“Thanks, but no, thanks.” He smiles then turns and kisses me. He holds me in his arms, whispering in my ear for only me to hear, “I love you, kitten. Eat all the snacks you want, but stay away from chocolate. I read on the internet today that chocolate and tomatoes could be the culprit for your reflux and nausea. I’ll grab you some Zantac on my way home just in case you can’t resist though.”
My heart breaks. What the hell am I thinking? How could I possibly believe my man is cheating, when he’s spending time during his day looking up remedies for my pregnancy symptoms?
But he’s still so freaking secretive. Still gives me incredibly vague responses when I ask him about his day. I just have this feeling he’s hiding something from me. And maybe it’s my past relationship that’s causing the mistrust, which is totally unfair to Z, but he isn’t doing anything to help me past it with all his ambiguous responses to my questions.
“Let’s go.” July smiles, threading her arm through mine, and we head to the theater, Sage following close behind us.
“Are you sure you don’t want to come in?” she asks her cousin before we make it to the ticket counter.
“Nah, I’ll wait here,” he replies, and we turn to pay for our tickets. We stop to get popcorn and candy—I grab Sour Patch Kids instead of my usual chocolate-covered almonds—and give Sage a final wave before heading into the movie.
“What’s the plan?” I ask as we walk into our theater.
“We go out the backdoor to your car,” she tells me, leading me toward the front of the theater, where she pushes through the door marked Exit. The moment we clear the door, adrenaline hits me and my heart starts to pound wildly in my chest as we head down the walkway to the side parking lot where my car is parked.
It’s probably why I overreact and shriek, “What are you doing?” as July starts to toss the food we got into the garbage that is on the corner of the building. “You cannot throw that out.” I pull the popcorn from her hand forcefully, making half of it land on the ground, and I pout. “Or this.” I hand her the keys to my car and take the soda from her. I’ve been staying away from it for the past week, but it’s only Sprite, so it’s caffeine free.
“Are you good now?” she asks.
I shrug and take a swig, and she rolls her eyes then starts making her way to my car. The whole time, I glance around to make sure Sage isn’t anywhere around. Once we get it unlocked and us buckled inside, July starts up the car and pulls out of the parking lot toward the compound.
“So much for this plan,” I grumble through a mouthful of popcorn as we pull up in front of the compound fifteen minutes later. I toss in a green Sour Patch Kid for good measure.
“Yeah,” she agrees. The next thing I know, July is shoving my head down and ducking, and that’s when I hear the sound of a motorcycle pulling up. When the roar cuts off, we lift our heads and watch Harlen walk inside, coming out minutes later carrying an envelope.
“We need to follow him. He will be with Z,” I whisper, as if he could hear us inside the car from this far away.
“I know,” she murmurs, and we follow him down back roads for what seems like forever. When he pulls into a parking lot, July parks a block away, and we watch as he rides right to where the rest of the guys are waiting. When he gets off his bike, he says something to Wes then hands him the envelope. Even from this distance, we can see Wes is obviously pissed. He puts his phone to his ear.
“I wonder what they’re talking about,” I mumble.
“I don’t know,” she replies.
Wes goes over to Z and pats his arm, saying something to him, and my brow furrows. When Z’s body goes rigid, nausea overtakes my system.
“We’re busted,” I whisper. I don’t know how I know, but I do. July looks at me, puts the car in drive, and takes off. The moment we hit the main road, the sound of motorcycle pipes fills the air. “Oh my God. Z is going to kill me.” I brush the popcorn mess off my boobs nervously.
“Maybe we can get back to the theater,” July tells me, but from the look on her face, I can tell she doesn’t even believe that herself.
“Yeah, maybe,” I agree, already planning my own funeral. I think I’d like my casket covered in hydrangeas. I bet that’d be pretty.
I press back in my seat as July accelerates and takes back roads all the way to the theater. The moment she turns off the car, we get out and rush toward the door we left out of, but then stop dead when we come face-to-face with a visibly fuming Sage.