Cupid Stupid

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Cupid, Texas

"Valentine's Day. Today is the cheating snake's wedding day," Taylor Braxton said, flipping her blonde hair over her shoulder before taking a sip of wine. Her third glass of the evening. "I'd like to propose a toast to his new wife. May she never find him in her bed with someone else, like I found her in mine."

The three women clinked glasses.

"Maybe it was for the best. After all, lawmen are known for being serial cheaters," Meghan, one of Taylor's best friends, said in her quiet librarian voice. She gave a shake of auburn hair, her emerald eyes filled with sympathy.

Still the same after all these years, Taylor wondered if Meghan ever raised her voice even during a climax. Did she scream with passion, or just say oh? And Taylor never wanted to know the answer to that question.

Yes, lawmen cheated, but many men were sleazebags who thought infidelity was nothing.

Kelsey, Taylor's other best friend leaned in close. "Well, if you hadn't found him locked in the arms of another woman, you wouldn't have come back to Cupid."

"True," Taylor agreed.

Pushing her dark brunette hair back over her shoulder, Kelsey smiled. "I can't believe we're all here together again. Just like the old days when we were young and naive and so vulnerable. Now, we're all grown up and--"

"Still single," Meghan said with a sigh.

"Yep, no eligible man on my radar," Kelsey admitted. "Who would want to date a woman with three pain in the ass brothers watching over her?"

Kelsey's announcement surprised Taylor. Of the three of them, Kelsey was who she thought would walk down the aisle first. Instead, not one of them was wearing a ring, and frankly, she found it odd she'd come the closest to a honeymoon.

"I don't want a man. I'm giving up. I'm going to remain single the rest of my life," Taylor announced.

After her last attempt at love, the time to step away had arrived in the form of a revealed booty call. Now, her focus on the family business was the most important thing in her life.

"Oh yeah, that's the life I want," Meghan replied, sarcasm dripping in her tone. "Always the third wheel when you're around couples. Every holiday your relatives asking if there is something wrong with you or have you tried online dating. Blind dates with your next-door neighbor’s son, who is so kind that he still lives with his mother." She shivered. "No, thanks."

Meghan's appearance fitted the sweet, innocent librarian image, but her tongue was sharp and precise. Sometimes even Taylor was shocked at what came out of her smart mouth.

Setting her wine glass down on the table Kelsey leaned forward. "Or your brothers’ glancing at every man you bring home like he's a terrorist, and should they learn he's sleeping with their sister, he would wake up six feet under." Kelsey giggled. "They don't know, but I lost my virginity the first semester of college during pledge week."

"Ohh...with someone you cared about?" Taylor asked.

She sighed. "Not really. We were two virgins who wanted to rid ourselves of the stigma. A fumbling, truly awful, awkward experience. After that horrible first time, I concentrated on my studies and not on men."

"What about you, Taylor? When did you lose your virginity?" Meghan asked.

"Prom night," she said, shaking her head. "Billy Ray Smith."

"Oh my gosh, he's married and living one town over."

"Thank God. He was mistake number one. I was young and foolish." And oh, so stupid, she thought.

That night he'd convinced her everyone was doing the nasty and if she didn't give it up, she would be the only virgin left in school. Curious about the forbidden fruit and wanting to fit in, she listened to him.

Meghan laughed. "Well, we certainly know who popped my cherry. Max Vandenberg, football superstar jerk.”

The three women sighed. Kelsey shifted uneasily in her chair. "We thought we were going to change the world."

Taylor snickered. "I think the world changed us."

Meghan giggled. "Remember that silly superstition from high school?"

"Which one? There were several," Kelsey said. "I especially liked the one where the football boys had to put a pair of girl's panties on the top of the goal post if they wanted a winning season."

So many things happened in a small town where gridiron was king. The football team could get away with so much more than the other school sports.

"While the drill team practiced in our uniforms, all our undies were stolen from the girls' gym. I remember going commando, like, yesterday." Taylor chuckled.

Kelsey turned toward her. "Max Vandenberg was the panty thief. Did you hear that he played professional football for the Dallas Cowboys for a while?"

"Until he got hurt. Now he's back." Meghan shook her head. "Right back here under my nose - the big jerk. He’s coaching at my school."

"Why does it seem like many of our classmates left and eventually returned."

"Yes, Ryan Jones is back. My brother told me he's sheriff now," Kelsey said, drinking another glass of vino. "He was my ex. So two exes back in town and another one's married and lives nearby."

"I don't consider Billy Ray an ex."

Sure, Taylor lost her virginity the night of prom, but recognized she would never marry Billy Ray. Redneck was a polite term for that kid. The ex that crushed her was in Dallas where he belonged with his skanky new wife.

Sitting there, she glanced at her besties from grade school.

"Wonder how many girls fell for that Cupid superstition? Did you guys ever do that one?" Taylor asked.

"Oh no," Meghan said. "I didn't like getting undressed in gym class."

"Oh no," Kelsey echoed. "If my brothers caught me dancing naked around the statue in the town square, I would have been sealed away in a nunnery until my female parts shriveled. What about you?"

"No," she said, thinking she didn't believe that nonsense.

Taylor looked at the two women sitting at the table. She poured the last of the second bottle of wine. The music seemed louder, the laughter shriller, and yet she was having so much fun, she didn't want to stop. Tomorrow she'd probably regret the amount of alcohol they were consuming, but tonight felt good. Old friends, memories, and alcohol helping her forget the importance of this damn day.

"You remember when all the cheerleaders did the naked Cupid dance, all hoping to find their true love. How did the magic work out for them?" Kelsey said with a laugh.

Taylor shook her head. "I remember. The football team showed up unexpectedly with cameras in hand and when the squad returned to school they faced suspension."

The principal had decided to make them examples.

Meghan frowned and gazed at the women, her blue eyes large, her expression one of disgust. "Don't feel too badly for them. They're all married. In fact, most of them have babies. If the superstition is true, it worked very well for them. What the hell is wrong with us?"

Taylor threw her hands up. "I'm not looking to get married. Right now, my focus is my parents' restaurant. I don't need a man."

After her disastrous engagement, the time had come to put the idea of marriage and children and happily ever after on the shelf.

Turning in her chair, Meghan looked at Kelsey. "What about you? Do you want to marry?"

Kelsey leaned on her hands. "Yes, I would like to find a man, but my brothers run them off faster than a deer during hunting season. So I'll be working on the boutique I'm preparing to open for business. One year is all I have to make a profit. Or I'll be moving back to the city. What about you, Meghan?"

She tossed back her hair and stared them straight in the eye. "I'm twenty-five years old. I'm ready. My ovaries are beginning to shrivel like a prune. Bring on the right man and I'll race him to the altar."

The idea hit Taylor smack in the stomach, and while it seemed preposterous, the idea was too good to pass up. She shook her head at the two of them, giggling. "Then let's do it."

Frowns appeared on their faces as they stared at her. "What?"

She checked her watch. "It worked for all those other women. Why not us? The superstition says at midnight anyone chanting and dancing naked around the fountain will soon meet their true love. I've never believed in the notion, but hey, I'm game. We've got thirty minutes. Let's go kick some Cupid butt and see if that superstition is real or not."

Meghan's eyes widened. "You want me to take off my clothes and dance in front of you and everyone else in town, chanting some silly verse?"

"Oh, most people will be asleep and I've seen you au naturel before. I'll be too busy dancing to notice you and your jiggling tatas."

Laughing, Kelsey gazed at Taylor. "And you think this is going to work."

No, she didn't believe in superstitions. She walked under ladders, stepped on cracks, and black cats didn't frighten her. Friday the thirteenth was just another day and dancing without clothes around a statue wasn't going to land her a husband.

She didn't want or need a man in her life. But she'd do this for her friends.

"We're late bloomers. Everyone else did this in high school. We never had the courage, but now we're older, some of us desperate. Let's do it."

Kelsey lifted her glass and drained the alcohol. "I'm in. What about you, Meghan?"

"Oh, it's starting again. During high school, you girls could get me into more trouble. You're back in town less than twenty-four hours and already you're plotting mischief."

"Oh, come on, it'll be fun," Taylor said, downing the last of her drink and signaling the waitress.

"The temperature outside is colder than a well digger...and we're getting naked," Meghan whined. "Tonight, other women are being wined and dined and we're going to dance without our clothes, in the town square? Something is wrong with this picture."

"Think of the thrill. The tales you can tell your children," Taylor said, the adventure of doing something dangerous sending a ripple of excitement through her. Years had passed since her last prank and this was the kind of stunt that got her juices flowing.

"Daring." Kelsey grabbed her purse. "I haven't done anything like this since college. I'm just drunk enough my logical, rational side is being held hostage by my fun side."

"Are you in?" Taylor asked not certain Meghan would agree.

With a sigh Meghan finished her wine. "I don't want to be the only old maid. Of course, I'm in."