31 - Alex/ Avery

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He tried to stay away from her. He could barely breathe every time he looked at her in her bikini. That guy from last night was here and she talked to him for a long time. Whoever he was Peter and Megan knew him too. An old school friend? They all seemed very familiar with each other.

Later while Sophie was burying him with help from her friends and father he casually asked Peter, "Who's that guy with Dan?"

Peter said, "Oh that's my brother-in-law, he came in for the weekend from Los Angeles. You remember we went out to his wedding after Christmas."

"Where's his wife?"

"Home, the quick cross-country trip would be too much for her in her condition," he smiled.

"Oh." So now he knew about the mystery man, who would be like Jen's brother.

After he rinsed in the freezing water, she was watching him walk out of the water and up the beach. When he joined the football game, he saw that she had joined Avery and was talking with Kate. When Jen held his nephew, he thought he was would get hit in the head with the football.

He tried to stay away from her, but never very far. Eventually, the party moved back to the house for food and drinks. The day turned to evening and Kate and Matt left. Finally, his sister admitted that she liked his friends and definitely liked Avery.

He heard Jen offer to go across the street to get some brownies for Kristi and he followed her.

He wanted a moment alone with her before she left. She turned when she heard him, but didn't say anything. She stepped away from him as if giving them distance. He walked up behind her and stood so he was barely touching her and whispered, "I want you to be divorced so I can touch you and taste you."

She breathed out a sigh and whispered, "I will be in three to six months. Why do you need to wait? I've told you I'm not going back to him." With those words, she leaned back into him. He felt her warmth and he wanted to put his arms around her and pull her tightly against him

"Why are you so sure that he won't fight for you? That you won't change your mind?" he asked.

"Because he won't... He can't offer what I want..." her voice trailed off.

"Why?" he raised his voice above a whisper because he was so frustrated, "Tell me why you're so sure. Help me understand."

She took a step away from him and turned to face him and said, "You're never going to stop persisting. I told you I didn't want to talk about it. But you keep insisting. I will never take him back because that night I found him in our bed, he was with my assistant, Trevor!"

She pushed past him and grabbed the brownies and ran out the door. He stood dumbfounded. He never imagined. God damn, Kate! She saw his picture with Avery and knew!

When he went back she was saying her goodbyes. He heard her say, "early flight." She didn't look at him. Why did she feel so ashamed? She chose wrong, hadn't he chosen wrong more than once. She left without saying a word to him. He felt like a part of him walked out the door with her and all she left behind was the feeling of her body against his.

 He felt like a part of him walked out the door with her and all she left behind was the feeling of her body against his

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Both Alex and Jen were acting stranger as the weekend wore on. By Sunday they were avoiding each other in every way, but their eyes. She watched as Jen talked with Megan's brother and Alex looked jealous. She wondered if Jen and Alex had done anything other than talk like a couple of adolescents.

Jen told her that she bumped into Megan's brother the night before. "Avery I was just leaving and there he was. He scooped me up and I was thinking you used to tease me. We talked for a few minutes on the beach then I walked home."

At the end of the evening, Alex had shut down and wasn't talking which Avery knew had to be because he saw the scene with Jen being scooped up. He retreated to his spare room the minute they got back.

Alone Tom said, "He couldn't stop looking at her in that dress. My brother's got it bad."

"Her life is going to get complicated with Sterling for a while and he's here and she won't be," Avery reminded him.

When Tom took her in his arms she wasn't thinking about Alex or Jen anymore. Well not true she was thinking about being very quiet so that Alex didn't hear them. Even that didn't last long, because she heard Alex go downstairs and flip on the TV.

Alex seemed fine in the morning. He suggested they go out for breakfast and took them to a small place in town. The brothers joked and she laughed. She told some stories about her times with Jen, but it was hard to not include Sterling.

At the party, she found that Jen was absolutely right, she loved Megan. Still, she noticed Jen kept quiet. Avery knew that Jen had learned to navigate social settings, but she was never entirely comfortable. Sterling always gave her security, because he was an extrovert. She watched as Jen and Alex watched each other all day. 

Kate was one of a kind. Avery imagined growing up between her handsome brothers she had to be witty to survive. She had Avery in stitches telling about their antics. Megan and Kristi joined in and Avery could tell they loved Alex like a brother, of course.

When Kate started discussing his dating woes, Megan said, "We've seen him with girls. Some lucky girl's going to catch him. We don't have any single ones around here though."

Kristi said, "Jen going to be single."

Avery feeling the need to protect her friend said, "Jen lives in New York and she's not single yet."

Kate asked about Jen and Avery explained that she was her best friend from New York. Later Jen came over and Avery thrust little Joshua in her arms. Jen held him and although she clearly had no experience with babies she wasn't uncomfortable. Avery knew that Jen wanted a baby and was disappointed when Sterling didn't. That was a good thing because their divorce would be a mess with a child.

Something happened across the street, but Avery couldn't tell what and it was bothering her. She watched Alex follow Jen, but she didn't think anyone else noticed except Tom. They weren't gone for very long when Jen came back clearly upset. Avery could tell she was holding it together long enough to say her goodbyes.

Alex didn't look much better as he just looked sad. Avery noticed that Jen didn't say goodbye to Alex or to her and Tom. She just waved and Avery suspected that Jen was avoiding her too. She was confident she would find out what happened at home.

If Alex was quiet the night before going home he was silent after his whatever with Jen. Once alone, she and Tom discussed what may have happened, but it was all speculation on their part. Tom said, "Would you be willing to meet my mother? Because I'm not sure Alex is going to be very entertaining tomorrow."

"Do you want me to meet your mother?" she asked.

He took her in his arms and said, "I think it's inevitable." Avery knew he was right because she loved Tom and didn't care who knew it.

At least one couple has their stuff together.  Poor Alex...  Please remember to comment and vote.

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