When Valentine got to the ladies room, she all but fell through the door. A bathroom attendant jumped out of her chair, asking if she
“I’m fine,” she groaned. “Just bumped into a blonde nightmare.”
“Oh,” the attendant laughed. “One of those, huh?”
“Rich people are the worst,” Val growled, moving to lean against a sink. “You know? They just think they can talk to you however they
want. Screw them.”
“I couldn’t agree more.”
She was ready to go off on another tangent, but then the door burst open once again. Ari strode into the room, startling both of them.
“Sir, this is the -” the attendant started.
“Leave,” he ordered her, though his eyes never left Valentine’s.
The attendant looked unsure for a moment. Val rolled her eyes, but she eventually nodded her head, signaling that it was okay. The attendant nodded back, then demurely left the room.
“A little dramatic,” Val said once the door had shut.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” he demanded.
She belatedly realized he was angry. Ari was very, very angry. She glanced around the room.
“Well, I was gonna pee – I thought this was the best place to do it,” she tried to joke. His glare grew even more severe and he loomed over her.
“What are you doing here? At this restaurant? With that piece of shit out there?” he clarified. Her jaw dropped.
“Uh, excuse me, I think you’ll find that your ex is the only piece of shit here,” she informed him. “You should’ve told her not to come where she isn’t wanted.”
“Don’t you ever tell me what to do. Now explain yourself.”
“Explain myself?” Valentine laughed loudly and stepped away from the sink, not wanting him to have the power position of leaning over her. “Excuse me, but I’m not your girlfriend. I don’t have to explain anything to you.”
“No, you’re my property, and as such there are rules you must abide by,” he growled. “Rules we both agreed upon.”
So much of what he’d just said was messed up, but she decided to save most of it for later and tackle what exactly it was that had him so pissed off right now.
“That’s why you’re upset?” she asked. “Because of the guy I’m having dinner with? Because of Ralph?”
“I’m upset because you’re breaking the rules. I paid a lot of money for you – I won’t tolerate insubordination.”
“You paid a lot of money for my time,” Val corrected him. “So screw you, Ari, I’m not breaking shit.”
“I told you in the beginning,” he started. “No other ‘clients’ – no picking anyone else up at your club. And I don’t believe for one
second you met Ralph out there on Tinder, or at the laundromat, or at school, or wherever, so he must be a client. What the fuck.”
Oh my god, he’s jealous. Jeez, you fuck a guy a couple times and suddenly he thinks he owns you.
Yet still, somewhere deep down in her chest, her heart began to beat faster.
“Yes, he’s a client,” Val snapped. “But I didn’t break any rules.
I agreed to a dinner date with him before I met you, it’s been set up for weeks now, I’m just fulfilling a deal. My world doesn’t revolve around you,
“It had better fucking start to.”
“Are you kidding?” she asked. “You’re mad? How do you think I feel, seeing you here with friends and not being able to acknowledge you, and then having your evil ex talk to me like that, like she’s still with you?”
“Deal with it – you knew what you were signing up for.” Val was pretty sure steam was about to shoot out of her ears.
“I signed up to give you exclusive rights to my time,” she growled. “Not to be verbally abused by your bitchy ex-girlfriend, and not to be treated like some contractually obligated whore.”
“If the contract fits.”
Valentine slapped him before she could stop herself, shocking both of them.
“Don’t you ever talk to me like that again!” she hissed. Ari stared down at her, his blue eyes ablaze with anger, that errant lock of hair falling across his forehead once again.
“I’ll talk to you however I want. Don’t ever fucking hit me again.”
She let out a frustrated shriek, then she slapped him again before pounding her hands against his chest. He struggled to grab hold of her arms, shoving her across the room and slamming her up against the wall by the door. He pinned her wrists near her head, then they glared at each other, both their chests heaving, both their hearts raging.
He’s the worst.
She was suddenly kissing him. Or he was kissing her. It was impossible to tell – they were no longer two separate entities. He let go of her wrists and she immediately started clawing at the front of his blazer, trying to pull it apart. His left hand went around her throat, gently squeezing, while his right hand went to her exposed thigh, rubbing the outside of it.
“This dress,” Ari gasped against her. “Jesus, when I saw it …”
“When I put it on tonight, I thought of you,” Valentine spoke quickly, finally undoing the button and pushing her hands inside his jacket.
“I want to fucking rip it off of you.”
“God, yes, I want that, too,” she groaned, dragging her nails down his back, wishing her hands were against his skin.
Then his tongue was back between her lips, just as aggressive as always. He didn’t just take a taste when he kissed – Ari made a whole meal of her mouth, and she loved being devoured.