“Here, drink this,” Paige orders as she holds a shot glass full of amber liquid in front of me.
Without taking my eyes off Hussy the Home Wrecker, I grab the glass and down the shot, letting the fiery burn make its way down my throat and into my stomach. Handing the glass back to Paige, I demand another one and she puts her fingers in her mouth and whistles for the bartender.
“Someone needs to give that woman a cheeseburger. She looks like she hasn’t had a good, solid meal since birth,” Lorelei states as she gets up off her bar stool and links her arm through mine.
“She needs to be waterboarded with pasta and potatoes,” Paige agrees as she hands me another shot.
This one doesn’t burn as it goes down and I’m starting to feel a little better about the fact that I’m in a bar with my ex-husband’s mistress a few feet away and she looks like a porn star.
“It’s okay. I’m fine. Totally fine. No big deal,” I mutter to myself as another shot is placed into my hand.
“I think that’s enough shots,” Lorelei tells Paige as some of the alcohol misses my mouth when I tip the glass back and it dribbles down my chin.
“A little tequila is good for the soul,” Paige replies as she pulls a tissue out of her purse and wipes my chin.
The alcohol is starting to kick in and the liquid courage is flowing through my veins. Who cares if she looks like Pamela Anderson and is half my age? Who cares if she can put both her feet behind her head and is so skinny that when she turns sideways she disappears? Not me. I could kick her ass with no arms or legs. I could kick her ass with LORELEI’s arms and legs. I could kick her ass with my newly highlighted hair while swinging Lorelei’s arms and legs over my head.
I think I’m drunk.
“Maybe you should take her gun away from her,” I hear Lorelei mutter right next to me.
Just when I think my courage is off the charts, Harlot Barbie turns in my direction and we make eye contact. It could be the jukebox in the corner of the bar messing with me, or it could be the tequila, but I’m pretty sure I just heard the whistling tune of the gun-duel music that plays in old westerns.
The crowd parts like the Red Sea as she smiles and starts walking in my direction. Barbie’s sidekicks, Skipper and Stacie, follow closely behind her until she stops a foot away from me and they both bump into her back, sending them all stumbling forward in a mess of blonde hair and fake boobs.
“Oh sweet Jesus,” Paige mutters next to me.
“Kennedy! It’s so good to see you! These are my friends, Misty, with a y and Tiffanie with an ie,” Chloe says brightly.
“My IQ just dropped a hundred points,” Lorelei whispers into my ear.
Suddenly, standing this close to the woman who stole my husband, I don’t feel so good about myself. I can actually feel the tequila churning in my stomach and my awesome hair that Paige styled wilting into an ugly mess.
“How have you been? I feel like we haven’t talked in ages,” Chloe says with a pout of her perfect collagen-injected, bright pink lips.
Is this bitch serious? She’s acting like we’re old friends and not like I walked into my home to find her deep-throating my husband on my couch. MY couch. The brown leather piece of perfection I got on sale before I left for Afghanistan. I had to bleach the couch two days later. And then it was completely ruined. I miss that couch.
I can’t even find my voice to tell her off. I’ve dreamed of this moment for months: coming face-to-face with my archnemesis in a bar with my friends, full of booze and looking awesome, and telling her exactly what I think of her while pummeling her face into a pile of wet dog food.
Instead, I feel like a pile of wet dog food. Wet dog food covered in shit and stuck to the bottom of someone’s shoe. I feel inadequate. I never feel inadequate. I never care what people think of me, but right now I feel sorry for myself and I want to go off into the corner and cry into an entire bottle of tequila.
Before I can cede my title of awesomeness to the better woman, I feel warm hands grab onto my hips and then slide around to my front, pulling me back against a rock-hard chest. I see Chloe, Misty, and Tiffanie’s eyes widen and their mouths drop open as fingers graze my bare shoulder and push my hair to the side before soft lips are pressed to my neck.
“Hello, gorgeous. Sorry I’m late. Traffic was a bitch.”
I close my eyes as Griffin’s voice rasps right by my ear, just loud enough for everyone in my general vicinity to hear. Without thinking, I turn in his arms and rest my hands against his chest. The corner of his mouth tips up in a mischievous grin as he stares into my eyes. One of his hands comes up and grabs onto the back of my neck, his other hand slides down to my ass and he pulls me roughly up against him. Without even sparing a glance to the three women behind me, his head swoops down and he crashes his lips against mine.
My brain shorts out and I can practically hear the crackling of electricity in my head when his tongue slides against my lips and I instinctively open my mouth to him. His tongue slides achingly slow against my own as he deepens the kiss and everything around me disappears. I tightly grab on to chunks of his hair on the back of his head to hold him in place as he tilts his head to the side to get a better angle.
Jesus, God, this man can kiss.
I raise myself up onto my toes and wrap my arms fully around his neck so I can press as close to him as possible while his mouth works slowly against my own. As his tongue continues to swirl around mine, I feel a tingle shoot through my body and it makes me want to wrap my legs around his hips and slide myself against the hardness I can feel pressed against my lower stomach.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I hear Lorelei clear her throat loudly and Griffin slows down the kiss, ending it with a few soft pecks on my swollen lips before pulling his head back to stare down at me.
“Ummmm, so what’s new with you?” I hear Chloe ask from somewhere to my right.
“Sorry to be so rude, but Kennedy can’t talk right now,” Griffin responds without taking his eyes off my face. Normally I would protest when a guy speaks for me, but he’s right. I can’t talk right now. I can’t even feel my legs. Do I still have legs? What day is it?
He continues to stare directly at my lips as he removes his hand from my ass and reaches into his back pocket, pulling out his wallet and extending his arm out in Paige and Lorelei’s general direction. “Next round of drinks is on me. If you ladies will excuse us, Kennedy and I are going to find a quiet corner where we can be alone.”
Out of the corner of my eye I see Paige grab Griffin’s wallet. He slides his palm up my arm and pulls one of my hands down from around his neck, entwining our fingers together and then pulling me away from the girls. I follow blindly behind him, not giving a crap where he’s taking me, as long as we can do some more kissing. When we make it far enough away from everyone, he turns to me and lets go of my hand.
“Sorry about that. It looked like you needed a little rescuing.”
The euphoria from the kiss leaves me with a whoosh and now all I can think about is punching the mouth that was attached to mine moments ago. He didn’t kiss me because he wanted to; he kissed me because he felt like he needed to. I don’t give a shit that his performance was top-notch and that I can feel Chloe and her friends’ eyes boring holes in the back of my head with their envy; all I care about is the fact that I was ready to mount him in the middle of a crowded bar and he just did it for show.
“I don’t need anyone to rescue me. Especially you,” I growl at him before turning and walking toward the door.
GD lack of self-control.
After a restless night of tossing and turning, where I spent most of my time thinking about kissing Griffin again instead of punching him in the face, I get even more pissed off when I look in my cupboard and realize I don’t have any coffee.
I swear to God the universe hates me.
At least today is football day. Football cures everything. Even smug, arrogant bastards who give you the best kiss of your life and then act like it was no big deal. Walking over to my slow cooker, I check on the status of my Buffalo Wing Dip that I always make for game day. I’m not much of a cook, but I can throw together a mean Buffalo Wing Dip.
“Mom, can you take me to the mall? I have nothing to wear to Grandpa’s.”
Turning around, I see Meadow standing in the kitchen naked.
Okay, not naked, but close enough.
“What the hell are you wearing?” I ask her in shock as I take in one of the Aéropostale T-shirts I bought her before school started. If you can still call it a T-shirt. It looks like she took a pair of rusty scissors to it and hacked off 90 percent of the material. The sleeves are missing now and the only thing left is the word Aero, which barely covers the boobs she just started growing and leaves her stomach and torso on full display. And now that she’s sprouted up and is almost as tall as I am, she’s decided to confiscate a pair of my Seven jeans, which are riding so low on her hips that if I squint, I can probably see Meadow’s meadow.
Oh, hell, no.
“These are called clothes, Mom,” she tells me in an exasperated voice with a roll of her eyes.
“You look like a streetwalker. And not even a high-priced one at that. You aren’t going anywhere until you put more clothes on. Preferably a turtleneck. And thermal underwear,” I tell her as calmly as I can with clenched teeth.
“You are being unreasonable!” she argues with a stomp of her foot.
“I know. I’m the worst mother in the world and all your friends’ mothers are cooler than me and let their daughters dress like hookers,” I inform her as she lets out a growl of frustration, turns, and stomps out of the room.
“You’ll thank me one day when they’re all working at McDonald’s and you’re a doctor!” I yell to her.
If this is what she’s like before she gets her period, I’m moving out when that day happens. Or shipping her to a convent to let the nuns handle her.
As I leave the kitchen to go check on Livia and see if she’s ready to go, I’m stopped in the living room by the ringing of the doorbell. Looking through the peephole, I let out a gasp when I see who it is.
“Alex, what are you doing here?” I ask my ex-husband when I open the door to him.
I haven’t seen him in months. The only communication we’ve had is through text. For a minute I freak out, wondering if Chloe went home last night and told him about the kiss to end all kisses. He’s wearing a tight-fitting green Hollister T-shirt, a pair of skinny jeans, and black Chucks. He looks like a teenager. Or like he’s having a midlife crisis, which I’m guessing is what happens when you date someone half your age.
“Hi, Kennedy. You’re looking good,” he tells me with a smile. “I thought I’d stop by and see if I could take the girls today. I feel awful that I’ve been so busy lately and haven’t had time to spend with them.”
To say I’m shocked by his sudden interest in our daughters is an understatement. But then I get a good look at his face and see a black-and-purple bruise discoloring one eye and my mouth drops open. Seeing him with a goatee AND a soul patch is disturbing enough, but seeing him with a black eye is downright unnerving.
“What the hell happened to your face?”
I watch as his cheeks turn pink from embarrassment and he reaches one hand up to touch the bruise.
“Oh¸ this?” he asks with an uncomfortable chuckle. “I ran into a door. No big deal. So, can I take the girls?”
He’s lying. He’s totally lying. I am quite familiar now with the way he acts when he lies. Before I can question him further, he looks over my shoulder and one of his eyebrows rises questioningly.
“Hi, baby. What in the world are you wearing?”
I turn around, expecting to see Meadow standing behind me in her slut-wear and am pleasantly surprised when I see she took my advice. A little to the extreme though when I see she has on a turtleneck, hooded sweatshirt, drawstring sweatpants, Ugg boots, a scarf, and gloves. I’m sure she thought that by doing this it would make me feel bad, but this child doesn’t realize she’s dealing with the master.
“Mom told me to get dressed. I’m dressed. Are you happy now?” she asks, turning an angry glare in my direction.
“Perfectly,” I reply with a big smile on my face. “Go get your sister—your father wants to spend the day with you guys.”
Meadow’s face immediately loses the preteen irritation and she looks at Alex hopefully. “Can we go to the mall?!”
Alex looks back and forth between Meadow and me uncomfortably and stutters his response. “Uh…um…well…”
“Your dad would LOVE to take you to the mall!” I say in an excited voice.
Let him deal with her attitude when she wants to shop at Sluts “R” Us and he vetoes it. At least he better veto it. Considering whom he’s dating, he probably has a frequent-shopper card for every whorish store in the mall.
Meadow turns and runs excitedly down the hall, yelling for Livia and leaves me alone with Alex again.
“So, how have you been? Are you seeing anyone?” Alex asks.
Geez, nothing like getting right to the point.
“Oh, you know…” I trail off with a shrug.
DOES he know? Did Chloe fill him in on all the details? The way Griffin only had eyes for me, his hand on my ass, how tightly he held me against him, the slow way he worked me over with his lips and tongue?
Jesus, it’s hot in here.
“Chloe said she saw you at the bar last night with her girlfriends.”
Shit. He knows. Am I happy he knows? Maybe he’s jealous. Good. This asshole needs to be jealous. He needs to be burning with rage that I made out with his ex—best friend.