“You touched Alex’s dick?”Bridget’s eyes widened. “What did it feel like?”
“Shhh!” I glanced around to see if anyone was listening, but everyone was too busy with their duties to pay attention to us. Bridget had volunteered at the shelter long enough the staff didn’t blink an eye at the princess in their midst, and we were always the only volunteers on the days Bridget came in, per the royal family’s request. “It’s unbecoming for a princess to say the word dick.”
Especially in Bridget’s posh, lightly accented voice, which sounded like it was made to discuss fancy galas and Harry Winston diamonds, not male genitalia.
“I’ve said worse things than dick.”
As someone who’d been friends with her for almost four years, I could confirm. It still sounded wrong though.
“So?” she prompted. “What did it feel like?”
“I don’t know what you want me to say. It felt like a penis.” A big, hard—nope. Not going there.
Not now. Not ever.
Bridget and I were cleaning and sanitizing the cages at Wags and Whiskers, a pet rescue shelter located near campus. She was a huge animal person and had been volunteering here since sophomore year. I accompanied her when I had time, as did Stella. Jules was allergic to cats, so she stayed away. But this shelter was Bridget’s baby. She came twice a week without fail, much to Booth’s consternation.
I stifled a smile at the sight of the burly, redheaded bodyguard eyeing a parrot with suspicion. Despite its name, Wags and Whiskers took in all sorts of animals, not just cats and dogs, and it had a small but robust bird section.
Booth wasn’t scared of birds per se, but he disliked them; he said they reminded him of giant flying rats.
“Hmm.” Bridget seemed disappointed by my uninteresting response. “And the movies really didn’t make him sad? At all?”
“Nope.” I rolled up the newspaper from my cage and dumped it in the garbage can. “Well, I fell asleep before the end of Marley & Me, but I doubt he cried or anything like that. He looked bored the entire time.”
“Yet he continued watching both movies.” Bridget raised a perfect blonde brow. “Interesting.”
“He didn’t have a choice. I was already at his house.”
“Please. This is Alex Volkov we’re talking about. He’d throw someone out in a heartbeat if he wanted.”
I frowned and considered her words. “He’s nicer to me because I’m Josh’s sister.”
“Right.” Bridget let out a soft laugh. “Which phase is up next again?”
Ugh, the stupid Operation Emotion, or OE as I’d started calling it. It was the bane of my existence.
“Disgust.” I had no clue what I’d do, but that phase seemed easier. I had a feeling lots of things disgusted Alex.
“I’d pay good money to see that.” Bridget tossed a laughing glance in Booth’s direction. “Are you all right, Booth?”
“Yes, Your Highness.” He grimaced when the parrot squawked, “Ooh, yes! Spank me, master!”
“I am not your master,” he told the bird. “Go away.”
The parrot drew itself up and ruffled its feathers in indignation.
Bridget and I burst into laughter. Apparently, the parrot’s old owner had been quite active sexually…and kinky. Its outburst today was tame compared to its previous tirades.
“I’ll miss you.” Bridget sighed. “I hope my next bodyguard has a sense of humor.”
I stopped scrubbing the cage. “Wait, what? Booth, you’re leaving us?”
Booth scratched the back of his neck, looking sheepish. “My wife is giving birth soon, so I’ll be on paternity leave.”
“Congrats.” I smiled, even though I was pretty sad. He was Bridget’s employee, but we’d accepted him as an honorary member of our group. He’d bailed us out of many dodgy situations in the past, and he gave pretty good boy advice, too. “We’ll miss you, but that is so exciting!”
His face flushed with pleasure. “Thank you, Miss Ava.”
He was unfailingly polite and insisted on calling me “Miss” no matter how many times I told him he could use just my first name.
“We’re throwing you a going away party when the time comes,” Bridget said. “You deserve it for putting up with me all these years.”
Booth’s blush deepened. “That’s not necessary, Your Highness. It was—is—a pleasure serving at your side.”
Bridget’s eyes twinkled. “See, this is why you deserve a going away party. You’re the best.”
Before Booth could explode from how red he was turning, I added, “We’ll make it parrot themed.”
Bridget and I collapsed into laughter again while the bodyguard shook his head with a half-resigned, half-embarrassed smile.
It was almost enough to take my mind off Alex.