i. the plaid shirt
He’s pretty sure Gia knew about them way before Emma started stealing his shirts to wear, but she doesn’t say anything too pointed until the day Emma comes in to Ernie’s wearing his favorite red button-down over her dress.
It’s a light enough red that under the fluorescent lights it seems to match her own color, the soft pink of her dress and shoes, but he catches Gia’s eyebrows raising as soon as Emma sits down next to Jake with a cheery smile.
“Got your favorite,” Gia says to her, sliding a cup of froyo across the table. Troy tries to keep his gaze focused on whatever Noah is explaining excitedly to him and not on Emma’s hand as she reaches over to take the froyo and the way the cuff of his shirt is too big on her wrist and has to be rolled up three times as it is.
“Thanks,” Emma says contentedly, digging into her froyo as if nothing is wrong. Gia switches her amused look from her to Troy, who shifts under the weight of her stare. Noah and Jake don’t seem to notice anything, at least.
“Nice shirt, Emma,” Gia says after a moment, loud enough to cut across Jake’s attempt at flirting with her, quiet enough that nobody outside of their table would hear, but Troy still feels the echo in his ears as they burn red.
Emma, for her part, looks down at the shirt as if she’d forgotten she was wearing it, then smiles brightly at Gia. “I know, right? I just found it yesterday.”
Troy nearly chokes on his lemonade. Emma doesn’t look at him, but Gia does. Noah looks quizzically at him for his reaction, but Jake is too busy sulking over being ignored again. Gia’s look is pointed enough for all three of them, however.
Don’t think about what you were doing last night don’t think about what you were doing last night do not think about what you were doing last night –
“Yeah?” Gia says, leaning forward as if genuinely curious. “Where from?”
Emma takes a bite of her froyo before answering. Troy wants to sink into his seat and disappear. “Just happened upon it,” she says with a smile. It’s not a lie, but it’s not exactly the truth. He makes a noise halfway between amusement and despair. Noah’s expression turns even more curious.
“Oh, that’s why it looks used,” Gia agrees solemnly, and he presses his face into his hands. “In a good way, of course.”
Emma catches his eye and grins widely. “Of course,” she says. Troy schools his features into nonchalance and gives up his quest of not thinking about Emma in his bed last night wearing only that shirt and her underwear, laughing as he pressed kisses down her body. It’s easier when Gia has stopped staring at him like he’s on trial before a jury.
“So,” he says quickly and loudly before anyone can add anything to that conversation, like Noah looks like he’s about to, “does anyone want another round of froyo?”
“I think Gia knows,” Emma murmurs into his neck later that night when she’s snuggled up next to him on his bed wearing his shirt and nothing else. Troy looks down at her with an amused smile.
“No, really?” he asks sarcastically, and she laughs and pushes at his chest. He captures her hand and brings it up to his lips to kiss. “That’s not a bad thing, is it?”
Emma hums as he lets her hand drop back onto his stomach and begins tracing circles over his bare skin. “Nah. She won’t tell anyone. She’ll probably want to talk to me about it, though, when she gets a moment alone. And… she’s going to give you the Talk.”
She says this ominously, but with a giggle in her voice, and he frowns at her in alarm. “The Talk?”
“You know,” she grins, tapping a rhythm over his abs that makes him shift – he’s not exactly ticklish, but Emma knows where to get him by now. “Don’t hurt my best friend or I will rearrange your limbs. Stuff like that. She can be intimidating, but don’t let her scare you, she likes you.”
“That’s a relief,” he mutters and she laughs and leans up to kiss him. “Hey, don’t try to distract me. This is your fault for wearing that damn shirt out in public.”
She rolls over on top of him and bats her eyelashes. “What, you don’t think I look good in it?”
Troy slips his hands up her waist and underneath his open shirt, pulling her down so they’re chest to chest, nose to nose. “You know you look good in it. But I think even Jake and Noah started to realize something was up.”
Emma shrugs and lets him steal a kiss, her body shifting under his hands. “It’s not exactly our best kept secret.”
He grins at her. “I know,” he says, and then slides the shirt off her. Whatever she was going to say next gets swallowed in his kisses.