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Pyke was fairly certain that nothing less than a dozen college kids could make the kind of mess he was witnessing. The kitchen counters and table were strewn with pizza boxes, random take-out containers, and a slew of empty pop and beer bottles, not to mention a cluster of little paper umbrellas stuck in what appeared to be leftover cheese cubes. The kitchen in Laurel's apartment was disgusting, a complete sty, the likes of which Pyke hadn't seen since he'd lived in a frat house.
"What the hell happened in here?" He looked for an empty spot on the counter so he could put his box of doughnuts down and kept the Saturday paper tightly in his hand, not willing to risk the sticky drink residue.
"Charming, as usual." Laurel shuffled right past him to the coffee maker and snarled at it when she realized it was empty. "The least you could do is start the coffee when you let yourself in at the crack of dawn."
"It's almost noon." Pyke grinned at her. "Did you have a good night?"
"A very long one." She held her terrycloth bathrobe closed with one hand and stared mournfully at the empty carafe. "Girls' night. There was tequila."
"And you didn't invite me over?" Pyke took the carafe from her hand and pointed her to the table. "Sit. I'll make coffee."
Laurel nodded and sank down onto a chair, then propped her head up with one hand, her hair falling in a tangled sheet in front of her face. "You're not a girl," she pointed out reasonably. "We sat and drank and bitched about men. You would've hated it."
"No drunken pillow fights while dressed only in your underwear?"
"That kind of thing only happens in your dreams."
Pyke put his newspaper and the doughnutbox on a chair, then started the coffee brewing. As soon as he got the water going through the machine he started gathering up the garbage.
Laurel watched him but made no move to help. "You don't have to do that."
"No, I don't. But it'll put you in a good mood." He smiled at her and threw away some scary-looking chow mein. "Why don't you go shower and wake up?"
Laurel snorted at him but stood up. "You just don't want to look at me when I'm hung over and unglamorous."
"I always want to look at you," Pyke said with disarming honesty and his very best smile. "Take some aspirin, have a shower. Start Saturday all over again."
"You want something, don't you?" She looked at him suspiciously but she was moving toward the bathroom.
Pyke grinned at her and waved a pizza box in her general direction. "Always thinking so bad of me," he said with a mock pout. "Get in the shower. You'll feel tons better, I promise."
After the kitchen looked reasonably clean Pyke poured himself a cup of coffee and grabbed a doughnut before he went to survey the living room. To his relief it looked like the ladies had managed to keep the damage mostly contained in the kitchen. He picked up a couple of cushions and tossed them back onto the couch, and took one more glass to the dishwasher.
He didn't see any extra ladies left on the floor behind the couch, or any stray underwear, so he contented himself with thinking about what he'd missed. In a perfect world, there would be a lot of stray, drunken women just lying around waiting for him to find.
The shower shut off with a clank of noisy pipes, signaling Laurel's return to the land of the sober and cleaned up. Pyke finished the coffee at the bottom of his mug and hauled himself off the couch to get her one of her own, then wandered down the hall to her bedroom.
He put Laurel's coffee on her dresser and was poking around at the makeup she'd left scattered there when she walked in, her hair in a towel and her bathrobe loosely tied at the waist.
"That's not really your color," she said, eyeing the pink lipstick in his hand.
"Not really yours, either." He put the lipstick down and held up another one, a brilliant red. "This one is."
"You just like a whore's mouth." She smiled at him and bent a bit, her hands on the towel as she squeezed excess water from her hair.
Pyke watched her, a low tingle of arousal warming his belly. He loved watching Laurel like this: fresh and clean and completely devoid of anything external to influence her beauty. He'd told her that once, and she'd laughed at him, accusing him of having the worst lines in history. Pyke couldn't help it if it was true.
She stood straight again and finished with the towel, her hair tumbled and damp around her face. "What?" She looked at him for a moment and then narrowed her eyes. "You've got that look."
"The look that means it's a good thing I'm already naked."
"Oh." Pyke's grin grew wide, and he added a wink. "That look."
"I just took a shower. I don't want another one." Laurel was smiling too, though, and she hung the towel over the bedroom door instead of throwing it at him.
"Are you still seeing whatsisface?" Pyke looked at the mirror over the dresser but didn't see a photo of the current whatsisface stuck in the frame.
"Brody? No." Laurel came over and stood next to him, running her fingers through her hair to untangle the ends. "Thus the girls' night and bitching."
Pyke nodded. "I had a gig," he offered. "And I'm playing again tonight. You should come."
She looked at him in the mirror. "Who else is going?" she asked. "I hate sitting there by myself."
"Shea. You should call him."