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He posed for a few more photos with his new, much younger wife at his side and turned around, his eyes meeting mine. He raised his eyebrow, as if he was surprised I was still in attendance. Then he winked at me, mouthing, “Is that good enough?” before turning his attention to someone else.

I clenched my fists, seconds away from walking over and breaking his jaw.

Before I could make that happen, I spotted Gillian standing across the room.

Laughing, she was wearing a short, emerald green dress that left little to the imagination. The dressed stopped at her thighs and clung tightly to her hips, showing off her perfect breasts.

I started to walk over to her, but stopped when I realized she was dancing with someone in a navy blue suit. Someone who was rubbing his hands against her back and whispering something into her ear.

Confused, I watched for several more minutes, assuming that it was some friend of hers, a casual dance with an acquaintance. But as she tossed her head back in laughter, I saw exactly who she was dancing with and all the blood left my face.



New York (JFK)

“You’re hurting me...” I smiled uneasily as Evan Pearson, the CEO’s son dipped me low and told another inappropriate joke. He was holding onto me a little too tightly, and I was hoping Meredith would see my “Please come save me from this asshole” text soon.

I’d thought that if I simply laughed at a few of his lines that he would walk away, but my reactions only seemed to encourage him further. To make matters worse, he was drunk. Yet, anytime a photographer stopped and asked for a photo, he would somehow manage to look sober for all of three seconds for the shot. Then he would return to harassing me.

“Did we date once before, Gillian?” he asked, finally letting go and reading my name tag.

“No,” I said. “We’ve never dated.”

“Are you sure? I never forget a face, and...” He looked down at my breasts, smiling. “You look really familiar.”

“I interviewed you, your father, and your wife a very long time ago when I was a journalist.”

“Oh.” He shrugged. “Maybe that’s it.”

“That’s definitely it. Speaking of which, how is your wife?” I slowly pulled my wrist away from his grasp. “Her name is Sharon, right?”

“Yes.” He laughed. “She left me, but Shhhh! Don’t print that. No one knows yet.”

“My roommate is over there waiting for me.” I started to step back. “I need to—”

“Wait.” He grabbed my wrist again, much harder this time, his fingers pressing deep into my skin. “Were you shitting me about the interviewing me when you were a journalist thing?”

I shook my head. I remembered that awkward encounter all too well. A full day interview where he and his father, unsurprisingly, fed me rehearsed answers about Elite. After blowing off the interview three times in a row, they gave me answers I could’ve found on Wikipedia and turned a simple profile project into an absolute nightmare.

“Did you ask us how this amazing airline was really built?” He grabbed a glass of champagne off a waiter’s tray and tossed it back. “Did you ask us how we really started this, by chance?”

“With all due respect, everyone already knows the answer to that.” It was embedded in the history books as the ultimate Cinderella story.

“No.” He shook his head, his speech slurred. “Everyone just thinks they do. Come home with me and I’ll give you the exclusive...You have to swallow, though, I’m clean, so no condoms.” He looked me right in my eyes, giving me a familiar look that reminded me of someone else. “I just hate confirming the lies year after year at these parties...I’m getting very tired. Very old and tired...”

I was slightly curious as to what he meant by ‘confirming the lies,’ but minutes ago he’d claimed that he invented Starbucks coffee machines so I knew this was just the liquor talking.

I started thinking of another excuse to get the hell away from him, but a blonde stepped between us and took his hand—whispering into his ear.

“He’s here?” he asked her, his eyes wide. “He actually came?”

The woman nodded.


She didn’t answer. She just walked away.

Without saying another word to me, he turned away and followed her into the crowd.

Relieved, I headed to the other side of the hangar, in desperate need of some space. I pushed my way through the guests and past the packed restrooms. Noticing a “Silent Auction” sign hanging above a door, I stepped inside a room full of glass cases and mirrored walls.

The curator immediately handed me a blue sheet of bidding paper and smiled. Then, as if she knew I wasn’t in here to bid on anything, she rolled her eyes and whispered, “You came here to check on your makeup, didn’t you?”

I shook my head. “No, I’m just trying to get some space.”

“Sure.” She pursed her lips and snatched the blue paper from my hands. “You can ‘get some space’ on the far side of the room for twenty minutes. Then you need to get out.”

“Thank you.” I stepped away and stared at my reflection.

Even though there were small bags under my eyes, Meredith had done wonders with my makeup. The second I told her my flight was diverted and there was a gala tonight, she’d insisted on dressing me from head to toe.

Although I still wasn’t sure about the revealing green dress she’d made me wear, the bronze glittering eye shadow and bright pink lipstick were nothing short of amazing.