“Oh, there are things,” Jules replies smugly. “I’ve seen the way you look at her.”
I frown, but before I can reply, Natalie says, “And we know you’ve asked her out.”
“Which she’s declined,” I reply.
Why doesn’t everyone understand that no means no?
“I was taught to politely retreat when a lady says no,” I say and sip my wine.
“But you only asked her out for, what, dinner?” Jules asks, clearly confused.
“Yes, I believe I asked her to dinner. Three times.” I cringe and shake my head. “A man can only take so much rejection from one woman.”
“But what else did you do?” Natalie asks.
I pause and frown at her. “What do you mean?”
“What did you do to show her that it wasn’t just a matter of wanting to get in her pants?”
What am I missing?
“Dinner doesn’t necessarily mean get in her pants.”
“Sure it does,” Jules says with a wave of her hand.
“For example,” Natalie continues, “back in the day, Luke would have my coffee delivered to me. He still does sometimes.”
“Oh, and remember when he left all those flowers on our front porch after he screwed up that time?” Jules says with a laugh.
“Yep,” Nat says with a smile.
“For me, it was the chocolate cheesecake,” Jules says. “Nate always had chocolate cheesecake in his apartment—our apartment now—because he knew I loved it.”
“Really? Coffee and cheesecake were the ways to your hearts?” I laugh, but Jules punches me in the shoulder. “Ow!”
“You’re not listening! It’s not about the coffee and the cheesecake.”
“It’s the fact that they paid attention to the little things,” Natalie agrees. “They didn’t just say, ‘Hey, baby, wanna go to dinner and then go to my place and fuck like rabbits?’”
“Even though we totally fuck like rabbits,” Jules adds.
“They showed us that they were interested in us.”
“And this worked for you.” My voice is full of sarcasm, but what they say makes sense. All I’ve done is ask Alecia out when we were both at a family function, usually while she was working. I’ve never taken the time to make an effort.
Not that I’ll admit that to these two.
“So, what are you going to do?” Natalie asks.
“Who says I’m going to do anything?”
Jules punches me in the arm again.
“Do that again, sorellina, and I’ll take you over my knee.”
“Don’t think you can charm me with your fancy Italian words,” Jules replies, clearly not afraid of me.
“But what did you say?” Nat asks, leaning toward me. It makes me laugh that whenever I use Italian words they want to know what they mean.
“I said little sister.”
“Aww,” Nat says. “I love that.”
“Yeah, yeah, it’s sweet,” Jules says impatiently. “But what are you going to do?”
“I’m going to pay for lunch and go home.”
“We’ve failed you,” Jules says, and her lip quivers as if she’s going to cry.
She’s not fooling me.
I laugh as the waitress delivers our sandwiches and Jules wipes imaginary tears off her perfectly dry cheeks.
“Do the other brothers fall for that?”
“They did when we were kids,” she replies and grins as she pops a French fry in her mouth. “I used to produce real tears too.”
“We just want you to be happy,” Natalie says. “Honestly, we do. We love you.”
“And we love Alecia. We see how you look at each other.” Jules, perfectly serious now, cups my face in her hand. “Give it some thought. Alecia isn’t the kind of girl you can just ask out for dinner while she’s working a baby shower.”
Natalie slides a card across the table at me with a small smile. “Just in case you need her phone number and address.” She winks and exchanges a look with Jules.
“She puts her address on her business cards?” I scowl down at the card. If so, she and I are going to have a talk.
“No, I wrote it on the back,” Nat replies.
“So, do you like the Mariners?” Jules asks.
“Changing the subject now, are we?”
They both grin while chewing their food.
“Yes, I like the Mariners.”
“Good. We’re all going to a game in a few weeks.”
“Yep,” Jules replies. “Adult night out. No kids.”
“You should invite Alecia.” Natalie suggests. “How do I say big brother in Italian?”
Dio, they make me smile.
She smiles and repeats it back, butchering it, but I don’t care.
Nothing ever sounded so sweet.
I drove all the way home and paced around my office for an hour before leaving again, plugging Alecia’s address into the GPS and heading toward her place, making a stop on the way. With the horrendous Friday traffic, it takes me two hours to reach Ruston Way, the street she lives on. She lives on the water with an incredible view of the Puget Sound and Mount Rainer, with miles and miles of walking paths that meander past restaurants and piers leading to her building.
I park and sit for a moment, second-guessing this decision. But I can’t shake the look in her eyes right before she left Blake’s office today, or the knowledge that she had a shitty day.
She had a headache.
It may not be welcome, but I’d like to help her feel better.
When I reach her door, I ring her doorbell and wait. Just when I’m beginning to think she’s not home yet, her door opens and she frowns up at me, confusion filling her amazing brown eyes.
“Natalie gave me your address,” I reply softly. She shed her suit jacket and heels, but she’s still in her skirt. Her white blouse is tucked into it, molded around her full breasts and showing off her small waist and round hips.
My cock stirs in my trousers, but I take a deep breath and focus on the task at hand.
“How are you feeling?”
“Oh, I’m fine—” she begins, but she winces and presses two fingers to her temple. The headache is still hurting her. “I have a bitch of a headache,” she admits.
“I have provisions.” I hold up the bag in my hand and offer her a smile.