My Best Friend's Ex(10)By: Quinn & Meghan Quinn
“You guys, this is my friend Tucker. We grew up together, he knows far too many secrets about me from middle school that will horrify you and if he wants to keep his balls intact, he will keep those stories to himself.”
Leaning over to shake hands with Adalyn and Logan, Tucker quickly winks at me and says, “We’ll see.” He turns his attention to my friends, pulling from his outgoing personality that never seems to fail him, and shakes their hands. “Tucker, nice to meet you. It’s rare I get to meet people outside our little friend circle, especially friends of Emma’s. Whenever I see this girl,” he wraps his arm back around my shoulder and squeezes me tight, “she’s either butterfly stitching someone’s head or patting down their ass with Neosporin. I’m glad I caught her without her first aid kit tied around her waist and instead with a drink in her hand.”
“You’ve never seen her drink?” Adalyn asks and then says, “Oh, I’m Adalyn by the way.”
“Ugh, I’m the worst,” I reply. “Tucker, this is Adalyn and Logan. Sorry.”
He nods at them and then says, “I’ve seen Emma drink, but I’ve never seen her get drunk.” He smiles down at me. “She always took care of us.” The sentiment is sweet. I know my friends from back home appreciate me, but it’s always nice to hear on occasion.
“You’ve never seen Emma drunk?” Adalyn asks. “Wow, that’s surprising since I feel like I see drunk Emma more than sober Emma.”
“Seriously?” Tucker’s eyes shoot up to his hairline.
“No.” I playfully swat at Adalyn. “She’s lying. I don’t drink that much. But when I have time off and need to relax, I might throw back a few Old Fashioneds.”
“And shots of whiskey,” Logan adds, tipping his drink back into his mouth.
“Well, fuck, I’ve never seen this side of Emma.” Tucker rubs the back of his neck, his gaze fixed on me. “Next party, you’re getting your ass wasted. No excuses.”
“That’s if you show up.” I’m joking, but there is a layer of darkness that blankets his expression, and it makes me sad. Tucker is different to most guys. He masks his demons and always tries to put on a good show for everyone around him, which he’s doing right now.
My question is, why is he drinking tonight? Alone. Does he do this often? I’ve been so consumed with my life that I’ve neglected catching up with my friends. How long has he been going to bars by himself? Is this something I need to be concerned about? My need to know—to care—kicks in, but not here. He’s not an open book when it comes to his life, especially in front of people he doesn’t know very well.
Two fingers push against the wrinkle in my brow. I look up to Tucker who pulls away. “What’s with the worried face?”
“She has no place to live,” Adalyn answers before I can even formulate a response. “We got evicted from our place a few days ago and have to be out in two days.”
“Adalyn,” I chastise, not wanting Tucker to know about my woes. I’m the girl who always has everything together, the friend who can see ten steps ahead.
“You don’t have a place to live?” Tucker asks, concern in his voice.
Squeezing my eyes together for a brief second, I turn to him and say, “Eh, I’ve got it handled. Just waiting to hear back from a few places, that’s all.”
“They all said no.” Come on, Adalyn! What is she drinking over there, truth serum?
“It’s all right, she has a place to stay,” Logan says, nudging me with his shoulder.
Leaning over the bar to see me, Adalyn says, “There is no way you’re going to share a three-bedroom apartment with six men.”
“Six men?” Tucker raises an eyebrow at me. “I could see five, but six?” His teasing lightens the irritated mood moving through me.
“It’s temporary until we can figure something out.” Logan grips my hand to let me know he’s serious. “You can have my bunk and I’ll take the couch. It’s better than having no place to go.”
“Are you sure?” I ask. “It seems like a lot of people for a small place. I don’t think I can do that to you . . . or me.”