“You need to let me go, Zach.”
After a long, sleepless night, and a lengthy heart-to-heart with Lindsay as they drove up the coast of Long Island, Kaitlin watched her friend browse through a tray of misshapen silver coins in a small beachfront antique shop.
“I never thought I’d hear myself say this.” Lindsay selected one plastic-wrapped item and read the provenance typed neatly on the attached card. “But, as your lawyer, I must strongly advise you not to sleep with your husband.”
“I am not sleeping with my husband,” Kaitlin reminded her. And she had absolutely no intention of going there. Desire and action were two completely different things.
Two women checking out a painting in the next aisle slid their curious gazes to Kaitlin, and their expressions shifted from smirks to bemusement.
Kaitlin leaned a little closer to Lindsay and whispered, “Okay, that just sounds stupid when I say it out loud.”
“He’s playing you,” said Lindsay, dropping the first coin and switching to another, turning it over to read.
“Neither of us meant for it to happen,” Kaitlin pointed out. Zach’s shock and regret had seemed as genuine as hers.
Lindsay glanced up from the coin, arching her a skeptical look. “Are you sure about that?”
“I’m sure,” Kaitlin returned with conviction. They’d both sworn not to let it happen again. It was as much her fault as his.
“And what were you doing right before you kissed him?” Lindsay gave up on the coin rack and meandered her way across the shop floor.
Kaitlin followed, only half paying attention to the merchandise. Lindsay was the one who’d suggested driving up the coast to visit antique stores. They’d never done it before, but Kaitlin was game for anything that would distract her.
“We were on deck,” she told Lindsay. “Fantastic boat, by the way.”
“You mentioned that. So, were you eating? Drinking? Stargazing?”
“Arguing art versus architecture.” Kaitlin took her mind back to the first minutes of the return trip. “He wanted to see my designs.”
“I rest my case.” Lindsay lingered in front of a glass case displaying some more gold coins. “Aha. This is what I was looking for.”
“What case?” asked Kaitlin. What was Lindsay resting?
Lindsay fluttered a dismissive hand, attention on the coins. “The case against Zach.” Then she tapped her index finger against the glass in answer to a clerk’s unspoken question. “I’d like to see that one.”
“I don’t follow,” said Kaitlin.
“The coin is from the Blue Glacier.”
“Yes, it is,” the clerk confirmed with an enthusiastic smile, unlocking the case and extracting a plastic-covered, gold, oblong coin.
“You were resting your case,” Kaitlin prompted.
Lindsay inspected the coin, holding it up to the sunlight and turning it one way, then the other. “You were arguing with Zach about art versus architecture. Which side were you on, by the way?”
“Zach’s afraid my renovation plans will be impractical,” explained Kaitlin. “I told him architecture could be both beautiful and functional. He’s stone-cold on the side of function.”
“Not hard to tell that from his building.” Lindsay put down her purse and slipped the coin under a big magnifying glass on a stand on the countertop.
“When did you become interested in coins?” asked Kaitlin. Lindsay was going through quite a procedure here.
“The two of you were fighting,” Lindsay continued while she peered critically at the coin. “I’m assuming you were winning since, aside from holding all the trump cards, you were right.” She straightened. “Then suddenly, poof, he’s kissing you.”
The clerk eyed Kaitlin with obvious interest, while Lindsay gave Kaitlin a knowing look. “Do you think there’s a slim possibility it was a distraction? Do you think, maybe, out of desperation to seize control of the project, your husband might be trying to emotionally manipulate you?”
Kaitlin blinked. Manipulate her?
“You know,” Lindsay continued, “if you gave away the fact you thought he was hot—”
“I never told him he was hot.”
“There are other ways to give yourself away besides talking. And you do think he’s hot.”
The clerk’s attention was ping-ponging between the two women.
Kaitlin realized she probably had given herself away. On numerous occasions. And while they were arguing on the boat, her attraction to Zach must have been written all over her face.
But what about Zach? Had he felt nothing? Could he actually be that good an actor? Had he pounced on an opportunity?