Only Forever

Page 68

“He’s filling in for Ellery. She has Willow tonight since Cole has to work,” Ashlyn says with a bat of her eyelashes.
Lilac glares at her sister. “One, I’m working with Cole on the community center project and know he doesn’t need to work tonight. Two, we don’t need someone to fill in for Ellery. We’re perfectly capable of winning the quiz without her.”
“What about sports questions?” Juniper asks.
Lilac huffs. “Ashlyn is our expert in sports. You’re our expert in all things related to animals and nature. And Aspen’s our expert in literature.”
“I’m quite good in geography and business questions,” I say.
“He’s already signed in,” Aspen cuts her off to say.
“Fine.” Lilac grabs a chair from the table behind her and attempts to slide it in between Juniper and Aspen’s chairs, but they refuse to make room for her.
“There’s an empty chair here.” Ashlyn points to the chair between the two of us.
Lilac flings the chair behind her, and it slams into a man.
“Who had Lilac hitting someone with a chair?” Sage shouts from her table beside the stage.
“I did!” Ashlyn yells and lifts her arms in victory.
“I’m sorry, Forest,” Lilac apologizes. “I behaved inappropriately, and my careless actions ended up with you hurt. Can I buy you a beverage in apology?”
She shifts her weight from side to side as heat creeps up her face. Fuck. I want to insinuate my way into her life, but I don’t want to embarrass her. I’ve been embarrassing her enough at work with how I’ve been behaving.
I stand, intent on leaving when I notice the man is wearing the smallest pair of Speedos I’ve ever seen.
“Why are you wearing Speedos?” I ask.
“Because we told him he couldn’t swing his dick in the breeze during the pub quiz,” Ashlyn answers on his behalf.
I choke on air and end up coughing. “What?”
“Tourists sometimes come to these events,” Lilac explains.
I’m still confused. “And the Speedos are for the tourists?”
“Forest is a nudist,” Juniper responds.
“Technically, he’s not,” Lilac corrects and Forest glowers at her. “It’s true. A nudist is a person who enjoys being entirely nude. You enjoy not wearing pants.”
“If everyone could take their seats, it’s time to get started,” the John Lennon-lookalike who checked me in says from the stage.
Lilac plops down in the chair next to me, and I decide to stick this thing out. She’ll calm down eventually. I hope.
“Betting is now closed,” Sage announces from her corner.
“Betting? What is everyone betting about?” I ask.
“Those women are the gossip gals.” She indicates the table where the elderly women are sitting.
I don’t tell her I met the women while I was cleaning out the gutters at her parents’ house. She was mad enough when I showed up at their house for Sunday dinner. She’ll lose her mind if she knows I was sucking up to her mom.
“And that’s Lennon,” she points to the MC.
“Lennon? As in John Lennon?” I can’t deny the name fits.