“People.” I grin.
“Yeah, but I’m not most people. And in the wise words of Bon Jovi, ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead.’”
I laugh lightly. I’m starting to like this girl already.
“Yeah, I guess you’ve got a point. I’m not usually one for lying in. But I was knackered when I first got here.”
She chuckles. “You’ll adjust to it all soon enough.”
“Yeah, I’m sure I will. Has the other girl, Amy, arrived, too?”
Petra’s face frowns at the mention of Amy’s name. “No, she got let go.”
“Because she shagged Carrick. I bloody told her not to, that no good would come of it, especially not so soon after what happened with Charlotte, but she didn’t listen.”
“Oh, right. Yeah, Uncle John told me about the Charlotte thing, not that we were gossiping or anything.” I’m quick to clear it up. “Uncle John was just telling me how my position came up.”
“Yeah, it was all a bit of a mess, to be honest.”
“So, does every girl who sleeps with Carrick get fired?” At her expression, I clarify, “Not that I’m asking because I want to sleep with him. Purely asking out of nosiness.”
She shrugs. “He’s never really bothered with staff before. I mean, he never tried anything with me, not that I’d let him. He’s not my type. But before Charlotte, it was Lea, and she was married. Then, she left to have a baby, and Rich got Charlotte the job, and we know how that ended—a big fucking tabloid mess. So, when Amy got the job, she had her eye on Carrick straight away, and I told her it wouldn’t be a good idea as Pierce is still prickly about the whole mess. Then, she goes and gets herself photographed with him and another girl. I mean, seriously!” She laughs, throwing her hands up in the air. “So, Pierce had my boss, David let her go, which David did easily as she was brought in only as a temp because Pierce didn’t want to risk any future problems arising, like what they had with Charlotte—you know, her suing them and all.”
“Hmm. Not that it’s nice, but yeah, I guess I can understand Pierce’s point of view.”
“Yeah, but now, I’m stuck working on my own. Pierce won’t let David hire anyone else because he’s worried that Carrick will shag the next one. And it’s not like David can hire a guy because you know it’s all about appearances in this business. So, he’s brought in Franco to add more hands in the kitchen to relieve me of that, but I’m up front, serving on my own.” She pulls a face.
“Sucks,” I sympathize.
“Yeah, but never mind. It is what it is.” She climbs up off the bed. “I’m gonna go shower the flight off me and get ready to go out. Text Ben, will you, and find out what they’re up to?”
I grab my phone off the nightstand and begin typing out a text to Ben as Petra disappears into the bathroom.
As it turns out, the guys are already out, so Petra and I catch a quick bite at the hotel.
Now, we’re walking down to meet them on Fitzroy Street in St. Kilda. It’s a hive of activity. The street is lined with bars and restaurants. Petra told me that this is the best place to come drinking while we’re in Melbourne, not that I know how much drinking I’ll be doing while I’m here.
The air is hot and humid, so I’m wearing jean shorts, a short-sleeved T-shirt, and flip-flops.
As we arrive, we see the guys seated outside the bar, and Carrick is with them. At the sight of him, my heart does a little bumpity-bump in my chest. He’s wearing a team ball cap, a T-shirt, and jean shorts. He looks good. No, better than good. He looks gorgeous. Not seeing him for two weeks while trying to dull my memory of him has only made seeing him now fresher, like I’m seeing him for the first time, and my crush comes back with a loud bang. I feel that bang in all my girl parts.
His eyes meet mine as I approach, and he smiles.
I swoon. I actually fucking swoon. I’m so pathetic.
“Ladies,” he drawls.
His voice hits me in all the right places.
“Hi,” I say to him.
Casting my eyes around the table, I greet the rest of them.
“I’ll go get us a drink,” Petra says. “What do you want?”
“Beer would great. Thanks.”
“I need another,” Ben says, getting up from his seat. “I’ll come with you.”
“Sit down, Andressa.” Carrick reaches over and grabs Ben’s now empty chair and pulls it next to him.
“Won’t Ben need that when he gets back?”
Tilting his head, he smiles. “He can get another.”
“Okay.” I slide into the chair, and I try not to be aware of him, but I am.
“So, you missed me then?”
I turn my face to look at him. “With every fiber of my being,” I deadpan.
A smile tips up his lips. “A simple yes would have sufficed.”
“Why be simple when you can be amazing?”
“True.” His eyes smolder at me.
And I love the smolder too much, so I look away.
“So, how has my new best friend been? Aside from being amazing, of course.”
Moving my eyes back to him, I raise my brows. “Best friend?”
“Oh, yeah. We’re best friends. Did you not know?”
“Apparently not. So, how are we best friends again exactly?”
“We’re best friends because”—he leans in close, moving into my space, with his lips next to my ear, and his hot breath makes me shiver—“you won’t let me shag you. Now, we’re going to be the next best thing, and that’s best friends because I don’t do things by halves, Andressa. I’m an all-or-nothing kinda guy.” He sits back in his chair, staring at me.