“What about you?” Carrick asks, his voice low.
Tipping my head back, I glance up at him, making sure to keep my expression blank. “What about me?”
Something flickers through his eyes, but it’s gone before I can get a read on what it was.
“Drink—can I get you one?”
“No. I’m good. Thanks.” I point at my beer on the table.
He stares at me for a beat. “All right then.” He gives me a sharp nod and walks away.
Without control, my eyes follow him inside the bar.
Berating myself for staring, I do a quick glance of the table to make sure no one saw me watching him. Then, I relax in my seat. Well, relax as best as I can with Carrick and his girl here.
I can feel the presence of her sitting beside me like a thorn in my side.
I know I’m flat-out ignoring her, and my mother didn’t raise me to treat other women this way.
She always says, “As women, if we can’t respect one another, then how can we expect men to respect us?”
Treat someone how you want to be treated, Andi.
Being in the modeling industry, my mother encountered a lot of bitchy women, and it taught her not to be the same, and that’s what she taught me.
But right now, I am acting like one of those bitchy women, and I don’t like myself for it.
So, even though talking to Carrick’s girl is the last thing I feel like doing, I force the politeness in me, push my phone into my pocket, and turn to her.
Seeing how pretty she is up close makes me feel even worse.
Suck it up, Andi. She hasn’t done anything to you, and she doesn’t deserve for you to be a bitch to her. Your issue is with Carrick, not her.
“Hi,” I say, smiling.
Turning her head, she gives me a blank look. “Er, hello.” Then, she turns away and gets her phone out of her bag.
Okay…that was a little odd. Maybe she’s just shy.
I scramble around my head for something else to say. “So, are you on holiday in Monaco or just here for the race?”
She pulls her eyes from her phone to look at me again. She gives me a stare that can only be described as stupid—as in, she thinks I’m stupid. “Um, both.”
Ignoring the stupid stare, I smile again and say, “Cool. So, when did you get in?”
She sighs loudly, giving me the impression that I’m annoying her. “This afternoon with Carr.”
She came in from the UK with Carrick?
I feel like I’ve just had a defibrillator to the chest. I actually jolt in my seat, and my breath whooshes out of me, right along with these words, “You came with Carrick? From the UK? On the plane? Together?” I know I sound a little odd, but I don’t care.
“Didn’t I just say that?” She gives me a sharp look. “Of course I came with Carr. I am his girlfriend. And he practically begged me to come, couldn’t bear to be away from me. So, I said, ‘What the hell?’ I have a few days off work, so why not?” She lifts her hand and starts to examine her nails.
His girlfriend? I feel like I’ve just been punched in the face.
How long has she been his girlfriend? I didn’t know Carrick did girlfriends. Was she his girlfriend when he had sex with me?
Something strange, solid, and cold settles in my stomach.
I pick up my beer and take large gulps just for the need to do something aside from vomit or maybe scream.
I’ve just finished swallowing when I hear the rattling sound of disgust come from my neighbor.
“Ugh, I don’t know how you can drink that stuff.”
I drag my eyes to hers. I see that she’s staring at my beer like I just drank rat poison.
“Yes, it’s so…disgusting. Just having it near me makes me want to be sick.” She wrinkles up her nose.
And I have the sudden urge to punch it.
So much for me respecting other women.
I’ve just lowered my glass to the table, when she says, “So, who are you anyway? I mean, why are you here? Are you someone’s girlfriend or something?” She wafts a hand at my friends around the table.
“No!” I let out a little laugh, shaking my head. “I work for Rybell.” I can tell from her expression that she has no clue what that means, so I clarify, “I work for Carrick.”
That gets her attention because I see her gaze sharpen, and she starts to appraise me in a whole new light. I’m pretty sure, in this moment, if she didn’t before, she now sees me as competition for Carrick’s attention, and that makes her instantly dislike me.
I feel like telling her not to worry. I’m definitely not competition for her. Carrick is barely talking to me, let alone anything else.
I can see she’s about to question me further, but Carrick and Ben return with the drinks, halting all conversation.
“Sienna, here’s yours.” Ben hands her a fancy-looking cocktail.
Sienna—so that’s the girlfriend’s name.
“Thank you,” she says in a sickly sweet voice.
After handing everyone’s drinks out, Carrick pulls up a chair beside Sienna and takes a sip of his beer. Seeing that he’s drinking beer tugs a smile onto my lips, knowing just how much his girlfriend hates it.
Girlfriend. The word keeps crushing my insides to dust.
As I move my eyes away from him, I see Sienna is staring at me.
She knows I was looking at him.
Feeling uncomfortable, I say the first thing that pops into my head, “So, what do you do for a living, Sienna?”