The denial that was on the tip of his tongue momentarily forgotten, Tristan narrowed his eyes on his friend. “What signs? What the hell are you talking about?”
“Well,” Shayne drawled, making a show of studying his nails, “there’s yer first kiss, lad, talk about awkward. I could tell ye really didn’t want to kiss the lass.”
“Oh, you could tell that, could you?” Tristan asked, his tone dripping with sarcasm. “It probably had something to do with the fact that I didn’t want to kiss her and you knew that. I told you repeatedly that I didn’t like her, but noo,” he stretched out the last word, “you knew better. What was your reason for making me kiss her? Oh yeah, because back in your day it was normal to be brought to a whore when you were fifteen and, since you couldn’t hire one for me, you thought the school slut was just as good.”
Shayne smiled sheepishly. “She did like ye, lad.”
“She liked everything with a dick!” Tristan snapped. “And I told you that I didn’t like her!”
“Why are ye yelling at me? It’s not like I made ye kiss her,” Shayne muttered grumpily.
Tristan shot him a look of pure disbelief. “Didn’t make me kiss her? You shoved me into her!”
“It wasn’t that bad now, was it, lad? I mean she did give ye a go for yer money,” Shayne said almost defensively.
“She gave me mono,” Tristan said flatly.
Shayne looked thoughtful, “Well, there is that I suppose. Well then, what about yer first time, huh?”
“You got me decked and kicked in the balls!” Tristan snapped.
“I did?” Shayne asked in mock indignation with his hand pressed to his chest. “How was I supposed to know ye’d yell out some other lad’s name?”
“You yelled out another guy’s name during sex?” pipe man asked in disgust. “Here’s a clue, guy. That does make you g*y.”
Tristan glared, just glared at the man.
“Ah, go easy on the lad. At least he’s loyal.”
“What do you mean?” Tristan cautiously asked.
Shayne shrugged lazily. “Ye still moan that name when ye spend in the shower.”
Tristan’s mouth dropped open and then abruptly snapped shut. “You spy on me in the shower?”
He laughed. “Ah, lad, I don’t need to spy on ye. I can hear ye anytime, anywhere. We’re connected. Besides, ye moan the name really, really loudly.”
Pipe man waved a hand to get their attention. “Ah, hello, if you’re thinking of a dude in the shower that kind of makes you g*y, too. Now that we have that solved,” he clapped his hands together, “let’s focus on me, shall we?”
But Tristan wasn’t done. “I didn’t call out another guy’s name and you know it!”
Shayne seemed to ponder that for a moment. “Oh, that’s right. I guess yer not g*y.”
“Yer just in love with Marty,” Shayne said with a shit-eating grin.
“Denny, can you give me a hand with the dishes?” Beth asked as she moved to push her chair away from the table.
Denny pouted pathetically while he made a show of rubbing his flat stomach. “I wish I could, Mom. Really, I do, but after that third helping you shoved down my throat, I’m afraid that I just can’t seem to move.”
“I forced you, huh?” she asked with a tolerant smile.
“That’s the way I see it,” Denny said in agreement as he leaned back in his chair.
Beth looked at Tom expectantly.
“Sorry, hun, can’t move,” Tom said sheepishly.
Marty smiled at the two men as she stood up and picked up her plate and Denny’s. “I’ll help, Beth. We should really give these old timers a break.”
“I knew you loved me,” Denny said with a wink.
“Yeah, that’s it,” Marty said dryly as she helped clear the dishes. Since they were eating in the large kitchen, it wasn’t too difficult a task. Beth threw her a wink as the two of them worked together to clear the table.
Denny ran a hand over his short curly brown hair, trying to tame the untamable. “So, where’s my little brother and why the hell isn’t he here to see me?”
Tom sipped his beer. “I think he needed a break from your mother’s fussing.”
“I don’t fuss!” Beth argued.
Both men shared a knowing look.
Marty bit her lip to stop herself from smiling. When that didn’t work she turned away and became suddenly busy with scraping plates. Fussing and Beth went hand and hand. If she loved you, she fussed over you. Marty had learned that a long time ago.
When Marty had her appendix taken out when she was ten years old, Beth fussed over her like a mother hen. It took her father, Tom, Denny and Tristan to calm Beth down in the waiting room and stop her from attacking every nurse and doctor that made the mistake of walking through the waiting room. Beth took it as her responsibility to mother Marty after her own mother had abandoned her when Marty was six. Marty loved Beth like a mother and appreciated it, even those times when she went a tad overboard. Like the time Marty had her first period.
Beth decided to combine Tristan’s driving lesson with taking Marty to the pharmacy. Poor Tristan had no idea why his mother was damn near hyperventilating in the front seat or why Marty was cowering in the back seat. He discovered the source of her embarrassment when Beth dragged them both down the feminine product aisle and started handing Tristan boxes of tampons and pads all while asking Marty if she wanted scented or unscented, applicator or applicator free. Tristan choked on air as he dropped the boxes. He tossed his mother the keys and, without a word, walked out of the store and the five miles home. For the next two months Tristan had trouble making eye contact with her. Now poor Tristan was the subject of Beth’s focus, poor bastard.
“Well, sweetheart, you did try to give him a sponge bath,” Tom calmly pointed out while giving his wife a small sheepish smile.
“You what?” Denny nearly shouted.
Beth stood stubbornly in the kitchen with her hands on her hips, glaring at the men. “He’d been shot. He needed to be taken care of. Besides, he’s my baby. It’s not like I haven’t seen him na**d before,” she said with a roll of her eyes.
“Yeah, twenty years ago you might have seen him naked. For Christ’s sakes, Mom, he’s a grown man. He was shot in the shoulder, not paralyzed. I doubt he appreciated the effort,” Denny said in clear disbelief. He shot a look at his father. “If I ever get bedridden you keep this woman and her sponges the hell away from me. Hire some busty blonde to tend to my wounds,” he said with a lecherous grin.