“Don’t, I’ll cry,” she said.

Everything pointed to crisis, to the disaster I’d dreaded. I had to make a plan and go forward. I couldn’t waste time feeling sorry for myself. I fell for the wrong guy. People did it every day. It was the fact I missed him that made me hate myself. To think what he did to my family, my friends, my whole town and to miss him anyway—it was unforgivable.

I went for drinks with the girls at Cecil’s one night. Not even that cheered me up.

“So, we have a bunch of people calling the Health Department wanting counseling or anxiety meds or to know when we’re launching support group for people who are gonna be out of a job,” Layla said, scooping up some queso.

“Well, aren’t you a ray of sunshine tonight,” Sarah Jo said.

“What? Her fuckboy’s shutting down the plant. This place is going to hell,” Layla said.

“Promise me that you never worked a suicide hotline when you were training to be a counselor,” I said. “Because you managed to make me feel like a worse kind of shit than I already do.”

“Why do you feel shitty? You didn’t shut the plant down,” Layla said. “You’re not in control of the actions of others. Get yourself another drink, order a suction vibrator tonight, you’ll be fine in a week.”

“Do I have to pay for that advice?” I cracked with an eye roll.

“Maggie, she doesn’t get it. She’s a smart cookie, but she’s pretty blind to love,” Sarah Jo said.

“Wait, who said anything about love?” I demanded, “I liked him. He was really incredible in bed. He was also a horse’s ass. The guy gave me the full-court press and then fucked us all over anyway.”

“Is it definite then?” Gracie asked.

“Nothing’s for sure, but I’d bet on it. I am betting on it. I’m letting workers off for interviews starting Monday. My staff needs to know they have places to go. I wish I could help more. Start like the biggest daycare on earth and hire everybody from the plant.”

“Anyway, so he was incredible in bed. There were tides of passion and all that crap. You didn’t catch feelings did you? Tell me Sarah Jo is wrong; tell me you know better than to catch feelings for somebody who stands for everything you hate,” Layla said.

“I’m not heartbroken or anything, I just… miss him.”

“You miss him?” Gracie asked. “The douche who seduced you and trashed the factory anyway?”

“I’m with Gracie, what the hell?” Layla said.

“She’s in love. Give her a fucking break,” Sarah Jo said, “and you two are the least romantic people I know. It’s so weird that we’re friends.”

“I’m practical. I’m the one who can jailbreak your Fire Stick to get you free wrestling without a subscription. I also babysit your little drool-box for free,” Layla said.

“People are lining up to babysit my little drool-box as you call her. She’s adorable.”

“Who was the lucky winner tonight?” I said.

“My in-laws. What can I say? They’re great.”

“You’re like the poster child for happy marriages, I swear. Who would’ve thought after what Ryan put you through that it would all turn out so great?” Layla asked.

“Yeah, rub it in,” I said, “The last chip is mine.” I popped the last tortilla chip in my mouth and swigged my drink. “And just so you know. I am not in love with Jeremiah Leeds,” I added, even though deep down, I knew it was a damn lie.

18

Jeremiah

If I kept it up, I’d outweigh Tyler, and he was a gym rat. And when I’d told him exercise was no substitute for sex, I’d had no idea how right I was. Because working out to keep in shape was one thing. Working out because it’s your only physical outlet and you’re so damn frustrated and lonely is another thing. A more miserable thing. So instead of just working out four days a week, I was up to twice a day. Pull ups, pushups, ab work, circuit training. I almost went to a hot yoga class.

Tyler was the worst. He kept calling to tell me to go out with someone new, get my mind off Maggie.

“You have to get out there, man. Don’t just shrivel up and die because she dumped you. Go out, get laid, you’ll feel better,” he insisted.

“If that’s not the pot calling the kettle celibate, I don’t know what is,” I said, grouchy.

“See, that salty attitude is not going to get you hooked up. Next thing you know, you’ll be shaking a broom at people and telling them to get off your lawn.”

“I don’t have a lawn. I have a townhouse. The grounds are tended by an off-site contractor,” I said.

“You’re so literal. You’re going to turn into an old man overnight. Pining over some chick,” he said. “What does Mom say?”


Tags: Natasha L. Black Romance
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