Finn wrestled with his conscience a moment. “I’d say something helpful here, like it’s ‘never too late’ or ‘you can fix any mistake,’ because truthfully, I like you. But—”
“—But you like her too,” Jake said.
“But I like her too,” Finn agreed firmly, not willing to back down, feeling a little bit like Thor did about his prized dog cookies. “Much more than I like you.”
“It’s a bad idea,” Jake said. “You and her.”
“That’s for me and Pru to decide.”
Thor jumped down from Jake’s lap, walked over to Finn and put his paws on his shins to be picked up—which Finn did.
Then it was apparently Jake’s turn to wrestle with his conscience. “What the hell. The damn dog likes you?”
Finn shrugged and gave Thor a quick cuddle before setting him back down on Jake’s lap.
Jake muttered something to himself that sounded like “she bit off more than she can chew this time” and turned his chair to roll off.
“Yeah,” Finn said to his back.
“Yeah I’m going to keep playing on your team. But I want to buy new jerseys.”
Jake rolled back around to face him. “Why?”
Because it would make Pru happy. “You got a problem with SF Tours splashed across everyone’s backs in bold letters?”
“Not in the least.” Jake paused. “I suppose you also want O’Riley’s on there somewhere.”
“It’d be nice.”
Jake stared at Finn for a beat before nodding. “Our next game’s tomorrow night,” he said and again he made to leave but didn’t. “About Pru and me. We didn’t work out for one simple reason.”
Jake looked behind him to make sure Pru wasn’t standing there, which normally would’ve made Finn smile but he wanted to know the answer to this question shockingly bad.
“I made a mistake with her,” Jake said, and then grimaced. “Okay, more than one, but the only one you need to know is that she’s strong and resilient and smart, so much so that I believed she didn’t need anyone, and certainly not me. It must have showed since she called me out on it. She said we couldn’t be intimate anymore because I wasn’t in love with her and she didn’t love me either, at least not in that way. To my shame, I didn’t realize that I hurt her by so readily agreeing, by not giving much thought to how she felt about splitting.” He paused. “Pru doesn’t do casual. She can’t. Her heart’s too damn big.”
“Are you trying to scare me off?”
“Yes,” Jake said bluntly. “I hurt her,” he said again. “Don’t you do the same, don’t you even fucking think about it.”
“Or the aforementioned death and dismemberment?” Finn asked, only half kidding.
Jake didn’t even crack a smile.
Monday morning Pru was waiting outside the county courthouse building, hoping she was in the right place at the right time. When she saw Sean heading for the steps, she pushed away from the wall with relief.
He stopped in surprise at the sight of her. “Hey, Trouble,” he said. “What are you doing here?”
“Helping you fix your mess.” She smiled at his confusion. “You here to get the liquor license all square, right?” she asked.
He blew out a sigh, looking disgusted. “Finn told you I screwed up.”
“No,” Pru said quietly. “He wouldn’t. I . . . overheard you arguing.”
“Yeah.” Sean grimaced and scrubbed a hand down his face. “Sorry. I just hate disappointing him.”
“If that’s the case, why do you give him such a hard time?”
Sean shrugged. “It’s how we show affection.”
Pru shook her head with a low laugh. “Boys are weird.”
“Hey, at least we don’t kick and scratch and pull hair when we fight.”
“If that’s how you think girls fight, you’re with the wrong girls.”
He grinned. “You know, I like you, Pru. I like you for Finn. You’ve got his back. He’d say he doesn’t need that but he’s wrong. We all need that. He know you’re here?”
“No, and he doesn’t have to know,” she said. “Especially since I’m going to save your ass.”
“What do you mean?”
“Follow me.” She led him inside the offices, bypassed the public sign-in area and waved through the glass partition to a guy at a desk.