T his bar is packed . I sip my beer and scan the crowd to get a feel for the bar’s vibe. My brother should pay me overtime for the recon work.
“So when are your friends showing up?” my buddy Dave asks as he settles onto the barstool against the wall. We got here early enough to snag the corner of the room with the pool table and a small table for resting our drinks and snacks. Dave shoves a handful of chips in his mouth and chews. Despite being a stereotypical tall, dark, and handsome man, with angled facial features and a muscled body, he’s not one to put on any airs. Dave’s as casual as they come.
I glance at my watch. “Should be anytime now.” There’s a vibe of anticipation that’s been in my gut all day. I’m anxious. I know Lauren’s been avoiding talking to me, so I’m hoping having some chill-out time tonight will ease her nerves.
Has she been thinking about what happened two nights ago as much as I have? If I close my eyes and sink back into that moment, I can still taste her. I make myself push that mental image out of my head. I can’t sport wood all night. Gotta play it cool, take my time.
It’s been hard as hell to not pursue her after having my mind blown by her sexual reception to me, but I know my friend. She needs her space, and I don’t want to push her away. So I’ve backed off.
Tonight should give me guidance on how to proceed. To suss out how she feels now that she’s had time to reflect. But even more importantly, just to be around her, soaking in the warmth of her smile.
A few more minutes pass before I see Lauren and her sister, Christina, trailed by a blond wearing a super-tight black dress, work their way through the crowd toward us. My heart hammers in response to Lauren’s approach. I barely notice the other two women, because my eyes are locked on her.
All these years, and she still has the power to blow me away, to steal my breath. She’s wearing a pair of faded jeans that are molded to her legs. Her off-shoulder blood-red shirt cups her breasts, hugs her waist. Her glorious red hair is down around her shoulders, free, begging for me to bury my fingers in their depths.
Her eye makeup is smoky and makes her look beyond sexy. Fuck, I want to suck that lower lip into my mouth, touch her pussy again… Shit, there goes my cock. This might be harder than I thought.
When she reaches us, I dart my hand out to grab hers and tug her into my arms for a hug. My excitement at having her near means it takes a moment for me to realize she’s a bit too stiff in my arms.
I pull away and eye her. “Hey, kitten. How was your day? Have fun shopping?”
She gives me a smile that doesn’t quite reach her eyes. My heart hammers harder. “Fine, thanks.”
“Cole!” Christina says with a squeaky laugh. She dives into my arms, and I chuckle and hug her. “I’m so glad you’re home.”
Lauren’s fake smile wavers and she turns away from us, scouring the crowd.
The blond waits until Christina extracts herself from me before reaching a hand out and giving me a handshake. “Patricia. Glad to meet you. Christina offered to let me crash the party, since my plans for tonight fell through—hope that’s okay.” Her eyes are smoky too, and her red lips are pursed in perfect flirtiness. She looks over at Dave, and I can practically see the shift in her body. She extracts her hand from mine and steps toward him. “And you are…”
Dave’s helpless to resist a beautiful blond. The charm comes on full force, and he flashes her a toothy grin. “I’m Dave.” His thumb strokes her flesh as he holds her hands for about an hour too long. “Can I buy you a drink?”
And there it is. I shake my head and give a good-natured laugh. Dave’s gonna have a great night, I can tell.
Lauren and Christina are whispering to each other, and the latter’s eyes drift to me. There’s a strange tension between them, something about their body language making me uneasy. Did Lauren tell
Louis - Hopalong 03 L'amour