Author Tracey Steinbach/Tracey Michael

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“Are you ready for me to show you my presentation now?” Gray asked, reaching for his briefcase.

“You know what? I trust you. I have every faith that your presentation will be perfect. Let’s take a walk instead. You know, so we can work off all that food we just consumed.” Harrison took the check and slid from the booth.

Gray looked at him, confused. He’d thought this was a business dinner. What kind of business dinner did you not discuss business at? Seeing the firm look on Harrison’s face, he slid from his side of the table and stood up. “Okay. Let me get my wallet out, so I can pay for my share of dinner, then.”

“Oh, no. Dinner is on me, tonight. I’ll let you buy next time.” He turned on his heel and started toward the cashier.

“I just wanted to tell you that you and your partner are very cute together. I hope you guys come back soon.”

Gray turned at the sound of the soft voice behind him. Their waitress was standing behind him, waiting to clear their table. He smiled at her. “Thank you. I’m sure we will. The food was very good.” Gray saw Harrison waiting for him at the door. “Have a nice night,” he said to the waitress as he walked away. Why didn’t I  correct her?

Gray followed Harrison out of the restaurant, matching his stride to the other man’s so he could walk beside him. “Let me drop this at my car, quick.” They walked to the parking garage where Gray had parked his car. Gray put his briefcase on the front seat and relocked the car.

Heading out to the sidewalk, Gray shot Harrison a look. “So, are you from around here, Harrison?” He hadn’t had a chance to ask about his background during dinner. It seemed he’d done most of the talking.

Harrison glanced over at Gray. The man had the sweetest smile.  “No, I moved here because of work. Why? Do you want to be my tour guide?” Gray could hear the teasing in Harrison’s voice. “Sure. I can show you around, if you want. I’ve been living here my whole life, so I know where all the good spots are.” He nodded across the street with his head. “Like there. That park is gorgeous, especially in fall when the leaves are turning. They keep it neat, too. I go there sometimes for lunch when the weather’s warm. We can cross here and go over now. They keep it well lit, too.

I was standing in front of a floral shop when someone covered my eyes with their hands and whispered, “Guess who?”.

My heart pounded in my chest. I knew that voice. It was the one I'd prayed and begged for weeks to come back to me. My stomach rolled. “Don't puke. Don't puke.” I chanted silently. “A-Alex.”

Her hands left my eyes and there she was, reflected back at me in the glass of the little shop. I did my best to control my face, not having the foggiest clue what was going on.

“Baby, aren't you going to turn around here and give me a hug?” Alex asked, smiling at me like it had been minutes instead of weeks since she'd seen me.

I swallowed hard and turned around. “Sure, Alex.” I gave her one of those uncomfortable, I don't like you but we're in public and I won't make a scene hugs. I pulled back and hugged myself instead. “How are you?”

Alex frowned at me, crossing her arms over her chest. “What's with you? I thought you'd be happy to see me.”

“H-happy to see you?!” I looked around to see if we were drawing any attention. No one seemed to notice us, but I dropped my voice to a quiet hiss anyway. “You left me. I begged you to stay and you left anyway. What do you want, Alex?” Where I'd found a backbone, I wasn't sure. Normally with Alex, I just followed her lead. I didn't make waves and I didn't create conflict.