Jameson closes the door after helping me into the Range Rover. I sit, my hands folded in my lap, staring out the window. Blake's quiet, an introspective look on his face. Jameson glances in the rear-view mirror, catching my eye. Using his index fingers, he mimics drawing a smile on his face.
I shake my head. I’m in no mood to smile. This is the most uncomfortable night I've had in a long time, and we aren't even at the damn event yet.
Blake reaches forward, pressing a few buttons on a small panel. Slowly, a tinted window separating the front and back seats rises, cutting me off from Jameson. I turn my head to find him staring at me, his lips in a hard line.
"We have an hour before we get there. I think we need to discuss a few things."
I twist in my seat. "Like what?"
"I'm supposed to pass you off as my date, yet I know damn near nothing about you. Regardless of my attempts over the last few weeks."
"Make some shit up," I snap. His eyes narrow. "Look, Mr. Mason, it doesn't matter what you tell them."
"It matters to me. Your face is about to be plastered alongside mine in every magazine and tabloid from here to New York. I'd like to know who's walking around on my arm for the night."
"Well, that attitude won't get you anywhere. Try asking nicely, and possibly specific questions. I don't talk about myself, if you haven't noticed, so don't expect me to just open up and go all Lindsay Lohan— Oprah interview on you."
His eyes widen, and a smile plays at his lips. "What's your full name?"
"Lily Williams. I don't have a middle name."
"Where in Texas are you from?"
"Mr. Mason, is this really necessary?"
"Stop with the Mr. Mason, shit. My name is Blake for Christ's sake, and if you don't want to come off as security, you're going to have to stop sounding like a god-damned Interpol agent for the evening."
I sigh, loudly. "I'll try, okay?"
He reaches over and places his hand on the back of mine, and the shakes come, uninvited. I can't hide them, and he doesn't move his hand, though it wobbles from the force of my own.
"Lily, why do you shake when people touch you?" His voice is barely a whisper.
"Please, take your hand off me . . . " as gently as possible through gritted teeth. Blake's touch is strange. It's warm and inviting, but doesn't fully penetrate the all-consuming fear that radiates through me.
He moves his hand back to his leg, and stares at me, waiting. "Lily . . . please."
"I had a fucked up childhood, okay? Leave it at that."
"Okay. I'm not trying to upset you."
"It's fine. Aside from that, what do you want to know?"
"Hmm, what's your favorite color?" He smiles.
I chuckle bitterly, shaking my head as I turn to face him. "I don't have one actually."
"What? How do you not have a favorite color?" Shock floods his face and I can't help but grin.
"I work for Interpol. It isn't like we get colorful outfits for assignments, Blake."
"Oh, that sounds amazing. I've been waiting to hear it again since the night at line-dancing," he says in a husky tone, his eyes smoldering.
"What sounds good?" I raise my eyebrows.
"The way you say my name."