The door to Summer's flat opened right as Nick was about to ring the buzzer.
A smile lit her face. "This is a nice surprise," she said as she kissed his cheeks, "but I'm on my way out."
He shook his head. "I need to talk to you."
"Can't it wait? I have an appointment to get a mani-pedi."
"I'll walk with you."
"Suit yourself." She hiked the luggage she called a purse higher onto her shoulder and wrapped a scarf around her neck.
"Isn't that Rosalind's scarf?"
Summer put a hand over it, as if she were afraid he was going to rip it away. "She gave it to me."
He shook his head, falling into step beside her. "What game are you playing here? It's psychopathic."
"Are you still seeing her?"
"Has she said anything to you about the will?"
"Summer." He raked a hand through his hair. "This has to stop."
"You don't like her?" His sister peered up at him closely. The moment of understanding dawned on her face. "You like her too much."
"And I despise lying to her." He took a deep breath and exhaled. "I think she might be it."
"The woman I want to spend the rest of my life with." He glanced at Summer. "I have feelings for her."
Her brow furrowed.
He smiled drily. "Tone down your enthusiasm, please."
She shook her head. "It's just I knew you were attracted to her, but I thought it was just lust."
"Oh, it is."
"Please." She covered her ears, then her eyes. "Now I can't get the image of you two being intimate out of my head."
"Watch out." He took her arm and steered her out of the way of an old woman.
"See what you've done?" She stopped suddenly in a doorway. "At least I'm here."
He looked through the window at the row of salon chairs and the women having their hands and feet buffed and polished.
"I'll talk to you later, Nick," Summer said as she walked in.
"I'm not done," he called after her. Were men allowed in the girly sanctum? He was about to find out.
He walked in after her and the place went silent. He smiled charmingly at all the women and joined Summer by a wall of nail polish. "I wasn't finished talking to you," he said softly.
"Can I help you?" a woman half his size asked.
Summer smiled at her. "Tran, I have an appointment for a manicure and pedicure."
The lady pointed at the first station. "Chair one."
"Thank you." His stepsister sashayed to her seat, kicked off her sandals, and sat down. Two women descended on her, taking charge of her hands and feet.
He followed her. "This isn't going to scare me off, you know."
"Unfortunately, I know," she murmured as she flipped through a fashion magazine. "You can't just stand here looming over me."
"Fine." He gestured to the empty chair next to Summer's. "I'll have one, too."
The little woman frowned at him. "Pedicure?"
"Yes, sure." He sat in the chair and pried his shoes off, stuffing his socks in them before rolling up his pants.
"This is a turn of events I never saw coming." Summer grinned at him. "Have you ever had a pedicure before?"
"Of course not."
Her grin widened. "You know I love you."
A different small woman came and filled the basin at his feet with water. He said hello to her as she pushed his feet in, before returning his attention to Summer. "I need to be the one to tell Rosalind the truth."
"You can't tell her the truth," she said. "If you do, then she's not going to want to see you again, and you need to help me find out about the will."
"No, if I wait to tell her the truth, she'll never want to see me again. If I tell her now, before-"
"Before you two shag." She nodded knowingly. "I guess it must happen."
Nick winced. "Tabitha should have washed your mouth out with soap more often."
She looked at him, her smile wistful. "Mum didn't like it when I cursed, did she?"
He squeezed her arm.
"But about you and Rosalind shagging."
"You should just do it. Maybe she'll tell you more. Pillow talk and all that."
He gaped at her. "Who are you? The sister I used to have was a sweet girl."
She leaned in, her eyes wide and earnest. "I just want to have a piece of my father to keep."
He thought she was assuming a lot to think he left her and Tabitha anything.
"I can see your pessimism, you know." She nodded at the woman who set a small tray of water by her hands and dipped her fingers in.
The woman lifted his foot and began tickling it.
He tried to maintain his manly dignity, but the way she scrubbed the bottom of his foot made him squirm uncomfortably. The woman knew it, too-she shot him a devilish grin.
"It's a conspiracy." He shook his head, and then gritted his teeth as she attacked his other foot. He relaxed when she finished, and frowned at his sister. "You could have warned me about that."
"What fun would that have been?"
"Color?" the small woman at his feet barked.
Summer held out something to her. "Use this."
Not sure what transpired, he stuck to his course. "I'm going to tell Rosalind, Summer."
"No." Summer grabbed his arm, dripping warm, foamy water on his coat. She ignored the protest from the woman who was doing her manicure, focusing on him. "Since you feel so bad, don't lie to her, but just don't tell her about me yet. I'll tell her myself when I see her next."
"When will that be?" he asked suspiciously.
"In a couple days. We're having tea. Again." She said it like she was bewildered.
He knew he was. "You've had tea together?"
She shrugged. "It was nothing."
But he suspected that wasn't true. He touched her hand, which was soaking again. "The sooner you're honest with her, the better off you'll be, too."
"You think so?"
"I know so."
She nodded thoughtfully, but she didn't look convinced.
The woman at his feet patted his leg. "All done."
He looked down. "I have pink toes."
Summer snickered and the woman who gave him the treatment looked entirely too jolly for his tastes.
His sister patted his arm. "Look at it like you're exploring your feminine side."