“De facto, huh?” she laughed. “Serious shit if you’re going Latin.”

“You have to see what a huge deal this is.”

“I get it. The town is going to suffer hugely. People will move out in droves. Your business and countless others will fold, and most of the working class will have to relocate.”

“No, not that. The sexiness thing!” I said. “That’s the problem.”

“Gee, sis, I’m confused. I thought the devastating effect of unemployment on thousands of people was the issue. But you have pants feelings for the bad guy, so I guess I missed the point here.”

“You are such a smartass. The conversation is about me and my problems. You don’t have problems on account of being perfect.”

“I’ve gained three pounds.”

“So what, you’re a size two now?” I laughed. “Try praying your eights will zip, and we’ll talk weight gain sometime.”

“You’re the curvy one. I got no boobs to speak of. I’d take a little junk in the trunk if I had boobs,” Ella moaned.

“Well, I’d trade you my rack right now to get rid of this vibe I have going with the Company Man,” I groaned back.

“Vibe? Okay, I’m going to need details,” she said.

“Like, eye contact with him feels sexual, like no one else is in the room and it’s something private.”

“So dirty eye contact? Really? Are you sure he doesn’t have a nervous tic or something?”

“He does not have a tic. It’s just intense. At the potluck, we were talking and laughing, it was easy and fun but there was this chemistry all over the place just zinging around. It felt like, you know, when you wake up with a really good hair day, you find twenty bucks in your coat pocket you didn’t know was there, everybody’s in a good mood, and the boots you wanted are on half price. Like everything was right with the world.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a day like that, much less a guy who makes me feel that way. Wait, is it like the Pilates feeling? Like that happy rush of well-being after a really tough Pilates class?” she said.

“You’re so healthy it makes me want to throw up,” I said. “I have no idea, since I’ve never done Pilates. But everything feels great and easy and happy with him. Which is horrible, because he’s like the bringer of doom.”

“Oooh—Doombringer the Grim, that’s a great D&D name!”

“Tell me you’re not still dating the guy who does gaming. I mean, when you said he was into role playing I assumed you had to wear a French maid outfit or something, not like barbarians and overlords and shit.”

“We’re not together, no. But the game was so fun that I still go by and play at least once a month.”

“You’re too nice. I would’ve thrown all his weird ass cards and games and shit away when he cheated on me. Sent him the ashes in a box.”

“That’s why you’re never friends with your exes, babe,” she said.

“True, but I’m okay with that. And, look, the thing with Jeremiah—”

“You mean Company Man? Do not start thinking of him by his name, he’s a problem, not a potential boyfriend. Put that out of your mind right now.”

“I know,” I said, crestfallen.

“Oh, come on. Have a fling, woman! Jeez, I can’t believe you bought that for a second from me. Seize your happiness, get laid, I don’t care about his job! If you feel the chemistry, and he’s hot and it’s fun, then what’s not to enjoy? It’s not marriage. It’s just a roll in the hay.”

“Thank goodness. I thought you were getting all traditional on me,” I said with relief.

“Seriously, you need to get laid. And if the guy shutting down the factory is who does it for you, go ahead. You know I support anything that makes you happy.”

“I love that about you, El, but the fact is, I don’t think it would make me happy. I’d be miserable knowing I was sleeping with the enemy. On the other hand—every time I so much as lay eyes on him, it feels like something sexual has to happen between us. I’m so keyed up, and my whole body gets hot all over, and I just want him to—do things to me. Things I haven’t done with anyone else.”

“Does he feel the same way about you?” she said.

“That’s the big question. We danced at the potluck. We almost kissed. He seemed interested.”

“Yeah, he wants to stick it in you.”

I laughed as we said our goodbyes and promised to update her if anything happened with Jeremiah.

A little holiday, a break from being so responsible didn’t sound like such a bad thing. I felt giddy at the idea.

I trotted upstairs and rapped on his door.

“Hey,” I said, feeling a bubbly nervousness, “do you want to go get a drink?”

Tags: Natasha L. Black Romance
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