Ouch! The woman’s words stung like a slap. I never imagined someone would refuse my advances. Maybe fame had spoiled me. But I was freakin’ famous! Girls threw themselves at me, left lipstick stains on my cheek, and the first time I wanted a stranger’s attention, I couldn’t turn her head. My celebrity status didn’t mean shit to her!
Damn, that’s what I wanted. Faithful. Sweet. Modest.
2VelvetRose: I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. Your man is lucky and I’m sure he knows it.
Even though it hurt to swallow the lump in my throat, I owed her an apology. I wasn’t usually the type who had to gulp down my pride. Maybe Seyer’s ego was rubbing off on me. I waited, hoped for a response from her. I wouldn’t have blamed Rose if she never answered. It was unlike me to use a woman to soothe my shattered emotions. I had laid it on real thick, too, using what I thought was suave pick-up lines, but obviously, she was too smart to buy that kind of crap. It sure brought me back to Earth and made me see a few things I didn’t know about myself.
I had a restless night. Thinking about Stacey and that girl on Chatter. I had always thought I was a good catch for any woman. I was kind. I was a gentleman and I didn’t mind being romantic. Actually, I liked doing all the mushy things most men avoided. It wasn’t all for the reward of doing those things either. I enjoyed walking hand in hand on the beaches. Staying up all night talking on the phone. I liked chick flicks and dancing in the moonlight. I dreamed about it. I craved it like a drug.
“You look like shit,” Seyer stated at breakfast the next morning.
“You’re frustrated. You need to take up a hobby, like me.” He cast a bonded gaze toward a group of barely-legal trouble as he spoke.
“Banging every girl you meet isn’t a hobby, Seyer. It’s an addiction you should kick.”
I was irritable that morning and I saw no need to politely conceal it. Why should I? Seyer had known me long enough. If he couldn’t take my bad mood, he could kiss my ass.
“Why? So I can walk around like you? No thanks. I’ll get my release whenever and wherever I can. Is it my fault women find me irresistible? Dude, we’re freakin’ stars! You need to take advantage of it before you retire.”
“I’m not planning to retire anytime soon.”
“No wrestler really plans to retire. It only takes one wrong landing and that’s it. And when that happens, those girls won’t fall all over you. They won’t trip on their words or blush in your presence. Once your mug has left the television screen, they’ll ignore you.”
“Then why bother with them?”
“All women want a fantasy. I’m just giving them what they want.”
“I highly doubt anyone will ever forget either of you.” Corrine slipped into a chair as my coffee was set down.
I pushed the cup towards her and ordered another.
The morning hadn’t been kind to Corrine. She had dark circles beneath her light brown eyes and she hadn’t bothered to tame hair.
“I’m guessing not as long as yours. I can still smell alcohol on your breath.”
“I only had a couple.”
“Ugh. Gross. It’s called a toothbrush, Hart.” She wrinkled her nose.
“Where is the princess?” I changed the subject.
Corrine’s brash tone was surprising and it cut me coming from her. I had a lot of respect for the writer and I cared what she thought of me. I had to care. She could write me out of the show for months if she felt like it.
“I don’t know and I don’t care.” My mouth dropped. “But I’ll tell you one thing, she’ll be pulling her crown out of her ass if she keeps me up one more night. I mean how can someone have so much to say in one sitting? She was on that thing all night!” I had never, ever heard her speak ill about anyone. Even when they deserved it.
“I’m popular. Sue me.” Cady came floating into the room, coming to a stop at the chair beside me. She stared at it, then at me, as if I should have already been on my feet.
“Do you mind?” Her sweet tone had an uppity, ‘Do as I say’, tone beneath it. “My nails are wet.”
I rolled my eyes and shifted the chair outward without standing. “Thanks.” She took the seat and took the menu out of my hand, holding it cautiously so she wouldn’t ruin the fresh paint job.
“Well, I’m done.” Seyer rose from his chair. “Good luck with that Corrine.”
“Hey! Wait up.” Corrine ran after us. “Our car wouldn’t start this morning.”
“You need a jump?” I asked automatically.
“I called the rental car place. They’re going to pick it up. Can we bum a ride?”
I gazed at Seyer.
He rolled his eyes.
“Fine, but she better have them bag that shit. I’m not waiting,” Seyer spat and I know he meant it.
We waited about ten minutes before Cady came out of her motel room dragging her bags and, instinctively, I helped her with her load.
I reached out for her purse and jumped back like a scared little girl when this hairy beast popped its little head out and snapped at me. “Geez, what the hell is that?”
“It’s my Chihuahua.”
“That’s a dog?” I had my doubts. That thing looked like a ball of fur with vampire’s teeth. I couldn’t even see its eyes!
“This is my Pom-Pom and you’re hurting his feelings.”
I rolled my eyes. Pom-Pom? That grayish, brown-streaked thing had a name like Pom-Pom? I would have guessed Killer, Demon or Cujo. I nearly tossed it into the backseat and I feared Seyer would end up doing the same with its owner who held us up even longer going through each of her bags looking for some lost makeup brush.
The ride to Green Valley had never been longer. A half a dozen wrecks stopped us and the princess’s stupid mutt growled at me the entire time, bouncing with each snarl. Cady talked nonstop on her cell phone. Seyer was unusually quiet, probably pissed at me for the male whore comment made at the restaurant, and Corrine was busy tapping away on her laptop keys. The unusual sounds annoyed the hell out of me and I constantly wished I could instantly plop us there with a wrinkle of my nose like Samantha Stephens.
“Oh, good. A rest stop.” Cady put up her phone and scooted to the edge of the back seat, resting her hand on my shoulder.
“You went at the last one,” Seyer groaned.
“Not everyone has the bladder of an elephant,” Corrine stated with a yawn. “We sat for two hours at that last wreck.”
“Women,” Seyer complained under his breath.
“Oh, come on Seyer. You know you love having two women tagging along with you.” Corrine laughed as she referenced the tanked up threesomes Seyer sometimes indulged.
But it did seem like women had to go more frequently than men. Or maybe they just didn’t like to hold it like we did. I was always in such a hurry to get to where I was going that I forgot my body had that function until it literally threatened to soak my pants.
“What do you think?” Corrine asked us as Cady headed to the bathroom. “You think she’s gonna last?”
“The daughter of Muxlin’s silent partner? Humph. Too bad she’s not silent. “Seyer snapped.
“Well, De Bosa hasn’t been silent lately. Between the three of us, his latest suggestions haven’t made me feel very creative.”
“You’re going to be spending a lot of time with her. Just a heads up, Ethan. What Cady wants … Cady gets.” Her eyes landed on me and a chill ran up my spine.
“Can’t you …” By the time I turned back, she was gone. Jumped out the door and headed to the bathroom.
“You know what I think?”
“I’m scared to ask?”
“I think she’s trouble.” Seyer hadn’t given Cady De Bosa a second look. He hadn’t flirted or tried to get her into his bed, and that sent up a distress signal so bright it could have impaired my vision. “I feel sorry for anyone stupid enough to get tangled up with the likes of her.”
“She’s probably just putting on a brave front. She might be sweet under all of that.”
Her voice certainly was. Soft toned even if it was constant. I took a real good look at her as she returned. I liked blondes and she didn’t know any of us. Of course, she was uncomfortable and resorted to talking to her friends on the phone.
“You’re too naïve, Hart. You’re always trying to find something good in everyone. She’s not putting up a protective facade. That woman is high maintenance. Too much for my taste.”
“You don’t have a taste.”
“That’s why I’m an expert. I can tell with one look. That girl latches on. I’ve had my fill of those. She’s all yours, Buddy.”
“I’ll pass. Dating the boss’s daughter? No thank you. That would be career suicide.”
“Not dating her could be just as bad. Think about that when she turns on her charm. That’s one spoiled little witch.”