Max had disappeared, so Jem did a slow circle around the club checking everyone was happy. It was a busy night but there was no hint of trouble, which he appreciated. Customers were drinking, dancing, and generally having a good time. So why did Jem feel so miserable in his own club? Peacock was his home. He should feel happy here.
Jem stopped breathing. He turned to see Griff smiling at him. He’d forgotten just how big Griff seemed next to him, dominating the space around them.
“Hi.” Jem couldn’t think of what else to say.
Griff seemed equally dumbstruck. Then he took a deep breath. “Listen, would you have a drink with me?”
“Me?” Jem asked stupidly.
Griff’s lips twitched. “Yes, you, if you want to.”
Griff looked a bit confused at his question. “Because I like you.”
Jem’s next question was going to be “Why?” again, but he heard a voice say, “That’s an excellent idea. Why don’t you take the rest of the night off, Jem? I can manage here.”
Jem was going to kill his brother. Slowly, painfully, and with whatever implement he had to hand. The smirk on his brother’s face was enough to make him seethe. What if he didn’t want to have a drink with Griff? Okay that really was stupid. Of course he wanted to have a drink with Griff.
Griff was still staring at him intently. Jem knew that if he said no, Griff wouldn’t press him. Griff was a Daddy, a true Daddy, if his reputation in the community was accurate. Jem had done his own investigations into the man who had escorted him home. Griff would walk away because he was too much of a gentleman to force Jem into doing anything he didn’t want to. So the ball was in Jem’s court.
Jem ignored his brother and smiled at Griff, pleased to see Griff relax a fraction. “I’d like that, but not here. Otherwise my brother and half the bodyguard community will be interfering.”
“I never interfere,” Max spluttered.
“Did your nose just get bigger?” Jem asked sweetly.
Griff chuckled at Max’s outraged expression. “I know where we can go where we won’t meet anyone we know.”
“You take care of him,” Max said, his voice suddenly hard.
Jem rolled his eyes. “He’s taking me for a drink, not putting me in chains in his dungeon.”
He heard Griff’s intake of breath. Well, well, well. That was unexpected. Maybe he did have to worry.
But Griff turned to Max. “Let me give you my number. You can check in with me as well as Jem. And my co-workers will vouch for me.”
“I know who you are,” Max said. “I’ve already checked you out.”
“Max!” Jem was outraged, even though he’d done the same thing.
“Gotta make sure you’re safe, little brother.” Max grinned at Jem’s eye roll.
“Peacock isn’t the wild west, Max,” Jem groused.
“You never know.” There was something in Max’s expression…Jem didn’t know what it was, but he didn’t understand it.
But before he could question his brother, Griff just nodded as if being investigated was an everyday occurrence. “Good, then you’ll know I’ve worked for CDR for many years. I’ve lived in my apartment for five years, and I have a dog.”
Max groaned. “Did you have to say the d word?”