Only With You(8)

By: Lauren Layne

A career as a waitress was fine.

A career as an aging sorority girl in thigh-high boots and with no goals? Not so much.

So…she’d quit.

“You need money?” Will asked quietly.

Sophie melted just a little at the support in his familiar blue eyes. She did need money. “Savings account” had not exactly been her middle name over the past few years. But she wouldn’t take it from Will. She’d just have to find a job. A respectable one. ASAP.

“Not taking your money,” she said with a wave of her hand. “But I don’t suppose you’d want to hire me?”

Will gave an apologetic grin. “Uh-uh. You know how I roll. No employees, no overhead.”

“I know, I know,” she grumbled. Will was a wildly successful entrepreneur, but he operated completely on his own. Being a boss wasn’t in the cards for him.

“Sophie, don’t slouch,” her mother scolded, returning to the kitchen. “Men don’t find poor posture attractive.”

“What do they find attractive, Mom?” Sophie propped her chin on her hands and pretended to look fascinated. “I mean other than Mary Janes, corsets, homemade jam, and the ability to sew dust ruffles.”

“What’s a dust ruffle?” Will asked.

Marnie hesitated, clearly torn between wanting to explain dust ruffles to her favorite pseudo-son, or lecture her least-favorite daughter about being single.

Since Sophie was related by blood, she got the short end of the stick.

“Honestly, Sophie,” her mother said with a sniff. “When will you learn that the marrying kind of men aren’t going to be attracted to your caustic humor and…”

“And what, Mom? I’m learning so much tonight!” Sophie said as her mother broke off and began furiously chopping a cucumber. “What else won’t men be attracted to? My foul mouth? Big hair? Lack of savings account? The fact that I don’t have a dust ruffle?”

“Dust ruffle,” Will muttered around a crouton, still sounding mystified. “I’ve gotta look that up.” He pulled out his phone and started typing.

“Sophie, I don’t want to fight,” her mother said with a long sigh. “You know I do my best not to pester…”

Will snorted.

“…but sometimes I just don’t understand your choices. For example, what are you wearing? Did you intentionally pull out your oldest clothes for our nice family dinner?”

“Let me know when the ‘nice’ part starts,” Sophie muttered as she dug her finger into the hole in her jeans.

“I think Sophie looks great,” Will said loyally. “Some men like the unfussy look.”

Marnie perked up slightly at the prospect of Will finding Sophie attractive. It was her lifelong mission to see Sophie married off to her oldest friend. And Marnie was impervious to Sophie’s constant assurances that she and Will were so never going to happen. Ever.

Not that they hadn’t tried way back when.

On paper, Sophie and Will should have had the typical high school puppy-love story. He’d been the cocky, senior football star. His perfectly messy hair and blue eyes had sent many a teenage girl’s virtue out the window.

As for Sophie’s part, she’d been the dewy underclassman princess who’d blossomed over the summer, getting boobs and highlights. (To this day, she wasn’t sure which she was more grateful for.)

Dating had seemed like a logical step, and it had been mutually beneficial. Will had gotten obligatory high fives for “nailing” the newest cheerleading recruit. And for Sophie, everyone knew that getting asked to prom by a senior was the high school equivalent of the Holy Grail.

The rest should have been yearbook history.

But the oddest thing had happened. They’d been two attractive, horny high schoolers without a speck of sizzle.

Sophie and Will had tried to pretend that the boring, clumsy first kiss beneath the bleachers was just a fluke. He’d blamed his distraction on the C he’d gotten in physics, and Sophie had claimed PMS. But after prom night had ended with a platonic game of Go Fish instead of dry humping in his Lexus, they’d been forced to admit it: no physical chemistry. Not even butterflies. They could talk for hours, laugh at the same jokes, and had dozens of mutual friends. But the hand-holding was merely tolerable, and the kissing was downright awkward.

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