Forever with You (Page 9)

Forever with You (Fixed #3)(9)
Author: Laurelin Paige

“Yes. David and another manager are covering the next few days.” I should have felt guilty mentioning David. I didn’t. In fact, for some reason I decided to poke at Hudson. “But I won’t be able to count on David after this week.”

Hudson scowled down at me.

“Why?” Mira asked.

I set my empty glass on the end table next to me. “Hudson transferred him to Adora in Atlantic City.”

Mira looked from me to her brother. “Seems like there’s a story there.”

Hudson perched on the arm of the sofa. “You actually have him for two more weeks. I asked him to stay a little longer while we look for his replacement.”

Well, that was news. Good news. It gave me longer to figure out my role at the club.

Mira’s face twisted in confusion. “Look for his replacement? Why Laynie, of course. Duh.”

“Um…” I’d brought it up. I should have been prepared to be put on the spot. I did want the position, and each day I grew more and more comfortable with the idea. But I still wasn’t ready to make the commitment.

She must have read the complexity of the situation in my face. “Another story, I’m supposing.”

“Yeah. Let’s not go there.” I patted Hudson’s knee. “This guy’s cranky as it is. Jet lag and everything.”

“Got it. You look gorgeous, by the way. That’s not one of mine though.” She pursed her lips.

“Whoops.” Pretty much my whole wardrobe these days was from Mirabelle’s boutique, but wanting to be patriotic, I’d chosen a simple red flare dress with a nearly bare back from my club wardrobe.

She smirked. “You’re coming to my Grand Reopening, right?”

I’d only recently found out she was remodeling. I had no idea an event was attached. But this was the social butterfly, Mirabelle. Of course there’d be an event attached. “Sure. When is it?”

“You didn’t tell her?” She reached over me to swat Hudson.

“It slipped my mind.”

“Hudson, you are such an ass!” To me, she said, “The twenty-second. It’s a Saturday.”

“I’ll have to make sure someone else closes the night before, but that shouldn’t be a problem.” I was already thinking in terms of being responsible for The Sky Launch. Who was I kidding? I’d totally decided the job was mine.

“Oh!” Her eyes widened. “Will you be one of my models? Please say yes. Please, please, please.”

“Um, sure?” It was nearly impossible to say no to the girl, but modeling was not something I had any interest in. Wearing pretty clothes, on the other hand… “What does it involve? Like, do I have to walk a runway?”

“Don’t be silly. I didn’t remodel that much. Okay, it’s a small runway but not like what you’re thinking. It’s almost nothing. I’m simply showing off a few of my favorite looks for publicity. So I just need you to stand there and look gorgeous in one of my outfits while people take pictures of you.”

Except for the pictures part, it sounded fabulous. “Okay. I’m in.”

“Awesome! Can you come by sometime to get fitted? Like next Monday? Around one?”

My schedule was up to me and I didn’t have any appointments set since I had planned to be overseas. But going to Mira’s meant a good chance I’d see Stacy. She hadn’t responded to my text, but did that matter?

“Why are you hesitating?” Mira looked offended.

“Sorry. I was running through my schedule in my mind. Yes. I can be there then.” What was Stacy going to do anyway? Force me to watch her video? That was ridiculous.

“Yay!” Mira made pom-poms with balled-up fists and shook them in the air.

Beside me, I felt Hudson tense. Then a familiar voice said, “Ah, here’s where the party is.”

“Jack!” I stood to give Hudson’s father a hug, careful not to knock the drinks he held, one in each hand. “I didn’t realize you’d be here.”

“He wasn’t invited.” Hudson bit out.

Aha. The uninvited guest from earlier. As if Jack would cause a scene. Or maybe it was Hudson that would disturb the peace. He seemed less than pleased to see his father aboard the yacht.

Jack only smiled at Hudson’s displeasure, his eyes gleaming like they often did when he was about to be contrary. “I’m a Pierce. My invitation’s standing.”

Leaning toward me, Jack said, “Hudson isn’t speaking to me.”

The last time Jack and Hudson had seen each other was the day that Jack admitted fathering Celia’s baby. It had been a secret that Hudson had been determined to keep from his mother. He was not happy that Jack had spilled the beans. “Oh, I suppose he isn’t.” And while I was thinking of the horrid woman… “Is Sophia with you?”

Jack scratched his temple. “She’s not speaking to me either.”

“Serves you right.” Mira’s words were more sassy than chiding. The girl didn’t have it in her to be volatile.

Jack nodded toward his daughter. “Can’t figure out what I have to do to get this one to stop speaking to me.”

“Daddy!”

He winked at Mira. “I’m teasing, pumpkin. You’re the light of my life, and you know it. Here, I brought you a virgin daiquiri.”

Mira harrumphed but took the drink from her father’s outstretched hand. “I’m not exactly happy with you these days myself, you know.”

Jack sighed. “I know. Chandler’s keeping your mother company tonight so she’s not alone. You’re a sweet girl to be worried about her. I’ll try to make it up to you sometime.”

“It’s not me you need to make up to,” Mira said under her breath.

Either not hearing or decidedly ignoring his daughter, Jack turned his attention back to me. “How are you?”

“I’m good. And I’m so glad to see you. I wanted to thank you. For being my support when all that went down.” Jack had been one of the few people on my side when Celia had accused me of harassing her. Bringing it up now, I felt that small pang of betrayal. Hudson was right—it wasn’t so easy to forget that kind of pain.

“It was nothing, Laynie. I knew whom we were dealing with. I would have thought others here would have too.” He didn’t bother to look at Hudson, but his words hit their mark just the same.

I hadn’t meant for the conversation to go that direction. Despite the hurt he’d caused, Hudson had valid reasons to think Celia’s accusations might be true. “To be fair, you don’t know me quite as well as others here do either. But anyway, thank you.” I took Jack’s hand in mine and squeezed.