He took another swig from his cream soda, grateful she always kept several cans on hand. He knew she did it for him. She hated the stuff. Actually, she rarely drank any soda. “Aunt Marilyn roped me in to participating.”
Brooklyn’s eyebrows all but touched her hairline, and her eyes got as big as dinner plates. “Stop. It. She did not.”
He still couldn’t believe he’d agreed either, so his friend’s astonishment made sense. “She did. She nabbed my cousin Scott too, which was inevitable. And that’s why I need your help.”
She grew serious as she reached for more pretzels, but pulled back at the last minute and folded her hands together. “Yeah, sure, of course. But what do you need my help with? Do you need someone to dress you or something?” Her lips inched up into a smile. “I’m sure you could find plenty of other women to volunteer for the job.”
Most nights he’d appreciate her humor and would even have a great comeback. “I need you….” Man, he hadn’t expected this to be so hard. “I….” He stopped again. What if she’d planned to bid on someone else during the auction? There were a lot of men participating. He gave himself a mental shake. Brooklyn wouldn’t participate in such an event. She was only going because her mom had purchased her a ticket. With the unpleasant thought pushed aside, he returned to his original purpose. “I was hoping you’d bid and win the romantic dates with me.”
“Excuse me?” Brooklyn asked, her voice several octaves higher than normal.
“There are some guests on the list I’d rather not get saddled with. So I thought you could help me out and bid on me.”
“Ah, Tasha’s on the guest list, isn’t she?”
At least she understood his reluctance. “As well as a few others I’d rather not spend any evenings alone with.”
“Let me make sure I’ve got this right. You want me to win so you don’t have to back out and disappoint your aunt or go out with anyone else who might win.”
“Correct. I’ll give you the money. You don’t actually have to use your own and you can bid as high as you need to. You’d have a blank check, so to speak. The only thing is, my aunt can’t know. It can’t look like we staged everything. I think she’d be furious.” Although he didn’t understand why, because in the end the foundation would still get the money.
This time when she reached forward, she did pull a handful of pretzels from the bag. Pointing one of them at him she said, “She’ll find out at some point. Like when we don’t go on the four dates I won with you. The media is going to try to document the heck out of this whole affair, especially when it comes to you and your cousin. They’ll notice when you and I don’t show up at some super romantic places together.” Brooklyn popped her makeshift pointer in her mouth and chewed it. “Besides, everyone in your family knows we’re friends. I don’t think she’ll buy it.”
He’d already considered that and decided not to worry about it, so he focused on her first objection instead. “Who said we wouldn’t go on the dates? And we’d have fun too. Unlike some of the other women who might win me, I enjoy spending time with you.” Odd as it might seem to some, Brooklyn was one of his closest friends despite the fact she was a woman. He couldn’t think of a single topic they hadn’t discussed at some point in their long friendship. He trusted her as much as he did any of his relatives.
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