She took in a breath and turned to him. “Will you continue to date your girlfriend after this week?” He swallowed. There were nerves, but this was Addison. She was reasonable. Logical. “Probably,” he said. She turned pale. “I see.” “Do you think I shouldn’t?” She was quiet for a long moment. “I think it’s important to me that you understand how I feel. That it hurts me to see you date other women.” “Honey, I’m sorry. I don’t know what you want me to do. Remain celibate?” But suddenly he realized the insensitivity of his statement. Because wasn’t that what she’d done? “Is that why you’re still a virgin, Addison? You were waiting for me?” She lowered her head, her silence his answer. “I never asked that of you,” Grey said. She let out a bitter laugh. “You didn’t?” “No, Addison. I’d never—” “Do you remember Joel Wilson?” His ears got suddenly hot. “That fucking soccer player.” “Precisely. That fucking soccer player.” Grey felt a sudden and deep shame. This had been nearly two years ago. He’d forgotten. “What did you see in him?” “Um, he’s hot. Really hot. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, but not an idiot. Did all those caveman gestures you seem to value so highly. Paid for my meals, held open doors, that sort of thing. Do you remember what you said to me in the cafeteria that day?” He remembered. “You said, ‘Not him, Addison. Anyone but him.’ It was the first time you’d called me by name. You didn’t mean it, either. You meant no one. Not him. Not anyone. Didn’t you?” She was right. He’d been jealous. Angry. Hurt. And since then, he’d been living a very comfortable existence in which he could sleep with women he didn’t love while loving a woman he couldn’t sleep with.
Carter Ashby is a hardworking housewife and homeschool mother by day, and a romance reader and writer by night. She lives in rural Missouri with her husband, three children, and two dogs.