F*ck Love Page 2

I laugh. Whoever did this got me good. I step around Kit and run through the house. A dining room opens into a large, airy kitchen. I can see water beyond the windows, its surface prickled by rain. I am staring at the rain when a small, lispy voice says, “What are you wooking at?”

The kid. He’s sitting at the kitchen table, stuffing his face with bread.

“Who are you?” I ask.

“Thomas.” When he says his name, wet bread flies out of his mouth and sprays the table.

“Thomas who? What’s your last name?”

“Same as Dad’s, but not the same as yours,” he says, matter-of-factly.

My skin prickles.

“Thomas Finn Browster. And you are Helena Marie Conway.” He fist pumps the air. Browster! Neil’s last name.

I hear Kit behind me, and when I turn to look at him he’s leaning against the fridge, frowning.

He lifts a finger to his lips when he sees me watching him, and then glances at the boy.

“You have another one,” he says.

“Another what?”

“Child.” He pushes away from the fridge and walks toward me. All of a sudden I’m noticing the gray at his temples and the fine lines around his eyes. He doesn’t look like the Kit from the Bread Company.

He steers me toward a bedroom and opens the door. A nursery. A tiny head with fluffy black hair. I peer into the crib, my heart racing.

“You said Neil was on his honeymoon, but she’s just a bab—”

“She’s ours.”

I swallow. “Yours and mine?”

“Yes.”

My heart is freaking out. I can feel it pumping all the blood to my brain.

“Are you a time traveler?”

Kit smiles for the first time. Deep smile lines cut into his cheeks like he does a lot of it. Funny, I can’t remember seeing Kit smile. He always seems so serious, which is what Della likes about him. Della.

“Where’s Della?” Oh God. I had a baby with her boyfriend. I look down at my hand, but there’s no wedding ring.

He walks out of the room. I glance back at the baby before I follow him out.

When we’re in the hallway, he closes the nursery door.

“We’re not exactly on speaking terms with Della,” he says.

I feel such grief. Della and I had been a thing for over ten years. Kit sees the look on my face and quickly averts his eyes.

“This is a dream,” I say. Kit shakes his head no. I catch a glimpse of myself in the heavy, gilded mirror behind his head. My hair is short. Highlighted. “No, a nightmare,” I say, reaching up to touch it. “I look like a mom.”

“You are a mom.”

In this alternate universe, or time travel, or dream, I am a mom. But I am just Helena in my mind. Child-free and flat-bellied. And before me is Kit. The guy my best friend thinks is “the one.” It is not possible that I would ever look at him that way. I look at him now, trying to see him in a different light. He is so different from Neil. Stocky, a little scruffy. Neil shaved his arms; Kit’s arms are covered in black hair. Neil has dark eyes; Kit has light eyes. Neil wears contacts; Kit wears glasses. Della and I have never shared the same taste in men, which suited us just fine. Made chicks before dicks easier to live by.

“Where is she?” I ask.

“She’s still in Florida. We moved here two years ago.”

Kit takes my hand. “Let me show you something,” he says.

It feels all wrong. Our fingers don’t fit well together. His hands are large, his fingers broad. My hand feels stretched and awkward in his. Della always said that hands should fit together like puzzle pieces. Hers and Kit’s fit. She told me that!

The little boy suddenly appears from the kitchen. Kit lets go of my hand to swing him into his arms.

They seem very comfortable together, considering he’s not the boy’s father. Neil is his father. So where is Neil? And what happened between us?

“What happened to Neil? Why aren’t we together?”

He glances at the little boy … what was his name? Tim? Tom? And sets him on his feet.

“Go put in a movie, little man, and I’ll be in there in a minute to watch it with you.”

He’s a good kid, I guess, because he nods without arguing and runs off, his bare feet slapping the hardwood.

“Neil cheated on you,” he says. “But it’s not as simple as it sounds. You aren’t mad at him. You understood.”

Heat rises to my face. Neil cheated on me? Neil wasn’t the type, not to mention he worshipped the ground I walked on. “He would never,” I say. Kit shrugs. “People are people. Things change.”

“No,” I say. “This is a Pottery Barn life. I don’t want it.”

“Like I said, it’s not that simple. He had his … reasons.”

Before I can ask what those reasons are, the baby starts to cry. Kit glances at her door and then back at me.

“She only wants you. She’s teething. If I go in there and get her, she’ll freak out.”

“I don’t even like babies.”

He grabs my arms and spins me around ‘til I’m facing the nursery door.

“You like this one,” he says, giving me a little shove.

“What’s her name?” I hiss, before opening the door.

He grins. For whatever reason, my stomach does a little flip.

“Brandi.”

I give him a disgusted look. “Like the liquor?” I hiss.

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