Darla, the head of Piper’s wardrobe department, was waiting for her along with her makeup artist, Trina. They were in charge of not only making her look good for the show but also deconstructing her afterward.
“Everything is set for dinner. People are headed over there now,” Lana said. It was tradition after the first show for Piper to treat the crew to dinner to celebrate the kickoff of the tour.
There was a knock on the door, and Heath popped his head in. “Great show, sweetheart. You were amazing.”
Her father, Dean, Faith and Sawyer entered the room. They were full of praise and congratulations. But Piper went from elated to deflated the moment she locked eyes with Sawyer.
“Thanks,” she said, forcing herself to look away. “There were a couple of transitions that didn’t go as smoothly as I wanted.”
“We’ll talk about it later,” her dad said. “I’m going to head over to the restaurant to make sure everything is in order. I’ll take Dean and Faith with me. I’ll leave your fiancé behind and send the car back to get you in an hour.”
“Oh.” Sawyer seemed hesitant. “I was going to head over with Hunter and the other guys from the band.”
Clearly, he hadn’t expected to be stuck with Piper.
“If you want to go ahead without me, you can.” Piper had a hard time hiding her annoyance. “I can get there on my own.”
“No, it’s fine. I can tell them to go on ahead. I only thought, given our conversation before the show, that it was better if I gave you some space.” He said it like she might get the wrong idea if he went with her.
Piper started to wipe off the thick layer of stage makeup from her face. She was far from being confused at the moment. “It’s a free country. You can do anything you want. Leave, stay. It’s totally up to you.”
He sat down on the couch like a defiant child. “I’ll stay then.”
Heath’s displeasure in their unfriendly display was evident. “I’m confident you two will work out whatever is going on before we get to dinner. I expect happy faces when I see you next.”
“Sure, Dad,” Piper promised, knowing she had to plaster on a smile in front of the crew.
Staring at Sawyer through the mirror didn’t make her want to smile, though. He glared back as the stylists finished taking off her makeup and hair extensions. What was he trying to prove?
Once Piper was ready for a shower, everyone left the room except for Sawyer and Lana.
“You two need to be careful,” Lana said. “People are going to talk if you argue like that in front of them. The goal is to convince people that you love each other.”
“He’s the one who’s acting like a child all of a sudden.”
“Oh, I’m acting like a child? Don’t you think it’s so interesting, Lana, that Piper will tell me this is a free country where people can do whatever they want, but when her father tells her to do something, she does it without question?”
Piper turned to face him, her eyes narrowed in anger. “I do what he says because he’s right. Do you think we should go into this dinner looking like we hate each other?”
“I don’t hate you, Piper. I never have and I hopefully never will.”
“But you don’t trust me.” His earlier words had hurt.
“You haven’t given me much reason to.”
She tilted her head. “What exactly have I done that makes you say that? You act like I’ve lied to you over and over again. I was confused by my feelings for you. Is that a crime?”
“No.” Sawyer rose to his feet. “It’s fine to be confused. But that’s not what happened. You turn your emotions off and on like a faucet. One minute, you’re letting me in and the next, you’re shutting me out. I guess your father decided having feelings wasn’t going to make you a pop star.”
Piper got out of her makeup chair and right up in his face. He was not going to make this about her. “How dare you? I am grateful that my father is always there to support me and what I want.”
“What you want or what he wants you for you? Do you even know if there’s a difference?”