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I have no idea who I am.
“Who are you?”
Want to know what a former Marine and a waitress have in common?
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I stand in the corner of the room, a glass of whiskey in hand. Chaos reigns around me. The hotel suite is filled to the brim with people, none of whom I really know. Sam invited them. I told him he could invite a few people – maybe some women – but it looks like he went out and invited half of Chicago. Go figure.
That’s my best friend for you – not that I can see him anywhere in the throng of people.
There are plenty of women here, that’s for sure. Beautiful women at that. I can’t really complain too much on that count. Sam certainly has his pick of ladies tonight. I choose to stand off to the side, alone, and nurse my drink instead.
A bubbly blonde stumbles over to me, wide grin on her face, and puts her hand on my shoulder. She stares up at me with big, brown eyes that are sparkling with lust and desire. She’s attractive, but I’m not in the mood tonight. Besides, I’ve never really been into blondes anyway.
“Your friend says you’re a Marine,” she says, slurring her speech.
“Former Marine, yes,” I say, focusing my attention on the party.
This is our regular hotel suite whenever we’re in Chicago – which seems to be more and more these days. Sam wants to move the business here for good, but I’m not sure I want to live in the middle of the big city again. I’m just not that into crowds, or the hustle and bustle of city life. I prefer a slower pace of living, and a hell of a lot more peace and quiet than I’ll ever get here. Like at the cabin I bought in Colorado a couple of years ago, where I spend most of my time these days.
Sam loves it here though. He loves the frenetic energy of the city. The urgency and immediacy of life in a place like this. He’s always been the life of the party – someone who wants to have a good time. I’m happy to just stand in the corner, watching everyone else get wasted and embarrass themselves. I’ve never been as much of a wild party guy as Sam.
The blonde reaches out her hand to shake mine. I do the polite thing and take her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze.
“My name’s Petra,” she says.
“Grant,” I say, taking my hand back.
Petra bites her bottom lip as she runs her hand down my chest, batting her eyelashes seductively. I know that look on a woman’s face, and while some men might enjoy it, I don’t. Especially not tonight. I gently grab her wrist and remove it from my chest, pushing myself away from the wall.
“Where are you going?” she asks.
“To find Sam,” I say.
“He’s in the hot tub,” she says.
I continue walking, but Petra is following fast on my heels. She steps up beside me and gives me a wink.
“You know,” she purrs. “I didn’t bring a swimsuit –”
“Neither did I,” I mutter. “And I don’t plan on getting into the hot tub either.”
Her smile fades, but she continues to walk beside me anyway. She trails along, walking with me all the way up to the private patio on the roof. Just as I suspected after not seeing him downstairs, I finally spot Sam. What I didn’t expect was that he only had one woman in the hot tub with him.
She’s petite, with short brown hair. They’re facing away from us, so I can’t see her face, but from the back, she looks adorable. Just Sam’s type: he likes adorable, petite girls. The two of them look close and I almost feel bad intruding, so I stop short on the stairwell.
Petra, on the other hand, has no shame. She pushes her way past me and keeps marching toward the hot tub. I take a few steps and grab her by the shoulder to stop her. She spins around to face me and reaches up, yanking my hand off her.
“Go back downstairs, please,” I say, sighing.
The standoff lasts for only a few seconds. Crossing her arms in front of her chest, she glares at me and stomps off, down the stairs – louder than really necessary – leaving me alone with my best friend and the cute brunette I don’t know. Their backs are to me, and if they’d heard Petra’s unnecessary temper tantrum, it doesn’t seem to faze them. Or, they have the good grace to not embarrass me about it. Looking at the way they’re sitting, they seem so caught up in one another that they probably didn’t even notice.
The brunette is resting her head on Sam’s shoulder, and they’re whispering and giggling back and forth. It’s so cute and sweet, I can’t turn away, nor can I suppress the smile on my face. Sam might like to party and have a good time, but I know he’s no player. He’s a one woman at a time kind of guy, always has been. He needs to find himself somebody he can settle down with.