Full Stop

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The moment Riley saw Paige's face, she knew her sister was not happy. She scrambled off Ashe's lap and did her best to smoothen her hair, which had come loose from its clip, and pull down her rumpled shirt, which had been partly raised to show skin just above her waist. She felt like a teenager caught making out with a boy on a school night, but as she and Ashe stood up to face Paige and Clint, anger filled her.

They did nothing wrong, she thought. And she was also 23-years old—old enough to kiss any boy she liked, even on a school night.

"Wow, quiet house," Clint said, seeming unperturbed by the growing tension in the room. "Thanks so much, Ri, and you, too, Ashe. I hope the boys didn't give you too much trouble."

"No, they were little darlings. They were quite well-behaved," Ashe said. "Riley did a great job taking charge while I only managed to muck things up."

"Well, that's usually the case, eh? Women are just so much better with children, I believe," Clint laughed. "Anyway, I'm going upstairs to check on them. Thanks again. I need to get out of this tux before it suffocates me."

Paige didn't move. She stared at Riley and then at Ashe though her gaze was primarily directed to her little sister. She turned to face Ashe. "Thank you so much for coming over and helping Riley out. But it's late, and I'm sure you have other better things to do."

"I'd love to walk Riley home whenever she's ready."

"That won't be necessary. I've got the town car still outside, and Bob can drive you back to your hotel," Paige said, her gaze hardening. "When Bob comes back, he can drop off my baby sister."

Ashe glanced at Riley, who lowered her eyes, her face reddening. It was clearly a get out of my house statement delivered in a way that only Paige could—with a sweet smile though her eyes were throwing daggers at Ashe.

"I need to talk to my sister, Ashe, if you don't mind," Paige said, her voice growing colder. "I understand you just got back from Europe after two weeks of promoting your movie. The complimentary buffet must have been astounding at every stop—so much to choose from. And I don't mean the food."

"You could say that," Ashe said, frowning. "But just because it's there doesn't mean you have to sample all of it—or at all."

"Well said," Paige said, her eyes narrowing. "You must know Betty Forster of Chandler and Forster Public Relations, and soon-to-be just Forster Public Relations?"

Ashe nodded. "Of course, I know Betty. I didn't realize you were friends."

"We are. Anyway, I need to speak to Riley, and Bob is waiting outside. It's up to you if you want to have him drive you to your hotel, but he's there if you need a ride," Paige said as she texted someone on her phone. "It was nice meeting you, Ashe. Good luck on your career."

"Paige, Ashe and I were just—"

"I know exactly what you both were doing," Paige said. "But right now, I need to talk to you alone, and Ashe here needs to give us privacy."

As if that wasn't enough of a hint, Ashe turned to face Riley, frowning though he managed a faint smile. "I had a wonderful time tonight, Riley. Thank you."

Riley nodded, the words unable to come out of her mouth. Why did she feel so guilty? She waited till Ashe stepped out and Paige shut the door behind him, just a little too hard. Paige turned to look at Riley, her hands on her hips, but before she could say something, Riley spoke.

"What's got your panties in a twist, Paige? You said to me the other night that," her voice lifted in a falsetto, "if you ever get him in my bed—"

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