“Because she’s a baby.” Josie snorted. “But don’t worry Alex just stripped his shirt off and latched her on.”
“Ha ha.” Even that cut through Laura’s malaise.
“I swear the man would lactate if he could,” Josie joked.
“You like the whole domestic thing?” Laura wasn’t surprised. She knew Josie had it in her.
“I like the baby thing more than I want Alex to know. Yet.”
“OK. Shhhh. I won’t spill your secrets.”
“Touché. I’m sorry.”
“So why did you call?” Now Laura was flushed and mussed, confused and overwhelmed.
“We couldn’t remember whether you said to use the butt cream on her rash or to just let it air out.”
“You called me for that?” Laura said through gritted teeth.
“The way you gave us instructions made it seem like we’d have nuclear bombs shoved up our asses and your foot would trigger the explosion if we didn’t do exactly what you said,” Josie replied in a sing-songy voice.
“Is Jillian awake?”
“No. But your angry voice made her stir.”
“Air first. Butt cream second.”
Silence. But Josie didn’t hang up.
“Yes.” Pause. A quiet, softer side of Josie came out in her words. “Laura, what are you doing to those guys? But most of all, to yourself, honey?” Josie didn’t use words like “honey.” That was the second time in one conversation. Either her niece, Darla, was rubbing off on her or Laura was in worse shape than she ever possibly realized.
More tears. “You’re the one who called,” she sniffed.
“And you’re—what? Sitting in the bathroom talking to me?”
“How could you tell?”
Laura looked around the bathroom and laughed. “I don’t know what I’m doing, Josie. It’s not that I don’t want Mike and Dylan. It’s just that—” she choked on her next words, but forced them out anyhow—“what if they don’t want me?”
“Why wouldn’t they?” Josie whispered. “According to both of them, they’re slobbering all over themselves to get you in bed, but you’re not interested.”
Gah. Even more tears. “Because…” Her mind rushed with excuses and reasons why she wasn’t interested, and then—like a wrist flicking away a gnat—she shooed her own flimsy rationalizations away. “Because I don’t know. Because I don’t feel desirable.”
“Maybe you should just fake it.”
“Fake it?” Fake what? An orgasm? No need to do that—they were plentiful when the mood struck and she was really into sex.
“Make it ’til you fake it. Wait. No—got that backwards,” Josie chuckled. “Basically, be willing to start having sex and see whether your interest catches up.”
“You mean pretend I want something I don’t?” Laura could hear her own voice go flat.
“I mean be willing. Show up for your own sex life. The guys are there with a fucking 20-foot billboard that says “Make Love to Us” and hard-ons the size of tree trunks, all pointed at you! Be willing to touch them and let them touch you, Laura. Just start with that. Don’t overthink it.”
Don’t overthink it. “Easy for you to say.”
“No, it’s not.”
“You have the libido of a seventeen year old boy.”
Josie didn’t argue. “I had to get over myself, though, to let Alex love me and to love him back,” Josie reminded her.
“You think I’m the same way with sex? Because I am so not as fucked up in my sex life as you are in your emotional life.”
“Nothing has to be ‘fair and balanced,’ here,” Josie huffed. “This isn’t Fox News.”
They both laughed. “Now get off the phone and go get into a mess of six arms and legs and tongues—”
“You know what I meant. Go get dirty, Laura. Have raunchy, awesome, mind-blowing sex with the fathers of your baby. Enjoy yourself. Alex and I have Jillian and we sure as hell won’t be having any sex tonight, so go be the ones getting some for once.” Click. Josie ended the call, leaving Laura no choice. Only a best friend could do that.
Leave you to your own devices at the exact moment when you just want to be an ostrich and pretend you don’t need to deal with real life.
Laura loved her and hated her for it.
“Laura?” Mike called out from the living room.
Josie was right. It was time to show up. Catching a glimpse of herself in the full-length mirror on the back of the door, she gasped—and then stopped. The mental torture dissipated. This was silly.
And the whole mascara-raccoon look really didn’t do it for her. Giggling (and enjoying the sound from her), she wiped her eyes, splashed some cold water on her face, and used the magic of the lavender-infused tissues to clean herself up. A deep, shaky breath or two and she opened the door, walking toward the bed, and looked up to find:
Dylan and Mike, completely naked, stretched out on the bed. Mike dangled a pair of handcuffs from one finger, while Dylan held a large champagne flute in his hand, stretched out for her to take.
“Subtle,” she said, taking the drink. She downed it in one huge gulp.
“That’s Taittinger—” Mike protested as Dylan interrupted him with a dark look.
Laura couldn’t stop herself from laughing at the scene. Mike’s long, tan, taut legs didn’t even come to the end of the enormous bed, his erection standing proud, making Laura feel a prickly heat flow through her as her eyes took him in greedily. As if that weren’t enough, Dylan lounged on the bed like a model in the middle of a shoot, one knee up, the other stretched out, his own massive cock at attention, as if it were the focal piece for a photograph.
In her mind, it was.
And between them, a space just right for her. Instead of climbing into the bed and over one of the guys, she started from the base and crawled up, her eyes shifting from one man to the other, their bodies and coloring so starkly different yet blazingly rich. Tall, blonde Mike and thick, muscled Dylan, with his swarthy complexion and riveting eyes. Both made her smolder, and both made her see that all her fears were baseless, her insecurities an old relic left over from a time when she hadn’t felt loved enough.