Guarded Hearts, Part 2

Summary: Alice ends up joining Liam’s bachelor party in New York, but her thoughts are elsewhere.

New to the series? Catch up here: Part 1 

When Alice stepped out onto into the cool night air of the New York City streets, she was a little surprised to see Liam and the rest of the the bachelor party waiting for her. She wasn’t entirely sure why she was surprised to see them; she guessed part of her expected the one in the black shirt, Maxwell, to get distracted by something shiny and take off running down the street. Alice also wasn’t entirely sure why she’d decided to hang out with a bachelor party.

“Hey,” Liam said with a grin when he saw her.

Oh. Right. That was why.

“Hey.” Alice said with a smile. “So, where to?”

“There’s some club Maxwell is insisting we go to…hang out, let me find out if he actually knows where he’s going.” Liam turned and tried to catch Maxwell and Tariq, who were already halfway down the street.


Alice turned and saw Drake staring at her.

“Can…I help you?” Alice asked, confused.

“Sorry, no, that came out way weirder than I meant it to,” Drake said. “I just…um, you’re wearing regular clothes.”

Alice couldn’t help but smile at the blush in his cheeks. “Yeah, I don’t generally wear my uniform when I’m not on the clock.”

Drake laughed awkwardly. “Of course, yeah. Um, you look nice.”

“Thanks.” Alice felt her phone buzz in her pocket and she pulled it out. When she saw it was just Daniel, her heart sank a little.

“Expecting someone?” Drake asked.

“No,” Alice said, tucking her phone back in. “Just my friend checking in on me.”

“You look disappointed,” Drake said.

“Who’s disappointed?” Liam asked as he rejoined them.

“No one,” Alice said as she turned to face him, smiling. “Ready?”

She didn’t miss Drake eyeing her out of the corner of her eye, but she ignored him. Alice wasn’t annoyed with Drake; she was annoyed with herself that she couldn’t get Bastien out of her head. It was only one night. He was temporary. She was temporary, for him. She knew all this, so why was she disappointed?

Bastien watched from his vantage point in the shadows, his hand on his phone in his pocket. He could text her. He wanted to text her. Liam was about to begin the social season with Cordonia; the prince’s dance card was more than full, especially in light of Leo’s abdication. Bastien pulled out his phone and re-read her text.

Another bachelor party, but this one seems better behaved than the one last night. Hope you’re having a good night and no one has released the kraken x

His fingers hesitated over the screen. Then, before he could talk himself out of it, he typed out a reply.

So far so good but the night is still young. Let me know if you need backup with the bachelor party

He hit send.

Alice felt her phone buzz in her pocket as she walked down the street with Liam and the guys. Probably Daniel again, she thought. She didn’t want to get her hopes up because as long as she didn’t look at her phone, it could be Bastien. If she looked, she’d know for sure. For the time being, she wanted to keep Schrodinger’s phone in her pocket, for at least a little while longer.

“So where are we headed?” Alice asked.

“Some place called Kismet,” Liam said. “According to Maxwell, it’s the hottest club in the city.”

“It’s supposed to be AMAZING!” Maxwell exclaimed. “Alice, have you ever been?”

“Can’t say I have,” she said, smiling a little at Maxwell’s enthusiasm.

“Really?” Tariq asked, surprised. Alice didn’t particularly like the way he was looking at her, his gaze narrowed and vaguely predatory. “The hottest girl in town hasn’t been to the hottest club in town?”

“So, Alice, how long have you lived in New York?” Liam asked, frowning slightly at Tariq as he changed the subject.

“Uh…” Alice said, shaking her head slightly as she changed gears. “I moved here for college and then wound up staying.”

“What did you study?” Liam asked, sounding genuinely interested.


“We’re here!” Maxwell crowed as they reached the bar.

“Wow, I guess it is right around the corner,” Alice said. She could hear the thumping bass music from the street and she inwardly rolled her eyes. This was not her scene. She’d worked in places like this and between the repetitive music and overpriced drinks, she was exhausted before she even walked in. But, she didn’t want to be rude, so she obligingly allowed the bouncer to stamp her wrist.

“After you,” Tariq said as he opened the door for her. She felt his hand brush the small of her back as she walked by him and it took all of her restraint not to break his fingers.

Bastien wanted to break Tariq’s fingers. At least one. He knew he had no real right to be jealous, but he’d known Tariq for far too long and the little punk was beyond sleazy. Bastien didn’t really understand why Liam was friends with him, but, then again, that was how nobles worked. Because of their parents, the kids grew up together and ended up as friends whether they liked it or not. Plus, Bastien knew Liam was far too nice of a person to bail on someone he’d known for his whole life.

Bastien made his way into the club, easily fading into the crowd as Liam, Alice, and the others dispersed across the room. Kismet was illuminated by purple and blue lanterns hanging from the ceiling, mirrored by sporadic lights across the dance floor. Bastien watched as Maxwell beelined for the writhing bodies on the dance floor while Tariq snapped his fingers at some poor cocktail waitress and Drake just looked uncomfortable. But Bastien wasn’t watching them. Instead, his gaze followed Liam and Alice as they made their way to the bar. Their heads were close as they talked, struggling to be heard over the music.

Then, as Liam ordered drinks, Alice finally pulled out her phone again. The glow of the screen briefly illuminated her face and Bastien was pleased to see her smile when she read his text. She typed something on the screen and a few moments later, his own phone buzzed.

If I need backup, does that mean I get to have an excuse to see you again before you leave town?

Bastien smiled and, after surveying the room to make sure each of his charges was secure, he texted back.

You don’t need an excuse, but I probably won’t be done working until 3 or 4

He watched as she smiled, biting her lip.

I’m a bartender, I’m always up late. Text me when you’re free, Dorian x

He sent one final text before tucking his phone back in his pocket, anticipation warming his chest.

Can’t wait, Gray

“Is this your first time in New York?” Alice asked Liam as they clinked glasses before downing their shots.

“As a matter of fact it is,” Liam said, grimacing slightly at the whiskey burning down his throat. “But this trip has been a little…I don’t know, disappointing.”


“It’s…well…you’ll probably going to think it’s silly, but I’ve always wanted to see the Statue of Liberty,” Liam said. “But it wasn’t really in the guys’ plan so we just never got around to it. And now it’s my last day here…” Liam sighed. “I don’t mean to sound so ungrateful. It was thoughtful of my friends to throw me this bachelor party, so I really shouldn’t be complaining. They’ve done their best, but I’m not in the mood to celebrate.”

“Wait a second, it’s your bachelor party?” Alice asked. I knew it, she thought. Liam nodded. “I don’t mean to sound rude or anything, but you don’t seem like you’re engaged.”

“It’s…complicated,” Liam said.

“I dunno, an engagement seems pretty straightforward to me,” Alice said.

“I actually don’t know who I’m going to marry yet,” Liam said, looking uncomfortable as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other. “I only know that I’ll have to pick my fiancee by the end of the year.”

Alice hesitated, processing Liam’s words. “Okay, you’re going to have to explain a little more, I have no idea what that means.”

“The truth is…” Liam paused, glancing around them. “I’m the crown prince of Cordonia.”

“And I’m the Duchess of New York,” Alice said, fighting to keep from rolling her eyes.

“I’m serious,” Liam said. “But I don’t blame you for not believing me. You can Google me, if you want.”

Alice eyed him suspiciously as she pulled out her phone. She did a quick search and her jaw dropped open. “Oh my god.”

“Yeah…” He sighed. “Look, I–”

“Liam,” Alice interrupted. “For what it’s worth, it doesn’t matter if you’re a prince or just some average dude. As a bartender, I meet a lot of people and honestly, working in the service industry is a litmus test as to whether or not someone is a decent person. And you, Liam, prince or not, are certainly one of the nicer people I’ve met recently. You wouldn’t believe how many people think they can treat a bartender like garbage simply because they’re serving them.” Her eyes drifted over to Tariq, who was attempting to flag down a cocktail waitress from his seat in the VIP section. Liam followed her gaze.

“I believe it,” Liam said. “You know, it’s strange. I’ve known my whole life that I have to take up the duties of the monarchy. I’ve often wondered how that’s shaped me and who I might have been if I didnt’ have all these expectations on me.” He turned back to her. “What about you? What drives you?”

Alice laughed and took a sip of a new drink the bartender set down for her. “If I could answer that, I wouldn’t need therapy.” She took another sip. “All I know is that I want to do something. It depresses me to think that every day is just another brick in the wall. I want to do something that matters, be with people who matter to me. I don’t know what that is, but when I do, I have this feeling that everything will just…click.” She thought briefly of Bastien. “Does that sound stupid?”

“Not at all. I think that’s beautiful,” Liam said. He smiled. “Almost as beautiful as you are.”

Alice blushed, glad the purple and blue lights of the club hid her skin’s betrayal. She glanced over at the dance floor where Tariq and Drake had joined Maxwell. “It looks like your friends are having fun.”

“Good, I’m happy for them,” Liam said, looking out to the dance floor where Maxwell had started to aggressively pop and lock. “They deserve to have fun. Tomorrow, it’s back to Cordonia for the start of the social season.”

“It’s not tomorrow yet,” Alice said as she set down her empty glass on the bar. Liam raised an eyebrow at her. “You said you wanted to see the Statue of Liberty. Let’s do it! I know a place where we can catch a boat tour. Best view in town.”

“Right now?” Liam asked, surprised. “But it’s way past midnight! Won’t all the tours be closed?”

“Oh…right,” Alice said, silently kicking herself. “I forgot how late it is.” She checked her phone. 1:30 AM. “I forget that not everyone is on the same bartender-vampire schedule I am.”

Liam grinned. “If all vampires looked like you, I think you’d see a massive conversion to the dark side.” He glanced at his watch. “Oh wow, it is late.”

“I should probably be heading home,” Alice said, thinking again of Bastien. She felt a flutter in her stomach at the thought of him.

“I can escort you, if you’d like,” Liam offered.

“Are you sure? I don’t want you to abandon your friends…”Alice said.

“They’ll be fine without me for a little bit,” Liam said. “Do you live far?”

“Actually, I’m only a few blocks away,” Alice said. “But I wouldn’t mind the company. Thanks.”

When Bastien saw Alice and Liam make their way towards the front door, he quietly radioed the other security guards to keep watch on Maxwell, Drake, and Tariq and followed them out into the night. It was his job to stay with Liam, but he wished he didn’t have to follow Liam when Alice was with him.

He’s probably just walking her home, Bastien thought. At least, he hoped that was all. Get ahold of yourself, he scolded himself. You just met her. You have no claims to her. So then why was he getting so bent out of shape over her? She was young, in her mid to late twenties. He was…not. Besides, he was leaving. Everything was temporary.

A short walk later, Alice and Liam reached the doorstep of her building.

“This is me,” she said, turning to face Liam. “Thanks for walking me home.”

“The pleasure was all mine,” Liam said. “Thank you for your company tonight, your presence was the best part of the party.” He took her hand and kissed it gently. “I’m glad to have met you.”

“I feel the same,” she said with a smile. “Have a safe flight back tomorrow.”

“Bye, Alice.”

“Bye, Liam.”

Alice disappeared into the building and once the door was safely closed behind her, Liam turned and started to head back towards the club. He smiled when he saw Bastien waiting for him at the corner.

“Hey, Bastien,” Liam said. “You didn’t have to come all this way, you could’ve stayed at the club.”

“Yes, your father would love that,” Bastien said as his phone buzzed in his pocket.

Liam laughed. “Fair enough.”

“Had a good night?” Bastien asked, itching to check his phone.

“I did,” Liam said, sounding a little surprised by his own admission. “I think I’m getting ready to call it a night though. We should go wrangle the others before Maxwell goes full Beaumont.”

Bastien smirked. “You got it.” He pulled his phone out of his pocket and read the incoming text message.

Home safe and sound. Text if you need my address x

Part 3

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