The man can cook a steak, too. Of course he can. It melts in my mouth like butter. Whatshisface turns it into shoe leather on the rare occasion he tries to grill. It’s like Mason was designed explicitly to be good at everything Rick Bullock is bad at.
It’s not exactly like I can sit and continue to think about my problem with my problem sitting here beside me, looking all sexy, can I?
So I take a breather from letting my wheels churn my problems into butter and eat every bite on my plate.
I do this while I stare at the lake and despite everything bubbling around and around in my head, the peacefulness out here is a soothing balm.
I feel like a lazy sow when I sit and watch him clear the table and take all the dishes inside. Instead of going in to help him like my instincts tell me to do, I continue to drink my coffee. My phone, which I’ve carefully guarded under my thigh lest Mason try to take it from me again, pings, so I lift it.
A wedding group chat ping from Sally, a good friend and one of my bridesmaids, asking me if I want her to come over early and help with any last-minute planning, asking what food to bring for our sleepover and telling me she got an unexpected Saturday off and that I should put her to work. I realize I don’t even know what day it is. My life has been that out of whack.
I haven’t been reading any messages that have come in. There are texts and voicemails from Rick, Carla, from Cunty Sheila, and several messages from people in the bridal party.
I scroll over to the calendar app. Friday. A week and one day until I’d be getting married. My eyes close as I sigh.
Tomorrow night, I’m supposed to be having all my bridesmaids over for a sleepover, our at-home bachelorette party and a chance to get some last-minute stuff done.
I quickly tap out a reply in the group chat.
Sorry, I’m not up to speed on the messages in here. I’ve been off the grid a few days. No time to talk but the wedding is off. Rick and I are finished. I’m reeling right now so I can’t get into it. I need some me-time. I’ll get back to everyone as soon as I have my head together. Suffice it to say tomorrow’s slumber party is also off. I’ll be going dark for a few days. Love you guys.
Almost immediately, several of them are typing, including Gloria, Rick’s sister. I forgot she was in the group chat.
I exit out of that chat and tap out a text to Ivy separately.
Your phone is prob about to blow up with questions about my canceling the wedding, FYI. Might want to shut your phone off. I’m turning mine off for now. If you need me, I guess have your captor contact my captor.
Yeah, a dig at her guy. I can’t help myself.
After I hit send, I watch, and once it appears to be delivered, I open my wedding planning app and send a broadcast to anyone who has opted to receive updates through it that the wedding is canceled.
I’m sorry to inform you but the wedding has been canceled and will not be rescheduled. Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience to your schedule. Regards, Amelia Brennan.
After I send it, I immediately turn my phone off, so I don’t have to read messages or get incoming calls asking what happened.
A few minutes later, sitting alone with nothing but peace surrounding me, I realize a knot of tension has loosened and left my body. I feel lighter.
I’m one step closer to moving forward. But toward what, though?
After a while, I find myself shivering with the chill in the air, so I begrudgingly go inside. The dishes are washed, drying in the dishrack, and the main floor is empty, but his truck is still behind my car. I wander to the couch, find the remote and turn the television on. I’ve spent the past several days basically cut off from the world.
After thirty minutes of catching up on the news, I firmly press the off button; being cut off from the craziness wasn’t so bad.
Footsteps approach and I’m unprepared for what hits me.
Mason comes down the stairs, a pair of black trackpants all he’s wearing, lots of stubble on display, and judging by the towel draped around his neck and the slight sheen to his skin, he’s been working out up there. And I missed the show.
And there’s an aroma in the air… something potent and mouth-watering.
His eyes scan me as he walks by and then he’s in front of the fridge, back muscles rippling as he opens the door and peers inside.