Out of Her League(7)

By: Samantha Wayland

When he arrived back at his office, he closed the door firmly and sat at his desk, staring at his computer for a long time.

There was a right and wrong here, and he wasn’t sure where the line lay. Michaela had a right to her privacy, regardless of his curiosity and the fact that he could violate it, easily and thoroughly, via the internet. But he also wanted to know more.

He decided it was safe enough to pull up her Wikipedia page. Even someone as clueless as him knew that those were almost always carefully managed by a publicist or someone else with an equally weird job. His two more famous brothers’ pages certainly were, given how they were presented as the perfect angels they only wished they could be.

Actually, scratch that. Neither of them wanted to be angels. But their publicists sure wished they were.

Michaela’s too, apparently.

She was his age, more or less. Private schools, Columbia, Summa Cum Laude. Pretty impressive stuff. His eyebrows didn’t lift, though, until he saw that she was now the Chairwoman of the Price Foundation. Given that both her parents were still healthy and relatively young, and Michaela wasn’t the oldest child, it was interesting that she’d taken the helm already.

Lachlan’s fingers hovered over the keyboard, then finally gave up and entered Michaela Price as a search term in Google.

The latest news was exactly the same drivel he’d seen on the newsstand, and her Wikipedia page was greyed out as already viewed. Then it got…a lot more interesting. And by interesting, Lachlan meant alarming.

He closed the browser window and picked up his phone. Maybe he could get a more truthful, edited-down version from his sister. He wasn’t foolish enough to consider asking Callum. He strongly suspected his brother would blow a gasket if he even brought it up.

“Hi, Lachlan,” Savannah said after two short rings.

“Uh…” How did one go about asking their sister if their brother’s best friend had a former career in the pornography industry? New plan needed. “Is Rhian there?”

“Yeah, sure. He’s right here. You have his number, though, don’t you?”

“Yeah, sorry. Can I just talk to him?”

There was a series of thumps, then Rhian came on the line. “What’s up, Lach?” Rhian asked in his best—and yet, still terrible—Bugs Bunny impersonation.

“Do you know anything about Michaela Price’s sex tape?”

His question was met with long silence. “Pardon?”

Lachlan huffed and rubbed a hand over his face. “I don’t even know why I’m asking, but I saw all the articles today and I read something about a tape and I met her at the wedding and was surprised, I guess, though really, who am I to judge one way or another, and I was just curious what the deal was there. So I called Sav and then thought maybe I should ask you instead. I guess.”

His uncharacteristic doubt of verbal diarrhea was met with yet more silence. Then, “Hold on a sec.”

The sound of a door closing came through the phone. “Okay, I’m in the office,” Rhian explained. “Just like you don’t want to ask your sister about this, I really don’t want to talk about it when she’s within earshot.”

Which seemed fair.

“So, was she a porn star?”

Rhian laughed, more of a surprised sound than an amused one. “Uh, no. And let me start by saying that I don’t know much about this, since it all happened when I was too young to be aware of this kind of shit. But it’s sort of a big deal? Like, if I heard about it later, how the hell do you not know about this stuff?”

Lachlan shrugged, even though Rhian couldn’t see him. “Not really my area of interest.”

“Not really your area of…” Rhian trailed off with an annoyingly fond huff. “Okay, well, I can tell you what I know. The internet can probably tell you a lot more.”

“I don’t want to see it.”

“What? The video?”

“No. Yes—that, or all the bullshit. I’m hoping you can distill it for me.”

“Um, let’s see. She was barely eighteen and her boyfriend, Blake Whelton, taped them having what I’ve heard is pretty…uh…gymnastic sex, then sold it a couple years later because she was famous and she’d just dumped him. I’ve never seen it, but I think I’m pretty unusual, to be honest. It got around, a lot, before her lawyers shut it down, and by then it was too late. The internet is forever—and that was before Blake’s acting career took off and gave the tape new life.”

Lachlan swallowed back the bile rising in his throat. “That’s awful.”

“Yeah. Seriously,” Rhian agreed sadly. “The worst part, I hear, is that at the end they’re cuddling, and she’s obviously in love with this creep, and he’s winking at the camera that she clearly doesn’t know is there.”