Lick (Stage Dive #1)(11)


by Kylie Scott

“You’re right. My bad. Should I take you back to my brother?” he asked, cracking his knuckles like a Neanderthal and staring back down the hallway from where we’d come.

“No, thank you.”

“That was real nice making f**k-me eyes at him, by the way. Out of everyone down there, you had to be flirting with Jimmy,” he sneered. “Classy, Ev.”

“That’s honestly what you think was happening?”

“What with you and him getting all f**king cozy in the corner?”

“Seriously?”

“I know Jimmy and I know girls around Jimmy. That’s definitely what it looked like, baby.” He held his arms out wide. “Prove me wrong.”

I wasn’t even certain I knew how to make f**k-me eyes. But I definitely hadn’t been making them at that tool downstairs. No wonder so many marriages ended in divorce. Marriage sucked and husbands were the worst. My shoulders were caving in on me. I didn’t think I’d ever felt so small.

“I think your brother issues might be even worse than your wife issues, and that’s saying something.” Slowly, I shook my head. “Thank you for offering me the opportunity to defend myself. I really appreciate it. But you know what, David? I’m just not convinced your good opinion is worth it.”

He flinched.

I walked away before I said something worse. Forget anything amicable. The sooner we were divorced, the better.

CHAPTER FIVE

Sunlight poured in through the windows when I woke the next morning. Someone was hammering on the door, turning the handle, trying to get in. I’d locked it after the scene with David last night. Just in case he was tempted to return to trade some more insults with me. It had taken me hours to get to sleep with the music thrumming through the floor and my emotions running wild. But exhaustion won out in the end.

“Evelyn! Hello?” a female voice yelled from out in the hallway. “Are you in there?”

I crawled across the ginormous bed, tugging on the hem of David’s T-shirt. Whatever he’d used to wash it in Vegas, it didn’t smell of puke. The man had laundry skills. Fortunate for me, because apart from my dirty party dress and a couple of tops, I had nothing else to wear.

“Who is it?” I asked, yawning loudly.

“Martha. I’m David’s PA.”

I cracked open the door and peered out. The elegant brunette from last night stared back at me, unimpressed. From being made to wait or the sight of my bed hair, I didn’t know. Did everyone in this house look like they’d just slunk off the cover of Vogue? Her eyes turned into slits at the sight of David’s shirt.

“His representatives are here to meet with you. You might want to get your ass into gear.” The woman spun on her heel and strode off down the hallway, heels clacking furiously against the terracotta tiled floor.

“Thanks.”

She didn’t acknowledge me, but then, I didn’t expect her to. This part of LA was clearly a colony for ill-mannered douches. I rushed through a shower, pulled on my jeans and a clean T-shirt. It was the best I could do.

The house stayed silent as I rushed down the hallway. There were no signs of life on the second level. I’d slapped on a little mascara, tied my wet hair back in a ponytail, but that was it. I could either hold people up or go without make-up. Politeness won. If coffee had been in the offering, however, I’d have left David’s representatives hanging for at least two cups. Running on zero caffeine seemed suicidal given the stressful circumstances. I hurried down the stairs.

“Ms Thomas,” a man called, stepping out of a room to the left. He wore jeans and a white polo shirt. Around his neck sat a thick, gold chain. So who was this? Another of David’s entourage?

“Sorry I’m late.”

“It’s fine.” He smiled, but I didn’t quite believe him despite the big white teeth. Nature had clearly played no part in his teeth or tan. “I’m Adrian.”

“Ev. Hello.”

He swept me into the room. Three men in suits sat waiting at an impressively long dining table. Overhead, another crystal chandelier sparkled in the morning light. On the walls were beautiful, colorful paintings. Originals, obviously.

“Gentlemen, this is Ms Thomas,” Adrian announced. “Scott Baker, Bill Preston and Ted Vaughan are David’s legal representatives. Why don’t you sit here, Ev?”

Adrian spoke slowly, as if I were a feebleminded child. He pulled a chair out from the table for me directly opposite the team of legal eagles, then walked around to sit on their side. Wow, that sure told me. The lines had been drawn.

I rubbed my sweaty palms on the sides of my jeans and sat up straight, doing my best not to wilt beneath their hostile gazes. I could definitely do this. How hard could it be to get a divorce, after all?

“Ms Thomas,” the one Adrian had identified as Ted started. He pushed a black leather folder full of papers toward me. “Mr Ferris asked us to draw up annulment papers. They’ll cover all issues, including details of your settlement from Mr Ferris.”

The size of the stack of papers before me was daunting. These people worked fast. “My settlement?”

“Yes,” Ted said. “Rest assured Mr Ferris has been very generous.”

I shook my head in confusion. “I’m sorry. Wha—”

“We’ll deal with that last,” Ted rushed on. “You’ll notice here that the document covers all conditions to be met by yourself. The main issues include your not speaking to any member of the press with regard to this matter. This is non-negotiable, I’m afraid. This condition remains in force until your death. Do you fully understand the requirement, Ms Thomas? Under no circumstances may you talk to any member of the press regarding Mr Ferris in any way while you’re alive.”

“So I can talk to them after I die?” I asked with a weak little laugh. Ted was getting on my nerves. I guess I hadn’t gotten enough sleep after all.

Ted showed me his teeth. They weren’t quite as impressive as Adrian’s. “This is a very serious matter, Ms Thomas.”

“Ev,” I said. “My name is Ev and I do realize the seriousness of this issue, Ted. I apologize for being flippant. But if we could get back to the part about the settlement? I’m a little confused.”

“Very well.” Ted looked down his nose at me and tapped a thick, gold pen on the paperwork in front of me. “As I said, Mr Ferris has been very generous.”