“Kate.” Caulter says my name loudly, then quieter, as I dart around one of the caterers in the kitchen and through the side door into the dining room, where it’s empty.
I whirl around, and look at him. “What, Caulter?” I ask. “What could you possibly have to say that I would want to hear?”
“This is not the place for this conversation, Kate.” He nods toward the swinging door that separates the rooms, the door that barely provides any cover for the kind of heated argument this is bound to be.
“Maybe we should have this conversation in the library, then. Would that be a more suitable place?"
"I already told you, that was not what it looked like." He speaks low, looking over his shoulder toward the kitchen, and even though the last thing I want is for anyone to hear this conversation, I'm somehow made even more irritated by his concern.
I know we're hiding this -- whatever the fuck this is -- but the fact that we're skirting around just makes the whole thing seem shady.
"You're right," I whisper. "I was probably just confused by the naked ass and tits. I wasn't really clear about what was happening."
I'm done with this conversation, and I'm done with him.
I storm out of the room, taking the stairs as quickly as I can in my stupid heels. He follows me, and when I reach the door to my room, he's behind me, his body dangerously close to mine.
"Hurry up and open the fucking door," he says, his voice a low growl.
I pause with my hand on the doorknob. "Go to your room. I don't want to talk to you."
"Open the fucking door before someone looks up here and sees us," he says. "Because you have about two seconds before I drop my pants." His hand slides up my thigh, and I slap it away.
"Don't touch me," I say. "You're disgusting." But I open the door anyway. He's right that someone could walk down the hall and see us.
He shuts the door behind him, hard, and I walk to the other side of the room and draw the curtains, shutting out the partygoers outside before I spin around. "You're pissed off," he says.
"I'm not pissed off. I don't give a shit what you do."
Caulter crosses his arms over his chest, smirking at me. The problem is, standing there in the tuxedo like that, he looks damn near irresistible. "You really think I fucked that redhead in the library?"
"How can you even ask me that question, Caulter? Of course I think you fucked her. Your reputation precedes you."
He looks disappointed. "Despite what you might think," he says. "I'm not an asshole."
I laugh. "You must think I'm a complete idiot," I say. "Or that just because I was a virgin when you did the deed, that I'm totally naive."
"I don't think you're stupid or naive," he says. "Which is why you know I didn't fuck her." He looks sincere, and I want to believe him, but I can't be sure he's not lying.
"You had a naked girl in the library, and you were holding her clothes," I say. "You fucked her."
"I'm not an asshole, Kate," he says. I'm distracted by the way his mouth looks as he speaks. I want to feel the heat of his breath on my skin. "She was repulsive."
"She was hot," I say. "And naked."
"How long had it been since I walked out of the party?" he asks. "Ten minutes? Fifteen? Enough time for me to have a drink in the library."
"Enough time for you to screw her," I say.
"You've fucked me, Kate," he says, his eyes boring into me. "You tell me if you think fifteen minutes is long enough for me."
"What about when we were in the library before?" I remind him. "How long was that?"
"The ladder broke. That's not exactly my fault."
"You were coming before it broke."
"Only because you were coming on my cock."
"So? What does that have to do with it?"
He reaches up with his other hand and traces his finger down the front of my dress, hooking it under the necklace on my chest. "So...I can't hold out when it comes to you, Kate."
I laugh. "I'm sure that's what you tell all the girls."
The edges of his eyes wrinkle when he looks at me. "There are no other girls."
"I don't believe you."
"Yes you do," he says, moving his finger up to my face. He traces the outline of my jaw, pulls my face up toward his. "Because you know it's true. Since you, there's been no one else."