He must be having the same internal struggle, because we both stopped walking as soon as we laid eyes on one another. Neither of us is speaking. Neither of us is retreating.
We’re both just staring.
My entire body feels his stare, and I physically ache in every part of me. The main reason I’ve doubted what’s happening between Trey and myself is standing right in front of me, reminding me of what true feelings for someone should be like.
Owen smiles, and I suddenly wish we were in the cleaning aisle, because someone is going to have to mop me up off this floor.
He glances to his left and then his right before his gaze lands back on me. “Aisle thirteen,” he says with a grin. “Must be fate.”
I smile, but my smile is robbed by the sound of AJ’s voice. “Mommy, look!” he says as he tosses two toys into the cart. “Trey said I could have both.”
Trey, Trey, Trey, who is probably behind me right now, based on Owen’s reaction. He stiffens and stands straight, gripping his cart with both hands. His eyes are on someone behind me.
An arm slips around my waist, gripping me possessively. Trey stands beside me and I can feel him eyeing Owen. He moves his hand to my lower back and then his lips meet my cheek. I close my eyes because I don’t want to see the look on Owen’s face. “Come on, babe,” Trey says, urging me to turn around. He’s never called me babe before. I know he’s only using the term in front of Owen to make our relationship seem more than what it is.
After another tug on my arm, I finally turn and walk with Trey.
We finish getting the few items that are left on my list. Trey doesn’t speak to me the entire time we’re shopping. He’s keeping conversation going with AJ, but I can tell he’s angry. My stomach is a ball of nerves because he’s never given me the silent treatment like this before and I don’t know what to expect.
The silent treatment continues through the checkout line, all the way to his car. He loads the groceries into the trunk while I buckle AJ into the backseat. When I have him strapped into his booster seat, I close the door and turn to find Trey leaning against the car, staring at me. He’s so still, he doesn’t even look like he’s breathing.
“Did you speak to him?”
I shake my head. “No. I had just turned the corner right before you and AJ walked up.”
Trey’s arms are folded across his chest and his jaw is tense. He looks over my shoulder for several seconds before bringing his eyes back to mine.
“Did you fuck him?”
I stand up straighter, shocked at his question. Especially because we’re standing right outside AJ’s door. I glance inside the car at AJ but his focus is on his toys and not at all on the two of us. When I look back at Trey, I think I’m angrier than he is.
“You can’t be mad at me for running into someone at a store, Trey. I don’t control who shops here.”
I try to move past him, but he grabs my arm and pushes me against the car with the weight of his chest against mine. He brings his hand up to the side of my head and lowers his mouth to my ear. My heart is beating erratically, because I have no idea what he’s about to do.
“Auburn,” he says, his voice a deep, threatening whisper. “He’s been inside your apartment. He’s been in your bedroom. He was in that stupid fucking tent with you. Now I need you to tell me if he’s ever been inside you.”
I’m shaking my head, doing whatever I can to calm him down, because AJ is just a foot away from us inside this car. He’s gripping my wrist with his right hand, waiting for me to give him a verbal response. I’ll say whatever I need to say to make sure he doesn’t lose his temper right now.
“No,” I whisper. “It wasn’t like that. I barely knew him.”
Trey pulls back a few inches and looks me in the eye. “Good,” he says. “Because the way he was watching you made me think otherwise.” He presses his lips against my forehead and relieves some of the pressure around my wrist. He smiles gently at me, but the smile has the opposite effect. It terrifies me that his temperament can switch as fast as it just did. He pulls me in for a hug and presses his face into my hair. He inhales and then exhales slowly.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers. “Let’s get out of here.”
He opens the passenger door for me and shuts it after I climb inside. I exhale, relieved the moment is over but knowing full well that his reaction is a huge red flag.
As if my attention is being summoned, my eyes fall to a car across the parking lot. Owen is standing next to it, staring in my direction. The look on his face makes it apparent that he witnessed everything that just happened. However, from across the parking lot it could have very well looked like a tender moment rather than what it actually was. Which could also explain the pained look on Owen’s face.
He opens his car door just as Trey opens his. I keep my eyes focused on Owen long enough to see him lift a hand to his heart and clench it in a fist. The words he spoke to me about how much he missed his mother and brother replay in my head. “Sometimes I miss them so much, it hurts me right here. It feels like someone is squeezing my heart with the strength of the entire goddamn world.”
Trey pulls out of the parking lot and right before Owen is out of my view, I inconspicuously lift my fist to my own chest. Our eyes remain locked until they can’t anymore.
The incident at the grocery store yesterday wasn’t mentioned again. Trey and AJ spent the entire evening at my house, and Trey acted as if nothing was amiss while he cooked AJ chocolate chip pancakes. In fact, if anything, Trey was in an extra-good mood. I don’t know if it was a front to make up for the anger he expressed in the parking lot or if he really does enjoy spending the time he does with the two of us.
His sudden good mood could have also been because he knew he wouldn’t see me for four days and he didn’t want to leave on bad terms. He left for a conference in San Antonio this morning, and I could tell when he told me good-bye last night that he was uneasy about leaving me. He repeatedly asked me about my schedule and what plans I have for the weekend. Lydia is taking AJ to Pasadena for their weekend visit with her family. If I didn’t have to work today, I would have gone with them.
But I didn’t go, and now here I am with an entire weekend ahead of me and absolutely nothing to do; I think that makes Trey nervous. He obviously has trust issues when it comes to Owen.