1. Nora

"Hello?" Where the hell is my family? I dropped my purse and keys on the table in the hall and froze, trying to hear where anyone was.

"Hey babe." I nearly jumped out of my skin.

"Shit! You scared the hell out of me! Were you hiding behind the door? Christ!"

"Rough day at work?" He quirked his eyebrow and leaned against the doorway. His smirk made me feel tingly inside like a virgin on prom night. Not that I'd know about that.

"Where's Ty?"

"He's sleeping." I groaned and he frowned. "I don't want to hear it Nor, he had a fever and I let him sleep. If he stays up all night I'll deal with him."

"Why didn't you call me?" It broke my heart to be at work when my baby was sick.

"I knew you were busy all day, and I didn't want to add stress to your day." He wrapped his arms around me and I melted. "God, you're hard as a rock. What happened today?"

In a perfect world, I'd be able to tell him, my husband, the love of my life, what had happened to make my day so shitty. If it had been anyone else, I could have told him the truth. But it wasn't. It was Callen. It's always Callen. I squirmed out of his arms and kissed his cheek. That was enough of an answer.

"She doesn't even work there anymore. How exactly does she continue to ruin your day?"

"It doesn't matter Josh. I don't feel like cooking dinner, can you order something?"

"It's Thursday." He said tiredly, like he was telling me for the hundredth time. He wasn't, but he was reminding me that he had plans, for the hundredth time. I checked my watch.

"Right. Sorry. I'm going to check on Ty, I'll see you when you get home." I kissed his cheek and walked toward the stairs. I stopped when Josh sighed dramatically, and I steeled myself for the fight that was about to come.

"I'm sorry you had a hard day torturing people Nora, but what exactly do you want me to do? They're my best friends, and I'd never see them if we didn't have the weekly dinner scheduled. Do I need to call and fucking cancel, again?"

"No Josh, you don't need to cancel. You do need to leave though, before you're late." I didn't have the energy to fight with him, and I sure as shit didn't want to break down into tears—which is what I felt like doing—in front of him. He may be my spouse, but he'd choose his friends over me in a millisecond, so giving him ammunition to hurt me with wasn't really something I was interested in.

I think normal people at least try to think of their marriage as permanent. Not people in LA, of course, but normal people. Unfortunately, I was as LA as Botox. For his part, I think Josh was still pretty Texas, meaning he probably did think of this thing as permanent, relatively anyway. But having grown up like I did, I didn't bother to even pretend, not even for myself. Hell, especially not for myself.

Josh was easy to love. I understood Callen's attachment to him. I didn't understand his attachment to her. I didn't understand her entitlement to him. But I definitely understood loving him. He still made my blood boil, in the best ways.

"I love you Dove. You know that?" Josh only called me Dove in private. As far as I knew, no one else knew he had a pet name for me. He said some romantic crap about me having a delicate neck and looking fragile… whatever, it just stuck.

"I know. Love you too."

"Don't do that. Why do you do that? Baby, talk to me. Just… God, just fucking tell me what your problem is today."

"I've just had a headache all day. Sorry. Go, have fun with your friends. I'm just going to take a hot bath and relax. Call me if you need a ride home."

I didn't wait for a response that time. I went up the stairs and went to check on Tyson. He was sleeping in his little bed, as I knew he would be—I heard his light snores on the baby monitor Josh had clipped to his belt. Regardless of everything else that was shitty in the world, watching my son sleep made me feel like maybe I'd made some small contribution to improving the world. Surely such a perfect little gift counted in that category.

His room was boyishly masculine, done in black and white. The furniture was black. The walls were wide black and white stripes from the ceiling to about two feet from the floor, which was solid black. The bedding was grass green, and the floor was covered in a black shag carpet. The room might have looked morbid if not for the dozens of happy stuffed animals around. His bedding was all bright primary colors, but I preferred the green so I used it the most.

His playroom… that was a different matter. His playroom looked like it was decorated by Ringling Brothers. You could get dizzy from the chaotic explosion of colors, but it just added to the whimsy of a room whose only purpose is for play. Ty was almost too young to really play but Josh had really gone crazy in the pre-baby prepping.

He was a great Dad. Infinitely better than mine… or his.

After watching Ty sleep for a bit, I went to our room, stripped, and climbed into a very hot bubble bath. I was beyond wrinkled by the time I finally got out of the water, but it hadn't really done much for the tension in my shoulders or the pounding in my head. The Tylenol I'd been taking all day hadn't helped either.

Ugh! Nate Sexton is such a pain in my ass! He makes me feel bipolar. Part of me loathes him with enough fire to burn out the sun. Part of me…. Doesn't hate him. That's the part that's problematic. That's the part that makes him star in my sex dreams. Yeah, exactly. Problem. Add that he's infinitely talented as a musician and the most bankable artist at Kadence, and one might see how it would be difficult to dislike him. Unless one were to take into consideration his wife. Ugh. Fucking Callen Rodgers. Wait, Callen Sexton now. Yeah they've been married more than two years, but whatever.

I tossed and turned for over an hour, trying to stop thinking about Callen and Josh; trying to stop remembering the previous night's dream wherein Nate was naked and fucking me on my desk. I finally gave up, pulling on a light robe and sneaking quietly into Ty's room. I fell asleep rocking gently in the chair in the corner, listening to his breathing.

AN: Please please please tell me what you think. It's jsut the beginning, but feedback is greatly appreciated!