“Brodie, from a strictly objective standpoint, you have a perfect life. You’re creative, successful, intelligent, handsome, comfortably well off. God, are you sexy! If you let that little plastic lipped slut make you think there’s something wrong with you, I’ll personally bitch slap you to South Dakota!”
He laughed quietly, his eyes misty. “It’s a long way to South Dakota. Sure you have the stamina for that?”
“I’ll beat you all the way to Oregon if I have to. You helped me see myself in a different light. I’m trying to help you too. I’d have quit my job to be with you,” she admitted quietly. “I’d never have done it to keep Ben, but I would have if it had meant I could keep you.”
“You’re serious?” He was stunned. “Why didn’t you, then?”
“I couldn’t come between you and Stan. You’re jacked and smoking hot, Brodie, but no nookie in the world is worth losing your best friend.”
Brodie hated to admit she was right. He took her face in his hands, bringing her lips to his. Just before he kissed her, he spoke so softly she hardly heard him.
“I’ve got to do this just once more.”
His kiss was overpowering, mind boggling, full of missed opportunities and promises forever unfulfilled. As suddenly as he started, he stopped. Putting the car in gear, he took off in a shower of gravel. He wouldn’t talk the entire twenty-five minutes it took to get to Suzie’s. He turned up the Metallica CD until it was almost painfully loud.
Saige closed her eyes against unexpected tears. She wasn’t sure why she was crying, but she thought it was for Brodie. He was so lonely and every moment he spent with her made him think about it even more. She hoped he’d meet a woman soon who would love him as wildly and passionately as he would love her.
He drove with a singularity of purpose, concentrating on the road, shifting gears as if the car had insulted him. Roaring down the road at over a hundred miles an hour, she was afraid he was going to get stopped for speeding. By some miracle he didn’t.
When they got to Suzie’s, he walked her in, but she didn’t keep up their pretense. Touching him would have upset him too much, so she pretended instead that they’d had an argument and kept her distance.
Brent and Trevor stood in the living room with Suzie and Stan, sipping coffee, waiting patiently for Brodie and Saige to sit down. The huge hulking bodies of the two large men dwarfed Suzie’s small apartment. Stan was the only one who didn’t look as if he’d break a chair by sitting in it.
Brodie said nothing when they got inside. He stood by the door with his fist pressed to his lips, leaning against a bookshelf. Suzie offered him coffee, but he didn’t seem to hear her. A curious glance at Saige didn’t tell her anything. Stan cleared his throat, but still didn’t get his friend’s attention. Saige figured a bomb going off might have had a chance, but nothing short of a holocaust was going to make much of an impression on her moody boss.
They sat in relative silence for several minutes while Brodie brooded. Usually a man of action, his static pose was disconcerting for everyone. The emotions radiating off him were
enough to set the air in the room vibrating. Tension was thick, palpable.
Saige’s phone rang, breaking the silence and easing a tiny bit of the tension in the room with the silly, upbeat pop tune. She looked at the name and number. It was Ben. Walking into Suzie’s bedroom, she answered.
“Where the hell have you been? I’ve been trying to reach you for over an hour.”
“Why does it matter? I don’t remember having to report my movements to you,” she snapped.