“I know. But…God, Ian, did you see the way she looked at me? Like, I felt chills. Does she have a history of torturing household pets, or any other characteristics of a serial killer? Because, seriously, she just gave me that vibe.”
A ghost of a smile crossed Ian’s face and faded quickly. “No, she’s not dangerous. But she’s obviously got a screw looser than I thought. Don’t worry, baby. I’m not playing around anymore. I’m calling my parents and letting my mom know exactly what I think of her conniving little ploy, and then I’ll be calling Victoria’s parents and telling them just what she’s been up to.”
I kept silent. There was nothing to say to that because I think we both knew that it wouldn’t help. We’d thought she’d given up and she came back with a vengeance.
And now, I was a little afraid to see what she’d come up with next.
An hour later, it was still the foremost thought on my mind as I threw together a salad while Ian grilled some steaks and corn on the cob for dinner. We really hadn’t spoken any more about it; I don’t think either of us wanted to bring it up.
Ian came in the back door and sat the platters of perfectly cooked meat and corn down on the counter, then placed a sweet kiss on my shoulder as he moved behind me to the cabinet to get plates out for us to eat on.
We sat at the table to eat rather than eating in the living room in front of the TV, which is what we usually did. But then again, it’s easier to eat corn on the cob and steak when you’re not balancing a plate in your lap. Trust me. Or, I guess it could be just that my whole family is just accident prone…
Ian was the first to break the silence. “So, the big party is tomorrow, huh?” He waggled his eyebrows at me, making me roll my eyes and grin at him.
“Yes, the party is tomorrow. Why?” I asked him suspiciously.
“Nothing. Just wondering.” He shot me a cocky smile and I narrowed my eyes at him.
“You’re up to something,” I stated, pointing my finger in his direction. “What did you do? Or what are you going to do?”
He pretended to look affronted, gasping, “Me? How dare you assume that I’m up to something? You know what they say about assuming…”
“I’m keeping my eye on you,” I told him, and he only laughed at me and finished eating.
He helped clean up the kitchen and just as we were about to sit down in the living room, there was a knock at the door.
Ian went to answer it, stepping back and letting my brother inside.
“Since when do you lock the door?” he asked me.
“Uh, since the last time you walked in here unannounced and…well, you know what happened.” I could feel my face turning red, even though it’d been a while since.
Calland visibly cringed and shuddered. “Yeah. Truth. Thanks for reminding me of the reason I willingly gave up my key.”
See, Ian and I were getting busy on the kitchen counter one afternoon and Calland dropped in. Needless to say, he got an eyeful of Ian’s bare ass (thankfully that’s all he saw) and hightailed it out like his own ass was on fire. I hadn’t been able to look him in the eye after that until just recently.
“What’s up?” I asked him, thinking it a little weird that he was at my house, alone, on a Friday night.
He blew out a breath and moved past me, falling onto the couch and saying, “I think I’m in trouble.”
I glanced at Ian, seeing the same surprise etched on his face that I knew was on mine. We both sat back down, Ian in the recliner, and me on the couch beside Calland as I asked, “What do you mean, you think you’re in trouble? Calland, what’s going on?”
“You know that girl I’ve been seeing?”
“Lucy?” I asked him, hedging on the name. I can’t keep track of all the different ones he dates all the time.
He shook his head. “Lily, but nice try. Okay, so you remember the girl I dated before that?”
I raised my hands, shrugging and shaking my head as I tried to think. “I don’t know, Fluffy? Muffin?” (To my credit, I managed to keep a straight face while teasing him.)
He glared at me. “Ha ha, funny. No, Grace.”
“Yeah, Calland, I don’t really remember. I can’t keep all your women straight. Have you thought about settling down? Maybe keeping one for longer than a month or two?”
“Oh, got jokes tonight, huh?” he said, then turned to Ian and asked, “How the hell do you put up with her?”
Ian just grinned and replied, “Cause she’s awesome and I love her.”
Calland pretended to gag. “Anyway, so I just found out that Grace is Lily’s sister.”
I stayed silent for a moment, letting the logistics of that sink in. “So, you dated Grace. Now you’re dating Lily, and they’re sisters. I mean, that’s kinda low, moving from one sister to the next, Calland. I mean, what the hell is Grace saying about this?”
“Well,” he hedged, “That’s where the trouble is. I just found out. I knew Grace had a sister, but they didn’t get along the greatest. I never met her, never knew what her name was. But then Lily was just talking about her sister, who’s named Grace, and how they’ve gotten closer lately and she’s so happy about it.”
Ian chimed in. “So? There’s a lot of Graces in the world. How do you know that she’s talking about the Grace you were just seeing?”
Calland sighed. “Maybe because she showed me a picture of her sister who apparently is so heartbroken over the douchecanoe that broke up with her a couple months ago. I’m not kidding. She held up the picture and asked me, ‘Look? Isn’t she so pretty? How could that ass just toss her away like that? She said he’s already dating some other skank. Can you believe it?’”
I snorted, trying to contain my laughter, but failed miserably because he had raised his voice and delivered “Lily’s” speech in a creepy, valley-girl inspired falsetto. “Please tell me that’s not how she really sounds?” I asked him, mockingly.
“Does it matter? How the hell do you tell the girl you’re seeing that the skank who’s dating her sister’s ex is her?” Calland threw his hands up and sat forward on the couch, running his hands through his hair agitatedly.
He glared at me. “Is that all you have to say? Wow?”
“What do you want me to say, Calland? You’re 29 and practically a confirmed bachelor. You’re a serial dater who always seems to find the most vapid females around to date. What you need is to find a good woman who won’t put up with your shit, and who’ll knock you down a peg or two when you need it.” I cocked my head at him and widened my eyes as I continued, “Which is always.”
He curled his lip up at me. “God, you sound like Mom. But that’s not going to solve my problem right now. What do I do?”
“You’re gonna have to tell her the truth. You can’t keep dating her after just breaking her sister’s heart. What are you gonna do when she wants to double date with her sister? When she wants you to set her sister up with a friend?” I asked him.
“I know…” he replied, sounding glum.
“Well if you know, then why’d you come here asking me for advice?”