Dee was joking, I knew she was joking, but fuck, I was ready and willing to show her ‘what all the fuss is about’. I wondered if anyone would notice if I dragged her under the table. Or she still had that dress on, I could just ease her onto my lap. I couldn’t think to respond, my blood was pounding so hard I could barely hear Adrian’s voice then Ben’s voice cut through.

“Yeah right, look at Jay’s face.”

My eyes met Dee’s and she laughed, said “It’s okay Jay, everyone knows it’s a joke.” She patted my leg, her hand like a brand on my flesh and I clamped mine over hers, holding it in place. Was there something in her eyes, a flash of heat, or was I projecting what I wanted to see?

“They’re like sister and brother, right?” Ben said with a nervous laugh and Dee looked away and tugged on her hand.

I held tight as I looked over at Ben and smiled at the look of shock on his face.

“No Benny,” Mitch said saving me from comment. “They’re not.”

“We’re just friends,” Dee said as she tugged at her hand again. “Right Jay.”

Everyone was staring at me, Adrian and Mitch were smirking the asses, Ben looked confused still, Ben’s girl looked bored, Mitch’s girl was licking her lips, Tam’s eyes were wide, like she was just seeing something. Fuck the lot of them, Dee’s reaction was the only one I cared about. She had a little smirk, one eyebrow quirked up as she waited for me to agree with her.

Under the table I drew her hand a little higher up my leg, watched her eyes go wide. “Sure thing baby, just very good friends.” Was it wishful thinking or was there something there between us?

“Hope you folks are hungry!” The cheerful voice of our server broke the moment and I let Dee’s hand go but I held her gaze as our friends made appreciative comments about the food. I let her see the heat, I dropped my eyes to her mouth, then dragged them back up to hers hoping…

She rolled her eyes, smiled, and lifted her hand to pat my cheek twice gently. “Stop playing, our food’s getting cold.”

***

I sucked in a shaky breath as I picked up my fork and knife, tried to focus on my food. I couldn’t stop thinking about the feel of Jay’s thigh under my hand, the look in his eyes. How could one look, one touch, leave me more turned on than extended foreplay with any other man? It was Jay, that was why.

“I need to pee, come with,” Tam whispered to me so we excused ourselves and wound our way through the restaurant, the other girls, Billie and Tessa right behind us. We took care of business and make up touch ups and while I was blotting my lips Billie started her interrogation.

“So how long have you known the boys?” she asked Tam.

“Only a few months.” Tam waved a hand dismissively. “But they’re great guys.”

“And you and Adrian are…”

“Yes, we are,” Tam said with a smile but her eyes said ‘back off he’s mine.’ “Dee’s known them for years,” she added and Billie’s eyes locked onto me.

“Since high school,” I said, “They’re great guys, like Tam said.”

“And you and Jay are…”

“Friends,” I said though the word tasted like ash in my mouth.

“I don’t know Dee, the way he looked at you before, are you sure?” Tam looked at me seriously.

“He was just teasing, I’m not his type,” I said lightly.

“I have to agree with Tam,” Tessa spoke up. “The way he looked at you.” She fanned her face. “It got me hot from across the table.”

“If you don’t want him, I’ll take him,” Billie said quickly with a grin.

“Me too,” Tessa said with a laugh and I just smiled and shook my head.

“You all are crazy. Besides, he’s just broken up with his girlfriend, like last night.” At the reminder guilt flooded through me.

“Oh. I didn’t realise it was that recent.” Billie’s grin faded.

Slightly subdued we went back to our table where the men were busy eating. As we finished our meals Ben started talking about a club he and Tessa were going to check out and Mitch and Billie were going along too. I couldn’t think of anything worse. Not only was I tired from our day of shopping, the idea of watching Jay flirt and dance with other women? No thanks.

“I think I’m going to order dessert then head home,” I declined.

“Us too,” Adrian spoke for him and Tam. “We can get Dee home if you want to go Jay?”

“I can get myself home thanks,” I said with a glare at Adrian.

“Dessert sounds good.” Under the table Jay patted my knee reassuringly, he knew what a hot button my independence was.

“It better be good,” I muttered. I needed something to lift my mood. Thoughts of Jay and his break-up, and Jay moving on had left me feeling melancholy. His teasing heated look and the way he’d slid my hand up his thigh had left me longing for more. I needed chocolate, stat.

***

Ben and Mitch threw down some money and left with promises to catch up soon. Adrian and Tam had their heads together over a menu and Dee was staring at hers too, chewing on her lower lip. The tease. I could do that for her. Bite it, lick it, kiss it, suck it.

When the ladies had gone to the bathroom the boys had pounced.

“So you’re finally making your move on Dee,” Mitch said with a smirk.

“Wait, what?” Ben shook his head. “This is … no.”

“Yeah.” Adrian weighed in. “We’re not all as oblivious as Ben.” Had I been that obvious?

“I’m not oblivious,” Ben protested.

“No, you’re not. You just think we all see Dee the way you do.” Mitch patted his shoulder consolingly.

“He hides it well,” Adrian added.

“Well fuck,” I breathed and rubbed a hand over my face.

“Don’t worry Jay.” Adrian’s hand clamped onto my shoulder and squeezed. Hard. “Just don’t hurt her.”

“Here they come,” Ben said, looking up. “Good luck man,” he added and with that I had their approval.

Dee was quiet when they came back, tired I guess from our late night and day of shopping so I wasn’t surprised when she didn’t want to go clubbing. Suited me just fine.

“What looks good Dee?” I leaned into her space, draped my hand along the back of her chair.

“Hmmm. I’m torn between the brownie and the churros,” she sighed and kept staring at the pages.

“Get both, we’ll share.” I plucked the menu from her hands and patted her knee again, the material of her dress silky and smooth under my hand.

She looked at me with a frown. “You sure you don’t want to go out? Start on getting over Roxie?”

“What?” It was my turn to frown, distracted as I was by the feel of Dee’s leg.

“You know, like Billie said, get over her by getting under someone new.”

“What?” I shook my head then a horrible thought occurred to me. “Why? Do you need to get over Mark?”

“No, no.” She smiled. “Mark and I were never like that.”

“This last time, Roxie and I weren’t either,” I admitted and it felt like a weight was lifted. “We’d already committed to some social things, she didn’t want people feeling sorry for her so close to Christmas. It was more for convenience than anything else.”

“Really?: She looked surprised. Good to know we’d fooled everyone. “So last night? I need a friend, what was that about?”

“I wanted to celebrate,” I said sheepishly. “Some of the parties were horrible.”

“Jay!” She gave me a gentle shove. “I thought you were heartbroken.”

“Oops,” I said with a grin and she laughed, relief flooding her face.

“What are you two laughing about?” Tam leaned forward to look at us.

“Just Dee doubling down on dessert,” I teased and got a gentle elbow in the side from her.

“Oh, churros for sure.” Tam smiled. “That’s not what we were talking about though.” She flicked a nervous glance at Adrian who gave her an encouraging nod. “Well the thing is, I feel really exposed.”

She flushed and Adrian took up the conversation. “So I had the idea that we could tell Tam our secret dirty sexual fantasy. Sort of even the field.”

“Oh.” Dee placed her hand over Tam’s on top of the table, gave it a squeeze. “Okay, well, um, sure, I guess we could do that.” Dee didn’t sound at all sure but I loved the idea. Hearing Dee’s sexual fantasy? Sign me up!

“Hmmm, I might need a little thinking time,” I said, pasting a serious look on my face.

“Always the joker.” Dee shook her head but I noticed her little sigh of relief. What was she hiding?

We ordered coffee and dessert and I waited until we’d made a decent dent in the food before I cleared my throat.

“Okay, I’ve thought about it.” I paused to take a mouthful of coffee. “I’m ready to share.”

To be continued …

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