Bad Boy: A Stepbrother Romance(5)

By: Caitlin Daire

Unfortunately, the situation didn’t look good right now, and my stomach was already twisting with knots of trepidation.

Ben shook his head at me. “Don’t listen to her. She’s full of shit. She’s not my girlfr—“

He was cut off again by the restaurant manager appearing at our table. “Is everything okay here, Mr. Grayson?”

Grayson? Huh? Dana had told me that Ben’s last name was Grigson…hadn’t she? Maybe I’d misheard that too.

Something else occurred to me a second later. Why did the manager know who Ben was and address him as ‘mister’ like he was super-important? Tonight was really turning into a cluster-bomb of confusion.

Candice started shrieking and pounding at the table with her fist again, her features contorting with anger as she turned her rage towards the manager. “He’s my boyfriend! I just came in here and saw him with this fat skank, and he’s sitting here lying right to everyone’s faces and saying I’m not his girlfriend! I am!”

Wow. Fat skank, huh? I had to admit, that really stung.

“Don’t you fucking dare talk about Rory like that,” Ben growled. “Now get the hell out of here before I have to drag you out myself. You know I don’t wanna resort to that.”

Candice ignored him and continued to carry on, screaming insults at the both of us while I sat there, utterly dumbfounded and humiliated. I wanted so desperately to get up and run a million miles away from this horribly awkward situation, but I couldn’t bring myself to move a muscle. I was still too shocked, and everything was rushing by me in a blur as I tried to adjust.

Maybe the city would suddenly have another giant earthquake like it had in the early 1900’s, and the ground would open up and swallow me right down into the earth’s core. That’d be a favorable situation to whatever was happening to me right now.

“Er, Miss, I’m sorry to hear about your troubles, but you’re going to have to leave,” the manager said, tentatively reaching out to pat Candice’s arm when she finally stopped to take a breath.

She shook him off and then slapped Ben right in the face. Hard. I gasped, and he simply touched a hand to his smarting skin before standing up. He looked pissed as hell, which somehow served to make him look even taller and more intimidating, but Candice didn’t shrink away even one inch.

“So what the fuck do you have to say for yourself?” she said, hands planted on her hips. “Who is this slut? Are you even going to tell me?”

“Jesus fucking Christ, Candice, why the hell are you always pulling this shit with me?” he replied, eyes smoldering with anger.

Candice ignored him and turned her attention back to me, her eyes narrowed. “Whoever you are, don’t listen to this guy, no matter what he tries to tell you. As you can see, he’s a fucking filthy, cheating liar!”

Ben ran his hands through his hair, seemingly lost for words. “Jesus…”

I finally snapped out of my shocked and bewildered stage and abruptly stood up.

Screw this. Ben had seemed relatively decent at first, but it was becoming increasingly obvious that this girl was actually his girlfriend, as much as he’d denied it and as crazy as she seemed to be. And no wonder she was acting crazy…I’d probably have a public meltdown if I went out somewhere and caught someone cheating on me too.

No matter how sexy a guy was, I would never, ever let myself be roped into being the other woman. No way. I should’ve known that something was off when he started touching my leg earlier, only a few minutes into our date, but I’d been so starry-eyed and happy for the attention that I’d let it go. Clearly, this guy wasn’t looking for a relationship of any kind…he was simply looking for some easy fun on the side, and he’d lied to me—and presumably Dana and Rob—in order to get it.

And to think just moments ago, I’d been desperate to sleep with him tonight, and I’d actually thought it might be a good idea to do so.

Jeez. My judgment was obviously impaired from my recent dating dry spell, and I silently vowed that I’d never make the same mistake again. Next time I wouldn’t even so much as dream about sleeping with a guy until we’d been on at least ten dates and established that we were an exclusive pairing.

Glad that I’d snapped out of my momentary loss of sanity, I grabbed my bag. “Thanks, asshole,” I snapped, pulling some cash out and tossing it on the table to cover my drinks. Not that he deserved it. “Thanks for wasting my time.”

“Rory, wait, this isn’t what it looks like,” he said, looking at me and reaching out to grab my hand. “Don’t go.”