Chapter 10

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Julianne felt terrible and uncomfortable in her haltered dress, but she had to keep up with her role, copying the women’s behavior. Her face felt numb from all the smiling she had been doing all night. Even Pauline had whispered in her ear and asked if she was okay.

“Yes, I’m perfectly fine,” she answered, nodding her head. They were now seated around the table, eating and drinking wine. She could feel Zachary’s gaze landing on her every now and then, but they were seated too far from each other that any opportunity of a conversation was not possible without everyone hearing it.

As usual, Chloe was sitting right next to him and had been entertaining him most of the evening. Julianne was praying though that he would not stare at her too much. That was the main purpose of her plan, right? To camouflage with the ladies so that he would not notice her.

Aside from the fact that she was a great judge of character by being a writer, she learned how to mimic the girls’ behavior by thinking bitch and acting somewhat like it. Not that everyone was a bitch, some of course, like Brenda and Pauline, were just plain fun. She wanted to act like the Desperadas, but like the Dumb Pair, Julianne didn’t think she could give them honor by copying their characters. So there, she chose to be fun and just a little bit bitchy. She didn’t want to steal Chloe’s amazing role.

“That’s your third glass,” Brenda whispered beside her as she poured herself another glass.

“I’m thirsty,” Julianne answered, feeling light-headed herself.

The women near her were engaged in some kind of conversation and she would laugh with them without hearing a thing. And every time she gave off a giggle, she would see Zach looking at her with a frown, and she would giggle some more, silently cursing herself for acting like a lunatic.

Good, so far, she told herself.

“I think you’re drunk,” Pauline pointed out with a chuckle. “You’re acting weird, Julianne.”

“I’m fine, what are you talking about?” she couldn’t help but laugh. She should drink more. It made laughing easier, she decided.

 *****

“So, what are you girls up to after dinner?” Zach asked the ladies, his eyes hovering towards Julianne who seemed drunk. He’d been counting the number of glasses she had and she had quite a few.

“I don’t know, I think we won’t be drinking,” Pauline cried from the end of the table and everyone laughed, including Julianne who he confirmed was really drunk.

Damn, she looks beautiful, he thought. Her hair went with the night wind from the ocean, her eyes twinkling with the lamps on the table; her skin, though a little flushed from all the wine, was like silk and he would give anything to caress those…

He mentally shook his head from the thought. Chloe was talking to him about her life before she entered the show and he had to at least focus and not look like a snob.

After they were done with dinner, some of the girls went ahead to change and take a dip into the calm ocean. It had been a humid day and the waters were not that cold tonight.

Stella, the one with the short black hair, asked him to join them.

“I think the white bikini will suit you,” he heard Pauline tell Julianne as the two made their way inside the cabin.

“Really? Then I’ll wear those!” Julianne answered excitedly, pulling Pauline by the hand.

He turned to Stella with a smile and said, “Of course, I’ll join you.”

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