"Refill?" Becca asks, chuckling at me.
Becca waltzes over to the bar, introduces herself to Marta and makes brief small talk with Pace and Collins, refills each of our daiquiri glasses, then stops to talk to Dad and Colton.
She finally returns with our semi-melted drinks in hand. "What was all that about?" I ask, accepting the drink and slurping down an icy mouthful.
"Okay, first off. Colton's brothers are hot as shit."
I nod. Duh.
"I still think Pace and I could have had fun in Italy…" she says to no one in particular. "Second, don’t worry about Dad and Colton. They're talking about Colton's charity work in Africa and Dad is practically drooling, hanging on his every word. I'm pretty sure Dad's got a mancrush on your boyfriend."
"Thanks, Becs." I wondered what she was doing. Then again, spying for me was practically in the twin handbook.
"Third, Marta is nobody you need to be concerned with. Her tits are obviously fake and seriously, who wears heels to a pool party?"
I hadn't noticed her footwear, but Becca's right, her sandals have a four-inch heel. Son of a…
"She's trying too hard, Soph," Becca continues. "You're naturally beautiful and men prefer that over fake any day. Trust me."
I release a heavy sigh. I know she's right. Colton doesn’t look at Marta the way he does at me. "She and Colton had a fling," I admit to Becca. "When he first separated from his ex-wife. I'm pretty sure she's not only seen my man's package, but she's had the pleasure of being on her knees before him, taking him deep into her throat."
"What a royal bitch."
I laugh, loving Becca's instant hatred for Marta.
"Seriously, sis, are you good with her working for him, given their past? If not, you should talk to him." The frown that tugs down her mouth is familiar to me. It's the same one I see whenever I look into the mirror.
"He had a talk with her. Told her that if she caused any problems between us, she'd be fired."
"Yes, but when she shows up here looking like that, something tells me you should have your own little talk with her. A nicely phrased, back up off my man, bitch, ought to do the trick."
"You think?" I'd never imagined saying anything to Marta directly, but now that Becca is suggesting it, the idea fills me with both anxiety and a strange tinge of excitement. I've never laid claim to a man before.
I suck down the rest of my drink until the straw makes a loud slurping noise against the bottom of the cup. "Hold this." I hand it to Becca. Without giving myself the opportunity to chicken out, I rise from the chair and strut over to where Marta is talking to Pace and Collins beside the bar.
"Can I have a word, Marta?"
"Sure." She smiles at me sweetly and sets down her glass of white wine.
I lead her to the nearby set of cushioned chairs out of earshot of anyone else.
"So how is the redecorating going in the pool house?" I ask.
Shit. I can feel myself chickening out. This is made all the more awkward by the fact that she and I are kind of friends. She's been kind to me. She's taken me shopping and stayed with me when Colton was out of town on business. Of course, it occurs to me that all that friendship stuff could have been an act to get closer to Colton by befriending me. It's just not in my nature to be mean and it turns out I don't have the first clue about how to start.
"It's on track. I emailed Colton a link to a set of designs that I like for the space, but ultimately it's up to him."
I'm left tongue-tied and unsure of what to say next. I think we both know I didn’t pull her away from the fun to have a private conversation about the new drapes for the seldom used pool house.
"Is everything okay, Sophie?"
"No. Actually it's not." I clear my throat, wishing I'd downed a third daiquiri before attempting this awkward conversation. "Colton told me about your past with him."
"Oh." She looks down at the stone patio between her pedicured feet.
"And while he assured me that he doesn’t have any interest in you, I needed to hear you say the same thing." I pause, watching her eyes and focus on breathing calmly. She doesn’t need to know that my heart is beating like a drum.
"At one time, I liked Colton. He's a smart, charming man. What woman wouldn’t fall for him? But over the years, I've accepted that he doesn’t view me that way, Sophie. I can promise you I'm over it."
I nod, still watching her, and unsure of what to say next. Geez, this is awkward. I should have made Becca come over here and have this conversation. Too bad we weren't really identical and couldn’t pass for each other because otherwise, I totally would have.
Marta leans closer. "Listen, the truth is, I know I can't compete with you. You're a gorgeous girl. And Colton loves you. If he hasn't told you yet, I'm sure he will, because I can see it whenever he looks at you…"
"He's told me," I admit.
"Oh. Well, like I said, I'm not surprised." She takes a minute, looking down at her polished toes again, before meeting my eyes. "I hope my working for him doesn’t bother you. If it does, I understand, but I love my job, and…"
I hold up a hand, stopping her. "It doesn’t bother me. I trust Colton. I just needed you to know he's mine now."