Haley lifted her hands. “Okay, not sharing. Got it.” She turned to Elle and Willa. “I think we’ve verified the breakup rumor.”
Pru froze. “There’s a breakup rumor?”
Willa lifted her hand, her first finger and thumb about an inch apart. “Little bit.”
Pru sank to the couch, still clutching her muffins. “I’d like to be alone now.”
“Sure,” Elle said. “We understand.” And then she sat on one end of the couch and picked up the remote to turn the volume up. “Season three, right? Love this show.”
Eyes on the screen, already enraptured, Haley sat on the other end.
Pru opened her mouth to complain but Willa took the floor, leaning back on the couch, leaving a spot right in the middle for Pru.
She blew out a breath and in the respectful silence that she appreciated more than she could say, she wasn’t alone at all.
Two days later Pru walked to work. In the rain. She knew she was bad off when Thor didn’t complain once. He did however, keep looking up at her, wondering what their mood should be.
Devastated. That was the current mood. But she didn’t want to scare him. “We’re going to be okay.”
Thor cocked his head, his one stand-up ear quivering a little bit.
He didn’t believe her.
And for good reason. She hadn’t slept. She’d called in sick again and Jake had let her get away with that.
Until this morning. He’d called her at the crack of dawn and said, “I don’t care if your uterus is falling out of your body, take some Midol and get your ass into work. Today.”
She wasn’t surprised. And to be honest, she was ready to get back to it after a two-day pity party involving more ice cream than she’d eaten in her twenty-six years total. She’d run out of self-pity stamina. Turned out it was hard to maintain that level of despair.
So with it now at a dull roar, she’d showered and dressed and headed to work. “I just feel . . . stupid,” she told Thor. “This is all my fault, you know.”
“Honey,” a woman said, passing her on the sidewalk. “Never admit that it’s all your fault.” She was wearing the smallest, tightest red dress Pru had ever seen, and the five-inch stilettos were impressive.
“But this time it really is,” Pru told her.
“No, you’re misunderstanding me. Never admit it’s your fault, especially when it is.”
The woman walked on but Thor stopped and put his front paws on Pru’s leg.
She picked him up and he licked her chin.
Her throat tightened. “You love me anyway.” She hugged him, apparently squeezing too tight because he suffered it for about two seconds and then growled.
With a half laugh and half sob, she loosened her grip. When she got to work, she walked straight through the warehouse to the offices. She passed those by too and headed back to the area where Jake lived.
He was lifting weights, the music blaring so loud the windows rattled. She turned off the music and turned to face him.
“You okay?” he asked, dropping the weights, turning his chair to face her, his face creased in worry.
She’d planned what she would say to him. Something like I know, you told me so, blah blah blah, so let’s not talk about it, let’s just move on. And she opened her mouth to say just that but nothing came out.
“What’s going on?”
She burst into tears.
Looking pained, he stared at her. “Did you forget the Midol? Because I bought some, it’s in my bathroom. I’ve had it for over a year, I’ve just never figured out how to give it to you without getting my head bit clean off.”
She threw her purse at him. “I didn’t get my damn period!”
“Oh shit,” he said, blanching. “Oh fuck. Okay, first I’ll kill him and then—”
“No!” She actually laughed through her tears. “I’m not pregnant.”
He let out a long breath. “Well, Jesus, lead with that next time.”
Pru shook her head and turned to go, but he was faster than her even in his chair. He got in front of her and blocked the door.
“Talk to me, chica,” he said.
“You done being a stupid guy?”
“I’ll try to be.” He said this quite earnestly, his gaze on hers. “You did tell him then.”
“And . . . it went to hell?” he guessed.
“In a hand basket,” she agreed.
She shook her head. “Don’t be. I was a dumbass. I should have told him from the get-go like you said a million times.”