Thanks For Last Night by Lauren Blakely



I shuck off thoughts of Teagan in bed, something I do so frequently these days I could earn an Olympic medal in it.

But I could use some practice being subtle, judging from the wide-eyed, knowing way that Fitz, Logan, and Bryn are staring at me when I return my gaze to them.

I take a guilty gulp of my beer, like I’ve been caught with my hand in the liquor cabinet. “What?” It comes out more defensive than it should.

Bryn gestures in Teagan’s direction, a duh look in her green eyes. “We need to talk about that.”

“About what?” I ask, playing dumb.

Fitz taps the table. “About the way you stare at Teagan.”

Busted.

“I was thinking of strategies to defeat her next time in laser tag,” I lie.

Bryn snorts. Logan cackles. Fitz rolls his eyes, then says, “Listen, man. It’s time for an intervention.”

“An intervention for what?”

“To help a brother out,” Fitz says. “Sometimes a man needs a kick in the pants. Consider this your kick. You and Teagan should go out.”

“I have to agree with him. You’re two peas in a pod,” Logan seconds.

Bryn nods excitedly. “Yes. You guys practically finish each other’s sentences.”

“And,” Fitz says emphatically, leveling a serious gaze at me, “she’d be good for you.”

I tense at those words—good for you. I know what Fitz is getting at, but he’s treading on dangerous territory. If he so much as mentions my ex, I will shut down. I don’t need to hear her name. Not ever again. Fitz only knows about her because I finally served up the whole sorry story to him a few months ago when I needed to get it off my chest, unraveling the pathetic tale of the way she pulverized me when I asked her to marry me.

Then I said, Let us never speak of her again.

So I slam that door and take a simpler way out. “Look, Teagan’s great, but I don’t mix pleasure with friendships. And we’re all friends, so . . .”

Undeterred, Bryn wiggles her brows. “And you’re also both fun. You should have fun . . . with each other.” She steeples her fingers, takes a beat, and draws a preparatory breath. “So, here’s my idea.”

Bryn lays out a plan, a simple one, where as soon as she says it, the potential is obvious—potential benefits and potential amusement. Some of my favorite hobbies include besting my buddies and giving away money. Her plan involves both.

And damn, it’s brilliant.

So brilliant it kind of pisses me off that I didn’t think of it first.

But I didn’t, so I give Bryn deserved props.

“That’s kind of genius,” I say.

“You just need to get Teagan on board,” she adds.

Fortunately, convincing people is one of my unhidden talents, so I’ve already got some ideas. “I can do that.”

Fitz’s eyes twinkle with mischief. “And I guess you’ve realized that, this way, you could potentially beat the fundraising pants off the Yankees, the Knicks, and the Giants, and nab that grand prize award at the gala. Because we all know how competitive you are.”

I nod in acknowledgment. “The most competitive.”

Bright red hair snags my gaze as Teagan returns to the bar.

It’s game time, and I need to go set up a play.





2





Teagan





Here’s the thing New York City has done to my generation.

It’s made us connoisseurs of quirky Sunday Funday events and propagated them to every day and night of the week.

Fancy midnight mini-golf? You’ll find it in Manhattan.

Jonesing to make your own cheese? Why not make some wine with it too? You can definitely do both in Brooklyn.

You can even have a party where you make mittens, cover them in glitter, then compete to eat as many cupcakes as you can while wearing your new mittens. Head to Queens for that messy fiesta.

The city is a mélange of millennial activities. Some are eye-roll inducing, but they’re not all pointless. We have all experienced our fair share of shit in our lifetime—some more than others—so sooner or later, we desperately need some fun to drown out the drumbeat of bad news.

An oddball outlet for stress has become necessary for mental health.

Including mine.

That means, tonight, we don’t stop at laser tag.

We can continue the celebration of Bryn’s awesomeness at karaoke or choose darts or shuffleboard instead.