Gabe pinches his thumb and forefinger together. “A little mushy?”
I point at Derek. “He’s a good guy. He treats Perri well. Nuff said.”
“I do treat her well. She deserves nothing less.” Derek’s tone is heartfelt, full of the devotion he’s displayed to my sister, and I’m so damn glad she found a man like him. “I’m a lucky guy,” he tells me. “And I’m also glad you didn’t pull any of that don’t touch my sister shit.”
I laugh. “Perri does that enough for all of us when she pulls her don’t touch my friend shit.”
Derek chuckles. “I’ve never met a lioness more protective of her sister lions.”
I huff, wishing she wasn’t that way, but what can I do?
I sidestep the issue, glancing at the silver-haired shop owner. “Hey, Mr. Grayson, I think I could work in a tuxedo shop. Want to know why?”
I wiggle my brows. “It suits me.”
“Ugh,” Derek groans, and Gabe joins in, followed by the proprietor. “Dude, you have the worst jokes.”
“That’s not true. I have awesome jokes. The ladies love them.”
Gabe shakes his head. “I don’t think they’re laughing at your jokes. I think they just feel sorry for you.”
I hold my arms out wide. “Who could feel sorry for me? Especially when they hear this one: what’s the difference between a man wearing pajamas on a bicycle and a guy wearing a tuxedo on a unicycle?”
“What is it?” Derek asks.
“Attire,” I say.
Gabe rolls his eyes. “You’re killing us.”
Mr. Grayson shoots me the side-eye. “If you keep this up, kid, you’re not going to have any lady to escort down the aisle at this wedding.”
“Please. They’ll be lined up. Speaking of . . .” I turn to Derek. “Which fine bridesmaid will I be walking down the aisle?”
The groom casts a glance at Gabe, almost as if they’re in on something, then answers, “Vanessa.”
I can’t even be bothered to wipe a little bit of the grin off my face. I was hoping that was what he’d say. “Excellent.”
“But don’t get too excited, because I don’t think she’s walking anywhere with you after that.” Derek unknots the bow tie.
“It seems she’s being matched with a date at the wedding,” he says, all cool and casual as if this intel is no big deal, when it’s a gargantuan mess of a cat’s hairball.
I freeze. “Say that again.”
“You know Jamie Sullivan, right? I think you went to high school with him.” Derek shrugs out of his jacket and catches Mr. Grayson’s gaze. “The tux fits great, sir.”
“It sure does,” the man says as he fiddles with Gabe’s black jacket.
“Wait. What’s the story with Jamie Sullivan?” I ask crisply, remembering the all-American guy the girls in school fawned over.
Gabe taps his chin. “He was a few years older than you, wasn’t he? And if memory serves, wasn’t he the prom king?”
Forget ice. I’m fire now, and it’s crackling in my blood. “What are you talking about?”
“Oh, no,” Derek cuts in. “He wasn’t just prom king. Perri told me he was the quarterback too. And you know he went on to law school.”
Gabe snaps his fingers. “And wasn’t it some fancy-ass law school? Yale, Harvard, something like that.”
Derek nods. “Exactly. One of those Ivy League schools, and now he’s a practicing attorney in San Francisco. Plus, he does all sorts of pro bono work to help lower-income families.”
I remove my bow tie, so hard I might have ripped it off. “Why are you telling me this?”
“Just wanted to remind you who he was,” Derek says, ever so casually.
Mr. Grayson adds, “The ladies who come in here to pick up suits for their men? They know Jamie. They talk about Jamie. From what I hear, he’s quite the catch. Yessiree.”
My eyes bulge. What the hell is going on? “Are you guys putting me on?”
Derek rests his hip against the counter. “Why the hell would we do that? Jamie’s coming to the wedding. My sister knows him. And Jamie’s stepmom is setting Vanessa up with him. Vanessa’s game for it, apparently. I guess she’s ready for a man who’s interested in stepping off the merry-go-round, if you know what I mean.”
Gabe nods to Derek. “Hey, should we invite Jamie to join our poker game? I hear he’s a wiz at cards.”
“He is not joining our poker game,” I spit out, and all three men crack up.
“Look who’s jelly now.” Gabe laughs.
“I’m not jealous,” I mutter.
I don’t want this law school dude coming to the poker game. I don’t want the former prom king hanging with my buds. And most of all, I definitely don’t want him taking Vanessa to the wedding, or out after it, or anywhere. “Why is Jamie’s stepmom setting them up?”
“Arden is all over it. So is Perri. Evidently, everyone thought it was a great idea,” Gabe offers.