Unable to watch, I look away. Blinking through the sting in my eyes, I quietly make my way out of the garage.
“YOU’RE HAVING A GOOD TIME?” Petra asks, a sway in her stance.
She’s standing before me, drink in hand, looking a little drunk. Well, we all are. We’re in a La Rascasse, a bar that is situated on the famous bend on the Formula 1 track, the bend in which Carrick cornered like the pro he is and brought home the trophy.
We’re all out celebrating the win. Minus Carrick. He had to attend a prearranged sponsorship party. His dad and Uncle John are there, too. So is Sienna.
But I’m not thinking of either of them tonight. I’m out having a good time with my friends.
I was relieved when I found out that Carrick wouldn’t be here as I didn’t want to be forced to spend time around him and the pop princess. Now that I’m out and having fun, I’m finding that I’m missing him. It seems weird to be celebrating his win without him here.
“I’m having a good time.” I smile at Petra.
Then, Ben comes over, stumbling a little, and slings his arms around the both of us. “You girls okay for drinks?”
“I’m good.” I show him my half-full glass. I’ve been going steady tonight, pacing myself, as I know it’s going to be a long night, and I’m already feeling a little tipsy.
“I’ll have another, and so will Andi,” Petra informs Ben.
Ben shoots a look at me in question. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see Petra with her you-will-have-another-drink face on.
“Okay. Looks like I’m having another drink.”
I down the one in my hand, wincing at the burn. I’m on double vodkas and lemonade—hence, the pacing, but I guess that’s out the window now.
Petra gives a little cheer, clapping her hands, as I put my empty glass down on the nearby table.
I follow them both over to the bar.
“So, what are we having?” Ben asks.
“Shots!” Petra yells out.
I flash a look at Ben, who grins and shrugs his shoulders.
“Looks like we’re having shots,” I mutter.
Not that it matters what I say as Petra is already leaning over the bar, and she has grabbed the attention of the barman, placing her drink order.
I honestly don’t know how she does it. It’s heaving with people in here tonight, but every time she goes to the bar, she gets served straight away. I always have to stand there like a plant, waiting for ages to be served.
I’m going to have to find out her barman-whispering secret.
“So, how are you doing?” Ben knocks his shoulder with mine.
“In general or tonight?” I give a grin.
His eyes linger on my face for a little too long, like he’s trying to get a read on me. And he must see something there because he says, “Are you sure?”
“Sure, I’m sure.” I let out a nervous laugh.
“Just…with what happened with Robbie this morning, what he said about you and Carrick.”
I freeze. Then, I kick-start myself back to life. “It doesn’t matter.” I give a halfhearted shrug. “It’s all sorted now.”
Ben gives a slight nod of his head. “It was good of you to sort it out with Carrick, so Robbie could keep his job.”
I shrug again, averting my eyes. “It wasn’t fair for Robbie to lose his job over something so stupid.”
“Yeah, you’re right, but not everyone would have had the balls to go after Carrick and talk him around like you did. It was cool of you, Andi. You’re a good person.”
A wide smile spreads across my face. “I really need to spend more time around Drunk Ben. I always get the best compliments from him when I do.”
Chuckling, he shakes his head, and then his eyes turn serious. “He was right though, wasn’t he?”
“Who?” I give a confused look.
The smile slips from my face. I’m pretty sure my color drains away, too.
“Not in how he said it,” Ben clarifies. “But there is something going on between you and Carrick.”
“Look, you don’t have to say anything,” he continues.
Good, I think. Because the thought of talking about this right now is escaping me. I’m still dealing with the shock that Ben is actually saying these things.
“I just want you to know that I think Carrick is a mug for letting you slip through his fingers. And if you need a mate to talk to…well, I’m your man.” He pats my arm with his hand.
But because I’m me, I don’t want Ben to think badly of Carrick as he hasn’t actually done what Ben thinks he has. Carrick didn’t let me slip through his fingers. What we did, having sex and wrecking our friendship in the process, is on both of us, and now, we’re in some weird place where he’s moved on, but I can’t seem to even though I know I have to.
And well, that one is all on me.
“Thanks.” I clear my clogged throat. “But it’s not like you think.”
“No?” He frowns. “So, if I tell you that Carrick just walked through the door with Sienna in tow, it wouldn’t be a problem for you?”
Holding my breath, I press my lips together in some form of a weird smile and shake my head. “No. It won’t be a problem at all.”
“Good, because he just walked in with Sienna.”