“God, stop whining,” he says and rolls his eyes. “It’ll be good for you.”
We leave my condo, ride down the elevator and walk out to the sidewalk, then break out into a slow jog.
“This is as fast as you’re going to go?” Blake asks me with a smirk.
“If you don’t like it, go by yourself.” I sniff and already hate the way it feels to run. I’ve always hated it. “How’s Emily?”
“Why do we have to talk about this?”
“So it takes my mind off the fact that I don’t want to be running.”
“So, let’s talk about your love life”
“Hell no, you’re the one making me run. So start talking.”
He sighs and stares out at the water, watching a boat drift by. “We’re good.”
“Well, that was informational.”
Blake laughs ruefully. “One of the things I love about you is that you don’t take my shit.”
“You don’t need me to take your shit. You have enough people in your life who do that for you.”
“True enough.” He picks up the pace, just a bit, and I growl at him, making him laugh again. “You’re kind of a weenie, Leash.”
“She’s great.” He sighs again, not because he’s out of breath, but because he doesn’t want to talk about this with me.
I don’t care.
“She’s funny. Smart. Has a banging body.”
I shake my head and look up toward the heavens. “Seriously.”
“She seriously has a banging body.”
“Does it always go back to sex with men?”
“Pretty much, yeah.” He seems to give this some thought and then shrugs. “So I enjoy sex. Sue me.”
“I enjoy it too, but that isn’t in the top three things that I talk about when I discuss who I’m dating.”
“Okay, what are your top three things?”
“He’s smart, sweet and funny.”
“What’s number four?”
“He’s amazing in bed.”
He laughs long and loud, then high fives me. “You’re funny.”
“I really enjoy Emily,” he says, serious now. “She’s fun to be around, and she also doesn’t take my shit. If I cook something she doesn’t like, she’s honest about it. She’s sweet.”
“She is sweet,” I agree. “I’m glad it’s going well.”
“You are?” he asks, surprised.
“Of course. I want you to both be happy.”
“When we were at Dom’s, you didn’t seem so convinced.”
“I admit, I always imagined you’d be happy with someone other than each other,” I admit with a shrug. I’m breathing harder now, and that pisses me off. “But you’re adults.”
“How are things with Dom?”
I grin before I can stop myself, and Blake being Blake, he catches it.
“That good, eh?”
“I like him.”
“Thank you, captain obvious.”
I laugh and elbow his arm.
“He’s nice to me.”
“He’d better be, or I’ll kick his ass, friend or not.”
“Out of morbid curiosity, what do you like about him?”
I frown and ponder the question, running in step with him, our feet pounding the pavement. We pass an older man walking his dog, and a young mother with a baby in a stroller.
“I respect him,” I begin. “When I first met him, I thought he was just a player. Some charming Italian who melts panties off women with just a few pretty words, and works his way from bed to bed.”
“Wow, you got all of that from meeting him at family gatherings?”
I shrug and keep talking. “But he’s not that person. He loves his family fiercely. He’s proud of his business. He’s so damn good to me.”
I glance over to find Blake watching me with serious eyes.
“You deserve to be happy too, you know.”
I nod and then laugh. “And as ridiculous as this sounds, I think I’m in love with him.”
“Oh, I could have told you that.”
“You should see the look on your face when you talk about him,” he says with a grin. “You’re such a girl.”
I shake my head as we turn back toward the condo.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been in love before, B.”
“You’ve been married,” he says.
“I’m learning that doesn’t mean much,” I reply honestly. “I mean, I think I thought I loved Jonathan when I married him; I hope I did, but it was nothing at all compared to this. And it’s going to sound silly, but I miss him.”
“Why is that silly?”
“I just saw him Monday morning. I’ve been too busy this week to see him, and I miss him.”
“Why are you running with me on your one free night this week rather than spending it with Dom?”
“Because he has an event at the vineyard, so he’s not free tonight.”
“Have you told him you love him?”
“Are you nuts?” I shriek. “No way.”
“Because I’ve only been seeing him for a few weeks. It’s too soon.”
“Women.” He rolls his eyes and speeds up more as my building comes into view, but I let him go ahead of me, and stay at my pace. When I approach my building, he’s panting, stretching his legs by the front door. I immediately begin to stretch with him.
“You should go see Dom tonight, Alecia.”
“Not too busy for you to show up and tell him you love him.”
“I can tell him this weekend.”
“Why wait? You miss him. You love him. Go see him. Seriously, life’s too short for this bullshit.”
I let us into my condo, frowning at my friend. “When did you become a dating expert?”
“Look.” He takes my shoulders in his hands and forces me to look him in the eye. This is very un-Blake. “What if you don’t get the chance to tell him? You’ll always regret it.”
“Have you told Em you’re in love with her?”
“Hell yes, I have.”
I’m struck dumb. I stare up at him, and then fling my arms around his neck, hugging him tightly. “I’m so happy for you.”