Chapter 36

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Emma

I got back to the apartment a few days before school started. When I walked through the door there was Zach, sitting on the sofa, a beer in one hand and the TV remote in the other. He looked up at me and smiled sheepishly. I froze, standing in the doorway, holding my duffel bag. My heart beat like crazy.

"Hey," he said, like nothing had happened.

"Hi," I said, recovering from the shock. I set down my bag and shut the door. "You're back?"

"Yeah, the commute was killing me. In case you're wondering, I'm taking the sofa."

I was about to open my mouth but he cut me off.

"It's already decided."

It was awkward, me standing there, so I took my bag and went to our room. What did I do? I hadn't expected this development. I slowly unpacked, wondering if I should go for groceries or hide in our bedroom forever. Was I happy to see him? Yes. But I couldn't stop thinking about the video. I hated that I couldn't separate him from it. Instead of facing Zach, I changed, got my tennis gear and headed for the front door.

"I'll be back in a few hours," I said casually. "See you later."

I hated myself for escaping, but I didn't know how to handle it. The tennis club was easy even if it meant spending a second with Ben. In a few days we'd be starting our classes and I could pretend to be busy at the club even though I was fully prepared for the eight classes a week that were scheduled.

Ben was in the office when I got there. I set down my backpack and peeled off my jacket and boots. He was at the desk working on the computer. He glanced up at me and continued typing.

"Howdy, Emma."

I wrinkled my nose. "You're in a good mood."

"We are both fully booked. The last few stragglers signed up today."

"That must make Marc happy."

"I haven't told him yet. I thought I'd mention it tomorrow."

"How were your holidays?" I asked. I didn't care, but since he was being nice, I thought I'd return the favor.

"Not bad. And you? What did your pretty boy boyfriend get you?"

"We didn't exchange anything this year. No big deal," I said, trying to act casual even though my voice pitched.

Ben's grey gaze lifted again from the computer screen. He looked at me for a long time and I could feel myself shrinking. "Still trouble in paradise?"

"No," I said too quickly.

"None of my business anyway. But I did do Genie Walker's evaluation."

He stopped and I took that as a sign he wanted me to beg him to continue.

"And?"

"I'm pretty sure she doesn't need tennis classes, so that makes me wonder."

Again, he stopped for the dramatics. I considered letting him hang and moving onto another subject, but I was too intrigued.

"Okay?"

"If she's taking classes for some other reason."

Ugh. I hated this guy. "Look, either spit out what you have to say, or I'm out of here."

"Fine, fine. I think she's spying."

"And how long did it take you to come up with that, genius?"

His eyebrows rose in surprise. "So you think she's spying too?"

"Yes, but I don't know why."

"What I do know is that I think she's into me. So that could be a potential problem."

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