I chuckle. “Thanks, Dee.”
She turns to Billy. “Come on. Let’s see if Amelia can stop doing the dirty with Sherriff Mitchell long enough to make us some dinner.”
Billy grimaces. “Way too soon to joke about that.”
They walk out the back door, leaving Drew and me on our own.
I run my hand up his bicep. “George isn’t the only one who’s glad to see you. In case I didn’t say it earlier . . . I’m really happy you’re here.”
Drew smiles tenderly and touches my cheek. “I know.”
We go upstairs to my room, and I close the door behind me. I walk around the bed and slip off my shoes, pushing them under. The shades are drawn, and I turn on the bedside lamp, casting the room in a warm, dim glow.
“It may take some time for my mother to understand everything. She probably won’t be very nice to you in the meantime.”
Drew sits on the edge of the bed and shrugs. “I’m not concerned about your mother.”
“She loves you. She’ll fall in line when she realizes I’m what you want. That I make you happy. Accomplishing that is really my only concern at the moment.”
We’re silent for a few seconds. I sit on the bed next to Drew, tucking my feet under my legs. Drew rubs his palms on his thighs.
Then he speaks what’s obviously on his mind. “So . . . has Warren been here the whole time?”
Although Drew spoke with Billy before he came to find me at the park, I’m guessing his presence didn’t fully register until now.
“Billy came home to visit Amelia. he stopped by the restaurant a few days after I came home.”
“And you two have been . . . hanging out?”
I know where he’s going with this. Like an expert lawyer, setting up his cross-examination with a witness he’s trying to trip up.
Laying the groundwork, building up to the question that will blow the case wide open.
I look down at my bed, unable to meet Drew’s eyes. Feeling guilty, even though technically, I shouldn’t.
Drew’s habits aren’t the only ones that die hard. Like always, procrastination is my friend.
“Is this a conversation you really want to have right now?” I ask him.
he chuckles harshly. “For the record? This isn’t a conversation I want to have ever. But it’s better to get all the shit out of the way now.” he shakes his head slightly. “What did you do, Kate?”
My head snaps up. And I feel insulted—defensive—at his implied accusation.
“What did I do? You’ve got some set of balls, asking me that question.”
he shrugs. “I think they’re pretty impressive, thanks. But my balls aren’t the topic of this particular discussion. Did you f**k him?”
“Did you f**k the stripper?”
“I asked you first.”
That brings me up short. And I’d probably laugh, if this all wasn’t so sad.
In a resigned voice I tell him, “No. No, I did not f**k Billy.”
Drew blows out his held breath. And his voice softens. “Me neither. I mean . . . not Warren . . . I didn’t f**k the stripper either.”
I stand up from the bed. “Did you want to?”
Given Drew’s past preference for variety, I think it’s a fair question. The way I see it, this was his chance to relive the days when diversity was his norm.
“Not even a little.”
he slips a finger into the belt of my jeans and pulls me between his open knees. his hands rest on my hips as he looks up at me.
“Do you remember that awful chick flick you made me watch last year? The one with the guy from The Office?”
he’s talking about Crazy, Stupid, Love. I nod.
Drew continues, “And at the end, how he said ‘Even when I hated you, I loved you.’”
I nod again.
“It was like that. It was never about what I wanted—it was what I thought I had to do. It was always all about you. You were in my head, in my heart . . . even when you weren’t there anymore . . .
you were still f**king there.”
There’s never going to be a good time to say it. Lying or not telling him isn’t a possibility.
“Billy and I kissed.”
his hands grip my hips tighter. The words hang in the air, like a heavy stench.
When he doesn’t respond, I insist, “It didn’t mean anything.”
Drew smirks bitterly. “Sure, it didn’t.”
“I was hurt. And confused. It was only a few seconds. And it wasn’t about desire or attraction. It was just . . . comfort.”
Drew moves me to the side and stands up. Then he starts to pace sharply. Every muscle in his body is drawn tight and contracted. “I told you this would happen. All this time, I f**king told you. That f**kface has just been waiting for the opportunity to sneak his way into your pants again.”
“It’s not like that, Drew. It was innocent.”
The image of Drew’s salacious kiss with the stripper slams to the forefront of my thoughts. And my anger is right behind it. “It wasn’t anything like what you did. What I had to watch you do.”
“And that’s supposed to make me feel better?”
“I’m not trying to make you feel better! I’m trying to explain what happened. So we can put it behind us and move on. That’s what you want, isn’t it ? Isn’t it?”