I slipped with my eyeliner pencil, messing up all my hard work on my eye makeup.
I turned around from the vanity-table to face James. He was sitting on the edge of my bed, waiting for me to finish getting ready.
"I'm sorry, what was that?" I asked, my heart racing.
"Do you think you'll ever get married?" James said, watching me closely.
I turned around and tried to salvage my eye makeup.
"I don't know, probably not." I muttered.
Ugh. I couldn't tell him that technically I was still married. I didn't want to talk about Tommy or my past. Instead of answering I walked to the closet, rifling through my clothes.
"Sophie, I'm talking to you."
I turned to face him and crossed my arms.
"I know, but I'm trying to get ready. I don't want to look out of place."
He let out a sigh and stood up, walking over to look at my clothes.
I watched as he pulled out different items, examining them closely. Eventually he handed me a long white silk shirt.
"There you go. Now you can answer my question."
"It's a shirt. I need to pick something to wear it with."
He was in a strange mood tonight, and it was making me feel on edge.
My body was aching, but I was also insanely happy. It was so easy to forget about everything else when we were alone in my bedroom.
"Trust me, it will work as a dress." He said, a cheeky smile on his face.
I tried to ignore the way he eyeballed my body as I dressed.
"Hmm, maybe you should wear it with something else. I'll be fighting men away from you all night."He growled, pulling me into his arms.
I let him kiss me before I walked to the mirror.
I fastened a gold chain belt around my waist and decided on a pair of tan coloured gladiator sandals. I couldn't face another night in heels. My feet were constantly aching, and I was sick of not being able to walk.
"You look like a Greek Goddess." James whispered, standing behind me and putting his arms around my waist.
"Well, I'll go perfectly with a Greek God..." I said, turning around and kissing him.
He let out a low moan and pulled me closer to his body.
"We should leave so I can find one." I added, pulling back from him.
I ended up on the bed, flat on my back and with James on top of me.
"Do you say things like that to get this reaction out of me?" He murmured, the vibration of his voice making me ache.
"Of course not. I'm just trying to keep your ego in check."I drawled, smiling sweetly.
"You never answered my question." He said, pinning my arms above my head.
Oh great, not this again.
I feigned ignorance.
"I can't even remember what you asked."
He was looking at me suspiciously, his gaze penetrating right through me.
"I asked why you didn't want to get married. Most women plan their wedding for years, don't they?"
"That's such a sexist assumption to make! Why do I have to have a reason? Marriage isn't for everyone."
I turned my head to the side, unable to meet the intensity of his gaze.
"Richard asked me to give a speech at the party, before he announces their engagement." He said, nudging my face with his nose.
He sighed and let go of me. I sat up and rubbed my wrists.
"Don't you want to know if I ever want to get married?" He asked.
I watched as he got up from the bed and walked to the balcony door, leaning against the wall.
"I haven't thought about it."
I got up and walked over to him, taking hold of his hand.
"What's wrong? Why are you asking questions like that?"
He kept his hand in mine, but his body tensed.
"Nothing is wrong. It was just a question. People ask each other stuff like that when they date."
"We aren't dating, James. We both agreed this was something casual."
He let go of my hand and walked to the bedside table, snatching up his phone.
"Ok, message received loud and clear. No talking or getting to know each other, let's just keep fucking. I won't ask again."
"You were the one who suggested that!"
He exhaled sharply, brushing his fingers over the back of his head.
"That was before…"
His voice trailed off as he studied my face.
"Before what?" I asked, my heart rate accelerating.
He shook his head and walked towards the door.
"It doesn't matter. Come on, we have to meet everyone."
I followed him out of the room, my stomach sinking. I had a good idea what he was going to say, and that was a conversation I was dreading.
"Can you hold my bag for me?" Georgia asked, wincing as she stepped towards me.
We were in the ladies bathroom of Dune, a cool and exclusive beach club. I preferred it to a nightclub, and it was great being able to look out and see the ocean.
I took her bag as she bent down to tighten the straps on her sandals.
"I don't know how you walk in heels that high." I exclaimed, shaking my head.
"Neither do I. Maybe that's why I always end up getting so drunk!"
I shook my head and glanced at my reflection.
"There's something I need to talk to you about..." She said, taking her bag back from me.
I looked at her as she pulled out her lipstick.
"Oh my God, you better not say you're pregnant!"
She made a face at me.
"No, it's not about me. It's about James."
My shoulders immediately tensed. Since we'd left my room, he had been distant. He'd barely spoken to me, and at dinner he'd sat at the other end of the table.
"He came to our room earlier, asking to talk to Richard. I assumed it was about work, but it was about you!"
"Can you tell me what he said? I need to know what he's thinking."
She finished putting her lipstick on and chucked it back in her bag.
"He really likes you, and he doesn't know what to do about it. You're so adamant that you don't want a relationship, and he can't work out why."
Oh shit. The room started to spin, and I closed my eyes.
"Sophie, are you ok? There's a seat here, sit down."
A wave of nausea washed over me as she pulled me down into the chair.
"Put your head between your legs. It will help."
I opened my eyes and stared at her.
"I watched it on TV! It helps when you're stressed." She added, looking defensive.
"I need more than that to help me." I muttered.
"Why does it have to be a bad thing, Soph? You guys seem good together. I've never seen you so happy, and Richard thinks you're good for James."
"It's not about how well suited we are. I can't be with him. You know my history."
"It's been six years. Maybe you should relax, you can't spend your whole life in fear."
I stood, anger flaring up inside of me.
"You don't understand, and I don't expect you to. I've been through hell with Tommy. He's dangerous. I know what happens to people who run, they never stop looking for you. I won't risk it."
She tried to take hold of my hand, but I moved away.
"It's not going to go away, Soph. I'll support you whatever you decide, but you need to face reality. You're going to hurt James if you don't."
I knew she was right, but it wasn't what I wanted to hear.