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“Hey, it’s just a theory!”

We laughed a little more before turning back to our sandwiches. Haley’s expression suddenly turned serious.

“What’s going on with you and Alex?”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, you’re together, right? But you’renottogether. I know you said that you two were taking baby steps and all that, but have you made this little thing of yours official?”

“What, you mean like… being more than girlfriend and boyfriend?”

“That’s exactly what I mean! You two haven’t had the most conventional relationship, but you’re in love, you’ve got a family, and you’re living together. Why not take it another step and actually get married?”

“Not yet.” I didn’t know what else to say other than that. “We’re not there yet.”

“And you’re fine with that?”

“That’s not important. Whatdoes matter is that we’re together, raising the girls. Whatever happens after that, we’ll have to see, you know?”

“So, you’re not fine with that. Deep down, you’re hoping he pops the question, so you don’t have to call him whatever the Greek word is for baby daddy.”

I laughed again. “It’s fine! We don’t need labels. I’m happy with what we have. Anyway, enough about Alex and me… how about you and this new guy of yours? Michael? The assistant principal from Denver Southwest?”

She blushed. “I mean, we’re not officially anything either.”

“Tell me all about it.”

The two of us finished our sandwiches as Haley told me all about this new guy of hers. She’d never been a huge dater, so to hear her going gaga over what sounded like a great guy was awesome news to me. We chatted until Alex arrived home.

“Hey, ladies,” he said, setting his briefcase down onto the kitchen counter. He was dressed in his usual work outfit of slacks and dress shoes and a button-up shirt. I swear no matter how many times I saw that outfit it never failed to make me want to gobble him up on the spot.

“Hey, Doc,” Haley said.

He chuckled. “Hey Haley.”

“Anyway, I should get going,” Haley said. “Give my love to the girls, OK?”

“Will do.”

We hugged and she was off.

“Hey, can we talk about something?” Alex’s voice sounded serious. Coupled with that, he had a grave expression on his face.

Something seemed wrong. I didn’t like it one bit.

“Sure.” I cleaned up the kitchen table and we sat down. There was still a bit of coffee left from that morning, so I poured it into two cups for us.

Once we were seated, he drummed on the table with his fingertips for a second as if wanting to collect his thoughts.

“So, we’ve been together for a little while now.”

“That’s right.”

“And you’re all but living here permanently. And we’re raising the girls as a team.”

“We sure are.” Where was he going with this? My stomach tensed.

“Well, I’ve been doing some thinking. What would you call what we have?”

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