I’m furious with Delores—for not trusting me, for not even f**king trying. For not thinking what we have is worth the risk. For thinking I’m a goddamn risk at all, when I’ve done everything possible to show her I’m not.
And I’m beyond irritated with Drew—but I’m not sure what the f**k for yet. Maybe he cut Kate down just like Dee claimed. And if he did, it was an ass**le move. One that’s unjustly blown back on me. And I’m kind of pissed that he even screwed Kate at all—breaking his precious, stupid f**king rule that was there for a reason. This reason. Because—like a goddamn suicide bomber—his actions have had painful consequences for everyone around him.
But most of all, I’m infuriated that Drew won’t pick up his f**king phone so I can find out what the hell happened.
Guys aren’t chatty. The telephone is not a necessity for us—unless it’s to find out where we’re meeting up or what the latest baseball scores are. But this is one time I actually need to talk to him—and he’s MIA. I call Erin, Drew’s secretary, who’s still at the office. She informs me that he went home sick this afternoon—that he probably has the flu.
Screw it. I drop my phone, grab my keys, and head over to Drew’s apartment—to get the story straight from the ass’s mouth.
But when I get to his place, he doesn’t answer.
I bang on the door for the third—or thirtieth—time. “Drew! Open the f**king door! What the hell happened today? Drew!”
Nothing. I stop and listen for any sign of life inside the apartment, but all I hear is silence. Not even the rustle of footsteps or the squeak of couch springs. There’s an excellent chance he’s not even home. Which means, for now, I’m shit out of luck.
Breathing hard, I leave the building. I get on my bike and ride—fast and sharp. Probably not the best idea at the moment, but I do it anyway. I get through the tunnel, onto the turnpike, where traffic is thankfully scarce.
And I really open her up. The wind blows so cold and harsh, my face goes numb. But it’s a good thing. Because feeling nothing is so much better than feeling the loss. Of what Dee and I had—of everything we could’ve had.
I ride for hours. Trying to let go. Trying to forget today . . . and the entire four weeks that came before it.
I park my bike in the garage and climb off—stiff and frozen from the ride. I didn’t think I was hoping that Delores would be here, waiting. That she’d realize she made a terrible mistake and show up at my door to beg and apologize. Especially the begging part.
But I realize it’s exactly what I was hoping for . . . when I reach my apartment door and she’s not there.
And the disappointment is crushing.
The letdown intensifies when I scroll through the missed calls on my phone and see that none of them are from Dee.
But I’m not tempted to call her.
I’m frustrated, and I miss her—but I’m not calling. I’m not chasing her. Not this time. Not ever again, if it comes to that.
Drew hasn’t returned my calls either. I’m looking forward to work tomorrow, where I’ll see him, get the story . . . and most likely punch him in his stupid face. That’ll make me feel better.
Don’t worry—I won’t actually do any damage. Even though he doesn’t box as often as I do, Drew’s no wuss. He can take care of himself. And unlike Delores’s and my relationship, our friendship will survive. A few punches, between friends, really isn’t that big of a deal.
I have no appetite, so I skip dinner. I just take a shower and collapse—naked and wet—into my bed. But when my face burrows into the pillow, I smell her. The scent of her skin, her hair—it’s sweet and spicy, apples and cinnamon, distinct.
And it makes my chest ache.
Instead of getting up and sleeping on the couch, like I probably should, I pull the pillow closer and wrap the sheets tighter—surrounding myself in Dee’s memory—until I fall asleep.
Kind of pathetic, right?
Yeah, I f**king think so too.
Tuesday morning, I drag my ass into work—grumpy, disheveled, and feeling shitty—even though I slept like a rock. There, I hear all about the show Billy Warren put on for Kate in the lobby, and I wonder if they got back together. As far as grand gestures go, you don’t get much grander than a public serenade and a lobby full of flowers. But if Kate is back with Billy, why would she give two shits about what Drew thinks or feels about her?
Throughout the rotten day, I check to see if Drew shows up. He doesn’t. And I wonder if he really is sick. Or if whatever happened between him and Kate—and the possibility that she went back to her ex right after—busted him up more than he let on.
I spend my time wondering about that . . . so I don’t have time to think about Dee. But, of course, my mind finds a way to squeeze thoughts of her in.
Plentiful, pain-bringing thoughts.
About where she is—what she’s feeling. If there’s any way she’s doing as badly as I am.
Erin gathers Steven, Jack O’Shay, and me together and asks us to cover for Drew while he’s out. Like the man himself, his clients are f**king spoiled, and they tend to freak out if he isn’t close by to hold their hands. I take a couple of his files because, even though I think he’s a shithead at the moment, I’m not gonna let his career tank over it.
The extra work makes the day go faster, and before I know it, it’s quitting time. I go to the gym—even though I’m feeling craptastic—and undergo a brutal workout and sparring session.