Home > Forever Pucked (Pucked #4)(4)

Forever Pucked (Pucked #4)(4)
Author: Helena Hunting

“How’s Darren feel about bromancing it for another night with Alex?”

Charlene glances up. “Oh, uh, you know—disappointed he doesn’t get to spoon with me tonight.”

“My beaver needs something to hug, other than synthetic dick,” I grumble.

Charlene pats me on the shoulder. “You’ve waited a week. What’s another day?”

“I have MC separation anxiety.”

I don’t get how she can be so unaffected by the delay, but then Charlene and Darren’s relationship is a little weird—and not like Alex and me weird. Darren’s a quiet guy, and private, so the media attention their relationship has garnered, and all the odd speculation about it, means they’ve had a few rough patches along the way.

Plus, Charlene can be flighty. She falls out of love as fast as she falls into it. That they’ve been dating consistently, or mostly consistently, for well over half a year is actually amazing.

“Why don’t we go out for dinner somewhere? We can celebrate you getting to present the Darcy account.”

“I don’t know if I feel like it…”

“We can leave your car here. I’ll drive so you can have a drink, and I’ll drop you off at home.”

“What about tomorrow morning?”

“I’ll pick you up.”

“Really?” Charlene can barely make it to work on time as it is.

“It’s supposed to snow like this all night. If we’re late tomorrow, we can blame it on the plows,” she suggests.

I glance out the window and look down at the streets below. They’re blanketed in white, and traffic is stupid: people honking, sliding, and braking. I don’t like winter driving all that much, and definitely not with this kind of traffic. Charlene is a much better driver than me, not that I’ll ever admit that to her. Now that I don’t have anyone to go home to, I guess dinner out sounds like a decent option.

“Yeah. Okay. Maybe I should call Sunny and Lily to see if they want to join us. We can all be dickless together.” Sunny is Alex’s younger sister. She’s dating Buck. In January she moved from Guelph to Chicago, which is a cute little city in Ontario, Canada. That’s where she and Alex grew up.

Her house in Chicago was purchased by Alex. She pays rent, but instead of putting it toward the mortgage, he puts the money into an investment portfolio for her. That’s all I know about it because Stroker deals with Alex’s account directly. Which is fine. Sometimes I feel like Alex wants me to do it, but I’m not comfortable with the insane amount of money he makes. Not yet.

Seeing how well he takes care of his family tells me what I’ll be in for when we get married, and sometimes that makes me nervous. I don’t want to be responsible for investing it as well as enjoying it. Like I said, at least not yet. I mean, my yearly salary is less than the cost of the car Alex recently bought me. With cash.

Lily is Sunny’s childhood best friend who also moved to Chicago recently. She lives with Sunny, and she’s dating Randy “Balls” Ballistic, Buck’s childhood best friend and another Chicago hockey player. I call him Horny Nut Sac—sometimes to his face, sometimes behind his back. It’s super convenient that we’re all hockey hookers. We hang out a lot when the boys are traveling for away games.

I pull out my phone, ready to send Sunny a message, but Charlene puts a hand up. “I’m on it. You pack up.”

I shrug and shut down my computer, throw a few files into my laptop bag, and grab my coat. Charlene reappears at my cubicle, ready to go. “Sunny suggested we find a restaurant close to their place since they’re both already at home.”

I make a face. “It doesn’t have to be vegan, does it?” Sunny doesn’t eat animals or animal products. I don’t have a problem with this, but if I’m not getting Alex’s meat stick tonight, I might as well indulge in a burger or something equally disgusting and bloat-worthy.

“Lily says the restaurant has a wide selection. Plus, she doesn’t think it’s a good idea for Sunny to drive in this weather.”

I sigh. “Fine.” It makes sense to go that way, and not just because getting downtown would take forever in this weather for Sunny and Lily. Going to them will put us halfway to Alex’s. And Sunny is a worse driver than me, which says a lot.

Charlene and I lug my stuffed beaver to the elevator. We get a few strange looks, but most of the people in our department are unfazed by us now. Charlene takes the tail, and I hold the head as we slip and slide down the slick sidewalk to the parking lot across from our building. Charlene and I should’ve parked our cars in the underground lot this morning, but there were no spots left. With Alex and Darren away, we sometimes have sleepovers and stay up too late. Then we have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. Last night was one of those times.

Getting the beaver into the trunk of Charlene’s car is a feat, but after some shoving and punching, we squeeze him in.

It takes three times as long as usual to get to Sunny’s neighborhood. The traffic is terrible. I’m definitely glad I didn’t drive or we’d be in a ditch.

We end up at a cute little place that isn’t just for people who don’t eat meat. They do, however, have a nice selection of food without faces for Sunny. I browse the menu. Even with the heat on full blast in Charlene’s car, and our cozy spot in the back of the restaurant, I’m still frozen.

“Maybe I should get the French onion soup and the mozzarella sticks.”

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