Jess plunked herself down next to Kelly on the beat-up sofa that passed for funky furniture in the bar in the next town over that was trying to target a younger crowd. She kept covering her mouth and trying to look away from him, but even that couldn't hide the fact that she was grinning from ear to ear.
"As much as I might regret asking this..." Kelly said with a sigh. Clearly something had happened in the five minutes she'd moved between the sofa, the ladies' room, and the bar, and with the slightly wild look in her eyes, he wasn't sure he wanted to know. But despite that, he smiled indulgently and pulled her closer when she waved her hands in the air like she was trying to calm herself down.
"Guess what?" she said excitedly. "I was waiting for my Cosmo, and talking to Nicky and Eliza, and do you know what I saw?"
"Her hand slip inside his fly?" Kelly guessed.
"Ew. No." Jess made a face, but then looked temporarily distracted as she presumably contemplated seeing that hand-job scenario play out.
"What was it?" Kelly said quickly, trying to get her back on track and distract her from thinking about his brother naked in places.
"Oh! Well, I saw that Nicky had a jewelry box in his pocket," she said smugly. She crossed her arms, and nodded knowingly at him.
Kelly blinked at her. "So?"
"So!" She bounced on the couch, which actually caused the ancient springs to creak. "So they've been together for a while, Eliza and Nicky, and it's pretty serious, and she really really really cares about him, you can tell, and I think he's going to ask her to marry him!"
At the last phrase her voice rose to a feverishly high pitch, and Kelly actually clapped his hand over her mouth. She looked at him with wide eyes, and made a little squealing sound. After another moment she nodded, and he removed his hand.
"Thanks," she said shakily. "Got a little...enthusiastic there."
"Guess so," he said, glancing at the bar where Eliza was currently tossing peanuts into the air and cheering Nicky on as he caught them in his mouth.
"Has he said anything to you?" she prodded, watching the couple along with him.
"Nope," he said trying to keep his voice casual. That bastard. If Nicky was going to go down on his knees for Eliza, didn't he realize how much pressure that'd put on Kelly with Jess? That was Nicky for you, though. Always thinking of nobody but himself, Kelly thought mournfully as he watched Nicky lean in and kiss Eliza gently on the lips.
The interrogators were skilled and relentless. They had their subject broken down in no time at all.
"Okay!" Snow confessed. "I broke up with Seth! It's the Zen shit! I can't take the Zen! Do you know that he's thinking of opening up a yoga studio and getting outta the wine business?"
They were in Pancake Heaven, and Eliza was keeping her away from the coffee pot, and Jules had her knife and fork.
"And?" Eliza asked.
"And I'm doing Adam," Snow smirked. "Hoo boy, am I doing him!"
Jules gave her back her silverware. "Fine. Now, no bullshit, we want details."
"What can I say? He came up to me at the bar the other night and told me that I was a fine-lookin' woman and did I want to fuck. I said, 'Yes, please.' "
"Yes, please?" Eliza asked.
"I was raised to be polite," Snow said. "Now give me that coffee before I have to hurt you."
"Snow's broke up with Seth," Chris told David.
David didn't open his eyes. "Huh."
"Jeeze, you're cute when you don't give a shit."
"Why---oh! I had money down on it. Wait, it was on her cheating on Seth."
"Exactamundo. I had ten, you had five."
David rolled over. "Guess it depends if they broke up first." He ran his
hand up Chris' thigh. "Are we gonna fuck before I have to get up and go to work, or do you wanna discuss anything else?"
"Naah," Chris grinned.
Nicky came into Pancake Heaven with the look of a man who had to go to the dentist and had been nerving himself up go, who knew he'd feel better after he went, and yet would almost rather have the sore tooth.
"Eliza, I need to talk to you." He said. A little surprised, Eliza got up from the booth. "C'mon outside, okay?"
Eliza, her eyes huge, grabbed her purse and jacket.
As the door closed behind them, Snow and Jules gazed at each other in dismay.
"Oh, shit," Jules said.
"They're breaking up," Snow said, sadly.
Outside, Eliza was buttoning her jacket with shaking fingers. "What's up?"
"I can't live without you," Nicky blurted. "I don't want you to be with anyone but me. I don't want to be with anyone but you." He tried to pull the
jewelry box out of his pocket, but it got hung up in the lining. Cursing, he
tore it. "Here. I want to get married."
Eliza's eyes threatened to roll up in the back of her head, and she fell
Snow, Cindee, and Jules boiled out of the restaurant. "What the hell are you doing to her?"
Eliza managed to stay on her feet. "We're engaged!" she said.
and yeah, I'm happy for Nicky and Eliza also . . .