When we pulled into the drive of yet another huge mansion/house, I couldn't believe my eyes. There were a ton of people here. Vaguely, I wondered if this would be somewhat similar to what it would be like on The Red Carpet.
"Alright here are the rules. " Sadie said, turning to me once she'd parked the car. "Don't flirt. With anyone."
I looked out the window at all the girls walking around. They all looked like they'd just sprang out of a Victoria's Secret magezine. "Why not?"
"Because it'll embaress me. Don't drink any alcohol. Don't mention where you're from or what you do or how much money you have. And above all, don't deliberatly humiilate me. Don't accidentally humiliate me either, now that I mention it." She gave me a cheerful smile. "Got it all? Okay then. Let's go."
It was nerve-wracking. There were so many classy people around. I remained utterly silent at Sadie's side as she flitted from group to group, exchanging greetings and those weird air kisses. It wasn't until forty two minutes in, when we'd found Whitney and Malory, that I finally spoke.
"Luke!" Whitney shot me an alluring smile despite the fact that she was clutching the arm of another guy. She looked amazing in her embroidered green dress, as did Malory in her sleek blue one. Neither of them had anything on Sadie, though. "Sadie, you didn't tell me Luke was coming. What happened to Dayton?"
"He's out of town, actually." Sadie said sweetly, but I saw the anger in her eyes. She was still pissed at Dayton for ditching her. "He had to fly to London for business."
Business? How old was he?
"Wow, Luke. I had no idea you were this hot." Malory nodded, smiling at me. The man she stood beside scowled.
I forced a smile. "Thanks. You look great too. And you, Whitney."
They each fluttered their long lashes at me. My shirt collar suddenly felt too tight.
"Alright, well." Sadie suddenly said, sounding a little too forceful. "We're going to go find Laurel. You guys have fun."
Sadie steered me toward Laurel, who was looking gorgeous in her red satin dress. "Happy birthday!" They kissed each other, and then Laurel smiled at me. "You clean up muy bueno."
"That's what I said!" Sadie grinned.
"Your work, I presume?" Lauren asked.
Sadie's grin widened. "Of course."
Laurel nodded in appreciation, winking one of those big dark eyes at me. "Take care of yourself, Luke. Sadie will eat you right up if you give her the chance."
Heat scorched my cheeks. Sadie's own cheeks turned scarlet. She glared at Laurel, who laughed and kissed Sadie's forehead. "It is my birthday. I can get away with it today. Have fun."
Laurel swept away, leaving an awkward silence in her wake."Um." Sadie said uncertainly. "Well, I'm going to go get some punch. Go mingle if you want."
I opened my mouth to protest, but she was already weaving her way through the crowd. Great. I didn't know anybody. What was I supposed to do now?
My hands were shaking slightly as I poured myself a cup of punch. I couldn't believe Laurel had just humiliated me like that. I know she didn't mean any harm. Maybe it was just the fact of how accurate she'd been.
Luke. Was there never an end to how many times he surprised me? He looked gorgeous. Like he could model for Abercrombie, I'm not even kidding. The fact that he seemed completely unaware of that only made him hotter. If I wasn't careful, I could easily become so attracted to him that I would do something crazy, like doing something about it.
And that was the problem. I had a boyfriend. A sucky boyfriend, but still. Oh who am I kidding. I couldn't care less if I cheated on Dayton. The problem was that Luke was my enemy. I know it was my own fault that he was. But the fact remains that he is. Plus, he absolutely is not my type. He's a country boy-or at least he lives out in the country-and we just have nothing in common. Besides the fact that we were both missing a parent, of course. That was it though.
I jumped in surprise and the punch went slopping over the rim of the cup when someone tapped on my shoulder. "Alright you got your punch. Now come sit down with me." It was Luke. Without waiting for an answer, he grabbed my hand and led me to a table that stood in the corner of the room, farthest from the large throng of people. I sat down and said nothing even while Luke stared at me expectantly. God, his eyes. They were so dark and hot. And his face, all chiseled. The strong angle of his jaw, the full set of his lips. I felt my stomach tighten in response.
I couldn't take it. To distract myself from how much he was turning me on, I said. "So do you live at the ranch?"
He shook his head. "I live in Oklahoma."
Oh. I hadn't known that. "Why are you here then?"
"Every summer I watch house for my uncle while he goes on his annual business trip."
Eee. "The house that I ruined..."
He sent me a crooked smile. "The house that you're fixing."
I chewed on my lower lip. "Will he be mad?"
"Furious." Luke answered easily. "But he won't be even a quarter of how mad he would be if we didn't fix it before he got back."
"When will he return?"
"The first of August."
My jaw dropped. "We have to fix the house within two months?"
He nodded grimly. I felt a little faint. Oh I was screwed...
"So why did you ruin the house? Or how?"
I bit down on my lip a little harder. "You won't tell?" He waited. "I fell asleep."
"That's what we all figured." Luke didn't sound surprised. "Tommy said you were probably drunk, but you didn't seem it then. Plus I didn't smell anything."
I snorted. "You were sniffing me out?"
He grinned. "I'm a ninja. That's why you didn't notice."
I smiled, shaking my head before taking a sip of punch. "I can bet I didn't notice because I was freaking out."
"You were freaking out?"
"Oh yeah. Hysterical." I lifted my eyebrows at the memory of it. "I was about to throw up all over you when I got out of the car."
"Huh." He thought that one over. "But you played it so cool, casual. You were really freaking out?"
I dipped my head in a nod as I took another gulp of punch. "I'm good at playing it cool. Just look around," I added, gesturing. "When you grow up in this kind of enviorment, you have to have good composure."
I brought my voice down an octave so those nearest wouldn't overhear. "Everyone here-besides Laurel and her mother-are completely fake."
He'd leaned forward to hear me. "Even Malory and Whitney?"
"They have their moments. Like now, look." I pointed at Whitney, dancing a slow dance with her boyfriend.
"What about her?" Luke said quizically.
"Look at her. She's pretending to be enjoying herself. See how she's leaning away from Darin, and only her hands are on his shoulders?"
"Yeah." Luke said, still sounding puzzled.
"Well when you're actually enjoying yourself, you don't dance like that. Look at Malory and her boyfriend. See how they're all pressed together, and Malory's arms are around his neck, and her head's on his shoulder?" I nodded, straightening. "She's not faking it, like Whitney is. Plus she-"
We each turned when Laurel called to us from the dance floor. "Come dance!"
I exchanged a look with Luke. "Ah...we'd rather not."
"Oh come on! It is my birthday! Dance for me, por favor! "
I bit my lip again as Luke and I reluctantly rose to our feet. As we took our place beside Laurel and the boy she was dancing with, I felt a heat flush my skin. I put my hands on Luke's shoulders, distancing myself from him while he put his own hands on my hips. He was so warm. I felt my belly flutter.
This...would not be good.