Evan pulled into the parking lot of the Coastal View and parked beside Emma’s SUV. She wasn’t in her car, so he expected that she was already inside with Natasha, Matt, and Matt’s cousin John. He turned off the ignition and grabbed his phone as it alerted him to an incoming text.
Do we have a session tonight?
Evan smirked as he read Samantha’s text. As tempting as the invite was, he hadn’t seen Emma in two days, so his “therapy session” would have to wait. Without responding, he slipped his phone into his pocket and proceeded to the second-story deck to find Emma and her friends.
Evan turned in the direction of the voice and spotted Emma waving at him from a table nearby. She was sitting between Natasha and John. Evan walked toward the table and John stood to offer him the seat.
“No problem,” John responded, and took a seat on the other side of Evan beside Matt.
Evan liked John more than Matt, but not by much. Maybe it was the way he often caught John staring at Emma on the rare occasions they did all go out together. It was obvious to Evan that John was smitten with her. Who wouldn’t be? She was amazing; hardworking, beautiful, sweet, and kind. The list went on and on. Or maybe it was because he knew John and Matt were related, and therefore, cut from the same cloth.
Emma leaned in for a kiss, distracting Evan from his thoughts.
“Does Evan even know about your cause to celebrate, Emma?” Natasha chimed in with a slight slur of the tongue. It was obvious she had been drinking for the better part of the evening.
“What’s going on?” Evan turned to Emma, who was grinning from ear to ear.
“Oh, it’s nothing,” Emma shrugged, yet continued to smile.
“Bullshit it’s nothing!” Natasha raised her nearly empty glass of wine high into the air. “Your girl closed a multi-million dollar deal today and you haven’t even asked her about it.”
“Natasha, stop,” Emma quietly scolded. “Evan just got here. He hasn’t had time to talk to any of us.”
Natasha brought the wine glass to her lips and took a sip before moving her gaze to Emma. “He could have called you to ask about it.”
Her demeanor was patronizing, but Evan had come to expect nothing less from Natasha. He went from genuinely liking her to thinking she was someone that couldn’t be trusted, especially after the stunt she pulled with his assistant.
He would never tell Emma that she was better off without Natasha’s friendship. But that’s how he felt.
“That’s amazing, babe.” Evan reached for Emma’s knee and gently squeezed. Truth be told, he hadn’t asked about her work lately. But he assumed if there was big news to share, she would tell him about it without prompting. Then again, Emma was modest. Maybe he should have asked her and not assumed she’d offer any information to him. She was tight-lipped like that for the most part, barely letting her feelings show. She did, however, share how she felt about Evan often. He never questioned her love for him. Then, his thoughts turned to guilt for not having asked Emma about life in general lately.
“Cheers, Emma,” Matt bellowed, and the rest of the table raised their glasses, except for Evan, who didn’t have one yet.
Evan leaned into Emma. “I’m going to go to the bar to order a drink since the waitress hasn’t come over to us yet.” He stood, made his way through the crowd to the bar, and ordered a beer. As he waited for the bartender to serve him, he felt a hand on his lower back. Assuming it was Emma, he turned with a smile, which quickly faded.
Evan had been waiting for the other shoe to drop. Just like that, it could be a possibility.
“Evan!” A deep voice bellowed before him. “I haven’t seen you lately.”
“Dr. Thorne, nice to see you.” Evan’s gaze wandered from his therapist to Emma, who was eying them from the high-top table. The last place he expected to see his therapist was at a bar.
“I presume things are going well?” Dr. Thorne brought a beer to his lips and took a sip.
“Yeah, really well.” Evan nodded with a grin.
“Great to hear.” Dr. Thorne offered a sincere smile to Evan, then patted him on the shoulder. “Hope to see you again soon?”
It resonated with Evan to be more like a question than a statement. Evan nodded again. “I’ll call your office soon.”
Dr. Thorne approved with a nod and moved past him, out of sight.
“What can I get you?”
Evan turned back to the bar, grateful for the opportunity to order a drink. “Vodka on the rocks, please.” Evan paid the bartender, then swiftly made his way back to the table after receiving his drink.
“Who was that?” Emma asked as he took a seat beside her.
“Oh, just a client from work,” Evan offered. Lying to her had become so easy. What made it even easier was the fact that she never questioned him. She trusted him.
Even Evan knew that trusting him was a big mistake.
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