By: Beverley Kendall

Yeah, that’s exactly what it is.

Chapter 2



“It’s not a date,” I tell my best friend, Erin for the third time. My cell phone is wedged between my ear and shoulder as I try to get a firm grip on my squirming daughter. Naked and wet, she’s as slippery as an eel.

“A study date is still a date,” Erin insists. “Especially when your study date is hot.”

Erin met Craig a couple weeks ago at the community college where I’m taking two summer classes to make up for the time I took off to have my daughter, Brianna. Maybe it’s too soon or I’m too jaded to appreciate a good-looking guy but I wouldn’t say Craig is hot. At least I’m not personally attracted to him. Anyway, I don’t need the headache of dating anyone. A casual friendship is all I can handle right now, and I’ve made that more than clear to Craig so he doesn’t try to push for anything more.

Wrapping Bree in her fluffy, white towel, I lift her from the bathtub. Her hand goes straight to my face and soon she’s trying to pry my mouth open. Playfully I nip at her chubby fingers, which has her giggling and drooling in abandon.

“Listen, let me get Bree dressed and I’ll call you tomorrow and you can tell me all about the fitting.”

Erin’s older sister, Lori is getting married in October and today is the fitting for the bridesmaids—Erin’s the maid of honor. She’d forgotten all about it when she’d double-booked and promised to babysit for me. I keep telling her email reminders are only good for birthdays, and they’re only helpful if you bother to actually check your calendar before you commit yourself.

“Do you swear you forgive me for canceling?” This is the fourth time she’s asked me since she called five minutes ago.

I exit the bathroom with my twenty-pound bundle of joy in my arms. “Would you quit apologizing. I told you Trent says he’s more than happy to do it.”

If I hadn’t already considered Trent Calder my older brother due to the fact he’s my mom’s best friend’s son and I’ve known him practically my entire life, he’s certainly earned those stripes since Bree was born. There’s nothing he won’t do for his goddaughter, and he doesn’t seem to mind that she has him wrapped around her little finger.

Erin emits a whispery sigh. “Yum, Trent. If only he went for college girls. Hey, I should skip the fitting and come over and babysit with him.”

I snort out a laugh as I enter Brianna’s tiny room and place her on the changing table. She squeals happily, her legs flailing as her hands get caught up in the towel. “You’d be one in a line of women.”

“Hey, I don’t mind waiting.”

Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether she’s joking about getting with Trent or not. “Well, I’ll tell him you said so.”

Erin’s shrill shriek slams against my eardrum. “Don’t you dare!”

I let out an amused laugh. “Don’t tempt me.”

After I finish patting Bree dry, I squeeze the baby lotion into my palms, warming it before spreading it over her chubby limbs and stomach.

“Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?” After a pause, her voice drops and her tone is all mystery and subterfuge. “Guess who I saw at Murdoch’s last night?” Her question is followed by drumroll silence.

Murdoch’s is a cross between a bar and a club that caters to college students in town. There’s a dance floor and music but more standing around drinking and hooking up goes on there than anything else. The last time I was there, I was with my ex. Enough said.

As it’s become clear that our conversation is not coming to an end and my neck is loudly protesting having my ear glued to my shoulder, I say, “Hold on.” Placing the phone on the changing table above Bree’s head, I press the speaker icon. “Okay go. But be advised, tender ears are listening so watch what you say.” My best friend’s language can get pretty colorful when the mood strikes her.

I grab a diaper from the wicker basket stored under the changing table and nab the cute pink-and-blue short-set I’d taken out earlier and hung up on the rail of the crib.

“Josh.” Her voice is flat and his name lands with a dull thud.

It takes a moment before I can respond. And it’s not about the actual guy but his unfortunate connection to my ex.

“Oh. Did you guys talk?” I ask casually and try to ignore the sudden spike in my pulse. Erin and Josh do not get along. They haven’t the entire three years my ex and I were together, and with everything that’s happened this past year, they’ve had no reason whatsoever to have anything to do with each other.

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