Elizabeth - Page 46

“My fiancé didn’t react as if you are much of a friend.”

“Your fiancé and I have very different definitions of the word.”

“Would you care to enlighten me on your definition of a friend before I go scout where my fiancé has gotten off to?”

I felt the need to keep reiterating that word with how Sam was eyeballing me.

“Brains and a body. Phil’s quite the lucky man,” he said.

“I’m just as lucky,” I said.

“What are you doing later?”

My eyes whipped up to his, and my heart stopped in my chest. Then, the bell for dinner rang out. Everyone started migrating to their seats, and I was thankful I didn’t have to answer that question. Whoever this man was, he certainly was no friend of Phillip’s. I nodded my head and bid him a quick farewell before I lost myself in the crowd. I didn’t care where I was going. The only thing I cared about was getting away from whoever the hell that man was. I pushed my way through the crowd to make my way toward the wall. If I couldn’t find Phillip, I’d stick to the shadows. Maybe the women’s restroom. I’d hide myself away until all of this was done.

Why in the world would he leave me like that?

“There you are.”

I whipped around and caught sight of Phillip’s cold, closed-off stare.

“Time for dinner. I’ll show you where we’re seated.”

Instead of offering me his arm, he merely turned and began walking away from me. I didn’t like this. I didn’t like any of it. I followed closely behind him, keeping my eyes out for Sam. Phillip didn’t pull out my chair or anything, merely showed me to my seat before sitting down himself.

“Well, fancy seeing the two of you here.”

I bit down onto the inside of my cheek as I looked up at my side. There he was, hovering over the two of us like some lone, shadowed monster. The second he pulled out the other chair beside me and sat down, I felt anger boil in my veins. I peeked over at Phillip and saw him tense. A blush of anger crept up his neck and peeked from beyond his white collared shirt.

So, I figured I would engage him in conversation and ignore Sam.

“What are you thinking about ordering for dinner, sweetheart?”

Phillip glanced over at me before he leaned to his right, paying attention to the other person beside him. He chatted with them for a little while as wine and water were set in front of us; then he returned to his upright position and kept his eyes forward.

“Would you care for a white wine instead? I know there’s fish on the menu,” I said.

I slid my hand onto his knee, but he pulled it away. He was ignoring my voice and my touch, and I didn’t like that. I felt stranded. Strung out to dry. Dangled like a piece of meat while the hound only known as Phillip’s “friend” stared me down.

“Don’t worry. He gets so wrapped up in his work sometimes that the striking beauty of a woman at his side doesn’t faze him.”

I straightened my back as Sam’s voice wafted over my ear.

“That dress really looks wonderful on you, by the way. Superb choice for the evening.”

“I don’t need your approval,” I said, shooting him a glance.

“Curves, brains, and sassiness. I bet Phillip loves shutting you up in bed.”

My eyes widened at his comment, and I looked around the table. Surely someone else had heard him talking to me the way he was. But everyone was engaged in their own conversation, Phillip included.

“What the hell kind of friend are you?” I asked. I lowered my voice to a hushed whisper as Sam’s face hardened. “I’m his fiancée, and you’re hitting on me as if that doesn’t mean a damn thing to you. You’re being rude, and you’re making me uncomfortable. What kind of friend tries to sleep with his friend’s fiancée?”

“Funny, I didn’t say anything about sleeping with you.”

Sam’s eyes locked on to mine, and I knew what was happening. He was slowly seeing through the ruse of the two of us. I slid my hand onto Phillip’s knee, and he tried to knock my hand away, but I gripped harder than I ever had. I held Sam’s gaze as Phillip wrapped his hand around my wrist, bearing down so hard he pressed the tendons at my wrist. It loosened my fingers, and he worked my hand off his knee, then settled it back into my lap.

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