"Where are you going?" Ashe asked, grabbing hold of Riley's hand as she teetered on one foot, still trying to dislodge the gum from the bottom of her shoe.
"Right now, nowhere until I get this piece of gum from my shoe," Riley stammered. "I mean, I was going to a gala, but—"
"The one at the Natural History Museum?" Ashe asked, surprised.
"Well, I was," Riley said. "Don't I look presentable enough to be a guest?"
"You look stunning."
"Thank you," she said, blushing. "Are you going?"
Ashe chuckled. "Not looking like this, no, although I know people who are going to be there."
Riley didn't ask for names, for she didn't care who else was going. What if it was Gareth? As she held onto Ashe's hand, she decided that it was time to give up on the gum and find out what he was doing there. He looked gorgeous wearing a tight white shirt, equally tight black jeans, and boots that meant business. A dark coat and a long scarf completed the look.
"What are you doing here? Did you get lost?"
"I'm here to see you, and yes, I did get lost. I took the cab but was one block off with the address," Ashe said. "I tried to call you to let you know I was on my way, but you don't seem to like answering your phone."
"I didn't hear it ring," Riley said, pulling her phone from her evening bag and realizing it was in Quiet mode.
"You're going to be late if you don't leave now," he said.
"I'm not going," Riley said, frowning. "I was only going because Paige and Clint bought me a ticket, and they wanted to introduce me to Jesse."
"He's Clint's assistant," Riley replied. "They wanted me to meet someone new, someone normal with a regular job, someone who won't be flying off at a moment's notice to film a movie in Africa or promote it in Asia."
"Is that what you want—someone normal?"
"I just want someone who'll like me for me, Ashe. But whether you're normal or abnormal, I'll never know, will I, unless I give this getting-to-know-you bit a try?" she said. "For all I know, you could be the most normal guy I know. You could be obsessed about Minecraft, salsa dancing or—"
"As a matter of fact, I do like salsa dancing," Ashe said, grinning. "Do you?"
Riley hesitated. How the hell did she come up with salsa dancing? "I don't know. I've never tried it."
"If you're not going to the gala, do you have other plans for the evening?" he asked, pulling her to one side. Though she barely noticed the pedestrians, the sidewalk had filled up with people, and they were blocking the way.
Riley shook her head. "Other than growing a spine, nothing."
Ashe narrowed his eyes. "You already have a spine, Riley."
"Not when it comes to Paige. I let her run my life, so not attending the gala is an act of defiance on my part," she said, knowing she was rambling a bit. Ashe was making her nervous, and she knew she was blushing. "Heck, maybe it's seeing you from the car and wondering if you were coming to see me, but whether I'm being flaky or not, this is my way of standing up to her. Or not. Maybe it's just me wanting to see you again so I can, at least, apologize to you for what happened between me and—"
"Shh," Ashe said, placing a finger against her lips. "Too many 'maybes' and you'll lose sight of the certainties. I got your message, and that was enough, Riley. I believe you, and I trust you."
YOU ARE READING
Loving Ashe - Book 1 of the Celebrity SeriesRomance
Twenty-three year old Riley Eames is still haunted by the heartbreak from three years ago. After the unexpected encounter with rising Hollywood star Ashe Hunter, will she finally open up or will her heart stay tormented by the past? *** After bei...