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|Before Jamaica Lane(On Dublin Street #3)(51) by Samantha Young|
‘So will you treat us to details about the honeymoon?’ I asked, grinning cheekily at Joss.
Joss smirked at me. ‘With Braden’s little sister in the room? No. All I will say is that a delicious time was had by all. And Braden only growled at one guy.’
I laughed. ‘Growled?’
‘He was staring at my boobs, and I mean staring, while Braden was right there.’ She wrinkled her nose and shook her head. ‘I thought Braden was going to pop a vein.’
We laughed, but my amusement froze up under anxiety when Joss suddenly threw me a mischievous grin. ‘So, Ellie said you went all Lady Sass at Club 39 while I was gone. Got some guy’s number?’
I snorted, trying to cover up the fact that my heart was pounding hard and I was starting to sweat. Lying was horrible, shitty, and excusing it by telling myself that I wasn’t lying, I was merely withholding, was just a crock of crap. I was lying to my friends and I didn’t like it. ‘Lady Sass? It was just a number.’
‘I’ve never seen you so interested before.’ Ellie turned her wide eyes on Joss. ‘You should have seen her flirting her arse off. Speaking of’ – she looked back at me questioningly – ‘how would you feel about going on a date with a guy Adam knows?’
The heart pounding became more of a sickly fluttering. ‘You’ve been talking about me?’
‘Only since that night at the bar. We thought maybe you were taking time to get settled before you started dating, so we never said anything before. But then on Saturday you seemed to show interest. And Dougie is lovely.’
I snorted. ‘He sounds charming.’
Joss laughed. ‘I’m picturing Doogie Howser.’
‘Right.’ I giggled immaturely.
Ellie frowned at us both. ‘Um. Who?’
‘It was an American TV show.’
‘A kid genius doctor.’
Ellie gave us a long-suffering look. ‘Dougie is not a kid. He’s a very nice and very good-looking architect.’
‘Don’t let Adam hear you say that.’
‘Liv, I’m serious. Please consider going out with him.’
‘I don’t do blind dates.’
She eyed me carefully. ‘Did you call the guy whose number you got?’
Uh-oh. How did I tell her I didn’t want to date this Doogie guy because I was too busy screwing Nate? I racked my brain for an excuse that sounded plausible, becoming increasingly nervous as the silence stretched thin between us. My eyes sought Joss for help since she was the queen of not doing anything she didn’t want to do and not giving a rat’s ass if you didn’t like her explanation. Instead of help, I watched as her face turned a sickly color.
‘Joss, are you okay?’ I leaned forward, touching her arm.
She pressed her lips together and turned toward the sink. Ellie was watching her sister-in-law in concern.
After a moment Joss sucked in a breath. ‘Do these mojitos taste okay to you guys?’ she asked weakly.
Joss shuddered, taking another breath.
‘Uh –’ I backed off warily now. ‘Are you going to upchuck?’
She grimaced at me. ‘No, I’m not going to upchuck.’
‘Here.’ Ellie shoved a plate of sandwiches toward her. ‘You’ve barely eaten anything this morning.’
‘Ellie, if you don’t get that plate out of my face I will eat you.’
‘I think she’s going to upchuck,’ I murmured, pulling Ellie back.
‘Stop saying “upchuck,” ’ Joss snapped.
I raised my eyebrow at Ellie. ‘Someone’s crabby when she’s sick.’
‘Yup,’ Els agreed. ‘She got the stomach flu last year and hissed at anyone that came near her.’
‘I’m standing right here,’ Joss huffed, slanting a dangerous look our way. With her tip-tilted gray eyes she really knew how to give good glare.
‘And we’d like you to remain there if you’re going to be sick.’
Ellie giggled at me. Joss did not.
‘You’re lucky I like you, Olivia Holloway.’
I grinned at her and replied meaningfully, ‘Don’t I know it.’
She flicked her gaze up at me. ‘I can’t be crabby when you’re being cute.’
‘And my genius plan works.’
Joss snorted and then immediately clamped a hand over her mouth.
We waited as she took deep breaths until finally she turned to us. ‘I’m fine.’ She moved over to the table in the corner and settled into a chair. ‘Those mojitos are definitely not working for me.’
Without having to be asked, Ellie poured Joss a glass of water and we joined her at the table. To my chagrin, the first thing Ellie said was, ‘So? Dougie. Yes?’
‘No. I’m …’ I shrugged, deciding to give them a little of the truth. ‘There’s a guy at the library. I like him.’
Ellie grinned, curiosity sparking bright in her pale eyes. ‘Fair enough. Do you work with him?’
‘He’s a student. Postgrad.’ My tone said, ‘I don’t want to talk about it’ and, surprisingly, Ellie let it go.
Instead of giving me the Spanish inquisition on him, she asked, ‘How is work?’
‘Good. It’ll be hard to get promoted but, you know, it’s a good atmosphere and I like my colleagues. I don’t think I’ll be leaving anytime soon. What about you?’
‘I’ve almost finished my PhD and the university is discussing giving me a year contract with them as a course lecturer. They’re impressed with me and my thesis, so they pulled me aside yesterday to let me know that they’re considering me.’
Ellie was a scholar in art history. I didn’t know much about it, but I did know that she’d dreamed of a career in academia just like her stepdad, Clark, so this was huge news.
‘You didn’t tell me that,’ Joss said softly, delicately picking at a sandwich.
Ellie shrugged modestly. ‘I wasn’t sure whether to mention it or not in case it falls through.’
‘It won’t, Els,’ Joss replied firmly. ‘I’m proud of you.’
She smiled gratefully at us. ‘Thanks.’