Thanks, Keri. Got my social security number and address handy? I’m sure this guy with his penile traction device and farm-boy fashion sense would love to have that too.
“Oh, I’m Keri.” She turned her attention on Kurt and panic erupted in my chest. “I’m sorry to interrupt you guys, I just haven’t seen Elle since college! Of course she looks exactly the same.”
“Oh, stop.” I watched in desperation as she took the stool next to Kurt.
“No, really. Elle, you look exactly the same. It’s your skin. You’ve got such great skin.” She clamped a hand on Kurt’s arm and peered at him. “How old are you?”
“Keri—” I protested.
“Forty-two,” he supplied, treating us all to another bright show of his teeth. I opened my wallet and fished out two twenties.
“Now, see. I never would have known it. You moisturize, don’t you?”
“We should be going.” I eased off the stool and placed the cash on the table. “Kurt, I’m sorry to rush off, but thank you so much for, ahh, helping us with our accounting questions.”
“Happy to help,” he said, smiling broadly. “Email me anytime.”
“Oooh, are you an accountant?” Keri leaned in closer to him, seemingly unconcerned with our departure. I watched her hand settle on his thigh and wondered how far from the mystery meat it was located.
“It was good to—”
I cut Easton’s goodbye off at the knees, pushing him toward the door. “Go,” I mumbled. “Just go.”
* * *
“Wow.” I held Easton’s hand as we moved through the crowded parking lot. It had rained while we were in the bar, the cling of moisture still thick and muggy in the air. We paused to let a pregnant woman with a Winn-Dixie cart pass. I was momentarily distracted from Kurt as I realized how little I had thought about a baby recently. Even with taking the hormone pills, I just… hadn’t.
Easton stepped over a puddle, keeping his boots clean. “Yeah. What are the chances Keri would be there?”
“I know. And why did she stay behind at our table? I think she was into him!” I headed to my side but Easton followed, trapping me against the SUV as he leaned into me.
“I love you so much.” His voice was husky, his eyes warm. He cupped my face and stared down at me, then lowered his mouth to mine for a kiss. I surged into it, clutching at his shoulder as I rose to my toes for better access. From somewhere to our left, someone let out a wolf whistle, then laughed. Easton’s arms tightened around me, then he reached to the side and opened my door. “Careful,” he warned. “The sidestep is slick.”
I navigated past the not-so-slick sidestep and up into his Range Rover. He closed the door and gave me that smirk—the same one he flashed the first night we met, in a dark side street of a bar, when he’d offered a ride to me and a vomiting Chelsea. It still had the same effect—a warm rush of exhilaration and attraction.
* * *
“So.” Easton pulled out of the lot. “I take it that you’re not interested in giant penis guy.”
“Kurt,” I clarified. “And no. Definitely no.” The photo he had sent me had looked like a fat sausage—the shaft jutting out almost a foot from his skinny body. I had opened the photo up three times during our ride to the bar, unsure if I was afraid or interested in the disproportionate appendage. After hearing Kurt’s enthusiasm for genital mutilation—and meeting him in general—I could safely say that I was not interested in seeing, touching, or interacting in any way with it.
Easton took the ramp for the 441. “What do you think he’s telling Keri about us?”
“No idea.” He glanced over at me. “You worried about it?”
I chewed on the end of one fingernail. “Not really. I probably should be.” I could remember a time when my social heartbeat rose and fell around what Keri thought of me. Now, with everything going on, the concept that Kurt might tell her something… I didn’t have the emotional bandwidth to handle another concern. Maybe that was why I hadn’t been hyper-focused on a baby. Not enough time or energy.
He pulled my hand into his lap and squeezed it. “I’m glad you weren’t interested in him. The thought of you doing anything with him…” He shook his head. “It didn’t do anything for me.”
“Why not?” I turned my hand over in his, curling my fingers around his.
“I don’t know. I’m still working it out. But when we were sitting there, talking to him—I was bored. Also, freaked out by his science project of a penis, but literally fucking bored at the thought of you doing anything with him. And I think it’s because I didn’t see him as competition.”
“Did you see Aaron as competition?”