“You so do.”
“I’m concerned about your behavior and how you’re acting, not the stupid necklace,” she says, her voice rising the slightest bit. She’s angry now.
Good. I’m angry too.
“Did you ever think I’m just acting like … me?”
Leaning back in her chair, she frowns. “Rose …”
“I’m serious. Maybe I’m just being myself, you know? I’ve always been in your shadow or Lily’s shadow, and I’ve never done anything on my own. Just for me.” I grab my purse from where I set it on the floor by my chair and start to exit her office.
“Rose, don’t go,” she calls, and I pause in front of the closed door, my hand resting on the handle. “Stay and talk to me.”
With a sigh, I glance at her over my shoulder, offering her a pitiful smile. “There’s nothing left to discuss. I just … I need to be alone for a little bit, okay?”
“Okay.” She nods, looking contrite. She doesn’t like to fight and neither do I. “You’ll come over for dinner tonight?”
I’m staying at a hotel for the next few nights but if I do decide to prolong my stay in London, do I really want to move in with my sister and her boyfriend? “Are you cooking?” I ask cautiously. Violet can’t cook. None of us can.
“No, we’re getting takeout. From this great little Indian restaurant that’s not too far from our flat. Ryder would eat there seven days a week if I let him,” Violet explains, amusement tingeing her voice.
“Fine. Yes. I’ll come to dinner. See you later.” I hurry out of her office before she says something else and convinces me to stay with her.
I want to be alone right now. So I can try to process my turbulent thoughts.
Not that I have much faith in myself at the moment.
“So how long do you plan on staying with me?” Whitney purrs, wrapping her arms around my neck, her fingers diving into my hair. I’ve barely shut the door and she’s already pressed her body against me, her hips nudging mine.
I disentangle myself from her grip. The woman is like an octopus, hands everywhere, all at once. “I don’t know,” I tell her, dropping my bag on the floor right by the front door. “A few weeks? Maybe a month?”
The smile on her face is nothing short of pleased. I’ve been friends with Whitney Banks for what feels like forever. More like since we were little kids and we went to the same private school together. Her banker father—always loved that their last name is Banks, so fitting—got a job transfer just before junior high ended and she moved with her family to London. We would see each other on occasion when she came back to the States and one night, while she was in New York the summer after we graduated high school, we were at a party together and got drunk.
And we had sex.
Ever since then, whenever we see each other—which is rare—we usually end up fucking. I’m never with anyone and neither is she. We both have zero interest in relationships, but our friendship with a little fucking on the side works quite nicely.
Though right now I’m exhausted. The last thing I want to do is fuck. I need a shower first. And then a nap.
Whitney, on the other hand, appears raring to go.
“Put your bag in my room.” She comes for me once more, her arms going around my waist this time as she tips her head back, waiting for my kiss. I dutifully deliver it, dropping a quick kiss on her lips.
“You don’t want me in your room,” I murmur against her perfectly glossed pink lips.
Whitney smiles, her hands slipping down to grip my ass. “Oh, I definitely want you in my room. Easy access.” She is beautiful and she knows it. Perfect blond hair cut into a fashionable bob, plump lips, sparkling blue eyes, and a willowy body that can wear just about anything. She’s usually clad in as little clothing as possible and can get away with it, since she’s more on the slender than the curvy side.
I think immediately of Rose Fowler’s curves. She has a woman’s body. Full breasts, nipped-in waist, and rounded hips, and her ass is a perfect handful. Hard to believe I walked away from her like I did.
Not that I had a choice. I needed to get out of there. The lynch mob didn’t find me, thank God, and while I heard rumblings about the bracelet being stolen, there was no public notice made.
The rich do not like to talk about their goods being stolen—I discovered this early on in my so-called career. They’d rather sweep the embarrassing loss under the rug, collect their insurance payout, and move on. Dire stories on the local news about a jewel thief aren’t becoming, which is fine by me.
Their lack of talking to the authorities made my endeavors easier to carry out. Though I’m disappointed I didn’t get ahold of the Poppy Necklace. I’ve already heard from Dexter, my old contact who wants to add the piece to his collection. He’s displeased and has been urging me to go after it, but I put him off.
I stayed on in Cannes for a few days, cashing in the bracelet and collecting a hefty payment. Found out Rose Fowler left Cannes the day after I saw her, so that was a lost cause. I hung out on the beaches and flirted with various women, snagging a few gold pieces that were worth a decent amount. I garnered enough to pay for Mom’s expenses for the next five months at least, maybe six.
The relief of that is tremendous. I can finally relax and do something for myself for a little while.
“What brings you here?” Whitney hasn’t removed her arms from my waist or her hands from my ass, and I again have to pull myself out of her grip. I walk over to the couch and sit down, leaning my head back so I can stare up at the ceiling.