Separately, the Evans siblings are capable of throwing some deadly verbal daggers—you’ve seen them in action. But together? They’re a tag team that would put professional wrestlers to shame.
Alexandra’s voice lowers to a whisper. “I hate to be the one to tell you this, Rosaline . . . well, actually . . . I don’t mind telling you at all. I’ve heard your Julian is having a torrid affair with his secretary.” She touches a thoughtful finger to her lips. “Or was it the nanny?”
Drew adds, “I’ve heard he’s screwing them both.”
Again, Rosaline’s composure doesn’t waver. I used to think her poise was an asset—a sign of sophistication and maturity. But looking at her now, she just seems . . . unfeeling. Distant. Annoyingly passive.
She sighs sweetly. “Men do so love their variety.”
“I wouldn’t know,” Alexandra counters.
“I would,” Drew admits. “But, then again, I haven’t vowed to forsake all others.”
She folds her hands demurely. “I’ve resigned myself to Julian’s dalliances. As long as I’m the woman he comes home to, it’s not a problem.”
Drew was always annoyed by his inability to goad a reaction out of Rosaline, no matter how crude he was. He gets a sick sense of amusement out of being able to drive people to the brink of assault. Which is why he digs deep and says, “Until he realizes the icebox you call a twat just isn’t worth the price of admission anymore. That could be a problem.”
Rosaline chuckles softly. “You always did have a colorful way with words, Drew.”
And another round goes to the Stepford Wife.
“It was nice to see you both again. If you’ll excuse me.” Just like that, they’ve been dismissed. Rosaline steps around Alexandra and Drew and approaches me from the rear.
I run a hand through my hair and turn to face my heartbreaker. She looks at me kindly, sympathetically, the way a nurse would behold a patient who’s recovering from a life-threatening sickness. “Hello, Matthew.”
I’m determined to show her that my recuperation is complete. “Rosaline.”
“You look wonderful.”
“Thank you,” I reply coolly. “And you . . . haven’t changed a bit.”
It’s weird talking to her again, even after all these years—especially after all these years. There’s no attraction, no hatred, no strong emotion at all. There’s some regret—a part of me wishes I could reach back in time and beat the shit out of my younger self for being so stupid. And blind. But that’s more about me. As for Rosaline? She’s just someone who I used to know . . . that I never really knew at all. Even though I’m intimately acquainted with every swell and crevice of her body, she’s still a stranger.
I clear my throat. “So . . . you have a son?”
Did I forget to mention that? Yeah—Rosaline didn’t only screw around on me, she got knocked up. I’m fairly certain that was her plan all along. Like with the royal family, the heir and the spare? I was the spare, just in case things didn’t work out with Julian. Luckily for me, his dart hit the bull’s-eye first.
She smiles. “Yes, Conrad.” Poor kid. “He’s at boarding school in Switzerland.”
I do the math in my head. “Boarding school? Isn’t he, like, six years old?”
“He’ll be six next month.” I must look dumbfounded, because she adds, “It’s crucial that he have the right start in life. His school will provide that for him.”
I nod. Pointing out the extreme f**ked-upness of this philosophy really isn’t worth my time. “Right. Of course it will.”
And I’m just about to extract myself from the conversation when Julian Wolfe comes striding on over. He’s decent looking for a guy, tall but thin, with white-blond hair and a pale complexion. Kind of reminds me of a high-ranking Nazi officer.
“Rosaline, there are some important individuals I need you to meet.” Then he notices me. “Hello, Fisher.” He doesn’t extend his hand, and I sure as hell don’t offer mine.
I just nod my head. “Julian.”
Rosaline and Julian are prime examples of why people need a hobby. If money is your only passion, you’re going to be a miserable human being. And eventually, your hobby will be spreading that misery and being a general douche to everyone you meet.
“Sorry to steal her away. Again.” He chuckles, because that’s his idea of a joke.
And although it’s more of a woman’s game, if he wants to play with words, I’m up for the challenge. “No, take her off my hands, please. You’re doing me a favor.”
Julian sobers. And Rosaline touches my arm. “It was good to see you, Matthew.”
“Take care,” I tell them both.
Once they walk away, Drew comes up next to me. “Bet you’re glad you dodged that bullet.”
“You have no idea.”
He nudges me with his elbow. “You okay?”
Take a good look—this is as close to “a moment” as guys like Drew and I will ever get. We could hang out all day and not utter a single word about anything important going on in our lives. Words aren’t necessary—’cause when the chips are down, we’ll be in each other’s corner.
I assure him, “Yeah, man, I’m top-notch. Like you said, dodged a bullet.”
We return to Alexandra’s side, and I can tell by his expression that he’s going to ask to be excused again. But then, Drew seems to decide on a different strategy. He smiles deviously. “Hey look—Squeaky’s here.”