Elaine had waited quietly out of sight to hear Dale’s response after Ellie delivered the big news. She’d just gotten back from Daniel’s place, later than she’d hoped, but it seemed that it was a good thing. She’d been to her place to shower and change and crossed the street to Tasha’s home just in time to see Dale cry. She never thought the man possessed tear ducts, but less amazing things have happened. She watched the couple cry together as the rest watched on, poor Katya was so confused, only then she decided to break up the touching sight. Heavy emotions like that still made her uncomfortable. She got an itch at the back of her neck watching Derek hold Katya. A lump grew in her throat, her eyes burned, her chest felt full—all foreign feelings to her that made her a little panicky.
She stepped into the room, leaning her hip against the door jamb her arms crossed over her chest, “Well, this looks cozy.”
Everyone turned to stare at her, Katya of course with a radiant smile on her face and an enthusiastic wave. Elaine smiled back but had to hold it in place when she met Derek’s eyes. The anger and hate in them hit her like a punch in the solar plexus, and she couldn’t help but think he knew. He knew she’d spent the night with Daniel, and she was consumed with guilt.
That startled her. Guilt? She’d only discovered that feeling when all that shit went down with Tasha, now she felt it because… what? Because she spent the night with Daniel and what? Did I betray him? No! He was bed partners with Gwen for months, and he didn’t give a fig how that made her feel. Hurt, angry, betrayed. No! He didn’t deserve her sense of guilt. They weren’t together, he didn’t want a family, a daughter, he made that very clear. Then why is he holding Katya, looking at her like she was the most precious thing in the world. Did he even realize that was what he was doing?
She pulled out of her thoughts just in time to return Dale’s hug—something new she had to get used to and was rather enjoying it—more like squeezing the stuffing out of her.