A few days later I was hiding under the covers in bed when Dan snuck into my room. He must have seen the me-shaped lump, because he jumped on me and tried to yank the covers off. I held them tight over my head and yelled at him to go away – he'd have to drag me out of there.
"I can do that," he said. He got off of me and I relaxed for a moment, then I realized what he had said. I felt his hands close around my ankles and he pulled me out of bed, me dragging the blankets with me.
I sat on the floor in a heap of green and white blankets and looked up at him expectantly. "Yes?"
"I have a surprise for you," he said and pulled me to my feet.
"I don't want a surprise – I want sleep," I complained, following him into the kitchen and perching on a stool at the counter. He plunked a cheese omelette down in front of me and sat beside me with his own.
"Well this is better than sleep," he informed me.
"I beg to differ."
"Fine, what is it?"
"Well, I felt bad about breaking your heart, so—"
"Don't flatter yourself," I said and punched him in the back.
He looked at me with a goofy grin. "Don't lie. And that's why I'm setting you up with my friends."
Oh boy. "Friends? As in plural?"
"Well we're all getting together tonight. You included."
"Mmhmm. I am, am I?
"Come on, Alice," he said. "It'll be fun. And you'll like them."
I sighed and stuffed some omelette in my mouth. "Fine."
Dan pushed me into Jack Astor's and I came face to face with a couple guys. Cute guys. I watched in awe as Dan literally jumped on them. I think my jaw actually dropped. Sexiest bear hug ever.
"Alice," Dan said, throwing an arm around me and grinning. "Meet my lifelong pals, Whittaker and Chuck." He pointed Whittaker out as the tall blond and Chuck as the dark-haired boy.
"Hey," I said with a pathetic little finger wave. Dan was right; this was better than sleep.
After our perky little hostess seated us in a booth the boys started catching up. Jen, our rather robust blond waitress, took our drink orders and I spent a good twenty minutes sipping at my iced tea, picking at the giant plate of nachos for the table, and zoning in and out of the boys' conversation.
"What about you, Alice?" Chuck suddenly asked.
Oops. "Sorry, what?"
"What do you do?"
"I model for LaSenza," I deadpanned.
Whittaker and Chuck stared at me with shock, delight, and slight lust. Dan hid a smile. I giggled. "No, no, I'm a hostess at Moxie's."
I think the boys were still picturing me modelling in my skivvies with a wind machine though.
"Well you could do it," Whittaker suddenly said. "Model I mean."
"Yeah, you definitely could," Chuck added with enthusiasm, shooting a peeved look at Whittaker.
Screw it; I'd take this over sleep any day.
Whittaker and Chuck came back to the apartment with us after dinner. I set about pulling out a mint chocolate pie Dan had made, making coffee, and eavesdropping from the kitchen.
While Whittaker was in the loo, Dan and Chuck spoke in hushed tones. I, of course, have impeccable hearing. So yay for that!
"Set us up? Please Dan?" Chester was saying.
I heard Dan chuckle. "I'll try, but Whittaker likes her too. And I haven't even asked her what she thinks of you guys yet."
I loudly announced myself as I breezed into the living room, a tray with pie and coffee in hand. I'd heard enough. And it was making me ridiculously giddy. Any longer and I would have started daydreaming and they'd never get their pie.
Whittaker joined us a minute later and I was stuck snugly between Whittaker and Chuck on the couch. This was a zillion times better than sleep.