Her gaze bored through the other woman’s, willing for the stupid nanny to look up—
And the moment she did, Claudette turned to the billionaire and threw her arms around his neck as she covered his mouth with hers.
Logan jerked in surprise. What the fuck? His fingers snapping around her, he forcibly pulled her arms off his neck and scowled down at Claudette. “What the fuck do you think—” And that was when he saw her standing at a distance, white-faced with shock.
“She forced herself on him.” Charlotte was speaking in a nervous rush. “You know that, right? You saw how she did it, didn’t you?” Because if Tilly didn’t see it that way, she would never forgive herself for causing her friend to witness something unnecessarily hurtful.
Tilly couldn’t make herself speak even as her gaze remained helplessly at the now-disentangled couple. The paps loitering in the lobby had gone wild at the sight of the kiss, and it had even gotten wilder when the billionaire, in full view of Claudette and everyone else, wiped his mouth clean as if the other woman’s taste had repulsed him.
“Tilly? Are you okay?”
Charlotte’s words were barely audible, with the noise and clamor around them as hotel security finally kicked in and did their best to prevent the paps from reaching the billionaire. Tilly knew in her mind that the kiss meant nothing at all, but it had still hurt, and she didn’t want that.
I’m not hurt. I’m not jealous. I’m not.
“Let’s get out of this madhouse,” Charlotte was saying as she grabbed Tilly’s hand and headed for the exit.
The guilty look on her friend’s face forced Tilly to muster a smile as they finally made it past the doors. “I’m sorry you have to be involved in this—”
“No, no, I’m the one who should be saying sorry,” Charlotte protested. “And I am. I’m really sorry, Tilly. I should never have brought you here, and if I hadn’t, then you wouldn’t have seen—”
“Another woman throwing herself at—” My husband, she almost joked, but something stopped her. Logan, she thought of saying instead, but her lips refused to say his name as well. “Mr. Hardwall,” was all Tilly could say lamely in the end…but even this, she thought sadly, didn’t feel right either.
Charlotte wanted to kill herself. Or Logan. Maybe both of them. Tilly only used to address the billionaire formally by way of a joke, but this was…different. In a really bad way—
And it’s all my fault, she thought miserably.
Charlotte’s car finally made it to the top of the hotel driveway, and she breathed a sigh of relief. “Oh, thank God.” She turned to usher her friend in first, and the first thing she saw was the billionaire’s powerful figure striding towards them, a grim expression on his face.
The hairs at the back of her neck started to stand, and Tilly knew without turning around it was him.
She felt his presence before anything else, the billionaire coming to a stop right behind her, and a funny little ache squeezed her heart. A moment later, and his fingers entwined hers, and Tilly’s gaze flew up to him in shock. “The t-timeline,” she stammered.
“I wasn’t the one who brought you here,” Logan said roughly, “so this doesn’t count.”
That didn’t make sense at all, she couldn’t help thinking, but she was just too stunned and confused to confront him about it.
Logan’s gaze swung to his friend. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“There’s no reason for you to be mad at Charlotte,” Tilly interrupted. “I was the one who insisted on coming here—”
“It’s fine, Tilly. Really,” Charlotte insisted when her friend didn’t seem to believe her. “And I was at fault.” She recalled the look of hurt shock on Tilly’s face at another woman kissing her husband, and the memory left her feeling subdued. “I owe both of you an apology, and since I know you’re too nice to rip into me, I’ll leave Logan to do what’s necessary.”
“Count on it,” the billionaire said silkily.
Tilly frowned. “But she’s really not—”
“Tilly.” It was that soft, calm tone again, and although a small part of her wanted to rebel against it, she found herself falling silent in the end…but not before carefully pulling her hand out of his hold. It was the smallest gesture, something she thought no one would care to notice.
But she was wrong.
Logan visibly stiffened, and Charlotte apparently hadn’t missed it either, with the way her friend winced just before quickly saying her goodbyes, as if in a hurry to give the two of them privacy.
The billionaire’s limousine was right behind Charlotte’s car, and Tilly meekly let the billionaire help her in, feeling like there had been enough drama for the night.
“We’ll speak in my room tonight.”
Tilly simply nodded, unable to think of anything to say.
The rest of the ride was spent in silence, and as hard as she tried to think of something else, she just couldn’t stop replaying the image of Claudette kissing Logan over and over in her mind. He’s mine. That man’s mine. Mine. The memories desperately made Tilly want to say the words, shout it loud enough so that the whole world would know the truth and never go after her man again.