“Erin?” I turned around. It was Seth poking his head in the door. Thank God he hadn’t found me on my knees in front of his father’s private filing cabinet.
“Yeah,” I said. He pushed the door open further and came inside.
“Hey, what are you doing in here? I’ve been looking all over for you.”
“I just needed some time to myself,” I told him.
“Are you okay? I’m sorry if your feelings were hurt. My father can be a real ass sometimes.”
“Your father’s behavior was not what upset me,” I told him.
He knew that I was talking about him. I saw a guilty expression cross his face and then he said, “I’m not sure what you expected me to do. I didn’t want to cause a scene in front of the guests.”
I looked at him for a long time. Did he really not know that I expected him to stick up for me no matter who was there? We were seeing each other… we were sleeping together… of course I expected him to stick up for me. I wanted to be more important than his asshole father and stuffy guests. I thought it so strange that he didn’t see that, but this was neither the time nor the place for that discussion. I had a headache and no desire to have another run in with the senior Hunter. I was finished for tonight.
“I’d like to go home, Seth. I’m not feeling very well.”
“Okay, I’m sorry. I’ll take you.” He said that because that’s what I expected, but I could see the anxiety in his eyes. I’m sure him leaving in the middle of the party would be the source of a fight between him and his father. As angry as I was with him, I didn’t want him to have to go through that.
“No. You stay here, finish the party. I’ll be fine if you can just have your driver take me, please.”
“We don’t have to talk about this tonight Seth. Please.”
He nodded and said, “I’ll have Trevor bring the car around. I’ll talk to you tomorrow?” I didn’t answer him. In spite of how angry I wanted to be at him, the hurt in his eyes made me feel bad. I tamped it down, like I told Seth… not tonight.
Seth tucked me into the back of the limousine and I went home. When I got there, Grant was just coming in as well.
“Well, hello gorgeous!”
“Hi Grant. How was your evening?”
He made a boo-boo face at me and said, “Mine was good, but you look like you need to talk about yours.”
“Maybe,” I said. “I’m going to change out of this dress.”
“You look stunning,” he said. “You look much too beautiful to come home so sad. I’m going to open us up a bottle of wine and you can tell me whose ass I need to kick.”
That made me smile. While he went into the kitchen to get the wine, I went in to change out of the dress. I stopped to look in the full-length mirror before I did and I marveled at the fact I could leave the house a few hours earlier in love and feeling like a princess and return confused, hurt and frustrated. I unzipped the dress and stepped out of it. Then I stripped off my tights and shoes and went into the bathroom. I took my hair into both of my hands and twisted it up on top of my head, securing it with an elastic band and then I washed the make-up from my face. I slipped into a pair of flannel pajamas with ducks on them and I went back out to the living room. Grant was sitting on the couch with the bottle of wine and two glasses sitting on the table in front of him. When he looked up and saw me he said, “Wow, even without all the fancy schmancy stuff, you’re gorgeous.”
“Shut up,” I said. Grant laughed.
“Testy,” he said as he poured us a glass of wine. Handing me one he said, “Tell me.”
“Nope, I’ve been a terrible friend lately. You tell me about your night first.”
He grinned a mischievous little grin and said, “Okay sure. Juniper and I had sex tonight for the first time…”
“I met James Hunter face to face tonight,” I jumped in. He had done that on purpose. He knew I wasn’t going to want the details of that.
He laughed at my quick change and then he said, “Did the old thief recognize you?”
“No… I don’t know. He was mean, so maybe. But everyone who knows him says that’s just his normal, sunny personality, so maybe not.”
“What did he say?”
“He made some rude insinuations that I was sleeping my way to the top. He didn’t say that in so many words, but he may as well have. He said it right out in front of people. It was so embarrassing.”