Isn't She Lovely Page 55

I pull my hand away from his, not caring that the gesture looks childish and obvious.

“Actually, hold that thought,” I say, my voice too high and bright. “I need to use the restroom first. Meet you at the fish eggs later, yeah?”

I turn away before I can enjoy their snobbish reaction to my bastardization of caviar, and pride myself that I neither run nor trip on the way to the bathroom.

I’m even more proud of the fact that I don’t cry once I’m in there, even though the lump in my throat tells me that I want to.

I stare at my reflection in the elaborate yacht bathroom for a good while. When I was getting ready in the bedroom the Prices had put me in, I felt every bit the part of the rich boy’s girlfriend. But after seeing Olivia, I realize that fitting into this world isn’t just about the right dress or the right hair or the right look. It’s about confidence. It’s about a conviction that you belong here and that the people surrounding you in all this ridiculous opulence want you here.

That’s the real kicker with the Pygmalion story. That’s the conflict Martin Holbrook talked about. Because you can dress up a hooker and she’s still a hooker. A flower girl is still a flower girl.

And a grungy film student is still a grungy film student. Even in a pretty dress.

Although I feel humiliated and completely out of place, I try to look on the bright side. At least I’ve finally got some inspiration for those ending scenes of our screenplay. Maybe I can pass the time by jotting down ideas on cocktail napkins while getting blitzed on the fabulous champagne. I suspect Ethan won’t be needing me as his fake girlfriend the rest of the evening.

I open the door, fully intending to take advantage of the first and probably last time I’ll have access to a top-shelf open bar and fancy rich-people food, but before I can step out of the bathroom, I’m being pushed back into it.

“What the—Ethan?”

He slams the door shut behind him, locking it, before turning toward me, his eyes murderous.

“You left me.”

The simple statement throws me off balance. I left him?

“I thought you didn’t want me there!” I say. “I felt like a fifth wheel while you guys made hungry eyes at each other.”

He has the decency to look guilty for a split second before he resumes his possessive glare, as though I’m the one making a mess of things.

“I haven’t seen her in months. I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t—” He breaks off.

“You missed her,” I say softly.

Ethan rubs his neck and doesn’t meet my eyes, and for the briefest second my chest literally hurts.

“Maybe,” he says quietly. “For a second I thought so. But then you were gone, and I wasn’t thinking about Olivia. I was worried that you’d changed your mind and hightailed it back to Manhattan.”

The pain in my chest eases, just a little. “I wouldn’t do that,” I say softly. “I said I’d stay.”

He lets out a long breath before reaching out and hooking his hands around my elbows, pulling me closer.


I search his face, wanting him to tell me that it’s only me that he wants. That he’s completely over Olivia. But he doesn’t say that, and I don’t ask.

Still, I’m not going to leave him. I can’t.

“I promise,” I whisper.

And then he kisses me, there in the privacy of the cramped bathroom, where nobody can see us.

Where nobody can see us.

I’m beginning to realize that there are two kinds of kisses for us: the stage kiss and the important kiss.

And the important kisses have just officially outnumbered the stage kisses.

Chapter Twenty


“That dress suits Olivia.”

I close my eyes at the sound of my mother’s voice. Is she kidding me with this? I’m only surprised my mom waited for the last evening of the house party to make her move.

“Oh?” I say. “I haven’t seen her yet this evening.”

That’s a lie. I saw Olivia almost immediately. And not because I was looking for her, but because it was damned difficult to avoid someone whose all-too-familiar eyes are on you 24/7.

She was watching me the entire time I was giving Stephanie a caviar-tasting lesson at the cocktail party last night.

She was watching me during the bonfire when Stephanie and I fed each other marshmallows.

And then there was this morning, when I showed up for my tee time only to realize that Olivia was in my foursome, along with our fathers. And no way to get out of it.

I had yet to tell Stephanie that Olivia and I had spent eight hours together. It’s not like it was my fault. I hadn’t planned it. But Olivia golfed, and Stephanie didn’t, so … there was that.

But the real reason I haven’t told Stephanie is that the morning with Olivia wasn’t nearly as awful as I’d expected. In fact, once we got past a little stiffness and stilted small talk on the first few holes, it was almost as though nothing had changed. And as hard as I’d tried to hold on to the memory of seeing her in Michael’s arms, when the two of us were together, trading criticism about each other’s golf swing or helping the other locate a lost ball, it had felt … well, familiar.

Not that I want to get back together with her. But I was acutely aware that we are well matched in every way that matters. That we will always be well matched.

I remembered that Olivia doesn’t go leaping off the docks with the little kids, squealing all the way. Stephanie does. Olivia doesn’t roll her eyes when one of my parents’ wino friends starts discussing the nuances of various vintages. Olivia doesn’t roll up her capris and dive into a way-too-competitive game of croquet with the men of the party, ending up by charming them all.

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