“Who is she?”
Amy Van Winkle stared at her longtime boyfriend Luke Sutter as a heart-breaking tremor slipped throughout her.
Luke dropped the duffle bag in his hand and it hit the floor with a heavy thud.
“She is no one,” Luke said.
His response made Amy uncomfortable because she knew it wasn’t the truth. Why would he lie now? What was the purpose?
“What are you keeping from me, Luke?”
Luke closed the minor distance between them and slipped both burly hands up the sides of Amy’s face. Her skin was smooth to the touch and her eyes shut as she inhaled his gentle brush.
“She’s just a friend, nothing more. You, are my everything.”
Amy stared into his crystal blue eyes trying to gauge if he were being deceptive. Her heart was still in overdrive from the fiasco at the airport.
Amy had shown up an hour before Luke’s plane was scheduled to touch down, and upon her arrival, a few others also sat and waited. Every scenario in which their reunion could go slipped through her mind, but nothing prepared her for what actually happened. Amy stood on her toes with a smile tapered across her face and her stomach in knots. She was dressed in a light blue summer dress that hugged her midsection and flared over the curve in her hips. That was saying a lot since Amy was tomboyish by nature. Growing up, she liked to hang out with the boys more than the girls. There had been times when her best friends, Erin Sanders and Mariah James, complained about Amy’s desertion. But today, she’d put that to the side just for the sake of making an impression on her boyfriend.
Even her hair was dressed in a bounty of curls as the golden strands wrapped around each other and bounced on her shoulders. She counted down every day, minute, and hour that she and Luke were apart. So being in this moment was the surrealist of them all. Then it happened. The passengers began to file off the plane and move to grab their luggage.
Luke was the sixth person out. Yes, Amy counted that, too. And seeing the ripples in his shoulders and bulges in his biceps sent a flutter of butterflies storming her stomach. Luke was far removed from the thin teenage boy Amy once knew. His dirty blonde hair was cut to the shape of his head and an army fatigue jacket spanned the length of his arms. From the few feet away, Amy could tell his facial features had grown into their own, appearing sharp and defined on his handsome face.
A smile developed on Amy’s lips and the beat of her heart became a rapid cluster of excitement. After retrieving his luggage, Luke glanced over and immediately their eyes locked. A gorgeous smile laced his lips and Amy’s feet moved in his direction. Quickly, she shuffled closer, with her heart racing and excitement building within her, but before she made it to him, someone else caught his attention. When Luke’s gaze shifted, so did Amy’s. Her feet slowed before coming to a halt, and from her current position, Amy only had a look at the back of a brunette. The shoulder-length straight strands of her hair caressed the back of the woman’s shoulders, and the halter-top dress was constricted against her body all the way down to an inch below her ass.
She moved to stand in front of Luke, closer than Amy liked, and her upturned face hovered just under him as she leaned further to get closer. Luke’s expression didn’t show his surprise. If he was, Amy had a hard time detecting it. The woman threw her arms around his shoulders with excited glee and jumped as if she’d been waiting for him to come home.
Amy’s heart practically stopped, and her stomach tightened as if she’d been punched in the gut. Who was this woman hugging her man as if they were the couple and not Amy and Luke?
Luke spoke a few words to the woman and politely removed her arms from his neck, but the girl couldn’t take a hint. She folded her arms behind her and lifted on the heel of her toes to whisper something in his ear. Their conversation went back and forth in hushed tones for a full sixty seconds. Felt like an hour to Amy, but she didn’t care. The only thing that mattered was that whoever the woman was, she felt strong enough about Luke to know when he would be home and to greet him as if they were long lost lovers.
Amy was so confused that she went into a trance. A second passed when she noticed Luke walking toward her and with him came a tunnel of emotions. Anger, bewilderment, happiness, it spiraled around her, but the excitement she felt was doused, and in its place, uncertainty gripped her.
“Hey, you,” he said getting so close she could smell the aftershave from his morning trim.
Amy opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out. Instead she pushed out a breath and blinked before refocusing her thoughts.
“Hey,” she responded. Her confusion pushed to the side for a moment and Amy remembered why they were there. “It’s so good to have you home.”
Luke’s face brightened as he stared back into Amy’s blue eyes. “It’s good to be here, with you.”
Amy cleared her throat and her eyes scurried over to the woman who stood in the background with a smirk on her face. “Are you sure?” She couldn’t help herself. It was hard to pretend that what just happened in front of her didn’t affect her.
“Baby.” Luke slipped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer. “It’s not what you think.”
“Yeah, well what do I think, Luke?”
Amy didn’t wait for him to respond; her heart was crushed. She wiggled out of his arms then pivoted on her heels and walked away from him headed for the exit. It didn’t take much for Luke to catch up.
“Please,” he said wrapping a lone arm around her waist and pulling her into his chest. “Let me explain.”
Thirty minutes later they were at her condo downtown and Amy didn’t know how to feel.
“Do you know how that sounds? We’re just friends? Since when did she become a friend?”
“Baby, we’ve been friends since high school.”
That made Amy’s mind run a facial recognition scan through her mind of all the girls she knew from high school. The problem was, Amy never saw the details of the woman’s face because she was so far away, so she could be anyone.
“So, this entire time, you’ve been talking to her?”
“It’s not what you think.”
Amy shook her head. “Why?”
“Why did you need to talk to her when you have me?”
“You weren’t always there,” he said.
Amy’s brows stretched, and her mouth parted on a gasp. She took a step back just as Luke pulled in and blew out a regretful breath.
“I didn’t mean it like that,” he said reaching out to pull her back in, but Amy evaded him.
On a twirl and without another word, Amy stepped past him and headed for the door.
“Where are you going?”
Amy didn’t stop her exit, and instead of responding, she grabbed her purse from the table and slammed the door on her way out.