We all have them.
Like the Aqua Net hairstyles back in the 80’s, the 90’s grunge fad, or the person you lost your virginity to as a teen because you were “totally in love”.
I have a few of my own. Specifically, marrying my rebound guy but staying married because I was too weak to fight for my own happiness.
He took me down and kept me there for far too long.
I’m done. Done living with regrets and done not pursuing what makes me happy.
Then you came along and showed me that I was worth more than who I had become.
You are not my regret.
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How could he see the things I tried so desperately to keep hidden from everyone? Perhaps I’m not as clever as I thought I was. Here I thought only Jacob saw it. But then Ann asked about it last night. Now Henry.
Everyone knows our little secret. We’re not the perfect family I try to portray.
A tear slowly rolls down my cheek. Henry wipes it away with his thumb. I gulp and blow out a quick breath. “He’s filed for divorce.”
Stunned silence greets me. “When?”
I chew my bottom lip. “Two weeks after I threw him out.”
Henry studies my face. “He hasn’t tried contacting you since?”
I shake my head. “Only through our lawyers.” Understanding and sympathy float across his eyes. “You’re the first person outside of my mom that I’ve admitted it to.”
Henry nods then looks down. “Last night was a rush for me. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt anything resembling that. Your text was surprising but completely welcome. And that dress…”
Heat coats my cheeks again. “I told you it was too short.”
“No,” he says, shaking his head. “It was perfect. You looked incredibly sexy. That shade of blue is your color and those heels made your legs look sky high.”
“No mother should wear an outfit like that.”
He leans closer; his hot breath beating against my cheek. “You should wear that. As often as you can.”
No one has given me a compliment like that in…ever. I’m not sure how to respond, so I lick my lips and nod. Pretty sure my voice is gone at this point.
“Then you kissed me. It took everything I had to stop us before we got too far. I had my suspicions but wasn’t sure where you were with your situation. I’m not that kind of guy, Jocelyn. I won’t be a reason for you to cheat. You and I both deserve more than that.” My shoulders sag at the finality of his words. Once again, he tilts my face to meet his. “When you’re ready, I’ll be here. I’m not going anywhere. You intrigue me like no one else. Your quirks are adorable and I want to know the rest of them.”
“What are you saying?”
Henry clears his throat and puts a slight amount of distance between us. “I want us to start hanging out more. Get to know each other. Build this friendship until you realize we could be more. I know you’re unhappy and kicking Mike out is a start. But I need to protect myself in this, too. So, friends?”
He sticks his hand out, expecting a shake. His logic makes sense. I’m the wishy-washy party who can’t make a firm decision on how to proceed with my life. Friends means no kissing, or dirty text messages to each other. That’s probably for the best.
I place my smaller hand in his and shake. “Friends.”
Henry smiles, but it fades as he closes the small distance between us with a kiss. Short. Sweet. And completely unexpected.
“Sealed with a kiss.” He winks. Seriously. And with his hat off, his sexiness is off the charts.
“That doesn’t help.”
The man has no shame. His only response is that panty-dropping smile.
About JODIE LARSON
Jodie Larson is a wife and mother to four beautiful girls, making their home in northern Minnesota along the shore of Lake Superior. When she isn’t running around to various activities or working her regular job, you can find her sitting in her favorite spot reading her new favorite book or camped out somewhere quiet trying to write her next manuscript. She’s addicted to reading (just ask her kids or husband) and loves talking books even more so with her friends. She’s also a lover of all things romance and happily ever afters, whether in movies or in books, as show in her extensive collection of both.
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