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

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Chapter 5

Even after Sebastian’s presence is long gone, I still feel the lasting effects of him. And I don’t like it.

Not only is Sebastian’s behavior something that can be categorized with the behavior of a womanizer and a brash twelve year old boy mixed together, his inability to accept the fact that not every woman will fall to his feet at his superior good looks and female-concentrated charisma makes me want to gag.

So now I’m standing in front of the secretary’s desk, trying to understand what on earth just happened. In truth, I feel excited at the thought of being flirted to, despite my effort to wade off his advances, but that excitement soon dissipates when I remember that Sebastian was only looking for a good lay.

One thing I also remember, is that I have to work personally with this man. Even though he has a strong idea of who I am and of my connections with his father, he is unaware of Garrett and I’s deal. And with this thought, I look through the hallway to Garrett’s office door and clench my jaw. It should be minutes, maybe even hours until he calls me in. And when that happens, I’m sure Sebastian’s reaction will be the opposite of smiles and a warm welcome.

“Leslie?”

Ava’s voice brings my attention to her. She is still frazzled by Sebastian and I’s ordeal and frankly so am I.

“Yes, Ava. I’m sorry...what can I do for you?”

Ava then laughs, “I’m going to be honest with you, I completely forgot what I called you here for.”

I glare at her while she wears a smile on her face, accentuating her strong cheekbones.

“Well that really helps me.”

“Hey, on the bright side. If I would have never called you out here, none of this would have happened,” she staples a few papers together, then places them in a brown file, “I think I deserve a thank you.”

“Yes,” Paul chimes in, “Ava deserves the biggest thank you, ever!”

“If the situation helped me in any manner I would indeed show gratitude. But it didn’t. It actually made things a lot worse prior to the storm that is about to start.”

Paul picks up the same file he fanned himself with seconds ago and performs the same action again, “Actually I think the storm has already touched down,” he says, “it sure is really wet up here—”

The sound of a man clearing his throat makes Paul jump and Ava answer a call as if his comment never left his mouth.

“—Welcome to Harrison Inc.,” He croaks at the sight of him. I turn away and fight the strain tugging at the corner of my lips.

“Well, if you remember what it is, Ava, make sure to call me.”

Ava nods.

I walk into my office and sit at my desk. After letting out a long, exhausted, and most likely sexually confused sigh, I sit up at look at Darcy.

“Oh, Darcy. Ms. Witherspoon from the Los Angeles Times? I need an interview scheduled for her and Mr. Harrison when there is an available slot. She’s been waiting almost a year.”

“I remember her. I’ll talk to Ava about that.”

“Thank you. And also, please see to it that Alejandra successfully removes her possessions if she decides to come by.”

Darcy, for a moment, looks at me with a confused expression. It’s as if she’s expecting more out of me about the situation. Perhaps a cry, or maybe a long monologue about my miserable love life, but frankly Alejandra is irrelevant to what I have on my plate, and ex-boyfriend drama, especially after yesterday, is a mere stab in the back preventing me from getting important work done.

“I...of course. I’ll be here at 4:30pm.”

I thank Darcy again before picking up my coffee cup I abandoned during my conversation with Mr. Reynolds and sip the contents down. The warm liquid manages to soothe my nerves, although I have much to be nerve-racked about. It was a matter of waiting for Garrett to call me into the office, even though I’m not prepared for what ever is to proceed. All I can do is put on my intimidating face, which happens to be effective if I may say so myself. Except for the ‘how cute’s’ and ‘she’s adorable when she tries to be serious’s,’ I received commendable results.

While I wait, I check my Google Alerts to see most of the “buzz” that is going on in the media. Business related, of course.

“Robert Truman, Chinese Ambassador, Apple, Google, Trump Industries—oh, Harrison Inc.”

Harrison Inc. is mentioned a few articles down. In the photo, Garrett is happily shaking hands with the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Archibald Oil and Gas. The caption reads: Partnership agreement met—Archibald and Harrison Incorporated to benefit from mutual profit investment.

“Oil and Gas along with Real Estate and Investments. That should be very financially beneficial,” I mumble to myself.

As I’m reading the article, wondering how Mr. Reynolds agreed to property shares in exchange for electrical interest, there’s a knock on my door.

“Ms. King,” Ava starts, “Mr. Harrison wants you in his office.”

By her feared expression, I can already tell that it isn’t going well. I think very quickly of the things I’m going to say. Just my name? Too formal. Or maybe that I’m excited to work with him? But I’m not excited. Shit.

When I stand up, Darcy stops whatever she’s doing and stares at me as I walk out. Since she has no idea of what is going on, she looks as afraid as I am.

“I’ll be back, Darcy.”

“Okay, Ms. King.”

I can almost hear her mutter “good luck,” but I shrug it off and continue walking.

For the first time, I look out of the vast windows that stand on both sides of the hallway to Garrett’s office. I never do, considering I don’t like heights very much, but watching the employees of Harrison Inc. below, making it to their department, conversing, or buying food or coffee makes me feel more calm; they look like ants in comparison due to how high up we are.

“This is bullshit! Complete bullshit! You’re doing this shit on purpose!”

“Oh yes, Sebastian, I’m faithfully following the agreement you signed off on because I want to ruin your life. How apathetic of me! Maybe I should just let this empire tumble to the ground, so you can sit on your ass all day like the sloth you are right now! Surrounded by my money and my luxuries!”

I swallow hard as their voices grow louder and louder. More along the lines of screams than regular voices having a conversation. Ava nods once, and when I do the same, she takes a few steps forward in her ruby red stilettos and knocks twice on the stainless steel door.

There’s silence, except for the small amounts of mumbling on the other side.

Ava opens the door and lets us in, closing any hope of sanity behind us.

Garrett is, as usual, standing by his desk, looking out of his office window. Sebastian is sitting on the couch with his head tilted back, eyes closed, and what I presume to be Garrett’s lawyer is looking over the paper work laid out on the small polished-wood table standing between the two couches him and Sebastian are sitting on.

“Mr. Harrison?”

The moment I speak, Garrett and Sebastian look up at me. I avoid Sebastian’s eyes, which squint when he begins to frown at me.

“Leslie, just in time,” he then looks at Lucinda, standing in the corner of the room. “I need my dry cleaning picked up—“

“—right away, sir.”

Ava smiles at me slightly, or sympathetically, then turns on her heel to leave. Lucinda follows.

Please don’t leave, I think sadly before they are out of the door.

“So of course you have to drag her into this,” Sebastian says, waving a careless hand in my direction without even looking at me.

I glance at him once, but keep my gaze on Garrett, whose back is turned. I have an unsettling feeling in my stomach at his lack of reply.

Garrett turns around and stalks toward us.

“Leslie, I’m aware you have ‘met’ my son, Sebastian. And vice versa. But I don’t think it was a proper introduction.”

“I agree, sir.”

Shit, was that the right thing to say? Obviously not, since Sebastian is now tearing me apart with his green stare.

Eager to make a formal gesture, I take a few steps to where Sebastian is sitting and stiffly stick my hand out for a professional handshake. I feel like I’m going to fall over in my heels, how stick-straight my posture is.

For a second, he looks at my hand, then into my eyes with a smug expression dotting his features. I notice his position—left ankle propped onto the right knee, exactly how his father sits.

Just as I’m going to take my hand back out of defeat, Sebastian slowly pushes himself off of the couch, and I go from looking down at him to looking up at him. I inhale sharply through my nose at how tall he is, especially compared to my height. Being five feet, five inches tall, which is actually average contrary to what many people tell me, someone over seventy inches tall, Sebastian to be exact, is a little intimidating in the business world to me. Still, I blink twice at the sudden height change before smiling flatly and waiting for his hand to make contact with mine.

“Leslie King. Press Representative for Mr. Harrison.”

“Or just a plain ’ole publicist,” Sebastian says, cocking an eyebrow at me.

“I...sure, that’s the less formal way of saying it.”

After scoffing, Sebastian extends his hand and holds mine in his grasp. I feel like my hand is going to disappear, how big his hand is compared to my small, delicate one. We shake twice, and as I try to pull away, he tightens his grip on my own. Then, he uses his thumb to lightly trace patterns on my skin. I freeze, then glare at him as he gives me a devious smirk.

“Your skin is really soft,” he says.

I know exactly what he is trying to do. Trying to recuperate after his downfall by the secretary’s desk. If he wants to try and play “Playboy-Prince Charming” with me, then we can definitely play. And besides, the only reason my hands are soft is because I moisturize, every morning, afternoon, and night. And if I don’t my hands feel like sand paper. Literally.

“Thank you, Sebastian,” I pull my hand away and hold both of them in front of me as Sebastian’s smile fades at my sudden reply.

“No problem. I would also like to know if the rest of your skin feels that way—“

“Sebastian.” Garrett’s eyes are wide with anger and embarrassment after he snaps at him. A moment of silence precedes, then I clear my throat and begin to speak.

“I am looking forward to working personally with you, Sebastian. I feel we can make a significant change in your behavior and prepare your communication and socializing skills for the business atmosphere you will soon be a part of. But most importantly, I am especially excited to mend and reform your...current, reputation to the media, for that is the only way this can all work properly.”

In a sense, I lied. No, actually, it isn’t in a sense at all. I flat out lied. I’m not excited to work with Sebastian at all. I’m actually very reluctant to do this.

For a second, Sebastian tilts his head to the side at my statement. Then he looks back at his father.

“Wh...what is she talking about?”

Garrett rubs his eyes, as does the man on the couch. However, I close mine at the realization. I have fucked up...again.

“I’m assuming Sebastian wasn’t informed of this yet?”

Garrett shakes his head, “No, he wasn’t.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t know.”

“Don’t apologize,” he smiles, “we were actually leading up to that anyway.”

“Leading up to what?” Sebastian has his hands on his hips, stretching out his shirt due to his palms resting right where the shirt ends. I curse myself mentally when I realize I’m staring at the way the fabric of his shirt rests tightly against his skin. And it doesn’t help that it’s nearly transparent since it’s thin cotton.

Stop it, he’s the enemy! My subconscious yells.

She’s right, even though she happens to be the annoying necessity up there in my brain reminding me of the beautiful duo called logic and reality. I close my eyes and then open them to look down at my shoes, tempted greatly to sneak one more glance.

You are a sad, sexually deprived woman, Leslie King, she sighs.

Garrett nods to the man sitting down, and immediately he stands. Straightening his glasses on his long, slim nose, he smiles widely.

“This, is Mr. Danger. My lawyer.”

“The irony, right?” Mr. Danger is laughing and snorting at the same time. I stare at him and watch his shoulders bounce up and down at his awkward laughter. He then stops and wipes his hands on his dress pants.

“You can call me Alexander, whichever you prefer.”

“Right, Alexander,” Sebastian sighs.

“Now, looks are often quite deceiving, Sebastian. Although short, skinny, awkward and clumsy, Mr. Danger, or Alexander, happens to be one of the best lawyers in Los Angeles. Guess where I hired him from? Go ahead, I want you to guess.”

Sebastian didn’t say anything at his father’s patronizing tone.

“Patrick personally recommended him to me from his firm. How nice of him. At least one of my sons actually cares about my needs when it’s required. Anyway, here’s how it’s going to go. I’m going to explain how this is all going to work out. And if you have any ‘questions’ or if you decide to protest anything I say, Mr. Danger will put you in check. Because these papers right in front of him are our contract, only over ten years old.”

Sebastian is still wordless.

“Good. Now, I know you are aware of why you are really here.”

“Obviously not for a visit, like I was told.”

“Exactly,” Garrett walked over to Mr. Danger and stood next to him. “So, as you know. The time has come. The time in which I wish to retire. And before I made this decision I thought, ‘who, of Harrison blood, who isn’t doing anything productive with his life and embarrassing the family name, should I choose to take the chair’ I mean, everyone else is doing fine. But you? Absolutely not. So, I knew about this contract you were so eager to sign about a decade ago and I just thought ‘this is just a signature. How can Sebastian truly uphold this empire, all while showing everyone else, that he is prepared emotionally for this?’”

Garrett then looks at me, “That is where Leslie comes in.”

At first, I’m taken off guard. I expected Garrett to launch a long speech about responsibilities and morals before he decided to introduce me. But instead, he decides to bring me out right when the show is beginning.

Sebastian frowns at me, trying to figure out what importance I have in the situation. But then, it hits him. And he groans.

“No, way. You can’t be serious?”

“In order to make not only the public, but the Board believe you’re ready maturity wise, you will be spending time with Ms. King to build up your image. This being stated in the simplest way possible.”

Sebastian is completely tongue-tied. I’m unsure if it’s due to the fact that he actually has to fix himself in order for the contract not to be void, or the fact that it’s me he has to spend time with.

I’m pretty sure, however, it’s both.

“So I have to spend a lifetime with Ms. King-Kong? Seriously?”

I gasp, “Excuse me?!”

Sebastian ignores me, “And if I refuse? Because right now that sounds much better than what this is—“

“—contrary to your belief, sir,” Mr. Danger interrupts, picking up a paper off of the table. Sebastian shoots an irritated look in his direction, but Mr. Danger ignores it.

“If you decide to refuse the terms and agreements to this contract, the...‘bank’ has the right to posses your account and all of it’s earnings. Given...the account isn’t under your name.”

“What?”

Garrett smirks, “You should have read the fine print, son. See, if you made your own money and had your own job, your own payroll, this wouldn’t be much of an issue. But...you don’t. So, I have the right to reclaim all of my money in the event that you refuse to uphold the terms and conditions of the contract you signed off on, since it is my account you’re spending, here.”

“But, I do make my own money!” Sebastian yells, “I do my own shit, I don’t depend on only you!”

“Yes, I see. B-but if you subtract your earnings from your father’s money, Sebastian. It would come up to—”

Mr. Danger squints at the paper in front of him and mumbles the words silently. I, along with Sebastian, are waiting with bated breath.

“Ah, you would be left with about six.”

“Million?”

“Thousand.”

Garrett suddenly bursts out laughing, loud enough to make a mockery of Sebastian and his failed case. Sebastian finds the situation anything but comical, as he stares daggers into his father during his laughing spree. I, on the other hand, don’t know what to say or think about anything. At least not yet.

“The proof is right there, Sebastian,” Garrett says after wiping the tears from his eyes. “You’re lucky I’m unwilling to file a lawsuit or sue, because let’s face it, that would be a dent in my bank account, the money you would have to pay me. But over sixty million dollars?” A low whistle escapes his lips, “That’s pretty significant, wouldn’t you say so?”

“You greedy bastard.”

“Oh, try me, Sebastian. I’ve been called worse. And all in all, you’re just like me. And that’s perfect, because I know you. I know exactly what you’re going to do, I knew what you were going to do before you signed this, and I know what path you’re going to take now. Why? Because it’s exactly what I would have done. Money is too important to you, you love your materialistic things. You love buying cars, and expensive hotel rooms, and that Beverly Hills’ mansion of yours, and the $100 drinks you buy your little entourage. Without all of that, what are you? You’ve never worked a day in your life, your group of friends are only feeding off of your wealth, you’ve never had dreams—“

“—I never had dreams? Really?”

Garrett thinks for a moment as if he is trying to remember what Sebastian is getting at, “Realistic dreams,” He then adds.

I heavily contemplate leaving. The air seems to be getting thinner and thinner in the office. Hell, even Mr. Danger seems to be slowly inching towards the door. His eyes dart from Sebastian, Garrett, the door, Garrett, the door, Sebastian, Garrett, then stick on the door again.

“Would you like to contact a lawyer?” Garrett asks Sebastian, “I think they would love to read this contract through, unlike you did, son. Patrick would be an exceptional choice. He was always a big fan of your behavior.”

“I wish you would stop calling me son like that. With past events still prominent, father, your loving tone is nothing but insulting.”

At this point, Mr. Danger and I have a full on conversation going on with our eyes. We don’t even need to exchange one word, it’s like we already know our plan. Now, Mr. Danger and I are ready to make our escape. But Garrett stops us before we can even move.

“Perfect, then it’s settled. Sebastian, Leslie, I suggest you two get well acquainted; you’re going to be spending a lot of time together.”

**

Sebastian Harrison is sitting in my office. Sebastian Harrison, in my office, while I’m outside at the secretary’s desk trying to calm Paul down.

“What the fuck is going on!?” He whispers fiercely yet with excitement in his tone.

“I can’t...tell you. Confidential information. And by knowing you, the whole building would know by three in the afternoon today.”

Paul pouts his lips, “True, true. But the fact that you have probably the hottest man in Los Angeles right now in your fucking office is insane!”

“You know what else is insane?” Ava turned in her chair and raised an eyebrow at him. “Line four, ringing off the hook, since you wanna be Gossip Boy right now.”

“Look, bitch don’t ruin my vibe. Don’t be denying you want a piece, too—I just love how you’re ignoring the fact that Sebastian complimented your blouse before he went into Leslie’s office. Girl, you know he was looking at something else in that general area.”

Paul motioned his hand around Ava’s breasts, and she quickly spun the other direction as Paul laughed.

“Anyway, I’ll call you after the Opera in case you’re still up to come over tonight with Beth. A glass of wine sounds heavenly right now.”

“Sure thing. Later, sexy.”

I groan. I hate when Paul calls me that, given I’m anything but. Still, knowing that I detest it, he still does it anyway.

The moment I walk away, I can here Paul whistling behind me.

“Yes, work it, girl!”

Damn Paul and his audaciousness.

Ignoring his playful jeers, I suppress my laughter with the scrunch of my nose and open my office door. Once inside, I find Sebastian engaged in a conversation with Darcy, who is blushing so much it’s almost as if she painted her face a faint red.

“I’m serious you have the most...beautiful eyes. Like, holy shit I can’t stop staring at you.”

She laughs shyly, “Thank you, thank you.”

“Do you get compliments on them often?”

“No, not really. Well actually I see people staring at me sometimes so I assume that’s just what they’re looking at.”

“I’m pretty sure it’s not just your eyes I mean you’ve got the whole package—eyes, smile, laugh, everything.”

Give me a fucking break.

As Darcy turns away to hide the redness of her cheeks, I slam the door behind me. Still, both of them act as if I’m not even in the room.

“Ahem.”

They both look up. When Darcy is aware of my presence, she looks down at her indigo-colored nails.

“I see you’ve met my assistant,” I say to Sebastian, giving the onlookers out in the waiting area a wave and a bitchy smile before closing both blinds on both windows.

Sebastian smiles, “Yes, I have. We actually have a lot in common. In fact...talking to her these past three minutes has made me wonder how someone as sweet as her, could work for someone like...you.”

Bastard.


I ball my fists but refuse to give him the satisfaction. Instead, I stare down at him sitting in one of my chairs and return his smug grin, “Easy. I pay her. That’s how working...works. Though, I don’t expect you to understand that.”

He doesn’t respond. All he does is roll his eyes.

I sit down on my own seat, “Darcy, would you mind getting Sebastian a cup of coffee? Sebastian, How do you take it?”

“Five creamers, one sugar. Make sure it’s pipin’ hot, too.” He says.

“Ms. King? Usual?” Darcy occasionally glances as Sebastian with twinkling lights in her eyes.

“Yes, Black—”

“Oh, like your soul,” Sebastian chimes in while he pulls his phone out of his pocket.

“Two sugars,” I finish while dismissing his rude remark.

When Darcy leaves, I inhale slowly, count to five, then exhale, “I’m happy you can have a sense of humor about all of this, Sebastian.”

“Seems that’s the only thing that can assure my sanity is still in tact, sweetheart.”

“Don’t call me that,” I snap.

“Why not?”

“Because...I don’t like it.”

“Wow,” He laughs, “you’re so uptight!”

I pull up my planner on my computer, seeing tonight’s Opera, Garrett’s Success Magazine interview, and the restaurant re-opening on the schedule. Sebastian’s first task will be to go to this Opera and be a saint to the press and the guests. And there is no way of getting out, since Garrett wants me to ensure his son is there even if my life depends on it.

“I’m not uptight, I just like to make sure that things stay professional between us. ‘Sweetheart’,” I place air quotes around the word, “is not professional.”

“I bet your personality isn’t the only thing ‘tight’ about you.”

Excuse me!” I yell, feeling heat rush to my face.

“Sorry,” He laughs again, raking a hand through his hair and leaning his arm on the back of the chair, “it’s obvious I’ve hit a nerve. You probably have a boring sex life. Which doesn’t surprise me, actually. Do you have a boring sex life?”

I don’t have a sex life, I thought.

“That’s...that’s none of your business.” My hands are shaking nervously as I try to ignore the subject by clicking at random tiles on my computer. This man, whom I just met today, is trying to pick the pieces of my sex life right in front of me like we’re having an innocent conversation about television or cooking.

Despite my obvious effort to ignore him, he continues, “I’m pretty sure you’ve only done missionary—”

Alright, here’s what tonight is going to look like,” I yell over him.

Laughing, he thankfully drops the subject and leans over to take a look at the computer screen I turn towards him.

“You aren’t going to the restaurant re-opening. So just ignore that,” I drag my index finger across the computerized boxes. “But you are going to the Opera tonight at 7:30pm. So please be ready on time, and don’t leave the car waiting?”

Sebastian nods, “Aye, aye, captain.”

“As for the press, many are going to ask you what you’re doing there. Just say you’re enjoying the Opera with your father. If they ask you anything about your relationships, say you aren’t in a committed one. Nothing else. Got it? Nothing...else. Nothing!”

“I’ve got it, shit.”

Sebastian looks beyond the point of agitation. It’s understandable, yet hard to work with. Before continuing with our Opera-game plan, I give it to him straight.

“Look, Sebastian,” I level my eyes with his. “The Board thinks you aren’t capable of being a CEO. The entire world, thinks you aren’t capable of being a CEO. I’m going to change that. But in order to do this, I need your cooperation. If you want your money, I need your cooperation. All of this,” I gesture to all of him with my hands, “needs to go. Pronto.”

Sebastian, who looks highly offended, shrugs his shoulders, “What’s wrong with me?”

“Who are we fooling here, Sebastian?”

He’s silent.

“Great. So, this is the first out of many things I will have planned for you, we’ll have...charity balls, dinners, galas, appearances, press conferences, just...anything I can get a hold on to, to make sure that your image is redeemed. Which means, no more...you.”

“What do you mean no more...‘me’?”

“No more drinking, partying, sleeping around, doing drugs, all of that. Those days are over.”

“How do you know I do drugs?”

“You just told me.”

He thinks about my answer for a second before replying, “Hm, you’re good. Unfortunately I don’t think that is going to be possible.”

“Why...not?”

“You see, sweetheart, unlike you, I have a life. And all of the things you just described, well...that’s my life.”

“Oh, unfortunately Sebastian, if you don’t go through with this you won’t have any money to do any of those things, anyway.”

“I can become a model. Or an actor, or a—”

“Good luck finding a cheap publicist, agent and manager to handle all of that for you efficiently. And plus, I doubt you can do all of that without a home or your entourage.”

“It wouldn’t be hard, I could do it all by myself.”

“Ha! Please give me a break. Being very attractive isn’t the only thing that will get you far. Hard work, patience, maturity, responsibility, all of that is very important.”

For a moment Sebastian frowns at me before he smiles, flashing his perfect set of teeth.

“You think I’m attractive?”

I pause, “Wh...what? No, no I didn’t...say that.”

“You’re right, you’re right. You think I’m very attractive.”

I slam my hands on my desk, “You know what this is...irrelevant! Pure irrelevance!”

Sebastian holds up his hands at my raise of tone, but even I know that I have slipped. Saying “you’re attractive” on accident to a man with an ego the size of Jupiter and Saturn combined is a never ending reminder of your fuck up forever by him until you finally admit it.

“You know what, I don’t even know how this is going to work with you. You are completely immature!”

“Oh, wow, coming from the woman who isn’t forced to take over a business against her will. It isn’t ‘go corp or go broke’ for you!”

I want to say more, but at the same time want to avoid an argument with him, given that is the last thing I need at the moment. It’s obvious what his main priority is: money. It seems to be mine as well, reminder of the huge pay check Garrett has supplied to me to do this. So, if I keep my opinions to myself and focus on the task at hand, we will both walk away rich. In actuality, Sebastian keeps walking away rich since he already is filthy rich, I just get up from the ground of Middle Class-dom and start walking the path of riches.

“Who’s immature now, dozing off into space during a conversation?” He says.

I shake my head and push my selfish thoughts to the back of my mind, “I’m sorry I was thinking of something...else.”

“What, the dick you aren’t getting?” He mutters.

“You know what,” I’m at a point of full on strangling him to death at the moment, “I’m still trying to understand how you are the result of Garrett. You are nothing like him!”

“And I thank the gracious God above, if there is one, that I am not,” Sebastian praises.


We have twenty minutes to get to the Opera. We did have forty, but thanks to Sebastian refusing to come out of his house, it has been knocked down to twenty.

I sit in the limousine waiting for him, on a quiet and very wealthy Beverly Hills street. His house, a mansion that is hidden behind the iron confines of the gate in front, sits across from our limo, and I’m growing tired of seeing it.

“Do you want to try and get access inside again, Ma’am?” The limo driver asks while looking in the rear view mirror at me.

“No,” I say unenthusiastically, “the only way we can get inside is if I call Mr. Harrison, and he’s still at the restaurant re-opening. We’re just going to have to wait outside for him.”

The limo driver nods. Sitting here, I grow more and more furious at the fact that Sebastian has told his security guards and ‘gate keepers’ to not let us onto his property, which is the reason why we’re sitting in this limo, AC on full blast to shield us from the heat, and not on his beautiful, persnickety concrete courtyard, banging on his door for him to come out. I practice my breathing techniques, knowing I will tear the inside of this limo apart if I don’t.

“I’ll try his cell phone again,” I announce.

I dial his number and wait on the other line, hearing the familiar long-toned rings on the other end. My heart does several back flips, however, when he picks up.

“I’m on my way!” Is the first thing he says. His voice is shaky, which means he’s either running or doing something else I don’t want to think about.

“That’s really funny, because you said that twenty minutes ago!” My phone is away from my ear and in front of my mouth as I scream extremely loud into the microphone.

“Can you not yell at me, sweetheart? Please and thank you.”

Sarcastic imbecile.

I exhale loudly before placing my phone between my cheek and shoulder, “First of all, I asked you nicely not to call me that. And second, you don’t understand how important this is, Sebastian. They know you’re going to be there, they think you are going to arrive when your father does. So if you arrive late!? I-r re-spon-si-ble! On my part!”

My hands, clasped together from clapping each syllable in the word “irresponsible,” now rest on my lap as I wait for whatever logical explanation Sebastian has, knowing he has nothing.

“Why-are-you-clap-ping?!” He then yells over the sound of his hands clapping as well.

“I’m on my way,” He continues, “I’m coming out of the gate right now. So if you would please stop yelling at me because it’s hot, I’m a little high, and it’s too much pressure, you know? Too much!”

“Did you just say you’re high!?”

The sound of the gate outside opening brings our attention to Sebastian’s house, where two security guards are escorting him through his property to the limo.

“There he is, that piece of dog...shit!” I hiss. The limo driver glances at me, but then shrugs off my comment before getting out of the car to open the door for Sebastian.

I hang up the phone and cross my arms over my chest. He’s going to get it. Big time.

He throws himself into the limo and stumbles onto the seat across from me. After landing on his chest, he pushes himself up and straightens his suit jacket and his tie in a vain attempt to make himself look presentable. But in reality, he is anything but. His suit jacket is too big, his shirt buttons are undone at the top, and his tie isn’t even tied. To top it off, his hair isn’t brushed or gelled at least, and he still has dark circles under his eyes.

But the best part is, he reeks of marijuana and his eyes are bloodshot. The only things he has going for him are his good looks and fit physique, which his suit is doing little justice for.

“Hey, Lisa!”

“It’s...Leslie.”

He snorts before laughing, “Whoops, sorry.”

“What were you doing that took you this long?”

Sebastian smooths his hair out while smiling at the floor, “I think ‘who were you doing’ would be more of an appropriate question to ask—”

“Sebastian!”

Through the gate, a group of girls are happily waving and calling out his name from the inside of his property. They’re jumping up and down, moving their arms and shouting things his way. But when they jump, I realize that these girls are naked from the waist up; not even a bra is on their bodies. Their breasts move along with their jumps and their bright fluorescent smiles can be seen from where I’m sitting.

Blushing, Sebastian slowly leans out to get a better look at them. He then waves in return, generating squeals and laughter and blown kisses in his direction.

All I can do is stare in shock.

When the gate closes, the limo driver shuts the door and runs to the other side. I’m staring at Sebastian, frowning while trying my hardest not to kill him.

That, is what took you so long?” I pointed out of the tinted window.

“Well, you don’t expect me to rush with all seven of them, do you?”

Disgust washes over me at the sound of his comfortable tone, speaking about sexual activity with more than one person.

“We have been waiting out here, for twenty minutes! You wouldn’t let us on the property because you were to busy smoking weed and having an orgy?! Ridi—“

I freeze once I take a better look at his face. When my eyes make out what is below his nose, I’m dumbfounded.

“Sebastian. What...is that on your nose?”

He brings one of his fingers to his nostrils and wipes off the white, chalky substance before examining it. With a gentle bite of his lip, he meets my eyes to answer and fails horribly at trying to hide is amusement.

“It’s...this is...this is clearly powdered sugar.”

Uncertainty. Complete, and agonizing, uncertainty. Uncertainty about how on earth Sebastian will hold himself around the press, uncertainty about myself even taking this job in the first place, and uncertainty about how Sebastian could wipe what is clearly cocaine off of his nose and claim it is powdered sugar like I’m a flat-out moron.

I slowly place the index and middle finger of both of my hands on either side of my temples and stare blankly at the seat in front of me, reaching the point of anger where there is absolutely no emotion exuding out of me.

“Ma’am, are you ready to go?” The driver asks. His voice seems far away as try to force myself out of this horrid reality.

“Yes,” I make no eye contact with him when I answer, but instead keep staring at the seat.

The driver switches gears and pulls away from the curb. The mansions look like mere streaks of color besides us, filtered by the dark hue of the tinted windows surrounding the limo.

“You know who you look like with your hands up like that,” Sebastian says, in his marijuana-slash-cocain-induced haze, “Professor X. Trying to read my mind, I see?”

I ignore his horribly executed joke, “First you make it clear to me that you were with numerous women in your house, instead of making it out to the limo,” I start angrily, “then you try to deny the fact that you were consuming cocaine? How stupid do you think I am?”

“Do you really want me to answer that, sweetheart?” He gibes while buttoning his dress shirt.

I sigh loudly, “It’s clear to me that Felicity is of no importance to you.”

Shortly after, I slightly regret mentioning her name. Bringing Felicity into this proves no real relevance—everyone is openly aware of her and Sebastian’s relationship solely based on sex and money, Wendy Williams included. But Sebastian’s unbothered physical response says otherwise about my initial assumption on his sensitivity regarding the topic.

As soon as he hears her name, his muscles noticeably relax, “Felicity Felix? I mean...we aren’t...dating.”

“She obviously doesn’t know that,” I cross my legs and tap my heel impatiently against my calf. “Whatever, it’s none of my business what you do with her. What is my business is what the press sees and doesn’t see. That behavior back at your house is the exact reason why we are in this situation. You obviously aren’t thinking of the big picture here. Paparazzi are most likely lingering around your home. You have neighbors, believe it or not. What if they are witness to that?”

“You sure are acting quite immature about this. Just saying,” Sebastian is looking down at his tie while he tries to tie it himself. I can feel my eye twitch at his lack of proper tie execution. Eventually, I lean over, ignoring the stench of marijuana on his person, and quickly tie it myself. Sebastian gasps and makes an over exaggerative choking noise.

“Fuck,” he wheezes, “you trying to...kill me?”

“Do you really want me to answer that? Sweet—” I pull the tie tighter one last time around his neck, “—heart!?”

His eyebrows crease at me as I sit back down, “Oh, I just love it when you call me that it just turns me on so much; so fucking hot. Say it again, Lisa, I’m begging you!” Sebastian yells condescendingly.

“My name is Leslie! L-E-S—”

“B-I-A-N,” he finishes.

For once, I have absolutely nothing to say.

It is hard for me to imagine that one, this is the son of Garrett Harrison and Fiona Vaun, and two, he is a twenty-eight-year-old man. A part of me actually hopes that it is, unfortunately, the marijuana and the cocaine (probably the alcohol as well) speaking for him. But then, a huge, ginormous, overly sized, holy-shit-that’s-gigantic part of me believes this is how he really is.

And with that, I start to lose hope.

“Ha, ‘lesbian.’”

I look up to find an overly high Sebastian chuckling to himself. He rubs his bloodshot eyes as his laughter continues to grow stronger.

“Holy shit, that’s actually really funny! Because your name is ‘Leslie,’ but if you take out the ending and put in ‘bian’ it comes out as...as—“

And then Sebastian is laughing so hard he is wheezing. Wheezing, gasping, clutching onto his stomach for relief before rolling over on the limo seat and holding onto his torso, face red as a tomato.

“I’m so high right now! Lesbian!” He screeches.

I don’t respond. I don’t even give him the facial expressions of hatred and annoyance I have been giving him. Instead, I look out of the window and watch the boutiques and small shops pass us by. And with that, I wish I am a tourist, shopping for overly expensive things I won’t even use, taking photos of Los Angeles’ beauty that I will overly edit with unnecessary filters before I post them on social media. At least then I wouldn’t be stuck in this predicament, where a man high off of cocain and weed is laughing hysterically at the fact that my name can be rearranged slightly to spell “lesbian.”

And I am in charge of baby-sitting him.


“Remember what I told you to say. Exactly what I told you to say.”

Inside of the Opera building, we are being escorted through the lobby to get to our seats. The press lingering inside and talking to a few guests immediately light up and become frantic when they see Sebastian’s familiar face.

“Garrett and Lucinda should be by their seats.” I check my phone, and sure enough a text from Lucinda states that Garrett and herself are already in their designated box seat.

“Sebastian! Hey, Sebastian! Sebastian how are you?” The reporters chant softly over each other to get his attention, and with an approving yet apprehensive nod, I allow him to approach their microphones and cameras. I stand next to him and watch the reporters closely while security stands right behind me.

“Are you excited for the Opera tonight? Who are you most excited to see perform?”

Elina Garanca, Elina Garanca, Elina Garanca

Sebastian looks down at the female reporter while placing his hand on the back of his neck, “Yeah, yeah I’m real excited, you know there’s a lot of amazing performers here tonight that I’m looking forward to seeing. Elina Garanca is definitely on the top of my list, though she’s incredible.”

I let out a relieved sigh. Perfect, he actually paid attention.

“And you aren’t here with anyone tonight? Anyone special in particular?”

He shakes his head, “No, no just my father. We...we haven’t seen each other in a while so it’s good to spend time with him.”

I know for a fact Sebastian feels like banging his head against a wall at the words he’s saying about Garrett.

“What about Felicity? You didn’t bring her along to the Opera?”

At this point, my muscles are able to finally relax a bit. Sebastian is doing very well, and to my surprise, is rather convincing to the press. It should be complete and total smooth sailing from now on.

Until he decides to open his big mouth and speak with his opinion as opposed to public favor in mind.

When Sebastian hears the reporter’s question, he grimaces and shakes his head, “No, no, nothing like that, no,” He laughs. “She’s just a good grind.”

My mouth drops open. I close it before anyone can actually see it, however. Sebastian’s nonchalant attitude towards his response, painfully differs in the eyes of the press, as their adverse towards his words about Felicity is unmasked.

I quickly grab Sebastian’s arm as tightly as I can and usher him away from the now shouting reporters. He tries to bid them farewell but doesn’t have the chance to by how hard I’m pulling him away. Security guides us hastily through a red carpeted hall past the lobby, lit with beautiful dim lighting on each wall and decorated with classic Italian design on the sides. Quieted chatter lies behind a few wooden doors, each separated by a wall of their own. When we reach our section door, I can hear the faint sound of Garrett’s signature laughter on the other side.

“Your seats are right through this door,” One security guard says.

All three turn to leave, and I notice yet another guard standing right before the door that leads to the box seats. But I am too enraged to pay him much mind. Instead, I yank Sebastian back by his collar as he attempts to stroll through the entrance.

“Ow! What the fuc—”

“A good...grind? Seriously? That is not what I told you to say!”

“Hey,” He stuffs his hands in his pockets after readjusting his collar, “I was just telling the truth. And plus, I was giving them a story. Isn’t that what they want?”

“No, your job isn’t to tell them the truth because you suddenly decide your morals deserve a place in your life. Your job, is to give them something that the public won’t blow up the wrong way! And that’s exactly what you didn’t do! Now, not only will they be on my ass, Felicity is going to hate you after this! Do you not think of the consequences of your actions? Or how they can negatively impact me?”

“Of course this is all about you,” he scoffs. “In that case, you can handle the chaos yourself. You’re a big girl, you can take care of it. It’s your job, right?”

I growl out of exasperation and curl my fingers, “God, I just want to...to choke you!”

“Choke this!” He says while holding his crotch in his grasp. With one rough grab in my direction, he then removes his hand and storms through the doors.

The reasonable reaction would be to exercise my deep breathing. But deep breathing is pointless. Deep breathing isn’t going to help the hatred I have for Sebastian. Instead, I throw a small tantrum, stomping in circles and squealing in a manner that is anything but out of excitement, before straightening out my suit jacket, ignoring the judgmental stare from the security guard, and gently opening the doors.


“I hope bringing Sebastian here did not prove to be too difficult?”

Garrett and I are standing some ways away from our seats in the box and conversing about his son. His black tie and perfectly-tailored suit compare laughable to Sebastian’s sloppy presented attire. Still, I press on and decide to sugar coat it; I don’t feel like witnessing an argument for everyone else below to see.

“Not at all, Mr. Harrison. There were a few communicable issues which resulted in us being a little late but other than that everything was surprisingly fine.”

Garrett smiles, “Seems I picked the perfect woman for the job.”

We both look at Sebastian as he slouches in the red suede chair he is assigned to. His hands lay on the armrests and play with the small fabric beneath his fingertips.

“Perfect is an understatement. I’ve never seen Sebastian this calm.”

Should I mention the drugs and marijuana?

I nod once, “Yes, I believe we are making progress, sir.”

“I’m glad”

The theater lights dim around the entire complex, and when the brightness subsides, modest applause amplifies in the faint darkness.

We all decided to change the seating arrangements moments before. I sit next to Sebastian, and Garrett sits next to me. Behind us, is Lucinda and my assistant, Darcy.

Even in the dark I can see Sebastian’s face, which is pressed hard into a frown. I nudge him slightly, and when I do he slowly turns to face me. His strong jawline is hardened at the sight of me.

“Lighten up. You don’t want anyone to think you aren’t happy,” I tell him.

“But I’m not happy.”

“They don’t know that, and we’re going to keep it that way. Now, sit up straight.”

With a blatant and purposefully disrupting groan, he sits up and ignores the loud shh sound coming from his father next to me. Sebastian shows no sign of regret at his rudeness, and it makes my blood boil in my veins.

A spotlight appears on the stage, and a woman, who looks to be of Mediterranean descent, stands at the edge of the stage with an elegant cream colored gown that sparkles in the light while falling loosely around her tall frame. The microphone in her right hand, she waves with her left at the audience and waits for the conductor to give the cue. He stands up with the posture to be envied by a pole, and taps his baton on the podium. With the soft movement of his hand, a melancholy melody plays from a violin, and is then joined by two alike with different tones radiating from their strings. When the cello becomes an addition, the woman on stage begins to sing. It’s as if her vibrato envelopes the entire theater.

Passionately, she sings an Italian opera to the sound of the orchestra, which has added various instruments to the sound. The song somehow sounds familiar. From my childhood, almost. Further into the song, it hits me hard, that this traditional Opera composition is one that my mother used to play, coincidentally. Although beautiful, it gives me unpleasant nostalgia. I shift uncomfortably in my seat and try to separate the memories from the music.

The crowd is silent, staring at her, and it is then I realize that the only person who looks disinterested, is Sebastian.

Again, his head is propped onto his hand, with the support of his elbow on the arm rest. He doesn’t know I’m now watching him. But I am. And I’m not happy.

Eventually, I tap him on his shoulder forcefully.

“Sit up, and stop looking so bored!” I whisper.

“But this is boring,” he starts in a hushed tone, obviously annoyed. “How anyone could sit through...through incomprehensible sound is beyond me. It’s like-like a haven for pretentious bigots who wish to show off their wealth and sophistication.”

I can’t find anything to say. Not only because I’m offended, but because of his new use of such wide vocabulary. About an hour ago, Sebastian was laughing at the fact that my name can be misused and rearranged to spell “Lesbian,” but now his explanation as to why the Opera is stupid to him, makes me wonder if he was replaced with an actual tolerable Sebastian before the Opera started.

All I do is stare at him. He catches me watching him, and knows why I’m wearing a shocked expression.

“I-it’s just...stupid,” He then says.

“Change of words from your sudden crafty ones a while ago.”

“Yeah, well. I’m usually a smart cookie when I’m high as fuck.”

I tuck in my lips to hide the smile tugging at the corners of my mouth, though Sebastian already catches it and my attempt to hide it; I don’t want him seeing me respond to his negative comments, but that one in particular, I found funny, to be completely honest. Even though he’s a dumbass who doesn’t take anything seriously, he has a sense of humor going for him.

He leans in closer to my ear, “When is this over?”

“Three hours,” I mutter, keeping my eyes on the stage.

He groans lowly. I face him to silently scold him to be quiet, not realizing how close he had leaned in to speak to me initially. Right when my face meets his direction, I am welcomed to his mouth brushing against my nose. The warmth and dampness of his lips and his lips on the tip of my nose in general stuns me to the point of me jumping back in alarm. I quickly wipe the area in which his mouth touched, while he laughs discreetly, his shoulders bobbing up and down.

“Sebastian!” Garrett is looking at him, his eyes narrowed into two slits. It’s almost as if the music hadn’t been playing the last thirty seconds.

Oddly, my nose has this weird, tingling sensation that won’t seem to go away. And I hate it.

Sebastian clears his throat and keeps a slight smirk on his face while he pretends to enjoy the Opera. I, however, am thankful it’s dark enough for him, or anyone else, not to see the redness on my cheeks. It still feels like his lips are still present on my skin; I wrinkle my nose several times.

“Why are you doing that?” He asks.

“Because...just because. Why are you concerned?”

“You know that incident would have been much more enjoyable for both of us if you would have moved up just an inch,” He makes mocking kissie faces at me.

Right when I’m about to tell him to shut up, clapping commences again. I follow blindly and clap my hands along with everyone else. Sebastian does the same while yawning and fixing his slanted shirt after.

The Opera singer, which we now find out is named “Liliana Diacello,” starts to talk about her childhood inspiration and the foundation for her vocal career. She happens to have a British accent, but shortly after she begins to speak she tells everyone about her Italian heritage that comes from her father’s side, and her Welsh blood that comes from her mother’s.

During her speech, as everyone is listening intently on her message and life story, I feel a...disturbance.

It’s like I’ve developed “Sebastian-senses” ever since I’ve met him, because every time I feel something isn’t right in the universe, he’s doing something stupid.

I turn, and find Sebastian actually dozing off during the woman’s speech. Falling asleep, as Liliana speaks about growing up with only a loaf a bread a day to share amongst her entire family of five.

His eyes flutter once, twice, then he is fast asleep. I sneak a peek at Garrett, and him, along with Michael, are listening to Liliana speak. They are so invested in her story that they don’t notice Sebastian, who is now leaning his head back on the seat and snoring lightly with his mouth wide open.

I should stuff a dirty sock in his mouth!

Lucinda sees him and looks at me while wondering what to do. I don’t respond with my eyes to her. I just glance at her once, then shake Sebastian. He jolts up and now catches the attention of Garrett. Luckily not Michael Sunders, who looks to be tearing up at Liliana’s speech.

“Were you...sleeping?” Garrett whispers, offended.

“Um...no I just...I-”

Sit up, and focus!” Garrett hisses so harshly yet silently it scares me, even. “You are embarrassing me!”

When Garrett turns back around and sighs, he mumbles the words, “As always,” to himself, yet both Sebastian and I hear him, in which Sebastian rolls his eyes and looks at the stage. I tap my foot to get my mind out of the awkward air.

Liliana Diacello invites none other than Andrea Bocelli onto the stage, and immediately the entire Opera house begins to cheer loudly and proudly. An assistant helps him walk across the stage given his blindness, but once next to Liliana, she holds his hand and pecks him on the cheek in a friendly manner.

Andrea waves to the audience and smiles at his shoes. He grips the microphone tighter in his hand, and both him and Liliana wait for their cue from the conductor. I can hardly contain my excitement.

But it’s obvious Sebastian can.

The legendary Andrea Bocelli technically stands right before us, and Sebastian doesn’t even appear half as excited as I am.

My hands over my mouth, I squeal silently as the orchestra begins to play the world renowned hit, “Time To Say Goodbye,” which was originally sung with Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman, but Liliana proves to be an exceptional fill-in.

The minute Liliana sings, I feel yet another disturbance.

Sebastian is reaching into his pocket and pulling out a pack of mint gum. He opens the pack and stops when he sees me glaring at him.

He offers me a piece, “Want one?”

“No,” I snap. I can’t get him in trouble for chewing gum, but it’s just the fact that he is willing to chew gum during an amazing performance that he probably will never see again that makes me mad.

“Hm, alright, then.” He places the light green piece he originally offered me into his mouth after unwrapping it, and chews over dramatically. I can’t even enjoy the performance, his chewing is so annoying. And it doesn’t help that he occasionally blows bubbles in his mouth that make small popping sounds once they burst.

“Knock it off,” I tell him. I smack his chest, but for some unknown reason, it causes him to start choking on his gum. And it is then, I wonder if I should let him choke or perform the Heimlich maneuver on him.

It made me question my humanity, how long it took me to make a decision.

He has no choice but to lodge the piece of gum out of his throat with one rough cough. His eyes are even more red than before, and they are also ridden with tears. Too occupied with his eyes and his flushed face, it takes me one second later than needed to realize the horrid question I need to ask myself.

Where did the gum go?

“Where’s the gum?” I whisper to him. He looks on the wooden railing, no sign of it. Looks on his shoes, under his shoes, by his seat. Still, no sign of it!

I quickly glance at Garrett and am somehow thankful and confused that he hasn’t noticed our little show of our own going on.

Please don’t tell me it fell over the railing!”

“I...don’t...know!” He says in between quieted coughs.

We stare at each other for a while. Even in the dark, I can see the dread on his face, and I know he can see mine. In unison, as if we counted down from three together, we both slowly inch ourselves out of our seats and look over the railing, and what we find makes the blood escape my face.

The gum has landed in a female guest’s hair.

Time to say goodbye, Paesi che non ho mai...

Liliana is right. It is time to say goodbye—time to say goodbye to my career!

Sebastian and I are completely speechless. It’s as if, for once, Sebastian has nothing to say or remark about in the situation, because even he knows how catastrophic this is going to be.

The red headed woman, who is sitting next to an older, bald man, watches the performance happily as if there isn’t a piece of Sebastian’s chewed, wet piece of gum on top of her fucking head. Luckily, it looks as if no one in our general area have seen it happen, but I’m certain the few “undercover” paparazzi hidden on the other side of the theater have seen it. So to put it in easier terms to understand, I’m screwed. Sebastian’s screwed. We’re all screwed.

Then, the unthinkable happens. The woman grabs a hair clip from her black clutch bag, and begins to tie up her hair to prepare for the clip that is to hold it together, which happens to be a specially made hair clip since the diamonds incrusted in it glisten in the little light around. The gum stretches and molds itself into the shape of her fine, long, auburn locks and eventually it looks as if a hairstylist ran inside and added one green highlight to her hair in a matter of six seconds!

She places the clip in her hair and then resumes listening to the end of the song. I’m so shocked, all I can do is sit back in my seat and wait. Sebastian is as still as a statue. He is still staring at the woman below like what happened hasn’t registered yet in his brain.

“Oh shit,” He mumbles.

“...what?” I ask regretfully.

I look over once more only to see a look of distress on her face. She confides fearfully to her partner in another language, and he tries to calm her down as she pats her head frantically.

Andrea Bocelli is now finishing the song with Liliana. The orchestra has heightened their sound, and despite the sound of symbols and percussion playing to accompany Andrea’s booming voice, the woman’s screams still manage to beat Andrea in regards to loudness.

Mi pelo! Mi pelo!” She screeches in Spanish.

Now the entire Opera house is focused on the red head screaming and completely ignoring the now two men trying to help her. People gasp as the gum spreads more and more throughout her hair the more she panics, and eventually everyone knows that her hair cannot be saved.

While she screams, I slowly sink into my seat and pray for the night to be over. I purposefully don’t think of the mess I have to sort out, hoping that no one saw Sebastian’s gum fly into her hair. But I’m sure someone did, so now on top of Sebastian’s ignorant comment about Felicity Felix, I have to explain how Sebastian could have gotten gum into a woman’s hair without mentioning me helping in the situation by smacking his chest in the first place.

Garrett is staring at the woman with confusion written all over his face. Him, along with Michael Sunders, wonder how the gum could have gotten into her hair. But since Garrett is a smart man, he knows immediately without any type of investigation.

He slowly turns to face Sebastian, and when Sebastian meets his eyes, he pulls out a pack of gum in an attempt to make peace before the storm.

“Want one?” Sebastian asks, holding out a piece towards his father.


“Ridiculous! Absolutely ridiculous, is what this is!”

Garrett stands behind his desk and stares at Sebastian, burning his gaze into him. Even I have to look away by how uncomfortable it makes the air.

Sebastian and I are called into Garrett’s office back at Harrison Inc., after leaving the opera shortly after the gum incident blew up. Darcy asked why we weren’t back at the estimated time, and I told her there was a “personal issue”, all while ignoring the obvious new emptiness of Alejandra’s work area. Darcy told me that Alejandra had dropped by and removed her stuff without saying a word, the minute she sees my tense expression. I sigh, for it’s all I could think of doing without collapsing from stress.

Sebastian shifts back and forth on his heels, “Look, Dad I-”

“No. I don’t want to hear it,” he holds his hand up, “I don’t want to hear anything you have to say. Instead, I want to hear from Leslie.”

I look up and blink a few times, “Sorry, sir?”

“What really happened when you picked Sebastian up from his house? I would appreciate it if you were completely honest with me, because this,” he turns his computer screen to show us a photo of him starring shocked at the woman below attached to an article online, “is something I will never be able to live down. Ever.”

I gulp. Sebastian is staring at me and I know he has little sense to understand that I’m going to tell the truth. But it’s also as if he’s threatening me with his eyes. Yet I know it won’t work. I feel as if I have nothing to lose now in regards to anything involving him, so laying everything on the table sounds best.

“Well, to start off, Sebastian told his guards to not allow us on his property at his mansion. Which meant, we had to wait outside for forty minutes for him. When he came out, he was disheveled, high on marijuana, and a bit disoriented. Turns out, his tardiness is because of his...activities, with the girls hanging out in his house. Naked...girls, outside of his house, actually. And lastly, I found a hint of cocaine on his nose in which he replied that it was ‘powdered sugar.’ Also, there’s the...unprecedented comment made about Felicity Felix to the press. And then there was the loud gum chewing and the snoring, which you’re aware of, of course.”

Garrett is speechless.

“Okay, okay, hold on a second. She’s obviously over exaggerating.”

I gasp, “Over exaggerating?”

“Yes, that’s what I said. You are blowing this out of proportion. More than what actually happened.”

I’m furious. So furious, I have the need to step closer towards him to give him a piece of my mind.

“I am not exaggerating anything,” I say, walking up to Garrett’s desk so now I am next to Sebastian, “I’m sorry, sir, but his behavior is all true. And no offense, but it shouldn’t be that hard to believe.”

“It should be hard to believe that you are incapable of being considerate and nice but look, here we are!”

“I just don’t understand why you have to be so mean! I’m trying to help you out, and all you’re doing is making it harder for both of us! Thanks to you, a woman has to shave off all of her hair, and I have to deal with the press heat and probably the yelling her manager or publicist is going to give me!”

“Well if you can’t handle it, you can always quit. Would be much better without you. And plus if you didn’t smack my chest-”

“Enough!”

We both turn to look at Garrett. He has his suit jacket on his desk chair and is staring at both of us with a stern expression.

It’s quiet for a moment before he speaks again, “I have spoken to your mother, Sebastian.”

Evident fear washes over his face.

“Wh-why you-you haven’t spoken to her in years?”

“That isn’t important. What’s important, is that we’ve both come to a conclusion.”

He turns around and gazes out the window, “Los Angeles is too much of a distraction. Too many cameras, and lights, and drugs and fame and...just, too much. The press always on your back, where ever you go, whatever move you make.”

“Dad...”

“Which is why, for the sake of our youngest child, we have...hit an agreement. An agreement based on the fact that we love and care about you and your well being”

Sebastian is mortified, an expression I can’t seem to match until Garrett speaks again.

“Pack your bags, you two,” he grins, “you’re going to Tennessee.”

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