I started to tell Jodi no, that I wasn’t talking about Gam, but she went on. “Well, sorry, but Remy’s not into athletes. She likes musicians...and she already has one. So you just tell Mr. Hotshot Quarterback he’s shit out of luck.”
“Musicians, huh?” I glanced around for Hart, wishing he could hear the dirt I was gathering on his future bride and mother of his babies. But he still hadn’t returned from the back.
“Yep.” Jodi looked a little smug as she picked up the three drinks she’d ordered and slid off her barstool. “Her boyfriend’s the lead singer of a band.”
“Fascinating.” I focused my attention across the club until I spotted Remy in her black Incubus tee as she talked to her lead singer boyfriend. My lips quirked. Oh yeah, it would be nothing for Hart to steal her away from that loser if he really wanted her.
As Jodi started away, I was debating whether I should tell him about the intel I’d collected on his dream woman when Gamble moved to my side. “Struck out, huh?”
“What?” I glanced at him, my thoughts still distracted.
He tipped his head toward Jodi.
Realizing he thought I’d been hitting on her, I lifted my hands. “No. I wasn’t... No! Been there already, didn’t even do that, and have no urge to finish.”
Gam snorted. “Yeah, right. Whatever, loser.”
He strolled to the other end of the bar to take an order, and I frowned after him. Shit, he really thought I’d been chasing tail tonight. The ass. Gamble was getting on my nerves in more ways than one. Not only was he keeping me from being out and open with Caroline, but he wasn’t even noticing how much I’d changed and evolved lately.
The stupid blind fucker.
I almost didn’t approach him about Caroline after the bar closed as I’d been planning to do. But then I thought about how much I hated sneaking around. I wanted to be able to kiss her in public, or fuck, even just hold her hand whenever the desire struck. I was damn tired of keeping my distance.
This ended tonight.
“Hey.” I caught Gam’s arm as we all began to leave after cleaning the place up. “I need to talk to you for a second.”
He paused and came back around. “Sure thing. What’s up?” I stared at him a moment, not even sure how to say it. His eyes crinkled with concern. “You okay? What’s wrong? You look pale.”
I shook my head. “Nothing. I just...I want to say...”
Gam lifted his eyebrows. “Yeah?” His mouth fell open. “Shit, you are dying, aren’t you?”
“No!” I groaned and clasped my hands to my head. “No, no, no. That’s not it at all. I just want to ask Caroline out.”
I blurted the last line, Band-Aid fast, and wow. Immediately, I felt better. Months of guilt and worry just oozed off my shoulders.
But Gam blinked at me as if I’d spoken a foreign language.
Frowning slightly, I added, “On a date,” for clarification, because from the look on his face, I could tell he clearly needed some clarification.
He shook his head, then cracked a grin and pointed at me. “Yeah, right. You’re hilarious.”
Oh God. Really? “I’m not joking.”
His smile died. He shook his head again, suddenly confused. “But...you have a thing for Hamilton’s woman.”
“No.” I shook my head. “I told you—every fucking time you suggested that—that I do not have a thing for Hamilton’s woman. I want...to date...Caroline.”
“And I’ve told you—every fucking time you ever looked at her—no. That’s not going to happen.”
I stared at him, not sure what to say to that. For some insane reason, I hadn’t expected an immediate rejection. I had thought coming to him openly and honestly would shock him into at least considering it. But this...I hadn’t planned for this.
Why hadn’t I planned for this? He really had told me to stay away from her a million and one times. Why had I thought he’d change his mind if I was suddenly serious?
“Well...” I floundered a moment, with no idea what to say, because I wasn’t about to give up. I couldn’t give up. I wasn’t going to stop seeing her, end of story. “I’m sorry, man, but that wasn’t a question.” Though, okay. Yes, it had been. I’d been asking for his approval and his blessing.
Why the fuck hadn’t he just given me his goddamn blessing?
“I am going to ask her out,” I finished, my voice full of conviction.
But my best friend on earth—the fucker—merely said, “No. You’re not.”