Caught Together

By: Penny Wylder

The skirt really does look good. I like it. But the black top I have on is too dark. I pull a lightweight white sweater out of the closet and put it on. Perfect. “It’s good to see you in something other than black.” Anna shoots me a wink in the mirror.

“This wasn’t your skirt, was it?”

“Merry early Christmas.”

I sigh. “If this was just your way of getting me to go out, then I don’t—”

She holds up a hand. “No. I saw it, and I knew it would look great on you.”

“Okay.” I give her a hug as best as I can around her baby bump. “Thank you. I’ll do my best not to spill something on it tonight.”

Maria’s voice floats in from the kitchen telling us everything is ready to eat, so I help my sister into the dining room. Everyone is already seated, waiting for us. Bradley is at one end of the table, and my empty seat is at the other. I was right, it is a little cramped, but nothing we can’t deal with.

And then my heart stops—because my son is seated on one side of me, and Trevor is on the other.

My heart restarts and kicks into a higher gear. Was this a coincidence due to the way the table was set? Or did Trevor intentionally try to sit next to me? If he did try…why?

I had forced what happened earlier to the back of my mind, because there’s no way that really happened, right? Trevor has no reason to want this—to want me. It doesn’t make sense unless it’s all in my head. The seating arrangement is a coincidence. Nothing more.

I clear my throat and sit down, and his leg is pressed against mine because we have less room. I can feel him glance at me, and he pulls his leg back with a small smile. Suddenly I can breathe again. He knows how much I’m affected by him, and I reach for my wine. Because if I’m going to be blushing the whole night I may as well have people think it’s because I’m buzzed.

Trevor’s hand brushes my leg, and I freeze. No one can see his hand as he runs his fingers over the fabric of my skirt. I busy myself filling my plate with salad and ham and Richard’s delicious mashed potatoes, and I make sure that I am absolutely not reacting. His hand disappears and I let out a breath, the tension leaving my body. Trevor fills his own plate, and then he sneaks his hand down again, running his fingers all the way from my hip to my knee. If he keeps doing this, someone is going to see that his hand is constantly under the table and having to explain why his hand is on my leg is the last thing I want to do with my siblings.

I take a bite of mashed potatoes and reach down and grab his hand to push him away, but he twines our fingers together and holds my hand. In spite of myself I feel something warm in my chest. It’s been a long time since someone held my hand, but this isn’t the time or place, or right. I let go, gently pushing his hand back towards him.

I try to focus on the conversation, interject when I can, but I’m…distracted. I’m looking anywhere but to my right. Brad and Trevor tell everyone how the BU hockey team is doing, Annalise and Richard update everyone on their baby renovations, and the twins fill us in on their rivalry to become valedictorian. June recently started a new job, and she tells us all about how crazy her new boss is but how much she loves it. I try to focus on my family, but I can’t, because I’m too busy thinking about how good it felt to have Trevor’s hands on me. In between my legs.

I take another sip of wine.

Maria looks and me and says, “So how’s your skirt?”

I choke on the wine. “Excuse me?”

“The skirt Anna just gave you? Do you like it?” But from the look on her face, I know she meant to make me think otherwise.

I grab a basket of rolls from the center of the table. “I do like it.”

“Good,” Maria says. “I knew you would. As soon as she showed me I basically said that it would make your ass look amazing.”

I drop the basket of rolls, and they go flying, all over the floor. My face is burning, and if looks could kill, Maria would be dead and buried. “Really Maria?”

“If you’ve got it, flaunt it, sister.” She grins as she takes a sip of wine and I cover my face with my hands.

“Okay. Moving on,” I say, and I’m about to get up and clean up the roll explosion when Trevor puts his hand on my shoulder. “I’ve got it,” he says.

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