Georgia jumped on me when we walked back into the VIP area, squeezing me hard.
"Georgia, you aren't a shit friend. That guy was a drunken idiot and saw an opportunity. It's lucky James turned up when he did."
"Come here." She said, flinging her arms around him.
"It's not a big deal." James muttered, looking embarrassed.
"Do you want to go back to the villa? Nobody would mind." Richard asked, patting my shoulder.
"No, I'm ok, James looked after me." I replied, unable to stop the smile that spread across my face.
Richard's eyes narrowed, and he glanced over at him.
"Listen, Sophie, my brother has a way of playing games with women. He's a real flirt, all about the chase. If you know what I mean…"
I was right back down to earth with Richard's reality check.
"Oh, I didn't mean that, he just-"
Georgia came bounding over, interrupting our conversation.
"Why don't we sit outside on the terrace and have a drink?"
We both nodded, and she smiled, taking charge as usual.
"Go sit, Soph. Richard can help me sort out something to drink."
My heart raced as I walked outside to join James. Richard's warning filtered through my mind, but the second I saw him I didn't care. There could be a million other girls. It didn't stop how much I wanted him.
James grinned when he saw me, patting the space next to him.
"Beanbags?" I commented, taking in the casual seating arrangement.
"They're comfortable. Although once you get down, it isn't that easy to get back up again."
"It's disappointing to hear you say that." I joked, causing him to burst out laughing.
"Trust me, baby. I don't have any trouble getting up again. Especially when you're around."
I smiled, moving a beanbag so I was closer to him. Once I was sat, he leaned in to me.
"I've rescued you twice now. It feels good being your knight in shining armour."
I frowned, trying to work out what he meant. There was the incident tonight, but that was all I could think of.
"Eels." He said, winking at me.
Our eyes locked, and a heaviness filled my body. I wanted to kiss him so much, and it was clear he felt the same way. Richard's warning had done nothing to curb my desire.
"Stop looking at me like that..." he warned, his voice heavy with lust.
Richard coughed, making both of us jump. He was looking at us suspiciously, his face flashing with realisation.
Georgia turned up with two bottles of champagne and Richard sighed. He was glaring at James, his expression letting both of us know he wasn't happy.
"Not now, Rich." James muttered, shaking his head at him.
Georgia was busy pouring drinks, else she would have picked up on the tense atmosphere.
I wondered why Richard was so bothered about what his brother did. We were both adults. It wasn't any of his business.
"Graham and Johnny are on their way back. They were on the main dancefloor looking for you. Johnny was really worried." Richard announced, looking at me pointedly.
Georgia passed me a flute of champagne before sinking down on the beanbag beside me. Richard's anger made sense, he thought I was messing his friend around. The fallout from my best friend's lie was never ending.
"You look different, Sophie." Georgia commented, her face wrinkling in confusion. "Your face is glowing."
Oh my God, this wasn't happening.
"I'm just hot, I've sweated most of my make-up off."
Richard cleared his throat,
"James, we should speak to Ross Carter. I saw him on our way in."
It was obvious he wanted to get his brother alone to talk to him about what had happened.
"Who is Ross Carter?" Georgia asked, her attention diverted from me.
"He's a business associate. We won't be too long, I promise." He replied, grabbing the bottle and topping up her glass.
"You girls stay here, enjoy the champagne!"
James looked at me and rolled his eyes. He got up easily from the beanbag, winking at me so I was blushing all over again.
"Come on then, let's get it over with." He sighed.
Once they had gone, Georgia took hold of my hand.
"Are you sure you are ok? That guy must have scared you."
I gave her a gentle squeeze.
"I'm fine. It was all a bit of a blur to be honest. James arrived before it got too bad."
I wasn't used to having a man protect me like that, and it felt good. I knew I couldn't get used to it though, there was no way it could be a permanent thing.
"Yeah, well, he isn't one to back away from confrontation. Richard's told me his brother attracts trouble."
She sipped her drink as I frowned.
"What does that mean?"
"Richard said he was always getting in fights when he was younger. He's even been in trouble with the cops."
I was going to ask her for more details, but Graham and Johnny finally returned. They both gave me a hug, although Johnny held me for longer.
"I'm sorry I wasn't there." He whispered, brushing my hair back from my face.
I glanced up to see Georgia and Graham smirking at each other.
"It's ok. He was drunk, and James sorted him out."
"I said I would show you a good time tonight. Do you want to go outside? The beach bar is great, we can get a drink out there."
He grinned at me and I cleared my throat, trying to think of the best way to tell him I wasn't interested.
"Oh, stop being so shy. She'd love to go with you Johnny." Georgia interrupted, nudging me hard.
I glared at her as she smiled.
"What's up with Richard and James?" Graham asked, sitting down on an oversized cushion with a bottle of beer.
"Nothing. They were going to chat to someone they knew, Ross something or other." Georgia replied.
"That's weird. We saw them on the way up here, and they were definitely arguing." Graham replied, taking a swig of his beer.
I felt my cheeks heat, I had a good idea why they were fighting...
"Strange. Should I find them? They were fine before they left here." Georgia said, putting her glass down.
Graham and Johnny both said no at the same time.
"Better to leave them to it. They'll both as stubborn as each other, so neither will back down." Johnny said, rolling his eyes.
"Trust us, we've learnt that the hard way." Graham added, rubbing his hands together. "Right, Georgia. How about we have some shots?"
Georgia looked conflicted, clearly feeling like she should check on Richard.
"Ok, fine. You guys know how they work better than I do. Grab the tequila, Graham!"
She pushed my arm, pointing to Johnny.
"You guys go! Have fun!"
Johnny grabbed hold of my hand to help me up. I'd decided to go outside with him and explain I wasn't interested. Hopefully he'd understand. He seemed like a decent guy.
We were halfway down the stairs when my heel got caught in my dress. I tripped forward, but Johnny caught me in his arms.
"Right, that's it. I'm done with stilettos!" I cursed, glaring at them.
"Well, I might not always be there to catch you."
Before I knew it, he had pulled me close and moved his other hand to my hip. His lips were on mine before I could stop him, and as I pulled back, I saw James.
He stood at the bottom of the stairs, a furious look on his face. I watched as he stormed off, my heart sinking.
"Are you ok?" Johnny asked, taking hold of my hand. "I just… I've been wanting to do that all evening."
I needed to tell him now and then try to find James. I took a deep breath, freeing my hand from his.
"I think Georgia might have given you the impression I was… umm… interested in you?"
He nodded, his smile fading.
"It's just, I like you as a friend. That's all. I'm sorry for the confusion, Georgia was trying to be a matchmaker."
"Right... so it was a joke then? At my expense?"
I frowned, he looked really pissed off.
"Of course not! She thought she was being helpful. I swear it wasn't anything malicious."
He stormed off, and I sighed. This whole evening was turning into a disaster. I made my way down the stairs, gripping the rail to keep my balance.
I was desperate to find James and explain what had happened. He'd told me how bothered he was by Johnny flirting with me, God knows how he would react now.
The club was busy, and everybody was wearing something white. I must have been walking for a good twenty minutes when I admitted defeat, my feet in agony from the shoes.
I sat down on an empty stool and sighed. I should have got his number, but it hadn't even entered my head when we'd been together. I glanced around, and that was when I spotted James.
He was sitting in a booth, gripping a bottle of beer. His face was tense, but as I stood to go over to him, he smiled.
It took me a moment to realise it wasn't because he had seen me. A blonde woman slid in next to him, and he lifted his arm so she could move closer.
Jealousy bubbled inside me, my whole body tightening. The woman rested her hand on his chest, stretching up to whisper something in his ear.
I watched as he put his hand over hers. For a few seconds, I thought he was going to move it away. The anticipation was making my heart race.
He tilted her face to his...
Then they were kissing.
Humiliation washed over me. How could I have been such an idiot?
"I'm sorry." I muttered, pushing past him.
He followed me, reaching for my arm.
"Sophie, please wait a minute."
I took a deep breath, blinking back my tears.
"What is it?" I asked, turning to face him.
"I know what happened with my brother."
I swallowed, fighting down the lump in my throat.
"It's not a big deal."
"I told him to stay away from you, but he never listens. He does what he wants, regardless of the consequences."
"Why are you so concerned? I don't understand."
His expression softened,
"I love Georgia, she's everything I could ever want. You're her best friend, and I didn't want the risk of James messing things up."
I would have laughed if I didn't feel so sad.
"Sophie, my brother doesn't think about consequences. He can be selfish and reckless, always chasing how he feels in the moment. I don't-"
I held up my hand, interrupting him.
"It's fine, I don't need to know about it. I just want to forget what happened. I promise I won't tell Georgia if you don't. She will only make a fuss…"
He gave me a hard stare, clearly conflicted.
"I don't want to lie to her."
I shook my head,
"It isn't a lie. We just won't talk about it again."
"If you're upset, you should tell her. I wouldn't expect you to bottle it all up."
I sighed, trying to keep my face calm.
"I'm not looking to fall in love with your brother. It was a moment of craziness. Everyone has them on holiday, don't they?"
He still didn't look convinced, but after a few seconds he nodded.
"Ok, I won't mention it."
I smiled, even though I was breaking apart inside.
"Thank you. I think I'd like to go back to the villa. Can you tell me how to get back?"
He sent a message on his phone before taking hold of my arm.
"There's a car waiting. I'll walk you out to it."
I kept my head down, focusing on leaving the club and getting back to my room.
"Wait, what should I tell Georgia?" He asked, as we stepped outside.
The air was still warm and heavy, and my head was hurting.
"Tell her I have a headache."
A young guy stood next to a black Bentley, and he held the door open as we approached.
"Are you sure you are ok?" Richard asked, studying my face.
I nodded, struggling to hold back my tears. He sighed, shaking his head.
"Michael, this is Sophie. She isn't feeling too good. Can you make sure she gets back to the villa safely?"
He nodded, and I gave Richard a hug.
"Thanks for everything, I'll see you tomorrow."
I climbed in and Michael shut the door behind me. My defences were crumbling, and as we drove off the tears finally fell.