“I’m not a child, Luc,” London pipes up. I look down at her mascara-smudged glare, my annoyance level dropping at the sight that’s more hilarious and adorable than menacing.
“Never said you were, Lonnie.”
“I prefer being called beautiful,” she grumbles.
I take a step forward and lift the clean corner of the towel and gently wipe around her mouth, my lips twitching as I look down at her gorgeous face. “Beautiful, you’re a cute drunk but you’re also a messy one, especially when you share your liquor with my turnouts and boots.” She giggles and my anger disappears completely. “I’m trusting Brock to—”
The corner of my mouth tips up. “I ain’t calling him that, beautiful. You know there isn’t a man on earth that’ll ever be good enough for my girl.”
Her breath catches, a soft moan vibrating in her chest as her eyes flutter closed before slowly opening again.
“But I want you to go home, grab some water and some Tylenol, and go to bed. I’ll take care of your car and will come get you tomorrow on the way to lunch at my parents’, yeah?”
She stares at me for a good long while, but when the truck’s horn sounds, I know I’ve got to get a move on. “Can you do that for me, Lonnie?”
“Yes, Luc,” she nods, slowly at first then more enthusiastically.
“Good girl,” I say, earning a beaming, blinding smile this time. “And make sure you text me when you get home. Can you do that for me, beautiful?”
After she nods again, I lean in and touch my lips to her temple, ignoring how right it feels.
Before leaving her, I pin Perfect Brock with a knowing glare. “Straight home, man. I’m trusting you with something precious to me here.”
He tilts his head, rubbing his chin and studying me. “I can’t work out if you’re an idiot or you just don’t see it,” he says, pulling London snugly into his side. He looks to Cohen. “C’mon. You see it too, right?”
Cohen purses his lips and shrugs, not exactly denying it.
“What the fuck?” I ask.
He leans in and lowers his voice. “One date with this woman and I already know she’s someone special.”
I grind my teeth together so hard my jaw aches.
“And I don’t owe you anything, especially not after your friendly disposition tonight. But just so we’re crystal clear, this date stopped being a date when she told me she can’t get over her stupid crush on her best friend, and because I’m a nice guy, a good guy, and not the asshole you seem to think I am, I’ll give you some free advice. You’ve got a choice to make, and you’re gonna have to make it sooner rather than later.”
“Oh yeah? Enlighten me, wise one, who seems to know everything about my girl here.”
His eyes flash. “You can either open your eyes to what’s right in front of you and how good it could be, or you can let her go so she can get over you and find a man who’ll give her the world she desperately wants from you.”
Then, like he hasn’t just laid me out where I stand, he carefully turns London around and walks her down the sidewalk away from us, leaving me standing there wondering what the hell just happened.