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By´╝ÜJaimie Roberts

Jeremy nodded and turned over on his side. It wasn’t long before he was asleep.

“Are you going to be okay?”

I turned to look at Evan with a smile. “I’ll be fine. Honestly.”

Kneeling down again, Evan took my hand. “Are you going to tell me what this means now? Why are your parents coming over to see you both like this?”

I sighed. I really didn’t want to get into this with him, but I had to give him something. He was obviously worried. “I honestly don’t know. I will have to think about something. In the meantime, I just want to make sure Jeremy gets better.”

Evan stared at me with his soft brown eyes. He wasn’t exactly what you would call the “make your knees weak” type. He was handsome, yes, but he looked ordinarily handsome to me. It was a strange analogy, but one that fit him best. He was of average size and build with short blonde hair and soft brown eyes. Because of work, he never had time to workout, but he was still fit. He just lived for work, me, and Jeremy. He was a great man who, for some unknown reason, loved me fiercely. The good news was he loved Jeremy just as much. He was perfect marriage material. So why did I find it so hard to say yes to him when he asked me to marry him over a year ago? Why did I turn him down a second and third time a few months after? Why could I not bring myself to love him just as much as he loved me?

At times, I felt selfish for the way I behaved. I was a mother and needed to act like one. Jeremy deserved and needed a father, but I kept holding myself back. I couldn’t find it in my heart to be with the one man who could give me everything. Everything except the one thing I could never have. The one thing I craved day after day.

“Please be honest with me.” Evan looked at me with pleading eyes. “Are you and Jeremy in danger? Do we need to move? Because I’ll do it if we have to.”

I shook my head. “No, of course not. Dean would never hurt us.”

Evan’s eyes widened. “You know, that’s the first time you’ve ever mentioned his name.” Evan stood up and looked pained. “So that’s why Jeremy’s middle name is Dean. You named him after his father, even after everything he’s obviously put you through?”

I hung my head in shame. My son’s name was Jeremy Dean Florentino. I named him after Jeremy because it was in honour of his memory, but I also named him after Dean because he still, after all was said and done, remained the love of my life. I could never shake that. I could never deny that…no matter how much telling myself that a life with him was not an option. I was just as obsessed with him now as I ever was. I couldn’t see that ever changing. Not even for this sweet man I saw before me.

“I’m sorry.” I didn’t know why the fuck I was apologizing, but it just seemed like the only thing I could offer him now.

Evan shoved his hand through his hair and knelt beside me again. Taking my hand, he looked into my eyes. “Why won’t you tell me about him? Why can’t you open up and trust me with something that was obviously a big part of your life?”

The tears welled again, but I didn’t want to lose it now. I couldn’t risk Jeremy waking up and seeing me cry again. “I can’t.” Despite what I said, I would always love him. How could I possibly explain that?

Evan closed his eyes in frustration. I couldn’t fathom why he put up with me. “It’s been four years, Jessica. You need to move on. And, to be honest, I was kind of hoping it would be with me.” He looked sheepish as he grabbed my hand in his. “I know this isn’t the time or place. I just wish you would give me a little ray of hope…something, anything.”

I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out. It was like my tongue was stuck in my mouth. How could I say anything without crushing Evan’s world around him? How could I possibly be that bitch?

Evan must have seen my hesitation and the pain running through my eyes. “It’s okay. You don’t have to answer me now. We’ll talk about this another time.” He looked at me and I nodded.

Evan let out a sigh and leaned over to kiss me longingly. I could feel the desire and the warmth coming from him. He never had to make his feelings known through words. I could always feel it through his touch. He was a gentle man, the perfect lover. So why did I feel like there was something missing?

“You’re so beautiful.” Evan caressed my cheek and smiled at me.

I blushed a little, which was always an instant reaction whenever someone complimented me. Evan smiled and trailed a finger down my cheek. “Look at that. Rosy cheeks.”

I stiffened and felt the air in my lungs escape. Evan, seeing my panic, stepped back a little. “What’s the matter? Are you okay?” I nodded vigorously, but still couldn’t seem to breathe. “Did I say something wrong? Jessica, talk to me?”