But Gam wasn’t amused. Narrowing his eyes, the bastard scowled at me. “Why are you avoiding the question?”
I scratched my jaw and shrugged with clueless abandon. “What question? You didn’t ask a question.”
“Who gave you the black eye?” he asked slowly.
Just as slowly, I answered, “I’m not telling. It’s fucking embarrassing, man. Felt like I got slapped by a little girl.”
An incredulous sound gurgled from Brandt’s throat as he whipped around to frown his offence at me.
“Did Hamilton hit you again?” Gam asked with a sigh. “You hit on Zoey, didn’t you? That’s why you had to come over here tonight?”
I slapped a hand to my forehead and groaned. “Oh my fucking God. You are so clueless. Really?”
“What?” Gam demanded, clearly perturbed.
Shakespeare stood up suddenly, saying, “You know, Colton. I think it’s time for your bath.”
I wanted to point at her and tell her hubby, See, even she gets what’s going on here, but I glanced at the kid. “Dude, you still take baths?”
He blinked up at me. “Yeah. Why?”
“Why? Because showers are so awesome. They’re like a million little wet fingers massaging your entire body.”
“Wow.” Gam snorted out a laugh as he sent me a strange look. “Look who sounds all poetic tonight.”
I shrugged and hooked my thumb toward his wife. “It’s because of Shakespeare. Some of her literature shit is rubbing off on me.”
She tittered and grinned at Caroline. “I so love that nickname.”
Gam just sighed. When the phone rang, he pushed to his feet and left the kitchen to answer it. Aspen followed Colton from the room to help him get ready for bed, while Caroline hauled off and smacked Brandt in the arm. “Oh my God, did you hit Oren? In the eye?”
“What?” he hissed, ducking away from her. “You were crying. I thought he’d made you cry.”
“He did not make me cry.”
“Yeah, I figured that out already,” Brandt mumbled. “I’m sorry.”
Caroline smacked him again, but I lifted my hand. “Hey, hey, hey. Children, behave.” I lifted my gaze to Caroline. “If it makes you feel any better, the younger one hurt me more when he jacked me in the junk.”
“He...Colton racked you?”
When I nodded, she smiled softly. “Aww, that’s so sweet that he was looking out for me.”
“What do you think I was doing?” Brandt demanded, lifting his hands incredulously.
Caroline scowled and slapped him again. “I guess next time you should know to go for the nuts, too.”
“Whoa, hey.” I laughed uneasily. “Maybe you all should just leave this area of my anatomy alone completely.” I made a sweeping motion over my lap. “It’s off limits.”
Batting her eyelashes at me, Caroline asked, “Does that include me too?”
I was about to tell her she was the only person allowed in that zone when a scream echoed through the house. I flew out of my seat, prepared to see someone else passed out in the hallway. But when I plowed out of the kitchen, with Brandt and Caroline piling after me, I skidded to a shocked halt when I saw Shakespeare laughing and crying and hugging Gam.
“What the hell?”
“I got the job!” she screamed and let go of her husband to launch herself at me. When she hugged me hard, I stumbled back a step before catching her and hugging her back.
“Well, congratulations, Shakespeare.” I patted her back as I untangled myself and passed her to Brandt. “I knew you’d get it, though. You’re a kick-ass teacher.”
Tears glittered in her eyes as she smiled up at me and hugged the teen. “Really. You think so?”
“Hell, yes. I hate English, and I was actually acing your class before you had to leave.” I sent Gam a telling look for fucking up my grade. I’d ended the semester with a freaking B because of the boring-ass replacement they’d sent in for her.
He just scowled back, so I rolled my eyes and then smiled softly as I watched Shakespeare and Caroline hug and dance around. After the women let go of each other, she went back to embracing her husband. When they kissed, Caroline paused beside me.
“This probably isn’t the best time to have that talk with him, is it?” I said from the side of my mouth.
She sighed sadly and shook her head. “No. Probably not.”
My shoulders slumped. Fuck. I was going to have to wait even longer for my Caroline.