Rastor (Lawton Rastor Book 2) (8 page)

BOOK: Rastor (Lawton Rastor Book 2)
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Chapter 17

The story, according to the tabloids and all those Web sites, had me screwing Brandy in the men's room and then going on an ass-beating rampage afterwards. Only half of that was true, and it wasn't the screwing part.

"Yeah. About that," I said. "Her acting career? It wasn't exactly taking off."

"It seemed like it was going alright," Chloe said.

"Yeah. She had a few parts. But she wanted something bigger. So I'm at this dinner – some promo thing for a celebrity endorsement. And she corners me in the men's room."

"Seriously?"

In my mind, I could see it. I'd come out from a bathroom stall, and there she'd been, sitting on the restroom counter, with her skirt hiked up and her blouse unbuttoned. There was no bra, no panties, and no hesitation to flaunt it.

Her thighs were spread and her back was arched. She wore red high heels and matching lipstick. She was the perfect picture of a centerfold, but all I felt was disgust.

"Yeah," I said to Chloe. "And the way it looks, she's ready for a sequel."

Apparently, the sequel involved me nailing her next to the bathroom sink, or letting it play out a different way – the way it
did
play out. Either way, Brandy got what she wanted, plenty of attention.

"A sequel? Chloe said. "You're kidding,"

"Only half," I said. "Because Brandy's not stupid. She knows damn well I'm not gonna fall for some secret camera thing again. But she still could use the publicity, right? So she gets half-naked and corners me."

Chloe shook her head. "You
did
say this was in the
men's
room, right?"

"Yeah. And as soon as I see her, I take off. But she follows after me, making this big scene. And from what she's yelling, it sounds like we just did it right there in the stall."

In my mind, I could still hear Brandy screaming as the crowd grew thick around us.
"You asshole! What do you think I am? Your personal cum dumpster? Well next time you want a quickie, call someone else, because I'm not your plaything!"

Her skirt was crooked, and one of her boobs was hanging out of her open blouse. Her lipstick was smudged, and her eyes were filled with big, fake tears.

As for me, I'd been fully clothed, which, the way the tabloids saw it, just made me a bigger asshole. Like I'd unzipped my fly and stuck it to her fast and hard.

"So I get the hell out of there," I continued, "and she's following after me, acting like I'd just done the wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am. And I see all these photographers."

"She set you up?" Chloe asked.

"Yeah. Did a good job of it too. Even hired these bouncers to keep me from leaving. She wanted a full spectacle."

"Boy, she sure got it," Chloe said. "How come you never told anyone?"

"I did. I said flat-out that none of it happened. You think
that
got any coverage? Besides, you think anyone gives a crap?"

"They might've," Chloe said, "if you had told the whole story."

"You think anyone wants the whole story?" I tried to laugh. "Besides, she did me a big favor, right? Right after that sex tape hit, I was signed to that reality show."

The show,
Hard World,
had changed everything, mostly because
I
had changed. By then, I'd become a different person, especially when it came to sex. As far as the female cast-members, I'd had them all, and had fun doing it, or at least that’s what I told myself at the time.

Chloe was frowning. "About that show, was any of that true?"

"Which part?"

"You." She cleared her throat. "And all those girls?"

Chloe's question hung in the open air. And damn it, I didn't want to answer.

Basically, I'd screwed my way from one end of the house to the other, sometimes tapping two girls in a single night. They meant nothing to me. They were Brandy clones, each and every one of them, wanting quick fame and easy money.

I frowned. Or maybe it was too convenient for me to see them that way. The fun – if you could call it that – ended after some redhead named Macey threw another girl out a plate glass window.

The girl, an aspiring actress named Cookie of all things, needed fifteen stitches across her forehead and countless more on her arms and legs. The publicity was insane, but the show was over – cancelled, according to news reports.

Cancelled, my ass. I'd walked out and refused to return. As far as the producers? Rather than admit they'd lost the guy who had people tuning in, they'd quietly succumbed to "bad publicity", so they'd "cancelled for the safety of their amazing cast."

I could still remember that press release. What a joke.

Chloe was still waiting for my answer. Was any of it true?

I wasn't going to lie. "Yeah."

Disappointment darkened her features. "Oh."

"You've gotta understand," I said, "everywhere I looked, someone wanted something from me. I guess I was pissed off, maybe a little tired of fighting it." I squeezed her hand. "Until you."

"Why me?"

"What do you mean?"

"Why not Amber? Or Brittney?"

Was she kidding? I studied her face. "Is that a serious question?"

"Well, take Brittney," she said. "You obviously liked her well enough a few weeks ago. And Amber too. Why not them?"

I tried to find the words. "Girls like Brittney are easy."

"That's for sure," Chloe muttered.

"I don't mean that." I shook my head. "With girls like her, I know what I'm getting. And they know what they're getting, too."

"Girls like what?"

"You know the type," I said. "Girls from the wrong side of town who pretend to be something they're not."

Maybe that didn't describe Amber, but it described Brittney just fine, along with countless other girls along the way.

Chloe's hand grew stiff in mine. "What's she pretending to be?"

"I dunno. Some socialite, I guess. Take that sorority thing. Get this. She doesn't even go to college."

"Not now?" Chloe said. "Or not ever?"

"Not ever. And probably never will."

"You're kidding."

"Nope."

"How do you know?"

I gave Chloe the run-down of Brittney's drunken visit from a few weeks earlier, when she'd told me the truth. Her mom wasn't a banker, she wasn't in a sorority, and her life was a pathetic mess.

If Brittney were a nicer person, I might even feel sorry for her.

Chloe was shaking her head. "But she told that same lie tonight. About the sorority, I mean. Why would she do that if you knew the truth?"

I shrugged. "She probably forgot. Like I said, she was pretty trashed."

"But why didn’t you call her on it?"

"Tonight? Because I didn't care. I figured you wouldn’t either. I mean, c'mon, it's pathetic, right?"

And it
was
pathetic. I recalled Brittney's cheap-ass apartment in that shitty part of town. Brittney's bedroom, with its lacy bedspread and girly-girl pillows, had been the only clean room in the whole place. As for the rest of it, it was littered with garbage, including Brittney's roommate, who, as far as I could tell, turned tricks for drug-money.

I'd been in that apartment less than fifteen minutes, but it had made an impression.

Chloe's hand slipped from mine, and she started walking again. I fell in beside her and asked, "What's wrong?"

"Nothing." She kept on walking, looking not so much angry as overwhelmed.

I could see why. It was a lot to digest. But I didn't like the fact that we were moving again. Time was running out. Up ahead, I spotted Chloe's place, maybe five minutes away. 

It might be now or never. "Chloe?" I said.

"Yeah?"

"Will you give me another chance?"

For a long time, she said nothing, and her silence grew heavier with every step.

Finally, I had to ask, "Is this your way of telling me no, that it's over?"

Still moving, I glanced over at her. She looked lost in thought, and part of me wondered if she'd heard my question at all.

Too soon, we were at the foot of her long driveway. She stopped and turned to face me. I stopped too and studied her face. I saw a flicker of warmth tinged with caution.

She was thinking about it. I could tell.

I pressed my luck. "Chloe, I do love you."

She looked down at her feet. "I love you too. But I'm not sure it's enough."

"It's enough for me," I said. "The first time I saw you, I just knew."

And I had. Funny, I'd always laughed at guys who fell too hard and too fast. But with Chloe, it was impossible to do anything else. Maybe it was because of how we met.

I'd been lying there half-dead, and she hadn't let
me
slip away. At the memory, I almost smiled. And now, five years later, here I was waiting for another chance.

She turned and looked toward the horizon. "It's really late."

I looked too. It was lighter now, almost sunrise. "No. It's early, remember?"

She turned and gave me a sad smile. "Lawton, I'm not sure you really know me. And if I'm being really honest, that's my fault not yours. But it is what it is."

"I do know you," I said. "At least all that matters."

She shook her head. "No. You don't. And honestly, I probably don't know you very well either."

Maybe. But somehow, I'd change that, even if it meant showing her things that I'd rather stay hidden. On impulse, I said, "You wanna know me? Come with me tomorrow."

"Where?"

"You'll see."

She bit her lip. "Tomorrow's not good."

"Then how about the next day?"

"Monday?" She gave a small smile. "I'm working that day, too."

"But you don't go in 'til late, right?"

"Yeah. But I can't afford to be late anymore."

I knew what she meant. Earlier tonight, she'd been at least a couple of hours late for work. My fault, not hers. "I won't make you late," I said. "I promise."

She hesitated, looking almost tempted.

I pressed the advantage. "C'mon. It's my last day in town this week. Say yes."

"You're taking a trip?"

"Not a vacation. Work. This event in Vegas." At a sudden thought, I smiled. "You wanna come?"

She gave a playful eye-roll. "Very funny."

"You think I'm joking?"

I wasn't joking. This trip, I wasn't looking forward to. But with Chloe, everything would be different. It could be a fresh start for both of us.

"I don't know what to think," she said, "but it doesn't matter. I'm working every day 'til Friday."

"Then c'mon, say yes for Monday." I looked into her eyes. "Please?"

Finally, I saw the hint of a real smile. "Maybe."

"I'm taking that as a yes." I glanced toward her house. "Can I walk you to the door?"

She shook her head. "Nah, that's alright." With a small wave, she turned and started walking down her long driveway. I waited, watching from the street, to make sure she got inside okay. And then, after I saw the lights flick on inside her house, I turned and headed back to my own place.

What I found there wasn't good.

Chapter 18

I heard them before I saw them. I was still on the sidewalk, walking toward my front gate when a female voice hollered out, "Let me in! I mean it!"

Damn it. The voice was Brittney's. With a muttered curse, I picked up the pace.

I was still moving when I heard Amber yell out, "Stop it! Or I'm telling!"

Striding through my open front gate, I spotted them in the turnaround. The way it looked, Amber was inside her car, and Brittney was crawling up on its front hood.

Amber's sunroof was open, and her head was poking out the top. Brittney lunged across the front windshield and made a grab for what? Amber's face? I never found out, because Amber ducked out of Brittney's reach just in time.

Brittney slid backward, down the front windshield. "Oh come on!" she yelled. "Just unlock the door, alright?"

Amber's head popped up long enough to yell, "No way! I'm not here to see
you
."

I looked toward the house and spotted Bishop, standing in the open doorway. He wore sweatpants and a white T-shirt. He had a coffee mug in his hand, and he casually took a sip.

I ignored him and strode toward the car. When Brittney spotted me, she froze, like a farmer caught fucking a sheep.

I stopped moving and gave her a good, long look. She looked like a cartoon hobo in dark, masculine clothes that were twice her size and vaguely familiar.

I eyed her up and down, cataloguing her clothes – black slacks, a button-down dress-shirt, a suit-jacket, and men's dress-shoes that looked about five sizes too big.

Son of a bitch.

I knew why the clothes were familiar. They looked exactly like the clothes the driver had been wearing maybe an hour earlier when he'd driven Brittney away. The only things missing were his cap and tie.

What the hell?

Brittney was still perched on the hood of Amber's car. "Oh, hey, Lawton." She gave me a nervous smile. "You're back."

"So are you," I muttered.

From inside the car, Amber popped up from the open sunroof long enough to yell, "She won't let me out!"

"Liar!" Brittney yelled before turning back to me. "She won't let me in!"

Again, I looked to Bishop. He was still drinking his coffee – or whatever. Come to think of it, he didn't drink coffee.

Did he?

Did it matter?

Cursing, I moved closer to Amber's car and peered through the glass. From the driver's seat, Amber yelled, "Tell her to go away!"

"Screw that!" Brittney yelled, crawling down from the hood. "Tell her to let me in!" A second later, she was at my side, saying, "I don't know what her problem is. She acts like I'm gonna kill her or something."

Brittney turned toward the car and hollered through the glass, "You see a chainsaw here? No! You don't! So open up already!"

"No way!" Amber yelled. "Not 'til you're gone!"

With a huff, Brittney turned to me and said, "Can you believe this?"

Yeah, I could.

"What the hell are you doing here?" I asked.

To think, I'd literally paid someone to take her away, and somehow, she'd ended up right back on my doorstep.

She made a pouty face. "I forgot my purse."

From inside the car, Amber yelled, "I bet it's a fake!"

Brittney whirled toward her. "It is not!" She turned back to me. "You believe me, right?"

At this point, what I believed had nothing to with anyone's purse. I turned my attention to Amber, who was still hunkered down in the car.

I spoke through the glass, "And what are
you
doing here?"

The nearest window slid down barely a crack. Amber lifted her face to the slim opening and said, "You said you wanted to talk."

I gave her a look. "And you couldn’t have called?"

Here, I'd left a dozen messages, and none of them contained an invitation to stop by. In fact, I'd been pretty pissed off at the time and hadn't bothered to hide it. If Amber was smart, she would've stayed far away.

"I did call," Amber said. "You didn't answer. But you said it was important." She gave me a big, friendly smile. "So here I am."

Yes. Here she was.

"Big whoop," Brittney said. "I was here first."

"So what?" Amber said. "It doesn't count if they don't let you in."

I glanced toward the front door. Bishop was still there. Guarding the house? Or enjoying the show? Knowing him, it was probably both.

Next to me, Brittney gave a loud, dramatic sigh. "I've had the worst night, and nobody even cares."

Well, I sure as hell didn't care.

But she was still talking. "I just
know
I’m locked out of my apartment." She glanced toward Bishop. "And your stupid brother won't help." She cupped her hands and hollered out, "Thanks a lot!"

He lifted his mug in mock salute.

"It's called sarcasm!" Brittney called back. "Thanks for nothing, asshole!"

With a half shrug, Bishop took another drink of whatever.

Brittney turned back to me. "And Amber won't give me a ride either."

Through clenched teeth, I said, "You had a ride."

"Yeah, but that one sucked."

From inside the car, Amber yelled, "You sucked
him
, you mean!"

"I did not!" Brittney said, and then muttered, "We did other stuff."

Well, I guess that explained the clothes. As for the driver, what was
he
wearing now? Just the cap and tie?

More importantly, where
was
he?

I pulled out my cell phone and found the contact. I hit the call button.

"If you're calling the driver," Brittney said, "don't bother. Something happened to his phone." She gave a little laugh. "The guy was a total idiot."

No. I was the idiot. I should've warned the guy.
Just because a girl is naked, it doesn't mean she's harmless.

I knew
that
from experience. Too much experience.

I turned and called out to Bishop. "Get Brittney's purse, will ya?"

Brittney made a sound of annoyance. "Can't I come in?"

"No."

"But I don't have a ride!"

"You will," I told her. And I meant it, too. But this time, I wasn't taking any chances. This new driver was gonna be a lot smarter than the last one, even if he wouldn't be too happy about it.

BOOK: Rastor (Lawton Rastor Book 2)
12.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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