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It was late Friday night, and only three of the four friends were out on the town. Derek was
presently playing poker with David and Phillip, Joel claiming he wasn’t feeling well enough to go out that
“What the hell does that mean anyway?” Derek griped, not for the first time that night. “Not well
enough to go out for our weekly carousing. He hasn’t missed a single night in the last three years.”
Derek had been on a winning streak for the past hour, and although David and Phillip had more than
enough money to spare, they wished to see if they could rattle Derek’s composure and win back some
of the small fortune he had already won from them.
Blowing a puff of smoke in Derek’s direction, Phillip hinted, “Perhaps Joel is busy with his newest
project.” He winked at David, who grinned boyishly at the havoc they were about to inflict.
“Ah yes, his pretty project,” David agreed.
His eyes narrowing in disbelief, Derek replied, “Don’t tell me Joel blew off our Friday night for some
piece of ass.”
Knowing full well that Joel was in fact abed ailing with whatever he had, David and Phillip still
couldn’t resist spilling the secret. Joel had asked them not to mention it. Most likely he wished to see
the shocked expression on Derek’s face when he found out, but missing that sight would be Joel’s
penance for daring miss one of their hallowed nights out.
“Could be. And rumor has it you know her quite well,” Phillip said mysteriously.
“I thought you chaps were above dallying with my leftovers,” Derek replied.
“Good Lord, Derek,” David interjected, “if no one could partake of your leftovers, no man in
England would be getting any, husbands included!”
Phillip and David laughed at the unamused glare on Derek’s face. He could see they were fairly
itching to tell him some bit of gossip, but Derek could care less. He himself had been the subject of
gossip more times than he cared to remember, and didn’t give much credence to rumors about others.
“Don’t be crass, David,” Derek said, the hint of a smile hovering about his lips.
“Joel has even hired the girl,” Phillip said, a flicker of sudden interest showing in Derek’s eyes.
Phillip didn’t miss that, and was anxious to see whether the upcoming news would indeed put a crimp in
Derek’s winning at poker.
“You don’t say,” Derek said, maintaining an air of boredom, upping the ante as he covertly glanced
at his friends. “Joel has a new mistress?”
Phillip nearly choked on his drink, fits of laughter in between his struggle for breath. “No, not
exactly. Should we really tell him, David? Joel asked us not to.”
Taking another drink, David looked curiously at Derek, disappointed to see they weren’t making a
dent in his composure. Drastic measures were called for, besides the fact they were well into their cups,
which usually served to loosen lips. “Why not? I think Derek might truly be interested in the newest
maid at Joel’s home.”