Chapter 18

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I stare at him for a confused moment before I nod silently, standing up. I set my napkin down and grab my purse, looking around. What the hell is going on?

He lets me walk before him, gesturing with a small smile. A very fake one. I'm beginning to get nervous now. I move forward, walking up the dock towards the front of the restaurant while he follows silently behind me.

He opens the door for me into the restaurant and I raise my eyebrows, letting an elderly couple walk by first. "Can you explain to me what's happening?"

"In the car."

By the door, Rory looks up from the open kitchen, his brows raised in question. Tristan gestures he'll call him and keeps moving, reaching for the front door.

"There they are!"

I gasp, backing up a step as paparazzi fill the doorway, waving their cameras and recorders frantically. Tristan moves immediately in front of me, grabbing my hand. The people in the restaurant around us are standing up, wondering what the commotion is.

"Don't answer them," Tristan utters before he moves forward towards the crowd. Hand in his, I clutch his arm as well, keeping my face to the floor as what seems like hundreds of shots are taken of us.

I hear Casey Mathews name multiple times and I become scared as to what's happened. I hear Rory behind us, shouting at the mass of people.

"Get off this premises! Now!"

"This way, Gen," Tristan says as we walk to the left, towards the car. My heart beats wildly as they follow us, inches away from our faces.

"Why'd you do it, Tristan? ... How long has this been going on?"

I look around frantically as Tristan opens the door to his convertible, nodding. I get in hurriedly, keeping my face to the floor as they stand at my window, camera lodged against the glass. Tristan climbs into the driver's side, shutting the door in their faces.

Turning with a hand on my seat, he begins to back up slowly, waiting for their bodies to move aside. I stare at him as he honks the horn loudly and they finally begin to move back, scared of being a permanent part of the concrete. As soon as the road is cleared enough, he backs up fast, turning us out of the parking lot at the speed of light.

"What the fuck was that?" I swallow, breathless. He shakes his head, looking at me.

"That was Casey."

His ex's name comes up just a little too often as of late. I press my lips together and shrug my shoulders. "What did she do?"

"There is currently an article that was published about three hours ago about us- saying I've been cheating on Casey with you for months now. That we went to Thailand together. That I didn't break up the engagement until after she had found out... It's already online and I can guarantee you, it will be on every other form of media by tomorrow."

I turn in my seat, staring wide-eyed at him. "What?"

"I know."

"But- but why? Why would she do that?"

"Because she believes it and wants to get back at me."

"Why does she think that?"

"She had a private investigator following me in Thailand."

"Are you kidding me?"

"No. Unfortunately not."

I look down at my lap, shaking my head. "So, what's going to happen now?"

"I suggest we lay low for tonight. I have to get in contact with my PR department, see if we can lessen how many people see this bullshit."

"I have to go to work tomorrow... Are they going to follow me?"

"I would count on that. I will send a driver to your apartment. I'll let him know he's assigned to you for the time being."

"A driver? Won't that just add to the gossip?"

"Genevieve, I've dealt with the media for a long time now. The damage is done and unfortunately, because Casey is so well known, this is- this is big news. And they are brutal. Not only the paparazzi, but people as well. I'd set your social media accounts to private when you get home if I were you."

"I don't have any social media accounts."

"Alright, that's good," he murmurs, nodding. I lean my head back against the rest, sighing. God, what have I gotten myself into?

"I'm- I'm mortified. I'm so sorry, Genevieve."

"It's not your fault," I whisper, unable to comprehend what's just happened... What I should be expecting.

"I can't believe she would do this."

"Why don't you call her?"

"Because this is out. Everything I say to her now- I should expect she'd publicize it."

"She's that cruel?"

"She has a nasty temper. It's one of the reasons I couldn't see her anymore."

"I don't even know why you broke up? What happened? Why were you really in Thailand?"

"I told you why I was there."

"Yeah, you said you had to get away from everything."

"The main thing being Casey... I hated that she fucking spews everything online, even personal things- like people need to know our business. She began acting ridiculous, following me around, showing up at my office randomly to try and catch me cheating."

I stare at him, unsure if I should ask him why. "Why- why did she think you were cheating then?"

He looks over at me and his eyes linger on my face for a moment. "I wasn't cheating on her, Genevieve."

"I wasn't implying-"

"Yes, you were."

He looks back at the road and I keep my eyes on him, silent for a while.

"I don't know anything about that relationship. I mean, we just met. We don't know a lot about each other... and I don't know what happened in that relationship- I won't be mad if you did, Tristan."

That's a complete lie but I'm just desperate to know.

"I didn't, Genevieve," he says, not looking at me. "I told you I'm not like that."


I clutch my purse, staring straight ahead. We're at my apartment within five minutes. He parks, leaving the ignition on. I look at him, biting my lip.

"You're not coming up?"

"No, I have some things to do."

I nod, uncomfortable. He looks so angry. "Okay, well, when will I see you?"

"I'll call you," he says, leaning forward. He presses his lips to my cheek and I feel my stomach drop. Oh god, this doesn't feel good. He pulls back, forcing a smile and I sit, trying to think of anything to say but nothing comes out.

He clearly is waiting for me to leave so I open the door dejectedly, stepping out.

"Goodnight, Tristan."

He smiles, nodding as I shut the door, heading up the steps to my apartment. I turn my key, looking back over my shoulder. I breathe a sigh of relief that he's still there. I see his hand rise through the tint. I wave back slowly before I go in, shutting the door behind me. 

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