Best Friends, Secret Lovers

By: Jessica Lemmon

“We heard a scream.” Reid’s sharply angled jaw was set, his fists balled at his sides. Gage looked similar, minus the fists. His mouth wore a scowl, his gaze sweeping the area around them for looming danger.

“You okay?” Gage asked Sabrina.

“I didn’t scream. That was Veronica.”

“We’re fine,” Flynn said before amending, “Julian’s nose is broken.”

“Broken?” A fraction of a second passed before Reid’s face split into an impressed smile. He clapped Flynn on the shoulder.

“Do not encourage him,” Sabrina warned.

“So what now?” Gage asked at the same time more of Julian’s groaning and Veronica’s soothing echoed from the adjacent room.

“We’re skipping the rest of the funeral,” Flynn announced. “Who wants to go to Chaz’s for fish and chips?”

“I do,” Reid said, his British accent thickening. The man loved his fish and chips.

Gage, ever the cautious, practical friend, watched Flynn carefully. “You’re sure this is what you want to do?”

Flynn thought of his father, angry, yelling. His gutting words about how if he wanted to become as great a man as his father, Flynn would have to first grow a pair. He thought of Emmons’s bitter solitude after Mom had succumbed to cancer fifteen years ago. Emmons had suffered that same fate, only unlike Mom, he’d never woken up to what was really important. He’d taken his bitterness with him to the grave. Maybe that’s why Flynn couldn’t bear seeing his old man lowered into it.

Sabrina wrapped her hand around Flynn’s and squeezed his fingers. “Whatever you need. We’re here.”

Reid and Gage nodded, concurring.

“I’m sure.”

That was all it took.

They skirted the crowd patiently waiting for him to take his place as pallbearer. Moved past nameless relatives who had crawled out of the woodwork, and past one of Veronica’s friends who asked him if he knew where she or Julian were.

“They’re inside,” he told her.

Never slowing his walk or letting go of Sabrina’s hand, he opened the passenger side door for her while Gage and Reid climbed into the back. Then Flynn reversed out of the church’s parking lot and drove straight to Chaz’s.


Six months later

At Monarch Consulting, Flynn brewed himself an espresso from the high-end machine, yet another perk—pun intended—of being in charge.

The break room had been his father’s private retreat when he was alive and well, and he’d rarely shared the room. Not the case for Flynn. He’d opened up the executive break room to his closest friends, who shared the top floor his father had formerly hogged for himself.

Flynn didn’t care who thought he was playing favorites. When he’d returned home from vacation and become president, he’d outfitted the upper floor with three new offices and placed his friends at his sides. They were a good visual reminder that Flynn wasn’t running Monarch in a vacuum—or worse, a void.

It was his company now. He could do what he wanted. God knew Emmons had been doing it his way for years.

Monarch Consulting was a management consulting firm, which was a fancy way of saying they helped other businesses improve their performance and grow. Monarch was dedicated to helping companies find new and better ways of doing things—an irony since Emmons had done things the same way for decades.

Gage Fleming’s official title at Monarch was senior sales executive. He was in charge of the entire sales department, which was a perfect fit for his charm and likability. Reid was the IT guy, though they fancied up his nameplate to read Digital Marketing Analyst. Sabrina, with her fun-loving attitude and knack for being a social lubricant, was promoted to brand manager, where she oversaw social media factions as well as design work and rebranding.

Flynn stirred a packet of organic cane sugar into his espresso and thought about his best friends’ support of his climb to the very top. They were the glue that kept him together.

“What’s up, brother?” announced one of those best friends now. Flynn turned to find Gage strolling into the room. Gage wasn’t his biological brother, but was worthy of the title nonetheless.

Top Books