“You’re quiet,” Rance said. “Alanna? Are you okay?”
“Just wondering why I came back to this damn town.” She gave him a faint smile. “Sorry. I got sucked into mental bullshit for a minute there.”
“Have you seen your parents?” Rance asked.
During their friendship, Alanna had told him everything about her parents and her place in their lives. Of course he wouldn’t have forgotten. She wished he had though. The last thing she wanted right now was a sob-fest about her crappy family.
“I stopped by yesterday when I got to town,” she said. “My father isn’t doing so well and my mother wouldn’t let me into the house. They don’t know if it’s Alzheimer’s or senility. Dad won’t go to a doctor and Mom won’t let a doctor see him at home because it might upset him. I guess they have nurses but that’s all.”
Tears welled and she squeezed her eyes shut to keep herself from crying. Before either guy said anything, she spoke. “Tonight’s supposed to be about sex and fun, not depressing family shit. Can we please change the subject?”
“We’re your friends,” Ellery said. “We want to help you. There’s nothing wrong with needing to talk.”
“We’re here for you.” Rance snuggled against her on the opposite side from Ellery. “This is about bringing back our friendship. Not only the sex and the fun, though I won’t deny those are awesome. Tonight’s about us.”
The guys’ words touched Alanna’s heart. She gave up trying to keep herself together, but when she began to cry it was more from happiness than angst. Rance and Ellery were there for her. She couldn’t express how much that meant to her.
Tears ran down her cheeks and she sniffled. “Thank you. Both of you. I’m sorry. I’m wrecking this.”
Ellery brought his palm down lightly on her thigh. “Don’t apologize for something you aren’t doing. We’re good. We kind of plunged into this whole thing tonight and didn’t have time to talk about much. It’s okay if you need to vent.”
“Absolutely.” Rance gathered her into his arms and kissed her cheek. “That’s what friends are for. Even naked ones.”
Alanna couldn’t help laughing through her tears. “Yeah, naked friends are pretty awesome.”
Ellery brushed his fingers over her cheek. “Even when you’re sad, you’re beautiful. Do you know that?”
“Thanks.” She smiled at him. “I’d rather not be sad anymore. I can deal with parental drama tomorrow. Right now I’m here with two naked men and only one of them has come. I’m ready to continue if you are.”
Although she said it casually, she wrestled with herself inside. Regardless of how hard she tried, she couldn’t simply switch off the pain talking about her parents always brought. She had to shove it back down into the depths of her mind and let Rance and Ellery help her think of happier things for a while.
For tonight she would focus on them. In everything they’d done so far, their affection had been obvious. She wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else tonight. She took both men’s hands. “I’m glad you’re here.”