The minute they rolled into the fueling bay, Emily knew she never should have brought Sheryn along. But the gas tank hovered near empty, and the two of them were on their way to a showing at the new Springloft apartment complex, and Sheryn needed the training. Emily cursed under her breath as she stopped near the pumps and Sheryn started bobbing and weaving to peer out the windows.
“Oh, shit, I see what you mean,” Sheryn enthused, squinting her eyes as the attendant came toward the car.
“Well, don’t say anything, or I’ll throttle you.”
“Can I pant?”
“Shut up,” she hissed through clenched teeth.
His body moved inside his uniform like a well-oiled machine, all ridges and curves and hard planes of muscle that should be illegal. He leaned down at Emily’s open window and gave one of his most charming smiles. She resisted the urge to say or do something rash.
“What can I help you ladies with today?”
“Oh…” Sheryn began.
“I need gas,” Emily quickly interrupted. “And my windshield keeps streaking.”
“We can take care of that,” he said confidently. “Fill it up?”
“Oh. My. God,” Sheryn whispered.
Emily threw her a hate glare. “Yes, please.”
He held his head at a cocky angle as he walked around to the gas cap. Emily waited, completely distracted. A tapping sound on the back window. He pointed, reminding her to flip the opener.
“Damn,” she muttered.
“You should just ask him,” Sheryn said. “What the hell? Just quit thinking about it and ask him. I sure as hell would. God, look at that.”
He had gathered paper towels and a spray bottle and leaned across the hood to scrub the windshield. Muscle and veins corded his forearms and hands. Emily felt faint.
“I’m going to ask him,” Sheryn continued.
“Don’t you fucking dare.”
“Seriously? Do you have some kind of claim?”
“No, but if you’re going to get in the middle of this, it better be when I’m not around.”
“Then ask him. Or I’ll ask him for you.”
“No, absolutely not.” Emily resisted the urge to punch her dear friend.
“I am. Seriously.”
“Okay, you asked for it.” Sheryn rolled her window down.
“Sheryn!” she hissed. “Stop!”
“Okay, I’ll say something.”
“Not just ‘something,’ ask him out.”
He grinned from the front of the car and it crossed Emily’s mind that somehow he was hearing all this, that maybe the heat vents channeled their voices out through the front and he heard every word. She broke out in a sweat.
“Damn it, Sheryn, I’m never taking you with me again. Anywhere.”
“Am I fired?” Sheryn grinned. “His name is Chris, right?” She leaned her face to the window. “Chris?”
He came around from the pump, wiping his hands.
“Damn you,” Emily cursed, imagining kicking her—literally—out the door.
He leaned into Sheryn’s window. “Did you need something else?”
“Emily wants to ask you something.”
The bitch smirked and gave Emily a thumbs-up as he came around to the driver’s side. Her heart drummed in her ears. All the times she had thought of doing this very thing, all the clever come-ons, flirts, seductive glances, and none of it, absolutely not one shred, remained within the reach of her mind.
“What do you need?” he asked.
Oh fucking damn. “I need…”
“I’ll say it if you don’t,” Sheryl mumbled under her breath.
“I wondered what you were doing after work,” she said in a rush.
He straightened. Emily knew it. This was where he laughed in her face and told her to get a life, lady. Something like that.
“Whatever you’re doing,” he said.
Her head snapped up. Did he really say that? His muddy green eyes watched her like she would say something else. She had nothing to say. Actually couldn’t talk. Since when did she revert to thirteen? She considered just driving off without paying and never coming back.
“Okay,” she managed in a hoarse voice.
“I get off at four,” he said. “And the gas is forty-three dollars.”
She handed him the debit card and watched him walk inside. Her hands gripped the steering wheel so hard it hurt. She didn’t look at Sheryn. “I could kill you.”
“Oh, get over it. You’ve got a date now. How bad is that?”
“You’re a meddling bitch, and not my friend, and when this blows up on me, I’m going to kill myself right after I kill you.”
Sheryn was still laughing hysterically as they drove away.
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