"Hey, darlin'. Why don't you give in and go out with me? Give up all this cat and mouse. Games are fun and all, but I know we could have a lot more fun together."
Would Jack ever stop trying? His resilience never ceased to amaze Trey.
"Okay. I'll go out with you." She walked over to them and leaned right up against the bar, her well-rounded breasts pushing the boundaries of the neckline of her tight T-shirt. "On one condition."
Trey had never seen Jack so flustered before in all the time he'd known him. Jack had been asking this woman out for years now and this was as close as he'd ever come to an actual yes.
Jack swallowed hard and finally wrestled his eyes up from her chest. "W-what's that, darlin'?"
"What's my name?" She slapped each palm flat on the bar and waited for the answer.
Jack's mouth opened, but no sound came out. Trey paused a moment himself. She had a point. They'd been coming here a good two years now and she'd served them most times, but he'd be damned if he knew her name.
She smiled and shook her head. "Didn't think so." She walked away as the waitress returned to give her the cash for the drinks. Trey watched her glance at them in the reflection of the mirror behind the bar as she opened the register and made change.
"Why didn't you remember her name?" Jack backhanded Trey's leg. "Dang it. I was as happy as a puppy with two peters when she said she'd go out with me. I nearly shit my pants. Then she comes up with some stupid question. I didn't think there'd be a test first."
As Jack scowled, Trey shook his head. "It wasn't a stupid question. She's right. We should know after all this time. Besides the team, we probably spend more hours here with her than with anyone else in our lives and we don't even know her name."
Jack frowned and broke his gaze away from watching the nameless bartender. Staring right at Trey now, Jack cocked his head to one side. "What is all this tonight? First it's 'Don't bother her, she's busy'. Now it's 'She's right, we should know her name'. You better not be snooping around her. Teammates don't steal each other's women. It's in the code."
Trey rolled his eyes and let out a short laugh. "First of all, I'm not snooping around, as you put it. Second, if she's your woman, learn her damn name."
Jack banged his bottle onto the bar. "I will." He glanced around until his attention landed on the waitress. "Baby cakes, sashay your sweet self on over here."
The willing waitress arrived immediately after his summons in a cloud of perfume mixed with grape gum. She had on so much makeup her eyelashes stuck together when she tried to bat them at Jack. "Hey, boys. I don't get to hang with you two usually. You're always sitting at the bar instead of at my tables. What can I do for you?"
Jack fielded that question while Trey took another swig of beer. He noticed that while he and Jack had been arguing the bartender had left briefly. She returned now with a rack of clean stemmed glasses. Hoisting the unwieldy item onto the bar with a clang, she started to hang the glasses one by one upside-down above the bar.
Glancing at Jack as he flirted with the waitress, she raised a brow. "Moved on already, has he? I'm heartbroken."
Trey laughed. He considered telling her Jack was sweet talking the waitress in an attempt to find out her name. Instead, without even knowing why he did it, he extended his arm to her. "I'm Trey Williams."
She looked down at his offered hand and then back to his face. After a moment, she wiped her fingers on a bar rag and took his in a firm, strong grasp. "Carly McAfee."
He smiled and repeated it. "Carly."
"Yeah, short for Charlene. Thank God my parents realized I wasn't a Charlene pretty early on and gave me the nickname."
"What's wrong with the name Charlene?"
She glanced at the miniskirt-wearing waitress still talking with Jack. "I'd have to look like her to pull off a name like Charlene." She shook her head. "No, I'm definitely a Carly."
Trey took in her straight brown hair pulled into a ponytail to fully expose a pretty, fresh face. If she wore makeup at all, it didn't scream to be noticed. Her girl-next-door looks sat just fine with him. The centerfold-worthy, shapely jean-clad hips, small waist and even shapelier T-shirt-covered breasts didn't hurt either.
She was a strange cocktail of simplicity mixed with attitude, shaken with killer good looks. More importantly, he could tell there was a brain in that pretty head of hers.
Jack, leaning forward, interrupted Trey's reverie regarding Carly's assets. "Hey, darlin'. I want another chance at this date. Come over here and ask me your question again."
She rolled her eyes and walked to stand in front Jack. "I'll give you one more chance, but the question has changed."
"Lay it on me, sweet cheeks." Jack grinned wide.
Looking overly confident, Jack leaned back on the barstool and waited for the question. He must have gleaned quite a bit of information from his discussion with the waitress.
Carly covered her eyes with one hand. "What color are my eyes?"
Jack, who never used bad language in mixed company, silently mouthed a vile curse before venturing an obviously blind guess. "Uh, brown?"
"Wrong." She turned, opened the beer cooler and began checking her stock of cold bottles.
Scowling, Jack cursed again quietly. "Watch my beer, will ya'? I've gotta go take a leak."
Trey nodded and Jack disappeared into the bathroom.
Eyes still on Carly's back, he whispered, "They're green."
She spun, those beautiful jade-colored eyes open wide and staring straight at him.
Damn, she had good ears. He'd have to remember that in the future.
Their gazes collided and his heart clenched. He reminded himself it was Jack who had a crush on this girl, not him. All of his friend's going on and on about her must have rubbed off. What he felt wasn't real. It couldn't be, because Trey had no room in his life for a girlfriend right now. A distracted soldier was a dead soldier. He didn't want a girlfriend, nor did he need one. Not now and definitely not Carly, the one girl Jack was obsessed with.
So why did he suddenly feel like if he didn't get far away from her soon, he'd forget his own rule and want a girlfriend? Want her.