I flushed, laying my hands on my lap and straightening more in my seat. “I am, yes. It’s a new type of program, so it’s exciting.”
“And you’re a nurse?”
She nodded. “It’s hard work, but addicting.”
The guys had quieted. Logan’s gaze rested on Taylor, a softening, but also a very focused look came over him at the same time. As if feeling it, she looked over, and the two shared a gentle smile.
I wanted that. Badly.
Pain sliced through me, and I had to take a second because it rose so swiftly and powerful that I felt it in my throat. I felt seared.
Glancing to Nate, seeing his gaze on me, I couldn’t discern what he was thinking or feeling. I gave him a small smile, and then his gaze gentled. “Did you want some wine tonight? We ordered red, but I know you don’t usually drink.”
“Graham was all insistent on some pink drink for you.”
I was surprised, seeing Logan grinning at me. He had a hand under the table, his arm veering toward Taylor, and I glanced down. They were holding hands.
Another dart of envy pierced me, but it wasn’t as strong as the first.
“I’m going to stick with water because of the production, but I wish I had tried some of that pink drink. My brother looked enamored with it—”
“What the fuck?”
I stopped, confused at Nate’s biting tone, but he wasn’t staring at me.
He was glaring beyond Logan and then at Logan. His jaw clenched. “You did this?”
Logan didn’t play dumb. “I made a call.”
Nate shoved up from the table. “You overstepped.” Then he looked at me. “I will do what you want. If you want to leave, we’ll go. If you want to stay—”
But then I saw who he was talking about.
Graham was leading the way, his hand holding another’s behind him. I saw Britney trailing.
If it’s just Graham and Britney—wait, I was wrong.
Britney was talking to someone behind her, and my chest was effectively being pushed down by an elephant’s foot. Calihan was with them.
Calihan and someone behind Calihan. Another male.
It was a double date. Just like us.
Wait. Were we on a double date?
Of course, we were.
Why did I keep doubting that? Nate had never given any indication that we were just screwing co-parents. Well. Had he? Note to self: square away what we were because that was going to drive me nuts. I needed to know. The whole rolling with the wave wasn’t going to work with me.
I’d been kidding myself, but we were back to Calihan.
Graham, he was fine.
Britney, she was fine.
Calihan’s date, he seemed fine.
Calihan, she had a hint of something mean in her gaze when she saw me, but she didn’t pause. There was no surprise. They came knowing we would be here. Nate was right. Logan had overstepped.
I folded my hands back together on my lap and rolled my shoulders. I wasn’t running, but I did pull my dancer mask on. Calihan wasn’t going to see anything get to me tonight, and she faltered, her eyes narrowing when she noticed I had my “cold bitch” mask on.
Some dancers were great. Nice. Bubbly.
Some weren’t. Some were just mean.
I’d endured that all my life. I’d been taken aback the last time, but not this time.
I murmured to Nate, “I’m good. Maybe I’ll need that wine after all.”
I felt Taylor move closer to me.
The greetings had started.
Logan stood as well.
He and Graham shook hands. Graham reached around, giving Nate a good-natured tap on the arm. Nate lifted up his head in a nod back. Then the maitre d' came over, and we were being led to a more private room.
Nate kept an eye on me, but Taylor was the one who walked beside me. She leaned over. “What just happened?”
“Graham and Calihan are my siblings. Calihan isn’t happy with me.”
“Okay.” She patted my arm. “Logan knew?”
I hesitated, then shrugged. “I don’t know.”
“Nate’s furious, and I don’t remember ever seeing Nate mad at Logan, though I don’t think the love of my life is caring about that right now.”
We were shown to a larger table. There were only two others in the small room, and neither had large parties. Four or five, that was it. I went down one side of the table, feeling Taylor behind me. I heard her say, “Nuh-huh. You’re in trouble.”
Nate was rounding the table, coming to take the seat beside me.
I was grateful for both of them, but I’d be fine. Now I knew the score with Calihan, I was properly guarded. When we all sat, Nate was at one end, and Calihan’s date at the other. I was to Nate’s right. Taylor. Logan. Across from me was Graham, and Britney and Calihan sat across from Logan. Her date between both of them.
The drinks came soon after, then we gave our orders.
An uncomfortable silence fell over the table.
Graham broke it, clearing his throat. “So, Logan. You just visiting Nate for this trip?”
Logan leaned forward and smirked. “I’m here for mental warfare.”
“This have to do with Duke?” Graham nodded in my direction. “I thought that got cleared up a while ago.”
Logan opened his mouth.
Nate growled, literally growled. “You’re my fucking lawyer. Act like it.”
Logan closed his mouth, then a slow smile spread over his face. “Have I mentioned how much I’ve missed you?”
I was the elephant in the room, and it was time to put it to bed or get it out of the way. Before Taylor could say anything, I leaned forward. Everyone’s attention came to me, and I asked Calihan, “Are your claws out tonight?”
Logan’s eyes sparked alive, skirting between Calihan and me.
Calihan’s gaze cooled, and she cocked her head to the side. “Only if I need them out.”
“Like last time? Because you’re right, I was there. In the house. Standing. Breathing. I’m sure they needed to come out then, too, right?”
Her eyes narrowed, and she was bristling.
Britney gave her best friend a heavy look before leaning forward, half blocking her from our end of the table. She pasted on a bright smile. “We bought tickets for your premiere night, Quincey. We’re so excited to come and watch you again. Have you missed dancing?”