I run my finger over the exposed skin of her stomach where the shirt ends, and ask, “Have you got any idea how turned on I am right now?” My eyes are focused on hers and I fight the desire to rip the shirt and her panties off and thrust straight into her.

A look clouds her face, and I struggle to read it. Disappointment maybe. Or even annoyance. Her hands come to my chest and she pushes me off her and swiftly moves off the bed. Staring down at me, she says, “I may have fallen in love with you but I’m not loving the way you blow me off and then come home just to fuck me. God knows I’m all down for sex, but at the moment it’s beginning to feel like I only exist to you for that.”

Her words crawl all over me. Hurt, anger and disappointment prod at me and beg me to listen to what she’s saying, and I try, but my own anger and grief rear their heads and cause me to retaliate with awful words. Scooting off the bed, I stand in front of her and reply, “I think I deserve a little understanding this week, Presley. For fuck’s sake, my sister just died, and I’m trying to figure out how the hell to deal with that. You want to do all this talking about it, but did you ever stop and think about what I might want or need?”

This only serves to fire her up. “Don’t you realise that all I have been thinking about is what you want and need? I’m trying to be here for you, Jett, however you need me, but I think you’re avoiding me, and I’m not sure why.” Her eyes fill with a depth of hurt that whooshes through my stomach and makes me feel like the biggest bastard on Earth. Her voice cracks a little as she hugs herself and adds, “I don’t even care if you don’t talk to me about it, I just don’t want you to avoid me anymore. It makes me feel like shit.”

And then Vivienne’s words from today slap me in the face.

What is your greatest fear?

And the answer swirls around in my gut, demanding I pay attention to it when all I want to do is get the fuck out of here and avoid facing this.

My voice is stuck in my throat and I can’t form a reply to what she’s just said. She’s staring at me, waiting, and nothing comes.

Shaking her head, she says, “I just told you I love you and you don’t even have anything to say back to that?”

Without another word, I stalk out to the kitchen.

I need to get out of here.

“Where are you going?” she demands, following me. Suffocating me.

Grabbing my keys off the counter, I swing around to face her. “I can’t do this, Presley.”

Disbelief flashes in her eyes and her body sags a little. “Can’t do what?”

I madly point my finger between the two of us. “This.”

“You’re walking away from this? From us?” Her voice bounces off the walls and echoes through me. The ache of her hurt ricochets through my body, amplifying my own pain.

“Yes.” I still and watch her, wanting to move, yet frozen to the spot.

What the fuck have I just done?

Where the fuck did those words come from?

Watching her process that is like watching something in slow motion. The realisation of what I’ve said passes over her face and then through her body, and then it’s as if her brain kicks into gear. And there’s nothing like a woman burnt by love. “You’re going to regret this, Jett. You need me, but you know what? By the time you figure that out, I might be long gone.”

She turns on her heel and stalks into my bedroom. Less than five minutes later, she comes back out, fully dressed, grabs her bag and keys, and with one last glare at me, and muttering something about ‘bloody men who have their heads up their ass’, she walks out of my life.

“Have you heard from him?” Erin asks as she leans back in the massage chair and closes her eyes. Her shoulders begin to vibrate as the chair starts working through its massage. We’re having a girls’ day out and first order of business is a pedicure and manicure.

My heart hurts thinking about her question. “No.”

Her eyes blink open and she turns to look at me with disbelief. “It’s been two weeks. I can’t believe he still hasn’t called you. What was all that bullshit about you being the one and he’d do anything to make you give him a chance? That fucker, he gets you all into him and then just cuts and runs.”

Through my pain, I can still manage a smile for my friend. “I love how you’re always on my side, babe.”

Her indignation is burning bright. “Well, I’m pissed at him. Don’t get me wrong, I like him, but Jesus, he’s going to have some major sucking up to do when he gets his shit together and comes crawling back to you.”

“You’re assuming he will come back… I’m not so sure of it.”

She narrows her eyes at me. “Really? That guy has it bad for you. This is just his grief talking, right?”

“I’ve rung him and sent him a few texts but he hasn’t replied to any of them. I think he’s done.” Saying the words out loud hurts even more than thinking them, and I begin to cry. Wiping the tears away, I mutter, “Fuck, I hate crying over a man.” But as mad as I might be with him for the way he’s handled this, I’m so worried about him and his grief. It hurts me more to think about him out there coping with his sister’s death without someone to help him through that.

“You know what I’ve been wondering?” she asks.