Tatianna is watching me with a pouted lip, obviously wondering if I’ve lost my mind. She doesn’t get it. She doesn’t get me either. That would involve looking outside herself, which she never does.

Mia picked right up on my tense mood this morning in the kitchen, asking me if I was okay. I blamed it on last night’s scotch, but the truth was ever since she walked back into my life, looking downright sinful, my head has been spinning.

I sit down on the bed a few feet from Tatianna and consider taking her hand, but we aren’t really the hand holding type, so instead I run my palm across the back of my neck.

“Look, Tatianna...” I start, but am at a loss for words. For the first time in my life. I need to tell her what I want. The problem is, I’m not sure I fucking know what that is.

In the week ahead, we’ll be on different continents, perhaps now is the time to take a break and consider the future of this relationship. I have no idea how she’s going to take this, but it has to be done.

“I want us to both take this week to think about our relationship and what we each want. When I get back from Paris, we’ll make a decision about our future.”

“Why does that sound so depressing?” she asks.

“Don’t you think it’s strange that after three years of dating, we’ve never examined where this was going?”

“I like being with you,” she says, trying to smooth things over. “Why mess with a good thing?”

Except this wasn’t a good thing anymore, at least not for me. But dealing with my relationship status means I’ll have to face my future with Mia. Am I ready for that? Fuck, she’s a friend and I wouldn’t want to wreck that. I’d definitely need this week to consider where I was headed and with whom. I’ve never even considered marriage with my girlfriend of three years, and Mia’s back in my life for a week and I’m rearranging everything just to keep her here. That speaks volumes.
“I’m going to ask Mia to join me in Paris,” I say.

“I don’t have anything to worry about with her, do I?” Tatianna asks, her eyes narrowing on mine.


I shake my head, unable to put into words all that’s running through my brain.

Tatianna rises from the bed and steps closer. “We’re good together, Collins. You know we are.” She reaches down and grabs onto my crotch, rubbing lightly. My dick doesn’t respond.

“Don’t,” I warn.

She shakes her head. “Take this week, and think things over if you want. But I will be here when you get back.” Her hand curls around my cock, squeezing lightly. “And don’t let her lay a finger on this.”

I rise from the bed and stand there, unsure if there’s anything more to say.

Tatianna plays with the long tresses of her hair, and the stack of diamond bangles I bought her clink together on her forearm. She doesn’t seem the least bit upset.

“I need to go talk to Mia,” I say and head for the door.

Chapter Twelve


Other than the airfare and the cab ride to Collins’ house, I haven’t purchased a thing since I got here. So why won’t my goddamn bag close? I put both my forearms on the top of my suitcase and lean all my weight on it, but there are still several inches between the zipper’s teeth. I’ll never get this thing closed.

“Shoot,” I say aloud and lean back to flip the case open again.

Right on top is my old scrapbook. It’s thick, bursting with photos, clippings and other keepsakes. I plop down next to my bag on the bed and leaf through it. It’s filled with mementos from my childhood. I’d never meant for it to be a history of my friendship with Collins, but now I see that it is. We were best friends for so long that I guess it makes sense.

Photos of Collins and me goofing off at the county fair, age six.

Collins and me laughing our butts off in his parents’ pool, age eight.

Ticket stubs from our first live concert, which he purchased for my thirteenth birthday.

The picture of the lavender wedding dress. I pause at the photo. Such an elegant dress, silk with just a hint of lace.

Now, none of this matters. An entire history wiped away because Collins doesn’t have the time to talk to me. He can’t even get through breakfast without running off to screw his supermodel girlfriend. He obviously doesn’t care, so why should I?

I slam the book closed and hurl the stupid thing at the door, but miss. It strikes the wall with a whap, then falls to the floor. The bedroom door bursts open, and Collins pokes his head in, looking worried. “Mia?” he says. “Sorry, I was just outside and I heard a loud noise.” He opens the door all the way and looks at me.

My arms are folded as I sit on the bed and glare at the scrapbook lying on the floor. He follows my gaze down, then looks back at me and takes a step inside the room.

“What’s wrong?” He looks past me at my suitcase. “Are you leaving?”

I bite my lip, knowing that I don’t have any right to be mad at him. Yet I am. “Did you have fun with Tatianna?” I ask, realizing I sound like a crazy chick, but not caring. Because he’s the one who said we should talk. So now I’m ready. Let’s put it all out there. Let’s talk.

He looks thoughtful for a moment. “What are you...? Mia, do you think I just ... with Tatianna?” He can’t bring himself to say it, but he doesn’t have to.

I see in his eyes that he knows what I was thinking. I can also tell from the look on his face that he did not just have sex with Tatianna. I go from feeling angry to feeling like an idiot and a jerk.