“Of course it would be a man who would lure you to the ’burbs. Not your roommate two years running and good friend.” I tapped my finger on the counter, knowing it was useless to try to make India feel guilty. It wasn’t in her DNA.
“Baby girl, no man or friend could get me to the ’burbs singlehandedly,” she said, “but a smokin’-hot man and a snarky good friend could.”
At least I was half the reason she was here.
“How long are you in town?” I asked, guessing she’d be on the red-eye back to Miami in the morning.
“A few weeks or so. Anton is managing a new call center branch here in town, and as the lowly second-born, my job is to stay out of the way and pretend to look busy.” She made a whoop-dee-doo twirl with her finger.
“If you’re going into the family biz, why are you majoring in music?” The teapot started whistling, so I turned off the burner and reached for a hot pad.
“I’m majoring in music because that’s what I love. I’m going into the family biz because I actually want to make money,” she said, huffing. “I figure if I do my time this summer and a year or two after I graduate, Mom and Dad will turn their heads while I live on music and my trust fund for a couple decades.”
I poured the hot water into the cups. “And your first task in this new job is to go party the night away with a cute Puerto Rican?” I said, trying to hide my smile.
“What can I say? I’m living the dream.” Her phone pinged again. It was a noise that went hand in hand with India. Someone was always texting her, at any and all hours of the day.
I grabbed the cups and carried them over to the table.
“Hey, you wanna come with us tonight?” she said, glancing up from her phone. “It will just be me, Anton, and Ricky. We’re going to the best club in town, apparently, which isn’t saying much. I’ll be surprised if they even have a bottle of Cristal for us to celebrate with.”
“The horror,” I deadpanned, setting her cup in front of her. “As madam requested. Dark, and strong enough to knock your panties right off.”
Winking, India lifted her cup to her lips. “In that case, I’ll have another.”
“Thanks for the invite, and a night on the town is exactly what I need, but I’m flying out at the crack of dawn to see Jude,” I said, taking a sip of my green tea.
“Where is the Jude man?”
“San Diego. He had to leave for preseason training a couple of weeks ago,” I said.
Her eyebrows rose. “So if Jude’s in San Diego, what in the hell are you doing here in this rat-infested hole?”
I stuck my tongue out at her, which earned another eye roll. “I’ve got a summer class I’m taking.”
“Summer class? Pul-lease,” she said, making a sound with her lips. “You’ve got so many extra credits you could graduate a semester early if you wanted.”
I made a mental note to not be so open with India when it came to any and all aspects of my life. She’d been born with a built-in BS detector.
“I’m looking for a job, too,” I added, focusing on my teacup.
“Double pul-lease,” she said, making that same sound with her mouth. “Why do you need some sucky minimum-wage job when your man’s the newest member of the millionaires club?”
I sighed. Well, it was more like a groan. “Not you, too, India.” I’d already had to put together a debate team–quality explanation for Jude; I wasn’t looking forward to giving a repeat performance.
Setting down her cup, she studied my face for a moment. “Ah,” she said at last, “I get it.”
“You get what?” I replied, not really caring so long as I didn’t have to explain what I didn’t fully understand myself.
Grinning, she threw her hands in the air. “‘All the women who are independent,’” she sang, swaying in time to the imaginary music.
I chuckled and joined in. “‘Throw your hands up at me,’” I sang back, remembering why I was majoring in dance and not music. I couldn’t carry a tune to save my soul.
“Is that what it has to do with?” she asked softly.
“And what’s the other part?” she asked, grabbing hold of my hand.
“I’m still trying to figure that part out,” I admitted. Contrary to what I’d thought, it felt good telling someone that I didn’t have a clue why I needed to carve out my own way financially, that I just knew I had to.
“So, what sweet minimum-wage gig are you going to be slaving your summer away at?” she said before taking another drink.
I shrugged a shoulder. “I haven’t found one. Yet.” I was determined I would, though, and if I’d learned one thing in life, it was that Lucy Larson’s stubborn resolve often got what it wanted.
India’s face wrinkled before she put her phone up to her ear. “That’s about to change,” she said.
“Do I want to know?”
She held her cease-and-desist finger up as I heard someone answer on the other end. “I’m on my way,” she barked.
“Well, Ricky’s just going to have to wait a little longer,” she cut in before the voice on the other end got more than a few words in. “And you’re going to have to wait, too, big brother.”
“Hey, Anton,” I said, loud enough that he could hear me over India’s voice.