Home > Crazy in Love(6)

Crazy in Love(6)
Author: S.L. Scott

He nods toward the car waiting at the curb. When we start walking, he adds, “I’ll be honest, I felt out of place here for months. Maybe being with Natalie made it easier. She showed me how great this city can be. We can walk to so many places, restaurants, shops, the store. I don’t miss sitting in my car for two to three hours a day.” He stops and opens the door before clapping me on the shoulder. “So yeah, it’s not LA, but New York’s kind of won my heart over. Give it a chance, and you might find it’s not so bad.”

“I’m here. I’m giving it a chance.” I duck into the back, and he follows. For someone who apparently walks so much, it must be nice to have a car on call day and night. “As for Tatum, that’s a hard no. You saw how she reacted when she saw me. The woman hates me. With her, there are no second chances.”

“Maybe give it the night, and you two can become friends. Natalie would like that.”

His wife is cool enough for me to consider the option. “Look, I won’t say no to Natalie, but that means me taking a risk. Tatum is more than bark. She bites.”

“Keep your sexual escapades to yourself, dude.”

It’s a punch to the arm he can handle, especially since it doesn’t seem to faze him from teasing me the rest of the way home. The thing is, I liked Tatum. I fucked up by not calling her despite our agreement. Maybe we could have worked out like Nick and Natalie, given how their relationship started the same night.

Fuck. I run a hand over my head. What am I talking about?

No way am I ready to be married and settled down at twenty-nine. Life’s just getting interesting.

When the car arrives, we head up to the stoop. “I think I should have had another beer before doing this.”

Patting me on the back, he says, “You got this.”

Nick opens the door, and we’re greeted with laughter echoing from deeper inside the house. We walk toward the sound, and when Nick sees Natalie, he opens his arms. “There’s my beautiful wife.” She rushes to him as if they’ve been apart for more than a few hours.

I hang back in the doorway, feeling like an intruder to their intimate moment. I can’t help but glance toward Tatum, who’s sipping a glass of wine while perched on a barstool.

She angles my way but is quick to turn toward the backyard, blocking all of us from her view. While Nick and Natalie whisper to each other, I decide to throw my balls on the Tatum chopping block once more. I shove my hands in my pockets and join her at the large island. I make sure to keep space between us. Matters like Tatum have to be handled delicately.

“Hi,” I say, keeping my voice quiet between us.

Glancing my way, she then turns toward the half-eaten platter of snacks and grabs a cracker. “Hi,” she replies even quieter, eyes on the food before taking a bite.

When the room goes silent and tension fills the air, I find Nick and Natalie sneaking away. Fuck. No pressure or anything. “Soooo yeah, Nick and I scored some tickets tonight—”

“Oh my God, are you asking me out?” Panic rises in her voice, reaching her eyes as she stares wide-eyed at me.

My arms fly up in surrender. “Just as friends. I know you prefer keeping your distance from me, but I was hoping we could maybe move past, well, the past. Or maybe not as friends, but just not enemies.” I need to shut the fuck up. It’s incredible that I can date a Miss Universe, an Oscar-nominated actress, and the top real estate agent in LA—after me, of course—without so much as a second thought. But Tatum Devreux has me rambling like an insecure teen asking a girl out for the first time.

She angles my way, spinning her body to the side. The panic has disappeared, and I’m not sure how to read her. Is that calm settling the choppy waters of her deep brown eyes? A smile doesn’t follow to calm mine, and the tension still felt like a tight lasso around my chest. She sighs in resolve, but then says, “I think you’re right, Harrison.”

“I am?” It’s been so long since she’s said my first name that I’d almost forgotten how sweet it sounds coming from her lips. “About?”

“Being enemies. It’s not good for either of us or our friends. If you’re going to be in the city for a while, which it sounds like you plan to be, we’ll naturally be seeing more of each other.” She holds her hand out. “So I agree with you. We should wipe the slate clean and leave the past in the past.”

I take her hand, the memories of holding it that night in Catalina coming back like it was yesterday. “Deal.” I pull back, not willing to let the heat of our connection trap me back in the night I can’t seem to forget.

She stands, and a smile finally graces her full pink lips. “Great. Now about those tickets . . .”

 

 

3

 

 

Harrison


Tatum said yes to tonight before knowing if we had tickets to a movie, a concert, a baseball game, or even the subway. My point being, she said yes before knowing anything about the offer.

She said yes to me.

I could let that feed my ego, but that’s not what she intended. I’ll take the good, though, and hope we can actually reach a peaceful existence for our best friends. Or even better, become friends.

She makes it hard, literally, to think of her platonically when seeing her in a short skirt like she is now. I’m reminded I was once given full access to what’s underneath it. There was a time I had to peel her off me, not because I wanted her to stop, but I didn’t want us to get arrested for public indecency. She’s got a wild side that she has me missing.

Bumping into me, she says, “Thank you.”

“For what?”

She takes a sip of her drink and smiles. There’s a shyness to it that doesn’t quite fit the vibrant woman I know her to be. “For asking me to come with you guys. You could have brought anyone.”

When I think about scrolling through my contacts earlier, I now know why I couldn’t find anyone I wanted to call. I’m a fucking glutton for punishment. “I’m glad you came.”

A smirk tilts her grin up on one side. A little nudge to my ribs with her elbow is enough for me to realize the double meaning of what I said. Tatum’s still giggling when she replies, “Me too.”

The lights go down. Natalie and Tatum loop their arms around each other’s and raise their free arms into the air, screaming in excitement for the band. I catch Nick’s eyes over their heads, and we fist bump. He nods toward Tatum and waggles his eyebrows. Ass. I give him a shrug because I’m the dumbass who keeps trying to get back on her good side.

When the lights flash on, the band members own their spots on the stage, Johnny Outlaw front and center, Dex on the drums, Derrick on the left, and Kaz in front of us. Twenty-thousand fans scream at the same time, and Dex kicks in on the drums.

Spending the next hour rocking out to the music, I’d finished my drink by the second song. Not wanting to miss any of the show, I stayed to watch.

We’re only an hour in when Tatum turns to me and tilts her head to look at my hand. “Empty?”

“Yeah.”

“Want to come with me? I’ll buy your next.”

Fuck yeah, I do. Screw the band. Tatum is much more interesting. I follow her to the nearest door, and a bouncer swings it open for us.

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