Kelli makes a funny face as she pours herself yet another shot and swallows it down. “You’re for real.”
I shrug. “Who am I to stop true love?”
“Please. We’re not true love. He’s not even my type. Look at him.” She waves a hand back toward the living room and the both of us turn to do exactly that.
Steven’s screaming from his beanbag, “Shoot him! Shoot that motherfucker!” over and over again as the other guys do exactly what he demands.
“That’s sort of hot,” Kelli says with a little sigh. “Why do I find that hot?”
I nudge her. “You’re crazy.”
“I’m buzzing from the shots, I think.” She refills her glass and slugs it back. “Okay that’s enough liquid courage for tonight. Should I talk to him? Do I look like hell? Oh God, I look like hell, don’t I? I put zero effort into tonight because I thought I was hanging out with Jeff and Conrad, you know? Those two jackasses don’t really pay attention and not like I’m not trying to impress them.”
Kelli’s so cute and rambly when she’s buzzed and worried. Kind of like Steven.
“And look at you. You’re gorgeous, all fancied up in your date clothes and here I am in yoga pants. I should go.” She pushes away from the counter and I stop her, my hands on her shoulders.
“You’re not going anywhere,” I tell her firmly. “You’ll crash on our couch if you have to, or sleep with me. Or sleep with…you know.” I flick my head in Steven’s direction.
“Ew, I’m not a slut, Alex. I don’t put out on the first date.” Her gaze goes back to Steven, the interest in her eyes plain. “Do you think he’s a virgin?”
“No way.” I shake my head, ignoring the doubt. He might be. I don’t know. Nothing’s made a lot of sense these last two days so I’m sort of just running with it.
My phone buzzes and I pull it out of my pocket to check who it is.
I can’t help the smile that grows and I consider answering him. I haven’t all day and I wonder if that’s driving him crazy. I know it would make me insane so I start to reply when Kelli snatches the phone out of my hands. “Hey! Give it back!”
“Tristan is texting you?” Kelli reads over every single text he’s sent today. Nothing is sacred, I swear. “This is kind of sweet.” She looks up at me.
“But you haven’t answered him.”
“What am I supposed to say? Hey thanks, but I think you’re a total dick?”
“You don’t think he’s a total dick.”
“I sort of do.” I shrug.
“Right, that’s why you blew off Steven tonight and basically just gave me permission to bang him,” Kelli retorts. “Quit denying your feelings. I think it’s pretty major that Tristan said all that stuff last night. I know you’re not impressed but really? I totally am.”
I probably should’ve never told her everything that he said to me, but I was at a low point last night. High on ice cream and invigorated by Carrie banging the very married Mr. Big—such a bad move on her part—but her bad move made me feel less guilty for wanting Tristan despite every stupid thing he does and says. There’s no hope for that guy. Or for us. I know this yet…
I’m not ready to give up on him. This means I’m crazy. I have to be.
“He’s all talk and no action,” I remind her.
“He’s showing you a little action via text,” Kelli points out.
“Again, all talk. There’s no action beyond him typing.” I’m suddenly tired. And no longer interested in talking about Tristan with Kelli. We’ve already gone over this. “I’m going to bed. Don’t drive home tonight, okay?”
“You’re going to leave me all alone with the guys?”
“You’re a big girl.” I pat the top of her head. “Have fun. Make a move on Steven but don’t go too far. He startles easy.”
“Shut up.” Her expression turns solemn. “I won’t leave tonight, I promise.”
“Good. If you want, come sleep with me. My bed is way more comfortable than that couch.”
“Are you trying to hit on me?” Kelli asks, blinking innocently.
“Shut up, you wish.” I shove her.
“Thanks, Alex. You’re a good friend.” She embraces me in a sloppy hug and I hug her back, clutching her close before I let her go. “Good night.”
“Night. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do,” I tease.
“Which is a whole lot of nothing,” Kelli calls after me as I head toward my room.
Isn’t that the truth?
My phone dings and I grab it, smiling when I see who the text is from.
Her first response of the day and it comes in at—I check the time—eleven-thirteen. Unlucky thirteen just turned into my favorite number.
How was your date?
I forced Kelli to tell me where Alexandria went tonight and she finally confessed—reluctantly. Those two were becoming close. It was sort of scary.
I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Smiling, I consider how I should answer.
Let’s not lie to each other. Did you have fun with Steven?
Her response is almost immediate.
We decided we were better off as friends.
I grin. I can’t help it.
Because he’s hot for Kelli and Kelli’s hot for him.
Say the fuck what? I can’t imagine Kelli with the quiet, blood-thirsty Steven.
Are you serious?
Yeah. They’re crushing on each other.
So where does that leave you?
What do you mean?
Are they in the house together?
Yeah. Playing video games.
Uh huh. That’ll soon become code for getting their fuck on.
Where are you right now?
I immediately imagine what she could be wearing. Preferably nothing. Though those little shorts and that thin tank would work too.
And what are you doing in bed?
Sex and the City. Carrie and the girls are my favorite, especially right now.
Scrubbing a hand over my jaw, I wonder what she’s implying.
Why right now?
Their bad choices help me justify mine.
And what sort of bad choices are you making?
Hmm, I don’t know. Texting you?
She thinks I’m a bad choice. And she’s right. That’s exactly how she should think of me. This sort of thing gives me hope. Convincing me that hey, maybe I won’t hurt her. Because that’s the last thing I want to do. I’m not in this for the long run and she needs to realize that quick.
I can suggest a few more bad things we could do together.
I bet you could.
I could show you, too.
I’m sure. Are you going to try and give me the big D?
I burst out laughing. She will never let that go. What sucks is that line has worked. More than once.
Do you want the big D?
My heart races at those two innocent words. They give me hope. Make me want to do something crazy.
I want to see you.
But it’s so late.