“That doesn’t surprise me,” Hope said. She quirked her mouth. “Violet is lovely, but the two of them together are like jam and toast. No sparks from what I’ve observed. Not that they’re not sweet, but they don’t radiate happily-ever-after.”
“Really?” Charlotte asked, her expression radiating surprise. “I’ve always thought they were a super cute couple. Perfect really.”
Morgan felt a twinge of hurt at Charlotte’s words. It was painful to hear one of her closest friends describe Luke and his girlfriend as the perfect couple. It fed into all of her insecurities about not being good enough for Luke Duvall.
“Why is he hurting?” Fancy asked, her eyes straying toward Morgan. “What happened?”
Morgan placed her glass down on the counter and wrapped her arms around her middle in a self-protective gesture. This topic was so incredibly uncomfortable. She was standing right out in the open with nowhere to hide. There was no way in the world she could mask her expressions. Maybe this was the moment to reveal all. It didn’t feel like the right time or place, but there was only so much she could stand to hear.
“He’s in love with someone else,” Callie said. A look of amazement passed over Callie’s face. “I have no clue who she is, but he’s clearly smitten. And from what I gather, it’s not a relationship that is viable.”
“Did he tell you that he loved her?” Morgan asked. Suddenly, her pulse was racing like a thoroughbred. Had Luke actually said those exact words? Words he’d never spoken to her?
“The words he used let me know that he’s head over heels. They were deep and soulful and poignant. But also full of yearning.” Callie slashed her hand in the air. “No question about it. He’s in love.”
“But that’s a good thing, right?” Fancy asked. If her friend looked one more time in her direction, Morgan wasn’t sure what she might do. Fancy wasn’t being discreet at all.
“I’m sorry, guys. I shouldn’t have even brought this up. I’m just really worried about Luke. I want him to be happy.” Callie’s tone sounded mournful, contrary to her normal sunny disposition.
Olivia leaned over and hugged Callie. “He’s going to be all right.
“I just hate the fact that there’s some woman out there who broke my brother’s heart,” Callie said in a fierce voice. Her cheeks were flushed and her green eyes were sparkling with anger. She appeared as if she was ready to take on anyone who hurt Luke. It killed Morgan to know that she was the woman Callie was lashing out at.
“It wasn’t like that!” Morgan blurted. Oops! One second too late. She couldn’t stuff the words back down.
All eyes turned toward her. She saw a range of reactions—shock, surprise, curiosity.
Oh no. She had reacted emotionally without even pausing to think about it. She had just outed herself and there was no way in the world she could retreat. Her mind whirled with something to say—anything to get out of this terribly awkward moment.
Callie’s mouth hung wide open. “M-morgan? What are you saying?”
A sigh slipped past Morgan’s lips. “Two years ago before I left for Paris I was…dating Luke. We ended things, but I think that I can safely say we both still have feelings for each other.”
“And you never said a word about it?” Charlotte said, eyes wide.
“You and Luke?” Callie asked, appearing dumbfounded. She shook her head, red curls bouncing. “Why all the secrecy?” Callie’s voice sounded harsher than normal.
Morgan tensed up. Was she even prepared to answer questions? Why had she opened her mouth?
Fancy took a few steps toward her and stood closely beside her, providing Morgan with back up. Morgan sent her a shaky smile. Fancy reached out and squeezed her hand in a sweet gesture of support.
Lord, please help me explain this to my friends so they can understand my actions. I’m not sure I completely understand it, but I know my keeping my relationship with Luke a secret was tied up in my not feeling secure within myself. It didn’t have anything to do with Luke or how I feel about him…it was all about me. My doubts. My fears. My failings.
“Go easy, guys,” Fancy warned. “Morgan wasn’t the only one who kept quiet. Luke never said a word either.” Morgan sent Fancy a look full of gratitude.
“I’m sorry if I sounded accusatory. I really didn’t mean to sound like that. I’m just…surprised,” Callie explained.
“It’s okay. I don’t want you to have to walk on eggshells.” Morgan let out a deep breath. “In case you haven’t guessed it by now, I have some issues regarding my parents’ divorce. It affected me in my personal life. I’ve always had trouble with relationships. More times than not, I always ended up breaking things off with the person I was dating.”
Hope snapped her fingers. “Hey! I remember that guy you were dating one summer. Dalton something or other. One minute it seemed like the two of you were perfect together, then the very next moment it was over.”
Morgan shrugged her shoulders. She felt sheepish. “That’s always been my pattern.” She grimaced. “And things weren’t perfect with Dalton. Not even close.”
Olivia walked over and held out her arms, enveloping M
organ in a tight embrace. “Morgan. I feel so badly that we didn’t notice or call you on it,” Olivia said. “Especially since this pattern seems to have continued to the present.”
She shook her head. Suddenly she felt consumed with guilt for dumping all of this information on her friends. Today was supposed to be a day of celebration. And she’d ruined it by dropping a bombshell about her and Luke, then wallowing in her own personal drama. “I don’t want you guys to feel badly about my issues. Trust me, they started back when I was a kid. Being left by my father made me feel insecure and very alone. Even though I had my mother there it felt as if I had been abandoned.” She turned to look at Callie, who still had a dazed expression etched on her face. “I didn’t want all the pressure of everyone knowing about Luke and the expectations that came along with it. And I didn’t want anything to change between us, Callie, if things didn’t work out between Luke and I.”