“Is she a call-girl?”
He scowls. “No, I don’t pay for sex, Rook.”
“Hmmmm. I’m not sure what to think.”
“I told you, I do not give a fuck about people. I wasn’t kidding. I use them, they use me. Everyone is happy.”
“But you’re not using me.”
“Of course I am. You’re filling the friend role for now.”
I look up at him and he winks.
“I’m not sure if you’re serious.”
“I am serious.”
My thoughts are racing as we continue to spin slowly.
“But just so we’re clear, I do like you and I’m oddly drawn to what you do with your life. I’m not sure why, but I feel like I need to participate in it. So, I’m sorry, but you’re stuck with me.”
I shake my head as Ronin comes back. “OK, I can see him morphing into psycho Ford in real time, so that’s enough.”
Ford drops my hand and backs off. “I have a present for you tonight, Rook. But I have another one for you as well. I’ll give it to you tomorrow at Spencer’s place.”
And then he just walks away.
I look over at Ronin and he just sighs. “I give up. I can’t predict him, I can’t control him, and I can’t compete with him. He’s your weirdo friend now, Rook. I wash my hands.”
I lean up and kiss Ronin’s soft lips. He responds with his twisty tongue and I melt a little. He does this to me every time. “Ford is weird. He says he doesn’t even know that woman’s name.”
“Well, that I believe. I’m not sure how he even gets them to participate in his—” Ronin stops before he completes the sentence. “Never mind, I’m not sure I want to go there.” And then he literally shakes his head and grabs me by the waist and pulls me close again. “I had the caterers prepare the perfect dinner for us tonight. Guess what it is?”
“Snails and goose liver?”
He laughs. “You peeked!”
I lean up and kiss him one more time because his lips are like the siren’s song, they call to me, they blind me to everything around me. “I don’t care what you ordered me tonight, I’ll eat it because you want me to have it.”
“Ah, that’s a good little Gidget.” And then I squeal as he spanks my ass, drawing the attention of all the partygoers.
My cheeks go hot and I turn back to Ronin. “I will have to punish you for that later, Larue.”
The terrace is sprinkled with round tables and real white linen tablecloths set with so many utensils I get a little overwhelmed. But Ronin leans in to my ear as he slides my chair in and whispers, “You can slurp your soup with the butter knife if you want, Rook. No one gives a shit, so stop thinking about it.”
Veronica is two chairs down on my left and her boisterous laugh fills the night air. “Too true, Ronin. No one here gives a fuck what fork you use, Rook!” She leans past Spencer who is next to me, picks up my champagne glass, clinks it with her own, and then thrusts it towards me so I’m compelled to take it. “Cheers, sweetie. Since you’re not trying to steal Spencer from me, and I did take a bullet for you a few weeks ago”—everyone groans at her over-exaggeration—“I think we’ll be friends.”
And even though Veronica scares me a little with her perpetual smoking—which isn’t even real, she only smokes e-cigs—and her over-the-top self-confidence, I feel warm inside. I like Elise and Josie, but they have been besties for a long time so there’s not much room for a new girl who’s a lot younger than them. I’d like to have my own package deal, so maybe Veronica and I can be like that. We’re closer in age, she’s twenty-two and I’m twenty now. Plus, she lives up in FoCo, and I’ll be close by at Spencer’s place. I’m sure she’ll be around a lot, so making her my new BFF is probably a smart idea.
Our table has Ronin and me, Veronica and Spencer, and Ford and no-name. We’re going boy-girl tonight, so I’m in between Spencer and Ronin. Ford’s woman is on Ronin’s
Lisa Rusczyk, Mikie Hazard