“Okay…” I concede on a breath. “But I am fine to stay, I promise. I need to get over my stupid crush or whatever it is that I have going on for Carrick, and the way for that to happen is for me to be around him and her.”
She stares at me for a long moment, her head tilted to the side.
“What?” I shift, uncomfortable.
“It’s not just a crush, is it?”
“What?” I give a nervous laugh. “Of course it is. What else would it be?”
“Love? If not love, then it’s definitely well on its way to being that.”
“I am not in love with Carrick!” I scoff.
Her hands go to her hips. “Andi, I might not have known you for a long time, but I’m good at reading people, and you might not even realize it yourself, but you’re in love with him.”
I laugh loudly because I really don’t know what else to do.
I’m not in love with Carrick. Definitely not.
I pick up my clutch, tucking it under my arm, as I’m gearing to leave the restroom and put a quick stop to this conversation.
“If Carrick wasn’t a driver, would you be with him?”
I’m jolted back to that moment in Barcelona, dancing with Carrick at the party, when he asked me pretty much the same question, only in a different context.
Sighing, I lean my hip against the sink. “Maybe.”
She mirrors me. “I think it’s a definite yes.”
“Are you a psychic nowadays?” I smile so not to come off as bitchy.
But she doesn’t say anything.
A somber sigh escapes me. “Okay, fine. Yes, maybe I would risk being with Carrick if he were just a normal guy. But he’s not a normal guy. He puts his life at risk every time he climbs in that car and pulls onto those tracks. And that’s not something I can live with. But really, all of this is a moot point because Carrick is a driver, and he’s not exactly into me in that way. Sure, he wanted to shag me, and I think he probably would again, given the chance, if he weren’t with Sienna, but he is, and he definitely doesn’t want a relationship with me.”
“Oh my God!” She throws her hands up in the air. “Andi, I adore you. I do. But you are the most deluded person I have ever met.”
“Seriously, if you went out there and told Carrick to dump the mega bitch and be with you, he would in a heartbeat. A fucking heartbeat. How do you not see that?”
Turning to the mirror, I curl my fingers around the edge of the sink as I try to control my emotions. I look up at her in the mirror.
“Because if he did care about me, then he wouldn’t be here with Sienna. That’s not what you do when you care about someone. And it’s definitely not how you show someone that you care.” I bite off the last word.
“You blew him off, Andi! And Carrick is a man who isn’t used to being blown off. You seriously injured his pride, and this is his way of retaliating. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s obvious that’s why he brought her here. He’s out there with Sienna, trying to show you that he doesn’t care when it’s as clear as glass that he does.”
Is that true? Is that why Carrick brought Sienna here?
No. And to think it would only be pure vanity on my part. I’m not that important to him.
“I don’t think so, and even if he did bring her here for that reason, it doesn’t matter because—”
“He’s a driver, and you can’t be with him! I got the memo on that one. I just…” She lets out a wistful sigh. “You guys would be amazing together. I just wish you could see that.” Turning to pick her clutch from the counter, she finishes with, “I just wish things were different for you, is all. You deserve to be happy.”
I wish for that, too.
“As do you.” I put my arm around her, giving her a half hug.
“You know what you need to do? Shake it off, like Taylor Swift is always telling us to do. Shake off all the Carrick-and-Sienna crap. It’ll make you feel a million times better.”
I let out a laugh as Petra grabs my hands and starts to shake them around. Then, she’s wiggling her body, and I’m laughing and joining in with her.
“Did it work?”
“Actually, it did.” I grin at her.
“Cool. Well, let’s get our hot arses back out there and take a lay of the land. You can forget all about Carrick. And I’m thinking I need to pull me some fine Frenchman tonight and get laid French-style.”
“Is there a French way of getting laid?”
“Dunno.” She shrugs. “But they invented awesome kissing, so I’m betting they fuck just as well, if not better.”
Laughing, I thread my arm through hers and let her lead me back out into the bar.
“DRINK?” Petra says into my ear the moment we’re back in the thick of the crowd.
I nod in response.
We head back to where we left Ben and Carrick. My heart starts to pick up pace as we approach, and I’m a little more than relieved to find them gone.
“I wonder where Ben is,” Petra says.
“He’ll be with the guys.” I squish myself into a small gap at the bar to try to get my drink order in.
Petra stands on her tiptoes, looking around. “Ah, yeah, there he is. He’s outside in the seating area with the rest of them.”
Turning my head, I follow her finger in the direction it’s pointing. I can see the guys, some seated around a small table, some standing.