I flicked on the television, but I couldn’t concentrate. I knew no matter what he’d said that I’d fucked up. Even though he hadn’t screamed at me, I could feel the wall between us. Why the hell he was giving me another chance, I didn’t know. I was grateful, of course, but I wondered if he would ever trust me again. Hell, I wouldn’t trust me if I were him, so why should he? It just fucking sucked because I haven’t been so attracted to someone in such a long time. Maybe I subconsciously wanted to fuck things up because I didn’t feel I deserved someone as wonderful as Martinez.
“Hey, how’d it go?” Matt asked, breaking in my reverie. I hadn’t even heard him come in, which was how deep in thought I’d been. Banana was sound asleep in his arms, and he had a Kowalski bag dangling from his hand. “Banana ice cream,” he mouthed, holding up the bag. My heart smote me. I was the one who’d promised to get the ice cream, and Matt was the one who’d followed through. What did I ever do to deserve such wonderful men in my life, and why didn’t I treat them better?
“Ice cream,” Banana said sleepily, stirring in Matt’s arms. “Uncle Matt, I want ice cream. You promised.” Actually, I promised.
“Ok, doll, but then you have to go to bed, ok?” Matt carried Banana to the kitchen, and I was right behind him. He handed Banana over to me while he scooped up two balls of ice cream in a small bowl. We went back into the living room so Banana could eat. I turned off the television and watched in amusement as Banana struggled with her tiredness in order to eat her ice cream.
When she was done, we got her washed up and settled into the futon in the living room. She was out before we even tucked her in and kissed her on the forehead. Matt and I stood watching her, as if we were her parents—which we were, for the weekend. Actually, Matt was her parent—I was still the crazy aunt. As soon as we were sure she was sleeping, we tiptoed into my room to talk. I was leery of having Matt in my room given the chemistry between us lately, but we had no other choice. Well, I supposed we could talk in the kitchen, but there was no place to sit. I made sure there was a healthy amount of space between us as we sat on my bed.
“So, what did the good detective have to say about our stash?” Matt asked, his voice bordering on snide. I massaged the bridge of my nose, fervently hoping that he and Martinez weren’t going to be antagonists. It was difficult enough dating someone without having a good friend dislike the person you’re dating and vice-versa. Of course, the fact that Matt was male and very much an alpha male as was Martinez, well, that didn’t help matters any.
“He made me tell him everything I knew. That took some time. That was pretty much it.” I didn’t want to tell him the personal comments Martinez had made as they still stung.
“He dump you?” Matt asked, his voice cautious.
“No.” I looked away, not wanting to talk about it. Some things were best left unsaid, and this was one of them. “I’m going to bed. Get out.” I should have been more polite, but I was at the end of my rope.
“Don’t be mad,” Matt said, reaching over to hug me. “I’m sorry to be pissing on your parade. I want you to be happy. Really. If Martinez makes you happy, then have at it.”
“Thanks, Matt,” I said, tearing up. I hugged him back, then noticed that he wasn’t letting go. I noticed that I wasn’t letting go, either. What the fuck was I thinking, giving Matt mixed messages? I wanted things to work out with Martinez, but I also wanted Matt. It wasn’t fair to Matt, but he was a big boy. He knew how things worked. We leaned towards each other as if by mutual accord. Our lips touched, and I felt as if I were coming home. I knew I shouldn’t. I knew I was already in the doghouse with Martinez for holding out on him. I knew that Martinez would consider this another betrayal, though we’d only been on one date. I didn’t care. I slid my hand under Matt’s shirt to feel his naked skin. This time, however, it was Matt who pulled away.
“No, Scar. I’m sorry. I just said I wanted you to be happy and then….” Matt got up from the bed and started pacing. “You deserve to be happy.” He kissed me on the forehead before exiting my room. I sat where I was, stunned by what had happened. I had to get myself under control.