I didn’t want this to turn into drama. I knew how Hanna could be with Jensen—adorably pestering—and Will, too, had seemed to grow invested in the two of us becoming a couple.
“I’d asked him on Sunday, after we all returned home, whether he wanted to get dinner this week. Unfortunately, he said he’s swamped.” Pausing, I couldn’t help adding with a wry grin, “He suggested—via text—that we shoot for next week.”
“But you’re gone next week,” Hanna said slowly, as if she hoped she was missing some obvious detail that meant her brother wasn’t being a bit of a wanker.
“Is Jensen going to London next week?” she asked, hope bringing her voice up an octave.
“Not that I know of.” God, this was so awkward. If I was being honest, there was more than just heartache here after all. There was some humiliation, too. I loved that Hanna liked me enough to ignore all the reasons why Jensen and I couldn’t be together long term—the fact that we lived on different continents being one—but it did sting a bit that Jensen so obviously couldn’t even be bothered while I was still in town, and now we all knew it. Also, I really liked Hanna and Will; I didn’t want whatever was happening—or rather, not happening—to ruin that.
She reached for three glasses and, over her shoulder, asked if I wanted wine or beer.
“Water?” I said, laughing. “I feel I’ve had enough alcohol to last me a decade.”
Walking to the enormous refrigerator, she growled a little. “I’m so mad at him! I wondered when we dropped you off, but I’d hoped—”
“Honestly,” I said, “don’t be angry on my account.”
Will shook his head a little. “Plum, it’s just not our business.”
“Has that ever stopped Jensen before?” she asked, voice rising. “And I’m glad he did butt in back in the day, otherwise I would never have called you!”
“I know,” he said, voice placating. “I agree. And I know you’re worried about him being alone.” Looking at me apologetically, Will said, “Sorry, Pippa.”
“I don’t mind,” I said, shrugging, and honestly I didn’t. Hearing Hanna’s frustration made me feel better, not worse.
“I know you do.” Walking over to her, Will wrapped his arms around her shoulders, pulling her in. “But come on,” he said, kissing the top of her head. “Let’s eat.”
Will piled an enormous slice of lasagna on my plate, shoved some salad beside it, and handed it to me.
“I think this plate weighs more than I do,” I said as I thunked it down onto the autumn-themed place mat before me. “If you tell me I can’t leave the table until I’ve finished this, I’ll miss my flight on Sunday.”
“Will’s lasagna is famous,” Hanna said, and then shoved a forkful in her mouth. “Well,” she said after she’d swallowed, “famous in this house. With me.”
I took a bite and could see why. It was the perfect balance of cheese, meat, sauce, and noodles. Unreal. “It really isn’t fair that you’re pretty and you know how to cook,” I said to Will.
He beamed. “I’m also fantastic at taking out the recycling and sweeping the deck.”
“Don’t sell yourself short, babe,” Hanna said, laughing, “you scrub a mean toilet, too.”
“Um,” I said, laughing at this, “not to mention the part where you’re also an investment mastermind with a PhD, Dr. Sumner.”
Will and Hanna exchanged a look. “True,” Hanna said, raising her eyebrows at him.
“Okay,” I said, “I’ve been with you for the past two weeks. What am I missing?”
“We decided last night that I’m probably leaving the firm in . . .” He looked to Hanna for guidance, saying quietly, “. . . the next year or so.”
“Switching careers, or quitting work entirely?” I asked, shocked. I knew Will worked with Max; I assumed it was the perfect work situation for everyone.
Hanna nodded. “He doesn’t need to make more money, and . . .” She smiled over at him. “When I get tenure, we’re going to try for kids. Will wants to be a stay-at-home dad.”
I shook my head, smiling at the two of them. “Is it odd? To be at that place when these things begin to happen, and all of your friends are married and having children? It feels as though it happens in a burst. Everyone I know is getting married this summer. Next it will be babies.”
“It does happen in a burst,” Will said, laughing. “I remember when Max and Sara had Annabel, and the rest of us were like, ‘How does it work? Why is it crying? Why does it smell?’ Now Max and Sara are going to have four kids soon, and we could all change a diaper with one hand tied behind our backs.”
Hanna nodded, adding, “And Chloe and Bennett are joining them. To me, that was the biggest sign that we’re all headed that way. When Chloe told us she was pregnant, I was like . . . okay, this is when it all changes. In the best way.”
“It’s amazing,” I said, poking at my dinner. I felt mildly melancholy, but not because I wanted a child, or even a husband. I just wanted one specific person here with us, and the seat beside me felt like an obvious absence. “It feels so far away for me, though not in a bad way.”
“I think Jensen feels that way, too, sometimes,” Hanna said, as if reading my mind, stabbing at her salad with a fork. “But in his case I think it does—” She stopped talking when Will let out a sigh. “Sorry,” she said, slumping. “I’m doing it again.”