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

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Chapter 8

“ of me!” I yell while pushing my hands into Sebastian’s chest.

Holding onto his towel tightly, he stumbles out of the shower and slips once before regaining his balance fully. I quickly turn off the shower with my foot and wipe the water off of my face. I’m shivering, maybe out of anger, definitely from being cold, possible from a mixture of both.

I push myself up from the tub and stare at Sebastian while anger exudes out of my eyes like laser beams. I feel my bun slip out of it’s tie thanks to it being completely drenched, but I don’t care.

You,” I growl, wrapping the shower curtain tighter around my wet body. “What the hell is wrong with you?!”

Sebastian looks at me like I’m crazy, “Are you serious? What the hell is wrong with you? Y-you’re the one who kicked me in the balls,” he then gestures to his groin, “I need these!”

“It was an accident,” I snap.

“It wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t kicking your legs all over the place like an Octopus having a fucking seizure.”

My hands grip the shower curtain around me tighter in an attempt to suppress my anger, “What was I supposed to do?! You walked in on me undressing and-”

“You weren’t taking your clothes off, sweetheart, you were already naked. I mean on the bright side at least you have some nice tit-”

“Why are you in here!?” I yell over him, hiding my flushed-face under the curtain.

“I should be asking you the same damn question,” he runs a hand through his hair, causing droplets of water to fall around him. “This is my bathroom.”

“No it isn’t, this is obviously mine, it’s connected to my room!”

“What are-” Sebastian’s serious expression soon diminishes and becomes one of annoyance, like he remembers something.

“We were given the shared bathroom,” he then says

“What?” I step out of the tub. “Why? That doesn’t make any sense.”

“It does make sense if you would actually shut up and let me explain.”

My eyes narrow at his rude tone, but I listen.

“There are two rooms in this house that share a bathroom. I guess it’s some kind thing? I don’t know. Usually when we would have guests we would tell them to avoid those rooms but I guess someone forgot...”

Sebastian continues to explain the back story on the “dreaded-double-bathroom,” and as he proceeds, I find myself spacing off. I’m not one to ignore someone while they’re speaking but this time I just become...distracted. My eyes wander over Sebastian’s body and stop at his abs. God, they’re nice. Hell, if it wasn’t Sebastian I’m discreetly checking out I would be enjoying this. But since it’s him, I’m mentally scolding myself for practically gawking.

I wonder how often he works out? Is there a gym somewhere in this house?

Shut up! The more logical side of my brain shouts.

When my eyes pan down to his hips, noticing the “V” shape carved into his lower torso. I bite my lip. Hard.

Suddenly, the slight humming that I know to be Sebastian’s voice stops, and when he stops talking, I meet his eyes only to find him smirking at me. The smug expression etched into his face makes my face become blazing hot.

“Stop...stop looking at me like that!”

“I should tell you the same thing,” he replies, still smiling.

Cocky bastard.

I huff like an unhappy child and shuffle over to the toilet, where my clothes are sitting on top.

“I’m so...fucking embarrassed,” I mumble. “Your mother walked in here, God how...embarrassing!”

When my clothes are firmly pressed to my chest, I walk past Sebastian and try hard to ignore his oddly amused state.

“I could take off my towel for you if you’d like,” he says while I try to exit the bathroom without letting the shower curtain slip off of me, “seeing your eyes were having trouble when there was nothing left to look at.”

“Shut up!”

My hand swings at his head as he walks away, but I miss as he sensed I would retaliate with an attempted slap when he ducks my advances. However, the trail of water I have left behind on the floor while I went to get my clothes proves to be on my side, because as soon as Sebastian takes another gratified step after dodging my hand, his feet slip on the floor like he is losing his balance on roller skates and falls forward. His head, near his eyebrow, slams against the “hidden” door before he lands hard on the marbled floor.

I gape in shock.

It is dead silent before Sebastian screams deafeningly:


I sprint out of the bathroom so fast the shower curtain looks like a cape.

“I am so...sorry about this. I’m dreadfully embarrassed.”

Fiona and Elizabeth stand before us in the living room as Sebastian’s mother apologizes, even though I feel as if I should be the one apologizing despite the scene she walked into being a complete misunderstanding.

“It’s...fine,” I say, trying to sound like it actually is. “Really. It was an honest mistake.”

“No, no it isn’t fine. I should have double checked to make sure you two didn’t acquire the shared bathroom.”

When Fiona looks at Sebastian, he turns the other direction and presses the bag of frozen broccoli furiously on his right eyebrow, wincing at the pain. I wince along with him.

“Sebastian,” Elizabeth smiles dimly, “how’s your head?”

“Great,” he replies lowly. Elizabeth’s smile fades.

“We’re working on moving your things to separate rooms at the moment, but I doubt that would be consolation enough for what...happened.”

I adjust my shirt, disgust washing over me at the one-day-old feel. Instead of changing into something different, I threw on my previous clothes before meeting Fiona downstairs when Daisy approached my door to tell me she had called. Along with my drenched underwear and Sebastian’s throbbing head and possibly sore crotch area, him and I aren’t exactly the happiest people on earth at the moment.

However, Sebastian seems to have my discontent beat by a landslide; he looks as if he wants to jump off of a cliff.

We both aren’t able to say anything in response, because I’m not sure of what to say that would be honest and respectful, and Sebastian is focused on the pain I have caused to him. He still refuses to look at me.

We all hear footsteps coming down the staircase, and look to find out they belong to Sarah and Lucas.

“Whoa, what happened?” Sarah asks Sebastian. Lucas waits for an answer.

“Why don’t you ask Ms. King-Kong?” Sebastian limps over to Sarah, and the both of them together look like the dynamic-duo gaining up on me. Their arms crossed, scowl intense, hatred eminent through their eyes, makes me feel like a Chihuahua pup being confronted by a pair of wild Bulldogs.

It’s like High School all over again, only a little less brutal.

“It isn’t entirely my fault,” I protest. “I didn’t know-”

“You didn’t have to kick me in the balls, or make me hit my head on the damn door.”

Elizabeth snorts before hiding her laughter on Fiona’s shoulder.

“Wait, she kicked you in the balls?” Lucas asked, his eyes a brighter shade of blue than what I remember.

“That was a complete accident! You’re completely making this seem like I am out to get you!”

“Which you are, aren’t you?”

“No I’m...I’m...”

Am I?

“Alright, maybe it would be best if one of you would take the guest house,” Fiona suggest to silence our bickering. “It’s big, spacious, isolated. Unless you would both like to stay here, which is completely okay-”

“I think Leslie should take the guest house,” Sebastian presses the bag of broccoli onto his head again. “Would be much better, anyway.”

“Sebastian!” Fiona gasps. From her facial expression, I know she didn’t expect anyone to consider the offer on the guest house. Perhaps it was just some method she thought would end our argument. But with Sebastian’s suggestion in the air, it makes me feel...hurt, in a sense. Which surprises me, even—it isn’t the first time I have been deeply unwanted somewhere by someone for no reason. At least this time, though, Sebastian has some justification for his hatred towards me.

The thought of the guest house actually doesn’t sound too bad. Although giving Sebastian the satisfaction is the last thing I would like to do, I can’t bear the thought of sleeping, wandering, working “off-clock” around him anymore, unless it’s with Sarah and Lucas which I’m sort of forced to do. And besides, I like the thought of having a place to myself. Generally I’m not a sociable person unless work is involved.

Fiona begins to scold him, but I stop her.

“Actually, the guest house sounds like a terrific idea,” I tell her. “It would be nice to get work done...alone, during the evening.”

No one speaks.

Fiona’s eyebrows are raised, and she looks a bit reluctant. Sebastian, however, looks eager for me to leave.

“A-are you sure? I just...I can’t possibly-”

“I insist.”

That seems to do the trick.

Elizabeth and Fiona exchange looks like they’re discussing something only with their eyes, before Fiona responds.

“O...kay. I’ll let Loretta know. I’ll also ensure your things are taken over there. Peter will drive you whenever you’re read-”

“Thank you, that’s very kind,” I interrupt, in the least most inconsiderate way possible.

I turn on my heel to leave, and am facing Sebastian, Sarah, and Lucas. Lucas is the only one who looks as if he physically doesn’t hate me out of the group, but even then who knows at this point?

“I’m sorry for your head, Sebastian,” I say softly to him. “And your...private area. It was an accident, and I didn’t mean to; I apologize.”

Sebastian’s eyebrows raise up slightly from their previous frown. Although still mad, my apology seems to have gotten through to him. But before he can say anything, I excuse myself as I walk by him to reach the staircase to the second floor, where my purse still lies on my soon-to-be-former bed.

Although there is a strong breeze hitting me as Peter and I drive down a very short path to the guest house, it does little to cool me down.

And little to remove the Mosquito threat.

Him and I sit in a small golf-cart of a vehicle that takes me to my new guest house. Fiona decided to meet me there to show me around the place, along with one of the maids, Loretta, who will be staying most of the time. During the drive we pass horse stalls with a few horses inside, beautiful autumn-colored coats covering their bodies. More trees manage to appear the closer we get to the house, and after about thirty to forty five seconds, we are parked in front of a blue and white home, surrounded my brush and trees that provide tremendous shade. There is still a view of the grasslands and the main house from where we’re at, but it still seems more quiet and isolated.

Peter parks the car and runs around the other side, giving me his hand so I can step out.

“Thank you,” I say once I grab it, ignoring the clammy feeling on my palm.

“No problem, Miss. Watch your step,” he advises.

I take heed of his warning and make sure to avoid the grassy spots on the path leading up to the house. Seeing it up close, I can’t help but feel happy I took up the offer. Two stories, humble design, beautiful landscape and vegetation surrounding it.


“Fiona is inside with your things,” Peter says as we walk to the front porch. “They’re placed inside your room.”

“Thanks. Carried horizontally?”

He laughs, “Carried horizontally.”

“Great, that’s great.” I dismiss the embarrassed feeling surfacing.

Peter opens the door and lets me walk into the house first. The design inside is exactly like the main house, only much smaller. But for one person to live here?

This place is huge.

“Your things are in your room, upstairs, first door on your left,” I hear Fiona say in the living room. “I just wanted to make sure they arrived alright.”

“No, absolutely. Thank you.”

A woman comes out of the kitchen, the same woman who caught me before fell when we first arrived here. Her mocha skin shines with perspiration, but with her older features there isn’t a wrinkle in sight.

“Hello,” she smiles. “I’m Loretta.”

“Leslie,” I shake her hand, “but I’m certain we’ve met before.”

Loretta takes a while to remember what I’m talking about before she starts laughing.

“Ah, yes. Those bugs are a problem, especially in the summer.”

“Loretta will be here cleaning during the day and cooking during the evening whenever you decide not to have dinner at the main house,” Fiona says.

“Perfect. That’s perfect.” I can’t think of anything else to say. Fiona’s hospitality is so kind, so overwhelming. I’m certain I’m taken back considering how...unenthusiastically Garrett spoke of her before. Which I still can’t manage to understand.

“You said that your sons should be arriving soon?” I ask, placing my purse on the coffee table.

She nods, “Yes, very soon, in fact.”

“Well I was just going to take a shower, but after wards I will rush up to greet them-”

“Oh, no, no, no, sweetheart, take your time, please,” it’s like she’s offended that I’m willing to run up the hill to meet William and Patrick. “If anything I’d have them come down here to meet you; you are the guest. If you would like a lift to the main house please do not hesitate to call Peter or have Loretta ring him. He will be down here to drive you right away.”

Peter nods his head at me with a smile.

I thank Fiona one more time before she walks to the front door. Peter leaves first, but before she follows she stops and turns to face me.

“I’m sorry about the whole...bathroom incident and Sebastian.

It’s like poison in my mouth at the sound of his name.

All I can do is smile, and it’s like she knows what I’m thinking.

Her welcoming expression soon becomes one that is pained, like bad memories decided to return.

“He wasn’t always like this, you know,” her hands are in her jean pockets. “So difficult, I mean. You should have seen him when he was much more...easier to be around. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologize. It isn’t your fault.”

She manages to muster up a smile, but unlike the ones she had given me before, I can see the artificiality in it.

When she leaves, it feels like I can breathe again. But I still have him on my mind. Hopefully this trip will give me the ability to get through to Sebastian, because at the moment, there’s a thick wall in front of him that’s preventing me from figuring out a way for this to work.

“You hungry, sweetheart?”

Loretta’s voice snaps me out of my thoughts. Out of instinct, I almost snap at her to not call me that, but remember that she isn’t Sebastian, who uses it in a mocking manner.

“Actually, I am,” my stomach growls the moment she mentions the word ‘hungry,’ “are they having lunch soon? I don’t want to eat without them; sounds kind of rude.”

She checks her watch, “Yes, I believe so. You gonna eat with them?”

I nod.

“Alright, well I still got the kitchen to finish up so possibly I’ll be here by the time you get back.”

“Okay, well I’m gonna go take a shower. I’m thinking of just walking up there myself—could use the fresh air.”

“Take some water with you before you leave, I don’t want you passing out on us,” she says, adding a wink at the end.

Her tone of voice reminds me of a caring mother in a sense, and I can’t help but smile.

“I will,” I say, before walking upstairs to my room.

My room looks very identical to the room I had before, except there is no TV, and the balcony happens to be much bigger, giving me an amazing view of the farm land, and a few men walking inside of a barn with buckets in their hands.

When I walk into the bathroom, it is more than half the size of the “shared bathroom,” which I happen to have no problem with. The shower is big, and it isn’t cramped.

I strip off my clothes with more carefulness even though I’m certain Sebastian won’t walk in on me this time, and enter the shower, which I allow to be more cold than warm. After soaping up and washing my hair for a good fifteen minutes, I turn off the shower and wrap a warm towel around my body before leaving the bathroom to get dressed. I decide on the traditional “Leslie King” attire of a business skirt, white button-up blouse, and heels. The blazer can definitely stay packed until I get back to unpack everything properly.

I take one look at myself in the mirror before I leave. My hair is slicked back in a bun, as always, and my makeup is modest. I can’t help but sigh, though—I sometimes think of branching out into different clothes, different hairstyles, different...everything. But I know I never will. So instead, I ignore the yearning reflection in the mirror and close the bed room door behind me.

“Loretta, I’m leaving!” I yell when I come down the stairs into the living room. The moment I reach my purse I hear the kitchen door open behind me, and am instantly welcomed with the strong potent smell of bleach.

“Okay, be careful in those heels!” she warns me before entering the kitchen again.

I grab my purse and reach for my phone inside while walking through the door. The heat and dry air makes me grimace as I walk down the porch steps.

When my phone is in my hand, I see that an incoming call from Darcy is lighting up the screen.

I answer, “Hey, Darcy. How is everything?”

“Quite well. Just answering some emails. You never called, I was worried if you made it safe.”

“I did. Sorry, I just got...caught up.”

“What happened?” I can practically see the smile forming on her face all the way from Tennessee.

Before I can even open my mouth, I hear a familiar voice telling Darcy to put me on speaker phone.

“Hey, girl!” Paul yells. I laugh.

“Hey, Paul. What are you doing in my office?”

“I wasn’t in your office, I saw Darcy finally relax and knew she was talking to you. But enough about me, tell me how it is! Is it hot? How was your flight? Is Sebastian cutting logs outside with his shirt off covered in sweat? Please tell me the last one is true!”

I roll my eyes, “No, the last one isn’t true. And I don’t even want to hear his name for the rest of my life anymore.”

“What happened!?” Paul and Darcy say at the same time.

I start to rant, not even asking if anyone else is in my office with them, “First of all this is the worst fucking day ever. And I’ve had a lot of bad days! Apparently someone, I don’t know if it was his mom or a maid, gave us a joint-bathroom on accident. So he walked in on me half-naked. Then had the audacity to say it was my fault! What a dick!”

I use my hand to shield my eyes from the relentless sun, but it does little. I reach in my purse for my sunglasses as Paul and Darcy both scramble verbally about the information I gave them, but I see the horse stalls close and begin to walk in there—shade and a break from some of the heat.

“Calm down you two, it wasn’t as extravagant as you’re making it out to be,” I say, walking into the dark area and marveling at the horses neighing around me behind their gates. “I ended up just moving into the guest house, which is a thousand times better. I don’t think I could have lasted another second with his manager. She hates me.”

“Still would give anything to be you right now,” Paul sighs.

“Yeah right. In this heat? I don’t think so. Oh, that reminds me! Darcy, I have a few things regarding Felicity I printed out last night, and I need you to write these down. I kept them in my purse.”

My phone wedged between my ear and shoulder, I stop pacing around the horse stalls to try and find the articles, and am relieved when I find them rolled up together in my purse. I pull them out and hold them up in victory, only to have them snatched out of my hand. An ebony horse, standing about a foot taller than me, has the papers in her mouth.

I’m in so much shock I don’t even know what to do. Is this even happening?

“Are you fucking kidding me!?”

“What’s wrong?” Darcy asks, concern lacing her voice.

I scowl at the animal, the beast, and feel my blood pressure rise when I see it’s yellow, crooked teeth latching onto my paper work. And all it does is stare at me.

Taunting me.

I stomp my foot and point a stern finger, “Drop it.”

She doesn’t budge.

“Damn you, you giant donkey!”

The horse neighs loudly at me yelling at her, dropping the papers on the hay scattered on the ground. She quickly picks them up again with her mouth and decides to back up with them this time, preventing me from reaching out and grabbing them.

Fine. Two can play this game.

“Are there any apples in this damn-aha!”

Eureka. I find a bin filled with the solid red fruit and rush over to it.

“Leslie what the hell is wrong with you?” I hear Paul say on the other end.

“There’s a horse who’s playing games with me, and I don’t have time for this!”


I ignore him while grabbing one apple and walking back over to the stubborn animal. She looks at me, and it’s like she’s speaking with her eyes.

Fight me, bitch. Square up, it looks like she’s saying.

“Here, here’s an apple. Go fetch!” I throw it past the gate and watch as it hits the back of the wooden wall. She doesn’t even try to go after it.

“Leslie, it’s okay, I’ll just do the research myself,” Darcy offers.

“I spent hours pulling that all together I will not let the horse have the satisfaction, Darcy.”

“I’m pretty sure she thinks you’re playing some type of game with her,” I hear Sebastian say from the neighboring stall.

Great. This is just great. Just what I fucking need!

I am in no mood to argue again. Sebastian needs to know I am absolutely done with his bullshit. Met this man yesterday and he has managed to cause me heart palpitations.

I swiftly pivot to the source of his voice, “Look, Sebastian I don’t have time for th-”

Shit. I’m speechless.

My words are stuck in my throat when I see the man who isn’t Sebastian standing at the stall next to me. He sounds a lot like him, maybe a little more gentler, but it isn’t him. No, this man is someone I have never seen before. He somehow looks familiar, but I can never say I have seen him before in real life.

He takes a few long strides to stand next to me, and I get a better look at him. Tall, about 6′2, 6′3, with sun-kissed skin that contrasts beautifully with his eyes, which look blue with a hint of green mixed in the irises. His hair is dark and long, wavy, too but slicked back with the exception of a few rouge waves, one strand falling by his eyes. The darkness of his hair matches his facial hair, which happens to look more like he does shave, but hasn’t had time to do it often.

My. God.

He laughs, and his smile gives me goosebumps, “I knew we favored each other, but I didn’t know I sounded like him, too,” he points to the horse. “May I?”

All I do is nod.

He walks by me and reaches his hand out to the horse’s muzzle. She shakes her head, and he laughs softly.

“Leslie what’s going on? Who is that?” I hear Darcy say on the phone.

I raise the phone to my ear, still staring at him, “Girl, I’m gonna have to call you back,” I whisper before hanging up.

“See, she’s just a little stubborn, but also very playful,” he says as he pets the horse. “When she calms down, that’s when it’s easier for her to take you seriously.”

And like magic, he takes the paper out of the horse’s mouth and looks at it, disgusted.

“Sorry, I don’t think you would want it like this.”

I take it from him, still staring, “It’s fine. It’s...fine. Very fine. Thank you.”

I put the papers in my purse, knowing I’ll regret it later.

What the hell do I do now? Do I shake his hand? Introduce myself? No, just shake his hand, shake his hand!

I stick my arm out, hand firm for a handshake, “I’m-”

“Leslie. The publicist,” he finishes. “I’ve heard quite a lot about you. I’m glad I finally get to meet the woman who matches the great words.”

He takes my hand in his, but it isn’t even like a handshake, but more along the lines of him just holding my hand. And I freeze.

“William Harrison.”

William. The Humanitarian.

I haven’t done much research on him. All I know is that he is partnered with UNICEF and has spent most of his life helping third-world countries and funding education efforts in places such as South America and Africa. A good man. A great man.

No wonder there’s obvious dislike towards him from Sebastian.

“Mind if I walk you back to the house? I’m assuming that’s where you were walking to,” he says.

He is still. Holding. My hand.

“S-sure, yes, that sounds...yeah,” I chuckle.

He lets go, and him and I walk side by side past the horses until we’re out in the sun again.

“Mom said you’d be on your way up here so Patrick and I could meet you, and I was planning on meeting you halfway, but...heard you in here.”

I clutch onto my purse, “Yes, the horse and I had quite the fallout.”

“I can tell. Though I doubt horses know how to ‘fetch.’”

God, how embarrassing.

We both begin laughing at my ignorance, the house growing bigger and bigger as we keep walking.

“So how has Sebastian been treating you?” he then asks.

I sigh, “He’s...a handful.”

“Still holding onto his teen angst.” William rolls his eyes. “I keep trying to contact him but he’s been ignoring me for years. I’ve asked him to come with me to Bolivia, Taiwan, Nepal, Brazil, Kenya, Chile, the Philippines, Russia, you name it. But no answer.”

“Have you seen him yet?”

“No. Apparently he’s upstairs in his room. I’ll just wait for him to come out.”

The countries he listed come back to me, and my curiosity fuels the fire.

“You’ve...been to all of those places?”

“Yes,” he smiles widely, proud of his accomplishment as we walk onto the huge back porch. “And many more. Mostly efforts to help get clean water and food to poverty stricken communities and tribes but I also love working with the schools there, or with help building schools and community centers. The children are amazing. Very bright, very ambitious. They just need a chance. An opportunity. I love giving that to them.”

Is this man even real?

The moment he opens the back door, a strong gust of cold air hits us. I can see the relief on his face.

“That’ amazing,” I respond. “I wish I could do that.”

“It’s never too late. Humanitarian work is always open to everybody.”

“Yeah, but leaving my job? I don’t know. It’s a big leap of faith.”

“Hm, that’s true.” We walk through the bustling kitchen into the dining room, which we find empty. “You could always come along with me. I can see you loving it.”

“Oh please, I doubt you would want me by your side. I’m the last person you’d want to back-pack the Chilean mountains with. I can’t even handle mosquito bites.”

We both share a small fit of laughter again, and it makes me forget about the horrible previous hour I had to endure here. It was nice to have someone want to engage in a friendly conversation with me. Of course Elizabeth and Fiona were beyond kind and hospitable, but William was different. He just seems like an overall kind soul, with many stories to tell. Not so hard-guarded like Sebastian or ill-tempered like Sarah.

I walk ahead of him in the living room and my smile immediately disappears when I see Sebastian turning the corner.

“Oh good, you’re here,” he rubs his eyes. “Listen I just wanted to apologize for-”


Sebastian sees William after hearing his voice, and his face looks like he despises even his mere existence.

William sets a friendly hand on my shoulder, but I know Sebastian sees it differently.

“I see you two have met,” Sebastian shifts his eyes from William, then down onto me.

“Yes, we have. I found her in the horse stalls and we kind of hit it off. But what about you? You didn’t welcome us when we arrived?”

“I was tired. Still am.”

“Tired from what? You don’t do anything.”

I tense up.

Sebastian frowns, “And you wonder why I haven’t returned your damn phone calls.”

“Oh, so you know I’ve been calling you?”

“Not only do I know, I sit by my phone when you call and watch it ring until it goes straight to voice mail.”

Even that stung for me.

“Sebastian, you don’t need to be such an asshole.”

“I’m not an asshole, I’m just honest. At least I’m not a compulsive liar, William.”

The way they exchange their words, it isn’t even like an argument, but more like banter that’s actually offensive. The sarcasm and condescension is impossible to ignore.

“It isn’t my problem if she decides to ignore the subpoena, just tell her not to come crying woefully to me when the police arrive at her doorstep with a warrant for her arrest because she does not want to serve as a witness for Mr. Bakula.”

We all turn to a man walking into the living room on a phone call. His eyes are the same intense shape that Sebastian and Elizabeth have, except his are a dark greyish-blue, darkened by his thick eyebrows.

“I’ve already represented him in the past, Laura,” he snaps. “If he wants me to represent him again he needs to cooperate with what we need: the testimony. You know what, I don’t have time for this, I’m on vacation. Only call me if it’s life-threateningly important, please.”

Patrick. The Lawyer.

Patrick hangs up the call, his eyes landing on Sebastian before anyone else. He puts his phone in the pocket of his slacks and gives Sebastian a flat look.

“Look who decided to be an adult today,” he starts. “How hard was it putting on your big-boy-pants?”

“And you think I’m the insensitive one?” William laughs.

Patrick scans the room, and a look of surprise overcomes his face when he notices me.

“You must be Ms. King,” he shakes my hand. “I’m sorry I missed you—you’re so small.”

“Um,” 5′5 isn’t even small.

“That was a shitty thing to say,” Sebastian points out to Patrick.

“Coming from someone who uses the term ‘shitty’ like we’re still in High School. It wasn’t an insult; it was meant as a compliment—she’s adorable.”


Patrick studies Sebastian’s face, narrowing his eyes at how irritated he looks, and then comes to a random conclusion.

“Oh, I’m sorry it looks as if I’ve hit a nerve with my comment. Are you dating her? Is that why you’re upset?”

Sebastian’s eyes look like they’re about to pop out of their sockets, and I’m positive mine are doing the same.

Patrick. The Lawyer. I should have known a man like him would be brutally honest. Blunt, I didn’t expect, but maybe I should have when he first started making rude comments towards Sebastian.

Sebastian and I both immediately start defending ourselves from Patrick’s assumption.

“No, no, no I’m not dating her!”

“Yes, we aren’t together-”

“I wouldn’t date her in a million years, you don’t have to worry about that-”

“This is just strictly a work trip. Nothing more,” I conclude.

Patrick isn’t convinced.

“Hm, well I doubt I could picture you two together anyway I mean she looks as if she goes for the sophisticated, educated, well-mannered type of man. Or woman. I don’t judge.”

I can’t even fathom this man at the moment.

“You literally managed to become the world’s biggest douche-bag in one minute and thirty seconds. Congratulations.”

“Excuse me, Sebastian, but that’s the reason why you’re here, isn’t it?”

“No, I’m here, because people like you two feel the need to judge my every move.”

“Well it’s hard not to I mean look at you,” William says. “You’re twenty-eight, living off of Dad’s money I mean you could have been doing something with yourself right now. Instead you’re”

“Which shouldn’t be a problem if you were living your own life, minding your own Goddamn business.”

Patrick glares at him, “The hostility is unnecessary. You’re holding onto this useless anger and hate. Why are you so angry? If you would have just let it go, years ago, who knows, you could have been a model, or an actor. But no. Sadly, no.”

It’s like Sebastian is being completely attacked. Two against one, with one bystander. I know that Sebastian and I have had our rough patches the short two days we’ve known each other, but I know exactly what it’s like to be attacked by your own family instead of being helped or encouraged. And it makes me angry.

I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, believe it or not.

Patrick, who looks as if he is trying to pull off the understanding act underneath that expensive suit of his, keeps speaking.

“I just cannot seem to understand; I’d hope you’d enlighten me. Why this? I just...don’t...get it. Why do you run away from us like this-”

“Maybe because you both treat him like filth when he’s a human being? With feelings? Your little brother, at that?” I retort.

Everyone is silent. Patrick and William look at me like I’ve lost my mind, and so does Sebastian, but in a sort of good way.

Before anyone can speak, Fiona abruptly bursts into the living room from the kitchen.

“Lunch is ready!” She exclaims.

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