Is it so easy to forget me? To see someone else? Did you really love me?
In front of her, Vassi’s lips curved in a smile. “Thank you for the vote of loyalty, leech – even if we both know your type of guy is someone more like Maximilian Rockford.”
It was another slap in the face, but this one was completely unexpected.
She searched his gaze for anger or bitterness – anything that would let her know saying the other man’s name had hurt him the slightest bit.
But there was none.
She wrenched her gaze away from him as her body started to tremble hard. Taking her script out, Seri began flipping through it, pretending she was looking for something even though all she really wanted was for anyone not to know that she was breaking into a thousand pieces inside.
If it had been the other way around, she knew – she knew she wouldn’t have been able to so easily say Daniela’s name in connection to him.
Because she loved him, and she would always love him.
She flipped the pages faster, trying to distract herself from the urge to cry.
Was it different for him because he was better at hiding his pain – or was it different because he hadn’t actually loved her at all?
“Morning, everyone.” Marshall’s voice boomed through the speakers. “Just a quick reminder – today’s our last day of rehearsal, we’ll have the press conference tomorrow, and then when we meet again, that’s when work officially starts.” As everyone cheered and clapped, Marshall finished, “That’s all, and break a leg.”
Vassi joined in the celebration, clapping with everyone else, but inside him the feeling of hollowness only grew. If his life had been a movie, something dramatic could and would have happened by now.
Something like him turning to Seri, kissing her and forcing her to see the truth, which was that she loved him more than she loved the security she could get with her fucking Plan B.
Vassi’s grip on his script tightened.
He could do that, but at what cost?
Because that was the thing about movies.
Actors and actresses were able to say whatever they wanted to say, do whatever they wanted to do, knowing that at the end of the day, the people in their real lives wouldn’t be hurt by it.
In real life—-
Some words cost too much to say, and it was why, five minutes later, Vassi found himself working side by side Seri like nothing had ever happened between them.
The girl he had loved almost his entire life – and the girl who had only needed minutes to break his heart, over and over.
“Good job, everyone,” Marshall said jovially at the end of rehearsals. “How about one last run?”
Unsurprisingly, the question was met with tired groans. It was already ten in the evening, and they had only been given a thirty-minute break for lunch and then an hour-long break for dinner.
“Kidding, kidding. You all did great, and I’m counting on you all to impress tomorrow’s crowd. That’s it, pack up and go. See you at the press conference.”
Vassi forced himself to turn to Seri. “You did a good job.”
There was something in her eyes, something he knew he could decipher if he wanted to, but he deliberately ignored it, saying with a charming smile, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Something died in her eyes. “See you.” He watched her smile at someone behind him. “See you, Daniela.”
“See you.” Daniela’s voice was cheerful enough, but because he had known the other girl for some time, he knew right away something was wrong. Turning his back on Seri, he asked Daniela without preamble, “What’s wrong?”
She showed him her phone wordlessly.
His gaze narrowed when he saw her boyfriend’s message about waiting for Daniela at her place.
“You can’t go home.” His voice was flat.
“I know. And I don’t want to go to any of my friends’ places. I don’t want to get them involved.”
Vassi nodded even though half of his attention was still attuned to Seri. In the corner of his eye, he saw her head to the couch, where she had placed her bag and a couple of graphic novels.
“Can I ask a favor, Grachyov?”
As Daniela spoke, Seri looked up and he swiftly turned away before Seri realized he had been watching her.
“What is it?”
“Could I crash at your place tonight?”
He saw Seri stumble almost right after Daniela’s question, and something inside of him felt…glad.
Vassi heard himself say, “Sure.”
Seri walked out of the recording studio in a daze. Had she heard them right? Had Daniela asked if she could stay at Vassi’s place, and had Vassi really said yes? Granted, she knew that Vassi was still staying in the family home, and that meant they wouldn’t even be alone.
But even so—-
It wasn’t like not being alone had ever mattered to Vassi, she thought numbly as she pressed the up button for the elevator. Shelby was proof of that. Oh God, she herself was proof of that.