“And we decided that we much preferred lesbian sex when it didn’t involve a man,” Lila says.
“Makes sense,” Asher says thoughtfully, and I hear a noise beside me. It’s Eli.
Laughing his ass off.
“Do you find threesomes funny?” I ask him.
“They can be,” he says, and wipes his eyes. “But I’m still laughing at your name. Mary Katherine? Really?”
“What’s wrong with my name?”
“It is kind of funny,” Lila says.
“Is that why Dec calls you Superstar?” Eli asks. “Because of Mary Katherine Gallagher on SNL?”
“Yes.” He’s totally killing my buzz.
“Fuck, that’s funny,” Eli says.
“That part is super funny,” Lila agrees.
“Okay, it’s kind of funny,” I say. My buzz is dying, it’s getting late, and now all I can think about is going to bed. “Will you please take me home?”
“Of course, cher.” Eli kisses my cheek and stands.
“Coming?” I ask Lila, who laughs at something Asher said that I couldn’t hear.
“I’m gonna have Asher take me home,” she says and smiles.
“Atta girl,” I say and high five her. I fish the key to my loft out of my small purse and hand it to her. “I brought the extra key for you. See you tomorrow.”
Then I point at Asher and make my serious face. “And, listen up, buddy. If you hurt her, I don’t care if you really are a cop, I’ll make your life hell. Okay?”
“Okay.” He nods sincerely, and I back away.
Eli leads me outside into the fresh, not-so-fresh, Bourbon Street air.
“Did you bring your car?” I ask. “’Cause it’s not far. We can walk.”
“We will drive, cher.”
He leads me to the car, gets me settled the way he always does, which always makes me feel special, then climbs in the other side.
“I’m not special,” I sigh, surprised when the words actually come out instead of stay in my head where they belong.
“What are you talking about?”
“Nothing.” I shake my head, sober enough to know that I do not want to repeat that. “Are you really not interested in the threesome story?”
“Oh, I’m interested. I’m a man, Kate.”
“Yes, you are.”
“Okay, tell me.”
“It was fun,” I begin and smile at him. How long should I let this story go? “I mean, it’s hard to say no to any of you Boudreaux brothers, and in college, Declan was hot. Look at him now, he’s still hot, but back then, holy crap.”
“Stop.” He brakes in front of our building and turns to face me in the seat. “Are you telling me that you and Lila fucked my brother?”
“Because, if you are, you’re also telling me that you lied to me when you told me that you’d never been with Declan.”
I frown. “Eli, it was a joke. We never did a threesome. We never even had lesbian sex. We kissed once, when we were drunk. I think Declan saw that, I’m not sure.”
He shakes his head and pushes out of the car, and I follow.
“Seriously, Eli. I won’t curse because of the Catholic guilt. Do you honestly think I’d have a threesome?”
He laughs and meets me on the sidewalk.
“That’s not the part that made you mad,” I realize. “It was the who.”
“Why does the thought of me being intimate with Declan make you so mad?” I ask softly and cup his face.
“It’s not rational,” he says and kisses my forehead. “But it’s probably because he’s my brother, and I’ve laid a claim on you, and the thought of him seeing your body, being inside you, loving you, is completely out of the question.”
“Well, it was a joke.”
He takes my hand and leads me inside. I’m still a bit wobbly on my feet, so he wraps his arm around my waist.
“Now.” He helps me out of my shoes. “Let’s talk about Cindy.”
“Oh.” I make the I just ate something disgusting face and sag my shoulders. “I don’t want to.”
“Can’t we just have sex?” I ask and tug his white T-shirt out of his jeans, then glide my hands over his hard abdomen. “I love your stomach.”
“It was one night, Kate.”
“I don’t care.”
“It was a mistake. She’s much younger than me, and Gabby’s friend, but we were drunk, and it just happened.”
“I don’t care, Eli.” But I do. I so do. I walk away from him and take a deep breath. “Okay, I don’t lie. Yes, I care. I hate it.”
I turn back to him, and he’s standing there, his hands in his pockets, watching me.
“Why?” he asks.
“I don’t know. We’ve both been with other people, and we’ll be with others again when this is done.” His jaw ticks at that. “It’s not rational to hate it, but I do. I don’t want to think about you touching her, or anyone else. I don’t want to think about some other bimbo seeing you naked, or touching you, or being intimate with you. Does that make me a crazy jealous fuck buddy? Probably. But that’s the way it is.”
“One,” he says in a low voice as he advances toward me. “You are not now, nor have you ever been, my fuck buddy. That’s disrespectful to both of us, and I won’t have that.”
I frown, but he holds his hand up, stopping any words that might have come out.
“Two, I agree. I know you were no virgin when I met you, but I don’t want to think about your partners. Nor do I want to think about you with anyone after me. Because this is just between you and me, Kate.
“And three,” he whispers as he stops just inches in front of me. I can feel the heat from his body; I can smell his shampoo.
I want him to touch me.
“Three, all I can see, all I can think about, is you. I want you. You don’t just cross my mind once in a while, you live in it.”
My eyes widen as I watch him carefully, completely sober now. He’s still not touching me.
“We said this would only last for as long as you’re here. Only us. No one else, and damn it, Kate, that hasn’t changed for me.”
“Me too,” I whisper. “Eli?”
“I really need you to touch me now.”