Hypnotized High Quality XXX

Be careful what you bet in a poker game.

"If you need leave, I understand," Emma told him after Shelby let him have it. Her new husband never said a word and Kelley thought he must be exactly the kind of man she wanted and deserved. One with no spine nor a pair of balls.

"I'd like to get something to eat first," he told her. "Would you care to join me?"

She took the arm he extended and said, "I would!"

They filled their plates with 'poo-poos' Kelley was sure had all been carefully hand-selected by Shelby after much thought and deliberation. It was cool but not cold outside so Kelley asked if Emma would mind joining him.

"I saw a couple of tables not too far from the door," he told her.

"Sure. Let's do it!" she told him. He carried both plates and she carried their drinks.

They were just outside where they could talk quietly while still able to hear the noise from the celebration inside.

"So it looks like your sister finally got the wedding of her dreams," he said just before taking a bite of a chicken wing.

"She didn't waste any time," Emma said.

"Who's the lucky guy?"

"Some plumber she met. Oh, I gotta tell you the story!" Emma explained what had happened with the ring and how they met as well as Shelby's fascination with him owning his own company at just 35. "And best of all? He has no intention of ever leaving Beaufort. Talk about a dream man, right?"

"I'd say it's kind of sad, but only Shelby knows what's best for her."

Emma almost choked on her food when she heard that. She coughed loudly and said, "Oh, Shelby knows what's best for Shelby. You can count on that!"

After another short laugh, Kelley said, "You really do look beautiful, Emma."

She got more serious than he'd seen her get before as she said, "Thank you, Jason. That...that was really nice. I don't hear things like that too often."

"You should," he said sincerely.

"Shelby kind of sucks all of the oxygen out of the room, you know? But it was nice to hear. So thank you."

He took a deep breath then without warning asked her, "Are you...seeing anyone by chance?"

"No. No one at all."

"There have to be at least a few handsome doctors at that hospital of yours. You can't tell me none of them have hit on...sorry, expressed interest...in going out with you."

Emma laughed politely and said, "I've gone out with a few of them."

"Nothing serious?"

"I thought so a couple of times but one turned out to be married and I didn't know for almost two months."

"Ouch," Kelley said sympathetically. "And the other one?"

"He was several years younger than me and he let it be known I wasn't someone he'd even consider getting serious with. I was just...fun."

"Ouch-again," he said. "Was the age difference really a big deal?"

"To him, I guess. I never really thought about it. He was good looking, funny, intelligent. You know, like you, Jason." Her smile still amazed him and tonight, with her hair and makeup so beautifully done, he couldn't believe he hadn't noticed just how attractive she was before. Or maybe he had but her beauty had taken second place to her outlook on life, one with which he very much agreed. "He was a 27-year old intern and I was a 32-year old...hag?" She smiled but he could tell she'd been hurt.

Without thinking he reached for her hand that wasn't holding food and said, "Don't talk like that, okay? You're nothing close to that." There was enough light that he could see her eyes, eyes that were looking into his. "You're really beautiful, Emma. In fact, having seen you and your 'beauty-queen' sister side by side tonight, I'd be putting that tiara on your head and not hers."

"Oh, please!" she said trying to pretend his comment was just silly. "Like I'd want to wear that cheap piece of sh...trash." She looked around then laughed. "Why do I still care? Piece of...shit," she said. This time both of them laughed.

Kelley hadn't let go of her hand and when they stopped laughing he said, "Why do you do that?"

"Do what?" she asked as though she had no idea.

"Why do you pretend not to know how beautiful you are? Why do you play off complim

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