Page 57

I knocked back two and my voicemail system turned on.

“Welcome home. You have two new messages. Would you like to hear them?”


“Please say the password.”

I tossed back shot number three. “One, eight, seven, two.”

“Message number one...” There was a beep, then a raspy voice. “Hello? Is this Deluxe Catering? This is the number that’s—”


“Message number two.”

“Jake, it’s me.” Riley’s whiney voice echoed throughout the living room. “Jake, I know you’re home, so pick up...Okay look. Regardless of how you feel about me, Evan and your dad, we need to talk to you. It’s really important and we’ve been using any means necessary to get your attention for years. Can you not see that? Can you not see?” She sounded as if she was actually crying. “If you’re still listening...”


“No new messages. Would you like me to delete the most recent messages?”


“Okay. You now have thirty-six archived messages. Goodbye.”

I picked up my fourth shot, ready to toss it back, but there was a loud and sudden knock at my door. The type of rude and inconsiderate knock that could only come from Riley.

With the words, “Stay the hell away from me” on my tongue, I walked over to the door, but when I swung it open, I saw Gillian.

Soaking wet, she was still dressed in the emerald green dress from the gala. Her face was flushed red, and her chest was heaving up and down.

“Yes?” I raised my eyebrow.

“We need to get a few things straight,” she said, walking straight past me and into the condo. “We’re going to get through this right now and I’m going to talk, and you’re going to listen.”

I slammed the door shut and tossed back my shot.

She crossed her arms and waited for me to look at her as her dress dripped water onto my floor.

“You can’t talk to me the way you did at the gala. You can’t ever talk to me like that again. I’m not your fucking doormat and I’m not some little doe-eyed girl who’s so desperate for your cock, that I’ll let you treat me any kind of way.”


“I’m still talking.” She cut me off, seething. “I am still talking, Jake. Not you. You’ve said what you had to say in the rudest way possible and right now, it’s my turn.”

I blinked.

“I know that you don’t really know me, that you don’t even want to know me outside of the bedroom, but you need to know this anyway. I have to be respected. Always. You will respect me for as long as we continue this arrangement and if you have a problem with something or “think” I’ve done something to betray what we’ve agreed on, you will talk to me like I’m a human being and not a goddamn possession.”

She paced the floor as she spoke, keeping her eyes on mine. “I’m the one who’s risking the most by sleeping with you. If we’re reported, I get an automatic termination, but since you’re a pilot you’d only get a slap on the wrist and a write-up. So, the least you could do is try to show me some respect. And you can start with an apology for blowing up on me the way you did in that gallery.” She suddenly stopped walking and let out a breath. “That was cruel and unnecessary, Jake. It was also very humiliating.”


“Is that everything?” I asked once she looked like she had nothing more to say.

“Yes. Yes, I believe that’s everything.”

“Good,” I said. “You can get the hell out now.”


“Do I need to say the words a bit slower for you?” I glared at her. “I said, you can get the hell out now. Tell the cab service at the back entrance to take you home and charge it to me, and then don’t come back. Ever.”

“No.” She walked over to me, stepping so close we were nearly touching. “I’m not doing anything until you say you’re sorry.”

“I’m not sorry.”

She opened her mouth to say something else, but I beat her to it.

“I’m not sorry, Gillian.” I made it perfectly clear. “I’m not sorry for a goddamn thing I said to you at that gala. I meant every single word, and if my delivery was a bit blunt for you—”

“If it was a bit blunt for me, then what?”

“Deal with it.”

“Deal with it?”

“Are you partially deaf or do you just enjoy randomly repeating everything I fucking say?” I crossed my arms. “I didn’t stutter.”

“Jake...” The strap of her dress fell down her shoulder, exposing the fact that she wasn’t wearing a bra, but she made no move to fix it. “Regardless of whether you’re really sorry or not, it’s the respectful thing to do.”

“The door is right behind you. Make sure you shut it when you get tired of talking to yourself.” I turned away and headed down the hallway, back to the kitchen for more alcohol.

I finished off my shot, sent Jeff a quick text to make sure he looked out for Gillian on her way downstairs, and then I took off my suit and slipped into the shower.

Letting the warm water hit me on my face, I shut my eyes and wondered how much more liquor it would take for me to forget this mess of a night.

I reached for my soap, but the sound of my shower door opening and closing caught me off guard. All of a sudden, Gillian grabbed my arm from behind and squeezed my bicep, forcing me to turn around and face her again.