The Impossible Vastness Of Us
Hayley choked into her napkin, not hiding her chuckle at all well.
Theo didn’t even seem to notice. He was too busy eyeing me with new appreciation. “A go-getter. I admire that. I think you’re going to fit in very well here, India.”
“I think so, too.” I forced myself to smile back at him.
“When your mother told me you planned to go to law school, that you have aspirations to work in the DA’s office, I was impressed,” Theo added, seeming sincere. “And I’m even more so now that we’ve become acquainted. I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to have a budding lawyer in the family.”
I couldn’t tell you if a word out of his mouth was true, but I could tell that her father’s approval of me put a wary look in Eloise’s eyes I just didn’t understand.
CHAPTER 3 (#u2e87e5b1-71a8-500a-9100-9d4ffe3b0fe2)
I HAD TO admit I was charmed by Charles Street.
Gil, our driver, was a pleasant, tall bald man who looked to be in his early forties, with broad shoulders and thick biceps. I think he was more bodyguard than driver.
He somehow found a spot to park on the street that was paved in red brick, lined with trees and had quaint gas lamps, antiques stores, restaurants and boutiques. The smell of flowers filled the air and it felt like we weren’t in a city at all.
So far Hayley had bought two dresses that were hundreds of dollars each.
I had bought a cute notepad.
“You have to start looking,” Hayley said as we strolled toward where Gil was standing at attention by the car.
“What am I supposed to be looking for?” I said. “I have no idea how the kids at this school dress.”
“I never thought of that. Damn. I should have asked Eloise. Sorry.”
“I don’t think she would have helped.”
“What do you mean?”
“Behind the ‘Daddies’ and chirpy smiles is a girl who is not happy to have me here.”
I waited for Hayley to tell me I was being silly. She surprised me again by eyeing me carefully and replying, “Has she been rude to you?”
“No, but she wasn’t that welcoming, either.”
“Give her time.” She nudged me with her shoulder with a coaxing smile.
“You better tell me if Eloise crosses the line into rude. Her father has spoiled her a little.”
“I can handle myself,” I said, too stubborn to accept her help.
I jerked at Hayley’s random yell.
And then I followed her gaze and realized she wasn’t being random.
My stomach flip-flopped.
Finn Rochester had just come out of the boutique I’d bought my notepad from earlier. He glanced over at us, his eyes narrowing on me.
Before I could stop her Hayley hurried over to him.
“Hayley.” Finn nodded politely.
I hadn’t realized Hayley had met Eloise’s boyfriend but then I’d forgotten she had actually spent months around these people before dropping me in the middle of it. Not only had they apparently met, but they knew each other well enough to be on a cozy first-name basis. My resentment simmered to the surface.
“Finn, how are you?” She smiled at him like he was the most interesting boy in the world. I knew Hayley well enough to know that she was impressed by his family name and his natural air of cultured superiority.
“Well. And you?”
“We’re shopping.” She raised the bags in her hands to elaborate.
He took in the one tiny little bag in my hand. “You don’t shop?”
He seemed so bored by his own question I wondered why he’d bothered to ask.
Before I could say anything, Hayley said, “Well, India has a dilemma. Perhaps you could help.”
“I’d be happy to.”
I snorted. Loudly. Because he sounded like he’d rather do anything else in the world than help me.
His eyes cut back to me but I refused to be intimidated by him and his masculine beauty. I stared back until he turned his attention to Hayley.
I did a little inner fist pump of triumph over winning our staring contest.
Hayley seemed to eye our interaction with interest. She smirked a little as she said, “What do the girls at your school wear? India needs a wardrobe for the semester.”
Without looking at me he shrugged. “Stick with designer. There are numerous stores on Newbury Street. Introduce yourself to the staff, explain she’s attending Tobias Rochester and they’ll be able to help you.”
“Wonderful, thank you.” Hayley beamed, not at all annoyed that Finn had referred to me as “she” rather than by name.
What? Was he afraid to say my name in case my trailer trashiness rubbed off on him?
“You’re welcome.” He gave us a nod. “Enjoy the rest of your day.”
As we watched his tall form stride away, I decided he was perfect for Eloise. He had the broad shoulders and narrow waist of a swimmer, long legs, a face worthy of the Greek gods and expensive clothes that fit him to perfection.
He was beautiful and wealthy just like his girlfriend.
And he was just as welcoming.