“What’s that supposed to mean?” Releasing my wrist, Connor steps back and runs a hand through his hair. Lacing his fingers behind his neck, he releases a heavy sigh. “I’m so fucking lost right now.”
“She’s your best friend,” I state simply, as though he should understand. I know in my heart that he doesn’t, but we’ve already established what an idiot my heart is.
So what? So what? I’ll show him so what!
“You have a key to her place.” I wasn’t asking, I was making a statement, but Connor answers me anyway.
“Yes, I do.”
“How often do you use it?” I don’t even know why I’m asking. I guess I’m hoping that if he only uses it once a month then maybe, just maybe, I could find a way to move past this.
“What the fuck?” he growls, tossing his hands up at his side. “I don’t know. A couple of times a week, maybe. But what the hell does that have to do with anything?”
“Have you slept with her?”
His jaw drops open, but he quickly recovers. “No,” he snaps. “I haven’t fucked her if that’s what you’re asking. Look, I made a mistake. I should’ve told you and I’m sorry. Please”—he shakes his head—“don’t do this. I know what you’re doing, and I’m asking you not to do this.”
“You don’t know what I’m doing,” I say with a tad more bite than I intended. Connor’s eyes widen. It looks like we’re having our first official fight…and ironically, our last. “Do you love her?” I want to punch myself in the fucking face for asking. It’s completely unfair to him—and to Logan—but I need to hear him say it.
It doesn’t matter what his answer is, I tell myself. You need to leave now. Make a clean break while you can.
“Of course I love her. She’s my best friend.”
My heart twists painfully inside my chest. It’s as if I’m right back where I was when Tyson left. I can’t do that again. I can’t pour my heart and soul into someone—and I would’ve poured my heart and soul into Connor—and risk being left again. I’ve regained some strength over the years, but I’m not that strong.
“I’m sorry,” I say, all of the fight draining out of me. I won’t resort to acting like a jealous teenager. Twisting my hands in front of me, I will myself to find the courage to walk away. After a deep breath, I say, “I’m sorry for leading you on like this. I know I’m not making any sense, but…but I can’t do this with you.”
The air grows thick with tension. Connor purses his lips but doesn’t say a word. I
nstead, he walks straight to the door. Twisting the knob, he pulls it open and steps back, giving me plenty of room to pass. I walk toward him, hating the way his gaze drops to the floor. The tic in his jaw catches my attention.
Connor doesn’t understand what’s going on and that doesn’t sit well with me. If I’m going to walk out of here, never to return, then he at least deserves to know why.
“I was engaged,” I blurt out. Connor looks up and now it’s my turn to look down. I don’t want to see the pity I know he’ll offer, because that’s what everyone does.
Clearing my throat, I start talking, and I don’t stop until I’ve told him everything. “We were college sweethearts, together for years. In 2006, we applied to med school in New York and we both got in.” I smile to myself, remembering how happy I was. The same kind of happy I was just minutes ago. “Right before the big move, Tyson’s best friend—who happened to be a woman—confessed her love for him.” I suck in a shuddery breath. I’ve worked so hard to forget that horrible night, and reliving isn’t going to be fun.
“She begged him to stay and give her a chance, but he didn’t. He walked away from her—he chose me. I was thrilled because, in the back of my mind, I’d always thought he had a thing for her, but I had to have been wrong, right?” I shrug. “That was his opportunity to be with her and he didn’t take it. Anyway,” I say, rubbing a hand over my face, “we moved to New York and started our lives there. The years went by, and like any normal couple, our relationship progressed. One year over Christmas break, Tyson brought me back home, and after asking my parents for permission, he proposed.”
Squeezing my eyes shut, I allow the warmth and love from that moment to seep back into my heart, a glimpse of what true love—or what I thought was true love—felt like. “You know that old saying that hindsight is twenty-twenty? Well, it’s true.”
Connor has been eerily silent and I peek up at him. I’m shocked when I don’t see pity swimming in his eyes. Empathy, yes, but no pity, and in this moment my respect for him grows. “We weren’t living our lives. I was living my life and Tyson was living around me. We were merely existing, and I wish I would’ve noticed it sooner. But it was too late. I came home from the hospital one night and found him sitting in the living room surrounded by suitcases.”
The pain from that moment pierces my heart. Lifting my hand, I prepare to rub away the ache—the same ache I get in the left side of my chest any time I think about that night. Only this time, the ache doesn’t come.
“Tell me the rest.” Connor’s voice is raspy, his eyes filled with emotion.
“He left me. Broke off the engagement, moved back home, and eventually won back the girl he truly was in love with.”
“His best friend.” It isn’t a question. Connor’s a smart man and he easily puts two and two together.
I nod. “Her name is Harley and, believe it or not,” I say, laughing mirthlessly, “I actually like her. I don’t want to like her, but I do. And I’m sure I would like Logan as well, but I just… I can’t put myself in that position again.” Reaching out, I wrap my hand around the doorknob, ready to make my escape—but not before finishing the story. I’ve come this far, so I may as well tell him the rest. “Tyson is adopting Harley’s son and they have a baby on the way. Three weeks ago they tied the knot.”
Connor’s eyes widen. “Ad astra per aspera,” he murmurs.
I scrunch my nose. “Huh?”