Chapter 13

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“You act different around her,” Liam told him later that night. His friend flew immediately to Las Vegas, obviously excited to see how he was holding up, and to meet the girls.

“What are you talking about?” he said it with a snort. Of course he knew what—or rather who—he was talking about.

“You know what I’m talking about. And you know who I’m talking about,” his friend whispered to him before sipping his brandy. “You can’t take your eyes off her.”

“I don’t really know what you are referring to,” he insisted, leaning back against the couch.

“Do you want me to say her name out loud?” Liam taunted, his brown eyes twinkling with obvious amusement.

“It’s nothing,” he uttered with a sigh after a few seconds. Julianne was sitting across from them, looking at nothing in particular. Hanna and Tanya were enjoying themselves at some games at the other table right behind her. They were at The Deuce Lounge and there were quite a number of people around. But it seemed that Julianne was the only one who seemed to be out of place. She was dressed up, yes, much to his insistence earlier, but her face was as blank as the players playing poker around them.

“You obviously like her,” Liam chuckled. “But she doesn’t like you, does she?”

“Of course she does. Why else would she be here if she doesn’t?” he asked incredulously. He would never admit to anyone that Julianne was desperate to get out of the show.

“She’s not into you, I can see that,” Liam said, further aggravating his frustrations.

No, Julianne liked him, he denied. She was not just in the position she wanted. But he was willing to change her mind.

And then what? You can’t have her in the end anyway, the silent fun-killer part of his mind cried out.

“So, Julianne, what are you into?” he heard Liam ask aloud.

Julianne snapped her head towards his friend. “I’m a writer,” she answered, her voice emotionless.

“What do you write?”

She shrugged, “Stuff.”

“What stuff?”

“She writes—” he started, but then he remembered Julianne’s choice of privacy and stopped. “She writes almost anything, right Jules?”

Liam turned his head towards him, frowned with amusement and chuckled. “Jules?”

“I call her that,” he said defensively. He looked at Julianne and stood up. “Okay, I know you’re tired. You’re tired right?”

Shocked, Julianne looked up at him and slowly nodded.

“Okay, I’ll take you back upstairs,” he said hurriedly. He looked back at his friend who was looking too appalled and too amused to even speak. “Hey, man, why don’t you take the girls to some poker while I take Julianne upstairs? I’ll be right back in no time,” he instructed.

Slowly, like Julianne, Liam nodded his brown head and said, “You sure you’re coming back?”

“Zach, I can go back on my own,” Julianne spoke up.

“Yes, Jules can do that,” Liam nodded his head vigorously with a wicked glint in his eyes.

Zach was getting annoyed at his friend. He was not making this easier. “No, she’s as frail as a bug and she might get lost. Her eyesight is poor.”

“What?” Julianne asked, startled and confused by his stupid remark.

“I can see she can see you’re acting like a child now so I guess her eyesight is—” Liam broke his sentence and held up his hands when Zach sharply turned to him with a murderous look. “Okay, it’s probably the best idea that you take her upstairs. Take all the time that you need.”

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