We still on for coffee?
I fire the text off to my brother. Con went into the office a few hours ago. I am tired of lying to him and plan on telling him about Teddy soon. Teddy is doing better. There is no reason to not tell Con that we’ve been hanging out again. Layla was right; I shouldn’t be keeping this from Con. The guilt of not telling him is beginning to weigh on me too much. I know I’m single-handedly driving a wedge between us. I think Con can feel it too.
His lovemaking has been more aggressive than normal. Not that I am complaining, but it is normally like that when he is convinced another man looked at me too long or tried to flirt with me. I never know what he’s talking about, but it is usually always followed by a round of lovemaking where Con feels the need to try to brand me.
I never complain because that only means more orgasms for me. It’s sort of sweet that after all this time, he still gets jealous. I believe he knows something is going on with me but he can’t quite put his finger on it. How can he not know? We’ve been together so long. No one in this world knows me better than him. I’m so lucky to have him.
Heading there now.
I stand, heading to the bedroom to find some shoes before grabbing my bag to head out. Layla is on me before I even make it a few feet out the door.
“Sorry,” I tell her, shaking my head. I don’t know how I forgot to tell her I was leaving. It should be second nature at this point. I swear my mind isn’t as sharp lately. I keep forgetting the small things. It must be the guilt messing with me. “Going to the coffee shop so we can walk.”
“They have the best croissants.”
“I think I’m going to get two.” I should get some for Con too and pop over to his office. It might be a good time to tell him about Teddy. I know those pastries always put me in a good mood. “I’m meeting Teddy,” I let her know.
“This close to home?”
I shrug. “I think I’m going to tell Con anyway.”
Layla grabs the door for me, opening it. “Good” is all she says on the matter.
I go to the front, ordering for the both of us. I drop her coffee and croissant at her table in the corner by the door before picking one of my own that’s in Layla’s line of sight. Otherwise she’ll end up moving.
I finish off the last bite of my first croissant at the same time Teddy comes strolling in. “I got you a coffee,” I tell him as I stand to give him a hug. He kisses me on top of the head.
“Thanks.” He takes a seat.
“How are things?” He doesn’t look as chipper as he did the other day, which concerns me.
“Not great.” He lets out a defeated sigh. I push a croissant toward him. He shakes his head.
“What is it?”
“Some of the investors aren’t coming through. Everything is falling apart before it starts.”
“I’m sorry.” I bite my lip. What else do you say to something like that? We sit in silence for a few moments. I wait for him to ask me for money because I know it’s coming, but he doesn’t. “How much do you need?” I break. It might be a good sign if he’s not asking.
“To start. A million.”
“Oh wow. I don’t have that.”
“Yeah, I heard you invested in some grocery chain?”
“Ahh. I guess but not really.” I shift in my chair. I didn’t know that was public knowledge. I guess it doesn’t matter if people know. I never gave it much thought.
“You don’t know if you invested in something?”
I take a sip of my hot chocolate. “I gave my friend, Orchard, the money to buy it. She’s going to pay me back. I don’t own it.” I had the money sitting in the bank so it only made sense to loan it to her.
She was trying to needle her husband and I was trying to push them back together. That was before she realized her marriage of convenience was actually a real marriage. Her husband, Heath, could have afforded it without a problem, but Orchard wanted to do this on her own. Con always asked why I never used the money. So I finally did. Kind of. I know she’ll pay me back.
“It’s more a loan than anything.” Teddy nods in understanding. Again, it grows quiet. I feel uncomfortable that I was willing to help my friend start a business but not my own brother.
“I might be able to help.”
“I couldn’t ask that of you. Things are good between us and I know Con wouldn’t be happy if you loaned me money.” That is a true statement but we are so close to things being better. What if this all works out for Teddy? If he got his act together and has something of his own? That might be what he needs to keep him on track. For us to be a family again.