“Please, like you’d know,” Theresa scoffed.
“I heard they are mostly gay,” Bronwyn ventured.
“No way.” Alice looked disappointed by the very idea.
“We should do some research,” Bobbi mused, licking the salt off her margarita glass. “Find a stripper and ask him if he’s gay.”
“Where are we going to find a stripper?” Bronwyn asked, curious, more than a little tipsy.
“I know a place,” the very shy and straitlaced Theresa, of all people, volunteered.
“Stop it,” Lisa gasped, scandalized. “You do not!”
“I do,” Theresa maintained smugly. “I saw a documentary about it last week.”
“Well, what are we waiting for then?” Alice asked eagerly. “Let’s go find us some strippers!”
Bryce always positioned himself in a room that would get hit by any car headlights whenever he knew Bronwyn was going to be out late. That way he could be certain she was home safely before heading to bed. He would never be able to sleep if he knew she was still out. He always worried about whether she was safe when she was out late with her bunch of gal pals. Unfortunately the women were all quite adamant that security not be present at their gatherings, but the men had collectively agreed to always have at least one guy incognito and keeping an eye on them. Still, it didn’t prevent Bryce from getting stressed out every time it got a little too close to midnight on these girlie Saturdays. Right now it was after midnight and the responses he’d received to the frantic SMSes he’d sent to both Rick and Pierre—whose guy had security detail that night—had been pretty similar: Chill out bro, they’re fine and Relax! I’ve checked. There’s nothing to worry about. He supposed he would have to be content with that.
At long last, close to one in the morning, the headlights swept up the drive, and he leaped up from the sofa in the den and headed to the front door, fury mixed with the relief he felt.
Strangely enough the headlights were sweeping back down the drive just as he got to the front door, and he was still trying to figure out what that meant when the door swung open. His wife staggered, that was the only word he could think of to describe her movement, into the foyer. Her face lit up when she saw him, and he blinked in surprise until the fumes hit him.
“You’re drunk!” he accused in disbelief. That explained the headlights; she had probably come home by taxi. She said something that he didn’t quite catch, and he imagined that she was probably slurring her words. She held her hand up, thumb and forefinger an inch apart, and he shook his head. “More than a little, Bronwyn. Where the hell have you been?” She winced and rubbed her ears and spoke again, and he caught enough of her words to comprehend that he’d probably used a little too much volume on the question. He took a deep, calming breath like his speech therapist had taught him to and repeated the question in what he hoped was a quieter voice. It was always hard to judge when he was feeling this riled up.
“. . . With girls.”
He caught just the tail end of that, but it was enough.
“You’ve been out with ‘the girls’ before but never till nearly one in the morning,” he said, seething.
You’re not my dad! she signed sloppily before trying to weave her way past him. She lacked the necessary coordination though and instead walked right into him. Bryce grabbed her upper arms and steadied her. She smiled blindingly up at him before quite unexpectedly running her hands over his bare forearms and then up over his biceps. He was so distracted by her touch that for a second he didn’t know that she was speaking. Her eyes had glazed over with familiar desire, and she seemed to be talking more to herself than him. He tried to focus on her lips and not on his burgeoning erection, but it still took a few moments before any of what she was saying sank in.
“Stripper?” Okay, this time he knew he was bellowing. “What stripper?” To his utter disappointment, she stopped her seductive stroking of his skin and frowned up at him. She lifted one of her hands from his arm and raised a forefinger to her lips in the universal shushing gesture.
“What stripper?” he asked again, in what he knew was a whisper, and she rolled her eyes.
“Massive Marvin,” she informed him helpfully, but then removed her other hand from his overheated skin to say the rest in clumsy sign language. But he’s not that massive. You’re much bigger than he is . . . She paused thoughtfully while she ran her eyes over his body and then switched back to words. “Much bigger, all over!” Right. That last gesture was not exactly standard sign language but accompanied by the look she directed downward it was quite unmistakable and very flattering. He felt his face heating and his body hardening even more. He watched as her eyebrows sprang almost all the way to her hairline as she recognized what was happening to him. She raised her glassy eyes to his once more and licked her lips hungrily. God, he knew that look. She wanted him as much as he wanted her, but she was so drunk that he knew it would be wrong to act on their mutual need right then.
Sleeping with her while she was wasted was not part of his reconciliation plan. Okay, he still had no real idea what the hell his reconciliation plan was, but he was pretty sure that sleeping with her right now would not be the best first step.
“He’s gay,” she said. Her lips formed the words clearly enough, and he frowned in confusion at the non sequitur.
“What?” he asked. She was so bloody enchanting like this, but at the same time utterly confounding.
“Massive Marvin. He’s gay.”