As if on cue, my phone ran. Harry. The article had been online for ten minutes and he was already calling.
“Asshole agent?” Spider asked
Mila shushed him as I answered.
I opened with, “Harry, it’s not a big deal.”
“No, it’s a fucking disaster when you cheat on America’s Sweetheart! Directors don’t want relationship issues on their set, Sebastian!” He breathed heavily into the phone. I pictured him sitting at his desk in Beverly Hills, clutching the phone like a lifeline as he visualized millions in a movie deal flying out the window.
I kept my voice soft, but my own anger was building. “This article is bogus. There’s nothing between me and V. We’re friends.”
Were we even that now?
He cackled. “Yeah, right. You screwed up when you kissed her, Tate. While she was topless. Pictures don’t lie.”
“Fine. How can we fix it?” I snapped.
Silence for a few beats. “Just be seen with Blair, act like nothing’s wrong. At the end of the day, Hing liked your screen test, he digs your look, but he was waffling based on your rep, so I don’t know what he’s going to do when he gets wind of this.”
I sat up straighter. “Harry, to be honest, I’m sick of Blair. She acts like we’re really dating and says mean shit to my friends. I don’t trust her.”
I heard him groan. “Look, I’ve read the script. This movie will make you a star.”
Something V had said came back to me. About how I could make it on my own.
“Maybe I don’t need Blair. Maybe there’s another movie out there for me.”
He sighed. “I’ve got nothing on my plate for you now. This is it. Sure, you can take a break from Blair and see what happens. But fans are fickle and so are movie studios. By the time a new script comes along, you could be old news.”
I fumed. “I still have music, Harry. You’re the one who’s supposed to get the movie deals. Do your fucking job.”
“I’m just saying the truth. Not that I like it.” He paused. “Just stay away from that girl, Sebastian. She’s career suicide.”
I hung up and slammed the phone down. Even though I’d left her house angry, I didn’t want to hear I was supposed to stay away from V.
“Holy Hannah in a hand basket, V just walked in the door,” Mila exclaimed as she looked over my shoulder.
She was here?
“Where?” I said, heart thundering as I craned my neck around to the entrance.
She whistled. “She’s got a sizzling new hair style—and a hottie with her.”
“Who you calling a hottie?” Spider snipped.
I narrowed my eyes. Since when did Spider get jealous over guys Mila checked out? He and I were due another conversation.
When I saw her, my mouth dried. Her long hair had been cut to shoulder-length in a choppy style where the front was longer than the back. The ends had been dipped in an electric purple color. It suited her angular face, the softness of her red mouth.
“She looks like a rocker,” I murmured.
She ducked her head at the stir of attention she and Geoff caused at the door, the locals wondering if someone important had come in, the tourists checking to see if she was somebody. A couple of people whispered, and I got paranoid they’d connect her with the Mystery Girl in the paper.
I let out a sigh of relief when no one rushed her. Maybe the hair saved her. I remembered that her face had been hidden in most of them too.
Mila stood up from our booth and waved them over.
Great. How the hell was I supposed to deal with her and Geoff in my face?
As they made their way over, Mila sent me a pointed look. “While you were sleeping in this morning with Little Miss Sunshine, I did my research on V. The guy she’s with is the Mayor of New York’s son. He’s in law school, plays polo, and dates socialites.”
She patted my hand. Like I was sad or something. Whatever.
“Go on. Finish it. If I know you, you researched the shit out of it.”
She nodded. “Her parents were wealthy philanthropists. Apparently, their name is like gold in New York; everyone loved them and they were a pretty big deal in the social scene. After the crash, she had quite a bit of notoriety going on for a while, lots of papers wanting her story.”
Mila straightened her headband and sent a look over my shoulder. “Here they come. Act nice because I happen to like her a lot.”
Nice wasn’t happening. I could tell by the way my leg was bouncing under the table. I was still angry—or hurt—or something.
V slid in next to me while Geoff pulled up a chair at the end of the table. The waitress brought us refills and they chatted. I sat back with my leg deliberately pressed against V’s, heat firing off in my body at the proximity of her skin.
Mila and Geoff seemed to hit it off right away—birds of a feather—and got into a discussion about mutual society people they knew in Dallas. Spider zoned out by checking his phone, a petulant look on his face as he watched Mila and Geoff’s heads together.
V and I just sat there.
Next to each other.
Neither of us looking at the other.
Both of us on a razor’s edge.
I looked at Geoff. He wore jeans but still managed to look like a Wall Street man with his short hair and a thick sweater across his shoulders. Didn’t he know it was June in LA? Then I saw the smudge of lipstick on his lips, a trace of pink, and my gut clenched. They’d been kissing.