Over the next three months, Emma and Evan spent nearly every non-working moment together, training for the marathon and catching up with Emma’s friends. When Evan finally learned that Natasha was dating Matt Jacobsen, he wasn’t surprised, but he also didn’t expect their relationship to last for much longer. Matt seemed too jealous to handle Natasha’s flirtatiousness, and Natasha seemed too seductive to be satisfied with just Matt. Evan wouldn’t put it past either of them to cheat on one another.
While Evan tried to refrain from cheating, on a rare occasion, he would log onto dontaskdonttell.com to fulfill his fantasy of Dr. Nelson. In his mind, he was doing it to keep Emma satisfied.
On the morning of the marathon, Emma and Evan awoke at his house at 4 AM to start their day.
“Stretch with me.”
Emma yawned and skeptically met Evan’s stare before slowly standing from the damp concrete. “It’s so early.”
Evan reached his hand out with a wide grin and grabbed Emma, helping her up. “We’ll be running in just a few minutes, so we need to get ready.”
“Remind me never to never run another marathon, especially at 5 AM.”
Evan stretched his arms overhead, and Emma followed his lead. They continued stretching until the announcer declared a five-minute warning. The marathon that they had trained three months for was about to begin.
Four hours later, they crossed the finish line.
Emma grabbed a banana from the sidelines and eagerly began to peel it. Evan grabbed her from behind. She turned to him with a big grin, forgetting her hunger. “I can’t believe I just ran a marathon.” She beamed.
“I’m so proud of you, baby.” Evan embraced Emma and leaned in to kiss her, making no mind of the crowd surrounding them. “Make me a promise?”
Emma leaned into him with a warm smile. “What’s that?” she whispered into his ear.
“Promise me you’ll be my today, tomorrow, and forever?”
“I promise, Evan. I’ll always be your today, tomorrow, and forever.”
Seven Months Later
“I’ll take that one.” Evan looked up from the glass barrier that separated him from the white gold, the three-stoned necklace he had been admiring.
“Great.” The attractive woman with shoulder-length black hair, green eyes, and a flashy smile announced before reaching for the necklace. “You have great taste.” She winked at him. “I notice that you aren’t wearing a wedding band. Is this for your girlfriend?”
“Yes. I plan to propose to her soon.”
The woman’s low-cut blouse left nothing to the imagination, and Evan couldn’t help but stare, which she seemed to appreciate.
“Well, I hope to see you again soon. I’d love to help you pick out the ring. We have a wonderful selection if you want to take a peek?” The woman carefully placed the necklace in a black box and slipped it into a small silver bag.
Evan shifted his eyes from her low-cut blouse to meet her gaze and shook his head. “No, thanks. I’ll come back for that.” The truth was, he already had his grandmother’s white gold solitaire engagement ring, and he envisioned the necklace would match it well. He planned to propose soon but was waiting for the right time.
“May I ask what the occasion is that you’re getting this beautiful necklace for?”
“It’s our first anniversary.” Evan pulled his wallet from his back pocket and handed her his credit card.
She rang him up, then handed him the bag with a flirtatious grin. “Happy anniversary.”
Evan reached for the bag with a smile. “Thanks.”
After exchanging gifts, hours later, Emma and Evan headed to The Coastal View, the restaurant they dined at on their first date.
Evan parked, got out of the car, and walked around to the passenger door. As he reached for the handle, he caught a glimpse of the stainless steel, diamond-studded ring Emma gave him earlier in the evening. He felt like a chump, presumably having spent much less money on her gift than she did on his. The ring must have cost her a fortune, but he didn’t pry. The worst part was, he’d only been wearing it for an hour, and it was starting to give him a rash. He kept it on, though, not having the heart to tell her it was bothering his finger.
Emma slipped out of the passenger seat and kissed him before they entered the restaurant. Neither of them had been there since their first date. The scenery hadn’t changed, except the brunette at the hostess stand was no longer there.
Minutes after they took their seats, a cheerful voice with a strong, southern accent greeted them. “Good evening, y’all.”
Evan glanced up to see the striking hostess he remembered from a year earlier. She still looked familiar, and yet, he couldn’t place her.
“My name is Samantha, and I’ll be serving you this evening. Would you like to start with a few drinks?” She smiled at Emma and then turned to Evan.
Evan met her stare with narrowed brows. How the hell do I know you? He pushed his thoughts aside as Emma spoke up and ordered her meal. He followed her lead, and within twenty minutes, they were eating.
Each time Samantha came to their table, Evan tried placing her, without success.
When they finished eating, Evan asked Samantha for the check. She swiftly set it face down on the table in front of him. “Y’all have a wonderful evening.”
Evan picked up the check and turned it over. Below the amount was a scribbled note.
Call me at 555-555-5532. Let’s finish what we started xoxo
He immediately looked at Samantha with wide eyes as she walked away.
She turned back to him with a grin.
“What’s that all about?” Emma questioned, seemingly concerned.
Evan turned back to Emma as he crumpled the check in his hand. “Nothing. Uh, she gave us a discount on the drinks because it’s our anniversary.” He reached into his pants pocket and replaced his wallet with the note. “Everything’s fine.”
Emma didn’t look like she was buying it.
“Come on,” Evan said before throwing cash on the table, “let’s go meet your friends for drinks.”
They slid out of the booth and headed toward the entrance. Evan looked around, hoping to catch a glimpse of Samantha before they left, but she was nowhere in sight. He thought back to the note, burning a hole in his pocket.
Let’s finish what we started.
What exactly had they started? Evan wondered. He couldn’t recall, but he planned to find out.