Not Alone

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As long as Riley shut up the OMG-the-sky-is-falling part of her, life was grand. For the next two weeks, she went to work four days a week while Ashe, if he wasn't required to fly to L.A. for meetings, did them over the phone.

There were meetings with Ben and Lance over Conley Brennan's songs whose rights they owned, and then there were his workout sessions at the gym five days a week. Even though he wasn't scheduled to start shooting his next movie till after the holidays, Ashe still had to keep in shape, no matter how great the temptation to eat whatever he wanted. Just a day before, he'd spent most of the morning modeling suits for a men's magazine cover and that evening while showing her some proofs he'd photographed on his phone, Riley couldn't help but notice that Ashe had a hell of a resting bitch face.

"A what?" he had asked, putting his phone on the bedside table.

"A resting bitch face," Riley repeated, laughing. "It's the look someone has when they're just doing random stuff, but their face looks like they're about to murder someone."

Ashe looked at her incredulously. "Excuse me, Miss Eames, but I do not have a resting bitch face."

"Oh, yes you do!" She had laughed then, earning her a tickling session that almost made her pee her pants till she begged him to stop and with a kiss, tell him that no, he did not have a resting bitch face after all.

"Do you ever get tired of being sculpted and groomed by others?" she asked him one Saturday afternoon as they sat on a bench in Washington Square Park, listening to someone playing Bach's "English Piece in A Minor" on his baby grand piano on wheels. With Ashe wearing some hat or beanie and dark glasses, it had become one of their favorite things to do during those two weekends after their Atlantic City trip, simply sitting together and people watching. Sometimes people recognized him, but mostly they left Ashe alone, and Riley got used to the sideways glances and the many creative ways they tried to take discreet pictures of Ashe.

"It's just part of the job. You might say that I've gotten used to it since I started modeling so many years ago," he said.

"And you're vain," Riley teased as Ashe nudged her in the ribs playfully.

"There's that, too," Ashe smiled sheepishly. "But why do you ask, Riley? Does it bother you to have someone know my body more than you sometimes?"

"Paige once asked me how I'd feel seeing you kiss someone else, or have sex with someone else—on camera, that is," Riley added. "And she had a point. I don't know how I'd feel if I saw you kiss someone else. It would feel weird, and I wouldn't know what to think."

"So it does bother you."

"It's just weird. I mean, what if Sentience gets a sequel and you and Isobel—well, do stuff together, even if it's front of the camera—"

"It is just in front of the cameras, Riley. There's nothing sexy about filming a sex scene, not when you've got hot lights and twenty people watching the whole thing and making sure that every angle is perfect, the lighting, the angles, the overall effect," Ashe said. "You need to separate our life together from my work."

"But I trust you, so it shouldn't even be a problem." Riley suddenly felt foolish as Ashe took a deep intake of breath and drew her closer to him. She was jealous, pure and simple. "Anyway, I was just wondering if you ever get tired of it—being constantly groomed for this pictorial or that movie premiere, and having to worry about your weight, your figure, your diet."

"Sometimes I do mind, especially with the holidays approaching, and I can't wait to eat all the meat pies I can get my hands on," he said, grinning. "Which reminds me, what are you doing for Thanksgiving? You haven't mentioned anything about it."

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