And well, Chessy needed to view her husband through the eyes of others for once. Because she had only what she’d built into her mind and so it had become truth when in fact it was all lies. It was time for the blinders to come off and for her to see what everyone else had seen for a long time. Just maybe not tonight …

“Uh, Kylie?” she hedged.


“What’s wrong, sweetie? Is there something you need? Something Jensen and I could get you?”

“We’re running low on wine and I wouldn’t mind running out to restock the cabinet,” Jensen said with a smile. “When my girls get together a lot of alcohol is laid to waste. I’m beginning to think the three of you could drink a whole horde of military guys under the table.”

She was in turns delighted and saddened by Jensen’s endearment. His girls. It gave her insight to the fact that he’d long ago accepted Joss and Chessy’s role in Kylie’s life and that he encouraged those friendships. Wasn’t threatened by them whatsoever.

The sadness came in because Tate had always referred to Chessy as “his girl” or “my girl” and each version did something deep in her heart. It squeezed parts left untouched by years of neglect and feelings of being unwanted. He’d touched those areas, and now? They’d fade back into the bleak memories she carried of her childhood and how she was raised. Unwanted. Unloved. Because it was precisely how she currently felt about the way Tate treated her.

“I think that’s a lovely idea, darling,” Kylie said, her eyes growing warm as she looked up at her lover. Boyfriend seemed so 1980s and a term used for teenage kids.

“Uh, before you go, and I realize the chances of this are slim, but there are a few things I wanted to bring up,” Chessy said, her chin quivering in her nervousness.

Jensen eased down on Chessy’s other side, adding his support to Kylie’s.

“If either of you happens to run into Tate, please don’t cause a scene. Not because of me. I’d rather you just look past him. But he’s your friend too and I don’t expect you to dislike him just because of something that happened between us.”

Jensen snorted but remained silent.

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“The other thing, and I know this is complete chicken shit of me, Kylie, but can you call Joss in the morning and give her the rundown for me? I don’t know if I have it in me to rehash it all over again. And I didn’t want to barge over to her house at this hour and potentially upset her. She hasn’t been sleeping well and her mornings have been hell with all the morning sickness, so maybe you should wait until she’s feeling human to dump all of my misery on her.”

Kylie patted Chessy’s hand and then squeezed. “Of course I will. I don’t want you to worry about a thing. Tomorrow we’ll send Jensen over to pick up the rest of your things. Just give him a list so he’s sure to get everything you want.”

“I can go,” Chessy said quietly. “I need to go. Maybe moving my own stuff will be the beginning of closure. Of acceptance that my marriage is over.”

“No way,” Jensen said emphatically. “You aren’t going over there to face him by yourself.”

Chessy smiled sadly. “Oh, he won’t be there. I’m sure he has some important client meeting. Why else would he have been on the phone when he was supposed to be paying attention to me?”

“Still, I think it’s a better idea if Jensen goes with you,” Kylie soothed. “For that matter I’ll come too. Won’t take long with the three of us working. Dash can man the office by himself for the day. And when he and Joss learn what’s happened, I wouldn’t be surprised if Dash doesn’t show up himself.”

“All right,” Chessy conceded.

“Now, do you want a drink or would you prefer to go straight to bed?” Jensen asked. “I’m sure Kylie doesn’t mind staying up with you as late as you need her, and since I’m her boss I get to tell her she’s going to sleep in tomorrow and blow off work.”

Kylie rolled her eyes. “Just wait until I get that promotion, Jensen. Then we’ll see who’s the boss of that operation.”

“Oh I know,” Jensen said in a fervent tone. “Dash and I will spend the days in our offices hiding under our desks.”

Chessy laughed and then because she couldn’t fathom how or why she could be laughing when her entire world was crumbling around her, she buried her face in her hands and sobbed.

“Can you take her to bed, Jensen?” Chessy heard Kylie say. “Our bed. I don’t want her to be alone tonight. Can you take the guest bedroom?”

Chessy lifted her head and shook it vehemently. “No. No way I’m putting Jensen out of his bed. That’s where he belongs. With you, Kylie. I would never do anything to change a thing about y’all’s relationship.

Jensen smiled and tousled Chessy’s hair affectionately. “I assure you our relationship will survive me sleeping in a different bedroom this one night. If it can survive me being tied to the headboard I think it’s safe to say that we’re pretty solid. Besides, if I sleep there, I don’t have to be tied up by my kinky girlfriend.”

“Jensen!” Kylie hissed. “For God’s sake! Do you not have any sort of a filter when it comes to what spills from your mouth?”

“And yet that’s what I love about him,” Chessy said in amusement. “I suppose my taste in men isn’t quite so horrible after all.”