I loved that he was trying to keep it together, but another part of me, a dark part, wanted him to snap. How can I get so mad at him for what he’s doing, then get so turned on by it? It’s like my brain, heart and vagina can’t agree on one thing.

I hit the elevator button right at five o’clock. It only takes a minute to hit my floor, but stops several times on the way down to the lobby. I finally get to the lobby floor at five-oh-five, and I slip out, heading for the front door and moving with the crowd. I only make it a few short feet outside the building and I’m being pulled by the arm into a small nook.


“I think we did it,” Paige says, her whole face lighting up.

“Are you sure?” I whisper, leaning out to look to see if anyone is following us.

“I think so. Captain took off before you got off the elevator. He told me to keep my ass planted and he was calling Miles as he was leaving,” she whispers back. I look her up and down and laugh. She has on big sunglasses and a trench coat.

“What are you wearing? Why am I whispering? Why didn’t I get something like this to wear?” I keep whispering. I can’t seem to stop myself.

“I don’t know,” she mouths back and we both burst out laughing. Tears leak out the corner of my eyes. I can’t remember the last time I laughed like this. It feels good. Normal. Us.

“Let’s go.” I grab her hand, heading to Simon’s, but she pulls at my hand and walks the other way. I’d make a terrible spy. My sense of direction is the worst.

“Where did you even get that thing?” I ask her, looking over at her trench coat. It’s super cute and I would have noticed it before now. It looks a little big on her. In fact, it would fit me nicely.

“Lunch. I hate it. You can have it. I wanted to hide this.” She turns, walking backward, and flips open the coat. People jump out of her way so she doesn’t knock into them. Under the coat she’s wearing tight black pants, knee-high black boots and a tight black tank. She looks hot. Hotter than she normally dresses.

“What’s happening here?” I ask her, and she smiles before turning and walking forward with me.

She shrugs. “Maybe I wanted to look nice. Or maybe I always wanted to do that flip-your-coat-open thing, like in the movies.” She reaches up, pulling the tie from her hair, letting the glossy waves fall to her shoulders and down her back. I do the same, unclipping my hair, running my fingers through it.

“You thinking about dating or something? When we were at school, you always said you’d worry about that later. It’s kind of later.” Maybe that’s what’s up with this slight style change. Paige never plays up her sexy. She doesn’t have to. Men always take notice of her.

She shrugs again. “I don’t know.” She shakes her head as if telling herself no. “I should be focused on other things, but it would be a lie if I didn’t find it intriguing the way Miles looks at you sometimes.”

We step into the wine bar together, bypassing the hostess and grabbing two chairs at the bar.

“It’s a little intoxicating. To have someone obsessed with you. Like you’re their everything. I’ve never had that. Not in foster care. I’d be lying, too, if I said something about it isn’t sucking me into him.”

“Drinks?” the older bartender asks, cutting into our conversation.

“I’ll have a glass of rosé, please.” I give him my card to get a tab going.

“Same,” Paige adds, and orders five small plates for us to eat while we sit and talk. I don’t know how long we’re here, but the bar slowly fills and someone in the back plays a piano. Some people sing along and request songs.

“Think they’re freaking out yet?” I ask Paige.

She looks down at her watch. “Oh, I’m sure. They’ll live. I’m with you, so they can cool it. Well, they might be pissed if they knew this is my fourth glass.” She finishes off her glass and orders another one.

I’ve only had two, enjoying the warmth of the wine. Wine always goes straight to my head, so I try to keep it light. The fact that I could be pregnant sits quietly in the back of my mind.

Paige doesn’t normally drink much, and it makes me smile that she’s letting loose a little tonight.

More people trickle in and it’s not long before I can barely move without bumping into someone. Unlike our other nights out, Paige doesn’t shut down men who talk to us. She talks back and even jokes a little. It’s probably the wine.

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