Sarah snorted, as if it was a given that he’d do something dumb. The irritating thing was … she was likely right.
Over the next few days, I kept my phone on me at all times—even at work—just in case Ricky tried to reenter my apartment and tripped my alarms in the process. I waited, totally on edge, for a notification from the alarm app. Waited and waited, but there was nothing. Not a damn peep.
On the off-chance that Ricky might have lengthened his story or written another, I checked the online writer’s community … only to find that he’d deleted his profile and stories. I didn’t know what, if anything, that meant.
Clear would have said that it was a sign that he was backing off, particularly since he hadn’t returned to my apartment. But I wasn’t so sure, which meant it played on my mind and fucked with my concentration as I worked on the final draft of my book. As such, I was making slow progress and that ate into the time I needed to spend on social media, checking emails, and updating my blog.
The guy was fucking with not just my job, but the thing I loved to do most. He was taking the ‘buzz’ out of writing. For that alone, I’d smack the shit out of Ricky when I got my hands on him. And I’d do it with utter pleasure.
“I’ll have a vanilla latte to go, but I don’t want her to make it.”
Pausing in stacking the dishwasher, I turned at the sound of that bitchy voice. And there was Libby. She made me think of a porcelain doll—large blue eyes, button nose, pale skin, strawberry-blonde ringlets, and a mouth that seemed to be always set into a small pout. All that was missing was the frilly dress.
I sincerely admired Libby’s skill with makeup. The woman was a whizz with every product—eye liner, mascara, eye shadow, lipstick, foundation, blusher, eyebrow liner, and lip liner. You name it, she used it.
She knew how to make the most of her features, and knew how to style her hair so there wasn’t a fake curl out of place. I didn’t have the patience or skill to sit in front of a mirror for hours while working to achieve that level of perfection.
I would like to say that the woman was just some spoiled, one-dimensional, overgrown brat, but Libby had her own scars. Many things could be said about Clear Lyons, but she could never be called ‘neglectful.’ She’d always been a hands-on mother; supportive, caring, and protective. She’d never forgotten to pick me up from school, never failed to attend school plays, and never left me at home alone while she swanned off to do her own thing. The same could not be said for Libby’s parents.
I’d gotten the feeling that her father, Hendrix, did care for her, but she’d always been more of an afterthought to him. Libby’s mother, Gilly, seemed to have two missions in life—screw as many guys as possible, and make Hendrix’s life hell for leaving her. Gilly had no compunctions about using Libby to achieve the latter.
Being used to hurt your father had to be hard enough, but it had to be even harder when said father didn’t push to see you or show the kind of interest that might have compensated for your mother’s lack of it. So, yeah, I felt bad for Libby in some ways. That didn’t mean I had time for her bullshit. “Libby, good to see you. Vanilla latte, right?”
She pointed a long, red acrylic nail at Reed. “He’ll take care of it. I don’t want you making my coffee. I don’t trust you not to spit in it. And I wouldn’t be surprised if you had oral herpes.”
“The results were clear last time I was tested,” I said, deadpan. Reed snickered.
She flicked me a condescending, princess-to-peasant look and then turned back to him. “I’ll have the latte to go.”
“Click your fingers all you want, but Reed isn’t going to jump. He doesn’t make the coffees. I do. Now, do you want one or not?”
Libby didn’t look back at me. She carried on talking to Reed. “What’s it like to work with the stepdaughter of a killer? Have you noticed she’s as fucked up as he is yet? I’ll bet you have. It’s hard to miss it. She does try to look normal these days. But then, wackos do that, don’t they? Try to blend and stuff. It’s pointless. Everyone knows that Kensey and her momma are totally screwed up.”
Really, the woman’s material hadn’t changed at all.
“I don’t know how you can stand working with her,” Libby told him. “If I were you, I’d go on strike until she was fired. No one would blame you for it.”
Beyond bored, I sighed. “I don’t suppose this drama of yours has an interval soon, does it? Because I have a life to get on with.” The girl should really get herself one of those, in my opinion.
Libby’s gaze sliced to me. “Drama? The person with the drama is you. Always has been, always will be. You get off on it.”
“Now you’re just projecting.”
“Bitch, your conception wrecked a marriage. Your mother tore a family apart—”
“Then I guess she has something in common with your own mother.” Okay, that was a low blow, but it was also true—Gilly had slept with several married guys.
Libby’s mouth tightened. And when her eyes slid to the empty glass on the bar, I honestly thought she planned to grab it and attempt to smash it over my head.
Removing the glass, I demanded, “Do you want the damn latte or not?” It came as little surprise when she barged out of the bar, head held high.
Reed puffed out a long breath. “That girl needs help. But I really hope she doesn’t get it.”
Yeah, I often felt the same way.
Later that same day, I received a call from Blake, asking me to meet him Friday night at the Vault. Naturally, I had no issues with that. At Sarah’s suggestion, I chose my white strapless dress and paired it with my red heels and red accessories.
Rossi picked me up at seven to drop me at the club. Well, he appeared at seven—I kept the poor guy waiting twenty minutes. Punctuality just wasn’t a trait I possessed. Luckily, he wasn’t pissed about it.
As I stepped off the elevator on B1, I found Blake waiting for me. As always, he looked far too edible for his own good in a white shirt, slate-gray slacks, and gray tie that had thin red stripes running through it.
He breezed toward me, eyes drinking me in. “Stunning.”
I smiled. He never said hello, bye, or bothered with any pleasantries at all—not even during phone calls. I didn’t mind that, though. I wasn’t good at small talk; I’d never quite mastered the art of it.
Like last time, we had a drink in the basement’s lounge before heading off to ‘play.’ I was surprised to hear that he’d booked a standard room again. Apparently, he meant to ease me into things. Honestly, I was a teensy bit disappointed that I wouldn’t get a peek at one of the themed rooms, but the mind-blowing sex totally made up for that.
Saturday evening went pretty much the same way. As did the following Friday, only we also had a meal at the lounge—the food was seriously nice. We met up again the next night and spent some time in the dome, dancing and drinking, before heading to a standard private room.
Later, as we lay on the bed after a round of phenomenal sex, I asked him, “Are you ever going to take me to one of the themed rooms?”
“One night, yes,” Blake replied, fingers idly tracing patterns on my back while I was sprawled comfortably on my stomach. It was no surprise that he didn’t elaborate. Very self-contained, it wasn’t often that he gave lengthy answers.