Home > 218 First Hugs (First #3)

218 First Hugs (First #3)
Author: E. L. Todd





Bree and I couldn’t have the conversation right there on the couch since Evan was down the hall. So she left with a terrifying look of accusation heavy on her face. I knew the second the sun was up and we had some privacy, she would drill me like she was trying to get through solid rock.

The next morning, I let Evan out before the girls woke up. I felt dirty, like I had a nasty secret that would be the death of me. Bree knew exactly what I was doing, and I was afraid she would tell Ace, not that he would care anyway.

I walked Evan to the door and hoped he would leave without further conversation.

Of course, he didn’t want that. “Everything okay with Bree?”

“Why did you come into the living room?” I countered.

His face fell in confusion. “Just wanted to see if everything was okay.”

“No one was yelling or screaming. Everything was under control. So you were either being nosy, or you wanted Bree to see you.”

His face turned into a stone wall, completely unreadable. “What does it matter if she sees me? I know you tell her everything anyway.”

“I definitely wouldn’t tell her about this.”

“Well, you should.”

“There’s nothing to tell. We aren’t getting back together. We’re just fooling around.”

“For now.”

My eyes narrowed. “Have a good day, Evan.” I turned back to the couch, needing to get away from him.

He grabbed me by the arm and yanked me back. He planted a hard kiss on my mouth before he let me go. “I hope everything is alright with Bree. You know you can call me.” He walked away without another word.

I got the girls ready and dropped them off at school before I walked up to Amelia’s Place. There was no doubt that Bree would be there, and once everyone else left, she would turn on me.

When I walked into the office, no one was there.

Except Bree.


She sat on her desk with her legs dangling down. She wore a black shirt and jeans, ready to head to the café as soon as this conversation was over.

I was surprised the rest of the gang wasn’t there. But I guess it wasn’t surprising that Cypress hadn’t made an appearance. After his last conversation with my sister, he was probably laying low.

Bree started talking the second she saw me walk through the door. “You’re back with Evan?” She shrieked so loudly I was certain people on the bottom floor heard every word she said. “What happened to all that talk about not getting back together with him?”

“We aren’t back together.” I tossed my purse on my desk and sank into the leather chair. “And would you keep it down? Everyone is going to hear you.”

“So what?” she asked. “If you aren’t back together with him, then what are you doing?”

“I don’t know…I’ve just been depressed over Ace, so I wasn’t thinking clearly.”

“Why would you still be depressed over him? You hooked up one time.”

I couldn’t tell her the truth without throwing Ace under the bus, so I kept the knowledge to myself. “I don’t know…it’s just taken me a while.”

“Amy, Evan is the biggest douchebag on the planet.”

“I’m aware.”

“And yet, you’re sleeping with him?”

“I’m not saying it was the best decision. But I wasn’t happy, so I made a dumb decision. It happens.”

“It better not happen again. He doesn’t deserve you, Amelia.”

“I know he doesn’t.” I’d never been so lost in my entire life. I loved one man, but he didn’t see me as more than a warm body to sleep beside. The man who betrayed me wanted me back even though he didn’t deserve another chance. I was jealous of people who lived simple lives…if such people existed. “What’s going on with you and Cypress?”

“What do you mean?”

“You said you broke things off. Have you spoken since?”

“No. But we aren’t talking about me right now. We’re talking about you. I need to know you aren’t getting back together with Evan.”

“I’m not.”

“I need a promise, Amy.” She pointed her finger right at my chest.

That was a promise I couldn’t give. I had no idea what the future held. “Why do you care so much? I know you want the best for me, but you’re getting really involved in my personal life. When it came to Cypress, I gave you your space.”

“Because I lost my memory. Totally different situations.”

“Not really. I know you don’t like Evan, and neither do I. But I’m going through a hard time right now. Instead of being judged for it, I should get some slack.”

Bree finally realized she was being too hard on me when she sighed and hopped off the desk. “I’m sorry. You’re right.”

My sister was stubborn as hell, but she came to her senses eventually. “It’s okay.”

She joined me and hopped on my desk so we were close together. “Why do men have to be such assholes?”

A question no woman could answer. “I don’t know…”

“They’re such pigs. All of them.”


She hopped off the desk again and grabbed her purse. “I need to get to work, but I’m glad we had this talk. I can’t explain how much I hate Evan. I want to run him over with my car. Like, that’s how much I hate him.”

I chuckled. “I know.”

“I want you to be with someone better.”

That someone better didn’t want me. “Me too.”

“I hope we both find a happy ending someday. Right now, it doesn’t seem possible.”

My outlook on life was just as bleak. “Yeah…but let’s keep hoping.”

She sighed and headed to the door. “And dreaming.”


* * *


I waited until we closed down Amelia’s Place and all the employees left. Cypress didn’t say more than two words to me either, so he obviously didn’t want to talk about my sister.

I wanted to talk about it even less than he did.

We locked all the doors and broke down the two registers.

Cypress counted the cash and rolled it into wads, his eyes concentrating on what he was doing.

I stood at the counter and stared at him, waiting for him to acknowledge me.

He didn’t.

“Cypress, we’re gonna have to talk about this.”

He slammed the register harder than he should, making a loud, ringing noise. He clenched his jaw as he swallowed back the cold retort he had on his tongue. After he squeezed the edge of the counter, he looked at me. “I guess we do.”

“Why did you tell Bree anything?”

“Because she asked. I can’t lie to her.”

“But the kiss was just a stupid mistake. She doesn’t need to know about it.”

“Which is why I didn’t tell her you were involved. If I did…” He shook his head. “She would feel betrayed. I know she would.”

“But she’s willing to divorce you over this, Cypress.”

“I know. I was there when she told me.”

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