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Connor and I both laugh, keeping our gazes locked on each other. “Thank you for today,” I tell him sincerely. “It was the best first date in the history of first dates.”

“I’m glad you had fun. Next time I’ll know to limit your consumption of food though.” Connor bends down a little bit lower. Instinctively, I pull back because I really do have rank breath. “And just so you’re prepared, the next time I’m leaning over you on a couch, it’ll be for completely different reasons.”

If I had been standing, I would’ve fallen, because Connor’s mention of ‘next time’ made my knees go weak. And now I really want to know what those ‘different reasons’ will be. “Are you busy tomorrow night?”

“No.” Connor grins. “But even if I was, I’d break my plans.” He kisses my forehead once more before heading out the door.

“Where’s he going?” Casey asks, walking back into the room.

“Home.” Rolling over, I curl in a ball, doing my best to calm the tornado swirling around inside my stomach.

Casey stops in front of me and holds out her hand. “I thought some Tums might make you feel better.”

“Thanks.” I take the two pink tablets from my sister and chew them up.

Casey sits in the recliner next to the couch. “So, other than you eating way too much food and making yourself sick, how was your date?”

“It was really great.”

“Wow,” she says, pulling one of her legs to her chest. “Not just great, but really great.” I swallow hard and Casey quickly sits up. “Are you going to get sick?”

“No.” Closing my eyes, I shake my head. “I already did that. In front of Connor. Not my finest moment, let me tell ya.”

“Oh shit,” she says, laughing. Opening my eyes, I pin her with a glare. “What? It was your own fault. You’ve been doing it for years. You should know when to stop by now.”

“I know,” I grumble. The insane amount of fullness I felt in my stomach earlier finally starts to subside, and I feel like I can actually breathe again. “I’ll try not to screw things up next time.”

“Will there be a next time?”

Taking a deep breath, I let it out slowly. “Yes.” Casey’s eyes widen. Even I’m surprised at how easily that word fell from my lips. The past two years haven’t been easy for me, and actually going out on a date—let alone agreeing to a second one—is huge.

“Good.” The smile on Casey’s face is genuine. “I’m happy for you. If anyone deserves to be happy, it’s you. Just promise me something.”

“What?” I ask skeptically.

“Promise me that you’ll be honest. Whatever your feelings, good or bad, just be honest. Don’t run away from them.”

It’s really quite scary how well she knows me.

I blink several times, pulling my bottom lip in between my teeth. Casey cocks her head to the side, waiting for me to consent. “I promise.”

“Good.” She pushes up from the chair. “Do you need anything? Because I think I’m going to hit the sack.”

“No, I’m good. I’m just going to lie here until my stomach feels better, and then I’m going to go to bed too.”

“Good night.” Casey turns toward the hall, but I stop her before she can get too far.

“Hey, Case?”

She spins around, covering a yawn with her hand. “Yeah?”

“Thank you.”

“For what?”

“For tipping him off about my love for the Cardinals. I still can’t believe he got us front row seats.”

Casey puffs out her chest. “Well, I can’t take credit for the front row seats, but I’ll definitely take credit for clueing him in. You can pay me back by naming your firstborn child after me.”

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