When You Say Nothing At All
Girl, pack your bag, we’re going to the beach Sarah’s text reads. She must be insane. Leave on a Friday afternoon? Sit on the glorious I-95 parking lot?
Pack. I’m serious.
She’s rented a red convertible, wears huge movie star glasses and a vintage headband. “Come on, darling, we have places to go.”
She drives like a bat out of hell and now I have a reference for that phrase. Her cell is plugged into the speakers and blares summer beach songs. Right now it’s Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer.” She sings along and then so am I. I can begin to feel tension that I didn’t even know I was experiencing melt off of me.
“Where are we staying?” I ask.
“You’re staying with Steve,” she says.
My mouth falls open. “What? I can’t.”
“Why not? You don’t like him anymore? You going back to your ex-husband?”
“No. Of course not. I still like him, but I haven’t seen him in weeks.”
“Booty call,” she sings.
“Does he know?”
“Nah. It’s a surprise.”
I shake my head. “I have a really bad feeling about this.”
And the instant she pulls into the driveway, the bad feeling comes to fruition. A tall blonde woman in a barely there bikini with tanned legs that go on forever is hugging him as if her life depended on it.
“Oh, crap,” Sarah says. “Now don’t jump to conclusions.”
“You just did.”
“Yeah, but that’s what I do.”
The woman takes a step back from him and rests her hand on his chest. They both glance over at us. The woman frowns, says something to Steve, who raises his hand to us. A wave. If I were behind the wheel, I’d have backed out and been on my way, but Sarah drums her palms in time to the music and studies them.
“Nope. Not running away. You need to know what’s going on. You’ve been obsessing over him for weeks,” she says.
“Yep, you have. Come on. Nothing ventured . . . .”
Heaving a dramatic sigh, I unbuckle the seatbelt and climb from the car. Steve smiles at me. It looks like a platonic smile. I wonder if I’m now in the friend zone. Is blondie my replacement?
“What are you ladies doing here?” he asks.
“We were in the neighborhood. We’re having a caper,” Sarah says.
Only Sarah would say that.
The blonde leans against him. I wonder if she isn’t able to stand up without support. Catty much, Callie?
“Who are you?” she asks.
“Friends of Steve’s,” Sarah says. “Who are you?”
“His wife,” she says slowly.
My stomach drops and I can literally feel the color drain from my face.
“Ex-wife,” Steve says.
Her eyes narrow at him then move to Sarah and me, evaluating us. She’s beautiful even when she looks like she’s about to say something unpleasant.
“Oh, I don’t know how much longer I’ll be an ex-,” she says.
“Hopefully long enough for Callie to get the booty call she’s here for,” Sarah says and pushes me forward, probably a little harder than she intended because I trip and feel myself falling. This is going to hurt. Except it doesn’t, because Steve grabs me before I hit the ground. I try to pull away, but he doesn’t let me go. His hands remain on my elbows.
Almost shyly, I gaze up at him. “Thanks.”
“Are you falling for me?” he whispers against my ear a smile in his voice.
“Ha. Funny man,” I say.
I breathe in his smell, so familiar, and it’s like an immediate aphrodisiac that controls me, makes me stand on my toes, remove all space from between our bodies, and kiss him as if we were alone. My hands clasp behind his neck and his move from my waist to my butt, pulling me tightly against him.
“My work here is done. I’ll be by to pick up Princess on Sunday unless you two come up for air sometime tomorrow and want to go out. Lift a hand, Steve, if you understood,” Sarah says. “Great. Manana.”
Steve’s ex-wife clears her throat. The kiss continues.
“Dammit, Steve, this is ridiculous. Who is this bitch?” she asks.
“Evidently my booty call. Excuse us, Morgan.”
“This isn’t happening, Steve,” she says.
He grabs my bag that Sarah left on the driveway while regarding Morgan. “Morgan, I don’t have the time right now. My girl and I have some catching up to do.”
His girl. I grin. That’s kind of sweet. Actually it’s a lot sweet. “I’m your girl?”
“Oh, yeah. Bye, Morgan.”
He leads me inside. Once he closes the door behind us, I throw myself at him. He hoists me up. Our kiss recommences and I can feel he’s pleased to see me.