Of course the first conclusion he comes to is that the girls and I are fighting. He probably wishes we were. Which is really silly because one thing about Lyn’s, Lila’s, and my friendship—we don’t fight. We never have and I don’t see it happening any time soon.
Okay, well, time to divert his attention.
“Nope. We’re fine. It was . . . uh, cramps, Daddy. You know, period stuff.”
He looks horrified. Which was the goal. Daddy doesn’t talk female issues. I asked him once to grab me some tampons from the store one day. He threatened to take Nate’s car away if he didn’t go instead. Nate came back thirty minutes later and threw the box at my head, cutting me right above the eyebrow and losing his car anyway for hurting me. To this day, I like to leave tampon boxes in Nate’s car.
“Uh . . . yeah. I’m going to go over here with the guys and talk about football and boxing. You know, guy stuff.”
I smile to myself when he walks away. God, he’s too easy.
“Cramps, my ass,” Liam laughs, throwing his arm around my shoulders and pulling me close. His strong hold makes it clear that I’m not getting away without talking to him.
I take a deep swallow of my beer and look up into his chocolate eyes.
“I don’t think they’re dating, if it makes a difference. He’s hardly said one word to her, and she is sticking close to Chance’s side. Chance, who I’m guessing isn’t dating her either, looks like he would rather be anywhere else than glued to her side.”
I look across the room where Cohen is talking to his brothers, Camden and Colton. As if he senses my gaze on him, his eyes meet mine, and he frowns when he sees Lee’s arm around me. His eyes move back to mine, and even from the distance, I can see them heat. That fire that burns across my skin.
Okay, so he still wants me.
What the hell ever.
“Yeah, that right there. A man doesn’t get jealous of someone he knows is just a friend if there isn’t something else there, Dani. I’ve told you this a million times over: he’s scared. Think about it and you know I’m right. His parents, your parents, all of the relationships mixed in that would go insane if you two got together. Sure, it could have a happy ending, but he isn’t going to upset the fold. Not when it could just as easily go bad.”
“It wouldn’t go bad, Lee.” And it wouldn’t. I know it with everything I am that it would be a flawless love.
“You can’t know that. Not for sure, anyway. Regardless of what your stubborn little heart tells you, you can’t predict these things.”
“Are you telling me I should give it up? Give him up?”
“Never, Dani. I would never tell you to give him or your feelings for him up. You know my parents’ story. Dad never once gave up on Mom, even when it seemed fruitless. What I’m trying to get at, but clearly doing a terrible job of, is that if you believe with one hundred percent of your soul that he’s your other half, don’t you dare stop until you’ve had a taste of it.”
Oh shit. My throat is burning. I swallow thickly and nod my head, not trusting my words.
“Do you think he knows how bad it is?”
“That you’re in love with him and that you don’t just want him to fuck you?” Liam guesses correctly.
“He isn’t stupid, Dani. He knows. Or at least he has an idea. Look, before, it wouldn’t have been good for him to even entertain the thought. You were too young. I’m not saying that isn’t an issue for him now, but you’re almost twenty-two, so I don’t think that’s it. You know him. You know how important his family . . . this family . . . is to him. All I can tell you is to talk to him. He leaves tomorrow. Just talk to him. I know you guys talked before, but obviously, you didn’t talk enough. Make him hear your points, and don’t leave anything out. You say that he’s saying no because he’s leaving . . . well, don’t let that stop you. If it’s really that simple, then go for it.”
“What about that girl?” I question, my mouth having a hard time getting the question out.
God, he’s right. I’m eaten up with jealousy over her. She’s pretty. Blond, busty, and tall. Everything I’m not. She is my complete opposite in every way.
“Who? The date? Yeah . . . something tells me you really don’t have to worry about her. Seriously, Dani. She hasn’t gotten up from that table he parked her at when he got here. If a girl were here with a man like him, you better believe she wouldn’t be leaving his side. In case you haven’t noticed, there are a few overly horny men in this room.”