Still Jaded

Page 25


"What do you think? Do you think that's a good idea? I thought Bryce would know that I'm not too jealous of her then."
"Well…okay. She's staying at the Wilshire, room 618. Don't—just…don't mess things up with Bryce. He's close to Guadalupe. I know you don't want to hear that, but they're close. They're friends, Sheldon. I know Bryce would be upset if she were upset."
Bryce would be upset? This guy really was stupid. I was barely able to stop myself from snorting in disbelief. "I'm going to make things right. Just watch."
"Okay." I heard his relief over the phone. "Good. This means a lot to me, Sheldon. It's nice to see that you're making an effort." He started to say something else, but I ended the call abruptly.
I couldn't stomach anymore of his stupidity.
Wilshire, huh? I grabbed my bag and went to check out. After I signed my last sheet of paper and had taken care of all that business, I hailed a cab. I didn't want to go back to the mansion, not yet. Officer Sheila made it sound like I didn't have any clothes left, so I stopped at a store for some new ones. I bought a couple of basic hooded sweatshirts and jeans. Then I got a big pair of sunglasses and went back to the cab. Once we were at the Wilshire, with my hood up and sunglasses over my face, I asked for room 617.
After I got to my room, I sank down on the bed. It was a beautiful room with white blankets, white tiling on the floor, and a patio that overlooked their pool. I didn't care. That's when reality started to hit me. What was I doing? No matter how bad everything was, I had always had Bryce and Corrigan to back me up. Then Grace came along too, but now I couldn't turn to any of them. It was just me and me alone.
Hell. I studied the liquor cabinet, grabbed a bottle of vodka, and guzzled. Halfway through the bottle, I heard the door open across the hallway and stumbled over to look out my peephole. Guadalupe emerged with two other people. One guy wore a tuxedo and he held her hand as another girl patted down her hair.
When they started down the hallway, I grabbed my purse and followed down the stairs. I waited near the door as they stepped off the elevator.
"And where are you off to, Miss Guadalupe?" The clerk handed them a packet and smiled graciously.
The tuxedo dude spoke for her. "Miss Bennett has a very important meeting. Thank you, Concierge." Then they headed out. The tuxedo guy held his hand on her back. I watched through the glass doors when they ducked inside a limo.
Should I follow them? Should I become the stalker this time? My gut sank as I remained there. I had become pathetic. When had that happened?
"Are you a fan of hers?" The concierge asked me. He was over six feet tall with classic handsome features. There was a hint of Latin heritage. He seemed friendly, but I saw eagerness in his eyes. I didn't like that he was eager.
"Not really."
"She's beautiful, isn't she? I have a friend of a friend to her make-up girl. They're going to have dinner with Bryce Scout right now. Have you heard of him? He's a big soccer star. They both just moved here. She came for a movie, and he followed her here. She could do so much better."
"Like you?"
"Maybe." His shoulders lifted in excitement. He couldn't contain the glee on his face. "I have plans. This is only my day job, and I think she likes me."
She did, huh? I wondered if he had shared this delusion with Guadalupe herself?
He leaned forward and whispered, "I got her number. She slid it over the counter to me."
I perked up. The drunk gods gave me a break. "Really?"
He flashed it to me, but I caught the numbers before he put it back in his pocket. "When they got here, she gave it to me. That stuffy guy wasn't looking. I haven't called her yet, but I'm planning on texting her tonight. Maybe we can get together after her dinner with Bryce Scout."
"She'd like that. I'm sure."
He was so giddy as he giggled, "I will." Then something changed in his demeanor, and he looked at me in shock. Ah—the professional clerk was back. He'd remembered where he worked, and I saw the fevered look leave him.
Celebrities often left it in their trail.
Now he was all business again as he straightened behind the desk. "Is there something you needed, Miss?"
I was tempted to tip my hat to him. He switched back to real life quicker than the normal fan. "I'm okay. Thanks."
As I rode the elevator back to my room, I had no plan in mind. And I had no idea what to do with Guadalupe's phone number. She would've only answered if I sent her a message from Bryce's phone, so I felt dejected as I turned on the television to a music station and grabbed the vodka from my mini-bar. As the music flowed over me, I curled into one of my patio chairs and relaxed for the first time in a long while.
Sometime during the night, I realized the music station had been turned off. Then I felt the warmth of the bed sheets and curled into them. It was the next morning when I woke to the sounds of screaming and splashing. Stupid children. When I rolled over in bed, I was disoriented for a moment. Then I remembered my stupid decision and groaned as I pressed my face into the pillow.
"Are you sober?"
My head snapped up. Then my gut sank. Oh no. Bryce was on the other bed. His elbows were braced on his knees, and he glared at me.
Not good.
But then the vomit took precedence. My gut rumbled, and I stumbled to the bathroom. I got there just in time to empty what little had been in my stomach. That was when I finally had the courage to look in the mirror. I looked hideous. My hair was everywhere. My eyes were swollen and blood shot. My face still looked like the back end of a truck. I grimaced and threw water on my face, but the cuts stung. Then I brushed my teeth, cleaned my armpits, and tried to calm my hair a little. I cleaned up as much as possible.
Bryce came to lean against the doorframe. "Mathias made the mistake of letting me use his phone. I saw you had called him. He didn't want to tell me, but he finally told me you wanted to know where Guadalupe was staying. The front desk guy was nice enough to tell me what room you were in."
"And help you get in?" I grumbled as I crossed the room and found some clean clothes. My choices were sparse. I chose another sweatshirt and jeans. As I walked to the patio, I grabbed a bottle of rum this time.
Bryce grabbed it back and then caught my wrist. He pulled me against him. "You will not be drinking yourself into a stupor. Not this time. Why didn't you tell anyone you were released from the hospital?"