Alessia on Adam
He’s a feeling. His energy is a force that makes an impact whether you want it to or not. He’s charming, easygoing, and loved by everyone. Especially me. He’s been the love of my life since I was a fifteen-year-old summer camper and he was a burned-out chef volunteering to make sloppy joes in the dining hall.
Unfortunately, he has a type. Tall, thin, and gorgeous. And I’m…none of those things.
I’m the friend. The roommate. The one he runs a restaurant with.
Adam on Alessia
She’s my past, my present, and my future. She’s my muse. I cook with her tastes in mind. I cook for her. But, as my brother points out, she won’t be my future if I don’t come clean about the fact that I’ve been hung up on her for years.
Coming clean might not be a choice at this rate, though. If I see Alessia on another goddamn dating app, I’m gonna lose my shit. I physically can’t stay away from her any longer, even if I risk losing everything we’ve built together.
The sexiest Valentine’s Day menu ever created. And maybe, just maybe, fingers aren’t the only thing getting licked after this meal.
She’d meet someone soon. They’d get married and she would squeeze out a few runts, and I would never see her again. It would start out slow, of course. First, we’d stop living together because her new man would find that weird. Then, she’d miss a few shifts at work. Dates and whatnot. Eventually, she’d hire someone—maybe a hostess or bartender. She’d come to work one day with a rock on her finger, and she would burst with excitement as she announced she was pregnant.
I wanted to fucking hurl.
“Oh, look,” she gasped softly.
I raised a brow at the babies. The boy yawned.
“So cute,” Alessia whispered. “I know I’m being silly, but I’m just so happy for Isla and Jack.”
Yeah, everyone was pleased as punch, from grandparents and siblings to friends and even the freaking nurses.
Aforementioned family members also knew how to go home and catch some rest.
“I’m gonna check in with the new parents,” I said. “Then we’re outta here, all right?”
Alessia nodded, probably thrilled to get another few minutes of staring at the babies.
Yup, I was definitely losing her.
I found my brother in the next hall. Isla was asleep in the hospital bed, and Jack was in the uncomfortable chair next to her, checking his phone.
I knocked lightly on the doorframe, and he glanced up and smiled sleepily.
“Mom just texted and asked if you’d managed to drag Alessia out of here yet.” He kept his voice down and stood up, walking over so we could let Isla sleep. I stepped out into the hall and removed my ball cap. “You okay?”
“Sure.” I nodded with a dip of my chin. “I talked to Alex and Jamie. We’re doing a Grady Night this weekend at Mom and Dad’s. You know that means free babysitting.”
Jack chuckled quietly and scrubbed a hand over his face. Then he flicked a glance through the window to Isla’s room. “I’ll talk to Isla,” he murmured. “I’m not so naïve that I don’t believe we’ll be tired.”
“Fucking exhausted,” I agreed.
He slid his gaze back to me. “Why the rush, though?”
I shrugged and scratched my bicep. “We gotta celebrate, don’t we?”
He drew a deep breath and saw straight through me. He didn’t even bother narrowing his eyes, something he was great at when he sniffed out bullshit. Maybe he was too tired. Or maybe I was so goddamn pathetic in my quest to fill Alessia’s calendar with family shit that it was too easy, too obvious.
“Are you never going to talk to her?” Jack asked curiously, and I tensed up. “Be honest with me, Adam. You’re seriously just going to let her run off with someone she’ll be content with at best.”
“Don’t.” I clenched my jaw. I’d hidden my feelings for Alessia for longer than I cared to admit, and no one had so much as suspected anything until Isla barged into Jack’s life and assumed Alessia and I were together the very first time she met us. “You don’t know what it’s like,” I told him.
He hiked his brows. “Oh, I don’t?”
I shook my head. “No, you don’t, and I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking about her—” I gestured to the room where Isla slept “—and the babies, but it ain’t the same. Alessia is in every part of my life. We live together, we run Coho together—she’s my best friend. She’s my past, my present, and my future. If I lose her, I have nothing.” An invisible noose tightened around my neck, and I hauled in a breath. The mere idea of not having Alessia in my life was fucking crippling. “I won’t risk it,” I stated. “I live and breathe that girl.”
Something softened in my brother’s gaze. “She might not be your future, though.”
I didn’t need a reminder.
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