I raise a brow, not really sure what to do with this side of him. Is he pulling my leg or being genuine? He always has that dickish smirk no matter what kind of shit he’s saying and he’s pulled the rug out from under me more than a few times.
“Well, I like to think my life might take more of an optimistic path,” I tell him.
He smiles and nods. “And it should. It really should, I mean look at you.”
Look at me? I think, wondering what exactly he sees.
“But what if the planet is full of fucking morons? Then what…” he trails off and looks around the bar before he leans in and only then do I look close into his dark blue eyes and see that he’s drunk. “We’re good for each other. You know this makes perfect sense.”
I don’t know what I think. “You’re drunk, Linden.”
“I’m a man with a plan.”
“Since when have your life plans ever involved marriage?”
He shrugs and runs a hand through his thick, mahogany hair. “You may be one of my best friends, Baby Blue, but you don’t know everything about me.”
His mouth quirks up into a half-smile. “But when we’re married there will be plenty of time for that. Also, sex.”
Okay, now I can see this is kind of a joke for him, as most things in life are. “What if I never want to get married?” I point out, putting the image of us having hot, sweaty sex out of my mind. “When have I ever waxed on about marriage or babies?”
“Never,” he admits. “But it doesn’t mean you don’t think about it. Why else would you always be dating?”
“Because I like to get laid.”
He laughs. “Another reason why we’re a perfect match.”
I purse my lips, staring at him. I think I need another drink.
Linden reads my mind. He gets up off the bar stool and walks behind the bar. James isn’t paying attention and even if he was, he wouldn’t say anything. Linden and I were twenty-one, James twenty-three, when the two of us first started working with James at The Burgundy Lion. Linden and I eventually went on to bigger and hopefully better things, while James ended up buying the place. There’s still a bit of an employee mentality for us – I don’t think James has ever charged us for a drink.
Linden takes two bottles of Anchor Steam out of the fridge and slides them to me. It’s our annual autumn heatwave in San Francisco and Linden has the sleeves of his rumpled grey dress shirt rolled up, showcasing his strong, tanned forearms and the Charles Bukowski quotes he has tattooed on the insides. He’s wearing a pair of khaki knee-length shorts that highlight his toned ass. On his feet are his worn black Keds that I think he’s had ever since we first met, but it suits him.
If it’s wrong to occasionally ogle your best friend, I don’t want to be right.
“So what do you say?” he asks as he sits back down beside me. “How about if we don’t find anyone by age, I dunno, thirty, we marry each other?”
“You’re actually serious?”
“Aye.” He nods and nudges the beer towards me. “Drink up and then maybe you’ll say yes. I have to say, you’re bruising my ego a little bit here.”
“That’s not a bad thing,” I tell him and I mean it. Linden McGregor is funny, kind, smart, handsome and ambitious. He’s got a BA in business and is almost done getting his helicopter pilot’s license. He’s one hot package that any girl would be lucky to snatch up.
But he’s also egotistical, cocky, arrogant and a player. It’s hard to get any real emotion out of him other than intensity – he’s got this way of looking at you, at life, like he’s trying to spear you alive. He lives his life on the selfish side, can be passionate about something (or someone) one minute, then indifferent the next. He’s a complicated guy and one that I am honored to call my best friend.