Best Friends, Secret Lovers

By: Jessica Lemmon

Reid howled with laughter at something Gage said and Flynn blinked his friends into focus. No, he wasn’t alone. He had Reid, and Gage, and the best friend who’d been a part of his life longer than those two, Sabrina Douglas. His best friends worked at Monarch with him, and with them in his corner, Flynn knew he could get through this.

The senior employees were going to freak out when they found out Flynn was going to be president. He’d been accused of “coasting” before and would be in charge of all of their well-beings, which Flynn took as seriously as his next line of thought—the pact he’d been ruminating about since before his leg snapped in two on that slope.

“Remember that pact we made in college? The one where we swore never to get married.”

Reid let out a hearty “Ha!” UK-born Reid Singleton was planning on staying as unattached as his last name implied. “Right here in this room, I believe.”

Gage pursed his lips, his brows closing in the slightest bit over his nose. “We were hammered on Jägerbombs that night. God knows what else we said.”

“I didn’t adhere to it. I should have.” Flynn had been swept up by love and life. He hadn’t taken that pact seriously. A mistake.

Gage frowned. “It’s understandable why you’d say that now. You’ve been through the wringer. Back then no one expected to find permanence.”

“None of us wanted to,” Reid corrected.

Flynn pointed at Gage with his water bottle. “You and this new girl have been dating, what, a month?”

“Something like that.”

“Get out now.” Reid offered a hearty belch. He lifted his eyebrows and downed his portion of whiskey, cheeks filling before he swallowed it down. “You and I, Gage, we stuck to the pact.” He smiled, then added, “If you were Flynn, you’d have married her by now.”

Reid wasn’t exaggerating. Flynn and Veronica had been married on their thirty-day dating anniversary. Insanity. That they’d lasted three years was more a testament to Flynn’s stubbornness than their meant-to-be-ness.

The final straw had been Veronica screwing his brother.

Whatever, he thought, as the sting of betrayal shocked his system afresh. He’d never liked Julian much anyway.

“He’s doing the thing,” Reid muttered not quietly, given his state of inebriation. His gaze met Flynn’s, but he spoke to Gage. “Where he’s thinking of her.”

“I can hear you, wanker.” Flynn lost his marriage, not his hearing. Though “lost” would imply he’d misplaced it. It hadn’t been misplaced, it’d been disassembled. Piece by piece until the felling blow was Veronica’s head turning for none other than his older, more artsy brother. She was the free spirit, and Flynn was the numbers guy. The boring guy. The emotionally constipated guy.

Her words.

“Hey.” Gage snapped his fingers. “Knock it off, Flynn. We’re here to celebrate your divorce, not have you traipse down depression trail.”

But Flynn wasn’t budging on this. He’d given it a lot of thought since he’d tumbled down that hill. It was like life had to literally knock him on his ass to get him to wake up.

“I’m reinstating the pact,” Flynn said, his tone grave. Even Reid stopped smiling. “No marriage. Not ever. It’s not worth the heartache, or the broken leg, or hanging out with the two worst comrades in this solar system.”

At that Reid looked wounded, Gage affronted.

“Piss off, Parker.”

“Yeah,” Gage agreed. “What Reid said.”

With effort, Flynn sat up, carefully moving every other limb save his broken leg so he could lean forward. “I don’t want either of you to go through this. Not ever.”

“You’re serious,” Gage said after a prolonged silence.

Flynn remained silent.

Gage watched him a moment, a flash of sobriety in the depths of his brown eyes. “Okay. What’d we say?”

“We promised never to get married,” Reid said. “And then we swore on our tallywackers.”

Gage chuckled at Reid’s choice of phrasing.

“Which means yours should have fallen off by now.” Reid’s face contorted as he studied Flynn. “It didn’t, did it?”

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