Leaving Bluestone

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Authors: MJ Fredrick
What’s unusual about that?” Quinn asked. “They’ve already been coming to see him.”
    “And putting money in your pocket. But this will be after his big arena tour, with his new material. He’s saving the best for last.”
    Quinn looked at Maddox. “Your manager is okay with it this time?”
    “My new manager is just fine with it,” Maddox said, discarding a couple and getting two new cards that didn’t make him any happier.
    “So what’s it like going from a bachelor to having two women and a baby in the house?” Leo asked.
    Maddox’s mouth quirked. “It’s an adjustment. But I’ve got my girl to curl up with at night so it’s all worth it.”
    “And Linda isn’t drinking anymore?” Quinn asked.
    “They’ve been going to counseling, so for now, no.”
    “Shouldn’t we be talking sports or something?” Lily asked irritably.
    All three men looked at her.
    “What? You gossip as bad as the women around here,” she said.
    “Sor-ry,” Quinn said. “Just catching up. Fine. Whatever. We’ll play cards. Will that make you happy?”
    She grunted, which sounded more like a no than a yes, but they played cards anyway.
    “What’s going on with you and Lily?” Leo asked after Lily stormed out after losing all her money—not usual for her. Maddox had left before her, apparently eager to curl up in his girl’s arms.
    “Nothing.”
    “She’s mad you’re working at selling the place or something?”
    “I guess. Not like it’s a surprise with her—I’ve had the sign out there for over a year.”
    “But most people have ignored it, especially since you’ve been working hard on the movie night and the concerts.”
    “The better business is, the better my chance of selling.”
    “And walking away from her?”
    Quinn looked sharply at his friend. “What are you talking about?”
    “I’ve never seen two people who want each other more but won’t do anything about it.”
    “She was Gerry’s girl.”
    “And Gerry’s gone.”
    “You don’t go to bed with the girl who used to sleep with your best friend.”
    “I get the feeling if anything happened between you, it’d be more than just going to bed. I think you have that feeling, too, and that’s what bothers you more than her being Gerry’s girl.”
    “Just because you guys went and paired up—”
    “Hey, the two of you were a pair before I even set eyes on Trinity. I think maybe the frustration level might have hit its peak.”
    “I’m not sleeping with her.”
    “Fine.” Leo shoved himself away from the bar. “Just don’t subject the rest of us to your temper when you’re together.”
     
    ***
     
    July bled over to August, passed by morning fishing trips, weekly poker games, weekend movies, concerts and baseball games. Business started dropping off during the week as more families stayed home and got ready to start the school year. Then the long weekends dwindled and before they knew it, Labor Day weekend was upon them, the last hurrah to make money to head through the cold winter. Maddox returned from Nashville, where he’d been recording his new album, and played Saturday night, and there was a craft show that Trinity had helped set up, and the baseball game on Monday.
    Lily kept her distance from Quinn. She couldn’t stand to hear him talk about selling the bar, how many people had called, though she knew only one person had actually driven out to look at the place. Now Quinn was talking about lowering the price to make it more appealing, and her stomach knotted. She’d thought after this summer that he’d see how wonderful this place was—how wonderful she was—and decide to stay. She was wrong. So wrong.
    Seeing her friends paired off didn’t help her peace of mind. She almost missed Adam, just to have a companion, but she didn’t want Adam. She wanted Quinn. And she was ready to do something about it.
    She headed over to his house after the bar closed on Wednesday night. He opened the door, his face drawn, his

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