Planning on Prince Charming(6)

By: Lizzie Shane


He crossed to the bar, spread a towel over the glass to mark the spot and toed off his shoes—which doubtless had glass clinging to the soles. Deciding sobriety was overrated, Josh filled a spare glass with ice and collected the crappy scotch as well as her water glass before returning to claim the other half of the couch where the barefoot blonde was curled up.

“Can I have one of those?” she asked, tipping her mostly empty water glass toward the bottle. “I promised my best friends I’d get hammered tonight.”

“Strange promise.” He tipped scotch on top of the mostly melted ice cubes in her glass.

“Strategy,” she explained. “I swore I wouldn’t be the girl who gets drunk and stumbles around the mansion babbling about how ready she is for love to every cameraman who will listen before throwing up on Mister Perfect’s shoes. I figure if I’m hung over I won’t even want to think about having a drink to take the edge off and that will guarantee I’m sober when we meet.”

“Smart,” he acknowledged, taking a draught of the unpalatable scotch and finding it much smoother now that he was halfway through the bottle.

She lifted her own glass and drank, her face contorting as she swallowed. She coughed, wheezing. “Wow. That’s terrible.”

“Yes, it is,” Josh agreed, raising his glass to clink it against hers before draining half of it.

She watched him with a sort of concerned awe, and then bravely went back for another sip, choking less the second time. “And why exactly are we punishing ourselves?” she asked, frowning dubiously at the alcohol calling itself scotch.

He shrugged. “Sentimental value.”

“Ah.”

It had seemed a fitting way to toast the end of his six year marriage. With a shitty bottle of six-year-old scotch.

He loved good scotch, but before long crap like this was likely to be all he could afford. Between his wife’s very enthusiastic lawyer, their lack of pre-nup, and the fact that he was likely to lose his job as soon as the higher ups at the network realized he was no longer the perfect portrait of domestic bliss they’d hired to be the host of Marrying Mister Perfect—and that was if they didn’t find out about the Suitorette in his hotel room—he’d be lucky if he could afford to drown his sorrows in Wild Turkey by this time next year.

Might as well get used to the cheap stuff. Josh downed the subpar scotch in a single swallow and reached for the bottle to refill his glass, watching as the amber liquid painted lovingly over the cubes.

He braced himself for an interrogation, but Sidney fell silent, sipping contemplatively. The minutes stretched out and they drank in comfortable silence. When her glass emptied, he refilled both of them, pleased his hands were steady enough to accomplish the task without spilling a drop.

Maybe make a career as a bartender when he was booted as host for MMP. The skill sets were similar.

Good listener when people were having emotional breakdowns? Check. Keep everyone around you with a full drink in their hand because that was where the money was? You bet. And Marrying Mister Perfect had certainly prepared him for dealing with drunken cat fights.

Now that he thought about it, he was really just an overpaid bartender with good hair.

He raked a hand through the thick brown mess. At least he still had his hair. Marissa could take his retirement fund and the house in Malibu, but he was still number ninety seven on Us Weekly’s 100 Hunkiest Hollywood Hotties. So there.

Josh handed Sidney her glass and clinked it with his own, silently toasting the absent arbiters of hunkiness at Us Weekly.

“This is so surreal,” Sidney murmured, rubbing a hand over her stomach. “I’m drinking terrible scotch with Josh Pendleton and tomorrow I meet Mister Perfect. Somebody pinch me.”

“If it’s such a dream, why were you trying to get kicked off the show?”

She looked at him, but there was something evasive in her eyes. “What makes you so certain I was?”

He arched a brow and her resistance crumpled.

“I’m not used to being Cinderella. When I’m playing the Fairy Godmother, I’m amazing, but cast me as the princess and I don’t have the first idea what to do with myself.”