and clinked the plastic together before each taking a sip.
sweetness from my lips, I lowered my glass with both hands, eyes following it.
Logan drained his portion of champagne and set his glass down. Sticking hands
in his pockets, he leaned his hip against the freezer to face me.
so much?” I lifted my face, devoid of expression. “I mean about my writing.
About my work. All these years, I thought you were this tough, no feelings kind
of guy. Yet, you’ve shown so much… I don’t know. Emotion. Why?”
soft grin on his face, then tilted his head and moved in closer. “I told you
before. You don’t know me as well as you think you do.”
little embarrassed, I broke from his gaze and tucked my elbows close to my
side, still holding onto my champagne flute with both hands.
that you’re here.” I took in a deep breath and let it out slow, savoring the
moment as I looked to the rich sunset forming outside. Pinks, blues, lavenders.
Like cotton candy.
Logan’s face only inches from mine.
answered. Just then, the breeze whipped in through the door. “It probably
should be Ryan, though. Right?” Logan pressed his lips tight, leaned back some
and looked away towards the sunset.
clenched at the mention of my husband’s name. “Maybe. But he wouldn’t be
toasting with me. That’s for sure.”
I drained what was left in it. Logan didn’t miss a beat and reached for the
bottle, giving me a refill. I took a sip before continuing.
he’d care. I don’t think he wants me to succeed at anything; he has no concern
for my passions whatsoever. I’m not sure I’ll even tell him about this.”
head spinning, not only from the phone call and the champagne, but also from
the reality of my situation. The thought of Ryan dampened my celebratory mood.
removed the glass from my hands with the tip of his fingers and set it down.
“Let’s not talk about him right now. Okay?” Taking my arms, he pulled me close,
wrapping them around the back of his waist. Nervous, my heart pounded as I
caught the essence of carburetor mixed with his signature musky lemon cologne
from his t-shirt. He’d come from working at Monroe Auto, but he somehow smelled
good enough to go on a date.
murmured and looked up at him. He released his hands to hold my face. Rough and
calloused from working on cars all his life, his touch was still delicate as he
bent, taking my lips in his.
light and gentle at first. Like I might break under his touch. But then, he
dragged me closer, pressing his body to mine and taking more of me into his
mouth, our kiss building intensity.
whispered against my skin.
relax fully. We lived on the outskirts of town, but with the garage door open,
anyone could see right in. That would start some gossip.
He leaned back, picking up on my tension. Noooo,
open door, then wiped at my wet lips.
“That’s easy.” He walked to the side of the door and pressed the CLOSE button.
The walk-in door to the outside was still open, but this was enough to conceal
place with me, and I let go, running my hand up his back, feeling the warmth of
his skin. A moment later, Logan drew back again, his eyes fixed down into mine.
He kept his hands tangled behind my head in my long hair.
what he has, Em. The depth of you is incredible. I see it. I see you.”
eyes shut, trying not to cry again. Logan took notice and pulled me to his
chest in a hug.
still shut, I lifted away. Logan bent, our lips crashing again, before I opened
them. I wanted to stay like this
truck roared outside the garage door. Ryan.
I broke from each other. I grabbed my glass, clearing my throat; he grabbed his
bottle of beer, and we composed ourselves quickly. He stayed close, though,
enough to touch the side of my body. We leaned with our backs against the deep
freeze as Ryan walked in the side door.
had just happened–everything that has
happened–with Logan had felt right. Unfortunately, that still didn’t make it right.
this?” Once inside, Ryan planted his legs wide and crossed his arms. His face
tightened, and he glared between the two of them.
Born and raised on a cattle farm in rural Nebraska, Jen still resides in the Midwest with her three children, two dogs and lots of happy cows.A proclaimed coffee, wine, and book snob, Jen writes about women and the depth of their life stories. Even before the “times-up” and new women’s movement, sharing light on women’s real lives was an important part of her vision and life purpose. I Loved You THEN is her first novel.