Home > Thief (Love Me with Lies #3)(4)

Thief (Love Me with Lies #3)(4)
Tarryn Fisher

I shrug. “You married my first love, I already didn’t like you.”

He tucks in one corner of his mouth in a knowing smile and nods slowly.

“You care about her, Caleb. That’s fine with me. You and I won’t have a problem as long as you keep your hands off of my wife.”

The girls come in. We stand. Olivia can sense there has been an exchange. Her ever-cold eyes travel between the two of us.

Choose me.

Her gaze lands on Noah. Their intimacy makes me jealous. Rageful. I grind my teeth until Olivia notices. I stop as soon as her eyes trace my jaw, but it’s too late. She’s seen what I’m feeling.

A perfect eyebrow arches up.

God. I hate it when she does that.

I want to spank her.

The lamb is overcooked and the asparagus is mushy. I am so impressed that her spiteful little hands are now cooking; I clean my plate and have seconds. She drinks three glasses of wine so casually I wonder if it has become a habit or if this dinner is making her nervous. We talk about her clients and she has everyone laughing. Noah is clearly infatuated by her. He watches everything she does with a slight smile on his lips. It reminds me of myself. She asks Jessica questions about what she has been doing with her life. It makes me uncomfortable. I am careful not to speak only to her, not to look at her too much, not to look away when she interacts with Noah, because it bothers me. It’s hard not to study their dynamic. She is genuinely fond of him. I notice that her personality is softer when he’s around. She has not cussed once since I stepped through their door — which is the longest her mouth has ever been clean in the history of Olivia.

Her mouth.

Noah is one of those rare personalities that has a calming effect on a potentially tripe situation. I can’t help but like the guy even though he has my girl. He has the balls to threaten me too.

As we say our goodbyes in their foyer, Olivia refuses to meet my eyes. She looks exhausted, like the night has taken its toll on her emotionally. She stands close to Noah, and I see her reach for his hand. I want to know what she’s feeling. I want to be the one to comfort her.

Jess comes home with me and spends the night. My mother has left four messages asking about my move to London.

I wake up to the smell of bacon. I can hear the clang of pots and water running in the sink. I walk naked to the kitchen. Jess is making breakfast. I lean over the counter and watch her. I was married to a woman for five years and don’t think I ever saw her crack an egg. She’s wearing one of my t-shirts. Her hair is pulled up in a messy knot. It’s very sexy. I eye her legs; they go on forever. I’m a leg guy. The scene in Pretty Woman where Vivian is telling Richard the exact measurement of her legs is one of the best scenes in the movie. A lot can be forgiven if a woman has a great set of legs.

Jessica’s are unparalleled.

I sit as she hands me a mug of coffee and smiles shyly like we’ve never done this before. I really like her. I loved her once; it would be easy to fall into this woman again. She’s beautiful — more beautiful than Leah, more beautiful than Olivia. Can anyone be more beautiful than Olivia?

“I didn’t want to wake you,” she says. “So I kept myself busy with feeding you.”

“Feeding me,” I repeat. I like that.

“I like doing things for you.” She smiles coyly. “I’ve missed you, Caleb.”

I blink at her. What would have happened if she had told me she was pregnant, instead of going to get an abortion? We’d have a ten-year-old.

I pull her to me and kiss her. She never fights, never acts like she doesn’t want me. I take her to the couch and we let the toast burn.

Later, I’m sitting at the café down the street, drinking espresso. Jess had to go to work. My phone pings, signaling a text message.

O: Well?

I smile to myself and finish my espresso before answering.

Well, what?

There is a long pause. She’s thinking about how to suck the information out of me without sounding like she cares.

O: Don’t play games!

I remember the last time you asked me not to do that. I think we were in an orange grove.

O: Fuck you. What did you think of Noah?

Nice

What did you think of Jess?

O: Same stupid slut

I crack up. The other patrons of the café turn to see what I’m laughing at.

I gather up my things to leave. She always did get right to the point. I am almost to my car when my phone pings again.

O: Don’t fall in love with her

I stare at that message for a long time. One minute — three. What does she want from me? I don’t respond. I feel like she’s punched me.

And that’s it. I don’t hear from her for another year.

Chapter Three

The first time I saw her — my God — it was like I’d never seen another woman in all my life. It was the way she walked that caught my eye. She moved like water: fluid, determined. Everything else blended together in a blur and all I saw was her. The only solid in all that color. I smiled when she stopped under this grotesque, twisted-looking tree and gave it the single dirtiest look I had ever seen. I’d never even noticed the tree before, though it was one of those things that when you see it, you wonder how you’d ever missed it. One of my friends punched me on the arm to get my attention. We’d been talking about basketball. The coach put half the team on suspension for smoking pot, and now we had to get through the last few games with our best players benched for the rest of the season. But the conversation had ended for me the minute I saw her. They followed my eyes, gave each other knowing looks. I had somewhat of a reputation in regards to women. They were still calling out remarks when I stepped under the tree. Her back was to me. She had the type of hair you wanted to wrap your hands in — dark and wild, all the way to her tiny waist. My first words to her should have been: Will you marry me? Instead, I went with: “Why are you angry with this tree?”

She spun on me so fast I drew back. She set me on my axis, wobbling and unsure. These were all feelings I was not well acquainted with. The rest of our exchange pockmarked my ego.

“Just a question, Sunshine, don’t attack.” Holy shit, she was hostile.

“Can I help you with something?” she snapped.

“I was interested in finding out why this tree made you frown.” It was lame, but what the hell else was I supposed to say? She’d either had a really bad day, or she was always like this, and either way I was compelled to stand in the shade and talk to her.

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