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By Della Street
The tone was innocent, but the question was not. "So, which of my friends do you find most attractive?"
Jo froze, midway through removing plates from the table. This was a no-win situation if ever she'd heard one. "None," she said.
Blair rolled her eyes. "Oh, please," she said. "I'm not asking you to marry one of them. I'm just saying, who do you think is prettiest, objectively speaking?"
Objectively speaking, like some harmless science project. Right. Jo decided to head this off right now. "Blair, if you're askin' me if I wanna do any of your friends, the answer is no."
Appalled, Blair exclaimed, "Must you be crude? I'm not asking whether you want to 'do' my friends. It's a perfectly straightforward question."
Uh oh. Jo knew where that was headed. It was a perfectly straightforward question, so why wouldn't Jo answer?
"Fine," she said. She bought some time by rinsing the plates even though, as Blair often pointed out, she paid someone to do that. "Evie, I guess."
Blair frowned. "Evelyn Peters?"
"Yeah, I guess," Jo said. "I mean, she's all right." Please let this be over soon.
"I see." Blair crossed her arms. "So, you're attracted to Evelyn?"
No-fucking-win. "We're not doing this, Blair," Jo said. "You made me pick someone. I picked. I'm not interested in Evelyn Peters."
Blair seemed to accept her response, but, as usual with Blair, things were not as they seemed. Two days later, she waved a hand airily as Jo gulped the last of her morning coffee. "I just want you to know that I understand," she said out of the blue.
Warily, Jo replied, "Understand what?"
"I've been reading," Blair said. "It's called the seven-year itch."
"What's called that?"
Blair laid a hand across Jo's. "I don't want to be one of those wives who can't adapt to modern times," she said. "I've been reading all about it."
"All about what?" Damn it, Jo was going to be late to work, but she didn't dare leave now.
"About the desire for something new."
She still had no clue what Blair was blathering on about this time. "Blair, what the hell are you talking about?" she snapped.
"I've had a talk with Evelyn, and she's willing to . . . you know."
No, she did not know. Jo's cellular phone rang, and she unhooked it from her belt. "Yeah?"
Blair rose, kissed Jo's cheek, and turned toward the stairs leading to the bedroom. "Consider it an anniversary present," she said.
Jo was still confused at the end of a long day of witness interviews. On their way back to the station, the detective unfolded her cellular phone with a terse, "Polniaczek."
"Friday or Saturday night?" Blair asked.
There wasn't much point to asking, Jo had learned over the years, but she still gave it a try. "For what?"
"Our" Blair lowered her voice to a whisper. "three way."
"What?" Jo exclaimed. "What three way?"
Suddenly, Blair sounded uncertain. "I just assumed . . . I guess I should have asked . . . Do you want me there?"
"Of course I want you there!" she said. Wait, that wasn't what she meant. "I mean, I don't . . ." Over the phone wasn't the best way to handle this, Jo decided. She settled for, "Look, Blair, we need to talk."
"Of course," Blair said. "To work out the logistics. I mean, do you want us doing things to each other? Or just doing things to you?"
An image flashed into Jo's head of Evie Peters kissing Blair. And maybe doing other things to her.
"That's my other line," Blair suddenly announced. "If it's Evelyn, I'll tell her Friday night. I'll call you back."
Jo slammed her phone shut.
"What's up?" Hank asked.
"Blair," she said. Of course. What was always up? "She thinks I want a three-way with this friend of hers."
Sympathetically, he said, "So she's pissed, huh?"
If only. "Not Blair," Jo said. That would be too normal. "She went and set it up."
He swung his head around. "She set up a three way for you?"
Jo nodded, sighing.
"With another broad?"
She nodded again.
"Someone you know?"
"Yeah," Jo said. "Some former Miss New York City she hangs out with. Says it's my anniversary present."
Gripping the steering wheel, he said through gritted teeth, "And I get fucking hedge clippers."
She didn't reply.
He looked over at her. "I hate you."
"I don't want it!" Jo blurted. "I don't want someone else fucking Blair, and I don't want someone else fucking me!"
"How about doing it for me, then?"
She scowled at him.
"Why don't you just tell her?"
For once, her partner had made a sensible suggestion. He had barely finished it when her phone rang again. "Blair," Jo answered, "I don't want a three-way."
"I don't want a three-way. So you tell Evelyn thanks but no thanks." Feeling emboldened, Jo went on, "I'll be home at seven. You be naked and ready for me on the couch. And then you're going to give me my anniversary present in every room of the apartment."
After a brief silence, Blair said simply, "Hurry home."
Smiling happily, Jo hung up.
A moment later, her partner looked over at her again. "I hate you . . . ."
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