Her face fell in disappointment. “Why not? Too old?”
“What would it take to get you interested?”
Zoey’s door was opened before he could reply, letting a pimply-faced kid who looked like he should be in school leave. She gave him a quick glance before giving a searching one to the client who was waiting. Stump could tell Zoey had figured out what had been going on outside her office.
“Susanne, you can come in.”
The other woman gave him a long, wishful glance before going inside. Stump could hear them laughing as Zoey closed the door.
The furniture and computer arrived before Penni and Grace were back from lunch. He was working on setting up the computer when they returned. Leaving him alone in the front office, they went into Penni’s.
“Dude, that shit will kill you.”
About to take another bite of his burger, he looked toward the doorway. The stranger was twice his size, around the same age, and was wearing a hat backward.
“Fuck off.” He continued to eat his lunch, despite Zoey’s client’s disparaging comment.
“Dude, I’m just saying—”
“Dude,” Stump mocked, “we aren’t friends. Until we are, keep your opinions to your own fucking self.”
“Dude, you should hire Zoey. Your attitude sucks.”
Stump laid his hamburger on the wrapper, starting to rise from his chair. “I’m about to shove my attitude—”
Penni cleared her throat from behind him. “Hi, Roan. Zoey should be out in a moment.”
“No worries. She’s worth the wait.”
Stump started to rise again, intercepting the wink Roan shot toward Penni. Before he could get to his feet, though, a hand on his shoulder pushed him back down.
“Ro is just being friendly,” Grace said, moving to stand closer to him and leaving her hand on his shoulder, subtly warning him not to kick the roids out of him.
Stump could hear the door being opened across the hall, but Zoey was blocked from his sight by the hulky body that a cruise ship couldn’t hide behind.
“Girls, if you decide to take me up on that raincheck for drinks, let me know when I’m done.”
“They won’t,” Stump growled, wrapping what little was left of his hamburger in the wrapper. “The only ones they’ll be having drinks with are their husbands.”
“Too bad. We could have had a good time.” The freakazoid turned his attention to Zoey. “How you doing, dollface?”
Stump didn’t miss the smirk on his face as he shut himself and Zoey inside her office.
“There needs to be a water fountain in the hall. All of her clients are thirsty.” Taking his frustration out on the water bottle sitting on his desk, he crushed it before throwing it into the trash can by his desk.
“Zoey gives that suggestion when she encourages them to ask people out.”
Penni reached down, taking the bottle out of the trash and putting it in the small red can by the door.
“Do Ice and Jackal know?”
“Know what?” she asked, turning away from the recycling can.
“That most of the male population in Queen City are given free rein to hit on you?”
“They aren’t all hitting on us. They’re being friendly,” Grace said, removing her restraining hand. “Besides, our husbands wouldn’t care. They trust us.”
“They’d care if they knew, and they’re going to know by the end of the day.”
“Stump, you don’t understand how Zoey works. She encourages her clients to get out and meet new acquaintances.”
“She should be encouraging them to stay the fuck away from this office before one of them gets hurt.”
“If any of Zoey’s clients mysteriously get hurt, neither Grace nor I will be happy. Keep that in mind when you’re tattling,” Penni warned.
“Why is it only women get happy when they get in an argument with a man?”
“Because we’re the ones who are usually right.”
Deciding it was a losing battle to fight with them, he went back to work, losing track of time until Penni and Grace began to leave.
“You going to stay with Zoey until she gets in her car?” Penni asked, taking her keys out of her purse.
“I’m going to stay with her until she walks in the door of wherever she’s going.”
“I’m still having that talk with Ice.”
Penni took a key off the chain in her hand, laying it down on his desk. “What Grace said is true. Our husbands trust us. Snitch all you want. We’re not worried, are we?”
“No.” Grace’s agreement ended with a volley of words that Stump couldn’t understand, but if he took a guess, it sounded like French and involved cursing.
“If I have to deal with that shit, I’m never getting married,” he muttered after they left, still hearing Grace’s fluent French until the elevator doors must have closed. “Thank God. Peace at last.”
He was going to have a sit down with Ice when he got back to the club. Another brother could deal with this shit.
He was debating on which brother to throw under the bus when Zoey’s door opened, and she came out with a woman who looked the same age as her.