“From here or me?”
“What are you saying? I’m kind of confused here. We’ll always be best friends, no matter where I live.”
“Things change, people change.”
“And why is that so bad? Change is a good thing. It’s what keeps life interesting and exciting and I wish you would see that.”
They all seemed to fucking intertwine with one another. Pushing and pulling like a game of tug of war.
“What do you want from me?”
I didn’t hesitate in replying, “Everything.”
“What does that even mean?”
This was not how I expected to spend my birthday, arguing with Leo.
“It means I love my life. I don’t want things to change and it’s why I made the pact with the boys in the first place. I don’t need a wife, kids, love… it doesn’t matter to me. I have everything I want in my life and I’ve had since I was born. You.”
“That’s not enough for me, Leo. I love you, you’re my best friend and you always will be. But I deserve more than weekend bonfires at your cabin. I need more. I want to meet new people, I want to fall in love, there are things I want that I can’t do here.”
“No! You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
“That’s the whole point of cake, Lala.”
“No. You have me, the best friend who will do anything for you. I’m your wingman, your support system, I’m at your beck and call. I can’t do that for the rest of my life, Leo, and it’s bullshit you expect me to.”
He reached into his backpack and pulled out another gift. “Here.”
“Leo.” I shook my head no. “Not now.”
I sighed, giving in to his request, and unwrapped the small box.
“You’ve always had wings, Mila, and I’m not stupid enough to think this town could keep you from using them. So, here.”
I pulled out the gold necklace with coordinates on the charm. “What is it?”
“It’s the location of your swing in your parent’s backyard.”
My lips parted, unable to speak.
For a minute, neither one of us said a word. We just stood there, staring sincerely into each other’s eyes.
Except, he was the first to break the silence, speaking with conviction…
“It’s so you can always find your way back home.”
Adding, “To me.”
“I think a celebratory shot is in order for us nailing that dual thesis,” Cain stated, nodding toward the waitress at the bar and grill we were having dinner at.
He was right. We did knock it out of the park with our paper. I couldn’t say I was surprised though, Cain was smart, like super smart. I’d always been a good student, but as much as I hated to admit it, he was brighter than I was.
Huh, who would have thought? Definitely not me.
“You’re welcome for picking you as my partner.”
“Wow. That only took twenty minutes of us being here for you to take all the credit.”
“Really? That long?”
I choked on my frozen margarita as the waitress came back to our table.
She smiled. “What can I help you with?”
“What are you offering, darlin’?”
I rolled my eyes while hers darted over to mine.
“Oh!” I answered the question in her gaze. “We’re not together.”
“What she means to say is, we have an open relationship. So, you’re more than welcome to join the party.”
The waitress blushed, and I exclaimed, “Cain!”
“I know, honey. Our last threesome wasn’t what you expected it to be, but I told you I’m perfectly okay with you going down on her too.”
I smacked his arm from across the table.
“Ow!” He looked at the waitress. “She likes it rough. My safe word is wolfie.”
“Oh my God. He’s joking.”
At least I think he was joking… wolfie?
She giggled in that flirty way, eyes ogling him.
“We’ll take four shots of 1942 and your phone number. Thanks.”
The waitress beamed, now eye fucking the shit out of him. “I’ll be right back with your order.”
Once she was gone, I stated the obvious, “Is it always this easy for you?”
“It’s usually easier. I had to talk that time, usually I just smile.”
“And look pretty.”
“It’s my boyband looks, I know.”
“You just think you’re so slick, don’t you?”
“I don’t think, Mi, I know I am. When she comes back she’s going to slip me her phone number on a napkin.”
“You’re almost worse than Leo.”
“Mi, I am much worse than your butt buddy. Now—” he held his hands out in front of him “—don’t get me wrong. Leo pulls in some fine ass tail, but we both know his head is usually up your ass so…”
I shook my head. “That’s not true.”
“Leo’s head is not up my ass.”
He glanced under the table. “Yup. His head is still there.”
“We’re just best fri—”
“Yes, yes, I know. ‘We’re just best friends,’” he mocked in a high pitched tone.
“Was that supposed to sound like me?”
“Yeah, do I need to sound whinier?”