“Ben called me on Saturday night,” Sharon says a few days after my date with James while we’re getting coffee after our shifts at the diner.

“Yeah, sorry about that,” I say sheepishly.

“I’m happy to cover for you, but next time give me a little warning, okay? I’m not good at lying on the fly.”

“Hopefully you won’t have to cover for me again.”

“Did you and Ben finally have that talk?” she asks, misinterpreting my words. “I’m so proud of you, Izzy. I know it can’t have been easy but—”

I hold up my hand. “We didn’t. I wanted to, but when I got home on Saturday, he told me I’m not allowed out of the house for anything other than work, getting gas or food.”

“Where does he think you are right now?” Sharon asks.

“At work. I told him I was working til three,” I say.

“Yikes. Sounds like he’s really going overboard on the whole big-brother protectiveness instinct.”

“It’s more than that,” I start, the knot in my chest tightening because I don’t want to talk about this with anyone, bu
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