Haley was beaming at them. “You know what this is right here? It’s squad goals.”
Elle pointed at her. “You need to cut back on Instagram.”
Willa took the box of wings and dug in. “You guys don’t have to stay. I’m not sharing the wings and there’s nothing to watch.”
“Well now that’s just an insult to the universe,” Haley said and pointed to the sky.
Which was a glorious blanket of black velvet littered with diamonds as far as the eye could see.
It was gorgeous, Willa could admit. “I’m pretty sure the universe is feminine. A male would’ve messed that all up.”
Haley snorted in agreement.
“So men suck,” Elle said. “What’s new about that?”
Pru, the only one of them in a sturdy, stable, loving relationship, shook her head in disagreement. “Men are just flawed, is all. And that’s a good thing.”
“How?” Willa asked. “How in the world is that a good thing?”
“Hello, have you never heard of makeup sex?”
Willa thought about sex with Keane and sighed. It was pretty amazing. Off-the-charts amazing. She could only imagine what makeup sex would be like . . .
“They don’t mean to be dumbasses,” Pru said. “But sometimes they just can’t help it. That’s just how they’re wired. But I’ve gotta say, Willa, Keane seems like a really good guy.”
“You’re certainly glowing like I’ve never seen you glow,” Haley said.
Everyone looked Willa over closely and she swallowed a bite of delicious chicken wing and rolled her eyes. “If I’m glowing, it’s from sweating in the shop all day.”
“You haven’t done anything for yourself in far too long,” Haley said. “You should do Keane.”
Everyone burst out laughing and Haley shook her head. “Okay, not what I meant. But hey, whatever works.”
“I think I need a moment from . . . doing Keane,” Willa said.
“Why?” Pru asked.
Wasn’t that just the question? She knew she was giving off wishy-washy vibes but she wasn’t being wishy-washy so much as she was going after one desire while protecting the other.
Meaning she wanted Keane in her bed. Oh how she wanted that . . . while somehow also keeping her heart protected.
The ship might have sailed there, she thought . . .
Yeah, it was too late. And if she’d been smart, she would have cut her losses before now. But she so loved being intimate with Keane, loved everything about it, and she’d had this fantasy that she could somehow keep the goodness of that separate from her growing emotions for him.
That ship had sailed too.
“It’s a new development,” she admitted. “See, in the beginning it was him who didn’t want anything too serious, while I was ready to find a partner.”
“And now?” Elle asked.
“And now . . .” Willa closed her eyes. “I want to keep sleeping with him but I don’t want to call it a relationship. What does that make me?”
“A man,” Elle said.
“Honey, I don’t see the problem,” Pru said over their laughter. “He’s not going to get attached, you just said so. Go for it. But I have to warn you that sometimes really great sex turns into really great intimacy, which can then turn into a really great relationship before you even realize it.”
Willa shook her head. She’d never been in a really great relationship; no need to start believing in that now. “I don’t think we can move forward without a conversation. I think he wants to define things. We were on the brink of that this morning but luckily his work got in the way.”
“Hey, I’ve got an idea,” Haley said. “Call him over and then take off your top and distract him from talking. What?” she said when everyone just stared at her. “Willa has great boobs.”
Elle eyed Willa’s boobs critically. “It’s true. Women pay big bucks for a rack like that.”
Willa looked down at herself. She was short. A more polite word was petite. But in height only because everywhere else she wasn’t dainty. She had curves. Hips. The aforementioned boobs. Even her stomach was a little too curvy to suit her but no amount of sit-ups or exercising seemed to help that.
Or at least she was pretty sure sit-ups and exercise wouldn’t help. “He’s too smart to fall for that. He’ll see right through the distraction technique.” She dropped her head to her knees. “Damn. I was so sure this wasn’t in danger of going anywhere, that he wasn’t relationship material . . .”
“And now?” Elle asked.
“And now . . . I’m realizing I’m the one who isn’t relationship material.” There. She said it. Admitted her biggest failing out loud.
Her friends gasped in instant denial, but Willa knew she was right and her heart felt heavy with it. “I’m not sure what to do here,” she said softly. “I think I’m . . . broken.”
“No,” Elle said adamantly and everyone else piped in with equally emphatic nos.
“Please,” Willa said. “Let’s just move on to another topic, okay? How about those Niners, right?”
“You can’t just ignore this,” Pru said. “At least go back to having great sex!”
Haley nodded vehemently.
Willa had to laugh. “Just tell him right out that all I want is sex?”
“Great sex,” Pru corrected.
“Agreed,” Elle said. “Men do it all the time so why not?”
Willa looked at them. “So you honestly think I should just show him my boobs.”
“Always works for me,” Pru said. “When Finn and I get in a fight, I flash him and he forgets what we’re fighting about. Boobs are magic.”
Willa shook her head. “Nothing’s ever that easy.” At least not for her.
“Hang mistletoe and lure him in,” Haley said. “Put it up in a convenient place, but not too convenient because you don’t want to have to kiss any toads by accident.”
“Oh, and lose your bra,” Pru said. “He’ll be so preoccupied, he’ll never know what hit him. Guaranteed.”
Haley was nodding. “So see, you have your plan. One, shave all the way up past the knee. Two, hang some mistletoe. Three, lose the bra. Four, call him over and let the good times begin. And then after the good times, when he doesn’t quite have all the blood back to his brain, tell him you’re okay with being just friends with benefits. It’s every guy’s dream come true. Just make sure to spell out what exactly the benefits are so he doesn’t think you mean a threesome or anal. Tell him preapproved benefits only.”