The Publicist's Plight (Book I in The Harrison Inc. Series)

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Chapter 50

SEBASTIAN

This is going to come out as a complete shocker, but I’m horrible at talking to girls.

Yes, I said it. I’m fucking terrible at talking to girls.

Before you get all confused and all, “Sebastian, are you really that hungover?” on me, let me break it down for you a bit.

When I say I’m terrible at talking to girls, I mean that I’m terrible at talking to girls that I care about. Throughout my life, I haven’t had many girls that I truly cared for. There was Sonya, but she was one of my best friends. There was Gloria, but she was a mother figure to me. I cared about Ingrid, but not the way that she cared about me; I didn’t love her like she loved me. Regardless, I always thought that I was going to say the wrong thing to them, making them leave or see me as some fucked up guy who has way too many problems and voices in his mind. Now, talking to girls that apply to any other category? That’s easy. Why? We’re both looking for one thing—sex. And if it’s more, then it’s commonly her wanting more out of our “relationship,” not me. Therefore, sweet talking a hot girl at a bar into bed with me is fucking easy.

But these past three weeks have made me realize that I care about Leslie more than I like to admit. And as weeks have progressed, it’s become hard to talk to her like I used to. I’m always so worried about saying the wrong thing or looking like a complete idiot. She knows a lot about me; that’s collateral damage on my end.

Shit, I’m going soft, aren’t I?

Reading Gloria’s letter and seeing her family made me realize what she wanted the most for me: to be happy. How would she feel knowing that I haven’t been happy since she died? How would she feel knowing that I’ve been trying to make myself happy by buying things that don’t mean shit? Snorting crack or downing whiskey to try and ease the goddamn pain?

No, she wanted something more substantial; something that matters. And the first thing she’d want to see me have is a nice girl that can make me happy. And I want that too, I guess.

But every girl I get close to in my life ends up leaving me.

Gloria, Sonya, even Ingrid. All gone because of me. I know I shouldn’t blame myself, but I can’t help it—I could have given Gloria a ride home; I could have let Sonya help me when I needed it; I didn’t have to lie and humiliate Ingrid the way I did. So when Sarah asked me why I won’t allow myself to tell Leslie how I feel, the answer is simple:

Every girl I become too attached to in my life leaves. So I refuse to become too attached to Leslie, because I don’t want her to leave.


On top of that heartfelt testament I just gave you filled with rainbows and candy-hearts, I’m overthinking by brain to shit.

Patrick, like the asshole he is, talked down to Leslie like she was beneath him when we first got up here. It’s crazy how much he reminds me of our father.

Hearing the words he was saying to her come out of his pompous mouth made me remember exactly why I hate the thought of being around my family. Long story short, I defended her (quite angrily if I may add). And despite Patrick apologizing, she was rattled enough that she said she needed to get some air.

And then she left.

Loretta is as confused as I am. And if I’m going to be Sherlock-fucking-Holmes here, Leslie has been acting weird this whole morning. I figured it’s because of spending the night in someone’s house that she doesn’t know. Or maybe it’s something that she insists on hiding from me?

You probably did some stupid shit when you were piss drunk last night, I think to myself. And after that thought, I sigh and rub my eyes; I really don’t remember anything from last night after dancing with Cecil.

I’m racking my brain but I feel like a complete dick for doing so; my sister’s in a room a few yards away from me with a newborn baby in her arms and I’m out here trying to figure out what I could have said to Leslie while I was drunk that has her acting so weird.

“S-Sebastian?”

Standing in front of me is a tall, slim blonde, smiling shyly at me. She looks familiar to me; Jesus Christ we haven’t had sex before, did we?

“Hello, Sebastian. I’m Mr. Harrison’s assistant, Lucinda Chapman.”

Oh. I guess we haven’t.

We exchange a handshake. “Oh, h-hey, Lucinda.”

I’m trying to hide my annoyed reaction. I’m not annoyed with Lucinda in front of me, but I’m annoyed at the fact that with her being her, my father must be here. But where is he?

“Your father told me to inform your mother that he has arrived. Do you know where I could find her?”

And by the amazing power of coincidence, my mom comes out of Elizabeth’s hospital room into the hallway. She looks around a bit, sees Loretta, then sees Lucinda and I. Her eyes level at me, like she’s waiting for me to confess my transgression.

“It’s not like that,” I tell her. “This is dad’s assistant.”

Her glare lifts. “Oh! Lucinda, correct?”

“Yes, ma’am. It’s nice to meet you.”

They’re carried off into a conversation. I see Mom trying to hide her anger that Dad is here, but it isn’t working too well.

When their conversation is finished, Mom invites Loretta and I inside to see the baby. I don’t feel like being a dick today, so I agree and walk inside the room, where a tired and somewhat happy Elizabeth is sitting on the hospital bed, holding a baby in her arms. Aunt Margot is inside, too, but she gets up to leave when we walk in. I have half a mind to walk out with her.

Elizabeth asks if I want to hold the baby after a moment of awkward silence, and of course I say yes; the prying eyes of my mother and Loretta kind of force me into it.

“Her name’s Amelia,” Elizabeth tells me. “Amelia Marie Harrison.”

She says the name with pride, like Amelia is some prodigy. But she’s still just an infant; she doesn’t even know what the hell is going on. But I won’t be too hard on the small fry; she’s a cute little thing—chucky cheeks the color of the pink blanket she’s in, and pouty lips that give her a sense of attitude.

When Amelia’s in my arms, she starts to stir a bit until she falls back to sleep. But then she wakes up and starts staring at me. And not just the regular type of staring, but the “I see right through you and I know all of your secrets” type of staring.

And then she starts crying.

I try to hand Amelia back to Elizabeth, but she insists that I keep holding her.

“She just needs to get used to you,” she tells me. I smile awkwardly, knowing this baby probably seeing into my chi or whatever it’s called and senses an evil omen. She probably senses I’m hungover, too.

I give the baby back to her and excuse myself out the room.

Before I can make it into the waiting area, my phone vibrates in my pocket—an incoming call from Sarah.

I’m not ready to face her wrath.

I answer anyway. “Hey, Sarah. How’s the best manager in the whole world doing?”

“Don’t patronize me,” she says sharply. “Would you care to explain why you’ve gone M.I.A. for the past day?”

“I…went to visit my sister in the hospital.”

“That’s bullshit. And you know it.”

I sigh. “Alright. Something came up and I had to…go see someone. I ended up staying the night and now I’m at the hospital visiting the baby.”

Sarah starts laughing; shit is soon about to hit the fan. “I just find it funny how every time you disappear off somewhere, Leslie is right behind you. Tell me why that’s so?”

I think a while before replying: “Coincidence?”

Lucas is shouting in the background with the sound of screaming kids. I already know Sarah is having less that fun right now.

“Look, I’m not one to usually nit-pick at everything you do, but the fact that you and Leslie have been secretive these past three weeks is really starting to bother me. I let it go at first, but now it’s like you guys have your own secret coven or something.”

“Trust me, Sarah, I wish I could tell you everything, but now really isn’t a good time.”

“You aren’t fucking her, are you?”

“What? No!”

“You want to?”

I picture the sinister smirk on her face, paired with the arch of her brow that she does when she trying to pry something out of me. She laughs when silence is on my end.

“Don’t worry, I won’t make you answer that. Leslie already dreamt it anyw—”

Sarah sucks in a sharp breath, like she said something she wasn’t supposed to say.

“Wait, what did you just say?”

“What do you mean?”

Now she’s playing dumb. “Sarah, don’t do this. Leslie dreamt what?”

“She didn’t dream anything. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Sarah.”

“It’s not in my jurisdiction to say!” she says with a raised voice. “I already said too much already.”

“You’re the main one talking about secretive shit not being O.K. And I’m starting to lose my patience.”

“It was so long ago. It doesn’t even matter anymore.”

“How long is long ago?”

“Possibly…maybe around the time we went to Seattle.”

I roll my eyes. “That isn’t a long time ago, Sarah.”

“It actually is if you—”

“What was the dream about?”

“Um…well…there was a certain dream, of course, that was…dreamt, about a certain heir to a billion-dollar company. And this dream was dreamt by a certain unnamed publicist. And this dream was not…appropriate.

It takes me a while until I put the pieces together.

“Leslie had a wet dream about me?” I clarify to her.

“I did not say that!”

Like the grimy bastard I am, I start smiling so hard my cheeks hurt. That explains why she was acting so odd that one morning in my mom’s kitchen when she was choking on a banana, and after that when she claimed she was on her period; every time she saw me, she thought of how I looked or acted in the dream she had. Or maybe she thought of what I was doing to her in that dream.

“Don’t blow your ego up, shithead. It was just a dream.”

“A sex dream,” I add. “About me. Specifically.

“Jesus Christ. Now I have you on cloud nine over a dream that I’m sure thousands of women have had about you before.”

“Yeah, but this is…different,” I bite my lip, suppressing a wider grin. “What exactly could I have done to her in that dream that would have made her so uncomfortable the next day?”

“I doubt that dream was a threesome, so there’s no use in asking me for the details like I was there, too.”

“Well you’re the one who told me.”

Sarah groans. “This isn’t fair. You know how I am with keeping my mouth shut, but then you make it worse by forcing the truth out of me like that. God, I feel horrible.”

“Which is why I’m surprised she told you.”

“Look, you were at your tux fitting and she was all tensed up, and she told me about it and how she diddled her fiddled and felt disgusting about it—”

“Wait, wait, wait,” I interrupt. “She diddled her what?”

“Fuck!” Sarah shouts. “I’m hanging up. Forget I said anything. Christ!”

And then she actually hangs up.

Sarah was right about one thing—my ego is blown to the roof. I’ll admit, I’ve had women approach me before, telling me that they’ve had “dreams” about me. But it’s different, knowing this dream came from Leslie. There’s a pent up contentment within me about this, I’ll tell you. But I’m still confused:

What the fuck does ‘diddle her fiddle’ mean?

Is that some sort of school-girl lingo? Because I’m surprised I haven’t heard of that before.

I decide to google it, and once I stumble across the first result, my jaw drops.

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