Lick (Stage Dive #1)(9)


by Kylie Scott

“It’s lovely.”

David looked around the room with nil interest. “Yeah.”

I wandered over to the windows. A luxurious pool sat below, well lit and surrounded by palm trees and perfect gardens. Two people were in the water, making out. The woman’s head fell back and her br**sts bobbed on the surface. Oh, no, my mistake. They were having sex. I could feel the heat creep up my neck. I didn’t think I was a prude, but still. I turned away.

“Listen, some people are going to come to talk to you about the divorce papers. They’ll be here at ten,” he said, hovering in the doorway. His fingers tapped out a beat on the doorframe. He kept casting longing looks down the hall, clearly impatient to be gone.

“Some people?”

“My lawyer and my manager,” he told his feet. “They’re rushing things, so … it’ll all be, ah, dealt with as fast as it can.”

“Alright.”

David sucked in his cheeks and nodded. He had killer cheekbones. I’d seen men in fashion magazines that couldn’t have compared. But pretty or not, the frown never lifted. Not while I was around. It would have been nice to see him smile, just once.

“You need anything?” he asked.

“No. Thank you for all this. For flying me down here and letting me stay. It’s very kind of you.”

“No worries.” He took a step back and started closing the door after him. “Night.”

“David, shouldn’t we talk or something? About last night?”

He paused, half hidden behind the door. “Seriously, Ev. Why f**king bother?”

And he was gone.

Again.

No door slam this time. I counted that as a step forward in our relationship. Being surprised was stupid. But disappointment held me still, staring around the room, seeing nothing. It wasn’t that I suddenly wanted him to fall at my feet. But antipathy sucked.

Eventually I wandered back over to the window. The lovers were gone, the pool now empty. Another couple stumbled along the lit garden path, beneath the huge swaying palm trees. They headed toward what had to be the pool house. The man was David and Bikini Girl hung off him, swishing her long hair and swaying her hips, working it to the nth degree. They looked good together. They fit. David reached out and tugged on the tie of her bikini top, undoing the neat bow and baring her from the waist up. Bikini Girl laughed soundlessly, not bothering to cover herself.

I swallowed hard, trying to dislodge the rock in my throat. Jealousy felt every bit as bad as antipathy. And I had no damn right to be jealous.

At the door to the pool house David paused and looked back over his shoulder. His eyes met mine. Oh, shit. I ducked behind the curtain and idiotically held my breath. Caught spying—the shame of it. When I checked a moment later they were gone. Light peeked out from the sides of the curtains in the pool house. I should have brazened it out. I wished I had. It wasn’t like I was doing anything wrong.

The immaculate grandeur of the white room spread out before me. Inside and out I felt a mess. The reality of my situation had apparently sunk in, and what a clusterfuck it was. Lauren had been right on with the word choice.

“David can do what he wants.” My voice echoed through the room, startlingly loud even over the thumping of the music downstairs. I straightened my shoulders. Tomorrow I would meet with his people and the divorce would be sorted. “David can do what he wants and so can I.”

But what did I want to do? I had no idea. So I unpacked my few items of clothing, settling in for the night. I hung David’s T-shirt over a towel rail to finish drying. It was probably going to be needed for sleep wear. Organizing myself took five minutes, max. You could only refold a couple of tank tops so many ways before you just looked pathetic.

What now?

I hadn’t been invited to the party downstairs. No way did I want to think about what might be happening in the pool house. Doubtless David was giving Bikini Girl everything I’d wanted in Vegas. No sex for me. Instead, he had sent me to my room like a naughty child.

What a room it was. The adjoining bathroom had a tub larger than my bedroom back home. Plenty of space to splash around. It was tempting. But I never had been much good at getting sent to my room. On the few occasions it happened at home I used to climb out the window and sit outside with a book. As rebellions went it lacked a lot, but I’d been satisfied. There was a lot to be said for being a quiet achiever.

Screw staying in the room of splendor. I couldn’t do it.

No one noticed me as I crept back down the stairs. I slunk into the closest corner and settled in to watch the beautiful people at play. It was fascinating. Bodies writhed on an impromptu dance floor in the middle of the room. Someone lit up a cigar nearby, filling the air with a rich, spicy scent. Puffs of smoke billowed up toward the ceiling, a good twenty feet above. Diamonds glittered and teeth sparkled, and that was just some of the men. Open opulence fought grunge among the mixed crowd. You couldn’t get better people-watching if you tried. No sign of Mal, sadly. At least he’d been friendly.

“You’re new,” a voice said from beside me, startling the crap out of me. I jumped a mile, or at least a few inches.

A man in a black suit lounged against the wall, sipping a glass of amber liquor. This slick black suit was something else. In all likelihood Sam’s had come off the rack, but not this one. I’d never understood the appeal of a suit and tie before, but this man wore them incredibly well. He looked to be about David’s age and he had short dark hair. Handsome, of course. Like David, he had the whole divine cheekbones thing going on.

“You know, if you move another foot over you’ll disappear entirely behind that palm.” He took another sip of his drink. “Then no one would see you.”

“I’ll give it some thought.” I didn’t bother denying I was in hiding. Apparently it was already obvious to all.

He smiled, flashing a dimple. Tommy Byrnes had dimples. He’d inured me to their power. The man leaned closer, so as to be heard more easily over the music, most likely. The fact that he backed it up by taking a decent-sized step toward me seemed unnecessary. Personal space was a wonderful thing. Something about this guy gave me the creeps, despite the swanky suit.

“I’m Jimmy.”

“Ev.”

He pursed his lips, staring at me. “Nope, I definitely don’t know you. Why don’t I know you?”