I finished tying the knot of Link’s tie, running my hands down his smooth shirt quickly. He stared out the window, his gaze focused on the waves crashing against each other beneath us.
Half a second later, his gaze snapped back to me. “Huh?”
“You’re done, babe.”
“Oh. Thanks, Mills.” He planted a quick kiss on my forehead, glancing at himself in the mirror. “You look nice.”
This was the extent of our conversation now. He grew more distant by the day, offering pleasantries and stilted gestures, but I knew that I was never the first thing on his mind. Not when he was kissing me, not when he was talking to me, not when his arm wrapped around me as we fell asleep.
It helped with the guilt. As long as Link ignored me, I didn’t feel so bad about my weekend with Kye. Not justified, but not guilty.
“So I have the day off tomorrow,” Link said suddenly, grabbing my waist and pulling me towards him. “What do you say we go get breakfast?”
I’d been hearing his empty promises for months. But it had been so long since he’d had a day off, I thought he might actually be sincere this time.
“Why don’t we get Marte to make us breakfast in bed? We don’t have to go out,” I said, brushing my lips against his, making him kiss me.
“I think we should go out, you know, try to be seen... I think people are starting to talk.”
“Oh.” I pulled away from him slightly, casting my eyes down to the ground. He didn’t care about spending time with me. He cared that people were going to start whispering because we hadn’t been seen in public together for so long. “But we’ll be at the premiere together...”
“Yeah, but everyone expects that. You do want people to think that we’re okay, don’t you?”
I raised an eyebrow. “Are we okay?”
“Of course we are.” He kissed me quickly again, and ducked down to pick my bag up off the bed, placing it in my hand. “But I think we’re cutting the line between fashionably late and just rude.”
The car, waiting outside, whisked us away immediately. While Link fielded phone calls from his agent, I stared out the window, wondering what the hell I was going to do.
As soon as we hit the red carpet, the flashes were blinding. Link’s hand went naturally to my back, guiding me amongst the few people scattered around, into the line of the photographers. They asked us about our movies – the one that Link was currently filming, and the one I was about to release. We answered them happily, but deflected any about our relationship.
A few paces ahead of us, I noticed Ryan, my latest co-star. He glanced over his shoulder, stopping when he saw me.
“Long time no see,” he said, kissing my cheek lightly. Link stood rigidly at my side, shaking Ryan’s hand uncomfortably. I still don’t think he was over the fact that he’d been beaten for the part.
“How’s everything?” I asked, threading my fingers into Link’s.
“Hectic,” Ryan said, rubbing his neck. “I just went back to Canada to see the family, and I’m flying to Hawaii next month for a new project.”
I nodded. “Yeah, I remember you telling me about that. And I’m still jealous that you’re going there.”
“It’s such a hard life,” he laughed. “I’ll see you at the press call next week?”
“Yup.” We said goodbye, and I felt Link breathe a sigh of relief. I gave him the side-eye. “What’s up with you?”
“Nothing. I just hate the awkwardness.”
Of our relationship? Of the conversation? Of the fact that I’ve kissed Ryan more in the past two months than I’ve kissed Link? It didn’t help that Link was on location in New York for eight weeks before coming back here to film in the studio. But he hadn’t done anything to help it.
We fought our way down the rest of the red carpet, gladly taking the free drinks once we got inside the theatre. People were already being directed next door for the after party, but I always liked to stay for the movie. I know I was in the minority, but loving the cinema was the reason I was in Hollywood. I always made Link stay for the premiere with me, which he said he hated, but I knew he always enjoyed himself.
But after the movie finished, after we arrived at the party, after we’d already been given drinks, he decided he’d had enough.
“Mills, I’m going to head home,” he told me, brushing some hair from my face in a cute move that he probably thought would buy him some sympathy.
“What? We just got here.”
“I’m sorry, I’m just – ”
I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, yeah I know. You’re tired. You’re always tired.”
“Don’t give me attitude Millie, please.”
“I’m getting sick of it. You stay as long as there are photographers, and then you disappear.”
“I stayed for the movie with you!”
“But you’re going to leave me alone at this party?”
“I filmed action scenes for ten hours today. You do your own stunts and then talk to me about being tired,” he growled.
“What’s the point of even being in a relationship if you’re not going to spend any time with me?”
“God, don’t give me this shi.t, Millie.” Without saying goodbye, he turned on his heel and disappeared back into the crowd. I, on the other hand, wanted to disappear into the wall.
“Poor baby, left alone at the bar?” someone asked behind me. I turned around, ready to glare at them, but found Violet smirking at me.
“Oh, it’s just you,” I sighed. “I thought someone was actually being rude, whereas you are a beacon of sweetness.”
“That’s so kind of you to say,” she said, linking her arm through mine and pulling me away from the bar. “Stop standing there by yourself, you look sad.”
“I can always count on you to cheer me up, can’t I?”
We took a seat on a plush couch, cradling martinis. “Why?” she asked, flicking her blonde hair over her shoulder. “Trouble in paradise?”
“I don’t trust you with my secrets,” I laughed.
Violet grinned. “That’s probably a wise move on your part.”