Thief (Love Me With Lies #3)
Author:Fisher, Tarryn

Then I met Jessica. The first thing she ever said to me was, “Damn, I don’t know if I want to lick you or marry you.”

 

I’d said, “How about both?” And that was it. We were together. Jessica Alexander was sexy and kind and ditzy — my type exactly. She was smart too, but you’d never know it from the way she babbled on and on about insignificant things like clothes and movies. I liked being with her. I liked having sex with her. She took away the constant edge I felt. Olivia gradually receded to the back of my mind. I could joke about it after a while. In retrospect, it seemed funny that I’d become so obsessed with a girl I barely knew. Then right when everything was going my way, I found out that Jessica was pregnant and had an abortion behind my back. She wasn’t the one to tell me. That’s what killed me. She made the decision without me. That was my baby — mine. I wanted that baby. I would have taken the baby even if Jessica didn’t want it. I punched a tree, sprained my wrist and went into dating hibernation.

 

 

 

After my parents divorced, my mother wanted to move to America. She was born in Michigan. Her father — my grandfather — met my grandmother at Cambridge where he was studying abroad. When they got married, they moved back to the States for a while and had my mother. But, when my grandmother was homesick, my grandfather sold their land and house, and moved back to England for her. My parents ran in the same social circles and they happened to happen. She nixed the “Sams and Alfreds and Charlies” and gave my brother and me American-sounding names. When she caught him cheating for the third time, she packed us up and moved us to America. I took it way harder than my brother. I blamed my mother for a while, until I flew to England for my dad’s fourth marriage. When I saw him taking vows for the fourth time, I got it. I wasn’t even sure what this wife’s name was. Elizabeth? Victoria? I was pretty sure it was a Queen of England. But, I knew I didn’t believe in divorce. You couldn’t make vows and just break them. If I married a woman, I was going to stay married. I wouldn’t treat marriage like a lease. Ever.

 

 

 

I wanted to marry Jessica. I mean, it’s not like I bought her a ring, but I saw her fitting into my world. My mother liked her; Jessica loved me. It was so easy. But, when I found out she had an abortion and didn’t even bother telling me she was pregnant, I lost it. I at least wanted a say with my child.

 

Then Olivia came back. She came back, dancing like a siren. I knew exactly what she was doing the night she came to my frat house and cocked her finger at me from the dance floor. If she hadn’t come to me, I would have gone to her. Forget all you know — I said to myself. This is the one you belong with. I don’t know how I knew that. Maybe our souls touched underneath that tree. Maybe I decided to love her. Maybe love wasn’t our choice. But when I looked at that woman, I saw myself differently. And it wasn’t in a good light. Not a thing would keep me from her. And that could make a person do things they never thought themselves capable of. What I felt for her scared the hell out of me. It was a consuming obsession.

 

 

 

In truth, I’d barely touched on the obsession. That was still coming.

 

 

 

 

 

“Pass the butter, please.”

 

Damn.

 

I pass her the butter, but not before I assess the density of that request. When you’re passing a woman butter across the table, you’re in something serious. I grab her tanned arm as she reaches for it and kiss the inside of her wrist. She smells like clean linen. She smiles at me — she’s always smiling. She has dimples; the deeper she smiles, the deeper they cut. Jessica and I don’t officially live together, but we alternate between each other’s places. Mostly we are here, but that’s because I like my own bed. I watch her butter her toast while she plays on her iPad. We have a nice little thing going on. I still feel like a barren wasteland on the inside, but she makes it better.

 

“Pass the salt, please.” I test this out. See how it feels. She passes the saltshaker without looking up, and I frown. Everyone knows you don’t pass the salt without the pepper. They’re a pair. Even if someone only asks for one. You pass both. Now I’m going to have to break up with her.

 

Kidding.

 

We get ready for work and kiss at the bottom of the elevator.

 

“Caleb,” she says, as I’m walking away.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“I love you.”

 

Wow. Okay.

 

“Jess,” I say. “I-”

 

“You don’t have to say it back,” she smiles, “I just want you to know.”

 

“All right,” I say, slowly. “I’ll see you tonight, yeah?”

 

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