Authors: Bijou Hunter
A Little Too Late
Refusing to leave a depressed Sawyer, I don't crash for the night until nearly three. I end up sleeping in a guest room. The bed is more comfortable than the hotel's, but they're both nicer than my bed at home. I sleep great, dreaming of Sawyer splashing in the ocean. Her skin is hot from the sun and smells of cocoa butter. I'm just about to untie her bikini top when knocking at the door wakes me.
"Time to shop, sleepyhead," one of the twins says, opening the door.
Glancing at her big smile and massive Stetson, I realize my wakeup annoyance is Colbie.
"What time is it?" I ask, hiding my face under my arm.
"After ten. You need to get up and go buy a tux for the gala tonight."
"Yeah, it's a big party for rich people."
Still hiding under my arm, I roll my eyes. "Why am I going?"
"Because, sweetie, Sawyer will be surrounded by many fine young men looking to get laid. We assumed you might want to keep them from plowing your ex."
Grudgingly sitting up, I sigh. "How much does a tux cost?"
Colbie flicks her hat like a cowboy from an old Western. "Darling, no one expects a poor boy like you to buy a tux. Since Zane's old tux is covered in blood, he needs a new one. He'll take you to the mall and buy you one too."
I think to complain about being a kept man, but I'm tired and don't really give a shit either way. "Give me a few minutes to clean up."
"I know you're tired," Bodie says, popping her head into the room, "but you can nap later. I told Sawyer the same thing when we dragged her lazy ass out of bed. Now get cracking."
The twins disappear, leaving me to quickly shower in the adjoining bathroom. I return to the bedroom to find a clean shirt. I'm too tall for Zane's jeans. A fact I learn during the drive.
Dumb and dumber
wanted to take you shopping. I said I'd do it. You're welcome."
Zane doesn't say much else. He listens to country music on the way to the mall. He checks his phone a lot once we arrive. He barely acknowledges the guy checking his seams.
I am more sensitive to a guy's hand being near my balls. Focusing hard on the tailor's activities, I only relax when the measuring part is complete. Zane is on his phone when I finish picking out a tux.
"The girls are picking out clothes on the other end of the mall. I suggest we avoid getting sucked into their shopping vortex. What should take thirty minutes becomes a morning long journey followed by an hour-long lunch at the food court. If we slip past them, we can eat and be back to the house by the time they're ordering lunch."
Keeping my mouth shut, I get the impression Zane doesn't want to talk. In fact, he makes this point very clear while we eat our mall-style Chinese food.
"I don't spend much time with men. With my sisters, talking isn't really necessary. They never shut up, you know?" he says, smiling. "I prefer their company to men always having something to fucking prove. How much money. How big a dick. How hard they throw a punch. I suspect my sisters absorbed all my testosterone in the womb because I have no interest in that shit. I don't want to gossip like a girl either. I let them shine while I sneak around and do what I please."
"Seems like a solid plan."
"For a man like me. Not so much for one like you."
"I'm wealthy enough to be lazy and eccentric. On the other hand, you're a criminal and not in the casual way I am. No one needs to fear me. They fear my sisters. Especially Bodie and her damn wood chipper. A man like you needs to be feared that way. For your work in your world, you can't hide behind others."
"You don't exactly stand out either. Something's too quiet about you. Not in the scary way Bodie gets really quiet either. With her, you worry about what she's thinking when she's quiet. You feel her dissecting people. Making plans. It's creepy.
need to be scary like that. I don't see you ever wagging your dick around like Snickers, but you could be more like Caveman. I think I've heard him say a total of ten words in two years. He doesn't talk, and you nearly forget he's there. Except you do feel thinking about how he can fuck you up. That'd be a good move for you. With your size, you could do that easy."
"Did Bodie tell you to give me this speech?"
"No. I thought she already gave you one."
"Why should I give you one?"
"But you are."
"No, I'm talking because you wanted me to talk. I could feel you wanted me to say something, so I did. I have nothing else to talk about besides my Yesenia, and people are getting sick of me talking about her."
"People were the same way when I was with Sawyer. They wanted us to shut up."
"My sisters don't like Yesenia. She doesn't make sense for our family, but I love her. I like how she cares about people since most women I've dated didn't even care about themselves."
"If you love her, that's all that matters."
"Says the guy who gave up the woman he loved for... Wait, what was your reason again?"
Zane grins at my irritation and focuses on his phone for the rest of lunch. I'm happy for the silence. Anything is better than another lecture or pity conversation.
I've finished my overcooked chow mein when I spot the girls walking down on the first level. The three hats make them obvious, and I focus on Sawyer's curly hair sticking out of the back of her ball cap.
I love that hair. When we were kids, I called it her poodle tail. She always laughed before trying to hit me. When were lovers and I said the same thing, she punished me by making me play with the curls between her legs.
On the way back to the house, Zane grooves to Darius Rucker. Ignoring him and the music, I stare out the window and remember my dream of Sawyer at the beach. Her hair was in a ponytail as my fingers played with the curls. I also think about the freckles on her shoulders. They're the only freckles on her entire body. I claimed them after we changed from friends to lovers. I'd counted fourteen on one shoulder, twenty on the other.
I miss those freckles.
As soon as we get back to the house, I take my tux up to the room I slept in the night before. Too tired to drive back to the hotel, I flop on the bed. Everyone will be asleep soon, so I give into the McLaughlin way. Just like I hope, I dream of kissing Sawyer's freckles as we swim in the river near her family's home.
Someone screaming, "Mama didn't raise no fool!" wakes me from my sleep. The clock reads after three, so I roll out of bed and open the door to find Sawyer disappearing down the hall with the twins on her ass. I think to follow them, but sense they're playing a game. Or acting out their version of an alarm clock.
When I go downstairs, one of the "Mamas" is in the kitchen. She speaks in a thick European accent when she hands me a sausage sandwich.
"I'm Mama Hilde. Eat this, so you won't be hungry until the gala."
"Thanks," I say while she sizes me up.
"I like tall men. If I was younger, I'd shove your ex out of the way and make you see sideways."
"Thanks," I say again, unable to think of anything else to say.
Nodding, Mama Hilde leaves the kitchen, so I take my sandwich and a beer outside. The twins are bouncing on a trampoline. I sit down at a long patio table and watch.
"Bodie isn't your type," Sawyer grumbles, coming up behind me with what smells like a tuna sandwich. "She'd eat you alive."
"Not interested anyway," I say as she joins me. "Her hair is too straight."
Sawyer refuses to smile, but I know she wants to. Her eyes give her away.
"I've never been to a gala," I mumble with my mouth full. "I mean duh, but I have no idea what the hell to expect tonight."
"I don't either. The twins said a fat guy will be there, and he likes to grab asses. Not just girls' asses either. That's all they say when I ask about the party. They're useless sometimes."
"Don't be nervous," I tease.
Mouth stuffed with sandwich, Sawyer can only narrow her eyes at me. I laugh and return my gaze to the twins.
"I'd like to see you bouncing like that."
"They have bigger tits."
"You have European porn star tits," I say, and Sawyer chokes on her beer. Laughing, I pat her on the back. "Sorry. I should have made sure you weren't about to swallow when I said that."
"Was that a compliment?" she says, catching her breath.
"Yeah. If you knew porn, you'd get it. You have the glamorous, yet natural porn body."
"Is your obsession with porn something you picked up after you dumped me?"
"If a guy doesn't have the real thing to look at, he's gonna have time to look at the fake stuff."
"Right because you were hurting for the real thing all these years."
When I say nothing, Sawyer glares at me. I smile slightly, causing her frown to soften.
"The last few months when bragging with the club guys, I
have claimed more pussy than I actually hit."
"How much more?"
"A sorority amount."
Sawyer twists her lips, stuck between relief and anger. "I don't believe you."
"Okay," I say, downing half of my beer to get rid of the heavy sausage flavor.
"I slept with a lot of guys after you."
"I don't need to know that."
"Hot college guys who made me come the first time around."
"Again more info than I'm in the mood for."
"I once did two guys in one night," she says, smirking at me. "Not at the same time, of course. I'm not making a damn porno. Unlike you, I don't find that shit sexy."
I say nothing. Show nothing. Just turn everything off to avoid losing my temper. I don't know what pisses me off more. Her fucking other guys or rubbing it in my face after we shared a nice time last night.
Sawyer realizes I'm genuinely angry. She actually seems a little shocked by this fact. Before she can say anything, the twins finish bouncing and run over to us.
"We could feel the sexual tension from the trampoline," Colbie announces.
Bodie gives me a look that reveals she wants to laugh at me, but won't for pity reasons. My irritation grows under her gaze. Sawyer sighs dramatically at Colbie's comment. All three women stare at me, and I swear they sigh in unison.
Keeping my mouth shut, I stand and storm inside. I leave my plate in the sink, finish my beer, and grab a second one before walking upstairs and sulking in my room for a while.
Sawyer has every right to be pissed. I'd be pissed if she dumped me. I know all that shit. Now I want to build something new with her, yet every day we're right back to the day after I left her. She hates me, and maybe she always will.
A Bad Goodbye
Once Jace storms off, the twins stand shoulder to shoulder and judge me. I'm focused on Bodie. What's her goal with all the pep talks she gives Jace? Is she seducing him with her helpfulness?
"Why you got to be so mean?" Colbie asks me. "He's a man, and they're not smart like us card carrying vaginas. I think the penis distracts them too much, yet they still managed to invent airplanes and TV. Give the guy a break."
"I didn't say anything mean. He's the one who was talking tits and porn. I just mentioned I had fucked a bunch of guys when we were apart."
Bodie grins. "You're a charmer. No one can ever take that from you."
"He wants to be friends, and I'm rude to friends. He oughta know that after all these years."
"Did he fuck a bunch of girls? Is that why you lied about your long list of weenies?"
"I didn't lie."
The twins look at each other and share an eyebrow lift. I hate when they talk about me when I'm sitting right there. Once they finish, they smile at me.
"You had a Fleetwood Mac moment. We all do."
"Tell me sweet little lies," they sing.
"I'm not lying."
"You have eyes for only one man. No way would you let an army of random guys plow your field."
"Fuck off, bitches. You don't know me."
"Prove it," Colbie says. "Tonight, I want you to flirt your ass off."
"Not that she has much to work with."
"True, her ass is on the flatter side, but I was talking figuratively anyway."
Standing up, I mutter, "You're obnoxious yeast infections."
"We don't have feelings, so stop trying to hurt them," Bodie says, taking me by the shoulders. "Flirt tonight. Tomorrow, you can give Stanley a real chance. If you do that, I'll believe you're over Jace."
"What do I care if you believe me?"
"I'm a mean girl," she says, shrugging. "Everyone cares what I think. That's how the jungle works, doll face."
Leaving them to talk in their head, I walk into the house. I'm nearly to the stairs when a flash of Jace and Bodie together in bed forces me to turn around and return to where Bodie is waiting.
"I might not want him back, but you better stay away from him."
"Or I'll kick your ass."
Colbie laughs before spinning around. Bodie though gives me her death stare.
"One, you couldn't kick my ass if your life depended on it. You're a bitch, but I'm a frigging monster. Two, I'm deeply offended by this entire conversation."
"Deeply," Colbie says, still spinning.
"We're friends," Bodie continues, "and only evil sluts mess with their friends' men. Even their ex-men. To not trust me with Jace means you think I'm an evil slut. I might be evil at times, but never a slut."
"Never," Colbie murmurs.
We both frown at the spinning Colbie, and I ask, "Is she drunk?"
"Little bit. Now go away, so I can cry at my hurt feelings."
I hold Bodie's gaze, but she only smiles. Despite her monster reputation, I will kick her ass if she makes a move on Jace. I might not know my way back into his arms, but I'm willing to do anything to keep another woman out of them.