50. Peyton and Jake

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Life settled down nicely over the next few days

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Life settled down nicely over the next few days.

Work was fun with Alice around to keep me company- we goofed around, told each other stupid jokes and even had some frank discussions about our lives. My only bone to pick with her was the fact that she was doing an uncharacteristically good job keeping her mouth shut about whatever was going on at the Bishops'.

And something was going on, I could tell that much by her shifty eyes every time it came up.

After work, I would bike over to Shana's where we'd lay around gossiping about everything under the sun, except for the one thing I wanted to talk about - Jake. I was dying to grill her about all the rumors surrounding him, but my fear of getting her agitated in her state won over. So that was a little frustrating.

Jake would pick me up from Shana's around nine and together, we'd go back to Buck's, otherwise known as Dry Hump City, population two.

Then, Thursday afternoon arrived and changed everything.

Due to some pipework that had to be done around the sties, I was excused from my afternoon mucking duties. To save Peyton the trouble, I decided to take Alice back to the Bishops'.

She had a jolly good time on the back of my bike, screaming her lungs out with her arms wrapped tight around my waist. Maybe that was why I didn't make much out of her reluctance to enter the Bishops' mansion when I dropped her off. Instead, she stood in front of the door and insisted on seeing me off. 

I left her there, and to save myself some time, decided to cut through the property to get the main road.

Which took me by the lake.

And by the lake, I saw something that made me stop dead in my tracks. 

Jake's truck, parked by the dock.

What?

Oh, you'd better believe I hid.

Creeping in the tree line, I looked for him. He wasn't far from his car, absently skipping rocks across the surface of the water. (He did that well too.)

The twist of betrayal in my gut was nauseating, the hurt profound. Swallowing hard, I forced myself to tear my gaze from him and look for Charlotte.

Because it had to be her.

Rage was up next, and it was nearly blinding. My heart raced and my knees shook so bad that I had to lean against a tree to keep my balance.

Chill the fuck out before you give yourself an aneurysm.

Maybe they were just friends.

Unlikely, though. All I'd ever seen them do was say hi and goodbye in passing.

My mind wandered back to the day I saw the two of them with Noble Elise, back at the ranch, and the too familiar way she'd touched him. Bile rose in my throat.

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