shake my head and laugh, then head to the kitchen to start the coffee. We sit down, and he tells me about his drunken walk with Hailey, the woman who is creeping under his skin. I’m almost tempted to tell him about Crystal, but what would I say? We had a one-night stand before she started working for me. No, not going to happen, plus I don’t want him looking at her like that. I leave him to his hangover, telling him I’m going to meet him at Gram’s for dinner.

Needing to clear my head, I go to the one place I know I’m going to shut down—the gym. I work out for four hours, and between running on the treadmill, lifting weights, and pushing my body till I think my muscles are going to snap, I still can’t erase her from my brain. I dress in my jeans, dress shirt, and sweater and make my way over to my grandmother’s house. When I arrive, I figure she must have invited half the fucking town. I walk in, saying hello to a couple of people who I know. I head out into the backyard, and I find I wasn’t wrong. Looking around, I try to spot my parents, but instead, my eyes land on the girl who is fucking everywhere.

She’s standing with her perfect ass in white fucking jeans. A long-sleeve knitted sweater or some sort of concoction that is almost to her neck but falls down in the back, leaving the back of her shoulders bare. She’s standing next to Luigi, who owns D’amore pizza, laughing at something he is saying, and I roll my eyes as I make my way to the bar. I order a beer, then lean against it, looking around. Once he hands it to me, I finally see Brody and Darla.