“Viola already left.” His words hit me like a ton of bricks, yet I can’t comprehend them.

“Wait, what?”

“She left two days ago. Booked an earlier flight.”

I blink, my mind racing and I can’t think straight. She wasn’t supposed to leave until next weekend.

“Why? You didn’t tell me. She…” I lose my words as I fight back the anger that’s brewing inside me.

“Sorry, man. She asked me not to say anything. She said she had to leave and start fresh.” I can tell he knows this is hitting me hard as he rests a hand on my shoulder. “We had talked before she left, and I know that what you two had was real and that you both had strong feelings for each other, but she’ll always make her future a priority over everyone in her life. She’s always been that way.”

“I was supportive of that, but we’d planned on me taking her to the airport, at least. I didn’t even get to say goodbye.”

“I don’t think she knew how to say goodbye to you.”

Gryff begins pawing at my slacks, directing my attention down to him. I knew she loved Gryff and would’ve wanted to see him one last time, so the fact that she just left both of us behind leaves me almost speechless.

“So, I guess that means she doesn’t want to talk to me either?” I mutter, mostly to myself, but I know Drew heard me.

“Give her some time to adjust, and then try reaching out to her. She might come around. You never know,” Drew offers.

I hope he’s right.

I can’t fathom not talking to her for six months. But what if she meets someone else and forgets about us completely?

The following day, Drew is off work, and I take the opportunity to sit down with him. I want the chance to explain that night, and why I kept the truth about Mia and Viola from him. I know what’s done is done, but we have a history, and I can’t let something like this burden our friendship.

“So, what do you know? Or rather, what all did Mia tell you?”

“We haven’t spoken much since that night. She’s called me, but there weren’t many details. She still claims you made a move, stripped her down, and then climbed into the backseat with her and started messing around.”

I cringe at his words. The mere thought of that happening sickens me.

“Fucking hell, Drew,” I mutter, brushing my palms along the thighs of my jeans. “I never touched her.”

“I can’t say I’d be surprised if that’s the truth. But Mia has no reason to lie.”

“Mia doesn’t need a damn reason to lie, Drew! She’s a psycho! She wanted to hurt you, and for some reason wanted to throw me under the bus for her own personal amusement.”

“I’m not saying I believed her. But considering your history, and then finding out you hooked up with Viola, it just made her story more believable.”

“Look, I know I’m far from perfect, and I have my fair share of fuck ups when it comes to chicks, but I want to be with Viola and her only. When I ran into Mia, she was with another guy, and he was screaming in her face. He hit me, man. I’m pretty sure my ribs were broken before the accident. I got her out of there, and she started freaking out, so I pulled over into a gas station parking lot. I tried to calm her down, and the next thing I know, she’s coming at me. I didn’t kiss her back, and I guess she felt rejected because she came up with some bullshit lie that I touched her.”

Drew’s soaking up my words as his expression tightens. I know he doesn’t want to hear about Mia being with another guy, any more than I’d want to hear that about Viola, but he needs to hear the truth.

“So, how’d she end up naked in your backseat?”

“Once I pushed her back and told her I was in love with someone else, she got all hysterical. She was already freaking out about the fight at the diner, and was feeling sick, and the next thing I know she pukes all over herself. I gave her my shirt to clean up, but it was all over her dress. I told her to lie down in the back and settle her stomach. I didn’t have any blankets, so she just took the dress off.”

He nods as I finish the story. “I don’t remember anything after that, but I swear on my life that I would never touch Mia. Viola owns my heart, and I’m pretty sure she always has.”

He looks up and smiles at me. “Well, you better be sure to win her back then.”

“Trust me. I won’t stop until I do.”

Over the weekend, I drive up to my childhood home. I didn’t call and give my mother a heads-up because I kept changing my mind. The closer I got, the more nervous I felt. I hadn’t seen my dad in years, and I wasn’t sure what to expect now that he was sick, but I felt it was something I needed to do. At least for my mom’s sake.

Tags: Kennedy Fox The Checkmate Duet Erotic
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