“I wasn’t expecting you two until sometime after three,” he said.
“It’s after three in New York,” Cary rejoined, disentangling himself from Kyle.
I had my suspicions that Cary had slept with the pretty blonde at some point, and that she hadn’t brushed it off as easily as he had.
Dr. Travis caught me up in a quick hug, then did the same to Cary. I watched my best friend’s eyes close and his cheek rest for a moment on Dr. Travis’s shoulder. My eyes stung as they always did whenever I saw Cary happy. Dr. Travis was the closest thing to a father that he had and I knew how much Cary loved him.
“You two still watching each other’s backs in the Big Apple?”
“Of course,” I replied.
Cary jerked his thumb at me. “She’s getting married. I’m having a baby.”
I elbowed Cary in the ribs.
“Oww,” he complained, rubbing his side.
Dr. Travis blinked. “Congratulations. Quick work, both of you.”
“I’ll say,” Kyle muttered. “What’s it been? A month?”
“Kyle.” Dr. Travis tucked his chair into his desk. “Would you give us a minute?”
She snorted and sauntered toward the door. “You’re good, Doc, but I think you’re going to need more time than that.”
“ENGAGED, huh?” Kyle took another drag off her e-cigarette, her eyes on Cary as he leaped above Dr. Travis’s head and made a slam dunk. We sat on the worn bleachers about three rows from the top, enough distance away that we couldn’t overhear the therapy session taking place on the court.
Cary got restless when he opened up. Dr. Travis had quickly learned to keep Cary physically active if he wanted to keep him talking.
Kyle looked at me. “I always kinda figured you and Cary would end up together.”
I laughed and shook my head. “It’s not like that with us. Never has been.”
She shrugged. Her eyes were the color of the San Diego sky and heavily rimmed with electric blue liner. “You known this guy you’re marrying long?”
Dr. Travis nailed a bank shot and then ruffled Cary’s hair affectionately. I saw him glance at me and knew it was my turn.
I stood and stretched. “Catch you later,” I said to Kyle.
My mouth twisted wryly and I made my way down the stairs until I reached Dr. Travis.
He was about Gideon’s height, so I stopped before I hit the bottom stair so that we were briefly at eye level. “You ever consider moving to New York, Doc?”
He smiled his crooked smile. “As if California taxes aren’t bad enough.”
I sighed dramatically. “I had to try.”
His arm slung around my shoulders when I joined him courtside. “So did Cary. I’m flattered.”
We went to his office. I shut the door while he nabbed a dinged metal chair and spun it around to sit facing backward with his arms draped along the backrest. It was one of his quirks. He sat in the desk chair when he was just hanging out; he straddled the relic when he got down to business.
“Tell me about your fiancé,” he said, when I took my usual spot on the green vinyl sofa that was held together with duct tape and decorated with signatures of former and existing patients.
“Come on,” I chided. “We both know Cary filled you in.”
Cary always started his sessions with talk about my life and me. That eventually dovetailed into talk about him.
“And I know who Gideon Cross is.” Dr. Travis tapped his feet in that way he had that somehow never seemed restless or impatient. “But I want to hear about the man you’re going to marry.”
I thought for a minute and he sat quietly while I did, not waiting, just observing. “Gideon is . . . God, he’s so many things. He’s complicated. We have some issues to work out, but we’ll get there. My more immediate problem is the feelings I’m having for this singer I used to . . . see.”
“You remember his name.”
“Cary reminded me, but I remember our discussions about him.”
“Yeah, well.” I looked at my stunning wedding ring, twisting it around my finger. “I’m so in love with Gideon. He’s changed my life in so many ways. He makes me feel beautiful and precious. I know it seems too fast, but he’s the one for me.”
Dr. Travis smiled. “It was love at first sight for me and my wife. We were in high school when we met, but I knew she was the girl I was going to marry.”
My gaze drifted to the pictures of his wife on his desk. There was one when she was younger, and another more recent. The office itself was a mess of papers, sports equipment, books, and ancient posters of bygone sports personalities, but the frames and glass protecting the photos were spotless.
“I don’t understand why Brett has any effect on me at all. It’s not that I want him. I can’t imagine being with anyone else but Gideon. Sexually or otherwise. But I’m not indifferent to Brett.”
“Why should you be?” he asked simply. “He was a part of your life at a pivotal time, and the end of your relationship caused a bit of an epiphany for you.”
“My . . . interest—that’s not the right word—doesn’t feel like nostalgia.”
“No, I’m sure it doesn’t. I would guess you’re feeling some regret. Thinking about what-ifs. It was a highly sexual relationship for you, so there may be some lingering attraction, even if you know you’d never go there again.”