“I just suggested having a threesome with Natasha or maybe a foursome with her hubby, and your responses were all hmm and mmhmm.”

“You want to have a three-way with me and Natasha?” she all but yells at me.


“No, I don’t want to have a three-way, you fucking tool. That’s my way of proving you haven’t been listening to a word I said, and you haven’t since yesterday.”

“Did you just call me a fucking tool?” She frowns.

“What is going on with you? Why are you acting all weird?”

“I’m not,” she says with shifty eyes. Looking down at the shirt, she carries on with sewing it.

Jesus! Fucking women!

I growl with frustration, “That’s it. I’m withholding sex until you tell me what’s going on.”

Her eyes lift, and she laughs. “Yeah, okay,” she says in a mocking voice.

“I’m serious.” I fold my arms.

She puts the shirt down. “You’ll last a day, max.”

“Oh, ye, of little faith. I went dry for three months before I met you.”

“Okay,” she hums, picking the shirt back up. “We’ll see.”

“We will.”

“Okay.”

“Okay then.”

Well, fuck, that didn’t go as I’d planned, and now, I’ve screwed myself out of sex for God knows how long.

Nicely played, West.

My cell starts to ring in my pocket. I pull it out, seeing it’s my mom.

“Hey, Mom,” I answer.

I see Charly glance up, but she quickly looks away again.

“Hey, baby,” my mom says, sounding exhausted. “I need a favor.”

“Sure, anything,” I tell her.

“Do you know of any clothes people, like designers, who could fix your sister’s wedding dress?”

“What’s wrong with Sasha’s dress?”

I know she was having a local wedding dress designer make one for her.

“Jester happened.”

Jester is my mom and dad’s six-month-old golden Labrador. He’s awesome. Just a bundle of energy. He makes me want a dog, but as I’m not home much, it wouldn’t be fair. But, hopefully, one day.

“Your sister picked up her dress and brought it over to ours, and I hung it up in her old room. I don’t know how, if someone left the door open or what, but Jester got in there.”

“Oh no!” I laugh.

“Don’t laugh, Vaughn. It’s not funny. Your sister is freaking out,” my mom says, sounding exasperated.

“Sorry.” I bite my lip. “How bad is it?”

“He got it outside. God knows how. That dog, I swear. The dirt, I can get off, but the bottom is all torn.”

“Shit. Well, tell her that I’ll just buy her a new one. I can probably get her a Vera Wang shipped in.”

“She doesn’t want anything but this dress, Vaughn. She designed it with the dress designer. She has her heart set on it. It’s all just a mess right now. She said she’s canceling the wedding. Your dad is going mad about the expenses if she cancels, and Greg’s at a loss for what to do. It’s just a nightmare.” She sighs.

“So, can’t she get the woman who designed her dress to fix it?”

“She’s in Hawaii.”

“Oh.”

“Right.” She sighs again.

“So, I was hoping you might know some dress designer who could fix it up.”

I lift my eyes to Charly. “Actually,” I tell my mom, “I have one sitting right in front of me as we speak. She’s really talented.”

Charly’s eyes flash to mine.

“You do?” My mom’s voice lifts with hope.

“Yep. She works on wardrobe here. Charly. She’s an amazing seamstress. I bet she could fix it, no problem.”

Charly’s brows lift. I fight back a smile.

“We’ll pay her.”

“I’ll sort that, Mom.”

“You’re my star, Vaughn.”

She’s been saying that to me since I was a kid. It never fails to warm my insides. Because she means it in a whole other way than the rest of the world does. She has always said that I’m her little star, that I brighten her world. And I might be a grown-ass man, but when your mom says something like that, you revert back to the five-year-old kid who thought she was the only woman in the world you would ever love. Well, that still is true because I haven’t ever been in love.

My eyes drift back to Charly, a different kind of warmth spreading across my chest.

“Tell Sasha it’s going to be fine. Take a picture of the dress, the damage, and send it to me. I’ll have Charly take a look and see if it’s fixable. And, if it is, FedEx it to me out here, Charly will fix it, and I’ll bring it back with me.”

“I’ll take the picture now. Sasha will be over the moon!”

“Don’t tell her until Charly says for sure if she can fix it.”

“Okay. I’ll send the pic now and then call me back once Charly’s had a look. And tell her not to worry if she can’t; we appreciate it all the same.”

“Will do, Mom. Love you.”

“You, too, baby.”

We hang up, and I put my cell down on the table.

“So…from the gist of that, I got that you need me to fix your sister’s wedding dress. I gather it’s for a wedding because of the Vera Wang comment.”

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