“Oh, does he come to Romerius a lot then?” I asked surprised. It had seemed like they hadn’t spoken to each other in ages at the party the previous evening.
“I wouldn’t say a lot, no.” He shook his head and then stopped at the table where Richard was sitting next to a middle-aged lady. “Richard, Charlotte, good to see you both. It’s been too long.”
“Xavier.” Richard reached out and shook his hand and then Xavier kissed Charlotte’s cheek.
“This is Lola, Lola meet Prince Richard and his beautiful wife, Charlotte.” He nodded towards me and I smiled at them both weakly. What in hell was going on here? Richard was married? So who was Elizabeth then? And why hadn’t Xavier told me?
“Hi, nice to meet you both.” I nodded and shook their hands and slid into the chair, Xavier had pulled out for me.
“It’s very nice to meet you, Lola. We’ve heard a lot about you.” Charlotte smiled at me broadly as I sat down.
“Oh really?” I looked at her in surprise.
“Yes, we know that you love art as well.” Richard spoke up, the expression in his eyes light and unconcerned, as if he were positive I wasn’t going to ask him why he was with a girl called Elizabeth last night and a wife called Charlotte today.
“Yes, I do love art.” I smiled. “Xavier was actually my professor in London.” I spoke sweetly and picked up the menu. My head was starting to pound. I could sense that Xavier was looking at me, but I didn’t look up. Just when I thought we were starting to get on the right track, something would happen that made me doubt him and his sincerity all over again.
“Now that I didn’t know.” Charlotte laughed and I looked up at her. She was smiling at me genuinely and I smiled back, feeling guilty inside that I knew her husband was cheating on her.
“I guess that’s not something Xavier cares to share with everyone.” I giggled and then looked at him. “Isn’t that true, honey?” His eyes narrowed as he stared at me and I knew he could tell something was off. I hoped that he was worried that I’d blurt out more information. How could he think it was okay to not tell me that Richard and his wife would be here; especially after I had mentioned Elizabeth? Did he think that this was cool or right? I knew men were different and he was different, but I just did not agree with cheating.
“I don’t mind if people know you were in my class.” He said smoothly. “Just like I don’t mind people knowing you slept with me on the first date. I thought it was you that wanted to keep those things a secret.”
“I’m fine.” I said stiltedly, my face growing red.
“Xavier, stop teasing the poor girl.” Charlotte chided him and reached for my hand. “You must ignore him, Lola. Xavier loves to rile people up.”
“No, I don’t.” He retorted back. “I just like to have some fun.”
“Maybe too much fun.” Richard answered with a wry smile. “I heard what you were up to last night.”
“Whatever do you mean?” Xavier grinned.
“Casper’s room, Xavier?” Richard shook his head and laughed.
“What are you two talking about?” Charlotte asked the question I was thinking and they both shook their heads.
“Nothing of importance.” Xavier smiled smugly. “I just had a message I wanted to give Casper last night and I left it in his room.”
“Oh yes, he had that party that you went to.” She looked at her husband. “You and your boys club parties.” She shook her head and looked at me. “Something for you to look forward to Lola. When you marry Xavier, he’ll be out and about with his friends and you’ll be stuck at home with the babies, while he does who knows what.”
“Parties?” I asked softly, afraid to look at Richard and Xavier.
“Yes, they all get together and play poker and talk politics.” Charlotte smiled and took a sip of water. “Only no women are allowed.”
“Oh.” I answered her softly and grabbed my water glass as well.
“No wives allowed.” Richard rubbed her hand. “You’d ruin the mood, honey.”
“I told you I could learn poker.” Charlotte turned to him, completely not getting what his ‘no wives’ allowed comment was about. She had no idea she wasn’t allowed to go because he was actually going to sleep with another woman. Then it hit me. Maybe that was the point of the club. Maybe it was for the mistresses. Maybe that’s why everything was so mysterious. My heart started thudding then because I realized that if Xavier was taking me there, he had no intentions of ever becoming more serious with me. I was just his play toy. An object of desire. He had no real feelings for me and never would.
“It’s about more than playing poker, Charlotte. It’s about bonding.” Richard sighed. “I’ve told you this before.”
“Excuse me, please.” I jumped up out of my seat. “I need to go to the ladies room.” I walked away from the table quickly, not wanting to listen to him lie to his wife any longer. I walked to the front of the restaurant and then slipped outside to the main road so that I could get some fresh air on my face.
“What are you doing?” Xavier’s voice sounded angry next to me.
“I came to get some air. Is that a problem?”
“Why would it be a problem?” He shrugged and looked into my eyes. “Are you okay?”