I hung up the phone and flopped back on the couch, wondering how I’d gotten to such a strange place in my life. I’d dumped my husband for Jess, and now Jess had dumped me for Amber. Then I dumped Nate.
I wouldn’t dump Mellie, I decided.
No matter what happened, she was a sweet kid and she needed all the support she could get. I wouldn’t fail her like I’d failed Amber and Jessica.
And yes, I know it was insane to think I failed them—you can’t save someone who doesn’t want saving. Didn’t change how I felt.
The buzzer went off on the washer, reminding me that I had more clothes to push through. I needed to hit the grocery store for Reese, too. I’d go out to his place early, I decided. That way I wouldn’t have to see him, because despite my bold resolutions I wasn’t quite ready to confront him just yet.
I’d been through enough in the past twenty-four hours.
Reese’s motorcycle sat out in front of his house when I pulled up, along with his truck and a sporty little red convertible.
A Miata. My Miata. I seriously considered keying the car out of pure jealousy.
Make that jealousy and frustration, because not only had I failed to avoid Reese, he apparently had company. Best not to think about whoever might be driving that pretty little car, either, because I’d bet my morning ice cream it wasn’t one of his club brothers.
I sat in the driveway and pondered just turning my van around and leaving, then decided that would be pure cowardice. I’d run into him sooner or later. Might as well get it over with. It would be good for me to see him with another woman, I decided. I’d nearly slept with him the other night, and while I’d decided to break up with Nate, that didn’t automatically mean hooking up with Reese was a smart idea.
It could never be more than random sex anyway. Nothing underscores the temporary nature of a booty call like seeing your intended booty calling on someone else.
You’re here to work. What he does is his business.
I turned off my van, grabbed the groceries, and started toward the door. Balancing the bags gracelessly, I punched in the code and pushed through to find myself face-to-ass with the owner of the Miata.
She straddled Reese on the couch, her miniskirt pushed up around her waist, leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination—my own personal porno, front and center. Holy. Shit. I couldn’t breathe. His gaze met mine over her head, and I managed to clear my throat. She froze, twisting around to see me.
“Thought you were coming later,” Reese drawled, wrapping his big hands around her waist and holding her steady. His eyes were cold and hostile, although a mocking smile graced his face. He was still angry. Fair enough. We hadn’t exactly ended things on a positive note back at my place. Miss Miata buried her head in his shoulder, obviously trying to hold back a fit of giggles. God, had he told her about me? Did they laugh together at how stupid I’d been, getting drunk and throwing myself at him?
Don’t panic. DON’T PANIC.
I panicked. I felt the grocery bags starting to slip, so I tightened my grip and forced myself to inhale slowly. Exhale.
Think of calm things. Oceans. Clean ovens. Don’t let him see how this hurts you.
Wait. Why should this hurt me? So I had the hots for him, but that didn’t mean I cared about Reese Hayes. Had I been celibate so long that I’d forgotten what mindless lust felt like? I’d kicked him out of my bed, not the other way around.
I coughed, and realized I had to take control of the situation. Break the tension. Make a joke.
“Sorry to interrupt,” I said, wondering if my voice sounded as shaky as it felt. “Do you want me to reschedule, or can you move to your bedroom? I generally frown on cleaning around people while they’re having sex. All sorts of potential OSHA violations.”
Hayes’s eyes widened and his smile shifted from mocking to genuine. He shook his head slowly.
“You know, I want to stay pissed at you, but you’re just too cute sometimes,” he said finally. “I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone like you, London.”
I’d never met anyone like him, either, I thought somewhat hysterically. Maybe I’d led a sheltered life, but most of my friends liked to have sex in private. I decided now wasn’t the time to discuss our cultural differences, all things considered. I’d go right ahead and keep focusing on breathing, because somewhere deep inside it felt like I’d been stabbed in the gut, which wasn’t right on about a thousand different levels.
“Um, still here,” Miss Miata said, lifting a hand and waving it in front of his face. “Unless she’s joining us, I think we should relocate. I only get off on performing for appreciative audiences, and I think we’re scaring this one.”
“I’m not joining you,” I stuttered.
Her eyes swept up my figure.
That was my signal for full, unconditional retreat.
“I’ll just put away the food,” I said, walking quickly past them into the kitchen. I dropped the bags on the counter. Then I leaned forward and forced myself to inhale and exhale some more, counting to ten each time. What the hell was going on with me? So it was weird walking in on people having sex. Yes. Definitely weird. But not full meltdown weird.
This was all about my stupid crush on Reese, which was apparently even stronger than I’d realized. I didn’t have the right to feel hurt or possessive, yet here I was, trying not to hyperventilate in his kitchen. Not me at all. Desperate times …
I opened a cabinet and pulled out a mug. Then I opened the freezer and grabbed some vodka. I poured myself a nice shot, drank it, then quickly disposed of the evidence. Cold fire slid down my throat, clarifying things.
So I had a problem—Reese was beautiful, I had a crush on him, and he was currently fucking another woman in the living room. His living room. A place he had every right to use for sex or anything else he felt like using it for. Kind of shitty that I walked in on it, but I’d come out to his place early, too. Time to face some hard facts:
Reese slept with lots of women.
He wasn’t betraying me, and so far as he knew, I was in a relationship with another man.
I wanted to curl up into a ball and die.
Curling up in a ball and dying seemed a little extreme, so I’d just have to pull up my big girl panties and fucking deal with this shit. First up—I had frozen food melting in the van, and it needed to be put away. Because I’m only human, I ducked out the back door to grab the rest of the bags, avoiding the spectacle out front. By the time I came back, they’d left the living room. More giggling and sex noises drifted out from his bedroom and I winced. Maybe I’d just go upstairs for a while. Vacuum. That should drown them out.