Coasting Down Memory Lane;
As far as day offs went, Riley mused, this one was pretty damn good. She had spent the day lounging around in sweats, eating popcorn and drinking fine wine with the man she considered her own personal hero. Brett Sharpe had kept her from leaping off the edge of sanity.
Now they stood dressed formally for their dinner date that was scheduled for seven at a new French restaurant. Well, it was quarter after seven and Riley was in a little black dress, with flaming red heels, pacing the apartment’s living room. Brett was in the bathroom fixing his hair.
“Brett,” Riley called out, “could you at least try to hurry?”
“Give me five more minutes. I’m having a bad hair day.” His voice was a little muffled because of the door, but Riley heard him loud and clear. She had ears like a cat.
“You said that ten minutes ago, when you all ready know that your hair is naturally perfect.”
“Five minutes, Riley. Oh, and get the door,” he added when it rang.
She muttered a suggestion under her breath that would have appalled him if he’d heard it while she stalked to the door. Even Riley couldn’t mask the surprise that came to her pretty face when she swung the door open.
“Jack.” She hadn’t seen, or spoken to him since she left Rimouski for Australia, five years back.
“Hey, Rye.” His smile was as easy as his tone. “Gonna invite me in?”
“Right.” She started to move aside, then stopped. “You’ve caught me at a bad time, Jack. I was just on my way out.”
He studied her up and down and then grinned. “So I see. Lookin’ good, Rye.”
She flushed slightly, which had only added to her beauty. The last time he had seen her she’d been in jeans and a t-shirt with her hair tied in a loose ponytail. Now she was dressed in a sleek and sexy black little dress, red heels, red lipstick, and a little red handbag. Her hair was up in a bun with what he took as chopsticks in her hair.
The years had been very generous to her.
“Thanks, I—” She broke off when Brett walked into the living room.
“Riley, who’s at the— Oh. Hello,” Brett said in a charming tone.
“You look perfect,” Riley muttered under her breath, looking at Brett. “Ah, Brett, Jack Johnson. Jack, Brett Sharpe.”
“Nice to meet you.” Find somewhere else to be, Brett told himself. “I’ll just go get my jacket.”
As he walked off, Jack looked around the apartment. It was clean, he noted, except for the glassed of wine on the table. And spacious, even with all the stylish furniture there was still a lot of empty space. He thought the place suited Riley just fine.
“He seems nice,” Jack commented.
Riley smiled. “Brett’s a great guy. So, what brings you to Pittsburgh, Jack? As I recall it isn’t hockey season just yet.”
You always did have good taste, he mused. “No, it’s not that time of year. However, I was just passing through and thought I’d pay an old friend a visit. But I see you’re busy so we’ll have to reschedule our little rendezvous.”
“How long are you in town?”
“It depends, really,” he told her.
She pursed her lips, and drew her brows together, in thought. “Well tomorrow I work from nine to five. Do you want to do a dinner thing?”
After a moment’s thought and careful calculation, Jack responded. “Yeah, I think I can manage a dinner thing. It’ll have to be a later one, though.”
Riley smiled. “No problem. Does seven work for you? Or shall we make it seven-thirty?”
“Seven’s fine,” he assured her. “I’ll need your cell number.”
“Right,” she muttered. It occurred to Riley now that she had left her phone in the bedroom. “Let me just go get that,” she said, and then turned down the hallway. She appeared seconds later with her phone held tightly in her hand. “Add your number in and I’ll do the same.”
They exchanged numbers and goodbyes as Jack left for the evening. Brett returned to the living room just as Riley closed the door. He looked perfect, she thought enviously. He had probably spent the last hour in the bathroom staring at himself instead of fixing his hair. The man always looked perfect.
“Ready?” She asked with a quick glance at her watch. They were now half an hour late.
“Yes,” Brett answered. After he locked the door, he and Riley made their way down to the parking garage, his arm wrapped companionably around her waist. “How convenient of him to stop by,” he commented on the drive to the restaurant.
“He was in town, and decided to drop by,” she said with a shrug.
“Mm-hmm. Whatever makes you happy, my dear,” he said easily as he pulled into a parking space. “So you’ll read the menu to me, right? I don’t happen to speak French.”
Riley laughed as they walked into the building. Lumiere was an expensive, fine dining French restaurant that had opened only months before. She’d been dying to try it out.
A man in a suit opened the door for them as they entered. “Bonjour, madam et monsieur.” He gave them the once-over coolly, nodded in approval. “Table for two?”
“We have reservations for Jacobs,” Riley told him kindly.
“Ah yes, follow me.”
He led them to a table in the back where only candles lit the room, and soft music played. There Riley spotted her brother, Ben and his fiancée, Kim. They looked to be in an intense conversation but looked up as the man in the suit delicately cleared his throat.
“Your guests have arrived,” he stated then left.
Brett pulled Riley’s chair out for her, then sat beside her. He had met Ben and Kim before and found that he enjoyed their company very much. He could see a lot of Riley in her older brother.
“So, how have you two been?” Ben asked once the waiter, Pierre, brought out the glasses of water.
“Good,” Riley said. “Busy with work, you know?”
“Much of the same for me,” Brett said pleasantly. “And what about you two?”
Ben and Kim looked at each other and grinned. “Work and wedding plans,” Kim said.
They continued to talk throughout the evening with only a few disturbances. Several people had walked by their table and said hello to Riley, saying how they enjoyed her articles and wished to see more of her on TV. She would reply with a smile and thank them for their support in her charming way.
When it was nearing the end of their dinner, a man had approached their table wishing to speak with Brett.
“If you’ll excuse me,” he said then got up to talk with the man.
Recognizing the look in Riley’s eyes, Kim also excused herself. “I need to go touch up my makeup,” she told them before scurrying off to the ladies’ room.
Both Ben and Riley watched her in silence. “You sure know how to clear a table,” Ben joked.
“Brett wasn’t my fault,” she said.
“I know. So what did you want to talk to me about?”
Riley stared at his face. “I never said that I wanted to speak to you about anything.”
“You didn’t, no. But there is a look in your eye that says differently.”
She sighed. “Okay, so maybe I did want to talk to you about something.” Riley took a long sip of water. “I’m having second thoughts.”
“About what in particular, Rye?”
“About everything. Did I make the right decision? Or did I blow it all out of proportion? Am I happy? God, Ben, I broke his heart again. On the same goddamn day too.”
“Irony,” Ben said softly. “I can’t answer those questions for you. Although I will tell you this: I don’t think you’ll do yourself any good dwelling on the past. Five years ago you left Rimouski to make a name for yourself; that was probably your smartest decision ever. A month ago you left Nova Scotia to prove to yourself that the name you have was created by you and your talents only; that was probably your stupidest decision ever.”
Riley sat there staring at her brother. She had always admired him, had always trusted him, but she had no idea that he would say something like that to her. Over the past month dozens of people had offered their advice—none had gotten through to her like this.
She opened her mouth to speak, but shut it firmly when she saw Brett and Kim walking back to the table.
“Are we ready to head out?” Brett asked, his eyes focused on Riley.
“Yeah,” she said. “It’s getting late and I’ve got work in the morning.” She put fifty dollars on the table and then turned to her brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law. “Bye,” she said to each of them and kissed them on the cheek.
The drive back to the apartment was quiet. Brett had the car windows open a bit, letting in the warm summer night air. When they got back to the apartment, he turned to her.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Nothing,” she replied.
“Then why is there sadness lingering in your eyes?” At her silence he pulled her in for a comforting hug. “You miss him, don’t you?”
She looked up at him. “Yeah, I’m just starting to realize it now, too.”
“No, you’re finally starting to admit it,” he corrected, tilting her face up even more with his finger. Then he leaned down and laid his lips lightly over hers, a gesture made to soothe. “Go change into something comfy, and then get some sleep.”
She nodded and pulled away from him slowly. She turned to grab her handbag off the couch and that’s when she spotted a pair of pink Converse laying by the front door. They were hers, no doubt about it, but they hadn’t been there that morning, she was sure of that. When she realized how they got there, the red handbag that she adored fell to the floor.
She had left those shoes at Sidney’s summer home in Nova Scotia in her rush to leave. And the only person who had visited the apartment the entire day was one person who she knew would have been there. Jack. The name rang through her head a thousand times, it was overwhelming. She sat on the arm of the couch, a dazed expression masking her face.
Riley was only in the apartment physically. Every other part of her was in Nova Scotia. She didn’t even notice Brett standing in front of her, didn’t feel his hands on her shoulders. Was he keeping her upright? She couldn’t feel anything.
“Riley,” she heard Brett say. “Riley? Earth to Riley? Anyone there?” He shook her slightly; she didn’t feel it. The only thing she could feel was the broken pieces of her heart aching. “Riley, damn it, say something.”
She opened her mouth, moved her lips like she was speaking, but no sound escaped. She could hear a dull buzzing in her ears and behind that was Brett’s voice telling her to say something, anything. “The shoes,” she whispered. When he only continued to look at her with worried eyes, she pointed. “The shoes, Brett.” Her voice was coming stronger. “The shoes,” she repeated in a voice that shook with hysteria. “They weren’t there this morning, or yesterday, or the day before. But they’re there now. I left them at—” She took a deep breath, so deep it hurt. “I left those shoes at Sid’s.”
Brett turned and looked at the shoes. Something jumped in his stomach. “You left them in Nova Scotia, and now they’re here. Now you’re thinking that…” It all made sense now.
“Jack. Jack wasn’t just in town. The bastard lied to me. He was in Nova Scotia with Sid, then he was here. Why? To check up on me? I wouldn’t put it past Sid to keep tabs on me. But why him? His whole bloody team is right here. Why?”
He didn’t have the answers to that questions she kept asking herself. He knew she wouldn’t want them anyway. Riley was a person who liked to figure things out herself. Brett respected that, and that’s why he said no more for the rest of the night.
This was something Riley needed to do on her own. But he’d be there for her if she needed him.
Jack didn’t mind planes. He had gotten used to them over the years; especially with all the traveling from city to city he had to do with hockey. He actually enjoyed those plane rides with his teammates, his friends, his brothers. They gave him time to goof around and times to think and times to sulk.
But this time he had an unusual feeling in the pit of his stomach. That feeling, he realized, was a mix of nervousness and fear. And it wasn’t because of the planes.
How would he do it? How could he? How did a man tell his friend that the girl he loved was with another man? Well, he would just have to find a way.
Jack walked up to the door and took a deep breath before knocking. He tried to compose himself in those gruelling seconds it took Sidney to open the door. Then he’d have to break his friend’s heart.
The door swung open and Jack was met with Sidney’s smiling face. The smile wavered as Sidney racked his brain for reasons his pal would be on his doorstep looking so guilty.
“Jack, what are you doing here? I thought you had to go back to L.A.” Sidney moved aside to let Jack in.
“Yeah, I lied.” He felt horrible, worse than horrible. “Sid, I—” He broke off, cursed. How would he do this? God, he hated what he had to say. Just then a thought came to mind. It could work, maybe. “Sid, pack up some clothes. The plane leaves in ten minutes.”
After two hours of sleep and four of tossing and turning, Riley sat with a thud at the kitchen table for breakfast. She wasn’t really hungry but decided to eat the bacon and eggs Brett had prepared for her. She decided it was best to forget about yesterday’s events.
“I’m testing out my cooking skills,” he told her after minutes of silence.
She stopped stabbing her eggs to look up at him. “These aren’t lethal or anything, are they?”
He snorted. “Jamie’s been giving me pointers on cooking.”
“Oh, well then.” She said no more and continued to eat. Jamie Crawford was not only Brett’s main squeeze, but the top chef in Pittsburgh.
“Aren’t women supposed to eat delicately?” Brett asked after a few seconds.
This time it was Riley’s turn to snort. “I’m not delicate when I eat, especially when the food is pretty spectacular.”
Brett grinned at her. “Why, darling, you just called my cooking pretty spectacular. I’m flattered.”
She chuckled as she placed her dishes in the dishwasher. “I’ve got to head out. I should be back around five-thirty,” she informed him. “Then I have to kill Jack at seven.”
He laughed. “I should be back around three.”
“Tootles.” She grabbed her purse and was out the door fifteen minutes before nine.
The day seemed to crawl by for Riley. She’d had a boring assignment and spent most of the day wishing she had gotten more than two hours of sleep. It didn’t reflect in her work though. She was among the top journalists in the city for a reason, and that reason was that she would never allow anything to affect her writing negatively.
She was relieved when Brett’s apartment came into view. Here she could relax for an hour or so before her scheduled dinner date with Jack. She frowned at the thought of it. She’d have to ask him, right?
Riley shook her head hoping that her doubts would tumble out of her mind. She had too much to worry about already; she didn’t need more on her plate. Who was she kidding? Riley all ready had much more than she could handle. It amazed her how she hadn’t leapt over to the world of insanity yet.
She stepped out of her Jeep only to come face to face with Marc-Andre Fleury. A smile instantly came to her lips. She and Marc had become what could be considered instant friends. Maybe it was the French-Canadian blood they both shared, but then again, she reminded herself, practically half the team was French-Canadian.
So it was his good-natured personality then, and even that was enough reasoning for Riley.
“Hello, Rye.” The arousing accent of his melted her heart.
“Hey, Marc.” Her accent wasn’t as strong as his, but Riley was a person who adapted very well to new surroundings and had a secret passion in imitating accents. After all, her American accent was coming along very well. “What brings you here?”
“I just wanted to come by and see you,” he said and matched his pace with hers. “I got back from Sorel a couple of days ago and have to fly out to Calgary for the Team Canada orientation in a week, so I decided to spend some avec mon ami.”
Riley smiled. She loved when he would throw the odd French term in a purely English sentence. “How sweet. Are you excited for the orientation camp, mon ami?”
He turned to her in the elevator and grinned. “I’m tres excited,” he said with such enthusiasm Riley thought he’d sing the words.
She laughed as she unlocked the door to the apartment. When she opened the door her laughter, smile, and even her overall comfort vanished. Sitting on the living room couch was Kris, Jordan, Ben, Brett and the man her eyes were drawn to, Sidney.
They all looked up when the front door opened and they watched Riley’s eyes dart to Sidney, and his to hers.
The room was silent and Riley was well aware of the six pairs of eyes on her. Only one, she thought, made her want to disappear. All the guilt she had felt a month ago, and thought she’d covered so well, came rushing up and nearly strangled her to death at the sheer look of affliction on Sidney’s face.
She was the reason for that look, Riley reminded herself grudgingly.
“Hello everyone,” she said, her voice cutting through the dreadful silence. Her tone was very cool, very controlled. Only Riley could hear the anger and shock in it.
“Hey, Rye,” Jordan said. He had a faint smile on his face until she aimed an icy glare at him. His smiled vanished almost immediately.
“Brett, can I speak with you for a minute?” Riley didn’t wait for his response and stalked into what was her temporary bedroom. “What did you do?” she demanded the moment he closed the door behind him.
He held his hands up in surrender. “I only opened the door. I swear.”
“And you could just shut it in their faces when you saw him? No,” she said with some thought. “There’s five of them and one of you—they’d just plough over you.”
“It’s nice to know that you believe I can hold my own,” he said dryly. “In any case, you should talk to Sid.”
She turned her back on him and walked over to the window. “Brett, I don’t—”
“Have any other choice,” he said when there was a knock on the door. Sidney stood there looking at Riley.
“Rye, can we talk?”
“She was just coming out to do that.” Brett rushed out the door before Riley could glower at him.
“I’m surprised you’d even want to look at me after…” Riley trailed off.
There was absolute silence for three whole minutes. Sidney didn’t’ know how he was going to phrase the question that had haunted him since Jack stood on his doorstep the previous day.
She turned to face him. His pained tone broke her heart. She found herself wanting to go over and soothe it, to go hug him and tell him everything would be ok but she couldn’t because she didn’t know if it would.
“Riley,” Sidney said again. This was it, his only chance to ask. He took a deep breath and plunged. “Did you leave me for him?”
“What?” Did she hear him correctly?
“Did you leave me for him?” Sidney repeated.
“Brett, who else?”
Riley kept her face impassive as she sat on the bed. “You think Brett and I are together.” Though it wasn’t a question, Sidney nodded his head. “Brett and I are friends.”
He’d heard that line too many times before from past relationships, and hearing it again only brought out his anger. “Like that matters. If you were only friends then why are you two living together? Why did you move out of our place?”
“Cooper. That fucker is the reason for why I left our place. But we’re talking about Brett.” She found she couldn’t sit so she got up to prowl the room like at cat in a cage.
“And I’m supposed to believe that Cooper is the only reason? Riley, I’m not stupid.”
Her eyebrows shot up. “You don’t believe me? Fine, I’ll prove it,” she said bitterly and swung the door open. “Guys, would you care to explain to Sidney that Cooper was indeed the reason I moved in here?”
Kris looked around the room and realized that no one was willing to speak up. So he’d take the chance. “He was, Sid. He got all up in her face one morning demanding personal information.”
“Yeah,” Jordan piped up, “we had to kick his ass for him to finally get the message to leave Rye alone.”
“See? I’m not a bloody liar.” Riley was losing her patience. “Brett is a friend. Just leave it be.”
No. No, he couldn’t do that, not when she seemed so defensive about it. Besides, he hadn’t gotten his answer yet. “Riley, I know that’s not all he is to you.”
“Ah…” Jack looked at both of them and realized that they weren’t anywhere near done solving this.
“We’ll just go to the lobby,” Ben told them.
The men all stood up and walked to the door. Brett stayed behind a minute and walked over to Riley, placed a hand on her shoulder. “Tell him, Rye. He needs to know.”
She turned to face him. “No, Brett, I—”
“Tell him.” He then walked out of the apartment.
Riley let out a sigh then turned back to a seething Sidney. “It’s not what you think,” she told him calmly. Her anger had faded and left her tired.
“Then what is so damn important that I apparently need to know?”
“I meant what I said before. Brett and I are friends—we’re not in a relationship.”
“That wouldn’t stop you from having sex,” he commented.
“It wouldn’t, no. Brett’s engaged.”
“You’re not understanding me here, Riley.” He wanted her to cut the crap and give him a straight answer.
“Brett is engaged to Jamie Crawford,” she continued on, ignoring his frustrated interruption.
“An engagement wouldn’t stop him from— Wait. Jamie Crawford. The famous chef?”
She smiled. “Mm-hmm.”
He was confused, she could see it. “But Jamie Crawford is—”
“A man? Yes.” Riley walked over to him and rested her hands on his shoulders. “Brett’s gay. That was what he meant by ‘he needs to know.’”
He had to sit down. “He’s gay? Are you sure?”
Riley laughed. “I’ve been living here for the past few weeks, I’m positive.”
Sidney let out a breath. “I can’t believe I didn’t see it before.” Every past encounter he’d had with Brett came flooding back into his mind. “I just don’t see it. I still don’t.”
Suddenly Riley felt warm inside and that’s why, she told herself, she let him pull her down in his lap. “You didn’t see it because you were too blinded by jealousy. And,” she added, wrapping her arms around his neck. “He hides it very well.”
“Why does he hide it?”
He saw anger and sadness cross her face. She needed to pace while explaining this, so she got off his lap. “It’s sad, really. When will we ever learn to love without judging? Brett hides his sexuality because he works in a very shallow industry. He is the top sports analyst/reporter at Sports Guide. He hides his sexuality because if he didn’t he’d lose his job.”
Sidney hadn’t seen this coming. The man he hadn’t cared for because of jealousy was starting to sound like an okay guy. A guy who had to live a lie to fit in. “That’s horrible,” he said quietly.
“It is, isn’t it? I’ve told him dozens of times not to hide it, but he’s happy with the way things are right now. He’s got a good career, a nice place, good friends, and a wonderful fiancé.”
“I’ve seen him on TV a few times; he’s good at what he does. So why would it matter so much if he were gay?”
“People would stop watching the show. Cheryl would end up getting emails asking why a fag was hosting the show. What would a gay man know about sports? This isn’t fashion, its sports. Not everyone would say that but there would be some jerks that would. Those are the same jerks that don’t agree with women reporting sports. The only reason they put up with women is because they can check her out the entire time. But a gay man? No, never.”
He saw the anger that she was trying to battle back get the best of her face. Hell, it sickened and angered him too. But Riley needed some sort of comfort and he could do that. When she turned her back on him again, he stood up and wrapped his arms around her waist. She stiffened, and then made him smile by relaxing and leaning in to him.
“We still haven’t talked about us,” he murmured in her ear.
Riley liked the feel of his arms around her. “No, I don’t suppose we have. So I’ll start. I’m sorry.”
“Sid, you have nothing to be sorry about. The whole thing was my doing. I’m sorry I left without any explanation, I’m sorry I hurt you, and I’m really sorry about doing it all again on the five year anniversary of the first time I left you.”
He winced at the last one. “I was wondering if you had remembered that.”
She turned to face him, to look at him, regret in her peridot coloured eyes. “Why do you put up with me?”
“Because I love you.” And that was God’s truth, he thought. Even after everything she had done, everything she’d put him through, he was still foolishly in love with Riley Jacobs.
“I don’t deserve you,” she said in a whisper. “You need someone who’ll be there for you when you need her; someone you can depend on, and we both know that’s not—”
“Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare say that’s not you.” He grabbed her hands and his eyes burned into hers. The strong heat in his eyes had nerves dancing under her skin. “I love you, Rye. I love you because you’re not all that. You add… excitement, we’ll say, with your unreliability.”
She frowned. He kissed the tip of her nose. “I said I was sorry.”
“And I forgive you.”
“You really shouldn’t. Like you said, I’m unreliable. I don’t know if I can get back together with you. Just listen,” she said quickly when anger flared in his eyes. “I love you, but I fear that I’ll hurt you again.”
“You won’t,” Sidney said easily. “I love you and you love me. We’re meant to be with each other, Rye. So that’s why I’ll take you back on one condition.”
Her perfectly arched brows shot up in surprise, then furrowed in confusion. “That one condition would be what, that I promise to never leave you again? Sid, you have my word on that, but—”
“That’s part of it, but not all.” Sidney took a step closer to her when she backed up one. “That one condition, Riley, is that you marry me.”
He could have told her to sell a lung and she would have been less surprised. All the oxygen whooshed right out of her. Of course he wasn’t serious, was he? No, he couldn’t be. Marriage? But they weren’t even twenty-five yet.
“Sidney,” she said when she realized she had just left him hanging. But that was all she could manage. Her mind was blank.
“It’s only a legal document, you said so yourself.”
“But… marriage?” She tried to pull her hand free of his but he only tightened his grip. “It just seems so official.”
“It’s the only way I’ll know that I won’t lose you.” He knew it was low, but it was also true. “I can’t bear to lose you again, Rye. You’re everything to me, I love you. But I can’t take this doubt, this uncertainty anymore. I can’t stand wondering what you’re thinking, if you’re going to leave again. I know it hurts, believe me, I do, but, Riley, I want all or I want nothing.”
She was silent a moment. She needed to get rid of the fuzz in her brain. She looked into his beautiful brown eyes and realized that he was serious. This was it, this was what he’d stand by and if she couldn’t give him certainty then he would truly leave. The aching in her heart came back, and so did the fear. This time he would leave, and she knew that he wouldn’t come back.
Could she handle that? Could Riley really handle a life without Sidney? He was her everything, but she had lived without him in her life before. Of course, her memory wasn’t all intact then but she had been able to move on—until she saw him again. That day in September she had felt a spark when she had looked into his eyes, and it wasn’t from the scorching heat.
What he had said was true; they were meant to be together. The past month she had been apart from him and it had been the hardest month of her life. She couldn’t—wouldn’t—lose him again. Sidney Crosby was hers, and she would make damn sure of that.
She sighed and lifted her head. “Okay.”
His heart leapt. “Okay?”
“You’ll marry me?”
He laughed, lifted her into his arms, and kissed her passionately. She smiled into the kiss and knew that they were about to head down a terrifying road. But she’d be going down that road with him, and that was okay.
He pulled the velvet box out of his pocket, opened it, and slid the ring of commitment on her finger. She felt the weight of the diamonds—too many for her liking—on that little finger that would never be bare again.
They were caught in yet another kiss when the front door of Brett’s apartment opened.
“Didn’t take them long,” Jordan commented as he and the rest of the guys walked in.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” Ben said easily. He looked at his sister and smiled. “Neither does that rock on her finger.”
That observation had them all lifting their heads and gaping. Sidney and Riley were caught in an intimate embrace with grins on their faces. You couldn’t tell that they had just reunited after a month apart.
“Well,” Brett began, “it looks like we’ve got another wedding to plan.”
Jordan, Marc, Brett, Ben and Kris all congratulated Riley and Sidney not without making the comment that only those two could break up, reunite, break up again, then decide to marry. The idea of a celebratory dinner was brought up, so all seven of them made their way out to eat.
For the first time in weeks Riley was truly happy. Sidney linked his fingers with hers, gently rubbing his thumb over her ring. He leaned down to kiss her on the head and she couldn’t keep the smile off her face for the rest of the night.