Never Tied Down (The Never Duet #2)(7)

By: Anie Michaels

My eyes landed on Lexi, sitting on the seat at the other end of the limo. Next to her was another large man, a bodyguard I presumed. I slid onto the seat closest to me, trying to take in everything I was seeing. Rope lights framed the ceiling of the limo. There was a bottle of champagne sitting in a bucket of ice, and multiple bottles of liquor were available as well. My eyes met Lexi’s and she smiled at me.

“Riot, it’s so good to see you again. I’d totally get up and hug you, but with these shoes and this skirt, I’d never be able to get back down again,” she said with a friendly smile. My gaze traveled down to said skirt and shoes, and I had to agree—the skirt was too short to be moving around much, and the heels looked dangerous. I never understood why women liked to risk their lives in heels that were unusually high and spiky.

“Good to see you, too. Although, I’ll admit, I was a little surprised with this whole setup.”

She waved a hand at me, as if to say, “No big deal.”

“It’s just a movie premiere,” she replied, her voice light and carefree. “I thought it would be a fun opportunity for us both.”

“Now, Ronny,” Lexi said to the large man next to her, “don’t crowd us too much when we get out of the limo, I want the photographers to be able to see us together. And make sure you let Riot help me out.”

“You got it,” he said in agreement, then continued to stare out the window, checking his watch every minute or so. It was a long and quiet ride, and it was also a little uncomfortable. I had nothing to really say to Lexi, and tried to keep my eyes off her because, due to her skirt, my eyes naturally wandered to the point where her crossed thighs met. I didn’t want her to catch me checking out her legs, especially since I wasn’t checking them out, per se; I was just being a normal guy. Any twenty-six-year-old man would be mesmerized by all the skin she was showing.

Instead, I pulled out my phone and tried to occupy myself with it. Eventually, I noticed we were pulling up to a long line of limos. We inched our way forward and Lexi touched up her makeup, smiling at me every couple minutes. It seemed like we’d finally made it to our destination when I felt the limo stop and change gears into park. Ronny moved to get out of the limo first and when the door opened all I saw were people and cameras. The people didn’t even have heads, it seemed. They just had necks with cameras. And there were so many of them.

“Don’t be nervous, Riot. Just be yourself and smile, and make sure you stick with me, it’s easy to get separated.”

I nodded, unsure of what to say in response. I moved to exit the limo and was blinded by all the flashing bulbs, deafened by all the yelling. I turned back, not forgetting my duty to help Lexi from the limo. I saw her come out of the darkness and reached out to her. When she took my hand, it was as if the cameras went even crazier and the energy surrounding us started buzzing in such a way I could physically feel it in the air.

Lexi didn’t let go of me, even after she was out of the limo completely; instead, she laced her fingers through mine and curled into me, clutching my bicep with her other hand. She was smiling still, her red lips surrounding sparkling white teeth, and I couldn’t find any words, so I just led her through the crowd, following close behind Ronny and Tank, who seemed to be parting the bodies with camera heads for us.

We made our way slowly down the red carpet and were stopped in front of a backdrop and suddenly the camera heads knew my name.

“Riot! Look this way!”

“Riot! Are you and Lexi dating?”

“Lexi! Does George know you’re seeing someone else?”

“Lexi! Give Riot a kiss!”

At the command, Lexi leaned farther into my side and pressed her lips to my cheek. I stilled, panicking a little. I didn’t want to be rude to her, but I definitely didn’t want to be photographed as she kissed my cheek. I didn’t want anyone kissing my cheek. Well, that wasn’t true. I’d let Kalli kiss me anywhere. But I definitely wasn’t comfortable with what was happening.

Lexi leaned away from me, smiling, then brought her thumb up to where her lips had just been, laughing. “You’ve got red lipstick all over you,” she justified as she tried to brush it away, all the while the flash bulbs blinded and people yelled.

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