Saige is safely ensconced at Suzie’s apartment. She and Brodie had a revealing chat on their way there. Now, he’s not talking to her or anyone else. Shortly after she gets there, Ben calls. The conversation doesn’t go well.
“Saige, what the hell is wrong with you? I asked where you’d been. This is not the third degree here.” He sounded wounded.
Saige was tired of the whining quality of his voice. He sounded defeated, sorry for himself. She couldn’t stand it.
“Is there some reason you called?”
“I saw your car at Brodie’s yesterday. Mind explaining?”
“I mind quite a lot, actually. Why do you care?”
“You said you weren’t sleeping with him.”
“I’m not. There are other things you can do at a man’s apartment than sleep, Ben. But I don’t suppose you remember those activities very well.”
“Now you’re just being waspish. What are you PMS-ing?”
“You know that’s one of your least attractive traits. I get irritated with you for spying on me and not only do you pass it off on hormones, you toss it back in my face. No, this isn’t PMS
speaking, it’s me. A. Don’t spy on me. B. Don’t try to blame me and everyone else for your problems. C. Grow the fuck up and D. Don’t call me anymore. Ever!” She hung up on him and purged his number from her phone.
Back in the living room, her friends gave her a mixed variety of non-verbal messages. All of them wanted to know who the call was from, but none of them wanted to ask her.
“That was Ben,” she explained. “I told him not to call me anymore.” She flopped down on the couch between Stan and Brent. “He thinks I’m having a thing with Brodie.”
By the door, Brodie snorted, laughing mirthlessly. “Would that were true,” he mumbled to his knuckles.
“He saw my car over there last night and made a series of wrong assumptions.”
“This is your ex, right?” Brent asked her with a frown. “How much of a problem is he likely to be?”
“Ben? Not much. He’s a pussy,” Stan answered.
“Even wimps can cause trouble,” Trevor countered.
“He’d rather cry about how the world is treating him than do anything about it,” Saige added.
“Is it time for me to go yet?” Brodie asked impatiently.
“Sure, you’ve had time for a quickie,” Brent said after glancing at his watch.
“I don’t do quickies,” Brodie smirked. “I like to take my time and savor the sensual sensations.” His eyes lingered on Saige. “Suzie, you have anymore coffee?”
“Yeah, Brodie. I’ll get you some.”
She poured him a cup of coffee from the insulated carafe on the table. She fixed it just the way he liked it and brought it to him.
“Thanks, Suz. That marriage proposal is still open, you know.”
Suzie winked, tugging his face toward hers. Almost, but not quite kissing him, she smiled. “Yes, I know. Pity I have to turn you down —again.”
He groaned before sipping his coffee. “You’re killing me, Suzie. I just want you to know that.”
“I know, Brodie. You’re always saying I’m evil.”
“In ways that other people aren’t,” he countered.
Saige’s phone rang again. This time it wasn’t Ben, it was Romy. She stepped into Suzie’s bedroom again, shutting the door behind her.
“Hey, beautiful. Having a good time?”
“It would be better if you were here with me. Barring that, it’s oodles of fun sitting around sipping coffee like civilized people. Are you all right?”
“Yeah. It’s been a long day. I’ve been explaining to my boss’ boss my actions over the last couple days. Not fun.”
“Did I get you in trouble?”
“Not really. Well, indirectly. I got myself in a mire when I spoke to you. But I would’ve been there eventually anyway.”
“Because I’d decided to ask you out. I wasn’t going to let someone else snatch you up. I knew you’d been spending time with Brodie and it was eating me alive inside.”
“I’m not that special, Romy.”
“Oh, love, you’ve no idea. I think that innocence of spirit appeals to me the most. You really don’t know why I’m crazy about you, do you?”
She giggled lightly, loving the sound of his voice. “Brodie says I sparkle.”
“That’s too mundane a word. Scintillate, that’s what you do. Like a star. You light up a room with your smile.” He sighed longingly. “God, I miss you. Is everything all right?”