Best Friends, Secret Lovers

By: Jessica Lemmon

“Let’s skip it,” he blurted. The moment the words were out of his mouth, he knew it was the right thing to do.

“Skip...the rest of the funeral?” Her face pinched with indecision.

“Why not?” He’d seen everyone. He’d listened as the priest spoke of Emmons as if he was a saint. Frankly, Flynn had heard enough false praise for his old man to last a lifetime.

Her mouth opened, probably to argue, but he didn’t let her continue.

“I can do it. I just don’t want to.” He shook his head as he tried to think of another cohesive sentence to add to the protest, but none came. So he added, “At all,” and hoped that it punctuated his point.

She jerked her head into a nod. “Okay. Let’s skip it.”

Relief was like a third person in the room.

“Chaz’s?” she offered. “I’m dying for fish and chips.” Her eyes rounded as her hand covered her mouth. “Oh. That was...really inappropriate phrasing for a funeral.”

He had to smile. Recently he’d noticed how absent from his life she’d been. It’d be good to go out with her to somewhere that wasn’t work. “Let’s get outta here.”

“Are you kidding me?” His brother, Julian, appeared in the doorway, his lip curled in disgust. “You’re walking out on our father’s funeral?”

Like he had any room to call Flynn’s ethics into question.

Veronica’s blonde head peeked around Julian’s shoulder. Her gaze flitted to Flynn and then Sabrina, and Flynn’s limbs went corpse-cold.

“Honey,” she whispered to Julian. “Let’s not do this here.”

Honey. God, what a mess.

Sabrina took a step closer to Flynn in support. His best friend at his side. He didn’t need her to defend him, but he appreciated the gesture more than she knew.

Julian shrugged off Veronica’s hand from his suit jacket and glared at his brother. It was one of Dad’s suits—too wide in the shoulders. A little short in the torso.

Julian didn’t own a suit. He painted for a living and his creativity was why Veronica said he’d won her heart. Evidently, she found Flynn incapable of being “spontaneous,” or “thoughtful,” or “monogamous.”

No, wait. That last one was her.

“You’re not going to stand over your own father’s grave?” Julian spat. Veronica murmured another “honey,” but he ignored it.

“You’ve made it clear that it’s none of my business what you do or don’t do.” Flynn tore his gaze from Julian to spear Veronica with a glare. “Both of you. Same goes for me.”

Her blue eyes rounded. He used to think she was gorgeous—with her full, blond hair and designer clothes. The way her nails were always done and her makeup perfectly painted on. Now he’d seen what was under the mask.

Selfishness. Betrayal. Lies.

So many lies.

“Don’t judge me, Flynn,” she snapped.

“You used to be more attractive.” The sound of his own voice startled him. He hadn’t meant to say that out loud.

“Son of a bitch!” Julian lunged, came at him with a sloppy swing that Flynn easily dodged. He’d learned how to fistfight from Gage and Reid, and Julian only dragged a paint-filled brush down a canvas.

Flynn ducked to avoid a left, weaved when Julian attempted a right, cracked his fist into his older brother’s nose. Julian staggered, lost his balance and fell onto his ass on the ground. Sabrina gasped, and Veronica shrieked. Julian puffed out a curse word as blood streamed from his nose.

“Honey. Honey. Talk to me.” Veronica was on her knees over Julian’s groaning form and Flynn didn’t know what sickened him more. That his ex-wife cared about his brother’s well-being more than the man she’d vowed to love forever, or that Flynn had lost his temper with Julian and hit him.

Both made his stomach toss.

“Are you okay?” Sabrina came into focus, her eyebrows tenderly bowed as she watched him with concern. He hated her seeing him like this—broken, weak—like he’d felt for the last several months.

“I’m perfect.” He took her hand and led her from the small room and they encountered Reid and Gage advancing at a fast walk down the hallway.

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