Home > Floored (Frenched #3)(9)

Floored (Frenched #3)(9)
Author: Melanie Harlow

I’d like to sit on his lap.

I forced myself to concentrate, gripping the penis—ahem, the pencil—way harder than necessary. After I wrote down everything the burglar took and its replacement value, we searched for alarms on Mia’s iPad. It looked like the least expensive option would be to have my cable company put in a wireless system. But it would add to my cable bill each month, and I was on a really tight butt—tight budget, tight budget—right now. (Jesus, what was the matter with me? Could there be a more inappropriate time to be thinking about Charlie Dwyer’s ass?)

Where was I? Budget. Right.

“God, why did I have to make that big announcement about new flooring?” I moaned. “I told everyone I’d have a brand new surface in the downstairs room by Christmas.”

“People will understand.” Coco rubbed my back. “These things happen.”

I stared at the list. “You guys. I have to say something out loud.”

I want to ride Charlie Dwyer like a deranged cowgirl.

“Go ahead, honey.”

I took a deep breath. Shooed the wasp away. “I’m scared I did the wrong thing taking over that studio.”

“Why?” Mia asked. “Are the kids driving you crazy?”

“It’s not the kids so much as the mothers. It’s stuff that has nothing to do with actual dancing, either. It’s jealousy and resentment and she-said-this and she-said-that and threatening to leave if I don’t put so-and-so in this number or partner her with him or bring in this particular choreographer…nothing but drama.”

“Are they really that bad?” Mia looked surprised.

“Yes.” I took another drink. If only I had some way to relieve the stress…for example, taking out my frustration on Charlie Dwyer’s cock.

“I don’t know how you stand it,” Coco said, taking another handful of chips. “Dance moms sound as bad as brides.”

“At least you can be done with a bride once her wedding is over. I’m stuck with these mothers for years unless I tell them to take a hike.”

“So tell them to take a hike.” Mia shrugged, as if it were that easy.

“I can’t. If one of my competitive dancers leaves, more will follow. The loudmouth ones have a lot of influence.” I dropped my forehead to the cool marble. “I’m a smaller studio as it is, and it’s hard to compete with the big powerhouses that have a thousand kids and five huge rooms and mega bucks. I have to deal with them. But I have to stop taking their phone calls at night.” And do something else with my time, like…. No! Stop it! No more Charlie Dwyer thoughts. You can’t escape into a fantasy this time. You have actual problems here. Face them.

“They have your phone number?”

In my mind, I grabbed a fly swatter, knocked the wasp to the ground and stomped on it.

When I was sure it was dead, I picked my head up and nodded miserably. “I gave it out last year as part of this whole Better Communication campaign. Told them to call me with questions or concerns at any time.”

“What the hell were you thinking?” Mia asked, her eyes wide.

I groaned. “I wasn’t. I had no idea what I was in for—now they email me and text me and call me twenty-four seven with all their complaints. Tonight a mom caught me in the parking lot to tell me that her daughter can’t be at the mandatory choreography session tomorrow because she’s going to an audition for a ketchup commercial. Ketchup!” I yelled, as if it were ketchup’s fault. “Yesterday I would have said ‘OK, fine’ but today I summoned all my courage and told her she’s out of the piece if she can’t make it.”

“Good for you,” cheered Mia. “You’re too nice. Except to your plants.” She glanced at my windowsill.

“Look, I have bigger problems than my plants, OK?” I said miserably. “There’s a leak in the studio ceiling, the paint is peeling in the lobby, and the wood floor in the downstairs studio is totally warped. The entire place needs a very expensive makeover.” My voice was shaking by now, my throat tight. “And I knew that when I took over and totally planned to take care of it. But I’ve been so busy with the day-to-day management and teaching, I haven’t had time to get to all that.” Tears spilled over, and I pressed my fingertips to my eyes.

I kind of wanted the wasp back.

“Erin, you don’t have to do all this alone. We can help you,” Mia said.

“Of course we can,” Coco added. “I wish you’d have said something before.”

“Thanks, but I know you guys are busy. You’ve got houses to renovate and weddings to plan and husbands and fiancés and grandmothers to manage, not to mention a business to run.” I sat up a little taller. “Actually, you know what? It helps just to talk about it.” I did feel a little better now that I finally admitted to someone that owning a dance studio wasn’t entirely the dream job I’d thought it would be.

“We are never too busy to help you,” said Mia, commandeering the pen and paper from me. “Now let’s make a to-do list for you. It’s easier to face a lot of work if you have a plan. You should start by hanging those shades in here. Tomorrow.” She looked down at me pointedly.

“OK.” I emptied my wine glass and set it down. “I think I need a drill.”

“We have a drill. I’ll ask Lucas where it is.”

“So do we,” Coco added. Then she grinned. “Or you could call that cop. He looks like he’d be handy with a drill.”

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