She drinks her second shot and shakes her head. “No husband.”
“A boyfriend, then?”
“Not one of them, either. Who has the time?”
Then I go in for the kill. “A great girl like you doesn’t have a boyfriend? That’s a damn shame. Still, you should make time to blow off a little steam. Let loose. Have a good time with a good guy.”
She licks the alcohol off her lips. “I squeeze in a good time here and there. When it’s worth it.”
See her suggestive smirk? The invitation in her big, hazel eyes? That’s her signal—telling me she thinks I’m worth it. That if I offer to help her blow off some steam in any fashion I can think of, she’s up for it.
That also concludes our presentation for the day.
I glance at my watch. “Ten minutes are up. I wouldn’t want you to get into trouble with your boss.”
She blinks. “Oh—right.”
Then she stands up—but doesn’t leave right away. “I’m done here in a few hours. Are you guys going to stick around?” She asks all of us, but she’s looking at me.
I let her down easy. Because that’s the kind of gentleman I am. “Unfortunately, no. We’ll be heading out soon and we’re busy all night. But it was a pleasure talking to you.”
Back in the day, I would have kissed her hand for good measure. But these days my lips are for Kate alone.
Her shoulders sag. “Okay . . . well . . . thanks for the drink.”
“Anytime, honey. Don’t work too hard.”
She walks away, sneaking a peek back over at our table as she goes.
I turn my attention to Warren and spread my arms wide. “And that is how it’s done.”
I toss back a shot. My voice is strained after it burns down my throat. “If I was interested, I’d hang around awhile. And if no other opportunities presented themselves, I’d take her home, bang her for a few hours, and leave her smiling.”
Warren suggests, with a hint of awe, “Yeah. Or you could bring her up to your room for a quickie.”
Jack, Matthew, and I simultaneously exclaim, “Nooooo.”
I correct him, “With the high-end women you’re going to be scoring? You’re gonna want to take your time. And—rule number two—always have an escape route. Never take a girl back to your home turf. It could take a forklift to get her the f**k out.”
Jack shudders. “One time I had to call the cops. And when they dragged her out, the broad was still clinging to my bed-sheets. That’s a mistake you only make once.”
Warren nods. “You make it seem so easy.”
“Getting laid is supposed to be easy,” I tell him. “None of us would be here if it wasn’t. God gave men instincts—even you. Just relax and let them lead you.”
I slap him on the back. Harder than I have to. “Now, young Skywalker, your training is complete. Tonight—you become a Jedi.”
He grins. “Cool. Thanks, man.” Then he cocks his thumb toward the restroom. “I gotta hit the john.”
Jack stands. “And I see a new lucky lady. I’ll be back.”
After they leave, Matthew’s eyes burn a hole in my face.
I return his stare. “What?”
“A few hours ago you could barely stand to be in the same room with the guy, and now you’re giving him pu**y pointers. Why are you really helping him, Drew?”
“I’m a helpful guy.”
He continues to stare, waiting for me to elaborate.
“And . . . if Warren’s occupied with his own snatch . . . he’ll stay away from Kate.”
Matthew’s head rolls back with a groan. “Dude—you’re still hung up on that? Let it go, man.”
“Did you not hear the same song I did?”
His voice rises with exasperation. “So f**king what? It was a song. Kate is marrying you—you have a son together.” He cups his hands around his mouth like a megaphone. “Get over it.”
I rub the back of my neck. “I am. I am over it. But . . . when I see him . . . when I see them together—it drives me nuts.”
“Because I still think he has feelings for Kate.”
I grind my teeth. And clench my hands. When I open my mouth, the God’s honest truth comes tumbling out. “Because I would never let her go, Matthew. Ever. No matter what happened—no matter what I did, I’d keep hoping, trying, until she came back to me.”
Matthew nods compassionately. “And that is why you are marrying Kate, and Warren is not. Because he was able to let her go. It wasn’t the forever kind of relationship, it was the for-right-now kind. And he did get over her. It’s the same way for Kate. So stop torturing yourself—and the rest of us—and just f**king enjoy it. You won. She’s yours.”
I think about his words for a moment. And then I shrug. “Either way, no harm, no foul. I get peace of mind, Warren gets his pickup skills upgraded, and Kate will be pleasantly surprised that I’m not jumping at the chance to put him in a shallow grave. Everybody wins, right?”
Matthew nods thoughtfully and finishes his drink.
Over the speaker system, the lifeguard calls our team number, and we get ready to nail the game.
By the time we head back to the villa—as the returning water-volleyball champions we are—afternoon has slipped into dusk. It’s my favorite time of day. The sun is setting and the air smells like summer—a mix of earth and chlorine and freshly cut grass. I swipe my card through the security gate surrounding the house and walk toward the front door.