Home > Craft (The Gibson Boys #2)(5)

Craft (The Gibson Boys #2)(5)
Author: Adriana Locke

Me: Such a letdown.

Climbing into my car, I get situated as her text bubble bounces on the bottom of the app.

Nerdy Nurse: Is that a deal breaker?

Me: We have a deal?

Nerdy Nurse: Two months and we haven’t managed to meet up yet …

Me: That’s why I like nurses. You’re busy. You can’t be too attached. ;)

Nerdy Nurse: We’re also well-versed in needles and serums. ;)

A quick glance up has me looking into the window of Principal Kelly’s car. She gives me a dainty wave full of unspoken innuendo. I return her a two-finger salute before dropping my attention back on my conversation.

Me: You’re right. I need to reconsider this arrangement.

Nerdy Nurse: If that wasn’t your dick, I’m in the same boat.

Me: You only wanted me for what I was packing?

Nerdy Nurse: It’s a dating app. Did you think I wanted to marry you?

Me: Most women do, yes.

Nerdy Nurse: Patient coming in. Try not to miss me.

Me: K.

Nerdy Nurse: Bye, Potassium.

/Nerdy Nurse offline



“I love how you just make yourself at home.” Dropping my bag on the sofa as I go by, I kick off my shoes. “You could at least make me dinner after a hard day’s work.”

My best friend, Whitney, glances at me over her shoulder. “I don’t cook. I’ll order something for you though.”

“I thought you worked today?”

“I thought I did too. I hate this floating schedule crap,” she sighs, peering up at me with a set of big, blue eyes. “I actually showed up at the hospital to find out it’s not my day. Who does that?”


She turns back to the book she was reading. Filling a glass with ice, I find a Coke hidden behind a head of broccoli. “So, why are you here?”

“Your house is closer to the hospital than mine and I needed a nap.”

Looking at her over the brim of the glass, I wait for more of an explanation. I don’t get one. In fact, she doesn’t even glance up at me.

Whitney operates on her own wavelength. I stopped trying to figure her out years ago. She’s smart, fun, and as loyal as they come, but you have to let some things go where she’s concerned. She doesn’t always make sense.

“How was school today?” she asks, closing the paperback. “I feel like my mother when I say that.”

“That’s sweet. My mother used to say, ‘What did you do today, Mariah, so I can compare it to what your sister did and tell you how you fail to measure up.’”

Whitney scowls. “Well, your mother is an asshole and I’m not even sorry for saying that.”

Just the mere mention of the woman who brought me into the world sends my spirits sinking. “Let’s not go there,” I sigh, rubbing my temples. “I came home with a headache anyway. The last hour study hall doesn’t comprehend the idea of being quiet in a library.”

“I remember being that age. Friday nights held so much promise.” She picks up her drink and follows me into the living room. “It’s so sad, isn’t it?” Her bottom lip protrudes almost to her chin. “I used to have such a social life. Who would’ve thought I would be the one sitting around bored on a Friday night. I’m slowly turning into … you.”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing.” Curling up on the sofa, I watch her nestle into the chair across from me.

“You’re a librarian. It is a bad thing,” she laughs.

“It’s the best job ever.”

“Sure it is. That’s why you’re practically a hermit. Every time I come over, I expect to be met with a flock of cats.”

“A flock of cats?” I laugh. “That’s not even a thing. What’s wrong with cats, anyway?”

“Nothing is wrong with one cat. One cat is perfectly normal. Two cats are a sign something’s amiss. If you have two cats, you spend way too much time alone. Three cats? That’s a flock and that means you have no people skills and will spend the rest of your life on your hairball-filled couch surrounded by fictional people.”

Lifting a brow, I ponder this for her amusement. “There are gadgets to clean hairballs these days. I really can’t see anything wrong with this scenario. It’s kind of appealing.”

“No, it’s not,” she says, placing her phone on the table next to a framed photo of us at Lake Michigan a few summers ago. “It’s unhealthy.”

“It’s healthier than going into public and ending up losing my sanity from all the people-ing!”

Biting her lip, her eyes narrow ever-so-slightly. It’s just enough of a warning.

Sighing, I close my eyes and wait for it. She doesn’t make me wait long.

“Speaking of people …” she says, her voice trailing off.


“But he’s so cute!” Her tone is almost giddy. “He’s a resident, which means he’s super smart and will be making big bucks soon.”

“Whit. No.”

“Why? A date won’t kill you.”

“It happens. I watch those shows on television. Blind dates aren’t what they used to be, pal.”

Rolling her eyes, she leans forward. “It’s not a blind date. I know him. Kind of, but that’s not the point. The point is it kills me to see you wasting your life away in this little house. You’re young, Mare. Gorgeous. You have a great personality when you’re not being a dick on purpose.”

“Gee, thanks,” I giggle.

She smiles, but it fades slowly. “I want you to live your best life. Jonah could be your best life. Or a one-night stand …”

I try to look at the ceiling while her stare almost drills a hole in my face. My best life is something I desperately want—a life filled with respect and love and two or three babies at some point. The life I’ve never had and craved so badly from as far back as I can remember.

I counter to myself. My life isn’t bad. I have Whitney and Tish who like me and make me happy, even if I never see Tish outside of work. But that’s not the point. I’m fulfilled by baking and have thought about getting a kitten at the shelter for companionship, but Whitney’s comments about the whole cat lady thing make me a little leery of jumping into that too soon.

Still, my life isn’t bad. It’s just not great.

When I look at her again, it’s like she can read my mind.

“You deserve a great life. One filled with laughs and love and orgasms,” she winks.

I don’t disagree. It sounds heavenly. It also sounds virtually impossible and, on the off-chance it is possible, the process sounds very, very people-filled.

“His name is Jonah,” she repeats, a little softer and less enthusiastic this time. “He was top of his class at Northwestern. He has a great smile, blue eyes that match his scrubs in the weirdest way but it’s a total turn on,” she rambles. “Plus, I might’ve viewed his abs on accident and they. Are. Killer.”

The vision she’s painting is vivid, but I don’t think it’s the one she’s aiming for.

At the mention of killer abs, my mind goes where it always goes. I used to fight it, to chastise myself for allowing him to affect me even when he’s not in my office, but I gave up on that around Christmas of last year. I’ve accepted it as my dirty little secret: I fantasize about Lance Gibson.

Sweat rolling down his muscled back, the dips and curves not too bulky like he spends his free time in a weight room, but sexier. Like he might throw down some push-ups here and there. The way his hips twist and flex, the cut pointing down to his groin—

“Where did you just go?”

My head snaps to Whitney. She’s got that ‘gotcha’ look painted on her face.

“What are you talking about?” I ask, feeling my face rat me out. I can’t wipe the smile from my lips, nor can I cool down the heat caused by the memory of the sight of his sweaty skin.

“What were you thinking about?”

Filling my lungs with oxygen, I blow it out as slowly and as time-consumingly as I can.

Maybe I should act on this. Maybe she’s right. Maybe I am going to turn into an old cat lady if I don’t get out. But just as I’m about to agree with Whitney, images of Eric’s dumbass smile rip through me, Chrissy tucked under his arm, and my mother’s voice rings through my ears—

Snap! Whitney’s fingers whip against each other before she starts wagging one my direction. “Stop it.”


“No.” She clamors to her feet, her hands going into her hair and drawing it back into a high ponytail. “I love you to pieces but I’ll love you a lot more when you stop playing that stupid spiel through your head.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I gulp.

“Yes, you do. You start to come around and then let them win.”

“No one is winning,” I protest.

I don’t know whether it’s worth it to defend myself or not. Her stance is always the same. So is mine. It’s an impasse in our friendship.

“Every day you sit here miserable is a day they win,” she says matter-of-factly.

“What do you want me to do, huh?” My hands flail in the air. “This is fucking hard, all right? It stings.” It feels cathartic to just let it out. “My sister, the perfect daughter according to my mother, just had a baby with my ex-boyfriend. You know the one. The one I thought I was going to marry.”

I expect to see a dose of sympathy. I get a blank face instead.

“Your sister did you the first favor she’s ever done. Be glad,” she deadpans.


Whitney chooses her words carefully. She wants to pick apart Eric, listing his various flaws and telling me why I’m better off without him, but the birth of the baby last week has her reconsidering her flamboyant response.

Falling back onto the sofa, I pick up a pink embroidered pillow and hold it against me. I finally broke down a couple of nights ago and trolled Chrissy’s social media. The baby is absolutely beautiful with Chrissy’s long eyelashes and Eric’s olive skin. She has a birthmark on her cupid’s bow, just like me.

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