“Georgia!” I hopped off Shaw and rushed to her side. “What’s wrong? What happened?”
She shook her head, trying to turn away. I took hold of her arms and turned her around gently. She buried her face in her hands and spoke between her fingers. “I don’t want to interrupt—”
“Georgia, tell me what happened,” I insisted.
“What happened? Is he okay?”
“Oh, he’s great.” She laughed brokenly, the sound wretched and lacking all levity. “It’s over. He ended it. Five years . . . and it’s done. Gone.”
I inhaled sharply. “What? Why?”
“Apparently I’m boring. He said he wants someone more . . . adventurous. Can you believe that? And guess what? He already has her picked out. He’s been seeing a girl in his econ class behind my back.”
“That ass**le!” I exploded.
Shaw lightly touched my arm. “I’m going to go.” He pressed a quick kiss to my lips, flicking a sympathetic look at Georgia. “I’ll text you later, Em.”
I nodded, watching him as he slipped from the room. With a snap of my head, I refocused on Georgia.
She sniffed back a wet sob as the door clicked shut. “You and Shaw . . . I guess things are going well.”
“Let’s not talk about me right now, honey.” I smoothed a hand over her back in soothing circles.
“No. Let’s talk about you. I’m so happy that you’ve finally found someone.” She smiled, clearly miserable but determined to shift the focus from her to me. “Guess it’s my turn to be single now.”
I hauled her closer, hugging her taller frame. “Maybe he’s just stressed. Maybe you guys can work it out—”
“He’s seeing someone else, Em.”
I winced. “Yeah. Well. You two have been together for a long time. He’s going to be miserable without you. He’ll come to his senses. Maybe he’ll—”
“Emerson. I appreciate what you’re doing, but it’s done. You didn’t see his face. It’s over.”
I nodded, a lump rising up in my throat. For Georgia. For the quiver of pain I heard in her voice. I hated that she hurt. She didn’t deserve this, but it was happening anyway.
I nodded resolutely. “I know this is the last thing you want to hear . . . but I always knew you were too good for him.” I looked at her anxiously, biting my bottom lip. “Too soon?”
She laughed weakly. “Now you tell me.”
“You’ll see. It’s hard to believe now, but—”
“I’ll be glad it happened? This is all for the best?”
I shook my head. “I’d suck if I said that.” Even if I thought it. Even if I had thought she would be better off without Harris all along, I wouldn’t be that insensitive. “I wasn’t going to say that at all.” I tucked her hair behind her ear. “I was going to say, how do you feel about going out for some pancakes?”
A shaky smile curved her lips. “Chocolate chip pancakes?”
“Are there any other kind?”
A SQUIRREL? ARE YOU kidding me?” Georgia rocked on the bed, clutching her bag of Twizzlers to her chest as she laughed. As far as she was concerned Twizzlers went with Chinese food like milk went with cookies, and since she was the girl mourning the loss of a five-year relationship, who was I to argue?
Pepper cuddled with Georgia on her bed while I stretched out on mine, several white cartons from the Golden Palace between us. Law and Order played on the television. A safer choice than the romantic comedies that seemed to be on every other channel.
“I kid you not. He was a giant squirrel . . . man.” I waved my hands all around me for emphasis. “And he kept bumping me with his squirrel penis!” I sat up on my knees on my bed and jerked my h*ps for illustration. “It was more like a body check really.”
Pepper’s eyes bulged. “A squirrel penis? What did that even look like? I mean was it . . . squirrel size?”
I settled back on the bed, shaking my head. “I’m not an authority on squirrel penises, but this one—” I gestured with my hands. “About so big, so I’m gonna go with no.”
Georgia’s laughter turned into gasps. She fell sideways on the bed.
“Are you serious?” Pepper paused, her fingers clutching popcorn midway to her mouth. “All the girl squirrels must have run away screaming when they saw him coming.”
“It took everything in me not to run away screaming.”
“Oh, oh! Stop! I can’t breathe,” Georgia wheezed, her laughter slowing to pants.
“And you didn’t want to stay after that?” Pepper teased. “The infamous kink club didn’t live up to your expectations?”
I shrugged. “Not all of it was that absurd. There were some”—I searched for the right word, remembering the sounds drifting from rooms upstairs—“interesting things going on for the more adventurous in spirit.”
Georgia’s grin slipped away. Damn. Poor word choice. She’d gone over in more detail all the reasons Harris had given her for breaking up. The fact that she was predictable, unexciting, and all-around boring being his chief points. Asshat. He actually told Georgia that their sex life sucked.
Pepper mouthed at me: Nice going.
I shrugged helplessly, feeling wretched.
“Maybe I need to go then,” Georgia said glumly, rolling onto her back and flinging her arm over her forehead. “Maybe I could learn how to not be so boring.”
“You? At a kink club?” Pepper wrinkled her nose.
“See!” Georgia stabbed a finger in her direction. “You think I’m boring, too.”
“No, I don’t,” Pepper denied.
“Georgia,” I said gently. “Why would you want to go? You don’t have anything to prove.”
“Yeah,” Pepper agreed. “Are you actually hoping to get Harris back? You’re better off.”
I nodded. Pepper and I had been doing our best over the weekend to cheer Georgia up. We pulled out all the stops. It was a true girls’ fest replete with takeout, movies, and late-night milkshake runs. Suzanne joined us for some of it, but she had a group project to prepare for, so it was mostly just us three.