Almost Married(4)

By: Kylie Gilmore


Jaz was a super-expressive, super-animated person. Maybe not the best choice to confide in on a hangover day, but Amber had already left for a quick honeymoon weekend getaway to Cape May. So that left Jaz. Jaz and Amber were the only two in the world she could trust with this delicate situation.

“So what’s your husband think of your boyfriend and vice versa?” Jaz asked. “I like your berry lipstick, by the way.”

Steph shook her head and instantly regretted the movement. “Thanks. I tried to tell Dave last night, but things got a little hazy after the vodka and the champagne.” And the kissing, she added silently.

Jaz tucked a leg under her. “I told you to slow down on the champagne.”

Steph blinked. She'd been so wrapped up in Dave, she hadn't spent much time with Jaz at the reception. Bare and Amber had invited the entire cast and crew from the Eastman summer community theater where they’d first gotten together. Steph usually played in the chorus, and Jaz was the choreographer. The two women had become closer over this past summer as Jaz transitioned from the grueling routine of constant auditioning and dancing for on- and off-Broadway shows to opening her own dance studio for kids in Clover Park, where she grew up.

“I have no memory of that,” Steph said, rubbing her forehead. “Did you have a good time last night? Meet anyone?”

“I had fun dancing, but ya know, that’s my thing.” She tossed her curly dark brown hair over her shoulder. “Didn’t meet anyone. Whatever.” She rolled her eyes and fixed Steph with an expectant look. “Back to you.”

Her friend was beautiful with smooth café-au-lait skin and a graceful dancer’s body. Jaz claimed she only ever met other dancers and, of those few guys that were straight, she lost interest after a few weeks. Though Jaz had confided once—after too many mojitos while they watched The Notebook—that she’d never been in love. Steph hoped that would change now that Jaz lived close by. Steph would keep an eye out for eligible bachelors.

“How’s the dance studio going so far?” Steph asked. It had opened a month ago.

Jaz smacked her arm. “Girl, don’t tell me you’re married and make small talk. Spill.”

“I need water.” Steph helped herself to a glass of water in the small kitchen.

Jaz was right behind her. “I’ll make green tea. All those antioxidants and just a pinch of caffeine work great for a hangover.” She set the kettle on to boil. “So-oo, how long have we been married?”

“Five years.”

Jaz’s hands flew to her temples, eyes wide in shock. “Five years!”

Steph winced.

Jaz dropped her hands and lowered her voice. “Sorry. Five years? Where is this mystery man?”

Steph took a long drink of water. “He’s in L.A. last I heard. We’ve been separated for most of that time, but neither of us ever bothered to officially call it off.”

Jaz shook her head with a small smile as if she couldn’t quite believe it. Steph mostly tried not to think about her failed marriage in her day-to-day life. She’d moved on, even without the official paperwork.

“Jaz, last night Dave said the L word. And I said it back and meant it.” She met Jaz’s eyes, looking for judgment, but saw only sympathy.

“You have to tell Dave right away,” Jaz said. “Deception is not the way to go. Dave’s a nice guy. There’s not too many of those out there.”

Steph watched Jaz get out the stuff for tea and mentally reviewed her night. She vaguely remembered going back to her apartment. Dave walking with her to the bedroom. Then nothing. She'd woken up in her underwear, the blanket tucked around her. Dave had neatly folded her dress and left it on her dresser. For a moment, she'd thought maybe they'd fooled around, but came to the conclusion that Dave would never take advantage like that. They’d spent six weeks just kissing. He was the real deal. Dave was the reason she desperately wanted this divorce. She was terrified that if she told Dave she was still married, his gentlemanly code of honor might make him leave her on moral grounds. She should be glad he was that kind of man. It meant he'd always choose the high ground. He'd never cheat on her. Yet he might think she was cheating on Griffin. Not that Griff was Mr. Squeaky Clean himself. What with all the groupies and supermodels.

“I'm not a totally horrible person, am I?” Steph asked. “I filed for divorce the first chance I got after I met Dave. Before that it never seemed to matter since things never moved past a couple of dates.” Her throat got tight. “I knew right away Dave was special.”

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