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Huh. “Ricardo’s a weird name for a woman.”
Delores rolls her eyes. “Well, yeah, it would be—but Ricardo’s all man. He’s got the body of a Greek god, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his steroid days. And he knows how to use it—especially his hands.”
Some guys would be okay with this situation. Men who are laid-back like Matthew or understanding like Steven. They’d kiss their lady on the cheek and say, “Have a good time, honey.” But—despite my emotional growth these last years—that’s just not how I roll.
So what I say is “Yeah, that’s not f**king happening.”
Kate puts her hand on my leg. “Drew, it’s just a massage.”
“I’m aware of that. Two words—happy ending. Two more words—no way.”
Alexandra tries to be helpful. “Relax, little brother. There’s no reason to be jealous.”
I open my arms wide. “Who’s jealous? I’m not jealous—’cause it’s not f**king happening.” I turn to Kate and explain calmly, “You really think I’m gonna be able to just sit here knowing you’re out there—with your goodies covered only by a thin cotton towel—while Ricardo-frigging-Montalbán has his hands all over you? Making you moan? Screw that. All your moans belong to me—they’re paid in full with that rock on your finger.”
Dee-Dee holds her hand out to Matthew. “I knew he wouldn’t be able to handle it. Pay up.”
He pulls his wallet out and slaps a twenty in her palm. I shake my head in disappointment at him. “You thought I’d be okay with this?”
He shrugs.
My eyes narrow. “I don’t even know you anymore.”
“Ricardo’s awesome, man. His hands are magic. If I was g*y, I would totally enter into a civil union with him.”
From the recliner, Steven joins the discussion. “You let a dude give you a rubdown? Have you considered the possibility that you’re already g*y?”
“Blow me.”
Steven laughs. “See, that’s what I mean. These subliminal messages are tickling my g*ydar.” He holds his finger out, pointing to each guy in the room. “Beep. Beep. Beep . . .” Then he points at Matthew. “Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.”
Billy and Jack crack up, and Steven gives them a high five. Matthew makes the jerk-off sign with his hand. Which doesn’t help his case much.
Kate brings us back on topic. “This is really a problem for you?”
I nod. “Absolutely. It’ll taint my memory of the entire weekend.”
She sighs. And turns toward Delores. “Switch my appointment.”
Dee-Dee looks appalled. “You’re not serious?” She throws her hands up in the air. “And so it begins. You’re not even married yet, and he’s already controlling you—dictating what you can and can’t do.”
I jump to Kate’s defense. “She’s respecting my goddamn feelings. That’s how a mature, healthy relationship works. You should try it sometime.”
“I’m extremely considerate of Matthew’s feelings!”
Kate jumps in. “Dee, we’re here to have fun, not torture my fiancé.”
Dee-Dee pouts. “But torturing him is my idea of fun. Party pooper.” Still, she grabs the phone and calls the spa.
Kate nestles into my side, resting her head on my shoulder. I pull her closer and kiss the top her head. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.”
I grin. “When you get back from your primping, I want some of that Kate time you owe me.”
She lifts her head and whispers, “Does this, by chance, involve finishing what we started on the plane?”
I nod slowly. “It does—and I guarantee it will be a spectacular finish.”
“It always is.” She leans forward, kissing me playfully, her tongue grazing and teasing.
When she pulls back, I lick my bottom lip, savoring the taste of her. “Bet your ass it is.”
Warren interrupts our flirtatious moment. “So, before we split up, does anybody wanna like . . . get high?”
I’m not a big fan of drugs, even the recreational kind. With alcohol, you can pace yourself—have a drink or two, then slow down and enjoy the buzz. Or you can go full throttle and down five quick shots. In either case, there’s control over how shitfaced you want to be.
But drugs are like a train without a conductor. Once you’re on, you’re going for a ride—no slowing down, no getting off if you change your mind. Dee-Dee doesn’t share my sentiments. No surprise there.
She sits next to her cousin on arm of the couch. “Thank God—I thought you’d never ask.”
Warren reaches into his pocket and pulls out a clear baggie that contains a few prerolled joints, some loose marijuana, and a small, brightly colored bowl pipe.
Erin asks, “Where’d you get that from?”
“I brought it from New York.” His brow furrows as he clarifies, “Well, technically, I brought it from California to New York, and then here. It’s good shit—high-level medical grade. The janitor at my music studio has glaucoma.”
“But how did you get it past airport security?” my sister questions.
Warren explains proudly, “I keep it in my boxer briefs. That way, if I get picked for one of those scanner things, it just looks like the downstairs dreadlocks need a trim.”