He looks so tired. Not just from lack of sleep, but weary down to his bones, worn out and weighed down. I hate it.

“Roll over,” I tell him, when he climbs into bed.

He eyes me uncertainly, but rolls over on his stomach anyway. I climb over him, straddling his lower back, and give him a nice, slow back massage. I’d like to talk about his day, ask what’s bothering him, but I already know.

Instead I say, “We should start back with Sunday dinners this weekend.”

He murmurs something that might be assent.

“I played Scrabble with Vince tonight. I totally beat him. He told me I shouldn’t challenge you, because you’d definitely beat me. How could you not tell me you’re a Scrabble champ?”

“I’m sure there’s plenty I haven’t told you,” he answers.

“Well, you’re going to have to play Scrabble with me soon. If you beat me as soundly as Vince seems to think you will, it’s probably gonna turn me on.”

He snorts, turning to glance at me over his shoulder. “You’re such a weirdo.”

“You love it,” I state, rubbing out a particularly tense muscle.

“Why are you being nice to me?” he mutters.

“I’m always nice to you,” I remind him, leaning down to drop a few kisses along his shoulder.

“You know those punching bag balloon things with weighted bottoms, every time you hit it, it bounces right back up with a big smile on its stupid face?”

“Sort of? You’re older than I am. I’ve vaguely heard of these.”

“Well, you’re one of those in human form.”

“Then I’m perfect for you,” I state. “You like to mentally punch things and see how many it takes to keep them down. I like to pop back up and tell you how sexy your face is. We’ll keep each other balanced out for ages.”

Sighing, he reaches around to topple me and rolls to his side, pulling me close. “I missed you.”

“I missed you, too,” I tell him, running my fingers through his hair.

“I’m still really pissed,” he tells me.

“That’s okay. I understand.”

“I can’t figure it out. I hate not being able to figure things out.”

“It does sound incredibly frustrating,” I agree.

“What am I not seeing?”

I curl up in his arms, enjoying his gentleness. I wasn’t sure I’d get this back so soon, but I wanted to try. Maybe since I can’t solve the puzzle of how this happened, I can just trick him into moving past it.

His hands absently roam my body, not seeking out sexuality, just wanting to touch me. I feel the same way, except instead of just touching him, I want to kiss him. I don’t want to get him going though, because I’m not sure I could enjoy sex right now, given my poor vagina’s had to take one for the team a couple times.

I give him a kiss, because I really want to, but I don’t linger. I stay close, but I tuck my head under his chin to cuddle him instead.

“Why would he approach you at the Chinese restaurant?”

My shoulders literally drop with disappointment that we have to talk about this again. “I don’t know, Mateo.”

“If he didn’t know you, I mean. If someone somehow set you up with that phone. He would’ve had to be working together with someone in my house, he would have had to know Adrian would spot him, because there’s no plan otherwise. Adrian doesn’t see you, it didn’t really happen. How did he know Adrian would go to the bathroom? And how did he know where you were? He just happens to see you in the restaurant by yourself after planting this cell phone in my house? There’s no way. That’s too coincidental.”

“I wish I knew. Trust me, I would Nancy Drew my ass off if it meant putting your mind at ease, but maybe you’re focusing on the wrong thing.” I pause, not wanting to go on, but I might as well, now that I’ve started. “You’re so caught up in trying to figure this out. Maybe you should just get back to your normal life and it will sort itself out. I don’t know what their motive was, I don’t know why whoever did this did this to us, but I do know they’ve distracted you. Your top guy just left, you need to be focused on making sure business is going smoothly and nothing goes amiss. Stop thinking about the phone. The text messages never happened. I never sexted the guy from the Chinese restaurant. You’re being tormented by something that literally never happened, by the idea of betrayal from a woman who would never betray you. I can’t seem to hammer this home, but I’m going to keep trying because I need you on top of your game right now. I need you safe. I need to know you’re not so distracted by this shit that you’re going to get yourself killed. Where is Salvatore Castellanos now? Do you know? Do you have eyes on that family? How do you find out information? Don’t answer any of this, for the sake of my sanity—wouldn’t want you to think I’m trying to share your methods with him—but maybe if you don’t know these things, you should stop trying to catch me doing something I never did and focus on that instead.”

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