“That would be great, if you could. We don’t really know what we’re doing,” I confessed.

She snorted. “None of us do. We just learn really quickly what not to do. And I’m not trying to preach at you, but Easton needs to be the one who does all the communication with the guy. And if you hook up with a single woman, you do all the communication with the girl. Otherwise, it gets messy and starts feeling sketchy.” She reached across the table and gripped my arm, making sure I was listening.

I was. I was soaking in all of it, terrified that I would forget something crucial and screw it all up later.

“You have to vigilantly protect your relationship at all costs.” She held my gaze. “Do you understand?”

“I think so.” But no… not really. There were so many rules. So many dynamics. I was supposed to vigilantly protect my relationship—but diving deeper into this world seemed like the opposite of that. Look at the night we hooked up with them and the subsequent fight we’d had. Granted, maybe that tension had come from the event with Nicole, but still.

She smiled, and the intensity faded from her giant brown eyes. “It’ll be fine. Oh, and, Elle?”

“Yes?” I asked nervously.

“Tell Easton to tell him you want the doctor’s experience. He’ll know what that means.” She winked at me, then reached for her purse and signaled for the check.

30

“Okay, let’s walk through the plan. E?” I turned to E, who was trying to get a chunk of gum off the bottom of his shoe. “E, pay attention.”

“What asshole spits their gum out on the sidewalk?” He scraped his Nike across the pavement. “Jesus.”

“Don’t say Jesus.” I returned my focus to Aaron, who looked despondent. “Aaron. Try not to look like your dog just died.”

His glum look turned into something more of a glare, but that was okay. I’d take mad over mopey all day long.

“Okay, whatever. Look pissed. I’m trying to help true love find its way and you guys aren’t helping.”

“True love?” Easton groaned. “Stop labeling this. The man just got through a divorce.”

“Okay,” I countered. “I’m trying to help two friends who are physically attracted to each other but are afraid to admit their connection because they’re stubborn and freaked out about the teensy-tiny threesome we had.” I glared at E. “Happy? True love was a helluva lot shorter.”

“Let’s not use the word teensy-tiny in any sexual activity that involved me.” Easton rubbed his pec with a scowl.

“Or me,” Aaron chimed in.

I inhaled for three counts, then exhaled for three counts. Maybe Aaron and Chelsea didn’t need a matchmaker. They were already living together, if you ignored the pool and yard between them. Surely they could figure out their way through this snafu and onto the Happily Ever After side.

Except… it had been thirteen days and Chelsea was still ignoring my calls and texts. Aaron had tried to get into the main house to talk to her, only to find that his personal passcode had been deleted and his number blocked from her phone. We needed a grand gesture, something to get her to forgive all three of us while falling back into her crush with Aaron.

Enter Nicole Fagnani. Nicole Fagnani, who—thanks to her new alliance with MGM Entertainment—now had enough pull with Miami Stadium to get Aaron sixty seconds on stage, during Taylor Swift’s set change.

Sixty seconds that was going to start as soon as she finished White Horse and hustled that cute little booty off stage.

I listened as she sang and if there was a worst song to preface Aaron with, I’d have to search Spotify for hours to find it. The entire thing seemed to be about a man who fucked up and how it was too late for him to come and apologize now. I turned to E, who was already engaged in a level-one bromance with the sound guy. I pulled on his arm. “Are you listening to these words? This is horrible.”

He shrugged and I paced over to Aaron, who was leaning against a wall, watching the audience. “I can’t see her,” he said, speaking loudly in an attempt to be heard over the giant speakers.

“You know Chelsea. She’s in the front row somewhere.” That’s where our tickets had been. She’d probably given mine to her assistant, or the gay trainer at her gym, or the barista at Starbucks who gave her extra whipped cream.

All sub-par choices when compared to me but none of whom slept with her crush, and I could concede that that did knock a friendship a little off-kilter.

“Okay.” A short and stocky man wearing a giant headpiece strode up to Easton. “You miked and ready?”

“Yep.” Aaron straightened. “Good to go.”

“Here’s a microphone. It works in conjunction with your earpiece, so it’s not necessary, but a lot of people feel better having something in their hands.”

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