She joked, “Are you afraid I’m going to like him better than I like you? Because you know I think you’re pretty hot, right?”
Eric laughed. “He’s just been so busy, really. I’ve told him about you --”
“All about me?” Jenny asked, suggestively.
He nudged her foot with his under the table. “Yeah, I said there’s this chick at work who’s all up on my jock, even though she knows I’m with you, and I can’t seem to shake her no matter what. Let me tell you, he’s dying to meet you after that.”
Now it was her turn to kick him. “You didn’t.”
He laughed again. “No, of course not. But listen, there’s something I should maybe tell you about us ...”
Jenny felt a ball of dread curl into the pit of her stomach. “Us you and me? Or us you and him? Is this good or bad?”
Poking a piece of sushi with his chopsticks, Eric frowned a moment before answering. “Both of us used to be engaged before we met.”
“To other people?” Jenny prompted.
Eric looked up at her. “To women.”
“Both of you?” She was staring and she knew it. At least she had the presence of mind to close her mouth so she wouldn’t gape at him, as well. “Wait, what? No. You’re gay. I mean ...”
“Yeah, now.” Eric shrugged. “I don’t know. I was young, she was pregnant. I thought it was mine, but it turned out it wasn’t, so she dumped me and took up with the guy whose kid it was, or at least, the one she thought it was.”
“Sounds like a real winner there,” Jenny said.
Eric grinned. “If you have to put a label on it, I guess you can say I’m bi. I like guys -- hell, I love Mike, I do. I love everything about him, every little thing, but women do turn me on. I like their hips, and breasts, and --”
“If you actually say the word,” Jenny interrupted, “does it count as sexual harassment in the workplace even though we’re at lunch?”
“I was going to say curves,” Eric told her. “Shelly was a mistake, okay? I know that now, and I’m in love with Mike, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still be attracted to women, too. Like you.”
Jenny felt her cheeks heat up. “What about me?”
“You’re cute,” Eric said, looking her over with an appraising eye. “Gorgeous head of hair, lovely eyes, very kissable mouth. I’ll admit I’ve wondered what you’d look like naked.”
Her blush deepened. “I’m pretty sure now that’s harassment.”
With a sexy smile, Eric purred, “Only if you don’t like it. I can take it back --”
“No, no,” Jenny said, a little too quickly. Her whole body tingled at the thought of being mentally undressed by the man across from her, and she couldn’t quite meet his gaze as she tried to tamp down the emotions whirling inside of her. God, no wonder they got along so well! Maybe their innocent flirting wasn’t quite so innocent after all. She’d always known she meant it, but she thought he’d only been kidding.
Still, it was nice to know that, if given a chance, he’d be interested in pursuing something with her. Too bad he was with Mike! Speaking of ...
Clearing her throat, she managed to find her voice. “You said you were both engaged before? Mike, too?”
Eric nodded. “Mike, too. She was a bit of a gold digger, though.”
“Hey!” Jenny cried. “You guys knew awful women! Next thing you’re going to tell me is they turned you two gay.”
“No, no, nothing like that,” Eric said with a laugh. “I’ve always liked guys ... and girls. I liked Shelly, up until she cheated on me. And for like, two months, I was really going to try the whole settling down, starting a family, being a father thing. Then we got in a fight and she admitted the baby wasn’t mine, and ... well, let’s just say I’m glad now it turned out like it did or I would’ve never met Mike.”
“Who was with a gold digger,” Jenny prompted.
“Maybe she wasn’t that bad,” Eric conceded, “but Amber liked to live outside her means, and Mike wasn’t exactly raking in the dough as a flagger, if you catch my drift. That’s the low man on the totem pole when it comes to construction work.”
Jenny frowned as she prodded her rice. “But he’s a foreman now, isn’t he?”
“Owns his own company,” Eric said proudly. “Bitch don’t know what she let slip away. Her loss is my gain.”
“Well, if he needs my help with the labor compliance paperwork,” she reminded. “I mean, I hate it as much as anyone else, but at least I know what I’m doing, and I can get it filed right so he can get paid. Unless you think it’ll be weird ...”
Eric gave her an odd look. “What?”
With a shrug, she said, “You know, me coming around your place to help him out. We work together, but ...”
He shook his head -- he didn’t see what she was getting at. To be honest, now that she’d started to say something, neither did she. “Never mind.”
“It’ll be nice to have a woman around the house again.” He gave her a wink to show he was kidding -- he was, wasn’t he? There was a bit of flirty banter in his voice that gave his words a double meaning, one she could go with if she wanted to.
Of course she wanted to. “You mean like a threesome?” she teased. “Have you guys ever done that?”
“We could,” Eric said, drawing it out as if it were a possibility to consider. “If we met the right woman. Someone who would work well with both of us. Who completed us.”
He looked across the table and held her gaze, his eyes pinning her in place. Around them, the rest of the world seemed to fall away, and suddenly Jenny felt as if she couldn’t move, couldn’t think, couldn’t even breathe.
I could be that girl.