PART TWO - Chapter 32

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ZACH

I couldn't believe my eyes. Standing in the hallway outside the apartment was Brett, wearing a huge grin and carrying a giant duffle bag slung over his shoulder. "Surprise!" he said, then pulled back a little and studied me. "You gonna let me in?"

"Oh, shit. Yeah, sorry." I pulled the door open wider and stepped back into the living room. "I'm just shocked to see you. Really, what are you doing here?"

He looked at me like I'd lost it. "You told me I should come and visit."

Yeah, but I didn't tell you to just show up without calling, I almost blurted, then shook it off. Brett was here and, irritation aside, it was good to see him. Shaking my head, I pulled him into a back-slapping bear hug. "It's been too long, man. How are you?"

Before he could answer, I heard Emma's voice behind me. "Is that Brett?" She sounded a little relieved, a little happy, and a lot surprised.

"Yeah," I said, turning to face her. "I didn't know he was coming."

"Bullshit," Brett murmured under his breath. "You told me to come."

"Sometime. I told you to come sometime." I flashed him the 'shut up now' look, the one only a best friend understood, and he smiled and gave me a little salute.

"It's so good to see you," Emma said as she rushed forward for her hug. "I'm not sure where we'll put you—you've got a foot or two on our love seat, but it's all yours," she said.

Brett chuckled. "No worries. I was Tindering in the cab from the airport, and I already have a couple of options." He gave a knowing wink. "I just wanted to stop by and let you guys know I was in town in case you want to party."

"Tindering?" Emma said. "Seriously?"

"It's the perfect travel option." Brett grinned proudly. "It'll work way better in New York than in Minnesota. I get a hot date for the night, and that turns into a place to stay and maybe even breakfast in bed the next morning. I think it's brilliant."

Emma shook her head, and the stunned, slightly disgusted look on her face told me I'd better do something, and fast. "This, my dear, is why Brett isn't in a serious relationship," I said, moving close and putting my arm around her.

"You guys are going to have to catch up without me," she said, at least smiling now. "I have a long day tomorrow and I need to get some sleep." She pushed up on her tiptoes to kiss my cheek, then went to do the same to Brett.

"Night, Emma," he said.

As she walked by me, I grabbed her and leaned in to whisper in her ear. "I'm sorry we didn't get to finish our night property. I promise I'll make it up to you." I kissed her, good and long, like Brett wasn't even in the room. She still wore a smile on her face as she shut the bedroom door.

***

ZACH

Since Brett and I weren't exactly great at being quiet, we ended up in a dive bar down the street. "I can't believe you're here," I told him as I tried to flag down the bartender. "It's really good to see you."

"You too, man. Sorry if I got the timing wrong. I could have sworn you were saying I should come as soon as I could." He clapped me on the shoulder. "Please tell me I didn't hear you wrong about those Giants' tickets, though."

I chuckled. Same old Brett. "I've got them. We'll catch a game for sure."

"Cool. So, how's life? And how's Genie? It's so weird that I don't see either of you anymore."

My shoulders sagged a little. I was so tired of the Genie and Paul problem. "Genie's fine, I guess. But she's not exactly making the best choices, these days."

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