This Isn't You, Baby(63)

By: K Webster

I grumble and climb out after her. Once I reach her, I grab her by her elbow. “Just stop. I’m sorry, okay? I’m just being a dick because the girl I love is fucking married, has her husband’s name tattooed on her wrist, and is on a dream honeymoon on some Caribbean Island.”

Vee’s hardened gaze falls. “I’m sorry too.”

Pulling her to me, I hug my friend. She rests her cheek on my chest, her arms wrapped tightly around me.

“Maybe,” she says, lifting her head to look up at me. Her jade-colored orbs almost glow with mischief. “Maybe, we should hook up. We’re both desperate for people we can’t have.”

The very thought of betraying my brother has me sick to my stomach. “Ha…ha. Calder would string me up by my nuts.” I tap her on her forehead. “Get that dumb thought out of your head right now.”

She scoffs and rolls her eyes. “Fine. But you know you’d have a good time with this body. Am I right?”

This girl is trouble. “Don’t start, mermaid girl. Wrong brother. If you’re going to try and get over Oscar, don’t use me for it. I’m sure Calder would love to have a good time with ‘this body.’” I mock her with her own words.

Her eyes lose their luster. “This would be a whole lot easier if Oscar would just see me, dammit.”

I take her face in my hands so I can look into her glistening eyes. “Be yourself, Vee. Every time you’re around Oscar, you dress like a skank.”

She growls and tries to move from my grip, but I hold her still.

“You’re too willing. Too available for him. Make him work for it. If he thinks he can’t have you, he’ll want you. I saw several times when you were chatting with Calder the way Oscar would look pissed about it. He may not want you, but he doesn’t want anyone else to have you either. Us guys, sometimes we need big hints,” I tell her and press a kiss to her forehead before releasing her.

She steps away and folds her arms over her ample chest while she thoughtfully chews at her bottom lip. “He looked jealous, you think?” The hope in her eyes saddens me. Oscar is a dick. He’s got this hot chick practically humping his leg and he blows her off until my brother is in the room. Then, and only then, does he show any interest besides platonic friendship.

“You’ve been around him since you were a baby. To him, he sees you as something stable. That when he finally finishes being a manwhore, you’ll still be there for him if he ever decides to settle. Are you willing to wait until then?” I ask, rubbing the back of my neck where tension from the past few weeks seems to have permanently settled.

“I want him to shit or get off the pot,” she huffs.

A couple of guys exit the management building and leer at Vee. The bigger guy murmurs something to another one before he whistles appreciatively.

“Fuck off,” I holler and reach for her wrist. “Come on. You’re not staying here.”

“But we haven’t even looked at the apartment yet!”

Ignoring her arguing, I drag her back to the truck and push her inside. Once I’m in and the air conditioning is blasting us, I regard my pouting friend with a frown. “You’ll get your ass taken advantage of around here.”

“Maybe that would make Oscar jealous,” she snaps.

I reach out and pat her hand that rests on her thigh. “Don’t do anything stupid, woman.”

She groans. “It’s a good idea in theory.”

“Except then you’ll have some dumbass guy wanting to get in your pants while you try and bait Oscar. He’s not just going to go away after. You’ll have more problems than you bargained for.”

“Like Calder…” she trails off.

I nod, feeling bad for my brother. “You just need to make Oscar see what he’s missing.”

“Will you help me?”

Seems like a fucking joyous task but it’s not like I have anything better to do. “I’ll do my best.”

She squeezes my hand and widens her expressive green eyes at me. “Thank you, Ren. You’re a good friend.”

“I’m not making any promises,” I tell her.

Her smile is bright. “That’s okay. All we can do is try, boy.”

Boy, my ass.

I could bench press her scrawny butt.

“Can you do something for me too? Can you get Brie to move back here? I know she’ll be with that fucker but at least I’ll know she’s safe. Can you do that?”

“I’ll try,” she says.

“Then I’ll try too.”

She holds her hand out to mine and I give it a shake.

I sure hope Vee has the ability to get her friend to come back.