When he spoke to whoever was on the other end of the line, his frown got ferocious.

“Fuck, okay. Thank you.”

Then he hung up, glaring at me lightly.

“Why didn’t you go get him if you knew that he was going to do that?” he accused.

I snorted. “I don’t know what made you think that Wade and I talk, but we don’t,” I told him bluntly. “In the hospital, that was the first time I was close enough to speak to him in a very long time.”

That was by design, of course.

It was hard as hell to be around the love of my life and not want him.

He’d broken my heart, of course, but that didn’t mean that I hated him.

I didn’t.

I loved him.

I just needed him to love me more than what he was able to give me.

It was selfish, yes.

But for my sanity, as well as peace of mind, that was the path that I chose in life.

And if that made me unhappy, then so be it.

I was not living my life for anyone else anymore.

At least, that’d been what I thought up until I’d heard that Wade was shot.

Then all my good intentions flew out the window.

He’d scared the absolute crap out of me, and the thought of a world without Wade in it made me sad.

Too sad.

Way sadder than a person should be when they were divorced from said person.

“Seems like that’s a little excessive, don’t you think?”

Was it?

I didn’t think so.

At least, at the time I hadn’t.

Now, I wasn’t sure what I felt.

With the distance we had between us, it became a lot easier to avoid him than it had back then.

It’d been two years since our divorce had been finalized, and each month—hell, each day—had been an exercise in control.

I missed my best friend.

I missed him, and I knew that it was my fault that I missed him.

But fuck…when he’d been hurt.

I’d seen my life flash before my eyes, and it’d been a lonely, desolate feeling seeing my older self so bitter and all alone.

“You’re thinking some hard stuff over there, girl,” Bayou rumbled. “There a reason for that frown the size of Texas?”

I snorted. “Just thinking that I’m kind of stupid.”

“We’re all stupid,” he told me, sounding so sure that I paused to fully listen. “Some of us just get over being dumb faster than others.”

I agreed with that wholeheartedly.

But shit.

There was getting over being stupid, and then there was getting over being me. I couldn’t change who I was. Not when it was so thoroughly ingrained in my psyche.


My phone rang, interrupting me.

And my heart skipped a beat because I hadn’t heard that ringtone in so long that it physically hurt to hear it.

I hadn’t heard it since Wade and I had still been a couple.

How do I live without you…

I snatched it up before the song that I associated with Wade continued to play, and answered it as fast as I possibly could.


The last person in the world I expected to be on the other end of the line was my ex-husband. God, it’d been so long since he’d called.

“Landry,” Wade’s deep, melodic voice practically purred into my ear.

God, every single freakin’ time I heard his voice I wanted to melt into a puddle of goo at his feet.

I didn’t know what it was about the deep resonance of this man’s voice that set my blood on fire but, swear to God, all he had to do was say my name sometimes and I wanted him.

“Hey,” I said softly, looking up to find Bayou staring across the street at someone. “What’s up?”

“I had a call from my Pop today,” he said without preamble. “Do you think you can spare the day tomorrow to go with me somewhere?”

Like I’d ever tell him no.

Hell, he didn’t even have to explain.

“Sure,” I said without any further thought. “What time?”

“Eight. No, seven. I’ll pick you up at your place,” he stated.

I looked down at my suddenly trembling hands. “Okay,” I agreed. “See you then.”

I heard the click of dead air seconds later, and I was left staring at my phone like it was an object from outer space instead of the lifeline that kept me entertained throughout the day.

“I’m not sure how I ever survived before I got my first phone,” I murmured, trying to dislodge the lump in my throat that hearing my ex-husband’s voice caused.

“I remember a time where I had to read the tampon boxes when I took a shit,” he said. “We didn’t have these fancy phones with the world at our fingertips, keeping us entertained like we do nowadays. I knew all about toxic shock syndrome, thanks to my sister leaving her feminine hygiene products out. I also remember reading the goddamn toilet cleaner label.”

I started to snicker. “No reading shampoo bottles for you, eh?”

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