“Because you were so good together!” she yelled back. Will put a calming hand on my sister’s arm and she shrugged it away. “Listen, Jens, your career is crazy, and I’m so proud of you. If that’s all you want out of life, then fine. I’ll let it go. But after watching you last week, and seeing the way you laughed and lit up whenever Pippa walked into the room, I don’t think it is. And don’t say it was all for Becky’s benefit, because she wasn’t at the cabin. You were so happy.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” I asked, my face heating. “As opposed to what? How miserable I am the rest of the time?”
Will cleared his throat, glancing between us. “Why don’t we all take a breath,” he started, but I wasn’t finished.
“I don’t understand what the big deal is and why everyone is suddenly invested in my love life.”
Ziggy slapped her hand down, laughing angrily. “You have got to be kidding me!”
I actually laughed. “You can’t possibly be comparing the two situations. You’d never actually dated anyone. I’ve had relationships; I’m divorced, for God’s sake. That’s a little different than never coming out of the gate.”
“Why can’t you let this go? It was a fling, Ziggy. What Pippa and I had was a fling. People have them every day—ask your husband, he has a little experience in the matter.”
“Didn’t look like a fling to me,” Will said, and gave me a warning look.
“And not that it’s any of your business,” I said, putting down my fork, “but this decision wasn’t only mine. We’re on the same page. Neither of us was in a position to want more.”
“How do you even know what page she’s on? You’ve never called her.”
Both Will and I gasped, instinctively moving back in our seats. My sister did not swear. And if she did, it was because something was on fire or a new copy of Science had shown up early at the house. It was never directed at me.
“Pippa just got out of a relationship,” I told her, trying to soften my tone. Ziggy only wanted what was best for me. I knew that. “She was living with someone, Ziggs. What she and I had was never meant to be more.”
“That doesn’t mean it couldn’t be,” she said.
“Why? Because you were a rebound? Because you’re a buttoned-up lawyer and she sometimes has pink hair? Anyone with a pulse would bang Pippa. Heck, I would bang her.”
“Well, yeah, in my head I would.” Ziggy shrugged. “And if Jensen would stop being such an—”
“Enough!” I shouted, and the room went still. “This isn’t about you, Hanna.”
“Did you just Hanna me?” she asked, face pink. “You think it’s fun to watch you like this? To know you go home to your empty house every night and that that will never, ever change because you’re too scared or too stubborn to make the first move? I worry about you, Jensen. I worry about you every fucking day.”
“Well, get over it! I’m not worried!”
“You should be! You’re never going to be with anyone at this rate!” Her eyes went wide and she sucked in a breath. “I didn’t mean—”
“Yeah, I know. You didn’t mean to say it out loud.” I pushed myself back from the table.
Ziggy looked horrified and apologetic, but I was too riled up to listen to more.
“Thanks for dinner,” I said, tossing my napkin on the table and walking down the hall.
Despite the cold, I drove home with the windows open, hoping the sound of the wind whipping through the car might blast away the echo of my sister’s words.
The street was silent when I pulled up in front of my house, cutting the engine. I didn’t get out, and not because there was somewhere else I was considering going. I just didn’t really want to go inside. Inside it was tidy and quiet. Inside there were vacuum lines across most of the living room carpet that were never disrupted by footsteps. Inside there was a stack of well-worn takeout menus and an expansive list of shows in my Recently Watched category on Netflix.
What was going on with me? I’d always loved my house, excelled at my job, and enjoyed my routine. I could admit to not being downright ecstatic most of the time, but I’d been happy settling for content.
Why did that not seem like enough anymore?
I finally climbed out of the car and walked up to the porch, slowly pulling my keys from my pocket. My windows were dark save for the lamps with the timer, and I refused to make yet another comparison between my porch and Ziggy’s, my life and Ziggy’s.
Hanna’s, I thought, catching myself for the first time. I don’t want to compare my life and Hanna’s.
She’d even surpassed me in how well she did it, how much gusto she gave it.
I unlocked the door and stepped inside, tossing my keys in the direction of the entryway table. Without bothering to turn on any lights or grab the remote first, I sat down in front of the dark TV.
Hanna was right, I should be worried. I had a job I’d sacrificed everything for and a family I adored—which was a hell of a lot more than most people had—but I wasn’t doing anything to make my life fuller.