The sound of a key jiggling in the door made my heart sink.

This is gonna suck.

I stood up and walked to the kitchen doorway, and I could tell immediately that Michelle had drank too much.

“Hey,” she whispered loudly.

“Hey.” My body stiffened as she walked right up to me and wrapped her arms around my waist. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fantastic,” she slurred a little. “I had such a fun time with those girls.”

“Where’d you guys go?”

“I don’t know. Some bar.” Letting go of my waist, she wobbled over to the fridge and grabbed a bottle of orange juice. She took a big drink and then stared at the bottle. “We should cook with this.”

I tried not to laugh at her, but drunk Michelle was super fucking cute.

“Anyway, are the kids still sleeping?”

“Yep, not a peep out of them.” I walked over and sat on the kitchen chair, wondering if it was the best time to talk to her.

“Good.” She trailed her finger along the counter as she slowly walked over to me. “I’ve been thinking about that dance all night. It’s driving me crazy, actually.”

“Yeah, about that—”

“Shhh.” She put a finger over my lips. “Don’t say anything now. I don’t want to talk. I just want to finish what we started.”

Before I could react, she was sitting on my knee and her lips were on mine. She might have been drunk, but she still knew how to kiss. Her lips slowly moved up and down, back and forth against my own. The tip of her tongue darted out of her mouth and into mine as she ran her hands through my hair, roughly pulling me tighter against her. Something inside of me told me to stop, but a bigger something screamed at me to keep going. I hiked her dress up and cupped her ass, lifting her so she was straddling me, all the while praying that the kitchen chair didn’t give out. I sat up straight and ran my hands up her back and around the nape of her neck, pulling her hair gently so I could get to her neck. Tugging the strap of her dress off her shoulder, I kissed and sucked along her collarbone.

She moaned, grinding her hips against me. “Let’s go in the living room.”

I ignored her, kissing my way from one side of her chest to the other.

“Viper, did you hear me?” she repeated through her panting. “Let’s go to the living room.”

I’d been avoiding that room all night. No way was I going to have sex with Michelle in there. No fucking way was I going to have sex with her at all.

“Wait a minute.” I pulled back. “We can’t do this.”

“Yes, we can.” She kissed me again, letting her hand wander over my pants. “Just this one night, remember? You said one song, but why can’t we expand it to one night?

I caught her hand before she shoved it inside my boxers. “We can’t.” I gently lifted her off of me and stood up, rubbing my temples with my hands as I paced the kitchen, trying to figure out what to do.

“What’s going on with you?” she snapped, glaring at me as she pulled her skirt down. “For as long as I’ve known you, you’ve fucked anything that walks, and now here I am, throwing myself at you, and you’re telling me no?”

“I’m sorry. Listen,”—I started panicking again—“I don’t think we should be doing this right now. It’s not right.”

“Why isn’t it right?”

“Because of Mike—” I started to explain.

“Oh, I’m so sick of you hiding behind Mike.” She marched over to me. “I think you aren’t attracted to me at all and you just use Mike as your fucking excuse to keep me at arm’s length.”

I’d never heard anything so insane in my entire life.

“What are you talking about? Not attracted to you?” I grabbed her hand and put it on my hard cock. “Does that feel like I’m not attracted to you?”

“Big deal!” She yanked her hand back. “Guys get hard whenever the wind blows. Matthew gets little boners all the time. Don’t be so proud of yourself.” She sniffed and turned away from me.

“Listen, Michelle…” I gently put my hand on her shoulder. “I just don’t want to take that step tonight, because once we do, that’s it. There’s no going back and pretending it didn’t happen.”

She took another step away from me, out of my reach. “Get out,” she mumbled quietly.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “What?”

She spun to face me as tears poured down her cheeks. “You heard me. I said get out. Get the fuck out of my house.”

“Okay, please calm down,” I begged. “You’ve had too much to drink and this night just went to shit really quickly. Can we just take a step back and breathe, please?”

“You breathe. You take a fucking step back. In fact, take a lot of steps back—all the way out of my house, and forget you ever came here in the first place.”

Arguing with her when she was drunk was just making things worse. The situation needed to be diffused, and the only way I could do that was to leave. I buttoned my pants and grabbed my jacket off of the kitchen chair, trying hard to ignore the sinking feeling that sat heavy in my stomach as I walked out of the kitchen. I couldn’t leave without trying to reason with her one more time. “Can we please just sit down, have some coffee, and talk about this?”

She was standing by the island with her arms wrapped around herself, staring down at the ground.


Her head lifted toward me; her eyes were cold and distant. “Good-bye, Viper.”

HOW ARE YOU? Is there anything I can do?

I hit the send button on my phone and slammed it down on my kitchen counter, knowing damn well she wasn’t gonna respond. I’d sent the same fucking text every fucking day for the last thirteen days, and Michelle hadn’t responded once. Not once. She’d told me to leave the night of the wedding, and I really thought she just needed to cool off, but when I’d texted her the next morning… nothing. She’d always responded before. I’d been trying to block it out with hockey, throwing myself into my games, staying after practices for extra workouts at the gym. None of it worked. Every blond woman I saw on the street reminded me of her, and every little kid reminded me of Matthew. I felt like I spent every minute of every day wondering what the hell they were doing. She constantly found a way to creep into my brain, and once she did, she would camp out there for the rest of the day.

I’d replayed that night in her kitchen over and over in my head, second guessing myself constantly. What would have happened if I hadn’t stopped her? If I’d just let her keep kissing me the way she’d been? If I’d let her hand scoot down into my boxers? When I’d lifted her dress and pulled her toward me, my finger ran along the lace edge of her panties, and it was so sweet, so delicate, just like she was, and honestly… it intimidated me.

My phone beeped and my heart took off like a fucking rocket. I’d never grabbed it so fast in my whole life. It was a picture from Brody.

B: Hey, Uncle V! Look who decided to join the world today! Grace Addison! She got here about 15 minutes ago.

Under the picture was a selfie of him grinning from ear to ear as he held the tiniest baby I’d ever seen in my whole life. She was kinda red and had shiny eyes, but was still oddly adorable.