I exploded, throwing my hands into the air. “What the fuck, Gam? You can’t just say no like that. She’s nineteen years old. She can make her own decision.”
“So then you’re just going to sneak her around behind my back?”
“No.” I growled and fisted my hands before pressing them to my temples. “That’s why I’m talking to you right now, giving you a heads up and trying to do the right goddamn thing.”
“The right goddamn thing would be to leave her alone and just stay away.”
I worked my teeth over my bottom lip and shook my head because that idea wasn’t even an option. “Why do you have such a big fucking problem with me asking her out?”
With a short laugh, Gam pointed at me. “Because I know you. And you don’t deserve to have anything to do with her.”
Okay, that stung. Noel Gamble, the one guy who’d had my back for four years, and even he didn’t think I was worthy. Ye-ouch.
“Thanks. Thanks a lot.” I took a step back to draw in a breath and recover from the sting.
Obviously assuming our little talk was over, Gamble turned away to leave.
Panicking, because this was my one and only shot to get him to comply to my wishes, I called after him. “Haven’t you noticed any change in me lately?”
Gam paused and turned back at me. He cocked his head to the side, obviously confused.
I lifted my hands, offended when he didn’t answer. “I don’t go out fucking partying and drinking every other night, I don’t flirt with every piece of ass to cross my path, I don’t...fuck! I haven’t has sex with anyone since...” I racked my brain, wondering who I’d last had before Caroline, when I remembered. “Midnight Visitor.”
But that name only made Gam snort and cross his arms over his chest. “Who you still send dirty text messages.”
I ground my teeth and started to answer, but he lifted his hand to stop me. “And don’t try to pull that abstinent bullshit on me. I’ve seen you stroll into work a lot lately, wearing your smug, just-had-sex grin. I know you’re still getting plenty of pussy.”
I blinked, stunned. “I don’t have a just-had-sex grin.”
When I glanced over to find Hart had stuck around to oversee my conversation with Gamble, he shrugged and sent me a sheepish nod. “Yeah, you kind of do.”
“Shit.” I ran my hand through my hair, feeling my handhold on the moment slip even further.
Gam lifted his brows as if he expected me to give up the fight.
A weary sigh claimed me. I glanced up at the rows of alcohol lining the wall, and then I focused on him again. “As your friend,” I said, “I’m giving you a heads-up. I’m going to date her.”
With that said, I turned away to leave, but my so-called best friend said, “If you even attempt to ask her out, I’m telling her everything.”
I snorted out a strange, confused laugh and swung back around. “I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. Everything about what?”
“Everything about you. About every single woman you ever fucked. Every woman you disrespected, mistreated and then pissed off.” His ice blue eyes were hard as he sent me an evil leer. “I mean, you did describe them all to me...in detail, didn’t you? I think I remember a decent amount of them. Starting with that pissed-off redhead who came up to the bar tonight and cussed you out.”
Panic swamped me. I wasn’t sure if I was going to upchuck or break down crying. But the thought of Caroline hearing about every sexual escapade I’d ever had sent me into a cold sweat. It would hurt her; it would really fucking hurt her. I couldn’t handle her being hurt.
“You’re a fucking asshole,” I growled.
Gamble spread his arms and gave a hard laugh. “Hey, you’re the one threatening to mess with my sister. You started this.”
I lifted my eyebrows. “Then I guess it’s on.” I turned away and strode for the exit.
“Hey,” he called after me, his voice hard. “Don’t take this as some kind of challenge. Caroline is not some prize to be won just to piss me off. You touch her, and I will execute you.”
I didn’t even entertain him with a response. I just kept storming for the door.
“Ten!” he roared. “Are you listening to me, you little fucker? Don’t hurt my sister.”
I’d cut off my own balls before hurting his sister. But I didn’t bother to explain that to him.
I shoved my way out of the empty nightclub, pissed and scared, and just fucking worried out of my mind. Not only had my plan failed epically to gently wade him into the idea of me and Caroline together, but now I’d alerted him to my interest. We wouldn’t be able to sneak around behind his back the same way anymore. He’d always be watching and probably turn into a suspicious jackass. A strain was going to grow between Caroline and me, and everything we’d worked these last few months to build together was about to be put through the ultimate test.