12. Wide Awake

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"The thing that I can't seem to get past is that--if Heather hadn't gotten pregnant--I don't know if they ever would have told me. I mean, what if Jason and I had had kids? Would he have kept this thing on the side? Would he have ever stopped?"

They got married a few weeks after Jason's and my divorce was finalized. I hate to admit that I got some satisfaction of knowing that Heather had a small, shotgun wedding instead the grand affair she had always wanted.

Luca is just shaking his head. "Shell, I am so sorry. I never expected anything like that from pretty-boy Jason Torres. He always seemed so straight-laced to me."

"Yeah. I guess he had us both fooled." I fell into a hole after that day. I'd only recently gotten out.

I was still guilty of occasionally torturing myself by looking at their family pictures on Facebook. Only last Thursday, I stayed up all night crying after seeing pictures of their little girl's first birthday party. The three of them looked so happy. I took one look around my empty apartment and lost it. Those days of misery are now few and far between, but I'm only human.

The next day at work, Leslie took one look at me and knew something was wrong. I confessed everything to her. During the divorce, Leslie had been my rock. I called her daily even after seeing her at work all day. By that time, she knew me so well and knew what I needed to hear, whether it was nice or tough love.

She told me I was an idiot for even still being Facebook friends with those people, which was true, and that I needed a night on the town. I'm so happy I listened to her. That night, a certain Luca Knight re-entered my life.

"And Heather's not innocent either, I know. What makes me sick is that, when Jason and I would have a fight, he would always leave. It was just what he did. He said he drove around, trying to clear his head. And I would call Heather. She would say all the right things, probably while Jason was right there." The thought made me sick.

"In a way, I should have known. They always avoided each other when I was around, but then I'd see them whispering when they thought I wasn't looking. I always came up with different excuses to rationalize it to myself. Heather always wanted what she couldn't have, and everything was a competition. You never liked her. I should have seen what you did."

Luca was suddenly very interested in the pattern of my bedsheets, avoiding my eye contact. "Are you kidding me?!? Did you sleep with her?"

He snapped his head up and shook it. "Sleep with? No. We did have a little makeout session senior year."

"God! Is there anyone on the planet this girl hasn't tainted? Why would you? You were constantly complaining about her when we were kids."

He shrugged. "First of all, I was completely hammered. Second, it was a costume party, and she was wearing a sexy nurses outfit. I have weak spot for nurses." He winks and kisses me lightly on the neck. "I'm sorry."

"You don't have anything to be sorry for." I placed my hand on his face to let him know that I meant it. "But I don't know what upsets me more, the fact that she made out with you or the fact that she was wearing a sexy nurses costume." As an actual nurse, there is nothing I despise more than someone trying to make it look "sexy".

Shortly after that, Luca has to leave for his mom's house. "How about tomorrow night, we hang out at my place? Then we can be together all night."

"Sounds like a plan. Tell Buster I said hi."

"I will, but he'll be jealous that I got to see his favorite girl." He leans down to give me one more open mouth kiss. "I'll see you after work tomorrow"


I am dead tired sitting at my computer the next day.

"You didn't do what I think you did last night, did you?" I hear Leslie say behind me while she's simultaneously typing.

"Well, what do you think I did?" I ask nervously.

"I told you stay off Facebook after eleven pm. That's when you get emotional."

"Oh! No, I wasn't online. I was with Luca." I spin my chair around so I'm facing her. "And Leslie, I think I might like him...like really like him."

That gets her attention and she stops looking at her computer screen. "For real? How do you know?"

"We were up late last night...talking. I told him about Jason." Leslie rolls her eyes. "And he told me about his past. He's so not the person you think he is."

"If you like him, I will have an open mind." When I give her a skeptical look she adds, "I promise."

A couple hours later, I get a text from my mom.

Mom: Come over for supper tonight?

Me: Sorry. I can't. I have plans with a friend.

Mom: Okay, suit yourself. I'll just tell Luca you were busy.

Me: Luca? He's coming?

Mom: Yes. He was hoping you would be there too.

Me: Okay. I'll change my plans. See you tonight.

I change screens so I can text Luca.

Me: So I guess we're eating at my parents' tonight?

Luca: Yes...your mom called me and u know how she is. I couldn't say no. We can come back here after

Me: OK. Sounds like a plan. ;)

I guess our alone time would just have to wait.

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