Almost Married(8)

By: Kylie Gilmore


He straightened up. “That sounds ominous.”

“No…it's…I don't know.” She blew out a breath, suddenly at a loss for words. How did you tell the man you loved that you were married?

He set down his fork. “You’re making me nervous. Are you breaking up with me?”

A hysterical laugh escaped. “No!”

He flopped back in his seat. “Good. Because after all the I love yous…” He gestured back and forth between them.

“I know, right?” She laughed maniacally and clamped her mouth shut.

He became serious, leaning forward to study her across the table. “I’m glad.”

“Sorry. I mean, me too.” She barked out a laugh. “I’m sorry. This isn’t funny.” She forced herself to stop the insane smiling. “It’s just so hard to talk about.”

He took her hand. “Steph, I love you.” His thumb rubbed small circles across her palm, warming her. “You can tell me anything.”

He was so fucking sweet, and she was going to ruin everything. She felt sick. “Oh, God…”

He squeezed her hand. “It’s okay. Just say it.”

“I'm married,” she blurted, then all in a rush, “I filed for divorce after I met you, but Griffin hasn't signed the papers.”

His eyes widened. He dropped her hand and leaned back from the table as if to get away from her words. “You're married?”

She grimaced. “Only technically. We've been separated almost the entire five years.”

Hurt washed over his face, and she felt that like a stab to the heart. She hated that she’d put that look there.

He stared at the table. “Technically married is still married.”

“It’s not a real marriage,” she said. “It’s over.”

He still wouldn’t look at her. “You said you loved me,” he said quietly.

Her heart lurched painfully. “I do.”

“I was planning…I thought…” He met her eyes with a hard look. “I'm so stupid.” His face flushed red with anger. “When were you planning on telling me?”

“I don’t know.” Her hands fluttered helplessly in the air. “Now, I guess. When it seemed like we might actually have a future.”

“She’s married,” he muttered to himself. “Married.” He took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. He stayed like that for a long time.

“Dave? I just wanted you to know. Honesty is important.”

He grunted.

“We can still be together.”

He finally slid his glasses back in place and met her eyes. “I don’t know about this.” He exhaled sharply. “I wish you’d just been honest with me from the beginning.”

“I know. I definitely should’ve been more upfront.”

It was just that she hated confrontations. It was something she knew she had to work on, but years of trying to be the easy, never-get-into-trouble kid for her single mom were ingrained into her. Her younger brother had been a lot of work for her mom. Even when Steph was at work, if a kid was acting up in her classroom, she’d just send them to the principal instead of confronting them on their behavior.

He rubbed the back of his neck. “Are you really getting a divorce?”

“Yes. As soon as I can arrange it.”

He stared at the table. “I’m getting a really bad feeling about this. Your husband’s not going to show up here and kick my ass, is he?”

She laughed much too hard. “No way! I haven’t heard a peep from him in five years! No way he’d be any threat to you.”

His lips formed a flat line. “Okay. I don’t like it, but…” He ran a hand through his hair, leaving it a rumpled mess. “I need some time to think about this.”

“Okay. Take as much time as you need.”

He nodded. “Ready to go?”

“Sure.”

Dave left some bills on the table and drove her home. He was quiet, which made her feel jumpy. Maybe he was in shock. Just like always, he parked and walked her to the front door. She gave him a quick kiss goodbye, wondering if it was their last.

“See you later,” she said.

“Yup,” he said tersely before turning to go.

She let herself into her apartment, mad at herself for waiting so long to tell Dave the truth, but also mad at Griffin for not signing those damn divorce papers. She punched the number for Griff’s manager, Bill, on her cell. She got his voicemail again and left a message, “This is Stephanie Moore-Huntley, Griffin's wife. Tell him if he doesn't sign those divorce papers right away, I will demand back alimony and take him for all he's worth!”

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