CHAPTER 7 | it had been going so well

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A/N. Thanks for all your support. I hope you are enjoying the story.

If you spot any errors let me know.

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A stack of paper was unceremoniously dumped in front of Sydney. She jumped at the sudden disruption that had cut into the peaceful silence.

"Here're my notes," Stephen said, "I really think chapter five needs to be reworked."

Sydney flipped through the pages and scanned the red ink scrawled along the margins. While Stephen had the ability to party hard, he also took his job as her Agent just as seriously. And it had helped that his editing experience came in handy during the development of her first drafts.

She glanced up him as he grabbed a beach towel and headed out the door. "Where are you going?"

"To work on my all over tan," he said with a wink and disappeared outside.

Sydney rolled her eyes and shouted after him. "I swear to God, if any of the neighbours see your naked arse, this will be the last time you get a free holiday."

His only reply was a muffled chuckle.

Since Stephen's arrival, Sydney hadn't a moment to dwell on the possible ramifications of her father surfacing again after all these years. He had been watching her like a hawk. His first edict had been to forbid her to check any of the news feeds, knowing she would dwell rather than move on.

He was adamant that it was only going to stay active for a couple of news cycles. After that, the press would have some other juicy story they were after.

Taking advantage of the fact Stephen was safely outside, she quickly brought up a browser and searched for the latest information on her parent.

She cringed when Stephen's voice came wafting in from outside. "Get off the bloody internet and get back to work."

Shit, he's got the place wired.

Seeing no additional information, she switched back to her manuscript. However, after half an hour of staring at the screen, she gave up. Her concentration was shot and she had just reread the same paragraph seven times without taking one word in.

Grabbing a glass of juice, she headed outside. However, not before shouting an advanced warning to Stephen. He was one of those individuals who loved to show his body off - all of it. And he didn't care who saw him.

Sydney breathed a sigh relief as she emerged onto the patio and noticed her Agent lying face down on a lounger a short distance away. The small trees between him and her neighbour the only thing between him and total impropriety.

Thankful she hadn't seen anything she couldn't un-see, she sat down and closed her eyes. Rays of the mid-day sun streamed into the deck, a welcome respite from being stuck behind a computer all morning.

Now that her mind wasn't focused on her manuscript, her thoughts strayed to where Stephen had expressly forbidden her to wander. She tensed as images and memories of her father flashed to the forefront of her mind. She had spent the better part of the past two days since Grace's phone call in a state of perpetual numbness. After all this time. After she had finally managed to move forward with her life. He had to once again, threaten her carefully constructed life. Reminding her once again that she was never to have a life free of finger-pointing and innuendo.

She was angry. Angry at him. Angry with her mother. And, most of all, angry at herself. She knew she shouldn't let this affect her so much. It wasn't as though this were the first time he had disappointed. So why did she let herself become so affected by his actions?

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