Courtney starts picking up pretty bras and panties in all sorts of colors and shoves them into my arms. She’s lost her damn mind, and I’m not complaining, but I feel guilty. It’s too much to accept.

“Court, you don’t have to do this.”

“Shut it, sister.” She finds some scandalous thongs and adds them to my things. “You can’t look like a frump for Travis.”

If I didn’t know better, I’d say she and Travis were on the same team.

“Whose side are you on, anyway?” I ask her as she snatches up more panties.

“What do you mean?” She’s not even really listening to me. She has this wild look in her eyes like she’s unstoppable.

“I’m team Traviola. Ha! All the Hollywood power couples have nicknames, so we’ll have to work on that. Bennifer, Brangelina, Kimye, Jelena…” She drops the panties in a wire basket, not even paying attention to my reaction.

I can’t stop laughing. Courtney’s crazy. But it makes me feel good to know she’s on our side. Before dragging me to the counter, she grabs a few bottles of perfume. The woman at the checkout gives us a smile.

“I’m a sucker for a panties sale,” Courtney says, leaning against the counter like she just bought the place, which she practically did by the amount of clothes that’s piled up high.

The woman smiles. “Your total is five hundred forty-two dollars and thirty-six cents.”

“Courtney, seriously,” I whisper, but she brushes me off.

She hands over her credit card without batting an eye and signs the screen. “Oh, can we have two separate bags?”

The woman hands us their signature pink bags with Victoria’s Secret written across the front in shiny, silver letters, and I’m so excited about my new things.

Completely giddy, I take a quick picture of the pink bag and send it to Travis.

T: Damn!

I read his text message and shove my phone back in my pocket.

“I think I love you. Thanks, Court.”

She gives me a hug. “I love you too, Lola.”

We walk out of the store, and all I can do is smile.

“Buying lingerie always makes me happy. And my mom totally supports my habit. She’s a firm believer that a woman should splurge on panties and bras. But I’m sure it’s going to trigger a phone call when the statement comes in. It’s a dead giveaway that I’m upset about something, and I haven’t told her about Toby yet.” Courtney laughs it off but her voice slightly cracks, and I can tell she’s thinking about it, which upsets her. I try to change the subject before she gets lost in Toby thoughts.

“When I’m a millionaire, you’re getting tons of gifts.”

She perks up. “The only gift I want is your brother wrapped in nothing but a bow.”

I playfully nudge her.

“Hey, I’m just being honest.” She smiles.

On the way back to her townhouse, I look down at my phone as another text message from Travis flashes across.

T: Drew’s home a little early, and he’s stinking up the kitchen with his special tofu recipe.

I reply knowing exactly what Drew’s making. It’s this Asian dish with broccoli and soy sauce. For some reason, he thinks it’s the most delicious thing on the planet, although we all tell him it’s disgusting.

V: Gross. Enjoy that.

T: I’ll smile and pretend it’s chicken, like always.

I laugh because I do the same thing.

T: So about that lingerie? When will I see?

I can’t wait to show him.

V: I dunno. I like keeping you on edge.

T: Tomorrow?

V: Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually booked to the max with tutoring and classes, so I’m stressing just a little.

T: Don’t worry about me, princess. I’ll be just fine. Drew’s making enough of this crap that I’ll be eating it until my ribs heal.

I feel bad for not being there for him, but I don’t see how I could work it in. I’ll have to make it up to him.

V: If you need anything, I’ll be your on-call nurse.

T: Anything? :)

V: Well not anything, but you know!

T: Damn. I’ll keep you in the loop. Promise.

V: Sounds good :)

T: I’ll be thinking about you naked all day tomorrow.

I read his message over and over again. Sometimes, seeing this side of Travis doesn’t seem real. But I have to remind myself that it is, and for once, I’m getting exactly what I’ve always wanted.

V: Shut up! :)



Knowing Viola wouldn’t be around to keep me company made Tuesday drag by extra slow, and my night was just as restless. Wednesday arrives, and I wake up exhausted even though I’ve been lying around for days. I’m not used to this laid-back lifestyle, and while I’m mentally ready to get back to the gym—and even back to work—it’s physically not an option. On top of the meds that kick my ass anytime I do decide to take them, I wouldn’t be able to sit in an office chair for longer than an hour.

Tags: Kennedy Fox The Checkmate Duet Erotic