After finishing up at the car show, Troy arrived at his best friend's house minutes to 7 o'clock. Gabe pulled open the door and greeted him with a brief hug.
"Hey man, thanks for doing this again," Gabe said as Troy hung up his coat by the door. "Mandy and I really appreciate it."
"It's nothing," Troy shrugged. "You guys deserve a night out and I'm more than happy to watch the twins sleep."
"I hope for your sake they stay sleeping," Gabe groaned. "Connor's been waking up the past few nights and wanting to come into our bed. We have to walk him back to his room, cuddle and tuck him back in."
"Don't worry about it, and if he does wake up, I'll remember to do that," Troy nodded. "What time is your movie?"
Gabe checked his watch. "In about thirty minutes. Mandy's just settling the twins in bed and we'll get going. We won't be back too late."
"Seriously take as much time as you want," Troy gestured to his bag. "Go grab a drink after the movie. The boys and I will be fine and I've got some work to catch up on anyways."
"You're a legend. So how are you anyways? How was the Lexus car show you went to?" Gabe asked, handing Troy a bottle of water from the fridge.
"I think I'll stick to my Audi for now," Troy laughed. "But you won't believe who I ran into."
"Alyssa Denton," Troy announced before taking a sip of his water.
"Oh wow," Gabe said, mildly surprised. "Talk about a blast from your past."
"Yea, it was unexpected. Did you know she works in marketing now?"
"Uh, I think she just does event management actually," Gabe said slowly.
Troy narrowed his eyes. "I didn't know you guys kept in touch that closely."
"Not exactly," Gabe replied quickly. "Mandy and Alyssa started going to the same functional training gym six months ago."
"Right." No wonder she looked so fucking hot.
And has a boyfriend.
"I met Lucas too," Troy added nonchalantly.
"Mandy did mention she was seeing someone. What was he like?"
"He seemed very intense," Troy said. He could still feel the other guy gripping his hand as though he was trying to crush his knuckles.
"Who seemed intense?" Mandy breezed into the kitchen where the men were standing.
Troy noticed Gabe's eyes light up as he saw his wife. Even though she was dressed in fitted jeans and a dark blouse, it was obvious to anyone looking in that Gabe was crazy about her.
Even though it was somewhat nauseating at times, Troy had to admit that there was something admirable in how they'd kept the passion burning after ten years, and with a pair of 3 year olds thrown into the mix.
"Alyssa's boyfriend," Troy supplied, when Gabe didn't fill her in right away.
Mandy's eyebrows shot up and she looked at her husband.
"Troy ran into them at the car event today," Gabe said feebly.
"Oh," Mandy said as she exhaled. "She told me about him but we haven't met. I think they've only gone out for a few weeks now."
"We weren't sure whether you wanted to have anything to do with her anymore, after everything," Gabe looked pained. "So we just didn't mention it."
It was unfair for him to feel betrayed but a small part of him did. He was devastated when Alyssa dropped out of his life all those years ago, without any sound or explanation. He had no idea why she left so abruptly, especially when he thought that they had been so in love with each other. He found out later on that she'd gone to London to pursue a Master's degree after college. After that, he never heard from her again.
It had taken him a very long time to come to terms with their breakup, not really even knowing whether it was something he did wrong or if she was dealing with her own issues that she didn't feel safe telling him about. He eventually assumed that she'd met someone else and it didn't take him long to move on when he decided that she should have at least had the decency to own up to her affair and break up with him properly.
And now that he'd finally seen her again after all this time, he couldn't believe that Mandy and Gabe had reconnected with her months ago.
What difference would it have made? It wouldn't undo the past, he reasoned. Maybe it would have just been nice to have had a heads up so that he would have been prepared if he saw her again.
"You're probably right," Troy forced a big smile, hoping to make his friend feel less tense. "You guys better get going or you'll miss the movie."
Mandy looked visibly relieved at Troy's change of subject and her blue eyes sparkled. "Thank you so much again for watching the boys. Our usual babysitter had to cancel and we had already reserved the tickets-"
Troy held his hand up. "Hey, that's what single friends are for right? It's not like I had better things to do on a Saturday night."
"Oh please," Gabe groaned. "You're single by choice."
"I don't have time for a girlfriend," Troy shrugged. "Now, get out of here you two. I'll call you if I need you but I'm sure everything will be fine."
Troy locked up behind them after they left then went to check on the twins. Seeing that they were sound asleep, Troy went back to the dining table and pulled out his laptop to work on his client's affidavit that was due the following week.
Wonder what Alyssa's doing now? The thought popped into his head.
Probably with the boyfriend. Being intense.
Or having an intense orgasm. Wonder if she still screams when she comes?
Shut up brain.
Troy forced himself to focus on the screen in front of him. That stuff was not his concern anymore.
But Alyssa stayed on his mind and about thirty minutes later, he gave up on the affidavit and opened his web browser.
It wasn't stalking, he told himself. Just curious about the company she worked for. Gabe said it was specifically in event's management.
He googled her full name and a dozen sites came up, including her social media. He clicked on it, eager for any information about her life now. It was set to private so aside from her display picture, in which she was wearing an oversized floppy hat and laughing at the camera, there wasn't much to go on.
He also found her profile on the website of the event management company that she worked for. There was a link to send her a direct email and his cursor hovered over it.
Was it creepy if he sent her a message? On her work email no less. She'd know for sure he had stalked her. Maybe he should ask Mandy for her number. But that would give rise to a bunch of questions he didn't want to answer. Maybe he shouldn't contact her at all. After all this time, what could they possibly have to talk about?
Stop being a pussy and send her a message.
It was time to get that long overdue closure. It had been almost ten years since they dated, but he was no closer to knowing why things ended. And now that he'd found her, he wasn't going to let her slip away so easily.
Clicking on the contact link, a new email window popped up. Before he could overthink it, he typed up a quick message and hit send.
From: Troy Matthews
Sent: Saturday, 15 July 2019 09:21 PM
It was great seeing you again earlier today. Let's grab a coffee this week so we can catch up properly. How does Monday sound to you?
Let's see if she ran away again this time.