So, first off, I have to apologize a bit because his chapter didn't entirely turn out to be what I (or, probably, what you) expected. There's a lot less Bridget/Andrew interaction than I originally intended, but I kinda figured something like this might happen... so a lot of the chapter is mostly filler, and I really hope it isn't boring, but I kinda needed to set things up. And I feel like I needed to explain Bridget's life now a bit more... and, basically, Shaylene kinda came in and took over. So you also start to get a few mentions of some more familiar characters in this chapter, and you get some pretty strong hints about what happened with Bodaway and how that whole experience changed Bridget and Shaylene. I'm not sure yet, but I might decide to go into that a bit more if you all are interested.
The stuff about shopping in Lake Tahoe is true (I checked, and it was tedious... But it's how I know that Sparks, Nevada apparently once had a Saks Off 5th outlet). I was going to actually give Bridget a real address, but I don't know the Lake Tahoe area very well with all of its various places like Glenview and Incline Village and South Lake Tahoe and then Reno and Carson City and Sparks and all that, which basically just confuses me. I also don't consider myself an accurate judge of distances or house prices or anything remotely relevant to Nevada, so I dunno where I would have her live, especially since Lake Tahoe is divided between Nevada and California and made up of a lot of different towns and whatnot. So basically all you need to know about where she and Shay live is that they live in a nice house in the suburbs somewhere. It's nice, again, a two or three bedroom house (maybe Ranch style, given that they live in the West, but I personally hate that style, so, eh, we'll see) in a good neighborhood, probably somewhat open and not too big or too small. It gets a lot of light, and it has a nice, decent-sized yard and a porch... and, like, they're strippers, so they make good money... but it's not too pricey. It's like, homey affordable, shall we say.
Next chapter will be the much-looked-forward-to Bridget and Andrew shopping adventure. I might have a bit of them having dinner or in the car or something, but I'm not sure. What I do know is that next chapter you will get to see a peek of Andrew's life, namely in the form of Siobhan, who calls while he's with Bridget... which may start to change Bridget's perspective on things. And that's where it starts to get interesting. Well, I mean, I hope it was already interesting, but you get the point.
And, finally, I don't own Ringer, or the shirt Bridget's wearing in the beginning, or any of the characters that you recognize, but I do own the plot and anything it is clear that I have invented. I'm glad to know that so many of you have put my story on your favorites and alerts list, but it would also be really nice to hear from more of you! I know, blech, the inevitable plea for reviews, but I do really appreciate them. Thanks so much, and I hope you enjoy it.
Bridget woke up to the smell of breakfast. With her eyes still closed, she inhaled the smell of eggs and pancakes deeply. Her stomach rumbled appreciatively, and Bridget sat up in bed, stretching her arms over her head in a fluid moment and letting out a loud yawn. She turned to glance at her clock and frowned once she saw that it was a few minutes past nine-thirty, flopping back down onto the bed and letting out a sigh. Bridget had gotten in at half-past four last night, thanks to all the questions from nosy coworkers, and she was still exhausted and sore from her shift last night. She pouted a little, wiggling her toes, somewhat surprised to find that her feet hurt less than usual.
Probably because of the foot massage. The memories came crashing back to her in a flash, and Bridget forced herself to get out of bed, shrugging on an old flannel shirt and doing up the buttons as she headed out into the kitchen. She glanced down at the black, white, and orange plaid, a bit chagrined when she remembered it had once belonged to Dylan. Dylan whom she tried to avoid thinking about at all costs because thinking about him only led to painful memories and made her want to drink the nearest semi-alcoholic liquid she could find until she couldn't think anymore. She padded into the kitchen and found her roommate, Shaylene Briggs, standing in front of the stove. "Morning," Bridget muttered, heading for the fridge.
She was still debating between something caffeinated or juice when Shaylene turned around suddenly, startled. "Bridget! I didn't know you were up." It wasn't like Bridget to wake up early, especially after a late shift, but, then again, she was rarely roused by the smell of breakfast either. Bridget blinked blearily, wondering if Shaylene was making breakfast for her boyfriend. She hadn't seen Vic's car out front last night, and she didn't see any signs of him being around, especially since Shay was wearing more clothes than she was. Bridget shrugged, opening up the refrigerator and pulling out a carton of orange juice.
"You got in late last night," Shaylene continued conversationally, glancing at her occasionally out of the corner of her eye. Bridget opened the cabinet to get a glass, frowning to herself and wondering what Shay was up to. Bridget nodded unenthusiastically and started to pour herself a glass of orange juice at the counter, replacing the carton mindlessly. She wasn't exactly functioning on upper levels yet. She took a sip of her orange juice and made a face; orange juice tasted much better with a vodka chaser, but she was off the sauce now.
She was glad to be alcohol-free, but she wished someone would've told her in rehab that it would suck this much, that she would have to learn how to have fun and function all over again. "Did you bring a guy home?" Shaylene asked in the same faux-casual tone. Bridget's gaze cut over to her friend, wondering what she was getting at. Shaylene pretended she was actually super interested in turning the scrambled eggs, but Bridget wasn't fooled. Truthfully, Shay had been watching her like this since she'd gotten out of rehab and probably before that, but that didn't mean Bridget was used to it. And today more than other days it made her want to scream.
Bridget fought the urge to roll her eyes and shook her head no instead, blandly taking another sip of orange juice. God, she wanted some vodka to take the edge off. What she wouldn't give... Once again Shaylene's voice snapped her out of her alcohol-flavored dreams, sweet as sugar, sweeter than the juice she was currently drinking. "It's just... that's a man's shirt, and you seem... different," she continued a bit more hesitantly. Bridget's cheeks colored guiltily in spite of herself, and she tried very hard to cast all thoughts of men from her mind, tugging self-consciously at the old shirt. Bridget sighed and walked over to the kitchen table, sitting down and primly crossing one leg over the other. She could sense the lecture coming from a mile away.
She hadn't actually brought a guy home in that sense more or less since before rehab. She hadn't been with anyone since before rehab, except for a regrettable yet satisfying mistake with Malcolm, one of the counselors and her NA sponsor, three months ago. It was the first sober sex she'd had in years, and apparently sobriety made the mistake apparent even more quickly, as the reality of the situation had come crashing down on her pretty much as soon as it was over. They'd both known it wasn't going to work, that nothing could come of it.
Besides, like Malcolm said, all too understandingly, she needed to work on her recovery first and then her relationships. Sometimes she thought about it and wondered whether she was alone in her little crush, given the way he'd all but jumped at the out she'd given him. Still, it was her longest dry spell in years, possibly her entire life. Bridget heard the scrapes and clangs of pots and pans and plates and then the sound of her roommate's footsteps, and she glanced up a moment later to find Shaylene in front of her and holding out a plate loaded down with scrambled eggs and pancakes.
Shaylene still thought she was too thin and was trying to get her to eat more, had been trying for months, but the ravages of Bridget's addictions had messed up most of her bodily systems, so it wasn't doing much. She set the plate down in front of Bridget before turning back to make herself a plate. Bridget stared down at her foot, still hot and warm, and wished for a moment that Shaylene had thought to fry up some bacon. Bacon was her favorite. Shaylene returned a minute or so later with coffee and a plate of her own and slid into the seat directly across from Bridget. Her blue-green stare was piercing and familiar as usual, and Bridget looked down at her plate once more, picking up her fork and beginning to spear some eggs. "I heard about last night. From Dezzie."
Bridget's eyes shot up, and she scowled at Shaylene. The fork was midway to her mouth. "I don't know what you heard, but Destiny doesn't know anything," Bridget retorted a bit irritably. Destiny Munroe was one of the younger girls, a big-breasted overtanned bleach-blonde who was well known around the club for being fast and flashy. She was also the gossip queen of the club, the one most likely to steal customers or make up nasty rumors behind your back. Predictably, Bridget couldn't stand her from her trashy sparkle highlights to her fake attitude and acrylic nails, and she preferred to interact with her as little as humanly possible.
She shoveled food into her mouth partly to avoid having to elaborate further and partly to hear what exactly Dezzie had told Shaylene. Shaylene, on the other hand, was calm as she began to cut her pancakes. "She said you were all over this lonely middle-aged guy. Apparently he turned down every other girl in the place's offer, but he was with you for hours in one of the private rooms?" Shaylene continued pointedly, giving Bridget a look. Bridget fought down a grimace; she knew what that look suggested. Her jaw tightened a little; of course that tramp Dezzie would try and downplay Andrew's attractive qualities like she knew a damn thing about him. Bridget had been up on the stage when Andrew had rejected Destiny's rather crude offer of a lap dance, and she'd relished his rather curt dismissal of her.
He'd given Destiny this priceless look, as if he were unable to believe her crassness or that she thought she could actually tempt him. Bridget just wished she could've heard what he said because, from what she knew of Andrew, it was almost certain to have been something very clever and just polite enough for the insult to pass right over her head. "She said he was practically dripping with money... and that Frank heard moaning coming from your room. And I heard he spent over a grand last night... most of it on you?" Shaylene added a few moments later, the implication and incredulity in her voice now unmistakable. Bridget pursed her lips, surprised at the amount of truth in the tale. "You took him outside and came back five minutes later looking dazed? Any of this ringing a bell, Bridge?" Shay continued impatiently.
Bridget rolled her eyes and swallowed the food that was in her mouth. "It's not what Dezzie made it out to be, Shay. She's just jealous he didn't go for her," Bridget rejoined, tossing her hair and reaching out for the syrup to slather on her pancakes. Apparently she'd worked up quite an appetite last night. Shaylene gave her friend a skeptical look, taking a sip of her coffee. Bridget shrugged a bit defensively, pouring a bit too much maple syrup (or was it, like her, just an imitation of the real thing? The question caught in her throat and stung) on her pancakes. "He was a nice guy, practically a perfect gentleman. Only had eyes for me 'cause I look like his wife." Shaylene took another sip of her coffee and continued to give her that same skeptical look, like she knew better than to believe her.
Bridget frowned at her friend, throwing back half of her orange juice and wincing at the overly acidic citrus infusion. She felt a bit offended that Shay didn't believe her, but ultimately she supposed she couldn't blame her. After all, Bridget had been an addict and a master liar for years; she knew how to hide the truth. "Yeah, he was loaded, and maybe there was a time I would've boned him... but I didn't. I only even gave him one lap dance," she said bluntly, artlessly, with a dismissive little wave.
Of course, she neglected to mention that she would've in a heartbeat... if he wasn't her brother-in-law... and it wasn't like Shaylene didn't know that she did "extras" sometimes, had done a few recently that hadn't involved screwing the guy, as Bridget was trying to wean herself from that particular type of bad behavior. Bodaway hadn't cared about turning tricks as long as he turned a profit from it, but clubs like this one would fire her if she was caught, as Shaylene so loved to remind her. Hence why Bridget usually didn't and hadn't fooled around much in the VIP room.
At Shaylene's still disbelieving glance, Bridget sighed wearily, stabbing her pancakes with a bit more violence than usual. "On the main floor. Still wearing my clothes. It wasn't a biggie." Shaylene tilted her head and continued to give her the same look, and Bridget brought a bit of pancake to her mouth, pursing her lips faintly. Her lips curved into a small smile. "Well, actually..." She'd been unable to resist that one, and it was so hard to wipe the naughty look off of her face at the reminder of those few minutes she'd been able to be all over and around Andrew, those idyllic moments full of delicious promise before she knew who he was.
Shaylene's eyes narrowed, and she did not look quite so amused. Bridget's wry smile fell, and she popped the piece of pancake into her mouth unhappily. Sometimes she wondered where Shaylene got off judging her. Yeah, so okay maybe she'd done some things that made her look like a stereotype stripper, things that made it bad for all of them... but if that was true, then why hadn't Shaylene stopped stripping and gone after that real estate license she was always harping about, especially now that she had Victor? Shay had dreams and options, and she might as well pursue them. Bridget chewed thoughtfully, wondering how to tell Shay in a way that would actually make her believe her.
"God, Shay, I don't have sex in the champagne room, and I told you already, I didn't screw him," Bridget all but snapped. It'd be one thing if she was getting the Spanish Inquisition and judgment worthy of a priest if she'd actually done him, but she hadn't, and that was the frustrating part—getting judged when she hadn't even really gotten to enjoy him. Not that he was at all hers to enjoy, but still. Bridget rested one elbow on the table, resting her face on her hand and blowing her sidebangs out of her face. "Though not for a lack of trying," she muttered half under her breath, gazing out the window and trying not to imagine how it would've been. She could not fantasize about her sister's husband. That was probably a mortal sin, not like she hadn't broken almost every other one of the Ten Commandments already.
She felt rather than saw Shaylene's somewhat incredulous (was Shay surprised that he hadn't taken her up on it?) and judgmental expression, and Bridget turned to face her roommate, tired. She let a smile creep up on her face at the memories. "You should've seen him, Shay," she murmured, shaking her head in faint disbelief. "He was so effing gorgeous and wearing this great suit and..." Bridget cleared her throat, trying not to think too much about how well the suit had been tailored, how well it flattered his physique. Shaylene's brows shot up, and a strange expression passed over her face, but Bridget paid it little mind. "And he had this dead sexy British accent-"
Shaylene had seen a great many things in her illustrious career as a stripper, including her life flashing before her eyes when Bodaway Macawi had had his hands around her neck in his basement, but she had never seen that dreamy expression on Bridget's face when she wasn't high. Her friend's voice seemed lower, more girlish, distracted. It both worried and disturbed her; Bridget was not a sentimental girl, not the type to have stars in her eyes or illusions about anything, but here she was, getting her hopes up over some man. The man himself seemed a bit too good to be true, from what she'd half-heard. "-And a wedding ring, I hear," Shaylene interjected, giving her a knowing look.
Bridget froze. She hadn't forgotten, of course, that he was married or her sister's husband and thus entirely off-limits, but there was something sobering about Shaylene knowing he had a wife too. Married men were pretty common in their line of work, and both of them knew full well that wedding bands and bonds only went so far. Bridget tried her best to relax, swallowing hard, and nodded, picking at her eggs distractedly. She wished she could just dish to some girlfriend about this, because meeting Andrew was probably the best thing that had happened to her—personally or professionally—since she'd quit working at Club Caged and had gotten sober.
"But you know what the best thing about him was?" Bridget said a moment later, breaking their impromptu silence. Shaylene shook her head, and Bridget allowed herself a chuckle, thinking it over. She'd liked having a real conversation with him. She'd enjoyed getting to know her brother-in-law a bit, to use him to find out a bit more about Siobhan. She'd liked the money too and his offer for this weekend... but none of that was what she'd liked best about him, the reason her cheeks flushed just now thinking about it. "He asked me what he could do for me," Bridget pronounced just shy of rapturously.
Shaylene's mama bear instincts kicked in, and she was instantaneously suspicious. She dropped her fork abruptly, leaning halfway across the table and staring directly into Bridget's eyes. "Come on, Bridget, you're no wide-eyed virgin. You know he was only saying that because he wanted something from you," Shaylene insisted, moving her head this way and that to try to look Bridget in the eyes when she was so clearly trying to avoid her gaze. Then it hit her, and Shaylene's mouth dropped open. "You let him touch you," she said accusingly.
Bridget froze, confirming her guilt, biting her lip and looking away, playing with her food. But then she frowned, thinking about it and wondering why Shaylene looked so astounded that she'd let him touch her. Shay had more or less intimated that Bridget had had sex with him earlier, and she'd scarcely batted an eyelash... but any kind of touching, especially the innocent (on his end) kind that had happened, and she freaked out? Bridget looked up, holding her head high, and let out a jaded sigh. "You know my policy, Shaylene. It's the club's policy too," she said, picking up her glass again. The club's policy was no touching except at the dancer's discretion (well, except for lap dances, she supposed). For some reason the words didn't fully satisfy her.
"What did you let him do?" There was no mistaking the blunt, naked accusation in her voice, the way it rose and almost snapped like that of an angry mother prepared to yell at her for making bad decisions. Not that Bridget's mother had cared about her actions for many, many years, even when she was alive. It felt a bit like a slap in the face.
Bridget's brow furrowed as she tried to remember where she'd let Andrew touch. All of last night seemed like a haze now. She remembered putting his hands on her waist during the lap dance, how firm his grip had been. Another man would've tried to take liberties, to push her further. She remembered his arm coming up around her as she helped him out of the club, the way he leaned his weight on her as they waited for the cab. She remembered him removing her hand a few times, throwing it back at her and shaming her, but she also remembered him taking her hand oh so gently, tenderly. He'd shaken her hand firmly three times or so during their introduction and agreements.
She remembered him leaning into her touch just as she remembered his cheek resting against hers for one cool moment. She remembered the way his hand brushed against her skin and lingered just a few moments too long as he pushed the bills into her underwear, turning mundane transactions suddenly sensual. He'd pushed her off with a force that surprised her too, pushed her away and drew back time and time again. Yet, at the same time, she remembered him threading his fingers through her hair, his hand resting nonchalantly on the back of her neck almost possessively, familiarly, almost as if he knew her.
And Bridget supposed he sort of did, even though he knew nothing about her, because he knew Siobhan.
She remembered with a pang, biting down hard on her bottom lip, just how soft his skin really was. She'd liked the way his hands felt on her just a bit too much. Bridget wasn't going to tell Shaylene that particular secret. She remembered his hands massaging her feet, trailing over her calves and ankles. Bridget let out a distracted sigh, absently rubbing the back of her neck as if she missed his touch. She heard Shaylene clear her throat, and Bridget's head shot up, eyes going wide. Get your head out of the clouds, Bridge. She let out a breath, huffing a bit. "He didn't touch any of the goodies, if that's what you're thinking. We were strictly PG," Bridget insisted firmly.
Her lack of specifics had raised Shaylene's alarms and her menacing expression, so Bridget closed her eyes and tried to take a deep breath to suppress the fury. "What do you want me to say, Shay? The sexiest thing he did was either massage my feet or kiss my hand. He pretty much treated me like a normal person," Bridget continued, rolling her eyes and shoveling more food into her mouth. Shaylene's eyebrows shot up at this, and Bridget gave her a look, knowing what she was going to intimate before she said it. "None of which requires or leads to an invitation between my legs, Shay. No one had an orgasm. Not even him. Jeez," Bridget interjected coolly. She loved Shaylene, she really did, but she was beginning to wish she'd just gone back to bed.
Shaylene seemed somewhat pacified, but she was still a bit too skeptical for Bridget's liking. Then again, going over that last sentence in her head, perhaps she could've done a bit more to reassure her. Bridget went back to cutting her pancakes, not quite sure how to take the silence, so she missed Shaylene's contemplative stare, the way her eyes coolly took Bridget in from head-to-toe: hair wavy and disheveled from sleep, the men's shirt hanging off a shoulder, flashes of last night's lingerie underneath, some smudges of last night's make-up still on her face. Shaylene wasn't stupid; she could tell that her best friend was keeping something from her.
It hit her suddenly as she regarded Bridget in silence. "You like him," Shaylene stated disbelievingly, setting her coffee down. Shaylene watched Bridget carefully. It had been a very long time since she'd seen Bridget in a relationship; in fact, Shaylene had trouble remembering whether Bridget had ever had any sort of relationship, serious or not, in the years she'd known her. As much as Shaylene wanted her friend to be happy, safe, and secure in a serious committed relationship, she wasn't sure that was what Bridget wanted or whether or not it was even in the cards for her. Besides, relationships with customers never worked out, and she didn't want Bridget to get hurt or in over her head here.
Bridget choked on the pancake, which suddenly felt and tasted like gruel or the sticky, flavorless oatmeal of her childhood (all they could afford for breakfast) in her mouth. Her head shot up abruptly, eyes widening in horror, meeting Shaylene's for a brief moment before Bridget looked down, still mortified. She tried to swallow, coughing a bit, finding it difficult to breathe, and then Bridget patted herself on the back, reaching for her orange juice to hopefully make the pancake go down easier. Tears came to her eyes, and her throat was sore, but eventually she could breathe properly. "What? No, I don't," Bridget gasped out, rubbing her throat and averting her gaze. How could she? She barely knew him, after all.
Shaylene snorted. "Yes, you do. You're totally blushing!" Bridget reached up to feel her cheeks and was surprised to find that they felt hot. Shaylene's expression turned a bit smug, and Bridget sighed and shoveled eggs into her mouth. "I didn't even know you could blush," Shaylene continued teasingly. Bridget's eyes narrowed, and she scowled in response, cheeks puffed out with eggs. She would've denied it, of course, since Shaylene was completely and totally wrong about her liking some guy she'd barely met who was her sister's man... but her mouth was full, and Shaylene had just reminded her of something.
Bridget reached into her shirt and bra, causing Shaylene to raise her brows, and pulled out the business card. It stuck to her skin faintly, so she had to pry it away from her breast and straighten it out a bit. In the daylight she saw that it had his cell phone number on it, and she bit her lip, trying to remember where she'd put her phone after coming back last night. He had said to call him in the morning. Turning the card over in her fingers again and again, Bridget rose and left the table, heading back to her room. She ignored Shaylene's calling after her and found her phone, glancing at the card and beginning to dial his number.
She paused with her finger over the dial button, dragging her teeth across her bottom lip and debating the wisdom of calling him. Was she really going to do this? Something in her gut told her that it could only end badly, and her gut tended to be right. Her gut instinct was, after all, the reason why she and Shaylene were both alive right now. However, she had made him a promise, and he was family... and lonely... so could she really break her word to him?
Besides, getting paid to pretend to be her sister, to find out about her life now and her husband... plus a chance to go to some swanky benefit with quite possibly the most interesting man she'd met in years? Could she really turn all of that easy money down? Bridget sighed, walking over to her bedroom door and shutting and locking it. Shaylene was definitely not above wrestling the phone out of her hands, which Bridget usually appreciated when she'd been drunk-dialing, but now she knew what she was doing. She only thought she knew what she was getting into. And so, before she could make an excuse to chicken out, Bridget pressed the green button.
It started ringing. Once then twice, then a third time, a fourth, a fifth... and just when she thought he wasn't going to pick up, she heard his voice. His voice was hoarse and sleepy, and, ugh, was Bridget getting goosebumps? "Andrew Martin. Who is this?" he asked a bit brusquely. A weary Andrew rubbed his brow, dragging a hand through his hair. It had been a mistake to drink that much last night. He hadn't recognized the number, but his phone told him it was a local number. He supposed it could be some business associate or acquaintance; either way, he hoped he didn't sound like he'd just woken up. Semi-vacation or not, Andrew Martin was the sort of man who was up when the markets opened.
Bridget swallowed hard and forced herself to speak, feeling suddenly very flustered. What if he didn't even remember? This sort of thing should've come naturally for her, but she'd never been very great on the phone, much less while having an ordinary conversation. "Hi," she said brightly, perhaps a bit more flirtatiously than she intended. Bridget curled a strand of hair around her finger absently. "This is, um, Bridget. From last night?" She had to stop herself from crossing her fingers, biting her lip and hoping he'd remembered.
Andrew was silent for a moment, sitting up in his hotel room bed abruptly, straining to remember. His head ached from indulging in a bit too much Scotch, but he hadn't been completely insensible last night. He licked his parched lips, thinking, trying to place the familiar name. He remembered in stages. She'd been a woman with golden hair and green eyes, and she'd looked just like Siobhan... or had he imagined that? He always missed Siobhan when he was away on trips, and she couldn't have looked that much like his wife, after all. His cheeks colored faintly as he remembered her winding around him, touching him in ways his wife hadn't in a long time. He tried not to cringe thinking about it, tried not to think about the things he told her, how he felt so at ease with a familiar-looking stranger. "Yeah, I remember," he said gruffly, trying to be dismissive. He'd given her his phone number?
Bridget blinked, glad he'd remembered but having no idea what to say next. She licked her lips, forcing herself to sit down on her bed so she didn't pace. "You, uh, told me to call you. To text you with my address so that we can um... go shopping?" Bridget continued hesitantly, feeling very much like a fish out of water. Bridget had never taken any customers home, and out of those she'd fooled around with (well, the ones she remembered), that had generally not occurred very far from the club, oftentimes in a car or alley or cheap motel. But this, this was new.
Andrew blinked as it came back to him, and this time he actually did wince. He'd asked her to pretend to be his wife for tomorrow's benefit. That had clearly been the alcohol talking. Even if he could be sure she actually did look enough like his wife to pass for Siobhan, she had none of the training or characteristics that his wife did. He was a fool to even think he could pay a stripper to be his date for the night. God, he was pathetic. If Andrew had been close enough to the wall, he would've banged his head against it, but as it was, he settled for banging the back of his head against his headboard. "Yes, I did say that," he drawled, rubbing his chin and trying to think about his next word. He'd given the girl his number, for God's sake!
He tried to recall her face, but the countenance that came to mind was exactly the same as his wife's face... and that couldn't be right. Imagine if he ever told Siobhan he'd mistaken a stripper for her! The mere thought of his wife's undoubtedly priceless reaction brought a slight smile to his face; there was a small, mean part of him that sought to see snobby, judgmental, perfect Siobhan humbled and brought to her knees. Andrew cleared his throat, and an uncertain Bridget crossed and uncrossed her legs, waiting for his next word. "Bridget... could you, uh... send me a photograph of you?" he asked haltingly, hoping he hadn't offended her by asking. Bridget merely blinked, wondering what that meant and what kind of photo he wanted. "I just... the alcohol made my memories of last night a bit fuzzy," Andrew continued apologetically, rubbing his brow.
Bridget frowned a little, though she wasn't exactly surprised, given the amount of alcohol he'd consumed. She was one of few people she knew who could drink that much without blacking out or having memory loss, not that that tolerance was something to be proud of. She sighed. "Okay. I'm going to hang up now, and I'll take the picture and send it to you in a minute or so. Then you call me back," she said blandly, wondering if he would actually bother to call back. Maybe she wasn't the only one with doubts about the wisdom of this particular plan.
Andrew muttered something, and Bridget hung up, not paying him much attention. She turned, instead, to her mirror, wondering how she should look in the photo. She examined herself with a critical eye; dark circles under her eyes, unwashed, no make-up except what remained from last night, her hair wild and messy and dirty, wearing nothing but last night's lingerie and a button-up that had once belonged to her sister's ex... oh, the irony! Not the worst she'd ever looked, but not the greatest either. Did he want to see her looking like her sister, with her hair up and in some prim sort of bun, looking polished and perfectly put-together? Or did he want to see her, this stranger he was asking for a favor?
Her frown deepened as she twirled her hair around in her hand, twisting it into a makeshift bun behind her head. Her reflection frowned back at her, and she saw a trace of Siobhan staring back at her in the mirror, her gaze reproachful, as if she knew what her sister was considering. Sometimes she saw her sister looking back at her in the mirror, still a part of her, as if she was somehow a shade of Bridget still. Bridget released her hair, shaking it out, shaken. Best to do it quickly then, she thought, running a hand through her hair, tugging on Dylan's old shirt to expose her collarbone and a hint of cleavage.
Then she turned on the photo option, positioned her cellphone camera just right and snapped a picture of herself. She turned the phone around, glancing at the picture and deeming it good enough, and then she pressed the fateful button to send the picture to Andrew. Maybe he would like what he saw, and maybe he wouldn't. It shouldn't matter at all to her, what he thought, but she found herself biting her lip, anxious already, hoping he'd call.
Andrew shifted uncomfortably in the strange bed. He was staying in the nicest hotel in Tahoe, but it brought back unpleasant memories. Almost the minute after touching down at the airport in Reno, he'd known that coming here was a mistake. Just being here without her rubbed his every nerve raw. Andrew's mood was darkening so rapidly that he was beginning to contemplate cracking open the minibar, but the chime of his phone interrupted his thoughts. He bent down to grab it and opened the picture attachment, not expecting much. He nearly jumped when it opened and the smiling face of his wife stared right back at him.
Except, he reminded himself, trying to still his racing heartbeat, she couldn't possibly be his wife, since she was in a house he'd never seen before, and Siobhan hadn't smiled at him even like that in ages. A glance at the wavy, messy hair and mostly bare shoulders (he could just barely make out a hint of plaid around her shoulders) gave further confirmation of this fact. Nonetheless, he felt the same powerful, achingly familiar pull of attraction gazing at her picture as he did looking at his wife. He gazed at the photo for a minute, wondering if the woman had somehow gotten her hands on a photo of his wife from several years ago, but the smudged remnants of eyeliner and the cherry red strap of the bra the dancer had been wearing last night seemed to indicate otherwise. He barely knew his wife anymore, but he knew enough to know that Siobhan wouldn't be caught dead looking like that or, indeed, looking anything less than completely perfect.
He paused with his finger over the dial, wondering whether or not he wasn't making a bigger mistake by doing this. The whole idea was completely insane and possibly one of the more ridiculous things he'd ever considered doing: hiring a stranger to play his wife. But, then again, it was in his nature to take risks, and it usually paid off for him. And was it really that selfish for him to want his wife to be by his side when he ached for her? Andrew exhaled deeply and pressed the button before he could decide otherwise or talk himself out of it.
Bridget jumped at the sound of the buzzing phone and picked it up on the second ring, breathless with nerves. "Hey, Andrew," she said a bit more breathily than she'd intended, barely able to mask her surprise that he'd actually called. She'd half expected him to just write her off as a stripper and a liability (one of the reasons why she didn't get asked out a lot). Andrew sucked in a breath; she even sounded like Siobhan on the phone. He wondered how he'd missed that, given the way his stomach knotted up when she said his name like that, almost in a gasp. Had Siobhan ever said his name like that?
Bridget forced herself to sit down on her bed, wrapping her fingers around the iron bedpost idly, waiting for him to say something. Andrew took a deep breath, sliding backward on his bed, leaning his back delicately against the headboard for support. It was harder than it should've been to push her name past his lips when Siobhan's name was the one lingering in the back of his head. "Hello again, Bridget," he managed somewhat awkwardly, clearing his throat once he realized how strained his voice was. For whatever reason, Andrew felt like a nervous schoolboy talking to her; a part of him was afraid she'd shut him down the same way Siobhan always did, and he was second-guessing everything.
He paused for a moment before he was able to muster up his best charming act. She wasn't the only one good at pretending, after all. "I believe we had a deal," he continued in the low and even, perfectly inoffensive and properly modulated voice he used to land clients. In normal speech, he was usually a bit more gruff with a somewhat musical lilt to his words, but he put it on a little bit because it was important that he sound posh, confident, and intelligent when delivering his pitch. Bridget nodded before realizing he couldn't see her. "Tell me your address, and I'll pick you up in-" He glanced at the clock to find that it was a few minutes before ten o'clock, and he paused for a minute, trying to estimate how many minutes it would be before he looked presentable. "-Twenty to thirty minutes, give or take."
Bridget bit down hard on her bottom lip, trying to suppress the uncontrollable excitement that was bubbling up in her chest. She glanced at her own reflection and frowned, wondering how she could possibly get ready in that amount of time. She stopped herself from wondering further by giving him her address, lest she start panicking over what to wear and how to do her hair and whether or not she should consciously try to look like Siobhan. She patiently explained to him how to get to her house while walking over to her closet to examine her wardrobe and look for suitable clothing. Half of her closet was dedicated to stripper clothes, and the other half was the comfortable stuff she actually wore, with a few nicer pieces for formal events or work, back when she was temping. She tried not to cringe at her lack of selection, or at the fact that most of her non-stripper clothing consisted of denim, flannel, or sweatshirts and sweatpants.
Andrew had written down her address and directions on the hotel paper by his bedside. He had a rental car with GPS, so he probably hadn't even needed the directions, but it was still nice of her to tell him the best way to get there. He got out of bed, setting the notepad back down on the end table, and headed for his suitcase. He hadn't packed much casual clothes in anticipation of spending most of his time talking business, but he had a few things for the weekend. "The event's a dinner, but it's a bit less formal... definitely more cocktail than black-tie, though. What store would be best for that sort of thing?" Andrew asked, his tone brisk and businesslike as he sifted through the contents of his suitcase, fishing out a pale blue striped button-up, belt, and black slacks.
Bridget had selected a pair of black skinny jeans, figuring she couldn't go wrong there. She frowned in contemplation; Tahoe and the surrounding area, unfortunately, did not have a lot of upscale clothing shops. The only places she could even think of that would have formal clothing were wedding boutiques and Dillard's, both of which probably sold suitable dresses but not the kind of fancy clothing Andrew expected her to wear. Heaven forbid, after all, that someone's wife said that Siobhan Martin shopped at Dillard's. "Well, for the kind of thing you're looking for, if you want designer, we'd have to go to San Francisco," Bridget explained quietly. "Tahoe's not much for shopping unless you're a skier." Which was probably why her closet looked the way it did.
Andrew frowned; this was an unexpected wrinkle in his admittedly not-well-thought-out plan. He grabbed socks and underwear from his suitcase, setting them on the bed along with the rest of his clothes. He picked up his Blackberry to check if what she said was true and found out, after a few clicks, that she was right. Aside from boutiques, a department store, and a couple of outlet malls, Tahoe didn't have much to offer, and certainly nothing his wife would deign to wear nowadays. Sometimes he wondered how she had ever lived here without his money. "How far away is San Francisco?" he asked, feeling a bit disoriented.
She'd decided that she should dress a bit nicer than usual so that Andrew would think of her as a real person and the people in the shops would think she belonged there with him. "About three and a half hours if you don't hit traffic. We're more likely to hit traffic leaving," she continued, pulling a red tank-top with thin straps out of her closet and holding it up to her chest. The color was nice, but maybe he'd seen her in red too much? Bridget wrinkled her nose and headed back to her closet, pulling out a dark gray cardigan just in case. The desert was terribly hot during the day but it cooled down at night, and San Francisco could be a bit breezy and chilly; it was best to be prepared.
Andrew nodded dully. He didn't have anything better to do, after all, and it wasn't as if he didn't have his phone in case something came up. He did actually like driving and missed having the opportunity to drive in the city, even though his apartment came with a very expensive parking space. He hadn't been on a real road trip in ages, if one excluded the increasingly less-frequent drives to the Hamptons; maybe it could be fun. "Then I guess we're going to San Francisco," he said, his voice equal parts resigned and hopeful. It was amazing how she had him doing what she wanted, just like his wife, less than a day after they'd met. "We'll get something to eat on the way, and I'll see you in about thirty minutes," he pronounced, rather surprised to find that he was actually looking forward to it.
Bridget smiled, already thinking of places to stop. He would probably want something they could take on the road with them, like sandwiches or fast food... not that she especially saw him as being the sort of man who would walk into Subway or McDonald's and place an order. Then again, she didn't know as much about him or wealthy people as her sister did, so maybe that was the sort of thing he did all the time, for all she knew. "Okay, I'll see you then. Bye Andrew," a somewhat disbelieving Bridget murmured. Andrew said goodbye back, and then he hung up, and Bridget just stared at the phone in awe for a moment before she shook herself out of it and went to shower.
She emerged from the bathroom ten minutes later in her underwear, hair dry and falling in beachy waves. She pulled on the clothes she'd chosen and stashed the sweater, her wallet, her phone, some cosmetics, sunglasses, and other randomly useful items in one of her bigger purses. The purse was, coincidentally, some designer, albeit not one Bridget had ever heard of. She'd gotten it on a trip to Vegas a while ago, a girls vacation with Shay a couple months ago. Bridget then slipped on some gold gladiator sandals and headed out to talk to Shaylene, largely with the intention of getting her to help her do her make-up.
Shaylene was running the dishwasher when she came back and turned around expectantly as Bridget set her bag down on the table and pulled out the make-up, item by item. Bridget figured she had about fifteen minutes left to make herself look expensive, which meant flawless skin, beigey-gold eyeshadow, thin eyeliner (for which she needed Shaylene's help), and pink, glossy lips. She began smoothing on cover-up and foundation, and Shaylene walked over and started talking. "And where are you headed to, Missy?"
Bridget glanced up at her; sometimes she felt like Shaylene was her mother, and, as always, Bridget chafed under anyone else's authority. "I'm going to San Fran for probably most of the day. Shopping," Bridget said blandly, rubbing a bit of brightener under her eyes to cover up those dark circles. She didn't glance up to see Shay's reaction, which was one of some surprise, since Bridget was generally broke and, though not currently in debt, generally not used to spending a lot of money on herself. Sure, she bought the requisite amount of lingerie, hair, and make-up products, but those were generally work-related expenses. "I'll probably be back late-ish," she continued after a moment of reflection.
It was, after all, seven hours there and back with no traffic, and if they only spent two or so hours in the city, that was still nine hours without a lunch or dinner break, which meant she'd be back at seven at the earliest, but more probably somewhere around nine or ten or later still. Bridget dabbed a bit of cover-up on her eyelids so that her eyeshadow would stick and wouldn't drift into the creases of her eyelids. "Oh, really? And does this have anything to do with Mr. Moneybags?" Shaylene continued, plopping into the seat next to her and examining the lipgloss Bridget was planning on wearing.
Bridget had begun spreading on a light tan eyeshadow and opened one eye to meet Shaylene's gaze. She sighed, closing her eye and switching to the other before deciding to tell her. "Yes," she said succinctly, opening her eyes and closing them in turn to study her work. She brushed a bit more of the same color on and then started dipping her brush in the gold. Shaylene's fingers closing around Bridget's wrist stilled her hand, forcing her to properly look up at her roommate. "I told you, Shay, we're just going shopping. Maybe dinner or something."
Shaylene gave her one of her patented looks. "He met you yesterday. What do you have to shop for together?" she pointed out. Bridget frowned a little; she was usually thought of as the tactless one of the two of them, not that Shaylene didn't have a point. Of course, Bridget knew the best way to irritate her was to not tell her, so she shook off her best friend's grip and started dusting the shell of her eyelid with gold, working the brush in tiny circles in the corners. Shaylene grabbed her wrist again, and Bridget was glad she stopped herself from spreading eyeliner halfway across her face or, worse, jabbing herself in the eye. "Answer me, Bridget," Shaylene demanded, her voice firm.
Bridget shook off Shaylene's grip, giving her a mildly irritated look, well aware that she was running out of time. She didn't have to answer for any of this. "If you must know, I'm going to this event with him tomorrow, and I need something to wear, so he offered..." she elaborated with a bit of a shrug. Bridget repeated the process with the other eye and then rubbed her brush in a browny-bronze pigment, which she proceeded to spread into the creases of her eyelids. Taking a different brush, she blended the shades until she was satisfied. "Now, honestly, help me do my bronzer and blush."
Shaylene picked up the bronzer and started to do as Bridget had asked just as Bridget picked up the eyeliner pen. "A lot of make-up you're painting on there. I wasn't aware you were working today," Shaylene commented blithely. Bridget scowled at her and carefully started to line her eyes the way Siobhan did. Shaylene watched in amusement as she opened the container of blush and started to coat the brush almost absentmindedly. "Not going so heavy on the eyeliner, are we? Trying to impress someone?" Bridget tried her best to ignore her, continuing to outline her eyes as Shaylene started to brush the pale pink blush onto her cheeks.
Bridget put on a few swipes of mascara and then reached for the lipgloss she was going to be using. Shaylene put down the blush, almost snatching the tube out of Bridget's hand. "You better not be using that," she said with a warning look before releasing the lipgloss. Bridget rolled her eyes, not deigning to comment. Sometimes, like now, Shaylene reminded her of Siobhan, always knowing which button to press, and it was almost like having a sister again.
She tried not to think about Siobhan much these days, not that it stopped her from wondering, every day and without fail, what her sister was doing. Sometimes she would feel pangs of things, little bits of her sister's life filtered down to her. But maybe she could finally find out a bit more about her sister's life, something concrete from Andrew, when she pretended to be her. It would be like old times, only without a smiling Siobhan in on the joke. Bridget unscrewed the tube thoughtfully and began painting her lips, which she proceeded to rub together. "Don't worry, Shay. My lips won't be touching anything but food today," she assured Shaylene, reaching across the table to pat her hand.
Shaylene did not look even remotely reassured. Her hand snaked across the table to grab Bridget's, something rather akin to panic but somehow less on her face. "Bridge, I can't help but worry. You barely know this guy... and I've never even seen him... I mean, what if he's a serial killer?" she interjected a bit nervously. Bridget felt like snorting; the thought of her sister's wealthy, repressed British husband being a serial killer was really that ludicrous, but Shaylene didn't know any of that. Given some of the choices Bridget had made, she supposed Shaylene was right to worry... and nothing Bridget could say would make her stop worrying.
So Bridget laughed instead, lips curving up into a smile, although Shaylene didn't seem to find it funny at all. "Well, then I guess I'd have to dispatch him if he came after me." Shaylene was extremely unamused; a shiver ran through her at the remembrance of Bodaway. Bridget might be all laughs and smiles now, but they'd both be dead if it wasn't for Victor and a lot of dumb luck. "It's a good thing I carry a knife in my purse, isn't it?" Bridget continued, reaching into her bag and throwing the cosmetics in. She wasn't joking, and Shaylene almost blanched. Bridget shrugged defensively. "What? One psychopath's already tried to kill me. Doesn't hurt to be prepared."
Bridget was much better in a fight than Shaylene had ever expected, faster, braver, and more violent than she'd have ever expected the gentle woman to be. She was good at improvising, which is how she'd ensured that Bodaway kept coming after her, throwing things in his way and hitting him with any object within reach, backing up the stairs to give Shaylene time to escape and call Victor. Shaylene's expression turned even more grim, if that was possible. She was beginning to feel nauseous, her breakfast not quite sitting right in her stomach anymore. She generally tried to avoid thinking about that awful day when she'd come so close to death, the pressure on her windpipe, cutting off her air, her vision gradually turning black, scratching at Bodaway's hands.
Shaylene swallowed and straightened a little. "Seriously, Bridget, I'd just be happier if I knew where you were and what you were doing. I don't want anything to happen to you." Again, the cowardly voice in her head finished. In most ways, Bridget had gotten the bad end of the bargain in their fight with Bodaway. She'd had a lot of bruises, a couple broken bones, or so Shaylene thought. Bridget didn't really talk about it, and on the rare occasions Shaylene had tried, she'd brushed her off, merely saying she'd done what she'd had to do and that she would do it again.
Bridget squeezed her hand warmly and looked Shaylene in the eyes. "Shay, I promise, nothing bad is going to happen to me. This guy is lonely, and he's in finance... He doesn't even want me to do anything sexual. He's not going to waste his time, money, or reputation doing something terrible to me," she attempted to explain, hoping she was imparting at least some measure of her faith in Andrew. Predictably, Shaylene gave her a look; she'd opened her mouth and was about to say something, probably about how working girls were high-risk victims for serial killers, but Bridget spoke first. "He's not Jack the Ripper, I swear."
Shaylene made a sour face. Something about Shaylene's recent behavior was off; she was being more overprotective even than usual, a bit moodier, and she'd made Bridget a big breakfast, which usually meant she wanted to talk about something. It couldn't have just been Andrew she wanted to discuss... which meant that Shaylene was hiding something. Bridget stared at her friend for a good long moment, taking in all the minute details but unable to find anything conclusive. All there was was the feeling that something about her was off, and, perhaps, the fact that Shaylene didn't look entirely well. "Is something... up... with you? You look like you want to tell me something," Bridget remarked warily.
Shaylene straightened a bit under Bridget's scrutiny; was she really that obvious? Bridget studied her friend for a long moment, unable to put a finger on just what, exactly, it was that she was missing. She started guessing at the cause of her friend's strange mood, which lead, of course, to Victor. Whatever it was, Bridget mused, it almost certainly had to do with Shaylene's boyfriend, who would probably soon be more than that if he had his way. Maybe Shaylene was going to tell Bridget that she was going to move-in with Victor, or maybe she was going to ask her what she thought about Victor living with them?
Shaylene shook her head a bit too forcefully, which pretty much cemented the idea in Bridget's head that Shay was keeping a secret from her, and maybe even from Victor too. She let go of Bridget's hand and attempted a smile that came out looking more strained than anything. "Nope, just... I worry." Bridget gave Shaylene a look, not about to let that slide, but Shaylene found herself continuing. Strangely, tears sprang to her eyes at the thought of something happening to Bridget. She sniffed and looked away from Bridget, not wanting her to see the mess that she was becoming. "I don't want you to get hurt," she mumbled, an almost pleading note in her voice.
Bridget sighed, taking her phone out of her purse and holding it up for Shaylene to see before putting it into her pocket. "I have my phone on me, Shay, and I promise I'll tell you exactly where I'm going... and if you want, you can even get Vic..." Bridget paused, thinking better of it. Getting Victor to do a background check on Andrew constituted a Very Bad Idea. It could lead to nothing good... and she could almost hear Shaylene's voice in her head, judging her... She shook her head and continued as if she hadn't said anything about Victor, "I'll give you his license plate number and the make and model, okay, just so you can check on me. If I'm not back by tomorrow morning and haven't texted you or anything, feel free to call the cops." She couldn't think of anything else she could possibly say to reassure Shaylene, not even the truth.
Shaylene's brows shot up, but she nodded, still blinking back tears. "I'm gonna hold you to that, y'know." Bridget nodded dutifully, and Shaylene, who had mastered herself, crossed her arms over her chest and watched her friend. Bridget seemed outwardly calm, and she'd said everything as if she'd believed with the deepest conviction what she was telling her... and yet, something about her suggested a kind of anxiety that convinced Shaylene that Bridget was looking forward to this outing. She'd never looked forward to dates with customers in Shaylene's limited memory, had always been matter-of-fact, a bit grim even when she rehashed the grisly details back when she'd actually told Shaylene about her little "dates" and "favors." But, then again, she'd mostly been too drunk or high to have shame at that particular period.
"Why do you trust this guy so much?" Shaylene asked suddenly, remembering the way Bridget often spoke of customers... most often with boredom, other times disgust or pity, and, more often than not, revulsion. Bridget's views on men were usually even harsher than Shaylene's, and she was not the type to see anyone with rose-colored glasses. She couldn't fathom the sudden lack of sarcasm. What could possibly be so special about this guy? After all, it wasn't like Bridget to be swayed by money or a pretty face. "It's not like you," she reflected distractedly, hands curling around her waist.
Bridget fluffed her hair furtively, looking away to give herself a moment to think of a suitable answer. Shaylene was right, but there was no way Bridget could explain without the whole story coming out. How once someone had won the trust of one twin, he automatically had the trust of the other... but then again, she'd been wrong about that at least once, with Dylan. And maybe she was wrong about Andrew too, but she didn't want to think that, didn't want to believe that there was some reason she shouldn't trust her sister's husband... her family, one of the few ties she had left to her sister.
Fortunately, Bridget was saved from answering by the chime of the doorbell. She got up to answer it before Shaylene could, grabbing her bag and all but running to the front door. When she'd finally reached the door, she did her best to fix her hair a little, took a deep breath, and opened it to reveal Andrew. He looked good, better than she remembered in the sunlight, even though he wasn't wearing a suit now. An unbidden smile spread across her face at the sight of him. "Hi," she said a bit shyly, wedging into the doorway and starting to slide out so that Shaylene wouldn't see him. She did not want to have to introduce them.
Andrew smiled back uncertainly; it was still too soon to tell whether or not this was a horrible idea, even though everything in him was telling him it was. "Hey." Bridget stepped out onto the porch, twirling her keys around her finger, and the hot and bright desert sunlight hit her hair in such a way that all he saw was golden. She walked toward him slowly, hitching her bag up her shoulder, holding a hand up to shade her eyes, taking in the sight of him in the light of day. He looked a little more at ease, though, Bridget thought.
He gazed at her for a moment in silence and found that he very much wanted to kiss her. He hated that he had to suppress the perplexing desire, which felt so natural, like he should've been kissing her for a long time, even though their lips have never touched. But it feels like they have.
He swallowed thickly, trying to find words. What did one say to the stripper who was going to be his wife for a day? Somehow talking to this woman he was compensating for her time seemed almost as difficult as speaking to his wife (whom he supposed, rather bitterly, that he also compensated for her time). He surprised himself by taking her hand and bringing her closer so that they were nearly touching. Bridget didn't know what to make any of it. He smiled awkwardly and decided to try to make the best of it. At least he wouldn't be alone. "So, Bridget, ready to be my wife?"
Bridget laughed, and it was a beautiful sound. She spun around, her lips just brushing past his ear. "You bet." Then she turned and pulled him after her down the stairs, all but dragging him to the car. "Now, come on. We've got a long day ahead of us." She was still afraid that Shaylene was going to burst through the front door, perhaps with some sort of gun in hand. Victor had been hinting recently that they should have some way of protecting themselves, that he could help them with the necessary permits, but both women hated guns. Not that that meant, of course, that Bridget didn't know how to shoot; teaching his daughters how to use a gun was one of the few things their father had been good for, aside from buying underage girls booze and cigarettes.
She'd nearly caused Andrew to fall in her haste to get away, not that Bridget noticed. She only relaxed when she was in the car, chucking her bag to the floor and fastening her seatbelt. Andrew had opened the door for her, but she hadn't noticed that either; she hadn't taken her eyes off of the front of her house, still expecting to see Shaylene's face. Andrew pulled out of her driveway wordlessly, concentrating on his driving. It was still a bit hard for him, at times, to remember to drive on the right side of the road, even though he'd spent most of his adult life in the States. It still went against instinct, even though he was more comfortable here in the wide, open sun-soaked spaces and big cities than he'd ever been in his native land.
Bridget turned to him as they turned off her street, relieved but secretly a little disappointed because she would've rather liked to hear Shaylene's impressions of Andrew. Shaylene was good at sizing people up and figuring them out... in a different way than Bridget was, but a part of Bridget really did want to know what Shay thought. Bridget looked at him for a moment, not saying a word. He had such a serious look on his face; his hands clenched the wheel so tight. She licked her lips absently, trying to figure out how to play this.
It was one thing when she was in the club with him; she knew how to be there, how to act, exactly what those men wanted... and she wasn't quite comfortable, but it was familiar and easy to be that person. But this... this was a whole different playing field, and she had no clue who she was supposed to be around him, how much of Siobhan he wanted... or how much of Siobhan he knew. Everything was different in the light of day. And, well, she was a little nervous, too. She sort of wanted to impress him or at least to make him like her, but she didn't want to scare him off or get in over her head. And she wasn't sure she knew how to balance all of that.
Plus Bridget hadn't been out on a proper date in ages, since long before rehab, and the only men she'd hung around with recently were Malcolm and the other guys at NA, her customers and coworkers at the club, and Victor and his band of cops, FBI guys, and lawyers. She'd almost forgotten what normal interaction was like. She was going to have to make up the rules as she went along... and ask Andrew a lot of questions. Having come to this resolution, she cleared her throat and began trying to get to know him, "So, Andrew... Tell me about yourself."