Apparently, since they lived all the way in Missouri, the Hughes family planned to stay at the Sutton house for that entire weekend. Saturday night, Elle and I were supposed to be going on a double date with Evangeline and Callum.
I was still struggling with my emotions after hearing that Callum would eventually move into the house I now lived in. It felt like he was moving in on everything, and if I were being honest with myself, it wasn’t really the house that was bothering me. By the time he planned to move here, Elle and I would supposedly have a house somewhere nearby that Lance would put up the money for initially. The plan was that we’d eventually pay him back.
I drove us to the steakhouse in my new truck. It still had that new car smell. I was making pretty good money now, so it had been time to replace the old Ford. After dinner, we were supposed to be going bowling.
Dinner was awkward as I forced myself to talk to him.
“So, Callum, I never asked, exactly what is it that you do?”
“I’m working a temporary contract job for an airline manufacturer back in Missouri.”
“You said something about possibly moving into my guesthouse. What’s gonna happen to your job?”
“Late summer or early fall will time out perfectly with the expiration of my contract. I spoke to Lance about taking a managerial position temporarily at Sutton Provisions.”
“Yes. If things work out between Evangeline and me, after we marry, she’ll come with me back to Missouri. I’ll eventually be taking over my father’s business.”
My eyes darted over to her. She was already looking at me, expecting me to react.
He was planning to take her away from her family and Addy.
And from me.
She couldn’t have been okay with moving. That would have also meant shattering her dream of taking over Addy’s shop someday.
Elle kept talking about the wedding plans. Callum pretended to care. Both Evangeline and I were quiet.
Callum reached over and grabbed Evangeline’s hand. My eyes immediately landed on their interlocked fingers. He rubbed his thumb affectionately against her skin as he listened to Elle tell a story from across the table. It was my first real wakeup call that this was really happening. Evangeline was with him. As long as I was with Elle, I needed to learn to accept that.
I pried my eyes away from their hands long enough to notice that Evangeline had been watching me, too. Watching me watching her. We stayed looking at each other. For a moment, it was as if everyone else evaporated into thin air. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I wished it were me on the other side of the table. Except, I didn’t just want to hold her hand. I wanted to lean in and take her plump bottom lip into my mouth and suck on it slowly, run my tongue down her neck and chest in search of the nipples that were piercing through the fabric of her shirt right now. My mouth was watering, and it had nothing to do with steak. Fuck. The more I reminded myself I couldn’t have her, the more I wanted her.
The waitress came by to serve our food, snapping us back to reality.
By the time we got to the bowling alley, I was ready to take out my frustration.
Pretending each pin was Callum, I kept hitting strike after strike. I had never bowled in my freaking life.
At one point, Elle joked, “Gosh, Sevin. Maybe we have to find a bowling league for you or something.”
Callum kept using excuses to touch Evangeline. He’d allegedly be showing her how to hold the bowling ball while practically wrapping his entire body around her in the process.
The one consolation was that he’d be heading back to Missouri soon.
The hardest part of the night had nothing to do with Callum, though. We were packed into my truck heading back home when Elle pressed a button and accidentally switched the music from radio to CD mode. I’d been listening to Like a Friend by Pulp earlier that day. Number ten on the CD I made for Evangeline said it all when it came to my feelings for her. When I was alone in my car, it was one of the rare times I could unwind. I liked playing that particular one on repeat. The song was a secret between us. And now, she knew I’d been listening to it.
Peeking through my rearview mirror, I could see Evangeline was looking straight at me. Not wanting to make her uncomfortable, I switched it.
“I liked that song,” Elle said. “Why did you change it?”
“This one is better,” I lied.
When I snuck another look at Evangeline, she was blankly staring out the window.
Two weeks later, Callum was long gone. Evangeline was still talking to him every day from what I heard. Elle was deep into our wedding plans. Everything was moving so fast, it was impossible to even absorb it. So, when Elle told me she’d be going out of town the following weekend with her parents, Emily and Imogene to visit some of Olga’s cousins, I was grateful for the reprieve. They’d asked me to go with them, but I used the excuse of wanting to take that time to work on some much needed repairs to the kitchen at the guesthouse.
Evangeline also stayed behind. She was working every weekend at Adelaide’s shop much to Lance’s discontent. Even though he disapproved, he didn’t do anything to stop her. Knowing that she and I would be the only two people on the property that weekend made me a little anxious, even though I had no plans to venture over to the main house.
Saturday started off exactly as planned. On my third can of beer, I’d put my drill down to take a break from installing one of the new cabinets. Deciding to make a sandwich, I turned on the TV. The local news had cut into whatever programming had been on. The words across the screen read: Heavy Rains Moving Into Dodge City and Surrounding Areas This Afternoon and Evening.