I dread telling Addison because I don’t know what I’m going to say. I find my purse and overnight bag in the chair in the corner of the room and I take my phone out to call her. I might as well get it over with.
I see a missed text from Addison at three in the morning.
There’s really no reason in worrying about what to say. I’ll just tell her what happened and that I can’t stay there anymore. It’s that simple.
She answers on the first ring. “Call back when I’m not hungover and ready to hurl.”
She must have drunk a lot more after I left. “Rough night?”
“I’m not.” I stopped drinking after Lachlan came to the club.
“You disappeared on us last night. I guess you went home with lover boy.”
It’s just like her to not remember. “I told you I was leaving with him. Your drunk ass just doesn’t remember it.”
Here goes nothing. “I need to talk you about something that happened last night.”
It definitely isn’t okay. “No, it’s not. Are you at Ben’s or Zac’s?”
Good. At least she finally had the guts to stay all night. “Ben and I had an incident last night. He came into our room while I was packing a bag to take to Lachlan’s. He asked me to stay with him instead of leaving. I told him no and he tried to kiss me. When I pushed him away, he called me a whore.”
“Oh, Laurelyn. Ben was really drunk last night. I’m sure he regrets the whole thing this morning.”
She’s his sister, but I didn’t expect her to take his side so completely. “He may, but I can’t live with someone who calls me a whore. We’re coming for my things and I’m going to stay with Lachlan.”
“You mean until this blows over.”
“No, he’s asked me to stay with him until we go home, and I’ve decided I’m going to. I’ll make arrangements to come to the apartment for my things in a couple of days.”
“Addison, I know him as well as you know Zac. There’s no difference.” That wasn’t entirely true, but I felt like I knew most of the important things, even if it didn’t include his name.
“Fair point well made, I guess.” Good. I didn’t feel like arguing with her over this.
“Lachlan works long days, so call me next week when Zac is busy and we’ll get together. Maybe we’ll go shopping.”
I hang up and think of how differently our stay in Australia is from what I imagined. Addison and I haven’t been apart for more than a day in four years, and now our time together is barely existent. I could tell she didn’t care much for me staying with Lachlan, but she’d get over it. She was spending as much time as she could with Zac and that meant I was going to be stuck alone with Ben, so I didn’t feel a bit guilty about leaving to be with Lachlan.
I’m still wearing Lachlan’s T-shirt, which barely covers my panties, when I leave the bedroom in search of him. I go into the kitchen first and find the open refrigerator door. I slip over to him with the agility of a lioness and wait for him to close it so I can surprise him, but when the door swings shut, it’s me who gets the shock.
I’m standing face to face with a woman, not Lachlan.
She smiles at me while diverting her eyes away from my bare legs. “Miss Beckett?”
I reach for the bottom of the T-shirt and pull it lower on my legs, as if it’s somehow going to cover my bareness. “Yes.”
I tug harder on the shirt and realize I’m stretching it to the point of almost ripping. “I’m Mrs. Porcelli. It’s very nice to meet you. May I cook you something for brekkie? Do you like omelets?”
Oh, shit, I’m mortified. I completely forgot that Mrs. Porcelli would be here today. Now, here I stand to greet her wearing my panties and Lachlan’s T-shirt, which I’m sure she recognizes since she does his laundry.
“Umm, yes. Thank you. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be back in just a moment.”
I pull the shirt over my panties as I streak toward the bedroom. Once inside, I shut the door and lean against it. I put my finger gun to my head and pull the trigger. “I can’t believe I did that.”
I’m bent over rummaging through my bag when I’m startled by hands creeping around my waist and warm breath on the back of my neck. I let out a panicked screech and spin around to give Lachlan a slap across his chest. “Don’t sneak up like that. You scared the shit out of me.”
He thinks it’s hilarious. “Sorry. I promise that scaring you wasn’t what I was going for. I had something much more like this on my mind.”
He brings his lips to mine and I forget my disgruntlement with him. I feel one of his hands slide inside my panties over my bottom. “Oh, no you don’t, Mr. Henry.”
“I just met Mrs. Porcelli, while wearing this, I might add, and now she’s cooking breakfast for me. It’ll be rude, not to mention awkward, if I don’t go back out there to eat what she’s cooking for me.”
He slides his other hand inside my shirt until he reaches my breast and flicks his thumb over my nipple until it’s hard. He lowers his mouth to my ear. “She’ll never know, babe. I’ll be quick.”
“Yeah, but I’ll know and then she’ll see it all over my face.”
“No, she won’t. You’re making too much of it.” He moves his hand from the back of my panties to the front.
“She’s already going to know that I’m the latest one.”
“Companion or whatever she calls us.” Maybe whore.
He’s confusing me and it has nothing to do with his hand in my panties turning my brain to mush. “How could she not?”
“She doesn’t know about the others. She’s going to think you’re my girlfriend.”
How can she not know about the others if she goes everywhere with him? “I don’t understand.”
“The others never came to the vineyards, so you’re the first one she’s seen.”
Well, this is a revelation. “Where did you take the others?”
I’m surprised by this news. And puzzled. Why am I allowed into his private world when none of the others have been?
I don’t have much time to absorb what he’s told me because I feel his hands on my hips pushing my panties down. “I’ll be a minuteman. Promise.”
I give into him like I always do and step out of my panties before letting him guide me toward the unmade bed. I fall back and he reaches into the nightstand drawer. I hear those familiar sounds before he grabs my ankles to yank me to the edge of the bed where he’s standing. “Put your legs around me.”
I do as he says and then he’s inside me. “This is going to be quick, but only because it’s the way you want it.”
He wasn’t kidding. He’s slamming into me fast and hard. He grasps my thighs tightly to keep from propelling me to the other side of the bed. In one quick motion, I bring my legs from his waist to his shoulders and it does him in. He thrusts deeply one last time and I hear him call my name. “Oh, Laurelyn.”
I love the way he says my name when he comes.
My ankles are still hooked over his shoulders and he’s smiling down at me. He kisses the inside of my leg before he helps me to stand. “I’m going out to check the grafts while you have brekkie. I’ll be gone a couple of hours and then we’ll have the rest of the day to do anything you want.”
I’m guessing his vacation from work will be over tomorrow, so I want to take advantage of our last free day together. “Can we hang out by the pool and swim?”
He grabs my panties from the floor and holds them out for me. He kisses the inside of my thigh as I step into them. My hands are on his shoulders for balance as he pulls them up my legs and I can’t resist commenting on it. “You put my panties back on almost as much as you take them off.”
He pats my bottom when they’re in place. “I guess I do. Now, get dressed and go enjoy your brekkie. I’ll see you in a couple of hours.”
I’ll have to shower after breakfast, so I pull my hair into a ponytail and quickly slip into shorts and a T-shirt of my own. The aroma coming from the kitchen is heavenly and I enter just as Mrs. Porcelli is plating a scrumptious-looking omelet. “Smells delicious.”
“Thank you. May I pour you some coffee?”
“I’m not much of a coffee drinker. I’ll have juice, but I can get it. You’ve already done so much.”
“I’m happy to get it for you, dear.” I don’t argue and take my seat at the bar where my omelet awaits. She places a tall glass of orange juice in front of me and I feel uneasy about allowing her to serve me.
I begin to eat while she cleans the mess from preparing my breakfast. This makes me feel even guiltier. “I can do that when I’m finished eating.”
Miss Beckett isn’t my name. “Okay, but will you please call me Laurelyn?”
“How long have you worked for …?” Oh, shit. I don’t know his name. At least not the one Mrs. Porcelli would use.
“I call him Mr. McLachlan, dear. He’s my employer and although I’m old enough to be his mother, I wouldn’t feel right calling him by his first name.”
McLachlan. I laugh to myself because it appears as though we had the same idea when we chose our aliases. I have to wonder. Is this a slip-up in his carefully orchestrated plan or is he relaxing his unbending relationship rules?