Sean leaned out from the bathroom, buck naked.
“Felicity will be here any minute. She doesn’t want to see your naked ass.”
He waved me off. “She’s not interested in any of this.”
“That doesn’t mean she wants it waving in her face. Hell, I don’t want it waving in my face either.”
“Ha. You should be so lucky.”
I flipped him off. “Vodka?”
“Of course I got the fucking vodka. Gin too.”
“Good.” I had a feeling there would be a lot of drinking tonight. I hadn’t seen Felicity since she’d returned from her honeymoon, and I was nervous as fuck. She’d said she was fine with me dating her new father-in-law. (If something that stripped me raw and made me long for Graham like he was part of me could be called dating.) But now that Felicity was back to reality, would she feel the same way? My feelings hadn’t changed at all, but why would anyone not want a man like Graham who exuded the perfect combination of sweet and hot-as-fuck?
I’d Skyped with Graham several times since the weekend of the wedding, and we’d texted every day—many, many times every day. He still seemed as… obsessed? enthralled? desperate? as I was, and he was coming back in three days. I couldn’t wait. I’d jerked off at least twice a day remembering everything we’d done and fantasizing about what was still to come, like maybe fisting? Yikes! But also, oh God, that’s hot.
I unloaded my grocery bags as quickly as I could. I’d gotten what I needed to put together a charcuterie and cheese board, and Felicity was bringing a dessert of some sort. I really hoped it was her mom’s lemon cake, but I figured it would more likely be something she picked up on her way here.
I glanced at the clock. Shit. Fifteen minutes. I hoped she’d be late. I’d missed her like crazy, but I wasn’t sure I was ready to see her yet. Or ever. She was no doubt going to ask questions I didn’t want to answer, and Sean would just make it worse. He had no filter. Maybe I should send him away.
He stepped out of his room wearing nothing but tiny briefs.
“What the fuck? You’ve had plenty of time to get dressed.”
“I was busy.”
“You’re supposed to be helping me set up.”
“I know, but somebody sent me this link and—”
“Tell me you were not jerking off right after you showered.”
“Dear God, Sean. Get yourself together. You’re twenty-five, not fifteen.”
“A man is never too old for self-pleasure.”
“Maybe if you’re that horny you should just go out tonight.” Sean used to go trolling clubs every weekend, but lately he’d been more likely to lie on the couch, complaining about not having a man, than out there, hooking up.
“No fucking way am I missing the Felicity reunion, not when you fucked her new father-in-law at the wedding.”
“Remind me why we’re friends.”
He blew me a kiss. “Because you love me.”
“Go get dressed, and stop making it sound like I jumped him during the ceremony.”
He cackled as he shut the door to his room. I no longer cared if I got the cheese and meat unwrapped before Felicity arrived. I needed alcohol. I found the vodka in the freezer, poured a healthy amount into a glass, added a little cranberry juice and gulped some down, making myself cough. I should’ve come home earlier, so I would’ve had time for several of these before confronting Felicity. I really needed to be buzzed to deal with this night.
But before I’d even finished my first drink, Felicity knocked on the door. “Dammit, she’s never early except when I don’t want her to be.”
Sean snorted. He’d finally dressed and was now placing olives in a dish, though at the rate he was eating them, there wouldn’t be many left for me and Felicity.
“Of course she’s early. She’s dying to find out what’s up with you and Daddy.”
“Ugh. Stop calling him that.”
I gave him my best death glare. “Sean, I’m seriously warning you.”
“Fine. I’ll behave… Maybe.”
“I’m sorry. But you have to admit—”
“Yes, I know it’s hilarious, because he’s Carter’s dad and—”
The doorbell rang again. “For fuck’s sake, let me in. I’m melting out here.”
“No need to make sure it’s her,” Sean said, smirking at me.
I opened the door, and as soon as I saw Felicity, I realized how very much I’d missed her. I pulled her to me, and we hugged until she pushed me back into the apartment. “I’ve got to get out of this heat.”
We were having a record-breaking June, and it was miserable out there. “Come on in,” I said as I took a bag from her.
“I got those petit fours you love from Sugar Fetish. Mama says she’ll make you a lemon cake if you come to dinner on Sunday.”
“Dinner?” Dawn’s lemon cake was the best thing ever, but I wasn’t sure it was worth being interrogated over dinner.
Felicity rolled her eyes. “You know, a meal in the evening. You sit down and eat food.”
“But Graham will be here.”
“Mama wants you to bring him.”
I sighed. “And I suppose you and Carter will be there.”
She nodded seriously, playing her part well. If I hadn’t known her like I did, I might not have noticed how hard she was trying not to smile.
“We are so not ready for this.”
“Yes, you are. Carter and I are fine with you guys being together, so there’s no reason for it to be a problem.”
“No reason. Felicity, do you hear yourself?”
She frowned, but I could tell she was still acting. “Are you ashamed to be with someone his age?”
“Felicity, you cannot be serious.”
She cracked up then. “The look on your face.”
“You know this is fucking awkward.”
“Yeah, for all of us, but you know how Mom is. She wants to get to know him better.”
I also knew that Dawn thought Graham was way hot. “Is she trying to encroach on my territory?”
Felicity laughed. “Of course not. I thought he was all about cock anyway.”
I grinned. “He really is.”
“Ok. That’s… no.”
“Trust me,” Sean said. “He’s seriously into cock and ass and all kinds of kinky shit.”
Felicity put her hands over her ears. “La, la, la.”
“We’ll stop. Or at least I will.” I tugged on one of her arms. “No more sex talk, but I did kinda need to talk about what the fuck I’m doing.”
“Falling for a man in forty-eight hours?”
I wanted to deny it, but she was absolutely right.
“Damn right he did,” Sean said. “And he’s been pining for him ever since. God, the pining. You’re so lucky you’ve missed it.”
I glared at Sean. “Will you kindly shut the fuck up?”
Sean stuck his tongue out as he grabbed yet another olive from the platter. “Are we going to eat this stuff, or is it just supposed to look pretty?”
I rolled my eyes. “Come on.”
Felicity followed me to the bar. I poured her a drink, and we stood around the counter eating right from the platter and cutting board. Felicity told us all about the honeymoon, insisting we must all go to Trinidad one day.
Then, because I was still nervous talking about Graham, I let Sean tell all about his angst with his current job and how he might go back to school for something else, but he wasn’t sure what.
Felicity seemed as unenthusiastic about this idea as I was. “Sean, you hate being in school, and you changed majors like three times.”
He huffed. “I don’t see why I should have to keep doing something I hate, just because I used to think I’d like it.”
“How about a different job in your field?” she asked. “There are lots of different types of jobs for technical writers.”
“Ugh. It’s all so boring.”
I didn’t know what he thought it was going to be like, but I kept silent.
“Enough of your indecision,” Felicity said. “I want to know what the fuck is going on with Avery.”
“Well, last night I caught him—”
“Sean! Don’t you dare,” I screeched.
Felicity rolled her eyes. “Out with it, Avery. You’re in love with him, but you’ve known him less than two weeks, so you’re freaking out. What else?”
“Damn it. How do you do that?”
“I’m sure I didn’t cover it all.”
I sighed. “Yeah, you kinda did.”
“Come on.” She made a circling motion with her hand. “Out with it.”
I glanced at Sean, and he nodded, having heard my silent plea. “There’s not quite enough drinking going on here for me. I’m going to head out.”
“Thanks,” I mouthed. Sean often pretended to be an asshole, but he’s actually a totally decent guy. He knew I needed time alone with Felicity.
He hugged Felicity and then me, whispering “be honest” before pulling away. Sometimes I forgot how clearly he saw me.
“Talk,” Felicity said as soon as he was gone.
“I’m scared. I… This is too fast and too much, and I’ve fallen so hard when I never meant to.”
She nodded, studying me for a moment before saying, “I think this could be really good for you.”
“Or I could get badly hurt.”
She shook her head. “Don’t push him away because you’re scared. I see you considering it, but you won’t know how this goes unless you try.”
“I don’t have the nerve to anyway. Just thinking about not seeing him again hurts.”
“Wow. Tell me I was never this bad with Carter.”
“You were determined rather than desperate. That’s just who you are.”
“True.” Felicity took a sip of her second gin and tonic. “I always knew when you found someone it would be intense like this. You’re so passionate about what you love.”
“How can I love him already?”
“Because he fits you.”
I poured more vodka into my glass. “And you somehow knew that he would.”
“No. I knew you’d think he was hot as hell and want him to fuck you. I didn’t know he was The One.”
“Why do you think he is now?”
“I see it. On your face and his.”
“Really?” I knew I was in over my head, and I was sure Graham cared about me as more than a casual fuck, but I didn’t think…
“When Carter and I had lunch with him, and I guessed he was the one you’d spent the night with, he was so happy when he talked about you, and so concerned that you would be angry. Every time Carter texts with him, he mentions you.”
“Graham and I talk every day. I thought maybe this—whatever it is—would fade, maybe he’d change his mind about coming back, but he hasn’t, not yet anyway.”
She laid a hand over mine. “Enjoy it, Avery. Don’t hold yourself back; let him see the real you.”
He does. “I think he did from the start.”
“Then maybe he really is The One.”
“So you don’t think I’m crazy?”
“No. I think you might be really lucky, almost as lucky as I am.”
“I honestly thought you would tell me to back off, to not rush into this. You’re always cautious.”
“I’m cautious, but you’re not. As fabulous as I am, I don’t want you to be me.”
I pulled her to me. “I love you.”
She hugged me tight. “I love you too. Now tell me all about what you have planned for this weekend.”
I proceeded to do just that. Well, not all I had planned. There were things, lots of things, that might traumatize her. Or they might not, and she would torture Carter by telling him. She did have a cruel streak, even if she was my best friend.