None of Your Business
Valerie was actually impressed how Ethan had managed to set up a full blown birthday party within less than a week. The venue was decorated with Jenny’s favourite flowers, there even was a pianist playing in the background and how Ethan had found a caterer this last minute was completely beyond her.
Jenny had done a good job at acting all surprised when Ethan had brought her here. Of course, no one would miss a Crawford party these days so there were plenty of people there, even more than at Jenny’s house party. Where it all began…
Ethan had given Jenny a beautiful silver bracelet as a gift which looked like it had cost a lot of money. It was not very personal in Valerie’s eyes, but Jenny was beyond thrilled. And who knew, maybe it was personal to her. Maybe there was a story, maybe she had always wanted a bracelet like this. Once again, Valerie felt like she didn’t know the new Jennifer Crawford at all. The old Jenny she had been friends with all these years ago had been different.
Valerie had tried to mingle with the guests for a while but she didn’t know these people. She always had trouble making new friends so she decided to stay on the sidelines for now.
She watched Jenny bounce through the crowd and happily chat with everyone she did or didn’t know. She had always been the more social one.
Someone emerged from the crowd of guests and steered towards Valerie. Surprisingly enough, it was Ethan.
He sat down next to her on the bench. They both didn’t say anything for a while and simply watched the guests as if they were both tired of partying.
“How did you do this?”, Valerie suddenly asked and turned to look at him curiously. He didn’t look back at here but instead just smirked.
“People tend to owe me favors.”
Now, what the hell does that mean? Valerie almost wanted to ask him about it but instead just shrugged it off. It’s none of my business. But it intrigued her nonetheless.
“Aren’t you going to party with the rest?”, Ethan wanted to know. Valerie shook her head but Ethan wasn’t looking at her.
“I don’t know anyone here”, she said instead and Ethan chuckled.
“You know me”, he said. Doesn’t make it better… “And Jenny. Oh, and her. Kind of.”
He pointed at a girl in the crowd who had escaped Valerie’s attention until now. Maybe she had just arrived. But Valerie recognized the flaming red hair instantly.
Anger flared up inside of her, remembering the scene she had witnessed at Jenny’s last party. If it hadn’t been for them, she would be in a different place right now.
The red-haired girl turned to look at them and winked at Ethan. Ethan smiled back ever so slightly just so that the girl would see it as a sign of recognition but not enough to make anyone notice. Valerie was dumbfounded. For some reason, she had assumed that this girl had been just a fling, a one-night stand for Ethan. Or that he had broken it off after they were discovered. He had never mentioned her once after the incident, yet here she was. And there clearly was something between them still.
“You’re serious about her”, she stated. It wasn’t a question and Ethan didn’t feel the need to answer.
“Did you ever feel that way about Jenny?”, Valerie didn’t even know why she was asking him this. He was just a jerk. But part of her was wondering about his sincerity. Bullcrap. How could someone like Ethan Alexander ever be sincere?
Ethan suddenly looked at her as if he had heard her thoughts.
He opened his mouth as if he was about to answer the question then closed it again.
“It’s none of your business”, he grumbled. The red-haired looked over again then turned and made her way to the garden door.
Valerie couldn’t help but admire her for a second. She had this aura of confidence, yet mystery at the same time. She could see why Ethan was attracted to her. It’s no excuse… she thought solemnly.
Ethan made an attempt to get up.
“Where do you think you’re going?”, Valerie suddenly burst out angrily. She couldn’t believe Ethan would do this at Jenny’s birthday party.
“None of your business”, he grinned and simply walked away.
Next: Chapter 15