“Right.” Before she could utter, “Call me back in an hour,” someone knocked on her front door. Ruby lived upstairs, so the boundaries between them were set at knocking, not don’t-come-downstairs-without-asking. “Come in,” she said into the phone. She heard the key click in the lock and dragged herself out of bed.

Laura could only imagine how she looked. The previous night had been spent in a rock-and-roll revelry that took them from a black-walled club with live music to a place with a name that changed every week, to a tapas bar, to… somewhere or other. They were possibly in Brooklyn by then, but the details became very hazy. Ruby had worn the borrowed Blahniks for a first date with Darren, the child of some B-level actor making a comeback. He’d been the first kid on the playground to wear mirrored sunglasses and to smoke fennel-flavored cigarettes—exactly the kind of guy Ruby was always on the hunt for. Rich. Hip. Popular. And most importantly, just famous enough. She’d begged her boss for the red Blahniks, promising self-immolation should she not return them in perfect condition.

So, the loss of the shoe was serious enough for Laura to get out of bed. If Ruby’s job wasn’t on the line, at the very least, her pride was. Laura shrugged into her robe, which she didn’t need since she was fully dressed. Without looking at herself in the hall mirror, she headed to the living room.

Ruby shook her keys and looked at the couch, which Laura couldn’t see from her vantage point. Laura started talking as she bee-lined for the kitchen, “I’ll make some coffee and—”

She drew a fast, deep breath when she saw Stu sitting on the couch with last night’s T-shirt askew and his blonde hair looking like an electrical accident.

“I hope you’re going to make coffee,” he said, brushing back his hair. He was lanky, with a lower body tightened from his hours as a bike messenger. Cute. Definitely cute. But she had another man on her mind.

Laura wanted to ask him if the fact that he was fully dressed, and on the couch, meant that they were clean of one another’s fluids. Ruby was there, though, and would enjoy the answer too much.

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