“Yeah,” he admitted. “I felt that—all of that—when I watched you with Aaron. And maybe it’ll be the same with this guy. But I need to know. And… if Brad doesn’t want to fuck you, or they don’t do that, then fine. But right now, I’m fucking intimidated, and I hate feeling like I’m not good enough.” He drove faster, and the Rover’s left tire shuddered over the center line before he brought it back. “You want him. I know you do, and I can’t give you a nice house, or a secure life, but I can give him to you.”

It sounded like the biggest, most fucked-up risk in the world. I sank back into the seat, and I tried to figure out which stick of dynamite to grab first.

“You already give me what I need. Okay? So stop all the bullshit about that. If I needed to fuck him, I’d tell you that I needed to fuck him. But I don’t. Would I like to? Sure. I’m sure you’d like to bend over Julia and take her for a ride too. We’re human. We want pretty things and you and I are pleasers. We like to please and we like to have someone fawn over our shit while we do it. But this moment isn’t when we need to throw Brad Fucking De Luca into the mix. You were right, what you said last night. They have their shit together. They know what they’re doing. We are lost damn ducklings, wandering around sex city unescorted and Kurt is a perfect example of why we need to just chill out for a moment and regroup.” I held out my hands in a calm-down gesture. “Why don’t we take a break and just… step back from everything. Go back to normal for a few months.”

He pulled into our driveway and parked, leaving the engine on. “Is that what you want?”

“I have no idea what I want,” I replied honestly. “I’d really like you to just make an executive decision so I can go back to scrolling through Pinterest and bitching about your dirty clothes being left on the floor.”

His grin appeared for a brief moment, then he sobered. “Okay. Are you ready for the executive decision?”

“I’m ready. Wait.” I reached forward and flipped off the radio, killing the background noise. “Now I’m ready.”

“We’ll take three months off. No visiting swinger sites, no dirty talk about threesomes, no bringing up anything about any of it.”

“Three months,” I confirmed, my heart sinking a little at the prospect, which had seemed like such a great idea, just seconds before.

“Three months. Starting right after you have sex with Brad De Luca.”

28

The tequila, I decided, was entirely to blame. That, and Chelsea’s continued refusal to answer my calls. Plus, the fact that I was eighteen hours away from lunch with my biggest client, one where I planned to ask to have sex with her husband. Tack on the accepted offer now on file on the De Luca house, and I was feeling a dangerous combination of drunk, lonely, cocky, and panicked.

Would confronting Nicole Fagnani help any of the above? Here was three tequila shots worth of let’s-find-out.

“Stay close,” I tore a twenty-dollar bill in half and passed one side of it to the taxi driver. “I’ll give you the other half when I come out.”

“You kidding me?” The man shot me a look like I had just pissed on his seat.

“What? Not good? I thought people do that.” I saw it in a movie once. There, the guy had seemed smooth and smart.

“You think I have scotch tape in my glove box? How’m I supposed to spend this? I gonna give McDonalds two halves of a bill?”

“I don’t know… don’t you have some tape at home?” I glanced at the meter, which had just ticked up in cost. This conversation was getting expensive.

“Do I look like someone that keeps my drawers at home stocked with scotch tape?” It was a valid point. He had a lizard tattooed up his neck, the tongue of it curling along one cheek. From the smell filling the car, I doubted if he even had soap at home.

“Okay, give it back.” I held out my hand.

“I’ll trade you for another one. A whole one.” He held the half bill just out of reach, as if worried I would squelch on the deal.

“If I give you the entire twenty, then what’s to stop you from just leaving?”

“There’s fourteen dollars on the meter. I’m not going anywhere.”

I took back the half of the twenty with a sigh, then reluctantly passed forward an intact bill. I wasn’t entirely sure we had scotch tape at home. “Okay. I won’t be long.”

My phone rang and I fished the slim device out of my back pocket, cringing when I saw Easton’s name on the display. He had been out with Aaron, watching the game and mending the awkward tension that my Chelsea-confession had created. I thought I’d have a few hours of alone time to drown my sorrows in margaritas, maybe catch up on Gossip Girl reruns and that half-tub of Mint Chocolate Chip in the fridge.

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