“Don’t you dare think of taking it out.”
I tossed the black heels into my bag. “Wouldn’t dream of it. Anyway, I should head out.”
Blake stood and reached for my bag. “I’ll drive you.”
“You don’t have to.”
“I want to. Plus, I want to make sure my care package is there.”
He grinned. “You’ll see.”
Blake and his surprises. I rolled my eyes and followed him downstairs to the Tesla.
A few minutes later we were pulling up to Simone’s apartment. Simone was wearing a backless dress that hugged every ample curve. Fiona, who was always the picture of class, wore tight black jeans and a strapless top that revealed her delicate frame.
“Erica!” Alli’s initial reaction was a mix of disgust and reproach. “You are not wearing that.”
I laughed, tossing my bag down. “No shit. You think I was going for a night out on the town and not making you dress me?”
She shook her head and poured a glass of champagne for me. “Here. You drink. I’ll primp you.”
As she disappeared into the bedroom with my bag, James walked out wearing only a towel around his waist. Simone whistled and plastered a lusty kiss on his lips.
I turned away, stealing a look to Blake. He didn’t look concerned. In fact, a smug smile tugged at his lips. “What?”
He nodded to James. “Looks like the care package is here.”
James approached when Simone released him from her clutches. “Sorry. Girls have been hogging the bathroom.”
Blake shook his hand. “Keep your dick in your pants and we’re good.”
James rolled his eyes. “Right. Anything I need to know before we head out?”
“Just don’t let her out of your sight, and when they’re ready to go home, call me. I’ll come pick her up.”
“Alli has a limo.”
“I don’t care. I’ll collect her myself.”
I waved my hands between them. “Excuse me. When did this all get worked out? This is a bachelorette party. My bachelorette party. No boys allowed.”
I swiveled to find Simone leaning against the couch, listening to us bicker. She shrugged, tossing back the last of the champagne in her glass. “Talk to Blake. We already tried negotiating.”
I returned my glare to Blake.
“There’s no way I’m unleashing these girls on you without someone on hand to stay sober and make sure no one gets hurt.”
“We’re going to drink too much and dance until we pass out. No one is getting hurt. I don’t need a freaking bodyguard.”
“You are not passing out, as previously discussed. And you do need a bodyguard. Do I need to remind you of your propensity for finding yourself in dangerous situations?”
I groaned. “Whatever.”
“Here, wait.” He caught my hand before I could turn to leave. He pressed a small wad of bills into my palm.
I tilted my head and tried to pull away but he didn’t let go. “I’m flush with cash now, Blake, remember?”
He smirked, brushing his thumb over my wrist. “I insist.”
“Whatever,” I huffed.
“No strippers,” he said firmly.
I laughed. “You really need to stop making rules and get out of here.”
“I’m serious, Erica.”
He released me and I turned with a wave. “Me too. Goodbye.”
I disappeared into the bedroom to find Alli. I heard James and Blake talking for a few minutes longer before the door shut.
I let out a sigh of relief. I wanted to let loose tonight. I wanted to be free and have fun. I was pretty confident James wasn’t interested in ruining our fun, but Blake’s meddling never failed to grate on my nerves. Fiona and Simone joined us, and we talked over which club to hit first.
By my second glass of champagne, I’d nearly forgotten about James and Blake entirely. Alli twisted my hair up into a sexy, messy up-do and applied heavy makeup to my eyes and cheeks, leaving my lips nude and glossy. I slipped on a simple number, a strapless hot pink sheath covered in black lace. The tiny dress showed off every asset, and I was grateful all over again that Blake wouldn’t see me leave in this.
I was definitely looking forward to coming home in it though. The thought reminded me of the plug. I fought the heat creeping into my cheeks.
“You okay?” Fiona asked, her eyes far too innocent for the truth of what was making me blush.
I fanned myself, trying to get hold of my body’s rioting. “Yeah, I think it’s the champagne. It’s warm in here.”
Simone opened a window, mercifully closing the subject.
Darkness fell before we finally headed out, but not before Fiona decorated all of us with sashes bearing our titles, as bride-to-be and bridesmaids. She tucked a tiara that could not have been made of more than two dollars worth of plastic into my hair.
“Perfect. Oh wait.” She fussed with it a minute more until it began lighting up, red and white lights. “Now you’re perfect.”
We laughed and James took our pictures. Then the five of us piled into the limo. A bubble of happiness grew in my belly being surrounded by my friends. Even James, who had become a loyal friend despite our ups and down. Simone cranked up some music, and before long we were laughing and shouting over each other.
“James, you’re going to have so much fun babysitting us,” I teased, nudging him with my elbow.
He smiled and looked out the tinted window. “I have little doubt.”
We drove until the limo dropped us at the club. Alli led us to a booth reserved for our party. We ordered a round of drinks and watched the club fill up.
Out of the masses, a cute blond bartender approached again, balancing a tray of shots, enough for each of us. His gaze lingered on Fiona. She reddened and toyed with her diamond hoop earrings.
“What’s this?” Simone reached for one of the shots.
“The lady up there ordered these for you.” He gestured to the upper level. The club was smoky and I couldn’t place who he was referring to.
Alli leaned over the tray, her nose wrinkled. “What are they?”
Simone tossed hers back and dropped it back on the tray with flare. “They’re yummy.”
He cleared his throat. “Um, they’re called ‘shit on the grass’.”
“What?” Alli studied the shots, their green liquid settled aptly over the brown. “Who sent them?”