Page 21 of Burned (Ignite #1)

I sigh and turn my head to face her. “In some ways I do, but I don’t even know him. I mean, I know his family, I know how old he was when he got into his first fight, I know he made honor roll every year in high school and I know he hated the purple cummerbund I made him wear to prom junior year. I know the basics about what he’s been doing with his life since then but what about everything else? Does he still like the same junk food, is Full Metal Jacket still his favorite movie, who did he lose his virginity to and why the hell didn’t he ever get married and have kids? I’ve spent less than five hours with the man since I was seventeen years old and we spent most of that time f**king like rabbits. Maybe it’s just the thrill of something new and exciting or a way for me to purge Jordan from my mind and my heart once and for all. The final nail in the coffin, so to speak.”

Phina raises an eyebrow and stares at me. “Does it really feel like that? Did you really just have sex with the guy to step out of your comfort zone and take a new toy for a test drive? Jordan is the only man you’ve ever had sex with. Ever. You have always been firm in that conviction and I really don’t see you jumping into bed with the first man who comes along. Even though technically you did jump into bed with the first man who came along.”

I swat at her arm when she laughs.

“What I’m saying is, you’re not the type of woman that has sex with some random just to get your mind off of your troubles. You stayed true to Jordan for seventeen years even though he continued to f**k everything up and f**k everything else in sight. You wouldn’t have sex with someone unless there was something there and that something was much more than just hormones.”

My head flies up from the couch and I feel bile churning in my stomach.

Phina’s eyes widen when she realizes what she just let slip. “Shit, shit, shit.”

I lean forward on the couch and put my elbows on my knees and my head in my hands.

“Don’t throw up, okay? I don’t do well with vomit,” Phina says in a rush as she rubs her hand in circles on my back.

I’ve always wondered if Jordan cheated on me. He broke every other marriage vow, so why wouldn’t he have broken the most important one? He was always so proud of the fact that we’d only slept with each other, always the first to brag about it when someone brought up the topic. When the lies started to outnumber the truths, though, and I began to realize just how deeply he was mired in addiction, him f**king other women didn’t seem like such a stretch, but I could never bring myself to ask him about it. The simple fact is, I never really believed he would do it because I knew I would never do it.

I lift my head and look at her worried face. “I’m not going to throw up, don’t worry. I might pile the rest of his shit in the yard and light a bonfire or start chucking breakable objects, but I’m definitely not going to puke.”

“Might I suggest starting with your wedding china? I’ve always wanted to throw a few of those God awful pieces his mother picked out and watch them shatter.”

I shake my head at her and sigh. “So, do you know this for a fact or are you just assuming?”

“Well, part of it is assumption, but most of it is rumor. I’m so sorry I never told you. You were always so forgiving of him and every time I wanted to say something, you guys were always doing so well that I didn’t want to ruin your life, especially if it wasn’t true,” she admits. “Even though he pissed me off on a regular basis, I just wanted you to be happy and I wanted it to work between you two. When you finally decided to leave his ass for good a month ago, I swear I was going to tell you. I was waiting for the right time. I didn’t mean to just blurt it out like an ass**le.”

I wrap my arm around her shoulder and pull her close to me. “You’re not an ass**le. I’m a little pissed that you didn’t tell me, but I get it. You didn’t know for sure and you didn’t want to make things worse.”

I’ve spent too much time over the years being angry, and there’s no way I could hold a grudge against my best friend for doing what she thought was best. No matter how much she hated what Jordan did to me, she stood by me without judging me for the choices I made and I know it couldn’t have been easy for her to keep something like this to herself. If the tables were turned, I honestly don’t know what I would have done. Her not telling me before now is actually a blessing. I hate to think that I’ve been one of those women who’s had her head in her ass when it comes to her husband’s infidelity, but I can admit that a small part of me didn’t really want to know. If I’d found out something like this a year ago, it would have completely broken me and I never would have gotten over the hurt. I don’t think I would have been able to move on or trust another man ever again. A year ago, I still believed Jordan could change and that he would change because he loved me enough to be the man I needed him to be. Finding this information out now, when I’m stronger than I’ve ever been and one hundred percent firm in my belief that our relationship is over, makes it easier to handle.

After Collin walked out the door earlier, I finally spelled it out for Jordan. He told me he was going into rehab and he told me he made arrangements for us to go to marriage counseling. I laughed in his face. It probably wasn’t the best reaction, but I was still raw and upset about the look on Collin’s face when I asked him to leave. I was pissed at Jordan for waltzing into the house and screwing everything up. Hearing that he’s most likely been cheating on me for years, I don’t feel bad at all for lashing out at him.