"I have no idea what he's talking about," she said, shaking her head in wonder as she stepped away from him.
Nathan grinned hugely as he reached out and took her hand. Eric's shocked gasp of course pleased her.
"You betraying bitch!" he hissed, making a mad grab for her hand.
"Honestly, Eric. You'll do and say anything to get out of trying something new. It won't kill you to give tofu another try. I'm sure the rash you developed last time was just a fluke," Alice said, starting to head for the door once again.
"This isn't over!" Eric called after them.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Nathan asked as he loaded his plate with chicken fingers.
"Contemplating manslaughter," Eric said, snagging the plate away from his brother and moving down the line to add beef teriyaki and pork fried rice. With a resigned sigh Nathan grabbed another plate.
"Where's your date?" Nathan asked, chuckling.
"You mean your date? She's sitting at the table waiting for you," Eric said, nodding towards the woman who looked seconds away from throwing a tantrum.
Nathan frowned. "What the hell are you talking about?"
Eric shrugged even as his eyes sought out the little traitor loading her plate up three tables down. "After I explained that I was unavailable, but that you were looking for someone like her, she decided to give you a chance," Eric said, slapping his brother on the back before moving on to his next prey.
"You better be kidding," Nathan bit out. "You are kidding, right? Eric?" he said, sounding nervous. Good. The bastard should be nervous. That woman was a nightmare.
The second his brother pulled out of the driveway with their mother and Joe she started in on him, telling him she didn't appreciate his attitude one bit. He just barely stopped himself from sending her packing when he decided to unload the woman on Nathan to let the bastard see how it felt to be set up with a psycho.
When she started in about Joe he set her straight on that subject. He told her that he was in love with her and the damn woman was just nervous about letting his mother know since she wouldn't want to get Alice's hopes up. Not that she could. She was his and that's all there was to it.
"He said what?" he heard his mother suddenly demand.
His eyes shot over to the table where he left Amber pouting and he tried not to wince as his mother turned a glare on him. It was just so wrong that one look from his mother could still make him cringe.
"Uh oh, looks like someone's in trouble," Joe said in a mock whisper as she walked past him.
With a glare that admittedly dropped to her ass several times he followed after her, snatching the soda out of Nathan's hand on the way. He waited for Joe to sit down and then sat down right next to her and thankfully well away from the two women glaring in his direction.
He pointedly ignored them as he put his arm along the back of Joe's chair and ate. Occasionally he looked up to send a smug smile in his brother's direction as the harpy his mother tried setting him up with chatted his ear off about fashion and diets. Every time the poor bastard went to eat something she went into a lecture about animal cruelty that Eric easily ignored. When Nathan filled his plate up with vegetables, probably to get her to shut the hell up, she lectured him about oils and choosing organic foods.
Joe happily ignored the woman's pointed comments in her direction and enjoyed her meal. When she finally shoved her plate away, a clear sign from Joe that she was done, he took her hand into his and was surprised when she didn't pull away. Then again they'd always been close so this wouldn't be a big deal to his mother. Even though he could appreciate the fact that she was still his Joe and clearly enjoyed screwing him over for a good laugh, he fully planned on getting her back.
"Aren't you getting dessert?" he asked, reaching over to smooth a loose strand of her honey blond hair behind her ear.
"Now why would I do that when you're going to buy me something at the movies?" she asked, sending him an impish smile.
Nathan snorted at that and muttered something that sounded suspiciously like "gold digger," but he ignored it, mostly because he agreed with his brother. What was it with women these days? Any other woman and he would have laughed and wished her luck with that, but this was his Joe. So he might just treat her to a soda, small of course.
But he wanted a kiss first and he wanted it now. He stood up, giving her hand a small tug that had her standing up. "We'll meet you outside," he told his family as he stepped away from the table, dropping enough money on the table to cover his and Joe's share plus a tip, and headed for the door before his mother could stop him.
"Why exactly are you in a rush to leave the restaurant?" Joe asked once they reached his car.
"For this of course," he said, pulling her into his arms so that he could kiss her.
Over the past couple of days they'd snuck a few kisses, but it had been damn difficult to kiss her the way he wanted with Nathan always under foot. He had no proof, but he was pretty sure the bastard was doing it on purpose to screw with him. More than once over the past couple of days he thought he'd die if didn't touch her and now that she was in his arms he didn't want to let her go.
"Come home with me," he murmured against her lips.
"What about the movie?" she asked, tightening her arms around his neck.
"We can watch a movie at my place," he suggested, loving the idea of living that particular fantasy out again.
"Do I get to pick the movie?" she asked in between nibbling on his lips.
"Yes," he said, knowing that he had absolutely no plans on watching the movie.
"He's just really shy," he heard Nathan explain. "But I know he's interested."
"Yes, he is-Eric Parish, what are you doing?" his mother demanded in a bit of a hysterical screech.
He pressed one last kiss to Joe's lips before pulling back, noting the beautiful blush that painted her cheeks.
"Kissing my girlfriend. What does it look like?" he asked, turning to face his mother while he took Joe's hand into his.
He couldn't help but be amused as he watched the play of emotions float over his mother's features. She went from shocked, to horrified when her eyes landed on Amber and then turned pleased, very pleased.
His mother grinned hugely as she faced Amber. "Did I mention that Nathan is single?"
"We have to go," she said, but didn't pull away from him as he reached between them and undid her pants. She said even less as he shoved her pants and panties down around her knees. After one last kiss that left her panting he turned her around and urged her to her knees.