“Of anyone and everyone who looks at you.” Faye grew sober. “Just, be easy with her, okay? Don’t break her heart. It’s already in a million pieces.”
“Don’t worry.” I shrugged. “So is mine.” My eyes locked with Tanner, who was giving me a hard stare. “What about him? Is he jealous and secretly in love with me too?”
Faye stared at Tanner with a look of distaste. “No. He just hates your guts.”
“Because for some reason Liz chose you over him. Can you keep a secret?”
“Probably not, no.”
She smiled. “Oh well, I guess I can’t either because I’m about to tell it to you. The night before Liz and Steven’s wedding, Tanner came stumbling over to Liz’s place. Luckily I answered the door and Liz was sleeping, but he told me that Liz was making a big mistake, that she should’ve been marrying him and not Steven.”
“He’s been in love with her all this time?”
“Love, lust, I don’t know, wanting what you can’t have? Anyway, it’s probably killing him that when she finally came back to town, she didn’t even bat her eyes at him once. He probably had his mind made up that Liz would finally pick him; what a blow to the ballsack when she came back and picked the biggest asshole there was.” She paused and smiled. “No offense.”
I swung her around once and pulled her close to me. “For the record, though.” Faye’s grin switched wider. “I don’t think you’re a complete jerk anymore, so in a few weeks we are having a birthday party for Liz and you’re invited. It’s just going to be about getting her to dance on bar counters and be free from the mind demons that take over her for a little while, and I am giving you full permission to touch her vagina that night.”
I laughed. “That’s really kind of you.”
“What can I say?” She smirked. “I’m a solid friend.”
After the dance with Faye, I found a seat in the back corner of the room and tried to absorb everything I’d been told. I watched Elizabeth talking to Sam before she hugged him and he headed out of the building. I guessed their night together was over. Good. When Elizabeth walked over, I couldn’t even deny the way my heart skipped.
“It looked like you and Faye were getting along well,” she said, sitting beside me.
“The same could be said about you and Tanner,” I replied.
“That’s not the same. Tanner and I are just friends. So what… Did she ask you to have sex with her? I bet you said yes. But I don’t think you should with all the issues you’re dealing with.” She bit her bottom lip. “But did she ask you?”
I cocked an eyebrow at her sassy expression. “Is that a real question?”
“I’m just saying, I don’t think sticking your penis inside a woman is a great way to cope with the stress of your life.”
“But isn’t that what you and I were doing?” I argued.
“And it didn’t work out too well, did it?”
Faye was right. Clarity filled my head as I took in Elizabeth’s features. Her face was flushed and she kept running her hands against her legs. Our gaze met. I edged my chair closer to her and placed her legs in between mine. Leaning in toward her, I whispered, “I get it now.”
I watched a sigh roll from her lips as she studied our proximity. “Get what?”
She huffed loudly and laughed. “Jealous? Don’t be ridiculous, Narcissus.”
Giving her a soft, therapist tone, I took her hands into mine. “You don’t have to be embarrassed. It’s completely normal to at some point develop feelings for one’s neighbor. Why would you think that’s ridiculous?”
She yanked her hands from mine and it took everything in me to not crack up laughing in her face at how red she was turning. “Why? You want all the reasons why? Well, for starters, lately you haven’t shaven and you look like a lumberjack, which is repulsive. With your beanie hat and your thick beard, I’m semi-surprised you’re not wearing plaid. Do you even shower?”
“I shower. If you want, we could go back to my place and shower together to save water.”
“Look at you being an environmental activist and all.”
“Not really. I just love making you wet.” Her cheeks blushed as I studied the few freckles dappling her face. She was so damn beautiful. “Plus,” I said, trying to break my thoughts away from the fact that I was feeling for her everything I hoped she was feeling for me. “I saw the Timber app on your cell phone. You don’t have to hide your love for lumberjacks. No one’s judging you out loud. Mostly it’s silent, side-eye judgment, but really, that doesn’t even count.”
“The app was a trending topic on the side of my Facebook page, Tristan! Faye made me get it, and I was curious, that’s all!” She was getting redder and redder by the second, and my body was starting to react to being so close to hers. I wanted to press my hands against her heated cheeks to feel her warmth. I wanted to lay my fingers against her chest and feel her heart pound from nerves. I wanted to taste her lips…
“What’s the deal with you and Tanner?” I asked once more.
“I told you, he and I are just friends.”
“It looked like more from the way he held you.”
She laughed, looking at the ground. “Who’s jealous now?”