Home > Platonic Rulebook (Divorced Men's Club #2)

Platonic Rulebook (Divorced Men's Club #2)
Author: Saxon James

 

PROLOGUE

 

 

GRIFF


Even though I’ve had eighteen years to prepare for this day, I’m still not ready.

Ready to get out of this car, sure. Spending a week driving from Massachusetts to California sounded great in theory, but all it’s doing is prolonging the inevitable.

Poppy and I wanted to give Felix one last family memory, a united send-off to college, because on his first break home, we’ll be dropping the news of our divorce on him, and I have no idea how he’s going to take it.

I love my son to pieces, but he tends to make a bigger deal out of things than is necessary.

By the time we reach Franklin University, there’s a knot the size of the country sitting in my gut and one large enough to rival it lodged in my throat.

Felix will be staying in the dorms for his freshman year, and hauling his things up to his room is adding that extra stamp of finality to the occasion.

For the last eighteen years, he and Poppy have been around every day. I’ve loved them and looked out for them. Woken up every morning to my family and gone to sleep knowing they’re safe.

But as soon as we leave here, I’ll be catching a flight back to Kilborough while Poppy makes the drive. Even though we’re both on the same page about the split, she didn’t want to be around to see me move out, and I’m grateful for that.

She leaves us to head back out to the car, and I pause in the doorway of Felix’s room. He’s hunched over a box, clearly checking for something, and he glances up to find me watching him.

“Dad …” he says in warning.

I hold up a hand. “I’m fine.”

“You’re not. You’re going to cry. And then I’ll cry. We made a deal.”

We did make a deal. Which is why I force a smile even though that lump is getting bigger. I’m not a crier. It’s not that I think men shouldn’t cry or anything like that—there just isn’t a lot that moves me to spontaneously leak from the eyeballs—but today … it’s a bit much.

Felix is grown up, and my marriage is ending all in one day.

None of it should be catching me by surprise, and yet … here we are.

“Nope, no tears here,” I say.

He gasps and points at me. “Your eyes are watery.”

“Nope.”

“And your voice did that wobbly thing.”

I snort. “Now you’re hearing things, kid.”

The smile slips from his face, and his bottom lip shakes. “Dad …”

I hold up a hand. “Dammit, Fe.”

“Dammit, me? Dammit, you, old man.” And unlike me, Felix is a crier. He pushes to his feet and crosses the room to yank me into a hug.

I immediately close my arms around him, and wetness hits my shoulder. “For the record, neither of us is crying.”

He sniffs. “It’s allergies.”

“Of course.” He doesn’t have allergies.

“Hay fever.”

“Obviously.”

“You and Mom will be happy without me there to cramp your style.”

My chest seizes, and I consider, not for the first time, how he’s going to feel about us keeping this from him. The divorce has been on the cards for a long time now. We’ve been to counseling to try to save our marriage, but all counseling showed us was that the type of love we feel for each other isn’t enough to sustain a relationship. We’ve spent the last year hiding our separation from Felix, not wanting to tell him until we can split for real and make sure this is what we actually want.

“Can I get in on that?”

I glance over Felix’s head to see Poppy watching us. We break our hug long enough to pull her into the circle.

“My little boy is all grown up,” she says. Unlike us, her voice is steady. Unfailingly practical and optimistic to a fault. “But that still doesn’t give you permission to get anyone pregnant.”

“Okay, okay.” Felix pulls back and quickly turns away from us. “I think that’s everything.”

“Yep.” Poppy points to the box she just brought up. “That was the last one.”

“Right.” I shove my hands in my pockets. Behind us, people are passing in the hall, and I look toward the other side of the room, where the bed stands empty. Felix has been chatting with his roommate for the last few weeks, but he obviously hasn’t shown up yet.

“You’ll be okay?” I ask him.

“Please.” He waves a hand. “Give me a few days and I’ll have so many friends I’ll forget to call home altogether.”

“Don’t you dare,” Poppy and I say in unison. We share a quick smile.

“And when you call, I’ll be all Dad who?” Felix always uses sarcasm to make himself feel better.

I step closer to press a kiss to the top of his curls. “Enjoy yourself, and let us know if you need anything.”

Poppy hugs him again. “You’re across the opposite side of the country to us. I can’t protect you as easily when you’re so far away.”

“I’ll be fine.”

“He will be,” I say, forcing my voice to stay level. And I believe it. Felix might be small and dramatic, but he can hold his own, and I’ve never known him to need protecting.

We leave reluctantly, and Poppy drives me to the airport and has lunch with me before my flight. We’re both subdued, thinking of everything we’ve had together and what’s coming next.

When we finish eating, she lets out a long breath. “It’s going to be strange to get home and have it half empty.”

“I know. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it.” I hesitate a minute. “We’re definitely making the right choice, aren’t we?”

“Yes. We’ve been through a lot, and it … well, we have a few months to trial it, but I think we both know it’s over.”

I turn my wedding band round and round on my finger. “I didn’t expect it to be this hard.”

She laughs. “Don’t go getting emotional on me now. I might want to keep you.”

I chuckle, not feeling it, and she reaches over the table to take my hand.

“You’re a man of habit, Griff, but it’ll be okay. You were an amazing husband, but we were young when we got together. Now we’ll be here to support each other for whatever is next. Plus, you know Heath will have your back for anything.”

“I know.” I squeeze her hand back. “It’ll take some getting used to.”

“It will. Starting now.” With a sad smile, her fingers close over my ring, and she slowly pulls it off.

“Suppose it had to be done sometime.”

“And I’ll be very surprised if Heath isn’t already waiting for you to land so he can take you on your first bachelor night out.”

I run an unsettled hand back through my hair. Am I desperate to get laid again? Fuck yes. It’s been too long since I had sex with anything but my hand. The problem is, I’ve only ever been with Poppy. I’ve been telling my friends for months now about how I can’t wait to live up the single life, a different man or woman in my bed every night, and now that time is here … I have no clue what the hell I’m doing.

Hot Books
» House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1)
» A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
» From Blood and Ash (Blood And Ash #1)
» Deviant King (Royal Elite #1)
» Sweet Temptation
» Den of Vipers
» Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels #6)
» The Sweetest Oblivion (Made #1)
» House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2)
» Steel Princess (Royal Elite #2)
» Angry God (All Saints High #3)
» Serpent & Dove(Serpent & Dove #1)
» ENEMIES
» Credence
» Archangel's War