Authors: Kelly Elliott
Pulling it off, I looked at it. My heart began beating faster as my hands shook. Squatting, I placed the key in the drawer and unlocked it. Slowly opening it, I let out a gasp as my hand slammed to my mouth and I fell backward.
Turning my eyes away from the contents of the drawer, I fought like hell not to cry. I would never shed another tear over him. Not. One. Tear.
The door to the office opened. Staying on the floor, I waited to hear who it was.
“Um…Harmony? Are you okay?”
The sound of her voice made my skin crawl instantly. Inhaling a deep breath, I slowly stood up. Margie stood barely in the office. Dan was walking up behind her and smiled when he saw me.
“How long were you sleeping with my husband, Margie?”
Dan immediately stopped behind Margie.
Margie let out a nervous giggle. “W-what are you talking about, Harmony? Trey and I were not having an affair.”
Narrowing my eyes, I tilted my head. “Are you sure you want to stick with that answer?”
Dan cleared his throat. “Margie, Harmony’s been under a lot of stress, it’s probably best if you leave.”
Tossing my head back, I laughed. “I wonder, Margie. Did he fuck you on the desk? Maybe up against the wall like he did me.”
Dan stepped around Margie. “Harmony, now, honey, I know you’ve been—”
Margie glared at me.
Oh. Margie didn’t like me bringing up how I let my own husband fuck me in his office.
“Margie? You want to change your answer?”
Swallowing hard, she looked away.
Bending over, I grabbed a handful of shit out of the drawer and threw it onto the desk.
“Answer me! Were you having an affair with my husband, because I know for a fact we didn’t use condoms and he has never used a vibrator on me here in his office. Nor do my panties have your fucking initials on them!”
Margie kept looking in the other direction. Glancing down, I saw our wedding picture and my mouth dropped open. Picking it up, I looked at how happy we were. Taking a closer look, I noticed Trey’s eyes didn’t look happy at all. They looked sad. His smile forced.
Letting a small sob pass through my lips, I pressed them together harder.
“Harmony, let’s you and I go through Trey’s belongings and we can talk.”
Looking directly at Margie, my voice cracked as I talked. “The least you could do is tell me the truth. You owe me that.”
Margie turned and when her eyes caught mine, I knew she didn’t have to utter a word. They had been having an affair.
Letting out a gruff laugh, I threw the picture as hard as I could at her. But I never was good at throwing things, and it hit the door nowhere near Margie. It did scare the hell out of her, because she let out a scream.
“I hope you enjoyed yourself while you fucked my husband with pictures of his wife and son surrounding you. Did that make you feel good, Margie?”
Grabbing the picture of the three of us, I threw it onto the floor and stepped on it as Dan rushed over to me.
“Harmony, please stop this. Let’s go into my office.”
Putting my hand up to stop him, I shouted, “Stop! I’m finished here. Whatever that bastard had in this office, let his mistress take it all home with her.”
Walking around the desk, I made my way over to the door, not before stopping and looking into Margie’s tear-filled eyes.
Shaking my head, I leaned in closer to her. “I hope karma comes back around on you someday. He was married with a small child. But then again, I guess whores don’t care about that…do they?”
Pushing past Margie, I made my way through the office as everyone stared at me. Keeping my eyes directly on the elevator, I counted my steps.
Hitting the button, I stood there and concentrated on breathing in and out. I needed to get out of this building before I broke down.
When the doors opened, I rushed in and leaned against the back wall as I looked at Dan rushing to the elevator.
“Harmony! Please don’t do this!”
The doors shut and I pressed my hands to my mouth tightly.
Do not cry. He isn’t worth the tears. Find your inner strength, Harmony.
He isn’t worth the tears.
“Preston? Earth to Preston?”
Fingers snapped in front of my face as I was torn from my memory. “Sorry, Sherry. I was lost in thought.”
Rolling her eyes, she let out a frustrated sigh. “Have you gone and talked to the counselor like I said, honey?”
Pinching my eyes together, I glared at her. “I don’t need to talk to a shrink, Sherry.”
Raising an eyebrow, Sherry mumbled under her breath, “Yeah, you do.
“Listen, Preston,” she continued, “I’ve needed a fun night out and when Sandy said she was having a party with a few friends, I jumped all over it. With how important her dad is, the tighter we get with her, the better for you and for me.”
I pulled my head back in surprise. When Jake had asked if Sherry and I wanted to meet for dinner three months ago, I wasn’t sure. Now I knew why I wasn’t sure—Sherry and her obsession with Sandy’s father. Shaking my head, I asked, “How is getting in tight with Sandy going to be better for me?”
Giving me her naughty smile, Sherry winked at me. “Don’t you want to do something else with your life besides be a firefighter? I mean, look at Jake. He’s going to be a doctor, for Christ’s sake, Preston. A doctor.”
My mouth dropped open and I was about to lay into Sherry when the elevators opened straight into Sandy and Jake’s condo. The first time Jake introduced us to Sandy, I saw Sherry’s eyes light up and I knew I was in trouble. Ever since then, Sherry had been trying like hell to be Sandy’s BFF.
Stepping into the room, I looked around for Jake. We had been hanging out more and more and met for lunch when Jake had the extra time. I wanted to ask him about Harmony, but I didn’t want to seem desperate for information. It had been almost four months since I had seen her at the funeral. I’d casually asked a few times about her, and when Jake suggested I give her a call, I panicked for some reason.
Catching a glimpse of Jake across the room, I made my way over to him. He was my saving grace at these parties and he knew it. His smile from across the room told me he knew Sherry had dragged me here.
“Dude, what a surprise seeing you here tonight. I thought you were on shift.”
Looking down, I kicked my foot at nothing and said, “Nah, I took a couple days off.”
Slapping his hand on my back, he laughed. “Jesus, it’s about time. You’ve been working too hard. Let’s go out onto the balcony; I need some air.”
Following Jake out to the balcony, I quickly glanced around the room. Something felt…different. The hairs on my arms stood up and it felt as if someone was watching me.
Stepping out into the cool, fall night air, I inhaled a deep breath. The view of downtown Boston from Sandy and Jake’s condo was amazing. I could spend hours out here just thinking.
“How’s the residency going?” I asked as I took a sip of the beer I had grabbed on the way out.
“Busy as hell, but it’s going. I can’t complain.”
Jake took a sip of his beer as I shrugged my shoulders. “Hey, at least you got to do your residency here at Mass General.”
Laughing, Jake shook his head. “Yeah, with the help of someone.”
Pulling my head back, I asked, “No shit? Sandy’s dad?”
Pointing at me, he said, “Ding! Ding! Ding! You got it. Sandy worked her daddy some and managed to get me on at Mass General.”
Shaking my head, I said, “Damn, dude, I’m sorry. I know you didn’t want to use your parents or Sandy’s dad to pull strings.”
Shrugging his shoulders, Jake looked out over the city. I took this as my opportunity to ask about Harmony.
“At least it kept you close to your sister. Speaking of, how’s Harmony? The last you told me, she was selling the house and looking for something downtown, close to school and the hospital.”
Jake cracked his neck. “She sold the house over a month ago. Moved into her new condo about three weeks ago.”
Jake laughed. “Yeah.” Jake’s smile faded as he said, “I’m worried about her.”
Before I could ask any more questions, someone cleared their throat. “Are you guys going to hide out here all night, or are you going to come in and play a few games?”
Glancing over my shoulder, I smiled at Sherry. She stuck her hand out, and I took it and let her lead me into the living room.
Sandy slapped her hands together and said, “First game for the night is Sixes!” Dropping the dice onto the coffee table, Sandy let out a small squeal. Sitting down, I glanced across the giant coffee table and was met with blue eyes. My breath caught and I was stunned with how my stomach fell at the sight of her.
Flashing me a smile that would for sure knock any guy off his feet, Harmony held up her wineglass, winked, and said, “Preston.”
Jake sat down next to me and whispered, “Dude, I’ve never seen my sister drink, so this should be fun.”
Sandy cleared her throat and began talking. I couldn’t pull my eyes off Harmony as I watched her taking in everything Sandy was saying.
“Okay, listen up. Each person will roll the dice. If you roll a six, or two numbers that add up to a six, you have to take a shot.”
Harmony smiled bigger and I had a feeling she hadn’t gotten to have too many good times with getting pregnant at eighteen.
“Harmony, you’re up first,” Sandy said as she handed the dice to Harmony. Looking back at me, her face lit up with excitement and I couldn’t help but laugh. Jake did the same next to me.
“I fear my little sister has led a very sheltered life.”
Harmony nodded and said, “Very sheltered.”
Rolling the dice, everyone let out a cheer. Double sixes. “Drink up, Harmony,” Jake said as he poured two shots for her. After she downed them both, she made a gagging sound that had everyone laughing again. Everyone but Sherry. Sandy and Harmony were giggling like crazy as Sandy whispered something into Harmony’s ear. Sherry glared at Harmony like she was an interruption in the grand plan to win Sandy over as her BFF. A status I was pretty sure Harmony held without even trying.
Four rounds later and it was clear Harmony was not one to bring to Vegas. Every time she rolled the dice, she ended up taking a shot.
Standing up, Sherry clapped her hands. “I think it’s time to move on from Sixes. Let’s play I’ve Never.”
Harmony tittered. “I’ve never played that.”
Laughter exploded throughout the room and Sherry frowned at Harmony. “Then it looks like you’ll be good at this game, too.” Harmony’s smile faded some as she looked down.
Looking away from Harmony, Sherry went over the rules. “Okay, so for Harmony’s sake, I’ll explain the game. I’ll say something I’ve never done. If anyone else around the table has never done it, they have to drink up. If you think I’m not telling the truth you can call me out, and if you’re right, I have to take a drink. If you’re wrong, you have to take a drink.” Turning to face Harmony, Sherry asked, “Do you get it?”
Nodding, Harmony quickly looked at me. Smiling, I gave her a reassuring wink and I saw her body immediately relax.
“I’ll go first. I’ve never been to Canada.”
Everyone took a drink. Well, everyone but Sandy and Jake, who had spent a week in Canada last year. Jake just happened to have told me about the trip a few weeks ago.
Next was Harmony. Chewing on her lower lip, she said, “I’ve never had a one-night stand.”
No one picked up their drinks. Harmony’s mouth dropped open. “Are you kidding me? All of you have?”
Jake laughed and pointed to the next person. By the time we got to me, Harmony had taken another three drinks. After her one-night-stand comment, folks caught on to how naïve and inexperienced Harmony was.
“Preston!” Sherry shouted as I pulled my eyes off Harmony. “It’s your turn.”
The way Sherry glared at me told me she was pissed about something. Smiling, I said, “I’ve never had a dog.”
Harmony tilted her head and gave me the sweetest grin and said, “That’s kind of sad.”
Shrugging my shoulders, I pouted and pretended like I wiped a tear away. Harmony laughed and I glanced over at Sherry again. If looks could kill, I’d have been laid out on the floor. Smiling, I winked at her only to have her look away and whisper something into the ear of the guy sitting next to her. It wasn’t lost on me how Sherry had been flirting with the guy the entire time we had been playing these stupid games. The thing that struck me as odd was that I wasn’t bothered by it. At all.
Before the accident, I had thought there might be a slight chance at a future with Sherry. Now, it was becoming clear that we were only growing further apart.
The game came back around to Harmony. Lifting her eyes up as if she was thinking hard, she said, “I’ve never had sex in—”
Jake jumped up and shouted, “Okay! I think we’ve had enough fun with the drinking games.”
Sherry stood up and nodded. “I agree. It’s become rather boring.” Turning, she made her way over to the bar and made a drink. Harmony stayed sitting where she was as I sat across from her.
Not knowing what to say, I grinned and said, “Hey.”
Her eyes still held the same sadness they’d held that first day in the hospital. “Hey,” she whispered back.
“How are you doing, Harmony?”
Falling back on the sofa, she let out a frustrated sigh. “Considering I have discovered that not even drinking numbs my pain, I’d say I am doing pretty shitty.”
My heart felt as if it was physically aching. Her eyes caught mine and I wasn’t sure how long we sat there and stared at each other.
“I heard you moved.”
Nodding, she bit down on her lower lip and my body reacted in a way that surprised the hell out of me. For the first time since I’d known Harmony, I was physically attracted to her.
“Yep. You’ll have to come see my new place. I bought a condo on Comm Avenue.”
Swallowing hard, I barely spoke. “I’d like that.” My heart began pounding as I pictured kissing Harmony’s soft lips.
Leaning forward, Harmony’s eyes searched my face as she smiled slightly. “You’re looking at me differently than you ever have before, Preston.”
Feeling my face flush, I looked away as I stood up. “Um…excuse me, Harmony. I need some fresh air.”
Quickly making my way out to the patio, I dragged in a few deep breaths as I pushed my hands through my hair.
What the fuck is happening?
For one brief second, I’d wanted to take Harmony in my arms. I’d wanted her. Seriously wanted her.
Jesus, Preston. Get a grip on yourself, you douche.
Staring out over the lights of the city, I closed my eyes and all I could see was Harmony’s smile.
You cannot be falling for Harmony Banks. Jesus, get it together, Ward.
Her voice moved through my body like a warm sensation. For the first time in months, it was the only thing that made me forget for a few brief moments.
Glancing over my shoulder, I smiled. “Yeah?”
Harmony stood at the door. Beyond her, I saw Sherry hanging all over the guy she had been talking to most of the night. “I think I’m going to get sick.”
My eyes snapped back to Harmony. “What?”
She swallowed and I saw it on her face. She was about to throw up. “I’m trying really hard to hold it down.”
Rushing over to her, I picked her up in my arms and made my way through Sandy and Jake’s condo to the guest bathroom. “It’s okay, baby, just hang on.”
She buried her head in my neck, and I prayed like hell she wouldn’t throw up on me. I can handle anything but puke on me.
Pushing the bathroom door open, I brought Harmony over to the toilet and gently set her down as I lifted the lid.
“Oh God!” she moaned as she leaned over and got sick. Spinning around in the bathroom, I looked for a washcloth. Reaching into a drawer, I pulled one out and ran it under hot water.
Kicking the door shut, I got down next to Harmony and held her blond hair back as she continued to get sick.
When nothing else would come out, she leaned back into me and cried. “I’m so embarrassed. I can’t believe I got drunk at my brother’s party and then threw up.”
Rubbing my hand down her back, I attempted to get her to settle down. “Shh, it’s okay. Every single one of those people out there has prayed to the porcelain god at some point in their life.”
Laughing, Harmony pulled back and looked at me. “Thank you for taking care of me.”
Pushing a strand of hair from her face, I whispered, “Anytime.”
Harmony’s mouth opened slightly as if she was about to say something, but she stopped herself. Looking away, she said, “I better call a cab.”
“No. No way am I letting you take a cab home. I’ll give you a ride.”
Giving me a knee-knocking smile, she asked, “Are you sure? What about…Sherry? She might not be ready to go.”
Standing up, I reached down and helped Harmony stand. “Well, I am and I’m the driver, so if she doesn’t want to leave, she’s shit out of luck.”
Covering her mouth, Harmony giggled. “You’re so bad.”
Once Harmony rinsed out her mouth again, we headed back out to the living room. Harmony was definitely drunk. She could hardly walk as she made her way over to Jake and Sandy. Following her, I stood there while she said I was taking her home.
Jake reached for my hand to shake it. “Do you work tomorrow?”
Shaking my head, I said, “No. I never drink before I’ve got a shift.”
Nodding, he slapped my back. “Thanks for taking her home, dude. I appreciate it.”
Sandy helped Harmony gather up her things while I made my way over to Sherry.
Stepping between her and her new friend, I smiled at her. “Harmony is sick and we have to take her home. We’re leaving now.”
Sherry’s smile faded as she narrowed her eyes at me. “Jake will have to take her home. I’m not ready to leave.”
Anger washed over me as Sherry looked back at the guy and chuckled as she said, “Besides, I’m working a business deal. Isn’t that right, Jerry?”
The guy smiled and nodded.
Taking Sherry by the arm, I excused us and walked her to a corner. “Sherry, I’m taking Harmony home. You’re either coming with me or finding another way home.”
Sherry poked me in the chest. “You don’t owe her anything. Stop acting like you owe her something. So her kid and husband died. It wasn’t your fault. Jesus Christ, Preston, it’s time to move on. Let her hook up with some guy here tonight. Lord knows she needs to get laid. It’s pathetic how innocent she acts.”