Isn’t this the weekend of Xander Eckhart’s party?”
“Yes.” Jordan held her breath in a silent plea. Don’t ask if I’m bringing anyone. Don’t ask if I’m bringing anyone.
“So are you bringing anyone?” Melinda asked.
Having realized there was a distinct possibility the subject would come up, Jordan had spent some time running through potential answers to this very question. She had decided that being casual was the best approach. “Oh, there’s this guy I met a few days ago, and I was thinking about asking him.” She shrugged. “Or maybe I’ll just go by myself, who knows.”
Melinda put down her forkful of gnocchi, zoning in on this like a heat-seeking missile to its target. “What guy you met a few days ago? And why is this the first we’re hearing of him?”
“Because I just met him a few days ago.”
Corinne rubbed her hands together, eager for the details. “So? Tell us. How’d you meet him?”
“What does he do?” Melinda asked.
“Nice, Melinda. You’re so shallow.” Corinne turned back to Jordan. “Is he hot?”
Of course, Jordan had known there would be questions. The three of them had been friends since college and still saw each other regularly despite busy schedules, and this was what they did. Before Corinne had gotten married, they talked about her now-husband, Charles. The same was true of Melinda and her soon-to-be-fiancé, Pete. So Jordan knew that she, in turn, was expected to give up the goods in similar circumstances. But she also knew that she really didn’t want to lie to her friends.
With that in mind, she’d come up with a backup plan in the event the conversation went this way. Having no choice, she resorted to the strategy she had used in sticky situations ever since she was five years old, when she’d set her Western Barbie’s hair on fire while trying to give her a suntan on the family-room lamp.
Blame it on Kyle.
I’d like to thank the Academy . . . “Sure, I’ll tell you all about this new guy. We met the other day and he’s . . . um . . .” She paused, then ran her hands through her hair and exhaled dramatically. “Sorry. Do you mind if we talk about this later? After seeing Kyle today with the bruise on his face, I feel guilty rattling on about Xander’s party. Like I’m not taking my brother’s incarceration seriously enough.” She bit her lip, feeling guilty about the lie. So sorry, girls. But this has to stay my secret for now.
Her diversion worked like a charm. Perhaps one of the few benefits of having a convicted felon of a brother known as the Twitter Terrorist was that she would never lack for non sequiturs in extracting herself from unwanted conversation.
Corinne reached out and squeezed her hand. “No one has stood by Kyle’s side more than you, Jordan. But we understand. We can talk about this some other time. And try not to worry—Kyle can handle himself. He’s a big boy.”
“Oh, he definitely is that,” Melinda said with a gleam in her eye.
Jordan smiled. “Thanks, Corinne.” She turned to Melinda, thoroughly skeeved out. “And, eww—Kyle?”
Melinda shrugged matter-of-factly. “To you, he’s your brother. But to the rest of the female population, he has a certain appeal. I’ll leave it at that.”
“He used to fart in our Mr. Turtle pool and call it a ‘Jacuzzi.’ How’s that for appeal?”
“Ah . . . the lifestyles of the rich and famous,” Corinne said with a grin.
“And on that note, my secret fantasies about Kyle Rhodes now thoroughly destroyed, I move that we put a temporary hold on any further discussions related to the less fair of the sexes,” Melinda said.
“I second that,” Jordan said, and the three women clinked their glasses in agreement