“If you need to rest, just sit back here for a while, okay? I can handle things out front for a bit,” Lizzy says.
As tempting as it is to hide out here for the rest of the night, I shake my head. “No, I’m okay,” I tell her firmly. “I’ll be out there soon.”
Lizzy tries not to look relieved, but I know she’s overwhelmed, this being the first event she has planned mostly on her own. I decide to suck it up because I want to be there for her, but also because I don’t want to let this turn of events get to me. Trent may be hosting this party, but it doesn’t matter. He’s nothing but another client at this point, merely the guy paying the bills. In fact, given the number of invitees and the size of the venue, we probably won’t even run into each other. Maybe I can even sneak out early if Lizzy doesn’t need me. It’s going to be fine. I’ll survive.
And with that, I take a deep breath and head out of the kitchen. It’s time to show the world that Katie Martin can’t be beat, and I square my shoulders, focusing on the night ahead. Because this isn’t just about me and my problems anymore. I have to do this for my son.
We should have thrown this ridiculous party at my mansion, so at least I could hide in my office or my room to avoid speaking with all of these people. But Amanda insisted on hosting it in a hotel that’s far too extravagant for a bunch of people who want to fake being Irish while drinking a lot of beer and whiskey. It’s annoying and reminds me of a frat party more than any type of swanky event, because most of the attendees are young executives from tech startups who just want to get drunk. I should have never agreed to this party, but apparently, it’s good publicity and good business.
But at least the décor is amazing. It reminds me of the décor that Katie’s company put together, except this may be even better. Usually Amanda handles all this, but right now, she’s training some new assistant. It suits her well because Amanda loves bossing people around—I’m pretty sure she made the new girl cry a few times already. I need to talk to her about that. We treat our staff well, and clearly, Amanda doesn’t get the picture.
But the décor brings me back to that night over a year ago, and my heart jumps. Thinking about Katie is definitely the wrong move because now I can’t stop. Over the past year, I thought about her less and less—thank god—but fuck, it’s back full force again. I still can’t believe she blew me off after the best sex of my life and couldn’t be bothered to answer any of my phone calls or return the thousands of messages I left. Gathering the last shred of dignity I had, I finally stopped trying to contact her. What’s the point? It would only make me crazier. Get a grip, I tell myself mentally. She doesn’t want you, and that’s that.
But shit, this fucking sucks. I pour a shot of scotch and throw it back. The bartender eyes me suspiciously but doesn’t say anything. He knows it’s my party, and I’ll drink as much damn scotch as I want to. It would be a real show to carry the bottle around with me all night, doing shots straight from the bottle. There will be photographers here though, and the last thing I need is pictures of me drunk off my ass in the tabloids.
God, how the mighty have fallen. Once upon a time, I had droves of women lined up for a date with me, but for the last year, I’ve pretty much become a hermit in my castle. I don’t go out for social gatherings, and if I do, I do it stag. There’s no sense in even getting another woman’s hopes up when it’s Katie, and only Katie, on my mind.
Dammit. I’m still not over her. Grimly, I down one more shot and return the bottle to its place behind the bar. The bartender continues to follow my every move, but then shrugs. What is he going to do? Kick me out? I don’t think so.
Suddenly, Amanda materializes. The woman is wearing a glittery green evening gown, even though most of the other guests will probably be dressed more casually—some even coming as leprechauns or wearing green t-shirts with dumb slogans on them.
“Mr. Moore, guests are beginning to arrive,” she says in a dulcet voice.
I roll my eyes at Amanda’s presence. She’s been extra perky the last year or so, and it’s driving me up the wall. If she wasn’t so good at her job, she’d be fired by now. And as obsessed as she is with me, I wouldn’t put it past her to sue for wrongful termination—which is exactly what firing someone for being annoying as fuck would be considered—so she stays on my payroll.