The Wager

By: Calista Kyle


Just as I was making my way over, I finally saw a petite redhead approach the mystery woman and grab her hands excitedly. She looked familiar, but I couldn't place my finger on where I saw her before. The two women had their heads bowed close together chatting excitedly. I saw them pointing at the front of the Ice Princess' dress, and wondered what they could be talking about.

Finally they broke apart when another person joined their party. I smiled when I realized that the newcomer was none other Chad Remington. He'd be the perfect person to help me gather information. I'd briefly dated his sister years ago and I knew he had a reputation as being extremely friendly and guileless--almost like an irrepressible puppy.

I made my move when Chad left the girls to head to the bar for drinks. Before he could grab the drinks from the counter, I stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. "Chad! It's so good to see you," I said.

He looked at me in surprise before quickly regaining his composure. "It's good to see you too Roman," he said. "I didn't know you'd be here tonight. You don't normally come to these events."

"Yeah well, I like to make an appearance once in a while. It lets people know I'm still alive and kicking," I said light heartedly.

"Ha-ha good one," he said. "Well, it was nice seeing--"

"Hey, who's that woman you were talking to earlier?" I asked cutting him off before he headed back to the ladies.

He furrowed his brow at me. "Who do you mean?"

"The one standing over there?" I said pointing to where the Ice Princess and her redheaded friend were standing.

Chad frowned and his body tensed as he looked to where I was pointing. "Which one? The redhead or the blonde?" he asked.

"The blonde."

He instantly relaxed and gave me a sheepish smile. "I was hoping you'd say her. Her name's Lily Hayward and her friend, the redhead, is Melanie Abelgard."

I lifted my brows at that. "Cora's daughter, I take it?"

"Yeah, but she's nothing like her," he blurted a little too quickly.

"What else do you know about her, Lily that is?" I asked.

"Not much else. We've only just met. I can introduce you if you'd like."

"Lead the way" I said, smiling at how easy that was.

I followed Chad back to the ladies. They were surprised to see me, judging by the expression on their faces. The redhead recognized me instantly I could tell, but the Ice Princess quickly shuttered her expression and looked at me blankly. Interesting. Soon after Chad made the introductions, he left to bring the redhead, Melanie, out to the dance floor, leaving me alone with my prey.

"Do you dance, Lily?" I asked once we were alone.

She glanced up at me like she was surprised I was still there.

"No."

"That's too bad," I said.

She didn't even bother to look at me again when I spoke. This was definitely a new experience for me. I'd never been ignored like this by anyone before. Who was this shrewish woman who would turn her nose up at me? I wondered.

"You're drink's empty. Let me get you a new one," I said undeterred as I pointed to the empty glass in her hands.

She released an exasperated huff before shrugging her shoulders and handing me the glass. "I'll have a martini," she said.

"Coming right up."

I smiled as I walked away. Despite her frigid attitude, I wasn't put off one bit. In fact, I found that I like the challenge of cracking that hard shell she had built around herself. Something told me she wouldn't be won over with jewelry or flashy things. That would have been too easy. I knew I'd have to really put more effort in than my usual game if I wanted to win her over.

Once I'd ordered the drinks, I walked back over to where I last left her. I stopped in my tracks when I saw her in a heated conversation with Maxwell Stein. From the back, I could tell she was visibly shaking. I came up quietly and stood behind them unobtrusively as Maxwell continued to rant at her.

"You stupid bitch," Maxwell seethed. "Who do you think you are, talking to me like that? Who the hell are you? How did you even get invited? You should just get out of here before I make a spectacle of you."

I waited for her to sting him with a biting reply. After all, rumor had it she'd already thrown a drink in his face and cursed him out in public. She should have taken him to task for threatening her, but no words came out of her mouth. She just stood there as if she were frozen. Maxwell continued his hateful rant and I'd finally had enough.

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