So why in the hell hadn’t he done anything about it?
Scanning the room, his eyes lingered on blissful couples hugged up in booths, whispering sweet nothings to each other. He saw people on their way to being happy couples, offering enduring gestures in hopes of solidifying their positions in each other’s lives. Then there were the individuals obviously searching for that love connection, exchanging interested glances and warm smiles. Lastly, the handful clearly looking for just an evening with no commitment.
Him, in a past life.
Roth grumbled and damned everyone around him for carrying on with their lives while his life was falling apart around him. What had love done to him? And why had he allowed Alonso to talk him into coming here against this backdrop of happiness?
Alonso claimed another one of the habanero wings from the platter. “Have you called her?”
After giving her some time to come to her senses—which hadn’t happened—he’d decided to help her along by reaching out. She’d shunned him like a leper. “A hundred times. I feel like a stalker.” He took a swig from his glass. “She hasn’t blocked me yet. I guess that’s a good sign.”
“She will come around,” Alonso said.
Roth wasn’t so sure about his friend’s optimism. The anger he’d suppressed came back with a vengeance. “Why in the hell am I sitting around, moping? I haven’t done anything. I never touched India. If Tressa can’t trust me, then maybe…” His heart wouldn’t allow him to complete the sentence.
“Tressa loves you, Ro. She’s just hurting. Give her time to sort all her feelings. She will come around.”
“Yeah, well, I’m hurting, too. She tossed me away, man. She tossed me away just like every other—” Stopping abruptly, he finished the contents of his glass and motioned to the waitress for a refill. Enough of this feeling-sorry-for-himself bull. “I’m good. How do I even know it’s worth it anyway?”
Alonso pushed his plate away and wiped his hands. “What if Tressa walked in with another man right now?”
Alonso’s words ignited an inferno inside Roth, and lava flowed through his veins. His jaw clenched so tightly he thought the bones would shatter. The mere suggestion of another man getting any of Tressa’s time caused him to see red.
Alonso jabbed a finger at him. “That reaction, my friend, is how you know it’s worth it.”
Roth’s brow furrowed.
Alonso barked a single laugh. “You looked like you were ready to kill over a woman who hasn’t spoken to you in over a week. That’s love, man. And love is always worth it.”
Roth’s heart rate slowly decreased. He massaged the tension from the back of his neck. “Could you have thought of another way to make your point?”
Alonso flashed his palms. “Hey, I did what I had to do. You were there for me when I had given up any hope of getting Vivian back. You had my back. Now it’s time for me to repay the favor.”
Alonso clapped Roth on the shoulder. Roth couldn’t be mad at his best friend for getting his blood boiling. That’s what true friends did. They said and did whatever they needed to do to keep each other from making devastating mistakes.
“Thank you, man,” Roth said.
“My pleasure. Now, let’s strategize on how you’re going to get your woman back.”
There was no need. Roth knew exactly what he needed to do.
* * *
Tressa rolled her head to the side to glance at the clock sitting on her nightstand. Four o’clock. In two hours she had to be up, bright eyed and bushy tailed. Unfortunately, she wouldn’t be either. She’d be surprised if she’d got four full days’ worth of sleep total in the past two weeks. One thing was for sure; she couldn’t keep going like this.
Her eyes landed on the black tourmaline on the nightstand, and she thought about Roth. He hadn’t had a nightmare since she’d given him the crystals. She’d attributed it to the tourmaline; he’d attributed it to her. Recalling how grateful he’d been by her gesture warmed her, along with words he’d said. Woman, you’re the answer to my unspoken prayers. The amount of compassion that had glowed in his eyes…