51 | An Arabian Night

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As much as he loved the Sultan's Palace, the restaurant was the last place Sebastian wanted to be on this muggy June night. Especially since it meant dining with the entire Bakhtiar family.

"Christ, I wish I had the ability to say no to you. It would certainly save me some trouble."

Sebastian rolled his eyes and nudged Taliana into moving again, certainly not about to let this moment of hesitance stop them. They had made it this far, damn it, and he wasn't about to do this alone.

"Look, it's not like we have to stay long. All we have to do is walk in, look like a happy couple, say hi to some people, make it obvious that Blair and I are no longer together, and then leave, okay?"

"I think it's the 'look like a happy couple' part that I have a problem with," Talia grumbled, but didn't try to brush his hand off her shoulder. "We're not a couple, remember?"

With as often as she reminded him, it would have been impossible to forget.

Sebastian heaved a sigh, but managed to keep his mouth shut. A week had passed since he and Talia had skipped graduation and gone to the Hamptons with the rest of the boys—and Blair, of all people—in tow. When Talia had suggested the trip, he was sure she was going use that time to finally make up her mind about whether or not they would ever be anything more than friends. 

Of course, that hadn't been the case, and at this point he wondered if he would ever get an answer. He couldn't exactly blame her for being so cautious, but Christ, the girl must not have understood how absolutely torturous this was.

Or maybe she did. Maybe she was doing this to give him a taste of what she had gone through. If that was the case, it was certainly working; all he could do now was sit back and hope she made up her mind before his head exploded.

"Well we could be a couple again if—"

"Now's not the time," Talia interrupted. "We'll put a label on this when I'm damn well ready to put a label on it."

He pinched the bridge of his nose, knowing this wasn't going to go anywhere tonight. She was right, this wasn't the time, and it definitely wasn't the place. After all, he and Talia were here to make it clear to Blair's family that he had moved on, something that had actually been Blair's idea. He didn't bother asking why she wanted them to do this, and frankly, he wasn't sure he cared.

"Fine, take as much time as you need."

Her hip bumped his lightly as they started towards the staircase. "I know you don't mean that," she teased. "Now, can you please tell me why the hell we're at this party?"

"You can't say no to me, and I can't say no to Blair's grandmother," Sebastian sighed, glad for the change in subject as they began the hike to the second floor. "She's the one who invited me, but Blair was the one who insisted I bring you. Still, I wasn't about to cross a Persian grandmother. I know better."

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