Best Friends, Secret Lovers

By: Jessica Lemmon

Nothing alike, but unable to shake each other.

Her brow crinkled over a black-framed pair of glasses as she reached for the length of silk around his neck and attempted to retie it.

“I do it every morning,” he muttered, Sabrina’s sweet floral perfume tickling his nose. She always smelled good, but he hadn’t noticed in a while.

A long while.

His frown deepened. They hadn’t been as close in the years he was married to Veronica. His hanging out with Reid and Gage hadn’t changed, but it was as if Veronica and Sabrina had an unspoken agreement that Sabrina wasn’t welcome into the inner circle. As a result, Flynn mostly saw her at work rather than outside it. The thought bothered him.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” He was speaking of his own reverie as much as his lack of ability to tie his necktie.


He put his hands on hers to stop whatever apology-slash-life-lesson he suspected was percolating. As gently as he could muster, he said, “Don’t.”

Sabrina leveled him with a wide-eyed hazel stare. Her eyes were beautiful. Piercing green-gold, and behind her glasses they appeared twice as large. She’d been with him through the divorce from Veronica, through his father’s illness and subsequent death. The last couple of months for Flynn had started to resemble the life of Job from the Bible. He hadn’t contracted a case of boils as the Monarch offices collapsed in on themselves, yet. He wasn’t going to tempt fate by stating he was out of the woods.

Emmons Parker knew what his sons had been through, so when he’d had his lawyer schedule the meetings to read the will, he’d made sure they happened on separate days.

Flynn on a Sunday. Julian on a Monday.

Unfortunately, Flynn knew Veronica had gone to the reading with Julian, even though he’d rather not know a thing about either of them. Goddamn Facebook.

Julian inherited their father’s beloved antique car collection and the regal Colonial with the cherry tree in the front yard where they’d grown up. Flynn inherited the cabin in Colorado as well as the business and his father’s penthouse apartment downtown. Julian was “starting a family,” or so the lawyer had read from the will, so that was why Emmons had bequeathed their mother’s beloved home with the evenly spaced shutters to his oldest, and least trustworthy, son.

The son who was starting a family with Flynn’s former wife.

Today Flynn had accepted hugs and handshakes from family and friends but had successfully avoided Julian and Veronica. His ex-wife kept a close eye on Flynn, but he refused to approach her. Her guilt was too little and way too late.

“I don’t know what to do.” Sabrina spoke around what sounded like a lump clogging her throat. She was hurting for him. The way she’d hurt for him when Veronica left him. Her pink lips pressed together and her chin shook. “Sorry.”

Abandoning the tie, she swiped the hollows of her eyes under her glasses, careful of the eye makeup that had been applied boldly yet carefully as per her style.

He didn’t hesitate to pull her close, shushing her as she sniffed. The warmth of that embrace—of holding on to someone who cared for him so deeply and knew him so well—was enough to make a lump form in his own throat. She held on to him like she might shatter, and so he concentrated on rubbing her back and telling her the truth. “You’re doing exactly what you need to do, Sabrina. Just your being here is enough.”

She let go of him and snagged a tissue from a nearby box. She lifted her glasses and dabbed her eyes, leaning in and checking her reflection. “I’m not helping.”

“You’re helping.” She was gloriously sensitive. Attuned. Empathetic. Some days he hated that for her—it made her more at risk of being hurt. He watched her reflection, wondering if she saw herself as he did. A tall, strong, beautiful woman, her sleek brown hair framing smooth skin and glasses that made her appear approachable and smart at the same time. She wore a black dress and stockings, her heeled shoes tall enough that when she’d held him a moment ago she didn’t have to stretch onto her toes to wrap her arms around his neck.

“Okay. I’m okay. I’m sorry.” She nodded, the tissue wadded in one hand. Evidently this okay/sorry combo marked the end of her cry and the beginning of her being his support system. “If there’s anything you need—”

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