“I know.” I don’t need his reminder. I’ve talked to both my parents a few times since they’ve been gone, and neither of them has brought up my relationship with Dillon. I’m worried. My dad isn’t someone who beats around the bush, so to speak. So I have no idea what to expect from him when he gets back into town.

“I know you’re worried.”

“I am,” I agree, thinking that’s the understatement of the century.

Turning, he drops his coffee behind him to the granite then moves to where I’m standing, wrapping his hands around my waist and lifting me up to sit on the counter I was just leaning against. “I won’t hide our marriage from anyone else.”

“Dillon,” I sigh, wishing he understood where I’m coming from. “It’s not as easy as just telling them we got married.”

His hands rest against my thighs and his fingers begin to rub circles there. “I know, but we are married.”

“My parents are going to have concerns, valid concerns.” I rest my hands on his shoulders and lean into him. “We didn’t date. We jumped right into being married and basically living together.”

“There is no ‘basically’ about it. We are living together, and will be until the day we die,” he growls, and I fight the urge to roll my eyes at him. He’s so damn hardheaded.

“Can you at least try to see where I’m coming from?” I plea.

“You’re an adult. You live on your own and make your own money. What you do with your life is your choice.”

“It’s not as black and white as you see it,” I huff, knowing from our previous talks on the matter it’s pointless to argue with him. He just doesn’t understand, or he really believes what he’s saying and thinks it is as easy as just telling them about us.

“You’re making this harder than it needs to be.”

“No I’m not.”

“You are.”

“Dillon, please think about it. I mean, we’re not even in love,” I whisper a half lie. I, at some point over the last two weeks, have accepted I’m in love with him, but that doesn’t mean he feels the same as I do.

His hands drop from my thighs like I’ve burned him and he takes a sudden step back, leaving me feeling cold. Watching, I’m at a loss from his reaction. He runs a hand through his hair, and my heart lodges in my throat. “Jesus, what the fuck?” he barks, looking up at the ceiling, then turns and leaves. I don’t know how long I sit there, stunned. But when he comes back, he’s dressed in black workout pants, a plain gray tee, and sneakers.

“I’ll be back.” He grabs his car keys off the counter, barely sparing me a glance as he turns to leave.

“What?” I ask, suddenly panicked. Hopping down from the counter, I follow behind him toward the door. “What the hell just happened?” I shout at his back, and his pain-filled eyes shoot to me over his shoulder with his hand on the knob.

“I just found out the woman I’m in love with isn’t in love with me,” he states matter-of-factly, then storms out through the front door, slamming it behind himself.

“What?” I ask, but it’s too late. He’s gone. Plopping down on the sofa, my head drops to my hands and tears of annoyance fill my eyes.

“Hssss.” Pulling my hands from my face, I look at Leo as he hisses again and takes a swipe at me.

“How was I supposed to know?” I cry, glaring at my cat when he swipes at me again. “He didn’t tell me,” I defend myself as his golden eyes meet mine, and then I swear he glares before hissing once more and hopping down off the couch, prancing off.

Seeing my cell phone on the coffee table, I pick it up and dial Dillon’s number, but he doesn’t answer. I dial again, and still get no answer. I want to toss the stupid thing across the room. I don’t understand why he’s mad. It’s not like I knew he was in love with me; I had no clue. Getting off the couch, I go to my room and straight to my closet, where I put on a pair of my most comfortable jeans that are ripped to shreds, my bra, and a tank top, then slip my feet into my flip-flops. Once I’m dressed, I run a brush through my hair quickly then dial Michelle.

“Hey-yo,” she greets on the second ring, and I sigh in relief.

“I need your help with something. Can you meet me?” I ask softly, wondering if I’m making a huge mistake, but I’ve been thinking about this for a few days and it’s now or never.

“Does this meeting involve burying Dillon’s body in the woods?”

“No.” I laugh, walking back through my house toward the kitchen where my keys are.

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