“So?” she says with confusion.
“What’s the big deal, Dani? So what? You finally opened your mouth and gave him a little something to think about. You shouldn’t be ashamed about that,” Lila, ever the voice of reason, argues.
“I shouldn’t be ashamed?! This is Cohen. Your brother, my brother’s best friend, the same Cohen that I’ve been hopelessly in a state of lust over for my whole life!” I scream.
“Someone is a little dramatic today,” Maddi says with a sigh.
“I’m not being dramatic! I’m being realistic. What if things get weird?” Things are so going to get weird. The next time I see him, I’m just going to run the other way. It will be safer than trying to act like I’m not completely humiliated. Or that I have completely humiliated him.
“Realistic would be you shutting the hell up and realizing that maybe, just maybe, my big brother finally has his eyes wide open when it comes to you,” Lila adds.
I look over at her, catching Lyn nodding emphatically out of the corner of my eye. Maddi sighs again and voices her agreement.
“You all think this way?” I ask the room and get three yeses. “Okay. Say I believe you. Now what?”
“Easy!” Lyn yells, almost falling out of her seat with her excitement. “Now we make him the one that is craving you.” She nods to herself like this is the best advice in the world.
“And how am I supposed to do that?” I ask the know-it-all currently sloshed off Asti.
“Just leave that to me, Dani. Just leave it all to me.”
If I were in my right mind, maybe I would be alarmed here, but because we are on our third bottle of Asti, I have to agree with her and let myself believe this is a brilliant plan.
Ready or not, Cohen. Ready. Or. Not.
“This is a stupid idea,” I complain under my breath and look over at Lyn.
“This isn’t a stupid idea. This is an awesome idea. As sexy as you are, you’ve always been clueless to your own sexuality. You dress the part, look the part, but the second the part is shoved in your face, you start doubting yourself. I get it. Years of trying to get someone’s attention makes you feel like you’re lacking something, but I assure you that isn’t the case. So . . . this will help to bring out some of that confidence. Would I lead you the wrong way here, Dani?” She ends her speech and puts both of her hands on her hips with a huff.
“Pole dancing, Lyn?”
“What? It’s technically a gym activity. I did tell you we were coming to the gym. I just didn’t tell you what for. Doesn’t matter. Sway brought it up, and after doing a little research, I found out you get the workout of your life during these classes, so just think about it as a positive-type thing. Even if you can’t open that brilliant mind of yours up and see that I’m right.”
“Let’s get this over with.”
She gives me a bright smile and pushes herself out of the car. I give myself another pep talk and try to convince myself that this isn’t going to be a mistake. She’s right about one thing: I could always use some more gym time. Tiny or not, I won’t stay firm with all the sweets I eat.
“Is this even something I’ll be able to do, Lyn? I mean, we all can’t be tall warrior princesses like you and your amazon sister.” I laugh, but I’m dead serious. I’m five foot two on a good day. The twins tower over me. Always have. They have upper-body strength that could rival a grown man, and mine is more like that of a small child. “I’ll never be able to get off the ground,” I mutter to myself as we walk through the door to the studio.
The first thing I notice is that it’s really cool in the room. Like, instant nip boner. I bring my arms up to cross around my body and pray that no one sees my headlights beaming. Lyn confidently marches ahead of me and waves to Lila, Maddi, and Stella. I give them a wave of my own and quickly cover myself up. How am I the only one freezing my ass off here?
“You girls ready to learn some moves?” Lyn asks the group with a huge smile.
“I’m just here for the workout. Mom says this is an amazing way to keep your body toned in a fun way,” Maddi says with a smile. “Of course she would think that since she used to strip herself.” She laughs when all three of us look at her in shock.
“Emmy? Aunt Emmy? Sweet little Emmy who has a husband so protective and possessive of her that he makes my dad look like a choirboy? That Emmy?” I ask, causing her to laugh even harder.
“Yup. Hard to believe, right? She doesn’t talk much about it, but they have never kept secrets from us. They told us a few years ago when we were getting a lecture about what life choices can do to people. Or better yet, how some choices can lead to bad shit and even worse shit. Whatever. I forget the whole point of it, and when you think about it, it’s what brought Mom and Dad back together, so it’s kind of romantic.” She waves her hands and turns to walk into the room I’m assuming class will be in.