My phone pings in my pocket and I check the incoming text.
Josh: Did she land okay?
I smile and immediately respond, Not yet. Plane is late. Not sure when I’ll be back.
I lean my shoulder against the wall directly across from the security doors that separate the common area from the boarding area and sigh contentedly. Exploring Josh’s ranch today was amazing. His passion and love for his land was clear when he told me about the different facets of the ranch. It’s successful because he loves it so much, and failure is not an option for him.
Our time by the pond was the most amazing experience, both physically and emotionally, that I’ve ever had.
My phone pings again.
Josh: No worries, just drive safe. I’ll worry.
I smile and reply, I’ll be safe. Will text when I’m on the way.
“Flight number 223, direct service from Salt Lake City, is arriving at gate C,” a bored voice announces. Jill’s flight is here at last. I tuck my phone away as sleepy-looking passengers begin to file through the gate door and through the glass security doors to the main room.
I smile as I see Jill come through the door. She and I are the same height, but she’s on the petite side. Where I’m curvy, she’s slender. Almost delicate. She has beautiful thick, dark hair, which she keeps long and typically back in a French braid. Her soft blue eyes find mine and she offers me a weary smile as she approaches me.
“Hey, Jillybean!” I wrap my arms around her and pull her in for a long, hard hug.
“Hey, Carebear,” she replies with a laugh, and holds on tight. When I pull back and look at her, something feels off. She’s smiling at me, but her eyes are sad.
“What’s wrong?” I ask immediately.
Jill shakes her head and leads me to the baggage claim. “Not a thing.”
“Okay, why the impromptu trip?” I watch as black bag after black bag passes before us on the conveyor belt.
“Missed you.” She shrugs and chews on the inside of her lip.
“I’ve missed you too.” I hug her again and kiss her cheek with a loud, hard smack, making her laugh.
“Are we going to the Fourth of July party at the lake?” she asks as she pulls the one and only bright red suitcase off the belt, lifts the handle, and rolls it alongside her as we walk out to the car.
“Of course. We’ve never missed a year yet.”
“Good.” She sighs and settles in the passenger seat of my car, leaning her head back and closing her eyes.
“Don’t you dare go to sleep on me.” I laugh as I pull out of the airport parking lot, pay the parking fee, and turn on the highway, heading back into town. “Are you staying with Ty?”
“No, Mountain Lodge,” she murmurs, and I can feel her gaze on me. “I’m gonna surprise Ty. Stay with me at the lodge while I’m in town.”
I shake my head slowly and grin over at her. “I can’t.”
“Things going well?” She closes her eyes again.
“They are going very well.”
“Good.” Jill yawns beside me and drifts, and I let her sleep. She seems exhausted, and I can’t tell if it’s because of her demanding job or something else, but she clearly doesn’t want to talk about it.
I’ll get it out of her eventually.
I pull into the parking lot of her hotel. Jill checks in while I grab her bag and join her at the elevator.
“I’m in room four-twenty.”
We link arms and ride the elevator in silence, then stroll down the hallway of the fourth floor. Jill unlocks her room and leads me inside.
“Home away from home,” she mutters, and strips out of her hoodie and messenger-style handbag, tossing them both on the small round table by the sliding glass door that leads to the balcony.
I kick my shoes off and throw myself across one of the queen-size beds, hugging a pillow to me.
“Make yourself at home,” Jill remarks dryly.
“Okay,” I reply happily. “How’s work?”
“Busy.” She climbs onto the other bed and sits Indian-style, facing me. “As usual.”
“So, why are you here?”
“What, a girl can’t take some vacation days?”
“You didn’t give me much warning that you were coming.”
“It was a last-minute thing.” She shrugs and pulls a pillow into her lap, holding it against her chest. “I’m fine.” Her blue eyes are determined, and her mouth set in a line, and I know the subject is closed.
“Well, I’m glad you’re here. I missed you.”
“You’ve been banging Josh King. You haven’t had time to miss me.” She giggles and twists her body, lying flat on her stomach like me, facing me. “So, how is it?”
“How is what?” I ask innocently, and trace the pattern on the bedspread with my fingertip.
“The conversation,” she replies dryly, and rolls her eyes at me. “The sex, Carolina! How is the sex?”
She narrows her eyes at me and tilts her head to the side. “I will punch you in the neck if you don’t spill it.”
“God, you’re violent.”
“If it’s ‘fine’ ”—she uses the air quotes with fine—“then it’s not going great.”
“Maybe it’s not all about the sex.”
Jill laughs and shakes her head at me. “I’m sure it’s not all about the sex. But a man doesn’t look like that and not give good dick.”
I giggle hysterically and roll onto my back. “You are so classy.”
“Is it big?”
“Stop talking!” I can’t breathe now, and tears are rolling down my cheeks.
“Is it one of those that has weird coloring, or is it a handsome dick?”
“Stop!” I grip my stomach in my hands and continue to laugh, my abs aching.
“Come on,” she giggles, and flings her pillow at me, then grabs the other one to hug to her. “Spill it.”
“The sex is the best I’ve ever had.” I wipe the tears from under my eyes. “He’s hung, and he knows how to use it. Is that what you wanted to know?”
“Fuck, I hate you.” She buries her face in the pillow and screams.
“No, you don’t.”
“I haven’t gotten laid since Todd,” she mutters into the pillow.