Knock Off
lack of sleep, and even though I’d showered, dressed, and applied full makeup, I desperately wanted to be back in my nice warm bed. This whole “taking my job seriously” thing wasn’t working too well.
    I checked my watch. “Damn,” I grumbled. With all the Evans stuff, I’d forgotten to check on my eBay bid. The thought that I might be the high bidder on the Rolex box improved my mood considerably.
    Glancing down, I admired the light reflecting off my Enzo peep-toe pumps. The bronze leather-and-suede wedgies were really comfortable, and I’d picked them up off the clearance table at Dillard’s a few weekends earlier. My Carolina blue dupioni jacket and complementary print skirt with handkerchief hem—also outlet bargains—didn’t offer much in the way of warmth.
    Several cars pulled into the lot. Mostly men in them, mostly with necks the size of tree trunks. Almost to a one, they wore shorts and wife-beater T-shirts and carried huge nylon bags, big enough to stuff a dead body in. Shivering, I ignored them all, despite the appreciative glances sent my way. I wasn’t there to make friends. In fact, if Jane didn’t get her toned fanny out here soon, I’d have to consider crossing her off my friend list. Right after she fixed my accounting error.
    “Hey,” Jane greeted me energetically as she came
    around the corner. “Sorry. Lost track of time on the ellip-tical machine.”
    So why couldn’t I just hate her and be done with it?
    Probably because I, being a fabulous friend, knew how much time she put into her gorgeous self. By the time she was done, the effort appeared effortless. Jane was beautifully dressed in a very short black skirt and very tight black blouse. A jeweled silver and turquoise drop belt cinched her slender hips, swaying with each deliberate step she took. Her steps had to be deliberate. The heels on her leather ankle boots were at least four inches high. A few strands of her chocolate brown hair was tousled like always, and like always, it suited her sex-kittenish look.
    I rattled my empty travel mug at her. “Coffee. I need coffee.”
    Jane smiled. “When do you not need coffee? Let me get my purse out of my trunk, then we’ll walk over to Bailey’s and get your fix. You’re a coffee junkie.”
    Her rev-up-and-go thing is exercise, while mine is Mocha Java. After all these years of friendship, we still make the same teasing jabs. I glanced at her hair. “For someone who worked out for the last hour, you don’t look all skanky and sweaty. What do you really do in there?
    Get a facial?”
    “Ha, ha.” She smacked her thin thigh, which, of course, didn’t dare jiggle. “This takes work.”
    Jane’s naturally wavy hair was twisted into a loose ponytail. On anyone else, it would have looked like I’m-going-to-the-grocery-store-and-can’t-be-bothered. But on her, it looks hot in a casual kind of way.
    “You win. If I were to do that I could start an earth-quake.”
    Laughing, Jane said, “Join me. I can get you a fifty-percent-off membership.” She’s not much taller than I am, maybe an inch or two, but her FM heels allowed her to tower over me.
    “Never! God, last night didn’t go well,” I told her abruptly, going on to recap my less-than-perfect reunion with Patrick.
    “At least you got some good sex out of it, right?”
    I shrugged. We were getting close enough to the coffee shop for the scent to quicken my pace. The smell of freshly brewed coffee was like a tractor beam, especially if I’m vertical before the sun has fully breached the horizon.
    Jane got a fat-free, sugar-free, fun-free coffee while I opted for the deluxe, highest-possible-calorie-count latte with whipped cream. We took a table near the back, knowing the place would start to fill up as the morning progressed.
    A good friend helps you with an estate accounting. A great friend simply does it for you. Jane was a great friend.
    What had taken me literally days and worn a small callus on my thumb without

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