“Not the entire thing,” she huffed, frantically rapping on the driver’s glass. “I clipped the coin purse thingy to my bra. I must have left it in the bathroom stall when I went to pee.”

I did have a fuzzy recollection of her fishing her black American Express and driver’s license out at the bouncer line. At least, with us flying private, she wouldn’t need a driver’s license to get home. But still, the thought of finishing this trip without her having that card? She’d be John Wayne without a horse. Thor without his hammer. Carrot Top without his props. I glanced at my watch. “How long ago did you go to the bathroom?”

She pressed her hands against her forehead. “I don’t know. Maybe thirty minutes ago. Oh my god. Some stripper has it. I know she does. And the problem is, they could use my ID. I look just like half of them.”

I stifled a smile. God love her, but Chelsea was a good eight sizes bigger than any stripper in that place. If any of those girls did try to use her ID, they’d have to talk fast to explain the dramatic weight loss.

“Come on…” she drummed her hands on her knees, looking out the limo’s window.

“You want me to call Amex?” I offered. “I could pretend to be you.” I knew her social security number and birthdate as well as my own, the result of eight years of best friendship.

“Not yet.” The car slowed and she scooted toward the door. “Let me run in and see if it’s still in the stall first.”

“I can come in with—”

“Stay!” She barked, opening the door and hustling toward the red-carpeted entrance, her wedding gown hitched up above her knees.

Easton closed the door behind her.

Silence fell, then an awkward laugh came from Aaron. “I’ll say this,” he said, rubbing a hand over his face. “Things are never boring with her.” His voice was mellowed from the alcohol, one of his legs kicked up on the seat, his body reclined against the leather seat.

“No.” I smiled in agreement. “They aren’t.”

“It’s gonna suck if she doesn’t find it.” He closed his eyes, resting his head back against the headrest. He’d enjoyed five lap dances on our tab. I’d cut Easton off after his first, straddling the place vacated by the blonde and claiming him as my own. I’d been mildly turned on by watching her dance over him, but been more aroused by the greedy way he’d welcomed me onto his lap, his interest—and dick—awakening the minute I’d run my hands down his chest.

“Are we counting her make-out session with the stripper toward her kiss total?” Easton asked, his hands working along my calf and kneading the muscle there. “You know she’ll want to.”

“I think we should,” I said graciously, feeling bad for her expired coupon-weilding kiss from earlier.

“How has she gotten more tongue than me?” Aaron wondered aloud, his eyes still closed. “That’s some bullshit. I was lulled here with promises of…” he waved his hand in the air to encompass Chelsea’s crude proclamation.

I tried to remember what she’d toasted to in our dining room. Something about sucking and fucking. I reached over and patted his knee. “Don’t worry. The night is still young.”

“Too bad I’m old.” He winced. “If I wasn’t so hungry, I’d be crawling into bed right now.”

“I don’t like her going in there alone.” Easton squeezed my calf, then moved my leg off his lap and to the floor. “I’m going to go and check on her.”

I glanced toward the club. “Okay. Call me if anything happens.”

“Will do.” He gave me a quick kiss and opened the door. “Lock this behind me.”

“I’ll protect her,” Aaron called out, lifting a feeble hand in acknowledgment.

Easton chuckled in response and met my eyes just before he shut the door. Lock it, he mouthed.

I nodded, hitting the button as soon as he shut the door. Moving back to my spot, I gently nudged Aaron’s leg, stirring him to life. “You okay?”

He gave me a slow smile. “After that many drinks?” He snorted. “I’m good. Numb but good.”

“You’re allowed to grieve,” I said quietly. “I know how much you love her.” I didn’t understand it, but I could recognize the tender affection he’d always given her.

“Loved,” he corrected, his gaze drifting to the ceiling. “That’s what I have to figure out. The past tense of emotion.”

I felt my anger toward her swell afresh. It had been less than three years. Had she ever loved him? I thought of Easton and my love. It could be volatile and insecure, but was always intense and present. Her cold withdrawal and Aaron’s resigned acceptance was something I didn’t understand.

I watched as he swallowed, the strong flex of his throat. “You’ll find someone better.”

He turned his head and looked at me. “I’m old, Elle. Too old to get back in the dating game.”

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