Chapter 7

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Rather than sit through the tedious Sunday morning brunch—and end up driving back in late afternoon traffic with the rest of the weekend suburbanites—Phelps and I headed back to Manhattan first thing in the morning. He seemed to have gotten over whatever I said to set him off the night before and I was over my momentary fit of jealousy. The three hour drive passed quickly in pleasant conversation. When I pulled up in front of the Lower East Side tenement Phelps called home I felt like we had only just left Southampton.

He bounded from the car, grabbing his duffel from the back seat, and leaned back in the open window.

“You promise you’ll call,” he teased.

I smiled. “I think we have drinks scheduled Wednesday night at the Watering Hole.”

“I’m there,” he said, stepping back onto the sidewalk and shrugging the duffel onto his shoulder. “And Lydia—” He ducked down to peer in at me. “—I had a lot of fun this weekend.”

“Me too,” I replied. Yeah, me too.

With a sigh I waved and pulled out into the traffic on Avenue C. Who’d have thought I’d have so much fun with such an overbearing, arrogant underwear model?

Fiona. That’s who.

I grabbed my cell phone, dangling from the charger cable connecting it to the dash, and punched her speed dial. She picked up on the fourth ring, sounding groggy and gravelly. “Herro?”

And masculine.

“Fiona?”

“Jacque,” the man on her phone corrected. “Hold on.”

There was the sound of rustling sheets and a muffled “phone call” before Fiona got on the line. “Who is it?”

“Who’s Jacque?”

The other end of the phone sniffed and requested a cup of coffee. Strong coffee. “Hey Lyd. How was the Sailing Saga?”

“Summer Sail Away,” I corrected automatically. “It was actually pretty fun.”

“Good. Mmmm,” she moaned as her cup of coffee presumably arrived. After a very loud gulp, she said, “Phelps is hot, no?”

That sounded an awful lot like a dangerously sticky question. I deftly evaded answering. “Wanna meet for lunch?”

“Lunch, my God, what time is it?” Fiona had never been much of a morning person. More like an after-midnight person. “It’s only 11:30. Why are you calling me so early?”

“I just got into town.” I merged my baby onto Broadway and continued south. “I’ll be at your place in fifteen minutes. Get dressed. Bring Jacque if you like.”

“No thanks,” she grumbled. Fiona’s love life was like a box of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans—one night she might get Soap, the next Earwax, and the next Grass. But she kept trying them, one by one, hoping to fine that elusive Strawberries and Cream.

Clearly Jacque was something foul.

“Or don’t. But be ready or I’m coming up and dragging you out.”

“When’d you get so pushy,” Fiona whined.

“I’ve always been pushy. I hide it well.” Steering my way around City Hall Park, I made for the Brooklyn Bridge. “If you’re not ready, I’m inviting Jacque to the Sweet Spot on Friday.”

“God, I’ll be ready already.”

As she hung up her phone, she muttered something like “slave driver.” But I knew she would be waiting on the sidewalk when I arrived. I’d bet my entire collection of Conversation Hearts.

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