Serena fiddled with the car radio like an insect on speed, trying to find a station that didn’t suck almightily. She left it sitting on something with a country twang for a moment.
“No, I have too many teeth for this.” She reached for the dial again and I slapped her hand away.
“Stop it! I can’t drive!”
“You’re telling me.”
“Slut.” She flashed me a smile, but at least she left the radio alone. “Are we there yet?”
I rolled my eyes but she was staring out the window by then. She rubbed lightly at the new space on her finger, and I put my hand on her shoulder.
“You did the right thing, Serena.”
“I know, Kimmie. I do. It was a long time coming, in fact.”
“You sound surprised.”
I made a wordless noise, trying to keep things neutral. In truth, I was so glad she’d called off the engagement. I never knew what she’d seen in him. Wade Wainwright. Too many ‘w’s for my liking, although I could use a few more to describe him. Wally. Wanker. Womanising wanna-be.
I tried to gauge her mood, but she was still scanning the landscape. I snaked my hand into her hair and just toyed with it. Letting her know I was there for her, but not going anywhere I couldn’t come back from.
I never told Serena how I felt about him, but she’d picked up on it pretty early.
“Yeah, he was a tool, Kimmie. But he was so pretty.”
“And he abused it.”
“I know.” It was more sigh than voice. “Truth is, we’d been living separate lives for months. Hannah was just the catalyst.”
I almost laughed. “Ah, yes. My evil twin.”
That at least got a quick giggle out of her. Hannah and I were always being mistaken for sisters. It amazed me that Wade had been fucking her. He’d always made it clear he thought she was both stupid and annoying. Then again, guys are weird in matters of the heart. Well, matters of the cock, anyway.
Like when he’d kissed me. I think I’m in love with you, Kim. Ha! Drunk, my ass. He knew what he was doing. I figured he’d gone after Hannah because she looked so much like me.
My knuckles were white against the steering wheel as I rolled the memory across my mind. I blew out a quick breath.
“I’ve never understood guys. He has you…you…and he wants a scrawny little chicken like Hannah?” Like me. “She can’t hold a conversation unless it’s about either herself or a Kardashian!”
“Oh, Kimmie. He’s a guy. He never cared what came out of my mouth. Just what went in.”
“Ewww. Come on, girlie. I can’t block my ears when I’m driving.”
“I didn’t mean that.”
“Okay, I didn’t only mean that. He was always at me to eat less, get some exercise. He stopped taking me to work functions. Like the size of my ass was embarrassing to him.”
My knuckles actually cracked a little this time. “I wish I had your ass. Hell, I wish I had an ass.”
“You’re being silly. Stop it.”
“Whatever you ask, your majesty.”
We managed a few moments of silence, but I could sense the pressure of the words inside her. We’d been like strangers for months. Ever since Wade had stuck his tongue in my mouth and I’d kept it secret. I’d wanted them to break up, but I didn’t want to make them break up.
“Plus he saw a couple of grey hairs last time I…last time he had a close look at the top of my head.”
“No way! He didn’t say it…during?”
She began toying with the tan line on her finger again.
“Serena, I found my first greys four years ago.”
“Kimmie, you’re not Italian. It doesn’t show in your hair like it does in mine.”
That was true. You could lose your car keys in my frizzy mane.
“Besides, your grey hairs didn’t matter to Wade. Only mine.”
“Oh, god, Serena. What did you ever see in him?”
“Whatever it was, he was lying about it.”
We cruised the freeway in silence for a while. Then, in a little-girl voice, Serena asked a question which felt heavy with age.
“So how long is it since you’ve had a boyfriend?”
Since I fell in love with you. “Oh, about a year…maybe a little longer.”
“We’re not getting any younger.”
“Still…we can’t afford to be too picky.”
“I’m not picky. I ask for nothing more than perfection.”
“Perfection, huh? And how exactly would you define that?”
Five foot eight, hair like wine, laugh like a song, wit like rubber bullets, eyes like stained oak, lips like a sofa, throat like caramel, hands like hummingbirds, breasts like mangoes, hips like traffic, ass in the seat right beside me.
“Oh, I guess I’ll just know it when it makes me come.”
“I thought I told you to stop being naughty.”