Breaking Bones(10)

By: Amanda Washington

“Yeah. No biggie. You’ve never seen anyone famous in here?” she asked.

“No. Never.” Big stars probably stayed in the nicer hotels and had room service bring them their meals.

The coffeepot finished brewing. Piper filled a water pitcher and we floated around the restaurant, refilling drinks. Once we were done making the rounds, we broke for lunch. She headed outside to smoke and I made a beeline for my favorite seat in the casino, a stone wall beside a peaceful little pond. The spot was mostly hidden by a fake tree, allowing me privacy to eat or play on my phone. I’d only showed one other person my special spot, so I was shocked to see someone sitting there. Especially someone wearing a suit. Disappointed, I turned to leave.

The suit stood, catching my attention. “Hey baby.”

The familiar voice brought on a wave of mixed emotions: first relief because he was alive, and then anger because the bastard should have called me to let me know he wasn’t dead in a ditch somewhere.

“Matt,” I breathed, unable to believe my eyes. He looked good—real good. He’d been my agent and my boyfriend, but when I’d needed him most, he abandoned me. And now he was here, in my spot, breathing the same recycled casino air as me. The question was… why? “What do you want?” I asked, taking a step back.

His frown told me it wasn’t the reception he’d been expecting, which only pissed me off more. He’d almost killed me. What did he expect? For me to jump in his lap and lick his face like his faithful bitch? Not this chick. I’d trusted him, and Matt had royally screwed me over, shattered my heart, took my money, and left. Now he was back wearing a new tailored suit and shiny black oxfords. He’d cut his hair and shaved, like he was trying to pull off a respectable-man look. Too bad I knew the truth.

“Don’t be like that, baby. I missed you.”

I used to love it when he called me baby. Now it made me want to rip out his tongue. Unimpressed, I crossed my arms. “Cut the bullshit and tell me what you want.”

He held up his hands in the universal gesture for surrender and took a hesitant step toward me.

“Stay back,” I warned, afraid of what I’d do if he didn’t. This would be a bad time to practice the punches Bones showed me. If I attacked Matt, casino security would be called and I’d probably lose my job. A little voice in the back of my mind kept whispering that it’d be worth it. My job wasn’t all that spectacular anyway.

“So glad I found you, Ari. I have great news,” Matt said. Apparently he intended to pretend like I didn’t want to kick his face in. “I went to the apartment to find you, but you’d moved out. By the way, what did you do with my stuff?”

Everything Markie and I hadn’t taken to Angel and Bones’s condo was in a storage unit. Everything except Matt’s crap. “I left it in the apartment.”

“You abandoned my stuff?” he asked.

I snorted. “Technically, you did. Had I taken it with me, it would have been considered stealing. I should have sold it all to pay for the security deposit you owe me, though. Turns out the apartment was conveniently only in your name. I paid for everything, but I couldn’t even change the locks. I couldn’t give notice. All I could do was move out.”

“We talked about that, Ari. Remember? Since the place was such a dump we decided it would be best if we kept your name off it.”

Having no recollection whatsoever of that conversation, I stared at him, wondering again why I’d trusted him so much.

He kept talking. “That way, when you got your break… Oh yeah. That’s why I’m here. I did it, Ari! I finally did it!” He lunged forward and grabbed my shoulders, shaking me as he laughed.

My exhausted brain couldn’t follow him. He was too close, too personal, too overjoyed. Probably hitting the blow early. Wondering what I’d ever seen in him, I shrugged him off and stepped back. “Did what? What are you talking about? And where did you get that suit? Is that what you did with the last of my money?”

Smile faltering, he patted down his jacket. “This old thing? No, I had this in my closet. I have to look slick when I’m out representing you. I gotta look good to make you look good.”

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