Lucy’s eyes dart as she enters the crowded room. She knows he’s here. She can feel his presence; it creeps insidiously, like evil tendrils. The threat of him is ever-present. She sees AJ in the corner, sipping a huge glass of red. Lucy begins to cross the room to get to her and smacks right into a chest. Looking up, her gaze meets his.
Dammit. Now he’s going to assume I bumped into him on purpose.
‘Oh hi,’ she offers, feebly, embarrassed. ‘I wasn’t sure if you’d be here.’
He stares over her head, glancing around at those in the room, as if choosing his preferred target. ‘I’m here, as you see,’ he murmurs.
She feels an icy chill. ‘Well, I’m just on my way to catch AJ, so I guess I’ll see you later.’
Lucy strides away, fuming. By the time she reaches AJ, she’s close to tears, only increasing her anger.
‘God, you look cross,’ AJ quips, by way of greeting. ‘What’s with the thunder face?’
‘Just bumped in Matt. Literally.’
‘Say no more,’ AJ rubs Lucy’s upper arm. ‘You probably need a drink, right? There’s a waiter wandering somewhere.’ She cranes her neck to glean his whereabouts. ‘Coming. Whaddya want? I’ll grab it as he passes.’
AJ swiftly takes the glass of the tray and gives the waiter one of her dashing grins. He nods. Lucy takes it all in, and assumes AJ will be hooking up with him sometime later. She chuckles.
‘Whatchya laughing at?’
‘You,’ Lucy responds. ‘You’ve made your move on him already, haven’t you?’
‘Yeah, don’t be relying on me for a ride home,’ AJ smirks. ‘So, tell me, what’s going on with Matt? Did ya really bump into him? Accidentally?’
‘Yeah. I was on my way to you. Crossing the room and I didn’t see him. My face hit his chest.’
‘Ah, not the first time you’ve bumped uglies with him though. Don’t be too hard on yourself.’ AJ glances away. ‘Don’t look now. He’s on his way.’
AJ nods. ‘And Barry says to me, “there’s no way you got this legally. You don’t earn enough money.” I just rolled my eyes and—’
‘Not interrupting am I?’ Matt asks.
Lucy is momentarily confused but Matt’s appearance at their side clears up AJ’s nonsensical conversation.
‘Not at all, Matt,’ AJ smiles at him. ‘How are you?’
‘Besides trying to take back ownership of my stolen heart, you mean?’ He looks pointedly at Lucy. Her brow furrows, she’s speechless.
What is he talking about? She shoots a look at AJ, who nods. She gets it.
‘As I recall Matt, you ended things with Lucy. It’s her heart that’s broken, smashed. Her life in pieces.’
‘Oh, yes, I know. I’m not talking about Lucy.’ He stares at Lucy and she dances on the inside, hating the way he can still do that to her. ‘I need to introduce you to Sofia. Where is she?’ He raises his head like a meerkat. When his gaze settles he waves his hand. ‘This is the woman, the one who’s purloined my life, my heart. She’s taken control.’
Lucy excuses herself before the tall brunette joins Matt. She rushes to the nearest bin to throw up.