Finding Paradise (Nothing Less Than Paradise Book Two)

By Nerika Parke

Romance, Women's fiction


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3 mins

Not jealous at all...

It was well after three when they decided to call an end to the zombie slaughter. They sat side by side on the couch staring at the scores. Andy opened the scorebook solemnly and began writing.
“Well,” Laura said brightly, “that was fun.”
Andy grunted.
“For you, maybe,” Mark said, smiling.
“I’m going to look on it as a learning experience,” Andy said. “I’m also going to be practising every spare minute I get. So next time,” he looked at Laura, “you’d better watch out.”
“You want me to come again?” she said.
Andy’s face broke into a big smile. “Hell, yes! You can keep us on our toes.”
She laughed and nudged him with her elbow. “I’ll do my best.”
Mark suddenly felt uncomfortable. “We’d better get going,” he said. “I’ll be right back.”
He stood and headed for the bathroom. He’d had fun, and he knew Andy and Laura had too. And that seemed to be the problem. She had been his friend, all his. Now she was Andy’s too and Mark knew he was being ridiculous, but he didn’t want to share her. He was feeling jealous and he had no idea why. People could have more than one friend at a time and he knew Laura had friends other than him. Why was her being friends with Andy bothering him so much? He shook his head. He was being stupid, it was fine, there was nothing to be jealous about.
He felt better as he went back to the living room. The three of them together, it would be fun. And he and Laura still had their nights at the diner. He reached the door and stopped. Andy had his phone out, holding it at arm’s length as he and Laura pressed their heads together and smiled. His other arm was around her, his hand on her waist.
“Say gouda,” Andy was saying.
“Gouda!” Laura laughed.
Mark’s mouth went dry, his heart thudding in his chest, his jaw clenching. He suddenly wanted to punch Andy in the face. He wanted to drag his best friend away from her and pummel him into the floor. He clenched his fists, holding his arms rigidly at his sides.
Andy lowered his phone and they looked at the screen. Mark’s eyes were fastened on Andy’s hand which was still holding onto her waist.
“We are gorgeous,” she said. “Wait, I need one too.” She dug her phone out of her pocket and they repeated the process. “Right, give me your number.” They swapped phones and Andy finally let her go as they typed their respective phone numbers in. Mark breathed out, very deliberately relaxing his hands.
Laura turned and saw him standing in the doorway. “Oh, hey, I didn’t see you there.” She walked over to him and showed him her phone. “We’re doing photos for our numbers. What do you think?”
He looked at the photo of Andy and her smiling together. It made him feel sick. He forced himself to smile. “Looks good,” he said. “Are you ready?”
“I am,” she replied, yawning, “and I think I’m going to sleep really well after well and truly kicking your butts tonight.”
“Please, take her away,” Andy groaned, waving his arms melodramatically as she laughed.

“So, what do you think of Andy?” Mark said, trying to sound casual as he drove Laura home.
“I really like him,” she said. “He’s funny and sweet in a weird, warped kind of way. And once he started focusing on my face instead of my chest, he was actually fun to talk to.”
“Oh, yeah, sorry about that.”
Laura smiled. “I chose to take it as a compliment. He should take some tips from you. I’ve never noticed you looking at my chest.”
“A gentleman never looks at a woman’s chest when she can see him doing it.”
Laura erupted into laughter. “How gallant!”
He was trying to analyse her words. She liked Andy. She thought he was funny, sweet and fun. What did that mean? Was she attracted to him? Not necessarily. But even if she was, why was that so bad? Mark had never been so confused in his life.
He lay awake in bed for over an hour once he got home, trying to work out what was wrong with him. He had been ready to seriously injure his best friend just for touching Laura in a perfectly innocent way. That wasn’t normal. Why was he so protective of her? If he didn’t know better, he would say he was attracted to her, except he wasn’t and he had never reacted that strongly with any of the women in his many short-lived romantic relationships anyway. It had to be something else. After a while, an idea came to him. Hormones. He knew that women had mood swings caused by hormones, maybe men did too. Something to do with his age, biological clock ticking and everything. He was almost thirty after all. That must be it. He went to sleep feeling better about the whole thing. Hormones. That was it.



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