Some Like It Scandalous – No More BS. No More Lies
“She’s impossible.” Armand paced in front of the window of the hospital room. Richard had finally been released from the surgical floor and security arranged for a private room. It would still be a few days before he could go home.
“Really? Do tell.” His best friend sat up in bed, his bruised face looked like hell—the green and yellow splotches somehow uglier than the deep purple when he’d been admitted.
“She won’t listen to reason. I told her I love her, I’ve told her I want to be with her…”
“Then listen to her.” Richard interrupted the diatribe. “And point of order, I’m pretty sure the words you told me you used were ‘maybe in a few months’ and ‘a jackass who loves you.’ Of course, I’m on painkillers and you’re upset. So maybe I’m wrong.”
Armand glared at him. “You’re extremely blasé about this. I would think after your accident…”
Opening his eyes, the attorney met his glare with a bland look. “That I’d what? Vote for you to continue to make stupid choices? I told you, you get crazy impulsive where she’s concerned. You’re fanatical in wanting to protect her—but has it not occurred to you that the safest place in the world is with you? All the time? You’re constantly surrounded by security and as insane as I think it is, she doesn’t seem to mind.”
He stopped and considered that. Anna hadn’t complained, not once in the entire debacle. She’d been furious with him, shot him with a Nerf gun and told him no—repeatedly. But she never complained about security.
He’d gone to New York on business, three days gone, and when he returned… “Do you know what she did last night?” He changed the subject.
“No, I’m afraid not. I was here last night, watching the 49ers get their asses handed to them by Dallas. What did she do?”
“Movie night. We’ve argued for four days, I leave for three and she comes in last night with wine and pizza—apparently my security takes orders from her now—and romantic comedies. We watched The Prince and Me, The Princess Diaries, and Anna and the King.” He expected recrimination or tears or maybe even the silent treatment. But she’d welcomed him with a kiss and a reminder that movie night meant tabling everything. They snuggled together on the sofa for hours.
But he went to bed alone.
Richard laughed softly. “You are so not winning this fight with her.”
“It’s not funny. I want to protect her.”
“Then marry her, make her a princess, surround her in personal footmen, valets and bodyguards and keep her locked up in the tower. You might as well enjoy the time with her—” Richard sighed. “Seriously, you don’t get it, do you?”
Frowning, Armand shook his head. “Apparently not. All I want to do is protect her and you two seem to think I’m insane.”
“Maybe when she and I agree on something you should think about it too. Ten years ago it got hard—really hard for both of you—and she couldn’t handle it. It’s not any easier now—arguably it’s harder because it’s not just her privacy she might give up, it’s her life—but it’s hers to share with you, Armand. She’s trying to show you she won’t leave—not again.”
He sat down, the wind going out of him. “I can’t lose her, Richard. I can’t.”
“Then stop pushing her away. You told me that you don’t let threats and the rest of the world dictate your life. You take precautions, you make informed decisions—but you don’t run.”
Shaking his head slowly, Armand exhaled a long, weary breath. “The threats—the ridiculousness of the press—I could handle that when it was just me. But how do I risk her?”
“You don’t. She does. It’s her call. You’re one of the best guys I know—and one of the most stand-up. You put your life on the line, willy-nilly, to make sure the rest of your family was safe. You’ve tabled your happiness for a long time, buddy.”
“You sound suspiciously like one of those romantic comedies.”
“And on that note, your free consultation is up, we’re starting on billable hours.”
Armand laughed. “You make fun now, but sooner or later you’re going to meet a woman who ties you up in knots. And we’ll see who is cracking jokes then.”
“Not gonna happen. I’ll find me some nice secretary who thinks the boss is her meal ticket, she’ll be all ‘yes, sir’ and ‘no, sir’ and ‘thank you very much, sir’ and we’ll have four kids and a dog and a summer ranch in Wyoming.” Richard snorted. “Now, get the hell out of here and find your girl, or sources close to the prince are going to report you knocked her up.”
“You’re an ass.”
“Yes, I am.” Richard leaned his head back, weariness washing over his face, and Armand rested a hand on his shoulder.
“Thank you, old friend.”
“Anytime. Now go—Sands Through Our Hourglass is coming on and I need to know if Brittany picked Jim or Bob.”
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