Grady’s lower lip dropped ever so slightly when he saw me. But like a true professional, he kept dancing. Everyone was cheering him on (everyone being all the girls. The guys had gone into the kitchen to bitch and drink beer like manly men.)
“You guys!” Kate covered her face with her hands, half horrified, half loving it as Grady ripped his pants off and stuck his big package in her face. And Oh My God, he was wearing a thong. What’s that line from Legally Blonde? A Delta Nu would never sleep with a man in a thong? As much as I wanted to legally bone Grady, this may be a dealbreaker.
I politely excused myself from the mayhem and found Richard in the kitchen.
“Enough front row action?” he asked.
“I’ve gotten the live show,” I said.
Richard cocked his head at me and I explained.
“Josie!” Richard covered his mouth with his hand and laughed so hard some of his friends asked what was going on. I shushed him furiously. He was grossly over reacting, and I wasn’t sure why.
“I can’t believe you’d hook up with a stripper and not me,” Richard said. Ah, so that was it. He smiled, his way of letting me know he was kidding, but he wasn’t fooling me. Richard was not used to girls saying no to him, and maybe things weren’t as okay between us as I thought they were.
“He’s an actor, not a stripper,” I said, defensively.
Richard gestured to the living room. Grady was now standing on the couch, straddling some girl and dangling his family jewels over her face. Damnit, Grady! You had to move into the teabagging portion of your performance at that exact moment, didn’t you? “What do you call that?”
“He wears a few hats, okay?” This conversation was annoying me. Richard hooks up with a different girl every night we’re here, and he’s judging moi? I was also detecting some snobbery. I wanted to point out that we work for an imprint that publishes celebrity and celebwannabe fluff, and we weren’t so highbrow ourselves. But I noticed that Grady’s performance was ending, and I wanted to speak to him before he left.
Grady was pulling his clothes on when I approached him.
“Um, hi,” I said.
“Hi, yourself,” he said, smiling. He started closing the buttons on his uniform. With each snap, more of his perfect abdomen disappeared. “Busted, I guess.”
“How long have you been doing this?” I asked.
“Only a year.” He smoothed his hair away from his face. “These, um, services, I guess you could say, had a resurgence after Magic Mike came out. Some of my actor friends were picking up odd jobs here and there.” He shrugged. “Pays well.” He looked around the room, at all the girls talking amongst each other, trying to pretend like they weren’t staring at him when they were. “And it’s fun.” Grady dropped to his knees and began lacing up his shoes.
“It doesn’t make you feel like man meat?” I asked.
Grady stood. He cupped his hands around my face and leaned in close. “Maybe I like feeling like man meat.” He gave me a peck on the tip of my nose before plopping his hat on his head. “I’ll call you.” Then, waving to the room, he said, “Always obey the law, ladies.” He exited the house to the sound of whoops and cheers.
I texted Peter on my way back to the city on Sunday. By 7pm, he was ringing my buzzer (do with that what you will). I thank Jesus my Lord and Savior for cute boys every day of the week, but I’m especially grateful for them on Sundays. There’s just something about having a guy come over on the last lazy day of the weekend, having a slowie (the quickie’s more lethargic cousin), ordering pizza, and lounging about in your sweats that makes me so very, very happy.
I was on the phone with my mom when I let Peter in. She was in a tizzy because my aunt wanted to do Thanksgiving at her house this year, even though it wasn’t her turn because she hosted last year and, "Her turkey was dry!” I mouthed hi and put my finger to my lips. Peter kissed me on the cheek, closed the door behind him, and wrapped his arms around my waist. He slipped one hand underneath the waistband of my boxer shorts and I shook my head at him. “It’s my mom,” I whispered.
“Your aunt is just being so unreasonable,” My mom was saying.
“I know, mom,” I said. “I’m so”—my voice caught in my throat as Peter pushed me up against the wall and dropped to his knees in front of me.
“Sweetie?” my mom asked.
Peter pushed my shorts aside and pressed his tongue between my legs.
“I’m here.” It came out strangled. “Mom,” I swallowed. Focus, Josie! “Mom, I have to call you back!”
I didn’t even say goodbye. Just hit end and leaned against the wall, trying to steady myself as Peter circled his tongue again and again.
Forty-five rejuvenating minutes later, Peter and I were on the couch, watching TV and refueling with pepperoni pizza.
“So now will you tell me about William?” I asked.
“You just can’t let this go, can you?”
“Of course I can’t.”
Peter sighed. “Some if this is just speculation on my part, okay?”
“Just get to the good stuff!” I practically shouted.
This was Peter’s theory: Elizabeth wanted a baby. He did too, but then he realized, just not with her (I CAN’T IMAGINE WHY). They split, the next he hears she’s with William Bradford, and she’s pregnant. The scandal is that William had been with another woman for eight years, had decided to have a baby with her, then left her six months pregnant to be with Elizabeth. This was some Tom Brady/Bridget Moynahan/Gisele shit. Look it up.
“So William is going to have two children by two different women who are roughly the same age?” I gasped.
“Well,” Peter said. “Not exactly.” Peter went on to explain that he never bought that William was the father, and he thinks William realized that too, especially after that item in the Post came out and it was clear that William wasn’t the only sperm donor in the pool.
“I think Elizabeth wanted you to work for William, knowing there was a good chance he would hit on you and something would happen between the two of you. She would then have a reason to leave him, and I’m sure she would have loved to share this information with me, so that I would think poorly of you.” Peter cleared his throat. “Which I wouldn’t have, obviously.”
William has a tire around his middle and hasn't had hair since '97. Thanks for thinking so highly of me, Elizabetch. “But why would Elizabeth go to the trouble of starting something with William if she didn’t ever want to be with him?" I asked.
“Because she’s a mess,” Peter said. “She wanted to be pregnant, she made that happen, somehow. Then she picked the guy who could offer her the most stability to be the ‘father’ and I guess that guy was William. But as I’ve learned with Elizabeth, as soon as she gets what she wants,” he held up his hands, “She doesn’t want it anymore.”
I swallowed. “Peter, have you ever stopped to think that”—
“I could be the father?” Peter said, filling in my sentence. I restrained myself from making a Maury joke. He shook his head. “It’s not possible. Elizabeth is due in September, meaning she got pregnant some time in January. The last time we,” he paused. Cleared his throat. “Saw each other was November last year.”
“You mean the last time you slept together,” I said. I know I had no reason to be bitter. Peter and I broke up in October. But I was. Peter still maintained that he hadn’t been seeing Elizabeth when we were together, and I still wasn’t sure if I believed him. I didn't feel like bringing it up right then, but it was something I was going to have to do eventually if we kept this up.
“Yes, Josie. The last time we slept together.” He shook his head. “You love to twist that knife.”
I ignored that. “Peter, when I saw Elizabeth at the end of March she looked more than three months pregnant to me.”
Peter shrugged. “I don’t know what to tell you. She’s skinny, she showed early I guess. She’s cunning, but she's not above the law of nature. She can't hold the baby in for an extra month just to prove it’s not mine.”
“How do you know she hasn’t had the baby?”
Peter threw up his hands. “Because I know. Facebook, mutual friends. I just know.” He put his arm around me. “Can we talk about something else now?”
“Like you spending Labor Day weekend with me in Nantucket?”
Whoa. That was kind of a big deal. Sure, I didn’t have any plans, and Nantucket is amazing and Peter’s house is the stuff Town & Country readers wet dream of, but spending an entire weekend with Peter, when we’d just started seeing each other again….was it too much? And what about Grady, my piece of man meat who said he would call me? Old Josie would have accepted Peter’s invitation without hesitating a beat. But New Josie was wiser(ish), and she was going to have to think about this one.