“Oh my God!” Jada wailed, burying her face in her hands.
I tapped her hands. Reluctantly, she lowered her hands. “There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Besides, you seemed happy this morning too.”
“Yeah,” she admitted, “I was. I am.”
“I can’t believe you told Ace before you told me!” someone yelled from the door.
Standing there was Ben, his arms crossed as he pretended to pout.
“I asked and you didn’t,” I said, shrugging.
He rolled his eyes as he joined us. “Jerk,” he said goodnaturedly.
“So, uh, Ben? Just how much did you hear?”
“Well, I heard the part about where you banged Seki down at the lagoon,” he said. “Did I leave anything out.”
Jada’s blush returned. “Nope, I think you heard it all.”
“Well, in the name of fairness,” Ben began, “I think I should get a date with you too, Miss Hartville.”
Jada looked over at Ben, clearly dumbfounded. “What?”
“Well, if Ben gets a date with you, I want one too,” I said.
Jada appeared as if her head was spinning. “So you guys are just okay with that? With, um…”
“Sharing?” Ben supplied.
“Yeah,” Jada said, “with sharing.”
Ben and I looked at each other. “Well, it wouldn’t be the first time,” I admitted.
“Really? You’ve, uh, shared a woman before?”
“On occasion,” Ben replied. “If more than one of us like someone, it seems selfish to keep them from seeing her too. As long as she’s into it too, of course.”
“Would you be into it if the woman was me?” Jada asked. Her voice was more assertive now, stronger sounding.
“Yes!” Ben and I said in unison.
Jada closed her eyes and smiled behind her hand, clearly pleased by our reaction. “Well, why don’t we make it a group date. You know, just the three of us.”
“No offense, Jada,” Ben said, “but I really don’t want to go on a date with this loser.”
“Gee, thanks, Ben. You’re a real pal.”
“You know it, buddy,” he said, slinging an arm over my shoulder.
“You two are leaving me hanging, so can I just have an answer before I go lock myself in my room and never come out?” Jada said.
“Sorry,” Ben and I said, again speaking in unison.
“We’d love to,” Ben said, and I nodded.
“Great!” Jada said. “So what should we do on our date?”
“Let’s ride the ATVs!” Ben said. “You haven’t had the chance to do that yet, have you Jada?”
“Ugh, no!” I said. “Let’s go to the bar. Saturday is karaoke night.”
“Come on, Ace! Jada will love the ATVs!” Ben insisted.
“But I think karaoke will be more fun.”
“Or you two could ask me what I want to do?” she said, rolling her eyes at us.
“You’re right,” Ben replied. “What would you like to do on our date, Jada?”
“Gee, do I get to speak now guys?” she asked.
Jada seemed to think we both looked thoroughly shamed. “Well, I’ve never ridden on an ATV or done karaoke before, so why don’t we do both?”
Neither Ben or me could deny Jada’s logic, which is how we ended up on the ATVs on Saturday afternoon.
Jada caught on right away and was having a blast.
Me on the other hand? Not so much.
My stomach was roiling and I didn’t know how much of it I could take before I lost my lunch. Ben, of course, thought it was hilarious.
“Don’t be a jerk, Ben!” Jada scolded him. “Motion sickness sucks. That’s why I flew here rather than drive.”
“There’s also the fact that it’s a long ass drive and, if you’re still driving that piece of shit you had in high school, you never would have made it out of Nevada!” Ben joked.
“That car broke down years ago,” Jada admitted. “One day, it just gave up on life and that was that.”
We’d all stopped for the moment, catching our collective breath. I just hoped we’d head back soon.
When Jada looked over at me, I saw the sympathy on her face. “I think if we stay out here much longer, I won’t have the energy to go to the bar,” she said. “Besides, I’m getting pretty hungry.”
“You want to head back?” Ben asked, his voice softer than I’d ever heard it before. It was Jada, all Jada. She seemed to have that effect on all of us.
“Yeah,” she said. “Besides, we all need to get cleaned up before we can even think of leaving the house.”
“What are you talking about?” Ben asked. “I think you look fantastic.”
“Maybe I look fantastic, but I don’t smell it. And, if I’m not mistaken, neither do the two of you.”
Chuckling, Ben sped off ahead.
“Thanks for that,” I said appreciatively.
Jada smiled at me. “Of course. Besides, I can tell you aren’t enjoying yourself. And I really am hungry.”
About an hour and a half later, we slid into the booths of the best diner in Seeley Lake.
“I can’t believe no one’s brought you here yet,” Ben said.
Ben and Jada sat on the same side and he had his arm slung across the back of the booth. She looked comfortable in the crook of his arm. Content.