“She’s sort of…winsome. Very lovely.”
Lucy turned her head sharply to eye Travis carefully.
“Winsome and lovely?” she repeated, an edge of disgust creeping into her voice. Who was this man? Her friend Travis didn’t use words like “winsome.” And he wouldn’t be caught dead near anything lovely.
Something of the edge in her tone must have caught on Travis’s consciousness because he snuck a guilty glance at her.
“You know, she’s…pretty. She has…prescence.”
More like himself, but there was still something amiss. Before she could help herself, Lucy felt a pang of envy through her sternum.
“Yeah, everyone loves Becca,” she heard herself say flippantly. As if loving Becca were something common. Base.
“Yeah?” he responded halfheartedly. He hadn’t torn his eyes off of her yet, which was tearing Lucy apart.
“Oh, for sure. She’s had a zillion guys after her.” She wasn’t entirely sure what she meant to accomplish by telling him that. Make him think the competition was too stiff? Make him think he’d never stand out, so why bother trying? Either way, it made him finally turn to her.
“Yeah?” God, did he know any other words? Oh yes, “winsome.” And “lovely.”
“Oh, ga-zillions,” she emphasized. She had his attention, so she felt the impulse to keep talking. “Remember Matt?” She watched Travis’s eyes roll slightly to the upper left as he struggled to recall this name.
“The band guy?” he said finally.
“Yes!” she pounced. “He was ga-ga over her. I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty sure at least three of his new songs are about her. And she didn’t even date him!”
It dawned on Lucy that she might not be helping herself. She’d managed to paint Becca as some sort of etheareal goddess with men throwing themselves at her feet and writing songs in her honor. Hell, she would date that. Shouldn’t she be mentioning the fact that Becca never covered her mouth when she coughed or that she had this weird wart on her left foot or that she always mixed up “they’re” and “their”?
“But I mean, it’s not like she’s perfect,” she finished lamely. A warmth grew in Travis’s eyes.
“Well, not everyone can be perfect like Lucy,” he said with a grin, putting his arm around her shoulders.
There was no romance in the arm. Lucy knew that. But she let herself drift for a moment, reveling the touch as she settled back into the crook of his arm.
“Well, it is very difficult,” she said softly.