Natalie’s voice woke him up, reaching through the fog of sleep to his mind and dragging him back to the surface. “Promise
me you won’t tell Casey.”
Dan opened his eyes and looked up at Natalie. After a beat, his foggy mind realized she was naked. Then he realized that
he was naked. Then he realized that Natalie had her hand in a rather sensitive part of his anatomy, and that if he didn’t
agree to whatever the hell she wanted, he would be in a great deal of pain in the very near future.
“Jesus, Nat,” he gasped. “Don’t tell Casey what?”
“You know.” She ran her hands through her hair, and he took advantage of the movement to roll over on his side,
moving strategic areas away from her. A good defense could save the day, any game, anywhere. “About last night, about
us, about this.” She gestured at their mutual nudity. He nodded and attempted an intelligent frown.
“Ah. I see.” Pause. “Why not?”
“Because.” She drew her knees up to her chest and rested her chin on them. She looked like a little girl, impossibly
cute, and it drew a reaction from Dan’s body that was entirely inappropriate for the image. “He’d tell
Jeremy, and I don’t want Jeremy to find out until I’m ready to tell him.”
“Ah.” He paused again, staring up at the ceiling as if the answers were written there in very faint script.
“You know, it’s very likely that Jeremy saw us leave Anthony’s together last night.”
“We could’ve been splitting a cab home.”
“We live in opposite directions from Anthony’s, and you had your hand in my pants pocket.”
“One of the pockets in front.” He glanced down the bed at her. “Not quite subtle, Natalie.”
“Just promise me you won’t tell Casey.”
“Right.” He stared back up at the ceiling and sighed. “Just one small problem with that.”
“What?” A note of steel entered her voice that he wasn’t sure he liked. Punishment might very well follow,
if he didn’t talk fast.
“I, um, can’t lie to Casey.”
“What do you mean, you can’t lie to Casey? Does he have some kind of special power over you?”
“Well, yes, but that’s not the point.” He sat up, pulling the sheets around him in a bizarre and far-too-belated
stab at modesty. “It’s not that I don’t want to lie to him, quite often, in fact. It’s just that
he can always tell.”
“Always.” She stared at him skeptically, lowering her chin to glare so that her soft dark bangs flopped down
over her eyes.
“I really, really want to kiss you right now.” He stared at her, awestruck.
“Danny. Casey can always tell when you’re lying?”
“It’s like you and Dana.”
“Oh.” It was her turn to look up at the ceiling. “Then we’re screwed.”
“Yeah, pretty much.”
They sat in flummoxed silence for a moment. Then she spoke again.
“Only one thing to do, then.”
“Get another round in while we try to figure it out.” She launched herself at him, all arms and legs and softness.
“I have no problem with that at all,” he mumbled as she took his breath away.