📎A/N. This chapter is dedicated to @annamr5 for a the herculean effort of proofreading Masked for me within such a short period of time...
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"You know you can't get out of it don't you?"
Sydney scrunched her face and poked her tongue out at Stephen. She was less than thrilled with his constant prodding. She knew she needed to take the short trip to her Aunt and Uncles, but Vineyard Haven was the last place she wanted to be right now. It had filled her with dread since the moment she had woken this morning. She had in fact lingered longer in bed than she would normally have. Whether it was in the hope she could sleep through the day, or at least attempt to ignore it was an unknown. All she knew was that they were expecting her, and she felt like she was headed to the gallows.
"Can't I just say that I'm still hungover from yesterday?" she said with a groan.
Stephen rolled his eyes and continued tapping his foot impatiently as he towered over her with his hands on his hips. The silence dragged on as her friend, and agent kept shouting at her without speaking.
Sydney felt his scrutiny and finally broke under the pressure. "Fine," she hissed as she stood up in a huff, "I'm going. But you're coming as well."
Stephen began to laugh. "Sorry hon, this is a family thing. And you seem to forget, I've already had the distinct displeasure."
Sydney stomped inside to grab her keys and bag, before trudging out past Stephen, who had settled himself on a lounge chair in the late afternoon sun.
She heard his 'have fun' before she backed down the driveway and headed north. To prolong the inevitable Sydney took the long route. It would only add an extra five minutes to her short travel, but it was sufficient to give her the illusion she was in control.
It was bad enough that her mother had foisted herself on her aunt and uncle for the next few days. But the arrival of her brother, Jackson, to the Vineyard, was another matter entirely.
Her only saving grace was that Ethan and Pauline were returning to New York and she would not be on tenterhooks with the possibility of them running into each other. Just the thought of him in the same room as her mother sent shivers down her spine.
As it was, it had taken them the better part of yesterday to foster the courage to converse.
The Demetriou's Fourth of July garden party had been as grand and popular as ever. Sydney was confident that half the island had turned up at one point or another during the day. She had been unsure of how to react when Mason, Ethan and Pauline had arrived. Her previous encounter with Ethan had not ended so well. And his email had been the only communication they had had since.
It was obvious they were both uncomfortable and Sydney was thankful for Stephen's presence. His larger than life personality made sure that the stilted moments were few and far between. By the time, the evening had arrived she had managed to avoid being alone with him for the greater portion of the day. This, however, didn't stop them having to communicate with each other in a group setting.
After she had gotten over the initial awkwardness, she began to relax more in his presence. She would like to have put it down to her maturity, but in the end she had to admit that throwing back a few glasses of wine had probably helped.
In fact, they had even managed to share a joke at one point. And from his relaxed expression, she suspected that the Bourbons that he seemed to be nursing might have assisted him there.
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Chameleon In New YorkChickLit
Sydney has managed to rebuild her life from the ashes and forge one that is filled with secrets and half-truths. She has given up hope of ever finding someone who would see her for who she really is - not the daughter of the man responsible for des...