Shewas his all-consuming obsession. Fuck fifteen-point bucks and AR-70s. None of it compared to her. To Nadine.
Her mother was gone. It had been five years since she walked out. The marriage had been a fucking sham—no passion, no need. Since then, his world had been Nadine. Her mother had left when Nadine was a gangly, awkward thirteen, when she had braces and didn’t know how to do her hair. But she wasn’t awkward anymore. He’d watched it happen. He’d watched her bloom. He’d fucking beheld it, like the beautiful change it was. The butterfly opening its wings.
She stood at the edge of the yard, past the magnolia he’d planted on her birthday, long ago, standing in the dusk light, surrounded by petals. Just like she should be.
She was talking on her phone. The air conditioning quieted down, and he could just make out her voice. Her laugh. Way out in the distance, in the north field, fireflies made the darkness sparkle around her. She was like that—a fucking vision. Magic happened around her. Like the light of heaven poured right down on her all the motherfucking time.
A breeze made her skirt shift, and he saw the very edge of her ass, the pink strip of her panties, the soft, white crease at the top of her thigh that was so goddamned forbidden he had to look away.