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“What does that mean?” she asked cautiously.
“That you’re you and I’m me.”
“So not lovers, but we could be friends?”
The smile returned. “Is my luck that good?”
“You’re teasing me.”
“A little. But in a gentle, supportive way.”
“Why aren’t you married?”
“I was. She died two years ago.”
Sage hadn’t been expecting that. “I’m sorry,” she said automatically. “That’s when you bought the house from your mom.”
“It is. I needed a change of scene, as they say. She had an undiagnosed heart condition. One day she stood up at work, had a heart attack and died.”
“That must have been horrible.”
“I’ve never lost anyone that way,” she admitted. “Through death. The closest would be my dad. He just took off and left me and my mom, but that was a long time ago.”
“It would have been difficult, though.”
“It was. And the divorces.”
“Yes, the race car driver and the Italian husband.” There was also Ellery, but she didn’t talk about him to anyone. “He was a Count. Or Conte, as they say in Italian.”
“Making you a Contessa?”
She laughed. “Yes, that was me for about fifteen minutes.”
“It sounds exciting.”
“In some ways. His family owns a very old house and a lot of land. There was plenty of history to be found, but also leaking roofs, bad plumbing and a chronic rodent infestation.” She didn’t mention how he dumped her for a slightly older woman with more money than Denmark. A truth that had stung more than a little.
“So only romantic on the outside.” He reached for another taquito. “Do you ever see Daisy?”
Until a few days ago, she would have said not since high school and been happy with that amount of distance. While she could still go the rest of her life without seeing her former stepsister, she knew saying so made her sound awful.
“Just last week. Why? Are you two close?”
“Not at all. I haven’t seen her since high school.”
“She’s married with two kids. Right now they’re battling the flu.”
“Oh, I didn’t know you two were in touch. It’s nice that you stayed friends. She’s great. I always liked her.”
Based on what she’d said, he’d made the logical assumption that she and Daisy still had some kind of relationship and it wasn’t one that involved wishing each other dead. For some reason she couldn’t explain, Sage wanted him to think she was better than she was and now he did. But knowing she’d fooled him didn’t sit well with her and while she was enjoying herself, she knew she couldn’t stay. Not when she was lying about pretty much everything.
She drained her margarita and stood. “This was really nice, Adam. Thank you for inviting me over.” She half expected him to protest her leaving, but he only smiled at her.
“Thanks for coming over.”
She waved and walked through his house and back to her own. When she got to her bedroom, she went to the window and carefully closed the blinds, then sat on the bed and covered her face with her hands.
She could deal with her life being shit—she hadn’t expected any more when she’d moved back. What she hadn’t counted on was the fact that she couldn’t see a way out. Which would have been something she could manage if only she’d been able to pretend that she wasn’t the problem. Because her being the problem implied the only thing standing between her and happiness was herself, and how on earth was she supposed to fix that?