Her latest photos featured the Space Needle in Seattle, Pike Place Market, and The Lumen Stadium where I’d played countless Sunday games.
I continued looking through her posts until I reached a picture that featured her face. Until the ache in my chest became twenty-times more unbearable.
In a post from December, she was sitting alone in a bright green booth and holding up an oversized martini glass.
“Cheers to a new year with new friends!” Her caption read.
With her blond hair pulled into a messy bun atop her head and her lips painted bright red, she looked even sexier now than she did in college.
I saved a few screenshots to my phone, just in case she blocked me again.
I started to send her a direct message, but I wasn’t sure what to say. The words “Hey. How have you been?” felt too small, and the words, “I’ve missed the fuck out of you,” felt too grandiose.
Instead, I roamed down a rabbit hole and clicked on all the people she’d tagged in various posts, trying to gain more insight on what she’d been doing with her life.
Four names showed up the most: Nick. Barrett. Samson. Alonna.
The guys’ profiles offered little more than group shots at a bar, so I clicked on her friend Alonna’s page.
For some strange reason, her most recent picture was one of Courtney in a stunning, low-cut black dress. One that was making my cock stiffen.
Clicking on the post, I read the caption.
* * *
I temporarily blocked Courtney from my page, so she can’t see this!
(Shhhh! Don’t tell her!)
I’m throwing her a surprise brunch party this weekend at The Savoy Bar near Pike Place Market.
R.S.V.P. via my direct messages & don’t tell her anything about this!
See you there!
* * *
I reread the caption for several minutes, wondering if this new friend, Alonna, knew that Courtney hated surprises.
I doubted that had changed in the months since we’d last spoken, and I also knew better than to RSVP just to see her again. I was certain she’d told anyone willing to listen how we’d fallen apart, how our once-in-a-lifetime friendship had cracked at the seams.
Then again, I wanted to believe that her birthday comment was a sign that we could finally fix things between us. That maybe—just maybe, the promises we made during our senior year had been on her mind lately as much as they’d been on mine.
Does she remember?
Standing to my feet, I stepped into the hallway and weighed my options.
One: I fly to Seattle to surprise her at an event she’ll probably hate. Then I’ll ask if we can talk in private.
Two: I stay in town and wait until after the playoffs to send her a request for dinner.
As I walked toward the elevators, I heard a familiar sound.
“Sucks. Sucks. Sucks!”
What the hell?
Two camouflaged men—the guys who lived on the floor above me, suddenly moved from behind the hallway statue.
“Kyle Stanton sucks! Kyle Stanton sucks!” They screamed in unison. “Middle fingers up, he doesn’t care about us!”
Okay, fuck this. I’m going to Seattle.
This is not your real life, Court. This is all a sucky simulation, and you’re going to wake up in thirty seconds.
“Order of five frosted bagels and two deluxe tai teas for a Courtney Johnson?” A high-pitched voice interrupted my thoughts, instantly drowning my hopes. “Is there a Courtney Johnson in here?”
“That’s me.” I grabbed the order and slipped out of the cafe, making my way back to The Fine Print Publishing.
Taking the elevator to the top floor, I walked into my boss’s office and bit my tongue before setting down the bag.
“Thank you so much for bringing that in for me, Courtney,” he said. “I’ve got a long day of work ahead of me, and I’m always in awe that you come into work so early. You’re like one of the interns.”
It’s honestly starting to feel that way … “Glad I could do you a quick favor, Mr. Bruce.”
“I’ve heard that your supervisor, Michael Router, is working on one hell of a piece. Aren’t you glad that you’re getting the opportunity to work under someone with that level of writing talent?”
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