Chapter 3

It was easy to avoid Adam for the next few days because he hadn’t started work yet, so he was never up when I was. Bobby, on the other hand, was a different story. We went to work at the same time and usually made a point of walking each other down to the parking lot, but somehow he avoided me as much as I avoided him.

I knew I’d been wrong, and I had serious damage control to do. He was so many levels of pissed at me, and he had a right to be about at least one thing. I took a cheap shot at his job, but I knew more than anything it was the fact I defended Adam over him that ticked him off.

I made a point of getting ready early, but somehow still managed to miss Bobby. When I pulled into the lot after work, I sat waiting for Bobby’s car to appear. When it did, I crept out of mine and waited for him to park and get out. When he did I raced across the lot, my heels clicking on the pavement and my pencil skirt threatening to come loose at the seams.

“Bobby! Don’t you dare ignore me one more second!” I yelled.

He turned, eyes widening as I flung myself at him in what could only be called sexy work apparel.

 “Now, this is the kind of apology I wanted!” He chuckled to himself as I came to a stop in front of him, gasping for breath.

“I’m sorry. You know I didn’t mean it!” I said, grabbing his elbow for support.

“You’re going to have blisters on your feet now,” he replied, looking me over.

“And my silk blouse is going to be ruined with my sweat. Big deal,” I said as I finally caught my breath and stood.

“You look beautiful,” he began with a lopsided grin; “especially running towards me in that.”

“I had to get your attention somehow, didn’t I?”

He slipped his arm around me and pulled my chest into his. “Attention gotten.”

I rolled my eyes at him as I pushed my hands into his chest. “If that wasn’t a direct hit, I don’t know what was.”

“Hey, I had to try. You just flung yourself at me,” he said with a playful nudge in my ribs.

I shook my head. “You know better.”

“So, an apology?” he asked, running his hand through the length of his hair as we began to make our way up to the apartments.

“Look, you know I was only trying to defend Adam—”

“At my expense?”

“You know I didn’t mean it as you took it, but that’s the way your parents see things. They don’t think Adam has accomplished anything because he’s not the spitting image of you or your dad. You know it’s true.”

“It’s not true, River! Adam just makes you think it is. He has you so wrapped around his finger—”

I turned, practically causing him to mow me down as I poked my finger in his chest.“Do you think Adam’s a failure?”

Bobby’s strong jaw was taut. “No.”

“Do your parents?”

“River—”

“No, answer the question, do they ever brag about Adam? Or is it always about you?” I demanded. When he didn’t answer, I continued, “Think of how that makes Adam feel. He’s been nothing but successful, but no matter what he does he’s always in your shadow.”

“He still has things I want that I can’t have,” he answered, his eyes burning into me.

I closed my eyes. Adam didn’t want me – he wanted big- boobed blondes like Amber.

 “This isn’t about us,” I said, opening my eyes and locking my gaze with his.

I felt Bobby’s hand lift my chin. “I know it’s not, but I always make it that way. It’s hard for me not to.”

I opened my eyes to see his lips turned downward as he shrugged. “I give up, Riv. I’m sorry.”

“You don’t think what we have is special? I do! I’m sorry it’s not what you want, but you’re my best friend—you both are.”

He leaned down and kissed my forehead.

“I know; what other girls would let me crash on her couch and special order me hockey games?”

“Exactly, and who do you talk about your girl problems with?” I reminded him as he dropped my chin.

“Alright, you’ve got me. It is pretty awesome,” he said.

“I’m making pasta tonight with meatballs from scratch. It’d be a lot easier if I could cook for two instead of one?”

Bobby’s stomach growled its response.

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