Cultivating Trust

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Worlds Collide


Communication improved when Brandt and I returned to California considering where we left off. We talked. We talked about the future more than the past, but we remained open and honest with each other, and it was all I ever wanted.

He admitted he had a hard time with being a father right now. His own relationship with his adoptive parents was strained, and he didn’t feel he could be an active parent with a child of his own with his quest for success within reach, and I appreciated his candor. He knew children were a priority in my life and him being completely truthful, no matter how important children were to me, said a lot about where our relationship was headed.

Brandt spent most of his days in the studio, as I cleaned, cooked, and ran errands for the household, trying to fill up my day and prevent boredom from seeping in. We spent our nights together, but inevitably he would want to get out of the house sooner or later. His previous social calendar had been filled with parties and excitement, not with staying in with a homebody.

When he sprung another house party on me, he noticed my reluctance. I could beg for a reprieve, but then he would stay back with me and forgo another night out with his friends. The last party disappointed me at best, but letting Brandt go on his own would worry me the whole while he was gone. So, when he mentioned it, I wavered.

“Chelsea, these parties are the one time we can be seen together and not worry about the paparazzi. Go with me. You will get used to them. I promise.” Guilt settled in the pit of my stomach. Since we left Wisconsin, Brandt had hired the PR firm, Wolfe and Associates, to prevent unwanted publicity. Keeping the media out of our business deemed important for both of us. He knew how I hesitated to go to places with him because I wanted to keep my private life private and not mess it up for him. This PR firm boasted being the best in the business, and their hefty price tag reflected it too.

The pleading tone to his voice made me comply. The relationship was give and take, and Brandt had been ‘giving’ into me all week. He still felt guilty about his past, but I didn’t see it that way anymore. Brandt changed since I met him although he still didn’t see it. Only time would prove it to both him and my father. He loved me, and I should compromise for him too.

Brandt lay on the bed scrolling through the news feed on his tablet, studying the entertainment news for favorable and unfavorable information on his band even though the PR firm would alert him to any issues. Old habits die hard though and his band’s success centered on his mind daily.

I readied myself in the ‘Brandt Attire’ we joked about while getting to know one another. When running around nude bothered me, we negotiated a white tank top and white bikini underwear.

We had plenty of time before we needed to leave, and he looked sinful in his white lounge pants, turning my thoughts improper. Besides, if we fooled around before the party, he wouldn’t attack me drunk later. Drunken sex was only fun if both parties were inebriated.

While he read the entertainment news, I leaned down to kiss him on the lips. By the villainous way his eyes darkened, I saw his acknowledgment of my antics and what it meant for him.

“Kiss me like that again.”

I laughed as he pulled me onto the bed. Rolling on top of me, his hardening member rode against my stomach, heightening my arousal. He strengthened my amorousness with just the smallest of strokes, kisses, pets. The challenges of our recent past became a blur by this point. Our relationship had been tumultuous. Life seemed to be throwing punches lately, and we had shit luck dodging the fallout, but things were turning around.

Removing my top, he took his time pulling off my underwear, unclothing me. I didn’t know why, but I loved it when he removed my clothes. It made me feel like he savored unwrapping the absolute best present and it was me.

His tender kisses worked their way down my breasts, hitting all my sensitive spots, and my body responded quickly. Licking across my upper body, dipping south, I giggled when he hit my belly button, more ticklish than I remembered. Not until he went farther down to the apex of my thighs didI realize his intentions.

Nervously grabbing his shoulders, I tried to distract him, “I want you inside me.” He had tried to kiss me ‘down there,’ and he knew my aversion to that particular act. It didn’t stop him from trying.

“But my tongue wants to be inside you.”

“Uh, un, ah. C’mon.” I tried to pull him back up, but he didn’t budge.

“Chelsea, trust me. You will love it.” My distraction technique unsuccessful, I tensed in response. He had tried this before but usually stopped when I talked to him about needing him inside of me. I still didn’t understand why it sickened me. Having his shaft in my mouth made me wet, but the thought of his face ‘down there’ made me shiver with repulsion.

Brandt didn’t understand my reluctance and voiced his concern this morning with my inability to let him have his way with my whole body, although I never understood why. The amount of oral sex he allowed me to give him grew scarce since he couldn’t return the favor. What guy gave up a blow job if he was unable to reciprocate the sex act? He pleased me in other ways so why did this matter?

Reluctantly, I gave in and tried to stay still. Stopping him would turn into a fight, and we had been doing so well lately. I tried to calm down, but my overactive mind was running a marathon. My body stiffened with the rough stroke of his tongue on my clitoris.

When it failed to work, he grew impatient but persevered. Why didn’t he give up? I struggled to relax but my mind returned to the thought of his head wedged between my legs. The smell to me was unpleasant so it must be a turnoff to him. Coaxing his elbow between my thighs made relaxing again insurmountable. Within seconds, I locked my legs on his head squeezing in on him.

My eyes clamped shut and I had my hands clasped in front of me as if a shield. “Chelsea, just loosen up. You taste so good.” I struggled to relax as he hit a spot on my clitoris that made my leg shake. Mortified with my physical reaction, I sought refuge further up on the bed, making Brandt follow. The way my body reacted reminded me of scratching a dog’s back and seeing their hind legs move. How could anyone seek pleasure from this?

My legs slammed shut around his head when he started in again. “Chelsea, if you don’t take it easy, I will likely die of asphyxiation.” He bit out his words in frustration.

“I’m sorry, Brandt.” The thought of seeing him camping between my legs proved to unappealing and I closed my eyes again as I tried to concentrate. Okay, Chelsea, you can at least give this another try. I returned to a more relaxed position, but when he hit that same spot, I jerked and flew back up to the top of the bed embarrassed. Why did that happen?

“Chelsea, can’t you even relax for a second? For Christ’s sake!” He sounded mad, and I cringed. His eyes shot daggers at me where words stayed unspoken. “Most guys won’t even go down on a chick.” Should I have been happy? My sex life before Brandt was nearly nonexistent. Some things appalled me even though I didn’t know why. My thoughts were complicated, and he had a hard time with my quirks.

I tried to appease him, “Brandt, why don’t I just blow you? That way you won’t need to worry about me tonight.”

He erupted, “Oh great. Someone to clean my floors and give me a blowjob. I thought I had that already until you fired her.” Wincing, I tried to hide the hurt on my face. Being frustrated was one thing but I would not put up with his callous attitude.

I was about to tell him off when he countered, “One day you will learn to trust me.”

My look of anger turned to confusion. This had nothing to do with trust. If I didn’t trust him, I wouldn’t be in California with him now. How could I make him understand when I didn’t get it myself? My repulsion at his mouth down at my nether regions had me just as confused. My mind worked in ways that remained a mystery to myself but me declining oral sex had nothing to do with my trust for him.

“Brandt, I am sorry. I will try again.” He had my trust with or without him using his tongue to stimulate my sex. Letting him go down on me had nothing to do with trusting him. Or did it?

“Why bother? You won’t be able to relax, you are just so...” He didn’t finish. He didn’t need to. The word frigid danced on the tip of his tongue. It was the same term my ex-boyfriend used on me but with Brandt using it, it hurt so much worse.

Brandt stood up from the bed in a hurry, obviously angry. Not wanting to leave it like this I started out, “Brandt...” but he turned around and walked into the bathroom, not bothering to listen to me.

“Save it. I need to brush my teeth. Heaven forbid I kiss you in the next century and you taste yourself on me.” He was making fun of another one of my quirks, and I looked away before exposing my pained expression.

After brushing his teeth, he made his way into the closet to grab clothes, taking great lengths not to look at me. My clothes were already picked out and in the bathroom, so I left to put them on. The hot night mandated cooler clothing, so I dressed in a long flowing skirt and a halter top. I bought it to wear for Brandt, but he didn’t seem to notice how I looked in it as he walked past me and headed downstairs making me sigh in exasperation of how the night started.

My overactive mind made my quirks surface at the most inopportune time. To shut them out, to shut off my brain, seemed impossible but I kept trying. I couldn’t help think one day my quirks would drive a wedge between what Brandt and I had and I vowed to work harder on them.

We drove to the party in silence and the tension could only be from my earlier mannerisms. If I loosened up a little maybe I could let him have his way with me later, but I cringed at the thought. Why was it so damn important in the first place? We had done plenty of other stuff. Did he get bored with me already? He’d had his pick of other women in the past. Other women who would give him what he asked for. He said he didn’t need the excitement of other women, that he just needed me, but was he really being honest with himself?

When we entered the party, my attention went to the beauty of the huge house and its surroundings. Bigger than Brandt’s house, it had rich features of marble floors and granite countertops in the kitchen, giving way to walnut furnishings in the family area screaming the resplendence of what fame and money could provide.

Different locations didn’t necessarily mean different situations and quickly I became disappointed. I wasn’t familiar with this band, talking about so many with Brandt made it impossible to keep them all straight, but I knew each of these parties were important to him, so I held back my repulsion and tried to keep up.

The same people were here, most notably the bikini girls and the couple that had sex in the pool. I didn’t recognize them at first being they were clothed, at least somewhat more than at the previous party. We passed the family room and the haze of pot smoke. I wondered if Brandt would do that tonight and made a mental note to not drink so much.

A larger pool accompanied this residence and a spacious hot tub lined the sidewall of the back yard where people splashed around in varying arrays of clothing. When we made our way to the hot tub, I averted my eyes to the man naked in front of us. Brandt introduced the man, flanked by two topless women, as a music producer. None of them appeared embarrassed by their nudity but I felt rather uncomfortable. Brandt hid a smirk from me. If I didn’t know any better, I would have said he enjoyed my unease as well.

We left to walk up the deck and found Hailey and Dex running around being a happy couple. It delighted me to see Hailey here. Dex bothered me since I still wondered if I should tell Hailey about the woman in the bushes.

Hailey started out, “Chelsea, I am so glad you made it. Hey, Brandt.” She grabbed my arm and took me away from Brandt and Dex who had started a conversation about some award’s show.

“What do you want to drink?” Brandt had already grabbed a drink, so I decided one beer would suffice. Drinking to oblivion would never be an interest of mine and I couldn’t decipher what type of mood he was in tonight.

Hailey handed me a beer, and we walked around as she introduced me to more people. I nodded as she talked to them, knowing I would forget their names with so many people in attendance. I focused my interest on the house. It looked sleek and elegant. Hard to imagine a rough and tumble rock star living here and not some high-powered business mogul. Hailey went on about the interior designer and what it cost to devise a mansion like this. The cost of the kitchen alone could buy a whole house back in Wisconsin. It made me think about Brandt’s basement. Maybe I could save my money and start with a small room for him. Not with the same designer, well, unless I got a good-paying job. Let’s start with any job.

I had gone out looking a couple of days this week, but nothing fit. The women at the clothing boutique I entered reminded me of Paula at my last job, and I walked right out. Working for one uppity bitch in a lifetime was enough. The restaurant down in the next town had an employment sign, but they only wanted night staff, and with Brandt’s schedule I knew it wouldn’t work. I didn’t have a clue how I was going to pull this off. There must be something out there, and any more time cleaning an already clean house would force me in a straight jacket.

Hailey laughed and talked with the occasional person but didn’t seem that invested in them. We stopped at the bottom of the stairs by the bathroom, waiting for our turn when I saw all the people return from the second floor. Hailey told me about what went on up there. Casual sex. It must have been a revolving door with the amount of people descending the steps. Was I the only one bothered by the lack of restraint? I alluded to it, “How many bedrooms are up there?”

She understood my meaning but just laughed. “Those people are probably going to the master bedroom. That is where the Candy Man sits.”

“The Candy Man?”

“Yeah, he is a dope dealer who comes to the parties and sells his stuff. They put him in the master bedroom to make sure no one fucks in the bed.” She said it nonchalantly as if everyone had a drug dealer at their party. It bothered me, but it didn’t even seem to faze her.

We got back outside, intending to meet up with our men. Before we found them, she said, “Look I am sorry you were in the middle of our fight last time. I shouldn’t have put you in that position.” I felt guilty knowing what I did about Dex and not saying anything to her. She had been the only female person in California to be nice to me since I came here. I missed having Amilyn and hoped we could be friends, but what friend kept secrets? If I’d learned anything over the last couple of weeks about promiscuous sex, Hailey was at risk if Dex had been unfaithful.

"Hailey before I left, I saw Dex kissing another girl. I am so sorry I didn’t tell you sooner. Brandt and I have been having issues too, and we just met. I didn’t know if you would believe me.”

Hailey’s complexion turned pale as she looked down at the floor. Her eyes avoided my own, and I felt horrible as she made an excuse for him, “It was probably just some fan. You know how it is in the business.” I nodded and returned her smile, trying to make her feel better. Remembering the after-parties where Brandt signed a woman’s breast while her boyfriend watched, I realized the life of a rockstar wife or girlfriend was harder than it looked. How would I be able to handle Brandt back on tour? Even though I knew she covered for him I kept my thoughts to myself.

“Yeah, those fans do come on strong.”

Hailey found Dex on the deck, but it took me longer to find Brandt. When I located him on the patio, I noticed he sat by a girl who looked familiar. It wasn’t until I got closer I recognized Cami from the picture Brandt had in his office. Slightly taller than me, she had the same hair color, although I doubted hers was natural. She had on a backless shirt held together with tiny straps that left little cloth to cover her large, perfectly round breasts. Too perfect. Another thing on her that was fake, but from my experience guys weren’t picky. She had a smaller waist than me, or maybe it only seemed that way since I couldn’t compete in the chest area. Brandt saw me and forced a smile while he stood up, forcing her to do the same.

“There you are!” Interesting? He was friendlier to me with her around. So different from the way he acted on the ride here.

"Hailey gave me a tour of the house and introduced me to people.” I tried to hint at the possibility of an introduction, but he didn’t notice.

Hailey came up behind me and the way she spoke told me she wasn’t a fan of Cami either. ”Cami so nice to see you again. I heard you didn’t get the part on the lawyer show. Better luck next time.” Hailey’s quip caused Cami’s eyes to glower.

“Oh, Hailey.” The contempt dripped off her voice, “No big deal. I landed a movie instead. My perseverance paid off. Maybe it will work for you too someday.”

“I am not too concerned. They picked my show up for another sixteen episodes. It will give me plenty of time to find work in the off-season if I want it.” I watched the catfight and Brandt at the same time. His eyes remained glued to Cami and it made me wonder what they talked about before I stumbled upon them. I remembered what LuAnn alluded to when it came to Cami. She wouldn’t do some things in bed Brandt wanted either. By the looks of her, it was obvious she would do more than me though.

Cami excused herself to find her boyfriend, and Hailey walked away in a huff. They left me standing by Brandt. “So, that was Cami?”

He still looked a little uncomfortable but said, “Yes.”

“Why didn’t you introduce me?”

His mouth slackened, like he never even thought of it, but recovered nicely, “I waited for the claws to go back in, but I guess that didn’t happen.” He gave a small laugh, but we both knew he had screwed up. We were interrupted by another person who ‘needed’ Brandt’s attention. Everyone wanted his attention, and he was all too eager to talk to them and ignore me at this point.

Frustrated, I left Brandt and went to grab another beer. I had no intention of getting drunk, but I’d noticed his hands were empty, and I needed something to calm my nerves. Inside the bar area of the house, I looked to see what I could drink. Someone came up behind me, and I moved over to let them through. The person moved over with me. I moved again, and a little dance ensued until I looked up into the face of Austin.

With a smirk on his face, he said, “Hey, looking for a poison?”

I nodded, “Just something to pass the time. Not sure if the hangover is worth it.”

He grabbed a bottle of vodka. “Here let me mix you a drink.”

“That looks dangerous. I think I’ll pass.”

“No, you don’t understand; this is expensive vodka. Less chance of a hangover.”

My bullshit meter shot to the red zone. “I think you are pulling my leg.”

Smiling, he quipped, “Now would I do that?” Doubting his sincerity, I gave in any way. One drink wouldn’t hurt.

He made a fruit punch concoction that tasted good, and I sipped on it as we sat on the sofa and continued to banter back and forth for a while. It made me feel guilty. I shouldn’t have been talking to him, but Brandt talked with Cami and turnabout was fair play.

“So, you liked the last party so much you had to see another one?”

I shook my head, “No, not that easy. Brandt asked me to come with him. If it were up to me, I would be at home reading.”

“You are a bookworm then?”

“Sometimes characters in books are much better than real-life people.”

“Well, you haven’t found the right people then.” His smile grew wide, and I could tell why women fell over themselves for him. He was cute, he just wasn’t Brandt.

We talked about how he got discovered, and he’d had the same experiences as Brandt. He even said they’d shared a studio apartment for a while when they were all trying to get a record company to look at them. Austin hit it big first and tried to send the agents Brandt’s way, believing in Social Offender’s music.

Not sure if I was brave on my own, or the vodka kicked in, but as soon as it came out of my mouth, I regretted it and said, “You shared a lot. Even the same woman.”

He tried to gauge whether it was a joke at his expense but must have thought otherwise. “Chelsea, Cami was a mistake. We were attracted to each other, and she came on to me. I shouldn’t have gone to bed with her, but it was at a point in my life I didn’t care.”

His remorse gave me butterflies and I felt I’d misjudged him. Whatever his reasoning for sleeping with Cami, I was sure he didn’t actively try to hurt Brandt.

“Sorry. I am just upset. I found Brandt outside talking to Cami and well, he didn’t even introduce me.” My disclosure something of a relief, I realized Austin proved to be a good listener. “They lived together for a while. Do you think he still has feelings for her?”

He smiled at me. “Nah. Brandt is protective of you and never did that with Cami. You have nothing to worry about.” Although genuine and meant to make me feel better, his statement gave me little comfort coming from a guy who hadn’t talked to Brandt in months.

Brandt walked into the area and saw us on the couch. Guilt crossed my face unnecessarily as my talking to Austin was the same as him talking to Cami, but I still felt guilt-ridden.

Austin stood up, “Brandt, we were just talking about you.”

Fire simmered behind his eyes despite his calm demeanor. “I bet.”

Dex stumbled into the room, barely able to steady his gaze, and breaking the tension. Eventually, he spotted Austin, “Hey, man, I’ve been looking everywhere for you. Are you ready to tear this place up? We have to get our rock on. C’mon,” He motioned for Austin to follow him. Austin got up to leave, chancing a worried glance in Brandt’s direction. Brandt’s gaze turned from Austin to me after he left and the coldness of it hit me.

“You seem cozy with him all of a sudden.”

He made me feel guilty, but I didn’t deserve it. “Brandt, we were just talking. Wasn’t that what you and Cami were doing?” I threw it back at him.

“That is different. Cami and I have a history. You guys don’t.” His scowl deepened but gave my spine a jolt of bravado.

“How the hell do you think I am going to get to know anyone if I can’t talk to people?” My ire turned petty but the stress of the night started to crash down on me.

“You hardly know him and looked pretty comfortable already. I bet you could relax with him. How long before you let his mouth on your pussy?” My mouth fell open as tears stung at the back of my eyes. That hurt. It hurt worse knowing he said it on purpose.

When he stuttered, realizing his mistake, I left the room. I couldn’t care less about his feeble attempt at stopping me.

Making my way around, I sought out Hailey. I would rather listen to her talk about trivial stuff than put up with any more abuse from Brandt. The whole night was ruined, and I bided my time until I left and went back to Brandt’s house. I needed to calm down first. What a mistake tonight turned out to be. I should have never come out here. I would never fit in with his friends.


The night didn’t turn out as I hoped. In some ways, we got closer than ever this week, but in other ways, we seemed just as far apart. I thought back to Wisconsin. She left me and the fear of that reality still hung on me like a noose. I needed her in my life. When you find someone like her, you hold on with both hands.

Chelsea said she trusted me. I believed her, but part of me still thought it was guarded trust. She trusted me with only some aspects of her life, but I wanted her full trust. I wouldn’t stop until I got it. What more did I need to do to earn it? I would’ve given up a lifestyle that took forever to achieve to keep her and followed her damn near across the country to prove it.

She had taken my heart, and as much of a selfish bastard I was, I wanted her to give me the same. I loved her, and I was happy for the first time in forever. This time, not happy because I had stuff, happy because I had her. But I wanted all of her. I wanted her love, and I wanted her trust. Earlier, when she couldn’t let me go down on her, it bothered me. She was so damn responsive if she would just relax, she would go off like a rocket. Her trust in me would solidify our relationship, and she would never leave me again. At least I hoped. Her leaving me plagued me and every man she talked to caused me greater apprehension.

Then why did I act like such an ass earlier? When she refused me before, I struck out at her. I didn’t mean to. Hell, I almost called her frigid. What the fuck was wrong with me? It certainly wouldn’t instill trust in me with talk like that.

When Cami noticed me at the party and walked over to talk, it startled me. We left things in such a horrible state I figured she wouldn’t talk to me again. Our relationship crumbled slowly, and although there were clues to our demise, I held on too long until she finally left me. She cheated on me, and I retaliated and cheated on her back as a form of revenge. Childish I know, but I wanted to hurt her as much as she hurt me. We didn’t need to let it get that far, but we seemed hell-bent on killing whatever we had together.

Cami looked the part of the model, but Hollywood changed her. She’d spent piles of money on plastic surgery to fix nonexistent issues. It paid off evidently with her getting a movie contract recently and a high paying spread in a porn magazine. In fact, I had been so shocked she came over to talk to me I forgot to introduce Chelsea and Hailey when they showed up and I could tell it bothered Chelsea.

Feeling guilty I made my way to apologize to Chelsea only to find her with Austin. Fucking Austin, of all people. He scammed on Cami, and now he was scamming on Chelsea. I saw red. Maybe I shouldn’t have lashed out, but when it came to her, common sense seemed to go out the window. I didn’t know what I would do if I lost her.

And now I had fucked things up again. I needed to give her time to cool down. Having no intention of listening to Austin’s band, I headed outside to find Kirk. He usually had the good weed and needed a distraction.

Kirk was nowhere to be found. Just my luck. My only other option at that point was the Candy Man, the resident drug dealer present at most of these parties. He was a dick though, and I didn’t want to endure many interactions with him, so instead, I decided to get a drink. Coping with my inability to control the situation, at least sober, was unappealing.

Making my way over to another group of guys I knew, I joined their conversation. These roadies had been in the business for a long time and were going over stories from the past. Hearing about working with legends and the shenanigans they pulled gave me a reprieve from my troubles. I lost myself in the stupid stories of forlorn groupies and hijinks.

Glancing occasionally at the band, I spotted Cami staring at me. She pretended to be listening to the music, but her expression was anything but innocent. Her arm draped over her new man, the banker, and I sized him up. He had a preppy appearance to him, dressing in designer clothes out of place at a house party. I bet Cami dragged him here as he looked unamused at the festivities.

By my guess, he seemed older than me by ten years and I hoped he didn’t look to her to settle down. Cami’s interests orientate only to rich men who could further her career. He looked strait-laced too. Not someone who could do it for her between the sheets. Cami needed extra attention, and he yawned vanilla sex. Cami, sensing my observation, met my eyes but I turned back to the discussion unaffected by her stare. It had been her loss and not my problem anymore.

Before I felt her beside me, I smelled her fragrance. Chelsea smelled of lavender and it had a calming effect on me. I hoped she had cooled down since our argument and I brought her hand up to my lips to test the water. Cami noticed and I smirked at her. Yep, should’ve stayed. I would have treated you like a queen. Chelsea accepted another beer from one of the guys, and I worked on my drink, not necessarily caring anymore if I got drunk.

Chelsea turned away from the conversation, not at all interested in wild exploits with groupies, but it bothered me when she kept staring at the band. Austin especially. When she started to sway, I wondered how much she had to drink as I hadn’t been around her much tonight. Maybe if she was drunk, she would loosen up? She seemed fine enough when I watched her leave for the bathroom. I found I had my own urge, but luckily, men had outdoor accommodations at their disposal, so I headed behind the hedges lining the property to relieve myself.

Finishing with the task at hand, I was just about to tuck my dick back into my pants when I felt her hands come around and grab onto my rod. She must be loosening up if she was willing to handle me at a party where people could see us. Before I let her work me hard, I turned around. “Back so soon?” Cami smirked at me with her hand still attached to my package and I pulled away suddenly. “I thought you were Chelsea.”

Her smile faded. “That little Wisconsin girl? You could do so much better.” Her low cut shirt was stretched to its limits holding in her enormous chest. After her last boob job, her breasts remained in a perky position regardless if she had a bra on or not making every man here tonight take notice. Cami always had a way of commanding a room. When I talked about confidence, she always took the cake. Tonight, was no exception as she leaned into me with a smile on her face.

“Yes, she is from Wisconsin. That is where we met. You can’t tell me the women around here are any better.”

“In more ways than one. She looks so timid and out of place here. What happens when playing country cousins becomes boring?”

What Cami didn’t understand was Chelsea’s innocence appealed to me. “She is out of place here, and I love it. She hasn’t become jaded yet. I find it refreshing.” Putting distance between us, I continued, “I thought you were leaving out of town for your next movie.”

She gave me a knowing smile, “Are you still keeping track of me?” She closed the gap I tried to make and sauntered forward with an evil smile on her face. It was funny how she was throwing herself at me and I felt justified. Grovel, honey.

“Brandt, she is just a girl. A man like you deserves a woman. I know what you need. In bed and out.” I remembered all the wild nights of sex with her, and yes, in a small way, I did miss it, but Chelsea and I were still new. She would come to trust me. I hoped.

Turning the topic to her new stud, I said, “By the way how is Poindexter?”

She scowled at this, “His name is Bruce.”

“Whatever. I heard he is some rich banker or something. I thought you would be more apt to keep it with people in the industry.”

She had a guarded smile now, “He is in the industry. He is in financing productions.”

“So, that is how you got the movie deal. Makes sense now.”

Her look turned pure evil, and I knew I hit the nail on the head, “He sought me out knowing I would be good for the part. He only wants the movie to be financially sound and me to be a star. He is always thinking of me.” Was that a dig at me? I treated her well and never held her back from her dream, even when she ruthlessly climbed over people without any consideration for their well-being. I might not have been loaded with money at the time but money wasn’t an issue for me now, and she shouldn’t have put it above our relationship. Chelsea never cared. She would have loved me regardless of my bank account, and now I could appreciate her even more.

The fire died in her eyes and the sneer returned as she leaned into me, “Brandt that isn’t why I stopped and talked to you. I wanted to apologize.” Now, this I wanted to hear. “I was confused when I left you. We got too close too fast. I had to think of my career first. Hollywood likes them young. If I settle down early, it will hurt what I worked so hard for.” When I didn’t stop her to agree, she continued, “We were good together, weren’t we?” She gave me those baby doll eyes of hers, and I knew it held no lasting power over me. She used them on me more than once, and I always gave in. Tonight was no exception as I felt the hardness leave. But why be mad anymore? I had Chelsea, and Cami had her booming career. Let’s call it even.

“Yeah, we were great while it lasted. Times change.” She leaned forward, giving me full view of her straining collar line and sheepishly I fell for it. She was happy I looked too.

“Who says we can’t have it again?” I guessed her sense of commitment hadn’t changed.

“We are both dating other people now.”

She pursed her lips in her sexy manner, “No one has to know.” I couldn’t help but envision the two of us in bed. She had no issue with what I could touch or lick. She gave herself to me fully. But it wasn’t what I wanted anymore and talking to her made me realize it.

"Cami, it is over. I’m not interested in a fuck buddy or you stabbing me in the back again. Why don’t you go over to preppy boy and ask him to fill your void?” With a satisfied smile, I walked around her and out of the bushes.

By the time I got back to the party, the music had stopped. I thought they were taking a break but instead noticed everyone looking up and pointing to someone on the dormer. When I took another look, I realized it was Chelsea and my stomach dropped. Shit.

Then I watched her slip, and my heart stopped while I took off in a run, willing her to stay on that rooftop until I could get to her.

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