Patti followed. “That went well.”
“You want her? Bring your A Game.”
“What if I don’t have one? What if bumbling buffoon is my A Game? Huh?”
Patti crossed her arms, eyeing him in disgust. “What I saw last night in the bathroom, that was A Game. This—I don’t know what this is.” She waved her hands angrily.
Clayton leaned close, talking quietly. “I’m terrified! I can’t go up to her now and lay one on her. And I sure can’t go up and flirt when she’s with him.”
“Fine. Sneak another grope in the bathroom.” She stalked away.
Clayton shut off the hose and put it away. He wanted to be alone, but knew better than to run off. Instead, he wandered behind the building and sat on stack of lumber.
“Be careful, man. Spiders love that shit.”
The voice startled him and he jumped. Wood clattered beneath him. Gabe sat next to him, offering Clayton another half sandwich.
“Look, man. I get it. And I’ll back off. I never stepped on a friend’s action. Not gonna start now.”
“Jesus, am I that obvious?” Clayton took the sandwich with a nod of thanks.
“Only cause I see the same look on your face that I know is on my own. By damn, she’s a babe! Not only that, she’s smart and funny. Any man would be lucky to have her for his girl. But after this week, you all go home. It’s not fair to Maddie to start something that’s doomed to fail. Long distance relationships don’t do well.”
“True. She really seems interested in you.”
Gabe shrugged, shaking his head. “She’s incredible. She doesn’t even know how beautiful she is. How can she not see it?”
Clayton chuckled. “What you see right now, the whole hot babe thing?” He waved one hand in a circle like he was cleaning a mirror. “That happened less than a year ago. She was always cute, but braces and no chest.” He rubbed his hand over his own. “All of a sudden, Wham! Braces came off and the lusciousness developed. But, damn, if I haven’t loved her since we were fourteen. Hell, probably earlier than that. It’s just then that I had a name for it. And we had our first kiss on her fifteenth birthday.” He laughed, remembering. “Crazy awkward. I bruised her lip, slamming into her mouth too fast. Her braces.” He motioned to his lips. “But it got better. Still—not much since. She thinks I’m a dork.”
“Well, if that’s true, then she must like dorks. You know what she talked about the last thirty minutes?”
“You. She’s all, Clayton said this or Clayton did that. Or you know what Clayton thinks? You know how jealous I am of you right now?”
“You’re jealous—of me?” Clayton had to laugh. He’d spent the last thirty minutes dead jealous of Gabe.