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Okay, mostly ready and kind of freaking out.

When I went through my lingerie drawer this morning, I found I own not one sexy piece of underwear. I don’t even own a nightgown, let alone a sexy nightie. I tossed everything when my marriage came to an end. After Tom I got rid of all my stuff, not wanting the memories they held. I bought all new undergarments in soft cotton. Cotton is awesome, but it’s not sexy—or at least the stuff I have isn’t sexy. I need something to wear for Lucas that will hopefully say to him that I’m ready for the step we’re taking—and looking forward to it.

When I got to work this morning, I told Abby about my dilemma. She promised she knew just the place to take me.

I bite my lip and scan my reflection. The woman at the exclusive boutique in SoHo where Abby took me picked this bodysuit when Abby told her I was looking for something special to wear for my man. The idea of Lucas being “my man”—and the price of the scrap of fabric—just about gave me a heart attack, but the saleswoman told me to trust her.

Looking at myself, I have to admit that it was worth every penny. The silky-soft, see-through black mesh is beautiful, and the corded panels that dart out from under my breasts and end at the tops of my hips enhance my waist, making it look like I have an hourglass figure. There is lace both at the curve of my hips and over my breasts, and the underwire gives me amazing cleavage, which is even more dramatic because of the thin black straps that stretch over my shoulders. Turning, I look at my bottom and the almost nonexistent material covering it.

“It might be too much, but this is seriously sexy,” I whisper to myself.

I carefully slip out of the bodysuit and fold it up, then wrap myself in my robe. I go to my dresser and pull out all my old cotton panties and bras, replacing them with my new stuff.

My cell phone rings. I sigh when I see who’s calling.

“Hello?” I answer after putting my phone to my ear.

“Courtney!” Lorie’s voice greets me as I take a seat on the bed. Merida comes to sit on my lap. “You haven’t called me back since our last text.”

“I know. I’m sorry.” I run my fingers through Merida’s fur. “How are you?”

“I’ve . . . Well . . . I’ve been okay, but I’ve been worried about you.”

I lean back against my headboard and close my eyes. “I should have called you and told you I was okay. Things have just been busy around here with my new job, the house, and getting settled.”

“I understand.” The strain in her voice eats at my stomach. “I miss you.”

“Me too.” It’s not a lie. I do miss her, but things are different now.

“I’ll be in the city Friday to do some shopping. I was hoping that we could meet up for dinner? Maybe you can show me your house?”

“I’d love to have dinner.” My stomach tightens with anxiety as I lie. “I’m not sure you’ll be able to see the house, since it’s still under construction.”

“That’s okay.” She inhales. “I . . . I know you probably don’t want to hear about this, but Tom has moved into his own place and is going for custody. Things . . . Well . . . things haven’t been good between him and—”

“Lorie.” I stop her. “I don’t want to cut you off, but I honestly don’t want to hear about Tom. I know he’s your son, but—”

“Of course. Sorry, I just—”

“It’s okay. I . . .” I rub my lips together. “I’m trying to focus on my future.”

“Are you happy?”

“Yes.” My answer is immediate. I am happy, maybe even happier than I have ever been in my life.

“I should let you go. I’ll message you soon, and we’ll figure out a time to meet.”

“Okay,” I start to agree, but the phone call ends before I can get the word out.

When I pull my phone from my ear, I let out a long breath and close my eyes. I probably shouldn’t have agreed to see her. I don’t think this situation is any easier for her, and I wonder if I’m not hurting her more by trying to keep her in my life.

Merida nudges my stomach with her nose. I look down at her. “Well, girl, the good news is that no matter what happens with Lorie, I have a whole weekend with Lucas to look forward to.”

She groans her agreement, then licks my face before moving to lie down at the end of the bed.

I get up and go to the bathroom, take a shower, put on one of my new nighties, and get into bed. I text Lucas to let him know I’m turning in and smile when I see he’s already messaged me.

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