“Well, damn, you didn’t have to be such a bitch about it. I was just looking out for you, Care.” With a huff, Blaze shoved her chair back and hopped to her feet. “I don’t have to take this from you.” Arching her chin up, she pulled her shoulders back and pushed her chest forward. “Only a girl who can’t get a guy would say that, anyway. You’re both losers.”
As she flounced off, I snorted. Good riddance. I turned to Zoey to apologize for letting Blaze sit with us in the first place, but she was already sending me a regretful wince as she bit her lip. “I’m sorry, Caroline.”
I blinked. “You’re sorry? About what? She was the one who insulted you.”
“But she insulted you too, and I said nothing. If I was just a little more outgoing or—”
Reaching across the table, I clasped her hand. “Zo, you are perfect just the way you are. And I don’t want you to change a thing. Besides, how can you listen to a word she said, about you or me? She’s headed over to hit on your man as we speak.”
“She’s what?” Zoey twisted in her seat to watch as Blaze boldly approached both Asher and Quinn, but Quinn was the one she turned to. She moved in close enough to brush up against his arm as she sent him a flirty smile.
Bouncing in her seat, Zoey clapped happily. “Oh, this should be fun to watch. I hope he’s really cold and rude when he rejects her.”
I shook my head, amused. Ninety percent of the women I knew would turn jealous and insecure when another woman hit on her boyfriend and end up blaming him, but not Zoey. She was completely confident about her relationship with her man, and she knew Quinn would never cheat...which only made me feel worse about my own pathetic relationship status.
Without my consent, my gaze strayed to another part of the bar where one dark-headed guy flirted with four—not one, or two, or even three, but four—women at once. He’d looped his arms around two of their waists while he said something to the other pair in front of him. When the two girls in front of him moved together and began kissing, he hooted in approval as if he’d asked them to do it and was pleased about getting his wish granted.
The sleaze ball.
I rolled my eyes and tore my attention away before I puked. Oren Tenning was the epitome of the male chauvinist pig. Every word to spew from his mouth was laced with all his crude, promiscuous thoughts. I wanted to hate everything about him with every fiber of my being, except he stirred each molecule in me into wanting to pounce and take him instead.
Humiliated that I’d actually tried to kiss him a few months ago, and even more humiliated that he’d stopped me—twice—I clenched my teeth. He and his harem were the very reason I was so pissy this evening.
But seriously, four women? Was that not a bit excessive?
I would almost swear he went out of his way to make himself look like the biggest man-whore asshole on the planet whenever I was around just to keep me away from him. But then, that was probably wishful, presumptuous thinking on my part. I’d worked out some big romantic plot in my head where he was desperately in love with me but he had to stay away because his best friend—my overprotective big brother—would kill him for even looking at me wrong, thus he went to ridiculous lengths to make me disapprove of him. If I hated him and stayed away, he wouldn’t feel so tempted into falling for my wonderful self.
Yeah, I only wished that were the case. In reality, he probably didn’t even know I was in the building and his only passing thought of me was that he had to be nice to me or my brother would lob off his dick with a butter knife.
My shoulders slumped. God, my life sucked. Maybe Blaze had been onto something when she said I needed to live a little. Because really, it had almost been a year since I’d stepped out of my comfort zone. I didn’t agree that I needed a man to make myself something, but Zoey seemed more fulfilled to have a special someone to share everything with her. And since Noel had met Aspen, there was something different about him, as if her presence settled a restless part of him. Having one certain someone around to talk to might not be so bad, someone to hang out with, to tell secrets to and lean on when I needed support, someone to support when he needed a boost. That didn’t sound bad at all.
So why wasn’t I getting back on that horse and trying out the dating scene to find that kind of companionship? Maybe because the last time I’d searched for that in a guy, it ruined me. Maybe I was letting myself obsess over Oren because unconsciously I knew I could never have him. I could safely pine for him without putting my heart at risk...again.