50 | The Hamptons, Part 4

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Michael Richardson wasn't unused to waking up beside beautiful women. There had been plenty in his past, and certainly more to come in his future, but this was one woman he hadn't woken up to in many years.

In sleep, however, she was more of a girl, returned to an innocence he hadn't seen on her face since childhood. She'd been beautiful then and she was beautiful now, endowed with a certain grace and allure that few came by naturally. She was exquisite and she knew it, a dangerous combination that Michael had never been able to resist.

Blowing out a quiet breath, he disentangled himself from her and rolled out of bed, pausing momentarily once he was on his feet to make sure she hadn't awoken. Blair shifted slightly to compensate for his disappearance, hugging a pillow close to her chest and curling around it, but those stormy eyes didn't open. Considering it a fate he wasn't about to tempt, he pulled on his boxers and gathered the rest of his clothes from the floor before silently slipping out of the room.

Without a doubt, this was his biggest fuck up in ages. He'd worked hard at pushing Blair from his heart years ago, but here she was again, slipping her way back in as if she still had a key.

And maybe she did.

Once upon a time he had loved her, but that affection had died out years ago, back when she'd dumped him for his best friend. He had told her there were no hard feelings—after all, they'd never even officially been a couple—and that he was getting sick of her anyway, but there was no way he'd ever stop wanting her.

Jesus, he'd just crawled out of her bed and he still craved her.

But this was all wrong on so many different levels. Blair had been off-limits the second she'd started dating Sebastian, and no matter how long those two had been broken up for, there was no going back to what she and Michael had before. It would have been the ultimate betrayal to his best friend, the one person he could honestly say he loved more than anyone else.

So even though he had never been one for guilt, there was a sick sensation in his stomach that he couldn't fully contribute to being just a hangover.

Outside of her room, he could deny that anything had happened. When she woke he would continue to treat her like the conniving bitch that she was, and he knew without a doubt she'd play along. It wasn't like he was the only one who wanted Sebastian to stay in the dark about their shared history and decision to relive it.

Once the door clicked shut behind him, Michael was safe, currently in the range of plausible deniability.

Or so he thought.

"You can't be fucking serious."

Michael squeezed his eyes shut tight, willing the waif of a girl standing at the end of the hall in only a pair of underwear and Sebastian's shirt to disappear. When he reopened them and she was still there, he knew he had to act.

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