Harlow’s mouth tries to form a few words. Finally, she manages, “How long have you been—”
Finn gets his hand around her and over her mouth just milliseconds after she releases a loud “Fucking?” into the entire store.
“Roughly for the last eighteen hours,” Lola answers, coming up behind me, and I look down at her, surprised by the poise in her voice. She slips her arm around my waist. “Though we took a break between ten and three today to get some work done.”
Joe whistles from behind the counter, and then looks down at a book he’s reading, as if he weren’t behind these shenanigans.
“Think you could have started the music a few minutes sooner?” I ask him with a grin.
He laughs down at the book. “Probably. But where’s the fun in that? This is your punishment for taking so long to do that.”
“And leaving him in charge,” someone calls from the front reading nook.
“Wong to Doctor Strange . . .” I remind him. “Wong would have been a team player.”
Joe looks up at me, feigning insult. “That hurts, boss.”
Harlow is staring at Lola, brows raised in expectation. “Do you have a minute, friend?” she asks, fighting an enormous grin.
Lola looks warily up at the clock behind the counter. It’s nearly four, and I’m sure she’s thinking the same thing I am—that a conversation with Harlow about this is unlikely to be quick. “I have a few. But I need to pack for L.A., so just come to the loft with me for my interrogation.”
She turns, gives me a pained look, stretches to kiss me in front of her best friend—who gasps—and then whispers, “I’ll see you Friday.”
“Friday,” I repeat, holding her hand until the last possible moment. With a last wide-eyed glance over her shoulder at me, Lola allows Harlow to march her out of the store.
Finn watches the two women leave with a mixture of amusement and concern. Harlow is already shouting excitedly on the sidewalk. “So,” he says, turning to me.
He lifts his cap, scratching his head. “Lola’s headed to L.A. again?”
My smile widens. I can always count on Finn to keep things easy. “For a few days.”
He ignores this. “You either spend the entire day driving from meetings on one side of town to another or you get up there and do everything over the phone and could have stayed home anyway.”
“Well, I think they’re working on the script.”
He nods. “Probably better to be up there, then.” Finn walks around the counter and looks in the mini-fridge we have stashed in the corner. “Lola will figure it out, I bet.” I hear him slide a couple of cans out and he tosses me a beer. “So things are good?”
I grin at him for several beats of silence before asking, “Finn, did you just ask me a personal question?”
Laughing, he says, “Forget it,” and cracks open his beer.
“Yeah things are good,” I tell him, opening my own. “Bloody great.”
He lets the question hang between us. This is the deepest Finn is willing to pry.
“Yeah.” The reality of it—of Lola as mine—makes me feel like sprinting from the store and running a marathon.
“Fucking finally,” Finn says with a small lift of his brow.
I laugh, taking a deep drink. “Do you ever stop and think how crazy this is?”
Tilting his chin up, he asks, “The wives, you mean?”
“Well, yeah. I mean, from Vegas to now.”
“Part of me suspects Harlow masterminded the entire thing,” he says. “I wouldn’t be surprised if she was the one to slip us each the Bike and Build info years ago.”
“The long con.” I acknowledge this by lifting my can to him. “How is the esteemed Mrs. Roberts?”
He grins. “Crazy as fuck. She’s probably up there giving Lola the third degree.”
I think third degree is probably an understatement, but if Lola can handle anyone, it’s Harlow.
“It’s a good time to be a man,” I say. The clink of our cans echoes dully through the store.
I EXPECT AN INTERROGATION from Harlow, but I definitely don’t expect to find London and Mia also waiting for us at the loft. My brain is still fuzzy from the sex, from the impending trip, from the deadlines looming on my calendar; I don’t seem to have any extra space in my thoughts for what’s happening right now.
I stare at the three women just inside my door, blinking in confusion.
“I texted them,” Harlow explains with a wave of her hand. “During the fuckfest. After you came—I think—but before Oliver did.”
“You called an emergency meeting because I was having sex with Oliver?” Pressing my palms against my face, I mumble through a laugh, “Oh, my God.”
Harlow pulls my hands away, shaking her head. “I’m just relieved you’re getting pounded.”
“Harlow,” Mia says, pulling me away from her. “You’re ridiculous.”
“Says the girl who can barely walk today.”
Mia ignores this and pulls me inside. It’s true: she’s limping. But it’s not her bad leg. Harlow would never tease her about that. Mia’s walking like an old woman, or a very, very pregnant one. Delicately, like her back might snap in half.