“Good for you,” Veronica says, raising her glass of water.
“I think that’s great,” I say. “Really, really damn brave, but great.”
“So . . .” Teagan scans the bar. “Do we get to just pick from the guys at the bar or what?”
Ava rolls her eyes. “I’ve already talked to some sperm banks. I’m looking through donors now, but here’s the deal—what if these men are crazy? There’s no checkbox for that on the questionnaire. How do you know you’re not putting crazy-man semen up in your business? I want to love my child, not wonder if maybe his dad had some weird rubber-glove fetish.”
Teagan nods. “This seems like a reasonable concern. Because genetics.”
“I’m confused,” Veronica says. “You’re using the sperm bank, or you’re not?”
Ava sighs. “I haven’t decided. Obviously, that’s the easiest way to get a baby in a position like mine, but . . .” She groans. “But ever since I got this crazy-guy thought in my head, none of the profiles are good enough. I’m nervous.”
Teagan shrugs. “Why not just ask for some sperm from a friend? The turkey baster works the same way if the sperm is free, you know.”
Ava arches a brow. “That’s a thing?”
“Sure,” Teagan says. “My cousin did it. She was like you—wanted a baby, didn’t want to wait—so she just asked her best friend for some sperm, and he filled a cup for her. Nine months later, voila! A baby of her own who she knows has no rubber-glove fetish gene.”
“That would definitely be ideal, but how do you even decide who to ask?”
“Well,” Veronica says, “not that I get to choose, since I already made my bad decision, but if I were you, I’d definitely go after some Jackson genes.”
“They do make some good-looking boys,” I say. “And they’re all brains, too.”
“I’ve been friends with the Jacksons all my life,” Ava says. “Levi’s probably the hottest, and he’s easygoing and stuff, but I’m pretty sure that conversation would be awkward even with him.” She lowers her voice. “And I think he might secretly have a thing for my friend Ellie.”
“And he’d want to actually fuck you,” Veronica says. She’s only met Levi a couple times, but I’d say her assessment is accurate. “No turkey baster.”
“Jake’s your best friend, isn’t he?” Teagan says. “What about him? I bet he’d do it for you.”
Ava wrinkles her nose. “It’s kind of weird, isn’t it?”
Teagan nudges Ava’s glass closer to Ava’s hand. “Finish this and ask him to fill a cup for you.”
“I guess it is my birthday. It can’t hurt to ask, right?” She swallows hard. “Here goes nothing.”
That’s the moment I realize Ava is way more drunk than I realized. She doesn’t hesitate. She climbs out of the booth and goes right up to Jake, turkey baster in one hand, empty glass in the other. He leans forward as she whispers something in his ear.
He frowns, looks at us, then back to her, and nods, then they leave the bar.
“Well, damn,” Veronica says. “That was easy.”
I spin on Teagan. “You know Jake has a thing for her, right?”
Teagan’s eyes go wide. “He does?”
“Yes, and has his whole life. As in, he’s madly in love with the woman you just sent up there to ask for his sperm.”
Teagan chuckles and claps her hands. “Well, this is going to be fun, isn’t it?”
I drag a hand over my face. “Girl.”
“What’s going on over here?”
I was so busy being mortified on Ava’s behalf that I didn’t even notice my insanely hot boyfriend walk into the bar.
Ethan puts his hands on the table and scans the array of mostly empty glasses in front of us. “You ladies have been busy.”
“Just water for me,” Veronica says.
“That was mostly Teagan and Ava,” I tell him. “Though I did have one glass of Jake’s new watermelon sour.”
He grins. “Wild thing.” He takes my hand and gives it a light tug. “We have a babysitter for another hour. Any chance I can steal you away from the girls?”
I slide out of the booth and wave to Teagan and Veronica. “Goodnight, ladies.”
“You’re gonna get laid, aren’t you?” Veronica says.
Teagan scowls. “God, I hate you right now.”
I blow them both kisses and head across the bar with Ethan, only he doesn’t go to the front door. He grabs something from under the bar and leads me down the hallway to the bathroom.
“This is the ladies’ room now,” he announces to the line of women, smacking the magnetic sign on the men’s room. He tugs me into the other restroom and has me pinned against the wall before the occupants even have a chance to leave.
“Get a room,” a girl mutters behind us.
Ethan grins at her over his shoulder, then pulls open the door to facilitate her exit. “Just did.”
When the rest of the women file out of the bathroom, he closes the door and turns the bolt.