Now and Again – Chapter 1
A chill wound itself around Layla like a ribbon, wrapping around her chest, moving down her thighs and ending at her toes. Even her ass cheeks were freezing. She lifted her head and a sharp pain radiated from her forehead all the way down to her neck.
What the fuck is going on? Why is my face wet? And what the hell is . . . ?
The fingertips she stuck in her mouth and pulled back out answered her question. Glitter. On her tongue? She rolled to her back with a groan and opened her eyes, a spinning ceiling fan coming into focus. Who ran a ceiling fan in the middle of winter?
“Hey. What’s up?” A deep, groggy voice spoke from beneath a pile of covers on the other side of the bed.
“Andrew?” Layla squinted as she peered at the half-open brown eyes. What the hell was his last name?
“You craving some more of the golden rod?” He grinned and Layla looked back up at the fan.
Andrew Golden. That was his name. He was a junior attorney at Cole Marlowe’s firm. And did he say . . . more?
She forced herself to raise her pounding head so she could sit up. Looking down, she saw that she still had on her lacy red bra . . . and nothing else. With a shriek, she reached to pull the covers over herself, but Andrew was cocooned tightly in them. Her side of the bed only had a white bed sheet with a wet spot where her head had been. Spilled champagne, she vaguely remembered. Peach.
“Pass me some covers, asshole!” She jerked on a blanket and Andrew laughed.
“I’ve already seen it all, sweetheart. Don’t get shy on me now.”
“What the hell happened? We were at the New Year’s Eve party at that hotel, and we kissed when the ball dropped . . .” She pressed her hands against her head. It was throbbing like never before.
“And then we got a room and I dropped my balls into your mouth.” Andrew leered at her. Layla twisted her face into a dirty look.
“You screwed me when I was too drunk to know what I was doing.” It was a statement; not a question.
Andrew sat up, his face getting serious as the covers fell away from his chest. “No, this was your idea, Layla. You saw Cole Marlowe dancing with your sister and said you wanted them to know you were over it, whatever that means. You practically did me on the dance floor, but I said we could get a room, and you were all about it.”
Layla sighed and shook her head, disgust setting in. “Did we at least use condoms?”
“Hell yes, we did. I know you’ve been—” Layla cast a sharp glance at him and he looked sheepish. “─around. Sorry.”
Glancing around the room for her panties, Layla found them half-hidden under a dresser, twisted into a ball. She grabbed them and stepped in. “Where’s my dress?”
“It’s, uh . . .” Andrew glanced around the room, running a hand through his dark hair. “It’s over by the desk somewhere, that’s where you did the striptease.”
“Oh my God.” She dropped her face into her hands.
“No, it was good. It was really good. I’ll help you find your dress.” Andrew climbed out of bed and Layla squared her shoulders, walking toward the desk in the corner of the room.
“No! Get back in bed!” she squealed. “I don’t want to see your junk!”
“You did way more than see it last night!”
“I know . . . I’m just really hung over right now and I just want to get dressed and go.”
She found her black dress in a heap behind the desk and pulled it on quickly.
“Hey,” Andrew said, pulling the covers back over his midsection as he sat on the bed. “I know this was a weird start to things, but I really do like you. I’ve wanted to ask you out since the first time I saw you, but I knew you were out of my league. Do you think we could—”
“I can’t talk right now, I have to go.” She grabbed her strappy silver heels, threw her purse over her shoulder and rushed out the door, taking a deep breath when she made it to the hallway.
Padding down the hallway in her bare feet, she gazed at glitzy chandeliers, oil paintings and a side table with a vase of blooming cut flowers. All a perfect contrast to the way she felt.
Cheap. Worthless. I can’t believe I did it again. Another mindless fuck with some guy I don’t even know. I’ll have to go into the doctor’s office for an STD test next week – again. If they had frequent flyer miles I’d have a free visit coming.
A blonde in a maid’s uniform sorted through the supplies on her cart, glancing up for just a second. Layla knew she had walk of shame written all over her.
My New Year’s resolution? This is never happening again.