26 - Avery/ Sterling/Jen

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Both she and Tom managed to get out of their respective offices at a decent time. She was leaving in the morning for a quick overnight trip. It would be their first night apart since they met. She was afraid she may have to be gone a few days the next week or the week after. Avery always enjoyed her jet-setting, but suddenly the appeal was fading fast. Tonight they planned to enjoy their time together. She had never fallen so quickly for anyone, ever. He was just so everything.

They were eating Thai delivery when she had a call from downstairs. She answered, "Good evening, Walt."

"Mr. Dixon is asking to come up," Walt said.

Great, she thought there goes our evening. "Send him up," she said and turned to Tom and said, "Sorry, but he will never go away if I don't see him. How he knows I'm home I have no idea."

Sterling came in and she introduced him to Tom. She watched as Sterling assessed him. Tom had taken off his suit jacket and tie. His shirt sleeves were rolled up past his elbows. He stood and shook Sterling's hand. "Tom Goodwin. Should I leave?" he asked looking towards Avery.

Avery answered, "No!"

Sterling looked as if he'd prefer privacy, but Avery didn't care. Sterling said, "I went to see an attorney about the..."

Avery said, "Divorce... Ster, Tom knows. Jen lives here. Remember?"

"He seemed to think it would go quickly, but he told me it will be public record and the press may get a hold of it," he said looking very worried.

"Sterling, you can't just pretend that you two are still married."

"Fine, I know, but public. It'll ruin us!" he said dramatically.

"No, it won't. What you need is to control your own narrative," Avery suggested. "You can put out a press release. You may want to hire a publicist to handle damage control if you're so worried."

"A publicist, that's just what we need," he seemed visibly relieved with that idea.

"I work with them all the time. I can give you a few names of people I like," she suggested.

"Have you heard from Jennifer?"

"No, I think she's been busy. She's probably dealing with the builder," Avery said catching Tom's eye.

"All builders are the same. She's probably miserable dealing with that fat, old guy who thinks building a couple houses a year is enough," Sterling commented and didn't see Tom smirking.

"I think you may have described him perfectly," Avery said, "Don't you need to get home?"

"Fine, I can see that you're too busy for your friends now," Sterling whined.

"Go cry on the shoulder that's waiting for you at home. You remember the one that got you into this mess. Goodbye Ster," she said as she kissed him on the cheek. Sterling was often exhausting and needy.

The minute the door shut behind Sterling, they both started laughing. Tom managed to speak between laughs, "Why didn't you set him straight?"

"He'd be jealous if he thought she was hanging out with a hunky builder. He may be agreeing to the divorce, but he still thinks he controls her."

"I didn't really like him and his handshake was weak. A strong handshake shows character," he said.

"That's okay. He didn't like you either. He'll really dislike you when he finds out you're from Maine. I could care less because I like you," she said and when Tom raised his eyebrows she added, "a lot!"

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