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Can You Keep It?

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"Mmmmm." Laurie reached up and tried to bring Travis even closer to her. His lips moved off her lips to her throat.

"Well, isn't this interesting?"

Laurie cringed and Travis froze.

"Ignore her!" Laurie hissed.

"I have nothing to do all day! I can stand here forever!"

"Laurie, do something!" Travis said in a high pitched voice.

"Fine!" she shoved at his shoulders and they sat, side-by-side.

And there was Ellie. She watched them, arms folded. She tapped her chin. "I'm trying to think who to call first."

Travis groaned and put his head in his hands. "Not my mom."

"Your mom! What a great suggestion."

"Okay." Laurie stood up. "Were you spying on us?"

"I can see you from my house! I can't help it if you're too dumb to sneak around successfully!"

"Can you please not tell my mom?" Travis asked, head still in his hands.

Ellie tilted her head. "Thinking about it . . . nope!"

"Ugh, come here." Laurie grabbed Ellie by the arm and dragged her into the kitchen.

"What? Afraid to take me in front of lover boy?"

"That's my question," Travis said, as he walked into the kitchen. “We’re in this together."

"Together," Ellie said. "Such a lovely word. Jules will love hearing that."

"Okay!" Laurie said. "You can't tell Jules! You care about Travis too much."

"Eh."

"Thanks," Travis said.

"Then you care about Jules! We'll tell her," Laurie said. "But there's no reason to freak her out yet. Okay?"

"But it would be so fun!"

Travis shuddered. "For who?"

"For me!" Ellie jumped up and down. "Come on! Can't you just picture the look on her face?"

Laurie tilted her head. "Yes. And I can also picture her going on and on about it to her best friend. Ignoring everything her friends want to talk about it in order to talk about me and Travis. It would go on for days, weeks, month, years!"

"Fine!" Ellie said. "But you suck at sneaking around. Don't you have homes of your own?"

She stomped out of the kitchen.

"She's right," Laurie said. "You're the smart one. Why didn't you think of that?"

She nudged Travis.

"You're smart," Travis said. He laced his fingers into hers and pulled her closer.

"I love it when you call me smart." She leaned in closer to him.

"I can see you!" Ellie's voice rang through the kitchen. She leaned out of her window. "Get a room! That's not in Jules's house!"

"Ugh!" Laurie said. "Let's go to my place."

She and Travis hadn't meant to make out on his mother's couch. It's just that now that they started kissing each other and touching each other, they couldn't seem to stop. So when they both stopped by the house and no one else was there, it had just . . . happened.

- - -

"Jelly Bean!" Ellie said that night. "You haven't tortured us with any of your romantic exploits lately. What gives?"

Laurie glared at her. Ellie smirked and took a sip of her wine.

"Yeah, she's right," Andy said. "Come on, Laurie. What's single life like these days?"

Did he know? Laurie narrowed her eyes at Ellie, but Ellie didn't give anything away. And if Andy knew, then Bobby knew.

"Laurie?" Jules asked.

"Bobby's single! Why don't you ask him?" Laurie said.

"But your stories are so much better," Bobby said.

"Yeah, Jelly Bean. Your stories are so much better," Ellie said.

"I have to go!" Laurie said, and ran out of the kitchen.

- - -

"We have to do something!" Laurie said, as she paced around Travis's apartment.

"Like what?" Travis asked. He was lying on the couch.

"Murder Ellie!"

"I'm going to say no to that."

"Everyone's going to find out!" Laurie spun to face him.

Travis sat up. "And that's a problem?"

"Yes!"

"Because they're going to find out someday and if you're not okay with that, we might as well end this right now."

"No!" Laurie sat next to him and took his hand. "I didn't mean it like that, Trav."

He looked down.

"This is just so new," Laurie said. "And you know what everyone is like."

Travis smiled a little. "Yeah."

"So?" Laurie asked.

"We have to do something?"

"Yes!"

"But I just want to do this." Travis leaned over and kissed her, pressing her down to the couch.

"No time," Laurie murmured, as her hands slid around him.

- - -

The next day, Laurie looked up from her cash register to see Ellie standing in front of her.

"What do you want?" Laurie asked.

"I'm just dropping by to say 'hi.'" Ellie said. "It's so great that you and Jules work in the same office! All this time spent in the same small place. Imagine all the things you could discuss!"

"Okay, what do you want?" Laurie crossed her arms over her chest.

"I think I'll go talk to Jules now! Hmmmm. I wonder what we could talk about?" Ellie turned to go.

"Ellie!"

Ellie didn't turn around. "What?"

Laurie leaned over the counter. "Please don't tell her," she hissed.

"Tell who what?"

"Ellie!"

"Bye!" And Ellie walked across the room to Jules.

Laurie stared after her and frowned.

- - -

"You have to stop her!" Laurie stood over Andy, who was slouched on his couch.

"I don't know what you're talking about, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to be involved," Andy said.

"Don't let Ellie tell Jules!"

"Tell Jules what?"

Laurie narrowed her eyes at him. "Do you really not know?"

"Oh!" Andy bounced up and smiled. "You mean about you and Travis making out on Jules's couch?"

"Yes!"

"I don't know anything about it."

"Andy!" Laurie sat down next to him. "If she tells Jules, I'm going to kill her. How do you feel about being a widower?"

"Depends. You have hot, single friends, right?"

Laurie leaned over him. "I'm going to tell Ellie you said that."

"Fine! Let's go find her."

---

As it turned out, Ellie was sitting in Jules's backyard.

"What are you doing?" Andy asked.

"Waiting for Jules to come home."

"Are you waiting for Jules to come home or are you torturing Laurie?"

"Can't I do both?"

"Be nice to Laurie!" Andy shouted.

"Why?"

Andy looked at Laurie. Laurie gave him a pleading look.

"Because Laurie is your friend?"

Ellie and Laurie both laughed at that one.

Andy stomped up and down. "I'm not helping anymore!"

Grayson poked his head out of the house. "What's going on here?"

"Nothing!" Laurie said.

"Talking about Laurie and Travis," Ellie said.

"Ellie," Laurie whined.

"What? You didn't say not to tell Grayson."

"Tell no one!" Laurie said.

"Are you guys doing it?" Grayson asked.

"You know, that's your stepson you're talking about," Andy said.

"So? I slept with her." Grayson nodded at Laurie.

"Yeah, that just makes it more creepy," Ellie said.

"Guys? Where is everyone?" Jules's voice came from the direction of the house.

"Quick! Everyone scatter!" Laurie said and ran for the bushes.

No one else moved.

"Laurie?" Jules asked as she walked out of the back door. "What are you doing?"

Laurie emerged from the bushes. "Just . . . looking for something!"

"Your dignity?" Ellie asked.

"I have to go!" Laurie said.

- - -

"You know what we could do?" Travis said.

"What?" Laurie said. They were lying in Travis's bed together, both staring up at the ceiling.

Travis rolled over to face her. "Tell my mom first."

"She's never going to forgive me," Laurie said.

"For what? It's not like you're my first girlfriend."

"She's my best friend," Laurie said. "I don't want to lose her."

"You won’t.”

Laurie shook her head.

"You think you can get Jules Cobb out of your life?" Travis asked. "Once she grabs hold of you, she never lets you go."

"I hope so."

"So?"

Laurie reached out and touched Travis's cheek. "Okay, we can tell her."

- - -

The next day, Jules and Travis walked into Jules's kitchen together.

"Jules?" Laurie said. "We have something to tell you."