Her mouth opened. “This is all about that little twit of a girl, isn’t it?”
A roaring took up in my head. “So help me God, Blair, don’t bring her name into this. She’s nothing to do with this.”
A tinkling laugh came out of her. “You’re in love with her, aren’t you? Some stupid girl named Violet who plays the violin. It’s so incredibly ridiculous and trite that I can’t even fathom what you’d see in—”
“This fake relationship is done.” I gritted my teeth. “My suggestion is you get your PR girl to meet with Mila and let the two of them work out a statement together. But if you so much as touch V with scandal, I will hunt you—”
“If you think that I’m going to sit by while you ride off into the sunset with your one true love, then you have me all wrong.” She fluttered her lashes and called to the girls over my shoulder. “Come along, ladies. Apparently Sebastian needs some space to pick out my engagement ring.”
They flashed their camera phones at us and floated out the door.
Spider said, “Bollocks, she’s scary as shit. Meaner than my Irish whiskey-drinking Grandma.”
My adrenaline plummeted. I weaved and clutched the side of the jewelry counter.
“What the hell, mate?” Spider caught me by the arm. He steered me toward the hovering saleslady who’d already pulled out a rolling chair for me.
“I’m not a baby, Spider.”
“You’re pale and weaving like you’re hammered.” He leaned in to check my face. “You haven’t been drinking, have you?”
Not since last night. I pushed him away. “No. Get out of my face.”
“Bloody hell, you’re a belligerent one.”
Dizziness hit and the room twirled. “Fuck,” I muttered, and leaned over to put my head between my knees. “Sorry, man. Give me a minute. I forgot to eat this morning, that’s all.” Truth. In fact, I’d lost a few pounds since the camping trip two weeks before.
He hovered around me. “Normally I’d avoid talking about your personal life—too touchy feely for me—but you’re in the shitter, my friend. You’re distracted half the time, not eating, staying up late and generally in a pissy mood twenty-four seven. Is it because you didn’t get the movie or is it because you slept with V and now you regret it?”
“Fuck you,” I muttered, and sat back up in the chair. “I need something to eat, that’s all.”
He turned back to the saleslady who’d moved to stand behind the jewelry counter. “Excuse me? Do you have some candy here or maybe a power bar?”
He focused back on me and let out a sigh. “Okay, here’s what I think: You came to Hollywood to settle down … for roots … V is your roots, man.”
I shook my head. “I can’t even look at her without wanting—fuck, I don’t know—more. But all I can think of is Emma’s lies. Not so much Emma herself, because I’m over her—but still, she lied to me and V lied to me. And then there’s Geoff. I keep thinking she’s going to up and run back to him. Go back to New York. Especially now that her music is back.”
“Dude, you’re the glue that holds us all together. You. We all gravitate toward you. Me, Mila, your fans, even Blair. V is no different. Give her a chance.”
The saleslady pushed a power bar in my hands and I tore it open and inhaled it.
I was losing it, and I knew why.
I didn’t want to be without V in my life.
Her music had sucked me in from the beginning, wedging into my bones, but it hadn’t been until the night at the canyon that my heart had connected the dots. We’d been extraordinary. And it wasn’t just the sex. I got her; I saw straight through her grief to the beautiful part of her that was aching to emerge. Her darkness had called to me, her music had enthralled me, but it was her soul that was mine.
Was that love?
IT WAS MIDNIGHT and V still wasn’t home.
She’d yet to return from her night out with Mila. I’d called her earlier to see if we could watch a movie, and maybe I’d be able to talk to her, but she’d already had plans—which is how I found myself dog-sitting for Tater at her house. Spider had dog-sat the last time they’d gone out. He hadn’t been happy about it either, us at home while they partied at the clubs.
I sat out on her patio lounge chair while Tater slept on my chest.
My phone pinged. Mila kept sending me texts and photos of them out at some club. Pics of V chugging tequila. Pics of her twerking with some beefy looking dude. I was getting angry.
Half an hour later, I heard a car pull up, so I stood and walked around to the front of the house, still holding Tater. She climbed out of her car looking dangerously sexy in a red mini skirt and heels. I bit back a snarl imagining male hands on her tonight.
“Aw, she’s asleep,” she said as she leaned over to peer at Tater’s face. “Thank you for watching her.”
“Did you have a good time?” My voice was laced with tightness.
Did she really love me or had she just said those words in the moment?
She nodded. “Yes, and I’m sorry if Mila kept texting you. She had this hare-brained idea of infuriating you and Spider into …”
Silence settled between us as her voice trailed off.
“What?” I snapped.
“Nothing,” she sighed. “Thank you for keeping Tater. Do—do you want to come inside or go sit on the patio?”