I'll tell him he's a dick later for that look.
A smug grin filled my face as the quiet between us fizzled out with the sounds of life around us. The diners went back to their meals, their conversations and laughter returning to a normal level. The waiters and waitresses started flurrying around between the tables with over-dramatic smiles plaguing their worn and tired faces.
It was all perfectly set; the silence, the music, the movement—all of it. Garrett held his magazine cover smile as he guided me back into my chair and took the one across from me, making it a point to braid our fingers together right in the center of the table.
We were the visual stars for the evening, the main event. It was this moment that was supposed to help push my choice, to guide the audience into rooting for us.
I tried desperately to fake the insta-lust with forced love-struck eyes. But I wasn't into this, it wasn't how shit worked in the real world.
His grin widened, parting his mouth to let his tongue draw over his bottom lip slowly. It was a little more dramatic than I expected, but it did the job. I was sure all the ladies who would be watching from behind their televisions would swoon over a man like him.
Unfortunately, I felt nothing.
The nerves were there, but it wasn't so much from him. It was for what they wanted me to do, what they expected me to do. I just wasn't sure I could do it.
His thick thumb spun small circles over the nub on my wrist. Lowering his head, he tilted it just enough for the small candle to flicker on cue against his hazel eyes as he opened them slowly.
He's so much better at this than I am.
“So, I know we came here for dinner, but I don't know how long I can sit across this table before I can't hold back anymore.” Arching his brow, his grin fanned across his face.
I tried to be sexy, mimicking his head tilt and slowly batting my lashes. I don't know if it held the same 'fuck me' glare, but I gave it my best. “You don't waste any time, do you?”
“With a girl like you, can you blame me?” His lip curled up to his ear, leaning in a little closer, he whispered. “If I had my way, I'd take you back to my place and show you the best night of your life.”
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
What do I say to that?
Come on, Alaska! Think!
I had nothing. My mind was completely blank. I wasn't ready to do this. . . No, I can't do this.
This was the game, this was the whole point of this fucking show. I'm supposed to flirt, I'm supposed to get down and dirty, and Garrett. . .
He's supposed to win it all. My virginity was his just from inking my name on that fucking piece of paper. Because that's what the producer wanted, not me.
I'm not ready.
This isn't how it's supposed to be. I'm a virgin in every single way. I've never been with a guy long enough to even imagine what it might feel like. And that wasn't how I wanted to experience sex for the first time.
I wanted romance, I wanted real, true emotions. I wanted love.
Biting my lip, I looked down at the floor, then over my shoulder at the crew surrounding us. “You know what, I can't do this.” Standing quickly, I started towards the back of the set.
“Whoa, whoa! Alaska, what the hell are you doing?” Marc, the producer, jumped from his chair and tried to box me in. “Get back on set, we're not done with the scene.”
Holding up my hands, I pushed past him. “I'm out, Marc, find yourself another virgin.”
I wasn't going to lose the only thing I really cherished to some asshole actor looking for his big break. I wasn't even sure how my father had talked me into doing this to begin with.
Reading the script this morning, I thought that maybe I could go through with it. I tried, I really tried to downplay how this would end.
I can't—I won't do it like this.
Slamming the door to my dressing room, I started gathering my stuff. Anger had consumed me, rage had filled me to the brim. I had pride, I had self preservation. There was no way in hell I was going to let some reality television show peel away the layers of who I was just for ratings.
Throwing my phone into my purse, I flipped the bag over my shoulder and turned to walk out. “Ah!” I yelped, grabbing my chest. “You scared me.”
My father hovered over me, his brows angled in. The crows feet exploded at the corners of his eyes as his whole face scrunched up. “What the hell are you doing?”
Instinctively, I took a step back, curling my hand around the strap of my bag. “I'm done, Dad. I can't do this, I thought I could, but I can't.”
Thinning his lips, he reached onto the vanity and grabbed the script. “You signed on for this, you're doing the show. There's no going back now, Alaska.” Waving the thick wad of papers in the space between us, he stepped closer. “Get back on set.”
It was insane for him to think that this was okay. Did he read the same script I did?
“Dad, I'm not doing this. Do you know what they expect me to do?”
“I know you put your name on the dotted line.”
“They want me to screw some guy I don't even know! I won't do that!”
Lunging forward, my father gripped my forearm tight. “If you don't do this, I lose everything—we lose everything. What don't you understand about that? Do you want to live on the street? Is that what you want?”
I knew what he was doing. My father was trying to pull me in with his manipulation, with his 'feel bad for us' lines of bullshit. It wasn't going to work, not this time.
For years he put me in commercials, he used me to try and reach the stardom he never could. But this was his dream, not mine.
And I wasn't going to let him exploit me as some freak virgin just to gain notoriety. This was where I was drawing the line, he had gone too far.
My virginity wasn't his to give away.
“I'm not doing this show, I don't care what you want.” Yanking my arm free, I stormed past him. Keeping my head down, I focused on moving my feet forward, one step at a time.
I didn't want him to start tugging on the heart strings and bringing up my mother. He would say anything to get me to agree to do something I didn't want to. But this went well beyond the typical thirty second commercial bit. This was a whole different story I wasn't going to be a part of.
Leaning his head out the door, my father yelled, “You're going to regret walking out on this! Just you wait, Alaska, you'll wish you never turned your back on me! What would your mother say if she saw you do this?”
There it was.
I didn't care what he thought anymore. I was an adult, I had just turned nineteen. He couldn't control me or my life. And for him to think that it was okay for me to lose my virginity in front of the whole damn world was ludicrous.
He had the nerve to ask me what my mother would say?
What would she think of him using me for this show?
Gritting my teeth, my head was ready to explode. Just hearing the words stabbed my heart. My mother would never have let him even bring up the idea of this. That I knew without a doubt.
Pounding my feet into the tile floor, I made my way towards the exit. The sooner I was out of that building, the sooner I could get the fuck out of that town.
My face had started to pop up on magazines and billboards. The show had already gained so much noise, and it wasn't even going to air for a couple more weeks. 'Sweet Virgin,' where I was supposed to meet and date five different guys and pick one at the end to give myself to.
Every last detail was planned, each guy had already been selected for their part, right down to the winner. I wasn't even given an actual choice in the matter. Which was fine until I read the entire script last night, where it so kindly detailed the end result.
What the fuck is wrong with me!?
I hadn't read the fine print, that's what.
It was a show, a stupid show. Not once did I think they actually expected me to sleep with the guy at the end. I was wrong. That was the deal, that was the catch.
And they cemented the finish with some stranger getting my cherry. No fucking way.
A heavy hand reached out and snagged my arm. “What the fuck, Alaska! You can't just walk off set like that!”
“Garrett, I'm sorry, I just. . .” Pausing, I tried to find the right words to help him understand. I wasn't sure if he was as unaware of the expectations as I was. “I can't do it, not like this. I'm not comfortable actually sleeping with you, no offense.”
Oh God, I'm playing the, 'It's not you, it's me,' card.
“You don't have a choice, you have to. If you fuck this up, then you fuck up everything else for me. I'm supposed to be the winner, I'm the one who's supposed to get the first taste. This is going to make me famous, I won't let you ruin my career.”
I couldn't believe what he had said. He didn't care about me or what I was comfortable with. He only gave a shit about himself. His nice guy act was just a ruse for the camera. There was no concern or care in his eyes for me, all I could see was hatred for what could happen if I walked out.
I knew he had dick tendencies, but this exceeded just your average douche bag.
“I don't care what you're supposed to get, but you can't get me. I don't work that way.” Rolling my eyes, I tried to break free, but he wouldn't release his grip. “Let me go, Garrett.”
“Do you see this?” Holding out the script, he held it up close to my face. “Read the last line there. It says I get to claim you for myself.”
What an asshole!
I don't think he realized how pissed I actually was. Maybe he didn't give a shit who he slept with, maybe he was alright with a one night stand. I however, valued my virginity. I wanted my first time to actually mean something.
Maybe it was stupid and immature to wish for something that so many people saw as just sex. But I wanted it to be special. I knew it sounded corky and ridiculous, but that's the truth. And I didn't care what anyone else thought. If I had known from the beginning that I actually had to do it, I wouldn't have agreed.
Grabbing the script from his hand, I pretended to read it like I hadn't seen the section where he was going to take me for the first time. “Oh, oh, I hadn't seen that part.”
“You can't just walk out, I'm not losing this show because of a bitch like you.”
Curling my lip, I yanked my arm free and stepped back. Glaring at him, I started tearing out pages and throwing them in his face. “You can take your script and go screw yourself, Dick.”
Garrett bared his teeth and let out this deep angry growl. “Don't you dare fuck this up.”
“It's too late for that, I quit.” The door popped open as I pressed the long metal handle down, fresh air from the street hit my face and it felt amazing.
I wasn't a pawn in this game. I wasn't going to let anyone tell me who I was supposed to give myself to.
This was my body, I was in charge. Not a piece of paper, not my name on the bottom of some line with an X.
My virginity was mine to give away.
Spotting the bus as it started to pull away from the stop, I waved my hands in the air and screamed. “Wait! Stop!”
Crossing the street, the doors buckled in and I stepped onto freedom.
This city, this show, and these jerks could kiss my ass.