Would last night’s events drive a wedge between the two friends? Would Easton be mad?
I had no idea. I also didn’t know how much to tell Easton when that moment of truth came. There was a difference between knowing that someone was watching and performing for them.
The two men moved closer, and Aaron leaned his forearms on the rail. I thought of the time when Easton had shoulder surgery and A fell asleep in the recliner in his hospital room and stayed the night. There had been the night he showed up at our house, an hour after he heard about Easton’s skull fracture, a case of beer in hand. We’d all gotten drunk that night, and I’d woken up to find our abandoned bedroom dresser assembled—a Herculean task that had endeared me to him forever.
It shouldn’t matter if my overactive imagination dabbled in explicit Aaron fantasies. Or if—in a lonely and drunk moment—he watched us have sex. I couldn’t throw a wrecking ball into their friendship.
But I also couldn’t not tell Easton.
I jumped at the close sound of Chelsea’s voice, turning sharply to see her standing beside me, her arms crossed over her generous chest. Jutting out from her hot pink cut-off shorts, her legs were planted wide, as if she was about to go into a series of squats.
“I was just blanking out. Thinking about work.”
“Any word on your contract negotiations?”
“The buyers are still thinking about it,” I lied. In actuality, the doomed inspection hadn’t killed the deal after all. The buyers had accepted our proposed repairs and we had only had to bump closing for two weeks—still a little financially spincter-tightening, but not wrinkle-inducing.
“No wonder you’ve been so quiet.” She leaned forward and draped her weight on my shoulders. “You’ve been off all morning.”
I made a face. “It’s almost three. I think we missed morning entirely.”
“Uh-huh,” she said, not distracted from her assessment of me. “Well, you’re allowed to be grouchy for thirty more minutes. Then I expect this massage to melt all of that away. We’ve got Luke and Thomas booked, and the concierge told me they have magic fingers and fart out sex appeal.”
I watched as she stretched forward to touch her toes, which was probably the extent of the physical activity she had planned for the week. “Really? That’s what the concierge said?”
“In snooty old lady talk which, thanks to Regina, I’m fluent in.” The reference to her stepmother was made with a groan, as she struggled to reach her toes, then hefted upright. “I’m starting yoga,” she announced. “Tuesdays and Thursdays at ten, at that place that likes to microwave you while you downward dog. You in?”
“As tempting as that offer is, no.” I did my own mini stretch out of obligation, knotting my hands behind my back and attempting to expand the tight muscles in my chest. I glanced back at the balcony, where Easton had turned, his back now against the railing, attention still on Aaron.
We should head downstairs now, before I had to suffer through another awkward round of interactions. Easton had already asked me once if everything was okay. I couldn’t bear delivering another forced assurance, when all I really wanted was to get him back at our house and talk to him alone.
But when could I do that? Based on the tail end of our lunch conversation, Aaron was moving his personal items out tomorrow. We’d bumped up our flight plan to get him into Miami early enough to go home and pack. My helpful husband would be right there, running interference on Becca while shoveling Aaron’s stuff in garbage bags and cardboard boxes.
By the time Easton finally got home, he’d have Aaron in tow. They’d want to eat and watch baseball. I wouldn’t be able to—
“Hey.” Chelsea gently bumped me with her shoulder. “Are you coming? It’s time to head down to the spa.”
I grabbed my bag and turned away from the view. “Yeah, I’m ready.”
As terrifying as it was, I needed to have this conversation with Easton here in Vegas, so I could kill all of this now, before the three of us headed back to Florida as roommates.
I cornered my husband between an Aladdin slot machine and an anorexic millennial with blue hair and a nose ring. “We need to talk.” I claimed the machine next to him and stuck my room key in.
Easton glanced over, half-distracted by the still-spinning reels. “What’s wrong?”
The machine displayed my points total, then wished me good luck. “Face forward and act normally.”
“Did you win something? The Wheel of Fortune jackpot?” He crowded me, his voice rising, and I made a mental note that—if I ever did win—he had a horrible poker face.
“Chill out, we didn’t win anything. Where’s Aaron?” I fed a five-dollar bill into the machine and kept my face mild, in case he was lurking around the corner and watching us.