Good Girl Page 42

The flinch is out there before I can stop it, and Jenny snorts. “Thought so.”

She’s dead right, but at the same time, it bugs me that she has to hide. “It’s gotta blow over at some point, right?” I ask. “This thing with the pretty boy?”

Jenny looks out the window. “Yeah. But the urge to be autonomous won’t.”

“That’s what you signed up for, though, right?” I ask, trying to figure her out.

“I’ve got the rest of my life to be recognized,” she says wearily. “Can I please just have tonight?”

Fair enough.

We ride the rest of the short distance in silence, and I wince a little as I pull into the divey parking lot of Gil’s Tavern, seeing it through the eyes of someone who’s spent the last three months of her life in Bel Air or wherever.

Gil’s is one of those places that I’m pretty sure never looked new, even when it was. The outside has peeling white paint, a crooked sign, and tiny, dirty windows, half of which have neon signs advertising cheap beer. The faint smell of deep-fried food permeates the area, even inside the truck, and I risk a glance at Jenny.

I’m surprised to find her grinning. “This is great,” she says, reaching for the door handle.

“Wait,” I say before she can hop out, belatedly remembering Finn.

She glances back.

“You know that guy Finn you met that first day?” I ask. “The electrician? I’m meeting him here.”

I’m sort of expecting her to sulk the way Yvonne always did when anyone crashed our time together—especially Finn—but Jenny just gives me a happy smile.


That’s Jenny Dawson for you, I’m learning. Okay! and a smile pretty much sums her up. Damned if I’m not starting to like it. A lot.

I follow her toward the front door, reaching for the door handle before she can, and automatically regret it because it makes this whole thing feel too much like a date.

We get a couple of looks as we step inside, the guys staring at Jenny’s legs, the girls at me before sliding their eyes to Jenny, sizing her up—noting the way my hand’s on the small of her back possessively.


How did that happen? I jerk my arm back.

Luckily, everyone’s far enough into their beer and whisky to not give Jenny a second look, not seeing the famous country star beneath the orange wig.

I spot Finn at a corner table, flirting with a cute black-haired waitress, and I lead Jenny that way.

Finn breaks off in the middle of a pickup line when he spots us, and I read “Fuck” on his lips a second before he smiles his usual easy Finn smile.

“Well, well, if it isn’t Ms.—”

“Smith,” Jenny says, with a quick look at the waitress. “Jen Smith.”

I all but roll my eyes. Smith? Really? Girl needs to step up her incognito game.

But the waitress doesn’t give Jenny a second look—she’s too busy making sure Finn gets a good view of her little tits in the visible black push-up bra beneath her white Gil’s tank top.

“Ms. Smith,” Finn says, with a little wink for Jenny as he slides over and pats the bench seat next to him.

To my surprise—and pleasure—she slides into the seat across from him instead. I take the spot next to her, careful not to touch her, but all too aware of her all the same.

Finn’s giving me a shit-eating grin, which I ignore by turning to the waitress. “Jack and Coke.”

The waitress snaps her gum and nods. “What’s for you, red?”

“Same,” she says.

I glance at her in surprise. A girl who drinks Jack and Coke? Damn.

“You good?” the waitress asks Finn.

He lifts his mostly full beer in confirmation.

She moves away, and Finn leans back slightly, his eyes moving between the two of us. “So. This is interesting.”

Jenny leans toward him, her expression eager. “Right? We’re so in love. You’ll be best man at the wedding, right?!”

Her voice is joking, cheerleader-hyper, and Finn barks out a surprised laugh at her sass, but his expression is nervous and he looks at me.

I know why.

Up until a few weeks ago, Finn was going to be my best man. Vaughn too.

At my wedding to a different woman.

I give the slightest shake of my head to indicate he should keep his mouth shut.

For a second he looks disappointed—in me—but he doesn’t rat me out. Instead he leans toward Jenny, matching her posture. “You know I’m the better catch, right? Caretaker here might have wood, but as an electrician, I know a little something about heat.”

She laughs. “That’s terrible. You can’t tell me that actually works on any girls.”

“Bet you twenty bucks our waitress comes home with me,” Finn says.

“Only if you repeat that lame line about the heat. Twenty bucks absolutely says she’s not letting you in your pants if you say that.”

“Watch and learn, Ms. Smith. Watch and learn.”

Our waitress reappears with our drinks, Jenny and I biting back a snicker as Finn proceeds to tell the girl that he’s an electrician and thus knows something about heat.

It’s terrible, but I’ve seen Finn at work so many times that I’m not the least surprised when the waitress wiggles her fingers for Finn’s cellphone and enters her phone number before bending down and whispering that she gets off at two.

After the waitress heads off, Finn gives Jenny a smug look and holds out his hand.

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