I’d never appreciated them more.
On Monday, I went back to work and welcomed the distraction. From sun-up to sun-down, I was busy filing paperwork, researching cases for the senior partners, shadowing them, and doing everything else an associate did.
I was glad it didn’t give me much time to think about them. About Jackson and Caleb. I received several texts from Jackson and just one from Caleb, but I ignored them all.
Besides, I thought to myself, they’re both powerful wealthy men. They’ve definitely moved on to other women by now.
And that hurt to think about, but it also made me believe I’d get over them faster. Three days after I ended things, they stopped trying to get in touch, only confirming my suspicions.
It didn’t stop me from thinking about them though.
I just needed to put the Underground and Jackson and Caleb out of my mind. I needed to move on.
The second day I was back to work, one of my coworkers, another associate, told me he’d missed me while I was on vacation. We’d never talked much so I was a little surprised by his confession. He asked me if I wanted to grab dinner too.
It was so tempting to say yes, to throw myself back into dating to help make me forget the past few weeks, but I just wasn’t ready to.
I told my coworker I’d just broken up with someone and didn’t feel up to dating just yet. He was understanding, letting me know that if or when I was ready to and wanted to go out with him, he’d be there. I knew it would never happen, but it was a little flattering.
A few days later, Braxton showed up at my place, begging me to give us another chance. He said everything with Lydia had been a mistake and that it was me he truly loved. No doubt Lydia broke up with him when she realized what a joke he was. He probably hadn’t even told her he was in a relationship when he brought her to my apartment to have sex.
I felt incredible to slam the door in his face. It was the best I’d felt since before I cut Jackson and Caleb from my life.
However, the more time went by, the more I missed them. They showed up in my dreams, sometimes just Caleb, sometimes just Jackson, though both made an appearance more often than not. In my dreams, we would have mindblowing sex or simply be cuddling or out on the town. The very domestic dreams I had in which we were all together in my apartment were difficult. But the dreams that were more difficult were the ones I had of Caleb’s stricken face when I told him I couldn’t see them anymore.
Sometimes after I crawled into bed, I’d think back on that night when the three of us had sex together. I’d think about the way it felt, how incredible they made me feel as I pleasured both of them at the same time.
Up until Caleb’s nightmare, it was the best night of my life. Thinking about it always made me hot and I’d end up sliding my hands inside my panties or grabbing my vibrator from my nightstand, fucking myself with it while pretending it was Caleb or Jackson. It was a poor substitute for the real thing, but it was all I had.
Sascha grew tired of me being mopey and showed up at my apartment with ice cream one night. We stayed up late, downing tubs of Ben & Jerry’s while we watched horror movies on Netflix until we both fell asleep on the couch.
Sascha ended up getting the job that she applied for at Calliope Publishers. I’d just known she would.
“You will not believe how hot my new bosses are, Erin!” she’d squealed on the phone after her first day. “It was so hard to focus on orientation because I couldn’t stop staring at them whenever they walked into the room!”
We hung out a few more times, sometimes with Hanna, and they let me bitch about Caleb and Jackson to my heart’s content. I’d done the same for them over the years, commiserating with them. It’s just what friends did for each other.
A few weeks after Greer’s wedding, after I saw Jackson and Caleb for the last time, I was imagining the night I got to sleep between them for a few hours. They were both warm against me, their bodies solid. I had never felt more secure, safer than I’d ever felt in my entire life.
My phone began to vibrate on my nightstand and I grabbed it.
It had been ages since he last tried to call me. I was so convinced they’d already scrubbed me from their mind that I could hardly believe he was calling me now.
I almost declined his call, but something inside me told me to answer. That I needed to answer.