He’s being so amiable, so accommodating. The change is refreshing after the emotional hell he’s put me through. I’m still unsure about what exactly he’s proposing and if he really expects me to remain living here for the next six months, but for some strange reason, I don’t hate the idea. We watch each other in silence for several moments, each of us digesting what it would mean for us to be just friends. My heart hurts just thinking about it. It would mean I couldn’t touch him, I wouldn’t feel the heat of his body pressing adamantly against mine. I release a little sigh. "If you’re set on me keeping the money, I assume I’m free to spend it however I wish?"
"Of course you can," he says.
"Then I’d like to donate it to your charity work in Africa."
A slow smile uncurls on his lips. "Okay then."
I’d only come to Los Angeles to gather my belongings from the mansion and get closure from Colton by listening to whatever it was that he wanted to tell me. Instead, I find myself moving my clothing from his master closet into a guest room down the hall that smells of lint and furniture polish.
The bed is dressed in shell blue linens and the furniture is modern, clean lines in white enamel. A large mirror hangs on the wall and decorative sconces flank either side of the cream upholstered headboard.
I pull open the white gauzy drapes shading the large picture windows and look out at the pool below. A cool shudder passes through me and I wrap my arms around my middle. I have no desire to be anywhere near that pool and I snap the curtains closed, blocking it from view. Just seeing the crystal blue water sparkle in the sunlight brings on a fresh wave of pain and humiliation at the memory of Stella’s cold glare and icy tone as she informed me, in no uncertain terms, that she was his wife. The word wife –in relation to Colton– doesn’t resonate. Especially coming from that woman's mouth. I could never see him with someone like her. They just don’t fit. It makes me wonder if I even know him at all. An even better reason to remain friends while I figure that out. I want more with Colton. I want back that raw feeling of sexual energy that flows so easily between us whenever he’s near –but I will settle for friends – for now, as we navigate this bumpy road we’d found ourselves on.
After I’ve finished moving my meager belongings into my new room, I’m left feeling bored and alone. But rather than going to find Colton in this monstrous house, I flop down on the bed and dial Becca on my cell.
"Hey hey," she answers, chipper as ever, as though she hasn’t battled aggressive stage-four cancer for the past several years.
"Hi." Her strength and determination to live take my breath away and suddenly complaining to her about my dilemma with Colton seems childish and immature.
"What’s wrong?" she asks.
"Nothing," the lie slips easily from my mouth. "I just might be staying here longer than I expected."
"Oh? Did Mr. Sexy, Rich and Handsome win you back already?"
"Sort of," I admit. Colton had been more open and exposed than I had expected, and it tugged at something inside me. "He proposed that I continue living here and working with Kylie."
"And I take it you accepted?" she asks.
"I’m gonna try it," I confirm.
"I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t live with Mom and Dad either if I didn’t have to."
We don’t discuss the fact that she isn’t able to live on her own for health reasons. It hurts to even think about.
"And what about you guys?" she asks. "Are you a couple again, or what?"
"No." This time my voice is firm. "He said just as friends and I agreed. We’re going to take things slow while he works on his past."
"I think that’s a good idea. I know you were happy there. But what made you reconsider? He’s hung like a baby elephant, isn’t he?"
"Becca!" I chastise her. "Always with the sex on the brain."
"I can’t help it. It’s better to let my mind drift there than to something more morbid. Penis is my happy place."
I can hear her smile through the phone and I like it. "Penis is a good thing."
"So…what are you going to do about Colton’s peen?"
"Take it slow, just like he proposed. I’m pretty sure that means there’s no peen in my future."
"Boo. You’re boring. I’m going to go to McGilroy’s and get a hot fudge sundae."
"Appetite’s back?" I ask.
"Yup. I’ll be fat before you know it."
Yeah right. The idea of Becca anything other than stick-skinny would be a miracle. She has a hard time keeping food down and thus trouble with her weight. "Have fun. Love you."
"Love you too, but you’re the one who needs to have fun. Figure out a way to speed up his divorce so you can jump that boy."
"On it." I smile, and end the call.
I cradle the phone in my hands for several minutes after we end the call. God, I love my sister. After organizing my room the best I can, I decide to go off in search of Colton.
I find him sitting on a stool at the kitchen island, his tablet in front of him with an inbox full of emails that he’s clicking his way through.
"Am I interrupting?" I ask, grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge.
"Of course not. Are you okay?"
I nod. "I just called Becca to tell her I’m staying."