59 | What Not to Wear

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Taliana's room looked like a bomb had gone off, followed by a tornado

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Taliana's room looked like a bomb had gone off, followed by a tornado. Clothes were strewn across the floor and bed, purses and shoes tossed haphazardly all over the place. She'd changed her mind about dinner with Javier four times already, and was thinking of changing it again. She couldn't figure out what to wear, so why go? Besides, she didn't even really know what she was agreeing to go for. What did he want out of this? For that matter, what did she want?

She glanced at her phone, guiltily scrolling through the numerous calls and texts from Sebastian. The bombardment of messages was still annoying—how hard was it for him to understand that she needed space after everything that happened?—but she could feel her heart trying to melt just a bit.

She flopped down on the messy bed with a deep sigh. A hot, bossy not-boyfriend back in D.C. and a... whatever Javier was here. What was a girl to do?

She surveyed the destruction thoughtfully. She could just stay in tonight and try to clean some of this up. But the point of coming here was for a break, from D.C. and from Seb, and it might be good to go out and escape her own head for a while. She needed perspective, which was hard to get if she stayed locked up in her room all the time.

With a decisive nod, she stood back up and restarted her search for an outfit. It was just dinner. What could it hurt?

She chewed her bottom lip as the answer floated, unwanted, into her mind. Javier was hot. Really, really hot. She wasn't sure she could trust herself around him. Then again, why should she? Seb and her weren't an item right now, and Javier was, as previously stated, hot. Why the hell not?

Because Sebastian was still in her head, that was why not. And all of his stupid texts and calls meant that he wouldn't be leaving it anytime soon, the exact opposite of what she needed right now. This was the time she was supposed to be taking for herself—to heal, to recover, and figure out who she was outside of the context of what had undeniably been a toxic relationship. 

But fine, if he wasn't going to respect her boundaries, she was going to give this one last effort.

She picked up her phone again, staring at it for a second, then took a deep breath. She would just call Seb. If he answered, then fuck Javier, she wouldn't go out. If he didn't...

Taliana tapped Sebastian's number and put the phone to her ear, her heart pounding. One ring. Then two. She swallowed around the knot in her throat. Three rings. Four rings.

"You've reached Sebastian Phillips. Leave me a message."

She hung up without leaving a voicemail and tossed the phone across the room. The irony wasn't lost on her that all this indecision had started with her throwing her phone.

Well, screw it, and screw Sebastian. Her mind was finally made up. She grabbed the nearest outfit, tossed it on, and marched out the door.


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