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Kissing My Best Friend
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Everyone leaves. That’s the hard and fast rule I’ve built my life around
I’m not averse to a long-term relationship, I just haven’t found the right girl. Yet.
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“That guy is totally checking you out.” Jase Callahan, also known as one of my best friends, took the chair beside me and nodded towards the blond lawyer who worked with Walker, sitting at the bar. “He looked over here three times already.” His lips twitched in amusement until finally that dimpled smile appeared.
I rolled my eyes at his attempt at matchmaking, a new hobby for the whole town it turns out. “Maybe he’s checking you out. Ever think of that? Some people actually find you attractive.” Jase was, objectively, attractive. His flop of thick black waves gave the rugged boy edges of his jaws and cheekbones a boyish appeal. Mossy green eyes took his looks from boy next door to magazine cover, or maybe Times Square billboard would be better. Either way Jase was attractive and it was just as, okay more likely that the hot lawyer was checking him out, not me.
He shrugged his broad shoulders and took a sip of his beer. “He could be because I am a masterpiece after all, but despite your scowl you’ve got his attention.”
No offense to the hot lawyer but Black Thumb on trivia night didn’t really leave a lot of options. Most of the women here were spoken for or not interested in a fling and the guys were, well guys like Jase who we’d grown up with our entire lives. To say dating options in a small town like Tulip, Texas would be a massive understatement. “It’s not like he’s got a lot of options, besides he’s looking for a wife and I ain’t interested in being anyone’s wife.” I didn’t know what the lawyer was looking for but he looked like the kind of guy who wanted a pretty, docile wife and two polite children and that held no appeal. People in my life had a bad habit of leaving and I preferred to be the one doing the leaving these days.
“Why not?” Jase’s thick black brows dipped in genuine confusion, another reason he was a true friend, he didn’t let my snarl bother him. Much. “You’d make a great wife.”
“You don’t believe that.” I didn’t believe it. I couldn’t get my own damn mama, Dorothy Jean, to stick around. My daddy, BoJack, stuck around but he was more stuck to the bourbon than to me until all that was left was the bottle. Mama was an only child who lost her parents long before I was born and Daddy’s Daddy, Beauregard, died about two years after he did. Leaving me alone. Moderately wealthy and completely alone.
“I do believe it. You’re a good cook, nice to look at and sometimes you even have good manners.” Those damn mossy eyes lit with amusement and I refused to take the bait.
“That’s what I love about you, Jase. You don’t see too well.”
His laugh drew the stares of almost everyone inside Black Thumb waiting for trivia night to officially begin. It had become a weekly event with genuine team rivalries and everything, which no doubt thrilled Nina, the brains behind this new Tulip staple. Jase snatched my beer and drank down half. “Thanks.”
“Hey, I don’t know where your mouth has been!” I could guess though, if I had to. But sweet lord I didn’t want to.
He leaned forward, eyes shining with mischief. “Want to know?”
“Ugh, no thanks, I left my antibacterial gel at home.” I managed a shudder that only make him laugh louder and harder before he took another sip of my beer. The brown liquid slid down his throat and I noticed more than a few pairs of eyes on him, but Jase, for all his swagger and bravado, rarely notices the attention.
“I’ll buy you another.” He winked and sat up straight, making me turn just as Betty Kemp and Eddy Henderson came to a stop in front of us.
“Hello, you two.” Betty smiled, damn near glowed really, probably because she now had Penny’s little boy to spoil, officially since she married Betty’s son, Ry.
“Hey Betty. Eddy. You girls here for trivia night?”
Eddy nodded, her silver curls flying in all directions. “You betcha, so get ready to lose little girl.”
“Bring it, old lady.” Eddy was one of my favorite people in town, never once looking at me with pity. And the old girl gave as good as she got.
The gleam in her brown eyes changed, transformed to something more mischievous and I felt goosebumps prickle my skin. “You two make such a lovely couple. I always knew there was something goin’ on but you two hid it well.”
I opened my mouth to tell her just how wrong she was but shock had stolen the damn words right out of my mouth. All that came out was a few stammers and parts of words. “No.” Succinct but not as explanatory as I was hoping for.