Say that you love me

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“How does my ass look in these?” asked Shelby, turning around so Candy could see him side-angle. He was wearing clam-colored knee-length shorts that Candy had picked out for him on their recent trip to the mall. On top, he wore an unbuttoned checkered shirt atop a loose-fitted logo printed t-shirt.

“Not bad, Shelby!” Candy replied, nodding approvingly. “I just love how those sit on you. They’re super flattering.”

“Yeah? So you think I should go with this outfit?” Shelby pulled at his T-shirt as he eyed himself in the hallway mirror. He’d already dropped five pounds in six days. It wasn’t really noticeable to anyone else, but he had told Candy on their run that morning that he was starting to feel a difference. He’d been sticking to his new meal plan and hadn’t missed a single morning run with Candy. They were now up to 20-second sprints and 20-second walks and had picked up their pace--though only slightly. Candy was being careful not to push Shelby too fast, too soon, since she had read that this was one of the main reasons people quit their diet--it’s simply too hard.

“That’s the one!” She smiled. Candy and Shelby had spent quite a bit of time together over the past few days. Candy had sort of made Shelby her new project, in part to help out her stepbrother, and in part to give her something to take her mind off of Kevin--a project, of sorts. And it was working. They’d had a day out shopping at the mall one day, they’d baked healthy muffins together another, and of course, they had their morning runs together.

Candy was actually kind of enjoying having a brother.

“What are you gonna wear?” Shelby asked her.

Candy, who was sitting on the sofa with her feet up while Shelby had modeled outfits for her to choose from, hadn’t even thought about her own outfit. She didn’t really care that much.

OK, no, that was a lie. Of course, she cared. She’d been nervous about today’s event all week, ever since Easter had appeared in her dining room the previous Monday. She was anxious to see Kevin, but also apprehensive.

What if he acts weird around me? What if I act weird around him? Or worse...what if he acts totally normal like nothing happened between us at all?

Candy knew that pretty much any outcome of this afternoon had the potential to crush her.

And so, she had been putting off thinking about it for as long as she possibly could.

She looked at her watch. It was 2 pm. The event started at 3 pm. Of course, they wouldn’t go right on time. Ever the socialite, Deborah always made it a point to be at least an hour late for any event, no matter how casual. Well, that was her excuse, anyways. In reality, her narcissistic mother was never on time for anything simply because she was too selfish to care enough to be.

Candy looked down at her outfit. She wore stonewashed denim shorts that had pockets poking out of the bottom, and a tight maroon halter top with a strap that crisscrossed across her exposed stomach, which had stayed nice and flat throughout the summer thanks to her exercise and healthy eating regime. It was sexy without trying too hard. A baseball cap would make it family friendly. It would do just fine.

“I dunno, I think I’ll just wear this,” she replied flatly.

Shelby tilted his head. “You’ve been kinda weird about this barbeque all week. Did something happen between you and that neighbor guy? Cohen? Or what’s his name? Did you guys have an argument or something?”

“Kevin. And no, we didn’t have an argument. It’s nothing. The event just sounds, I dunno, a bit boring.” Candy was trying to sound casual about it, especially aware that Deborah was in the kitchen and could hear their conversation.

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