Page 6


I let her chat the rest of the way to the gate and then thankfully we are there and the flight attendants take over. Everyone is already on the plane—all of them family and friends of Johnny, minus Johnny, of course. And even though the fact that Kristi has no friends or family of her own on this plane should raise a red flag, or at the very least make me pity her, I can only think of one thing.
Vaughn was cheating on someone when he was with me.
Of course he was, you idiot! He’s a f**king movie star!
The large corporate jet seats twenty, and all seats are filled, but thankfully almost everyone is seated on the long couches that line each side of the aisle. I settle into one of the few chairs near the front and try to calm my racing heart.
I need to see that webpage. I need to know what that woman was taking about. I fish around in my bag for my tablet and quickly do a search for Buzz Hollywood. It feels like an eternity before the page loads, but then—there he is.
My Vaughn is on the front page. A split picture of him and a dark-haired beauty who reminds me a lot of Bebe.
Jasinda Gonzales.
Asher’s pregnant girlfriend accuses him of infidelity and sexual abuse. Mr. Asher could not be reached for comment.
Sexual abuse.
My stomach turns and I bolt up, looking for the bathroom.
"Ma’am," a flight attendant calls out to me. "We’re getting ready to take off, please return to your seat."
I push her out of my way and rush into the bathroom compartment. It’s bigger than a regular plane bathroom, thank God, but it’s still stifling and in that second I know I’m going to throw up. I fall to my knees, flip the head lid open, and puke.
I lose time as everything sinks in. The setup, the lies, the sexual conquest—that I willingly gave in to—and the NDA so I can’t talk about it.
I shake my head and laugh. I fell for him. I fell for my dirty Prince Charming. I swallowed him whole in more ways than one.
"Grace?" Kristi’s concerned voice asks from the other side of the door. "Are you OK? We need to take off but we can’t do that until you’re in your seat."
I take a deep breath and pull on my everything-is-fine disguise. "Fine, fine!" I say cheerfully. "I just got a wave of nausea, that’s all. It’s gone now, be right out."
"OK, come sit with me if you want. There’s room on our couch."
My answer is the gushing of water from the sink, so hopefully that means Kristi has left to take her seat. I cup my hand under the tap and bring some cool water to my lips. I pat my face and straighten my professional blazer in the mirror, then paint on my smile as I pull the latch back on the door and emerge.
No one even notices, not even Kristi, so thank God for the little things. I scoot past the pissed-off flight attendant and take my seat. "You have to put that on airplane mode, ma’am," the bitchy attendant snaps. "You’re holding up the departure."
I grab my tablet from the floor, the web page at Buzz Hollywood still showing the story of Vaughn and his lies, and do as she says so she will leave me alone.
I don’t remember anything about that private corporate jet flight to Vegas. All I know is that I’m walking past a bar on our way out of the airport when I glance up and see Asher’s face on the TV.
It’s IM2 premiere night and he’s walking the red carpet. Not with me. Not with the woman carrying his baby. But with the biggest party slut in Hollywood.
His ex-girlfriend from when he was a teenager.
I want to get sick again, but I can’t afford to do that. I have to deal. I have to pretend life is perfect.
I’m still living the fantasy.
My Prince Charming is out there somewhere, his name just isn’t Vaughn Asher.
Chapter Four
THE limo ride from the airport to the Bellagio is agonizing. I sit between Kristi and her future mother-in-law, across from her future brother-in-law, and beam out the fake smile I perfected ten years earlier at her future father-in-law.
I nod my head. I laugh when they laugh. I add in cute little quips when the conversation calls for it.
I start drinking. Heavily.
And when we get to the hotel I go straight to my room. I have one hour to dress and prep for the rehearsal dinner. I need to change into my midnight-blue sheath dress and my discount shoes. It’s professional, not at all flashy. And while the shoes are pretty in a Target sort of way, they do not have red soles.
And that makes me sad all over again, because I really fell for the shoes Vaughn bought for me on the island. I have them with me, but I can’t. Not after the ultimate betrayal I just saw online. And that phone call. That woman, Jasinda, she thinks I’m the other woman.
I hit the minibar, grab a few bottles, fill a glass with ice, and fall back on the bed with my laptop.
Don’t do it, Grace, that little voice in my head says. Don’t look.
But of course, I absolutely am going to look. I pull up the webpage and just stare at the picture of Vaughn. It was taken recently because it’s a promo for IM2. He’s smiling and happy. His female co-star is in the picture with him, but they cut her off so they could do the side-by-side shot of the girlfriend.
I scroll down to read the article.
Ms. Gonzales says her relationship with Vaughn Asher began almost a year ago on the island of Saint Thomas—
I pour the contents of the little bottle into the glass and take a long swallow before I can continue reading. Of course she met him on Saint Thomas. It’s where he gets all his girls.
I wipe my mouth and return to the article.
—where he propositioned her to become his sexual submissive in exchange for money and gifts. "I was required to sign a nondisclosure agreement," the teary-eyed Gonzales explains. "He told me people won’t understand the type of sexual relationship we have together. He said what we had was special and not something he did with just anyone. But I’ve seen him with other submissives on the island. Many of them. He has a sexual appetite that can’t be quenched and he insisted that he not have to use a condom, so of course, I find myself pregnant."
Is he the father?
"He is," she says as the tears roll down her face. "I haven’t been with anyone else but him. And when I told him about the baby, he was very excited. And at first that made me happy, but I now know he’s unfit to be a father. I need him out of my life and I will fight for the right to raise our child alone."