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Well, this just wasn’t going to work for him.
 
He watched as Grabby-hands took Anna by the hand and led her back to the bar, where he ordered more drinks.
 
It was pretty obvious what his intentions were.
 

For some reason, it infuriated Drew.
 
Who did this guy think he was?
 
And what the hell was Anna thinking?
 

Grabby-hands finally took the plunge, leaning forward and kissing Anna.
 
When they pulled apart, Anna looked as if she might cry.

Drew was just about blinded by rage.
 

That was it.
 

He made it to the pair before Grabby-hands had the chance to lead her out of the building and Drew reached out, taking Anna’s hand.
 
“What are you doing?”
 
Anna asked him.

“I’m taking you home.”
 

“You’re what?”
 
Grabby-hands was obviously pissed that Drew was moving in on his game.
 

“Look, I know you think that you actually have a shot here.
 
But I’m telling you right now:
 
You don’t.”

“I think she’s capable of making her own choices.”
 
Drew looked at Anna expectantly.
 

“Come on, Anna.
 
Let me take you home.”
 
He pleaded with her.
 
Obviously, he was a much more reasonable choice.

“You know what?
 
I’m not going with either one of you.”
 

Drew couldn’t deny the satisfied feeling flooding through him as he watched her go to Alice.
 
Grabby-hands swore and Drew turned to him, a serious look on his face.
 

“You touch her
again,
I’ll break your nose.”
 

There, that was better.
 

So maybe keeping an eye on Anna wasn’t the worst idea Jeff had ever had.
 

 

~*~

 

Anna was having a bad week.
 
It had started off with the worst hangover of her life, made even worse by her annoying little sister taunting her about it all day.
 

Then there had been the drive to work Monday morning, when she had accidentally heard Drew Whitman’s stupid morning show.
 
She had been
graced
with his opinion about girls on the rebound, and how they were willing to throw themselves at anything that paid them even the slightest amount of attention.

Like he was one to talk.
 
Drew was guilty of acting like a girl on the rebound every day of his life.
 
He was easily the biggest man-whore she’d had the privilege to know.

His ranting had lasted most of the week, and though she didn’t
want
to listen to it, she couldn’t escape it, either.
 

Finally, she’d had enough.
 

“Seriously, is there anything worse than a woman on the rebound?
 
It’s like being in high school all over again.”
 
His voice was saying.
 
Crystal chuckled softly, shaking her head.
 
“I mean, I’m not saying girls don’t have the right to sleep around.
 
On the contrary, my friends.
 
But at least use a little discretion.
 
Don’t go sleeping with the first jerk-off who buys you a few drinks—especially one who smells like he took a bath in cheap cologne.”
 

That was it.
 
Anna could feel her cheeks turning red and she finished pouring herself a cup of coffee—it was
definitely
a serious caffeine morning—and hurried down the hall to her office.
 

She was already dialing the number before she turned the radio on.
 
They were on a commercial break—which was perfect, as far as Anna was concerned.
 
All she wanted to do was let Drew Whitman have a little piece of her mind.
 

The screener answered.
 
“Hi, I’m calling to talk to Drew.”

“You want to
talk
to him?”
 
Anna nodded,
then
realized she couldn’t be seen.

“Yes, I’d like to speak with him.
 
About this whole rebound nonsense.”

“Your name?”
 
She thought about it for only a moment.

“Belle.”
 

“It’ll just be a minute.”
 
She began playing out scenarios in her head, each one where she ripped into Drew and told him what an ass he was.
 
She hadn’t even noticed the show had returned from a commercial by the time she was taken off hold.
 

“Is this Belle?”
 
It wasn’t Drew, but his co-host Dave.
 

“Um, yes,

 
she
replied.
 

“You have some comments for Drew?”

“That’s right.”
 
Anna was surprised to hear herself on the radio a few feet away from her.
 
She froze for a minute, not sure what to say.
 

“Belle, are you still there?”
 

“Yes, I am, sorry.”
 

“You know, Belle, you sound familiar.”
 
Drew told her.
 
That was it—the last reminder she needed.
 

“I just wanted to respond to Drew’s comments about the rebound girl.”
 

“Well, respond away, my dear.”
 

“First, I wanted to tell
you
to stop being such a hypocrite.
 
All week long you’ve been talking about how desperate girls on the rebound are.
 
Every day, it’s another bash.
 
Well, I’ve had just about enough.
 
Because what you’re calling ‘rebound behavior’, I call just another Saturday night for you.”

“Wow, that’s
kinda
harsh, Belle.”
 
Dave interjected.

“Yeah, I’d say so.”
 
Drew chimed in.
 
“Sounds like we have a little history.”

“Oh, we go
way
back.”
 
Anna was certain Drew knew exactly who she was by now.
 
“And second, I wanted to tell you that the next time you see a girl having a good time—”

“And by good time, you mean crying in the middle of a crowd—”

“I was
not
crying.”
 
She was livid now.
 
“I was
enjoying
myself.”

“Oh, you definitely weren’t feeling any pain at that point, that’s for sure.”
 

“Wait a minute, you two know each other?”
 
But Anna ignored him.
 

“Maybe you should concentrate a little more on
your
life before you go around telling others what they’re doing wrong with theirs.”
 
And with that, she slammed the phone back onto
it’s
cradle.
 

Dave’s low whistle was the last thing she heard before she reached out and flipped the radio off.
 

That was enough of that.

 

~*~

 

By the time Saturday night rolled around, Anna was in need of some serious stress relief.
 
Her week had only gotten worse, as the estimates for the studio were all much higher than she had anticipated.
 
With all of the budget cuts lately, she was having a hard time coming up with enough money just to manage the more minor updates the center needed, let alone come up with the tens of thousands it was going to take to get the ball rolling on the studio.
 

Plus she still had all of this frustration leftover from Drew and his stupid comments.
 
Who did he think he was?
 

They weren’t even friends.
 
Drew had absolutely no right commenting on her life and the choices she made.
 
As far as she was concerned, whatever relationship there had been between them had existed only because of Jeff.
 
And now that Jeff was no longer in the picture…

Of course, the truth was just the opposite.
 
Without her relationship with Drew, however insignificant it may have been, she never would have had a relationship with Jeff.
 

Regardless, Drew Whitman was not her friend.
 

Which was exactly what she planned to prove tonight.
 

She spotted him only a few moments after she and Alice had arrived.
 
She knew it wouldn’t take long to catch his attention.
 
He was probably just as much on the lookout for her as she was for him.
 

She and Alice ordered their first drinks and Anna downed hers, eager for the numb sensation she had experienced last weekend.
 
It had made everything so much easier, not having to think or feel.

And tonight, she had a purpose.
 
Tonight she was going to prove to Drew, and Alice, and even to herself, that she was perfectly capable of something meaningless.
 
She was over whatever had happened with Jeff.
 

Tonight, she was going to have fun.

So what if that ‘fun’ took the form of going home with some random guy she was definitely likely to regret in the morning.
 

It would get everyone off her back at least.
 

And maybe she would feel just a little bit less lonely.

She leaned forward and ordered two shots of tequila, receiving a raised eyebrow from her little sister.
 
“The fastest way to get over one guy is by moving on to the next.
 
Isn’t that right?”
 

“Those are the words I live by,

 
Alice picked up her shot glass, tossing it back without hesitation.
 
Anna followed
suit, telling herself that if Alice could do it, there was absolutely no reason why she shouldn’t be able to either.
 

She was perfectly capable of a casual encounter.
 
A one-night stand.
 

She glanced up toward the balcony, where Drew was smiling at a dark-haired girl.
 
The sharp edge of bitter loneliness swept over her and she reached out for the next shot Alice had ordered for them.
 

A few more of these and somebody was bound to grab her attention—somebody
other
than Drew.
 

 

~*~

 

She was a woman on a mission tonight.
 
Drew watched, though he told himself he wasn’t going to.
 
He’d been completely taken aback when she’d called into the station the other day, not even aware that she listened to his show.
 

But he’d received the message loud and clear.
 
Anna didn’t need him sticking his nose into her business.
 
Whatever she chose to do with her life, even if Drew knew it was a huge mistake—well, it was her life.
 
She could do whatever she wanted with it.
 

Except that when she’d walked in tonight, he couldn’t help himself.
 

He was just doing what Jeff asked him to do, he told himself.
 
Keeping an eye on her, trying to make sure she didn’t get herself into any trouble.
 

Which seemed to be her goal tonight.
 

He’d lost count of how many drinks and shots she’d had, but he could tell she didn’t need any more.
 
She was even beginning to have a tough time standing upright.
 

And, of course, there was some jerk there to lend a hand.
 
And another round of drinks.

It was terribly pathetic, what some guys were willing to stoop to.

Drew may play the game, but at least he kept it classy.

He watched from the balcony as the pair began to make their way toward the door, telling himself he wasn’t going to do anything.
 
This was what Anna wanted—it was her decision to make.
 
Her life to live, her mistake to make.
 

He was just going to worry about his
own
life.
 

Wasn’t that what she had told him to do?
 

He smiled at the girl who had been flirting with him all night.

But as he met her eyes, it was Anna’s face he saw—with tears in her eyes, looking just as sad as the day he’d met her.

Okay, he couldn’t do it.
 

Drew rushed to the stairs, hurrying down them and toward the door.
 
A panic began to well up inside him as he thought he might be too late—but then he saw them, leaning against the wall.

“All right, Annabelle, you win,”
 
Drew called breathlessly as he made his way toward them, hoping it wasn’t obvious that he’d just run all the way out here.
 

“I win?”
 
She pressed her hand to Big Nose’s chest, her eyes narrowed in confusion.
 

“Yeah, you win.
 
Remember, our little bet?
 
Who could pick up the most desperate person in the crowd?”

“Excuse me?”
 
Big Nose stepped away from Anna, toward Drew.
 
He felt a bit of relief wash through him at the small amount of distance he had put between them.
 
“Who the hell are you?”

BOOK: Single, Available, and Completely Attached
4.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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