Luckily after reading me the riot act for not returning her calls, Elvira was just Elvira. She didn’t get into Hawk, she didn’t press, she didn’t pry, she just dug into Cam’s famous, spicy red beans and rice (well, actually, it wasn’t Cam’s recipe, it was her great-grandmother’s and I tried to get her to give it to me but she said we had to exchange blood transfusions and go through adoption proceedings for her to do that without getting disowned so I just ate hers and considered myself lucky) and sucking back her cosmopolitan so I was free to continue obsessing because Hawk still hadn’t called me. Something I did, barely participating in girl talk until I made my insane announcement.

“I’m actually surprised the meltdown hasn’t occurred before now,” Cam remarked.

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“Cam!” Tracy cried.

“Oh shit, woman down,” Leo muttered and I looked up to see he’d come into the room probably to get a beer.

Very bad timing.

“I slept with Hawk again last night,” I told Leo, avoiding directly telling Cam, Tracy or Elvira.

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Leo’s eyes got big and he made a strangled noise.

“You what?” Cam screeched.

“Well, all right,” Elvira stated.

“Oh boy,” Tracy mumbled.

“I did,” I told Leo who still had his deer caught in headlights look going. “He came to my house in the middle of the night and –”

Leo’s hand shot up. “Stop right there, darlin’,” he interrupted me. “Last time I looked, I still had a dick.”

“Leo!” Cam snapped and Leo’s eyes went to her.

“And the last time you looked, I had a dick.”

“We all know you have a dick, Leo,” Cam flashed back.

“All I’m sayin’ is, I got a dick and I’m in here for a beer and that means I’m invisible during this discussion. Yeah?” And with that, he got his beer and walked right out.

“I’m sorry about my man,” Cam said irately to Elvira.

“I’m not, girl. A, he’s hot and B, he’s got a dick and C, his not wantin’ any part in girl talk states he knows how to use it. Now,” her eyes swung to me, “movin’ on to the good shit. You slept with Hawk? Word was it was over.”

“Well, it was, then it wasn’t and now I think it is again.”

“Uh… what?” Elvira asked, her brows drawing together.

I sucked back cosmo then I told them everything. Cam and Tracy knew the first part, so I didn’t get into that, I just got into last night and this morning finishing with, “And now I think he thinks I’m a thoughtless, selfish cow.”

I got silence as they all stared then, as usual, Cam spoke first.

“Hate to say this to you,” she straight-talked me albeit gently, “but, babe, sounds like it to me too.”

Great. Just freaking great.

“My God, I had no idea,” Elvira stated, sounding stunned and Tracy nodded.

“Actually this whole week I was thinking it sucked that it didn’t work out but I got why it didn’t, his tragic past and all,” Trace added.

“You did?” I asked her.

“Yeah, Gwennie, but you wanted space so I gave it to you and couldn’t tell you that.”

I stared at her. Then I dropped forward and banged my head against the table again.

“Gwen, calm down, if he’s into you, which he obviously is, he’ll get over this,” Camille pointed out.

I lifted my head. “I called him at one-thirty.”

“Maybe he’s busy,” Tracy suggested.

“He’s busy,” Elvira confirmed. “I wasn’t let in on what he’s workin’, top secret and he selected his top boys to work with him but he’s been incommunicado all day.”

A ray of hope.

“I thought he forwarded his phone to you,” I said.

“He didn’t today, he went off-line,” Elvira told me.

“Why didn’t he forward his phone to you?” I asked.

“Why does the earth go ‘round the sun? Because he’s Hawk. You don’t question Hawk. He just does what he does when he does it and you go with the flow,” Elvira answered.

“Is this operation so intense he can’t call back?” I pressed.

“Don’t know, hon, sorry to say,” Elvira replied and sounded like she was.

“Should I call him again?” I asked. “Does he check his voicemail?”

“Sure, if I’m not takin’ messages for him,” Elvira responded.

That ray of hope died.

I’d said I was sorry. I didn’t know much about his operations but anyone had a moment in their day to check their voicemail and mine said I was sorry. If I cared about someone and they told me they were sorry in a voicemail, I would call them and put them out of their misery. It had been seven hours and he hadn’t put me out of my misery.

Maybe the giggling pissed him off.

I dropped my head to the table again.

“Gwen,” Cam said softly.

“I was falling in love with him,” I told my lap and I heard three, quick, feminine intakes of breath. “Deep,” I finished on a whisper then lifted my head, “and I f**ked it up.”

“He’s busy, babe, don’t jump to conclusions,” Cam stated.

“Every time I see him, every time he touches me, I get butterflies,” I whispered.

“Oh boy,” Elvira murmured.

“Scott didn’t even do that to me,” I shared.

“Who’s Scott?” Elvira enquired.

“Her ex-husband and Denver’s Patron of Dickheadedness,” Tracy answered.

“Ah,” Elvira replied, that one syllable full of understanding.

“You didn’t tell me about the butterflies,” Cam whispered.

“I denied them,” I whispered back. “They scared me.”

Cam’s face gentled. “Oh babe.”

“He’s bossy and annoying and intrusive and lives a narrow life and demands emotional closeness but keeps distant but that last part is because he lost his wife and his little daughter,” I went on. “And she was cute. He showed me a picture. She was wearing pink. She looked like him. She had the best of both of them in her.” Cam, Elvira and Tracy kept gentle eyes on me and I kept on. “But he thinks I’m funny and Dad and Meredith adore him and we banter and I like it. It’s fun and it’s safe, though I didn’t know it at the time, and he holds me while we sleep and he’s an unbelievably good kisser and even better in bed. He gave me four orgasms in thirty minutes and I didn’t even know that was physically possible.”

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