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By´╝ÜJaimie Roberts

“I don’t like you in that house all on your own. Can I come over when I get off work tomorrow morning? At least until I have to go back to work tomorrow night.”

I smiled and nodded. I could at least give him that. “Sure. I would like that. But, honestly, I’m fine on my own.”

And there was a reason for this. It would only confuse Jeremy if Evan stayed with us on a permanent basis. Yes, he needed stability, but only having that for a short time would hurt him more. If he and I ever split, Evan living with us would only bring more pain than necessary. I had to try and avoid that at all costs.

Evan sighed and looked at me with a concerned frown. “I worry about you. You can’t blame a man for caring. I just wish there was more I could do.”

I took his hand and smiled at him. “Evan, you’re the sweetest, gentlest, kindest man I have ever met. You do more than enough for me. And for Jeremy.”

Evan smiled and kissed my head. “I love you and would do anything for you.” He sighed in my hair and groaned as he looked at his watch. “Listen, I have to get back to work, but I should get off at six. Is there anything I can do?”

I nodded. “My parents are coming to pick Jeremy up in the morning. Could you take them out the back and drive them to the hotel? I’ll leave by the front exit. Once you drop them off, you can come to my house.” I kissed his hand and cheekily smiled at him.

“How could I say no when you smile at me like that and make an offer I can’t possibly refuse?”

I raised my eyebrow. “I’m sure I can make it worth your while.”

Evan moaned and pulled me to him. “I’m sure you could. You always know how.” He leaned down, placing his lips to mine. He pushed his tongue into my mouth, searching. Evan had always been a good kisser. It just never got to the stage where you could hear the fireworks going off in your head. You know, that heart-stopping, take your breath away kiss? It just never happened. And, to be honest, I didn’t think it was ever Evan’s doing. I didn’t think any man could coax that reaction from me again.

The sound of someone clearing their throat halted our exchange. “Well, well, well. What do we have here? A doctor and some random lady getting it on in the hall? What would management say?”

Looking up, I saw Tara, one of the nurses and a very close friend, mockingly shaking her head, a huge grin on her face. She was another person I met when I was pregnant. One day, she saw me in the halls, panicking because I thought I had seen Dean. She got me a glass of water, sat down with me and, in that moment, I told her my story. A virtual stranger I ended up pouring my heart out to. So I didn’t feel guilty, she ended up telling me a secret of her own. Ever since then, we’ve been firm friends.

Her secret was actually worse than mine. In a sense, it was similar because she had to run away from someone years ago. She was married to someone who physically abused her. Until she met me, she hadn’t told a soul. Even now, we sometimes give each other a knowing look or smile, but we never once mentioned that conversation again. Tara was only a couple years older than me, with light brown skin and dark brown hair that she always wore up in a bun. She had the most amazing brown eyes and flawless skin. I would always badger her about her beauty products and where she got them because she always looked amazing.

“Hey, Tara,” I smiled, putting my arm around Evan’s waist.

“And hey to you, too. How’s Jeremy doing? I heard about it and I’m sorry. I spoke with Doctor Foster, though, and he says he should be out by the morning.”

I nodded. “Yeah, that’s right. Fingers crossed.”

Tara moved in closer. “Do you fancy a night out once he gets better? I’ve heard of a new bar downtown that’s supposed to be bitching.”

Evan’s posture picked up. “Hold up a sec. Does this bar involve drinking, dancing, and a lot of single men?”

Tara huffed. “I sincerely fucking hope so!” She laughed, and I couldn’t help but giggle along with her. “Don’t be such a party-pooper, Evan. Jessica can take care of herself. I’ve seen her in action.” She winked at me and I laughed again.

“Yes, but the incident you’re talking about left a man in the hospital with a broken finger and threats to sue Jessica for assault.”

I tried to stop the laughter from coming, but couldn’t help it. Soon, Tara and I were making a lot of noise in the hall. Once I stopped, I turned to Evan. “Well, he shouldn’t have squeezed my arse.”

Evan looked down at me with a smile. He could never resist it when I said arse instead of ass. “I’m not sure whether it’s safe to let you two go out with one another. Something always happens. Remember that night last Halloween when you set the neighbor’s fence on fire? I was still apologizing on your behalf for six months afterwards. In fact, they thought it was me, considering you two ran off and didn’t come back until an hour later.”