12 - Butterflies

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This chapter is dedicated to Odille75 - thanks for accompanying Rena and Charlotte on this journey XD

12 - Butterflies

Charlotte's POV

As I darted across the street, my eyes fixed on the entrance of Nordstrom on North Michigan Avenue, I heard my name being called. On the safety of the sidewalk, I gazed around until I found Tivon in front of the coffee shop next door, waving at me. Flurries twirled in my stomach at the sight of him and my cheeks burned despite the cold. With a grin from ear to ear, I waved back, feeling like a middle school teen girl during her first crush.

I frowned when I realized he was not alone as he made his way towards me. The woman who was with him was about his age and was absolutely stunning, at least those parts that were not hidden by her designer winter coat. Everything on her was impeccable - from the pearly white smile that momentarily brightened her face to her perfectly groomed hair that looked like she just stepped out of a fashion magazine. Next to her, I felt like a hag.

Curiosity burned in her eyes as she gave me a good once over before turning to Tivon. "I'm gonna head home. Enjoy your evening." Another close look and she was gone.

"Who was that?" I blurted out with a tinge of jealousy.

"Oh, sorry, I didn't realize you two haven't met or I would have introduced you. That was Hannah, my partner at the law firm."

Relief washed over me and the flurries turned into little butterflies - this was not his wife or girlfriend. I had noticed before that he wasn't wearing a wedding ring, but that really didn't mean anything.

"So, how did the visitation go?" he asked. "Did Rena behave herself?"

I smiled fondly at the memory of the past five days. "We had a wonderful time. Rena was already gone when I picked Noah up on Monday morning and was in her room when I dropped him off an hour ago. He adjusted well, no tantrum and very little fussing. He had a little bit of diarrhea from the formula..." I stopped myself when I saw the amusement in his eyes and cleared my throat. "Sorry, I guess you weren't asking for a detailed one on one account."

"No, that's fine." His gloved hand squeezed my arm and sent a hot flash to the center of my belly. "I'd love to hear all about it." He checked his watch. "It's almost seven and I'm starving. Would you like to accompany me to dinner?"

I was walking on dangerous grounds. If Ryan found out I went to dinner with another man - even if he was our lawyer - he wouldn't be forgiving. My eyes lingered on Tivon's handsome features for a moment while the butterflies were eagerly nodding and I thought the hell with my husband. "That would be wonderful."

His face lit up. "Great. What type of food do you like?"

Ryan was a strict meat and potato guy and when we went out, it was usually to a steakhouse. "I really don't have a preference. Anything is fine."

He rubbed his chin. "I was going to go to this Sushi place, but I know raw fish is not everyone's thing."

I never had Sushi before, but Brent had told me that it was the best and I had always wanted to try it. "That sounds good."

He offered me his arm and I only hesitated for a moment. There was a certain firmness flexing under his coat but by no means anything remotely muscular.

He led me down the street. "My car is parked just down the block."

We strolled along in comfortable silence, the butterflies zooming about at a steady rhythm. I felt myself relax, sucking in the crisp, cool air which smelled deliciously like snow. Having grown up in the South, I had always enjoyed real seasons and winter was probably my favorite. The smiles Tivon threw my way from time to time set my heart on fire - it had been a very long time that I felt that happy around a man. For a second, I imagined how it would be to be his wife. Would he ever hurt me and was just putting on a show or was he genuinely the nice guy he pretended to be?

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