Two hours later, Claire found herself sitting on bleachers, wedged between a hollering Gabe and cheering Jess, wondering if she'd get more satisfaction from guzzling down the cold can of Diet Coke in her hand or if it would be better to press it directly between her breasts and slow the river of sweat that was trickling between them. She decided on the former, popped the can open and took a deep swig of the cool, fizzy beverage.
"Ohhhhhhhh!" Gabe yelled. "Did you see that? Lloyd crushed it!"
"Wooooooo!!!" Nate cheered. "Yeaaah Lloydsy!"
"Lloyd is the little brother of a guy we went to high school with." Gabe explained to Claire.
"Oh ya?" Claire said, not bothering to hide her disinterest. Maybe if she weren't baking the sun and surrounded by obnoxious fans, she'd have done a better job at hiding how cranky being forced to watch man-boys drive over cars with their souped-up beaters was making her. Obviously, finding the sound of buckling metal more alluring than her, Gabe seemed to be oblivious to the edge in her voice.
"Hey!" a voice yelled up from the ground. Claire looked over and saw a gorgeous woman standing by the bleachers trying to get their group's attention.
Claire saw Gabe's face light up and break into a huge smile when he spotted the woman. Fuck. Why did she agree to this? Of course, she couldn't blame Gabe for being happy to see this chick, she was a brunette version of Jessica Rabbit; tall and curvy. A goddam Glamazon. Claire told herself to play it cool and not be a jealous moron, but she couldn't stop her smile from becoming tight.
"Hey Ugly" the Jezebel said to Gabe.
"S'up Butt Face" Gabe said back.
What the hell? Claire thought to herself.
Gabe grabbed Claire's hand and led them through the crowded bleachers down to where the woman was waiting for them. Gabe put his arm around her shoulders and beamed at Claire before turning to the woman.
"Bridget, this is Claire." He said to the woman. "Claire, this is my little sister Bridget."
His sister! Claire felt like an idiot. Gabe had mentioned his sister was going to be there, she just hadn't pictured her like this. Between Bridget's height, beauty and adorable outfit the woman was a total knockout. She was even bold enough to wear fire engine red lipstick to a county fair. Claire liked her already.
"Nice to meet you." Claire said, putting out her hand for Bridget to shake.
Bridget appeared to be caught off guard by the overly formal gesture but quickly pulled it together and put forward a very scratched up hand.
"I know, my hands are a mess" Bridget said noticing Claire eyeball the marks "But don't judge me. It's not my fault - I wrestle shih tzus all day."
"She's a dog groomer." Gabe piped in.
"Sounds more fun than what I get to do." Claire said, thinking how much nicer it would be to cuddle with puppies rather than deal with Marv and crew.
"I'm sure sometimes it is. But it's not all puppy cuddles and kisses you know. Some people think that's what I do all day."
"Um... Oh of course not." Claire said.
"As much as I like to see my two favorite ladies getting along so well, we should claim our spot, I'm surprised it's still empty." Gabe said, bringing their introductory pleasantries to an end.
The trio walked past the row of bleachers over to a grassy hill. Unfortunately, Claire could still see the derby from this vantage point, but at least there was some shade.
"And now for our annual tradition." Bridget announced. She pulled a blanket from the oversized bag she was carrying and put it on the grass.
"I knew you'd come through little sister!" Gabe said as he settled himself onto the blanket.
"Because I always do." said Bridget.
"What's the tradition?" Claire asked.
The siblings looked at each other and laughed mischievously.
"It started in high school...." Said Gabe.
"The year after Gabe got caught smoking up." Bridget interrupted.
"Thanks for that Bridget. Anyways, our Mom was not happy that I was smoking weed at a family-friendly event."
"So I decided a smokeless option would be better." Bridget said. She pulled a tubberware out of her bag and opened the lid.
"Weed brownies!" Claire squealed.
"So you're down for our little tradition?" Gabe asked, even though her answer was obvious.
Hell to the yes, Claire was down! "I haven't gotten high in forever, but sure." Claire said as nonchalantly as she could, not wanting her companions to realize how eager she was to be put out of her misery.
If Bridget weren't his sister, Gabe would have kissed her for single-handedly resuscitating his date with Claire. Before the brownies, Claire was obviously bored and pissed - Gabe would've offered to leave had he thought his friends would let him get away with it, but the fair was a big deal in Schomberg and skipping out would be like telling his friends he didn't have time for them anymore.
Now, thanks to Bridget, Claire seemed to be enjoying herself - even if she was high out of her mind.
"Look at my eyebrow I can't put it down." Claire said through giggles, pointing to a raised eyebrow.
"Don't worry about it babe. It's a good look for you."
"She doesn't get high very often does she?" Bridget said laughing.
"No she's more of a drinker." Gabe explained. "Obviously." He added taking a look at Claire who was still figuring out how to work her eyebrow.
"Concentrate, you can do it!" Gabe teased.
"I can't feel it." Claire answered. "I can't feel my face when I'm with you." She then added breaking into song.
Gabe couldn't help but smile at her. Even high as a kite she was adorable. "How many brownies did you eat? That's definitely the first time I've heard you sing."
"I ammmm soooooooo hiiigggh!" Claire confirmed. Maybe the fair wasn't so bad after all.
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Love Like a Man - CHECK OUT THE REVISED VERSIONRomance
**This story was a top 55 SYTYCW15 Finalist!** Claire Warren felt like she had her life under control; she kicked ass at her job as an investment banker, had her own condo overlooking the City and spent her personal time knocking back G&T's at some...