Selene would be so surprised this evening. Annie and Nigel knew, he told them during the run. Tonight would be fun.
Paul wiped his sweaty face and dashed up the stairs, leaving Annie and Nigel in the kitchen eating breakfast.
He ducked into the bedroom, grabbed his work clothes then headed for the bathroom. He had just enough time for a refreshing shower before leaving for work.
He rattled the bathroom doorknob. Locked! “Hey, Honey, how much longer?”
No response. He stuck his ear to the door and heard singing muffled by the shower’s gurgles.
He paced the hallway, then tried the door again. Still locked. Checking his watch, he banged on the door.
“Selene, com’on, hurry up.”
“In a minute.” Came her faint response.
He paced the length of the hallway twice more, fist thumping thigh while he counted seconds.
The latch clicked and Selene, meticulously attired and made-up, strolled out. “All yours.”
He leaned forward to kiss her, but she pulled back.
“Don’t muss my make-up.” She blew him an air kiss and walked past.
“Sweetheart, you need to either wake up earlier or learn to do your ‘girlie’ things quicker. I’ll be late for sure.”
“Thank our two roommates.” Selene stomped down the stairs.
“Why do you always blame Annie and Nigel?”
Selene glared at him over her shoulder, then turned around and strode back up.
Paul lifted both hands palm upwards. “What?”
“We need to talk.” Selene pointed to the bedroom and marched toward it, tossing over her shoulder, “Now, Paul!”
He followed her, glancing at the clock. Late for sure.
She grabbed her purse and turned. “Look, Paul. This isn’t working. I didn’t get a wink of sleep last night with the two of them poking me and wiggling around in the bed acting like little kids. I’m tired of it, tired of it all. You need to decide today before I get off work who you want to live with: them or me.”
His jaw dropped. Before he could respond, she stormed out slamming the door. Her car started and the tires squealed when she pulled onto the street from the driveway.
Paul called in sick. He needed time to consider her ultimatum. After tossing on jeans and a t-shirt, he went for a walk.
Spring sunshine warmed him as he strode through the park, hand gripping the small, square box in his pocket. Paul wondered if she remembered today was their four-month anniversary?
He flopped on an empty park bench and wished his mood matched the cheerful colors surrounding him. Had he been wrong about Selene? The blue, purple and yellow blooms bobbed in the breeze as if in answer. He pulled the box from his pocket, flicked it open with his thumb. The ring winked in the sunlight.
Paul closed his eyes. He loved all three of them. What should he do? Lose Annie and Nigel, or Selene.
The bedroom was a bit cramped with the four of them. Nigel did poke and shove when he slept, but Annie took hardly any room at all. Selene, well she shouldn’t complain. She took her fair share of the bed, that’s for sure.
He scrubbed his chin. His gaze dropped to the box in his hand and his plans for this evening: dinner at Rosconde’s, followed by a carriage ride during which he planned to propose.
Such a choice she forced him to make.
My sweet, stubborn, Annie. He’d met Annie at his cousin’s house over four years ago and they had been together ever since. He teased her about being blonde, but she still greeted him every day with hugs and kisses. It had only taken her a week after Nigel moved in before she adopted him as her buddy. And from the beginning, she was as friendly to Selene as she was to Nigel and himself.
Paul had rescued Nigel from an abusive relationship. It had taken Nigel a while to trust and love his two new roommates. Now, he would die to protect either he or Annie—and even Selene.
Paul stood and headed back to the house. He stuffed the box in his pocket.
Selene and Paul met at an office party four months ago and hit it off immediately. After dating every night for a week, he’d confessed about Annie and Nigel. Selene was reluctant at first, but after meeting them she warmed up and quit backing away when they would kiss her cheek.
After the second week, Selene stopped going home and slept with them. Sometimes she would fall asleep with her arms around Nigel, instead of him.
Selene moved in a month ago and seemed happy with the living situation. The past couple of weeks though, she’d been nagging him about spending more time alone with her. But she’d given no hint that it was a serious problem until this morning.
The TV room could be converted to make another bedroom. It could work.
His cell phone rang as he walked into the house. Annie and Nigel clattered down the stairs to greet him. He checked caller ID and sighed. Selene. He checked his watch. Early.
Paul pressed answer. “Hi, hon. How was your day?”
“Have you decided?”
No hello? “Selene, why don’t we go out as planned this evening and talk over dinner?” Paul fingered the box in his pocket.
“Paul, have you decided?” Loud, sharp.
This wasn’t the person he dated. He looked at the two smiling faces coming toward him: Annie’s brown eyes and Nigel’s darker ones, both full of trust and love.
He dropped the box on the table. “Come over and pick up your stuff.” A gasp sounded as Paul pressed end and slipped the phone in his pocket.
He knelt to greet his two best friends. Tails wagging, Annie and Nigel barked their happiness and wet tongues kissed his face.