Nick sat on the balcony overlooking the pool party, which had shifted gradually into his brothers and Adele’s sisters getting plastered drunk together. Most of them anyway.
While Nick excused himself to remove his soaked business suit, Ruth had driven Adele home, leaving Rachel, Miriam, and Leanne with Liam, Lyle, and Sam.
Hmm… well, Lyle and Miriam seemed to be missing, Liam and Rachel were making out on one of the lounge chairs, and Leanne was drinking a wine cooler way too fast and laughing at everything Sam said.
Nick didn’t want to watch anymore. He stepped through the sliding glass door and flopped onto the leather sofa in his spacious office. There was nothing he wanted to work on, nothing he wanted to watch on television, no business or political websites he wanted to peruse.
He missed Adele immensely. This had been his one chance to reunite with her, and he’d blown it. How could he miss someone he hadn’t seen in four years anyway?
Maybe he’d been so excited to see her this morning that the letdown of having her leave so suddenly was a jolt to his system.
She’d seen right through him, seen his jealousy and root of his anger. He was the jerk in the equation. What was he thinking, asking her to marry him? As if she’d ever agree to that. What an idiot he was.
“We need a designated driver, little brother,” Liam said, barging into Nick’s office.
“Where are you going?” Nick mumbled without looking at his brother.
“We,” Liam corrected. “We are going underground, and we need you to drive.”
“Rachel wants good vegetarian food.” Liam turned to Rachel. “Right?”
“Pergamon’s the best place in town for vegetarian food,” Rachel said.
“You heard the lady,” Liam said. “Pergamon it is.”
Sam stood beside Liam, holding Leanne in a standing position, barely. They all seemed to be holding in laughter.
“Where are Lyle and Miriam?” Nick wanted to refuse Liam’s demand but didn’t want any of his brothers driving themselves in their condition, so he hoisted himself off the sofa and reached for his wallet, which was still soaking wet from taking a dip in the pool.
“My keys are… somewhere.” Liam reached for Rachel’s hand and headed down the hall to the grand staircase, laughing at some private joke. They didn’t even look back to see if everyone else was following them.
Sam helped Leanne stumble down the hallway, where she sat on the top step and leaned against the railing.
“Don’t you have an elevator somewhere in this mansion?” Leanne slurred.
“Somewhere, I think,” Sam said. “Come downstairs, and I’ll show you our library.”
“I like libraries.” Leanne allowed Sam to help her to a somewhat standing position.
Nick didn’t wait to see if she got down the stairs safely. He traipsed over to Liam’s immaculate bedroom suite and reached above the vanity in his bathroom where he knew the housekeepers kept a spare key to Liam’s Mercedes. On nights like this his key could be anywhere on the grounds of the estate.
As he passed by Lyle’s suite, he heard voices inside the closed door. Typical that Lyle had a woman in his suite. Frustrating that the woman was Adele’s sister. Nick rapped his knuckles on the mahogany and called through the door. “Let’s go, guys. We’re heading downtown to Pergamon.”
“Excellent,” Lyle said as he opened the door. He tucked in his shirt with one hand and slipped his wallet into his designer jeans with the other. “I’m starving.”
“Me too,” Miriam called from where she sat on the settee buckling a pair of strappy heels. Nick had to turn away to avoid seeing up her short skirt.
“What is it with Daniel’s daughters not wearing enough clothing,” Nick mumbled as he turned away.
“It’s a beautiful thing, little brother,” Lyle whispered as he draped his arm around Nick’s shoulders. “Embrace the beauty of a woman’s body.”
“The perfume you’re wearing tells me you’ve embraced a little too much of a woman’s body this evening.” Nick ducked out from under his brother’s arm. “Let’s go. Everyone else is in the car already.”
“Sorry we kept you waiting.” Miriam giggled as she snuck out the door to Lyle’s suite.
“Not sorry,” Lyle said, then pressed her up against the wall and captured her mouth in a passionate kiss.
“Gross,” Nick mumbled, quickly excusing himself. “I’ll meet you downstairs.”