The Unhoneymooners

Page 42

Natalia shrugs and picks a piece of lint off my collar. “She seemed stressed. She was asking me about someone named Trinity.”

“Trinity?” I repeat, digging around in my thoughts to figure out why the name sounds familiar.

“Apparently Dane had a few texts from her, and Ami saw them on his phone.”

I cover my mouth. “Like sexy texts?” I am both devastated and hopeful if this is true: I want Ami to believe me, but I’d rather be wrong about all of it than have her go through that pain.

“I guess she just asked if he wanted to hang out, and Dane was like ‘Nah, I’m busy’ but Ami was pissed that he was texting a woman at all.”

“Oh my God, I think Trinity was the girl with the mango butt tattoo.”

Natalia grins. “I think I read that book.”

This makes me laugh, and the sensation is like clearing away cobwebs from a dark corner of a room. “Ethan mentioned someone named Trinity. She—”

I stop. I haven’t told anyone in my family about what Ethan told me. I could try to blow Dane’s entire cover story if I wanted, but what good would that do? I don’t have any proof that he was seeing other women before he married Ami. I don’t have any proof that he propositioned me in the bar. I just have my reputation as a pessimist, and I don’t want my entire family looking at me the way Ethan did when he registered that even my twin sister thinks I’m making this all up.

“She what?” Natalia presses when I’ve fallen quiet.

“Never mind.”

“Okay,” she says, fired up now, “what is going on? You and your sister are being so weird lately, and—”

I shake my head, feeling the tears pressing in from the back of my eyes. I can’t do this before my shift. “I can’t, Nat. I just need you to be there for Ami, okay?”

She nods without hesitation.

“I don’t know who Trinity is,” I say, and take a deep breath, “but I don’t trust Dane at all anymore.”

• • •

AFTER MIDNIGHT, I DRAG MY bag from my locker in the back room and sling it over my shoulder. I don’t even bother to look at my phone. Ami isn’t texting, Ethan isn’t calling, and there’s nothing I can say in reply to the forty other messages on my screen every time I look.

But halfway to my car, it chimes. It’s a brief flurry of bells and rotors and change falling: the sound of a jackpot. Ami’s text tone.

It’s ten below outside, and I’m in a black skirt and thin white button-down, but I stop where I am anyway and pull my phone from my bag. Ami has sent me a screencap of Dane’s text list, and there are the usual suspects—Ami and Ethan and some of Dane’s friends—but there are also names like Cassie and Trinity and Julia. Ami’s text says,

Is this what you were talking about?

I don’t know how to answer. Of course my gut tells me that those are all women Dane has slept with, but how would I know? They could be work colleagues. I bite my lip, typing with frigid fingers.

I have no idea who they are.

I don’t have a list of names. If I did, I would have shown it to you.

I wait for her to start typing again, but she doesn’t, and I’m freezing, so I climb into my car and crank the heat as high as it will go.

But about three blocks from my apartment complex, my phone chimes again, and I pull over with a sharp jerk of my steering wheel.

Dane left his phone here yesterday.

I spent like two hours trying to guess his passcode, and it’s fucking “1111.”

I bite back a laugh and stare at the screen hungrily: she’s still typing.

I sent myself all the screenshots.

All the messages from these women are asking the same thing—whether Dane wants to hang out. Is that code for a booty call?

I blink at the screen. Is she serious?

Ami, you know what I think already.

Ollie what if you were right?

What if he’s cheating on me?

What if he’s been cheating on me this whole time?

A fracture forms right down the middle of my heart. Half of it belongs to my sister, for what she’s about to go through; the other half will always keep beating for myself even when no one else will.

I’m sorry Ami. I wish I knew what to say.

Should I answer one of the texts?

I stare at the screen for a beat.

On his phone?

As Dane?


I mean, you could.

If you don’t think you’ll get an honest answer from him.

I wait. My heart is in my throat, clawing its way up.

I’m scared.

I don’t want to be right about this.

I know, honey.

For what it’s worth, I don’t either.

I’m going to do it tonight.

I take a deep breath, close my eyes, and let it out slowly. Somehow, being believed at last doesn’t feel nearly as good as I’d hoped it would.

I’m here if you need me.

• • •

ALTHOUGH I’D HAD TWO MONTHS of unemployment not too long ago, I spent most of that time hunting for jobs or helping Ami prepare for the wedding, so now, keeping busy during the day has become so much more important. Because if I don’t, I think about Ethan. Or Ami.

I don’t hear from her the entire next day, and there’s a knot in my stomach the size of Texas. I want to know how things went with Dane last night. I want to know whether she’s replied to the texts or confronted him, and what happened. I feel protective, and worried for her, but there’s literally nothing I can do, and I can’t call Ethan, either, because we all know he’s on the Dane Train until the end of the tracks.

Given that I’m off tonight, getting out of my apartment—and my head—becomes a priority. I dread going to the gym, but whenever I get in front of the punching bag, I’m amazed how much better I feel. I’ve started walking dogs at the local Humane Society and have a new golden retriever buddy named Skipper that I’m considering bringing home for Mom as a surprise—whether it would be a good surprise or a bad one I’m not sure, which is why I’m still considering it. I help a few of my neighbors shovel their walkways, go to a talk on art and medicine at the Walker Art Center, and meet Diego for a late lunch.

He hasn’t heard from Ami today, either.

It’s strange to realize that as soon as I got off the career treadmill, my life suddenly started to feel like mine again. I feel like I can look up for the first time in a decade. I can breathe. There’s a reason Ethan didn’t know much about my job: I never talked about it. It was what I did, not who I was. And even though many of my breaths ache—because I miss Ethan, I do, I miss him so much it hurts—not having the weight of a corporate job on my shoulders is an unbelievable relief. I never knew I was this person. I feel more myself than I’ve ever been.

Ami calls at five, when I’ve just walked in my front door and am making a beeline for the lint roller; Skipper is a shedder, even in early February. I haven’t heard her voice in two weeks, and I can hear the way my own shakes when I answer.


“Hey, Ollie.”

I leave a long, quiet pause. “Hey, Ami.”

Her voice comes out thick and strangled. “I’m really sorry.”

I have to swallow a few times to get past the clog of emotions in my throat. “Are you okay?”

“No,” she says, and then, “but yes. Do you want to come over tonight? I made lasagna.”

I chew my lip for a few beats. “Is Dane going to be there?”

“He’ll be here later,” she admits. “Please Ollie? I really want you to be here tonight.”

There’s something about the way she’s said it that makes me feel like it’s more than just sister-reconnecting time. “Okay, I’ll be over in twenty.”

• • •

I LOOK AT MYSELF IN the mirror every day, so it shouldn’t be so jarring to see Ami standing on her porch waiting for me, but it is. We’ve never gone two weeks without seeing each other—even in college. I was at the U, she was at St. Thomas, and even in the busiest week, we still saw each other at dinner on Sundays.

I wrap my arms around her as tight as they’ll go and squeeze even tighter when I can tell she’s crying. It feels like that first inhale after holding my breath as long as I can.

“I missed you,” she says through a sob into my shoulder.

“I missed you more.”

“This sucks,” she says.

“I know.” I pull back, wiping her face. “How are you?”

“I’m . . .” She trails off, and then we sort of stand there, grinning at each other through the telepathy because the answer is obvious: My wedding was ruined by ciguatera toxin, I missed my honeymoon, and now my husband may be cheating on me. “I’m alive.”

“Is he home?”

“Work.” She straightens, taking a deep breath and pulling herself together. “He’ll be home around seven.”

She turns and leads me inside. I love their house—it’s so open and bright, and I’m grateful that Ami has such a strong decorating sense because I assume if it was left up to Dane, the decor would be a lot of Vikings purple, dart boards, and maybe some hipster leather couches and a craft cocktail cart that he’d never use.

Ami moves to the kitchen, pouring us each a big glass of wine.

I laugh when she hands mine to me. “Oh, so it’s that kind of night.”

She nods, smiling even though I can tell there’s nothing happy happening in her body right now. “You have no idea.”

I still feel like I have to tiptoe around the topic, but I can’t help but ask, “Did you take his phone last night? What’s the latest?”

“Yeah. I took his phone.” Ami takes a long drink and then looks at me over the rim of her glass. “I’ll tell you all about it later.” She tilts her head, indicating that I should follow her into the family room, where she’s already got our plates of lasagna set up on two TV trays.

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