Guarded Hearts, Part 32

Summary: Alice helps Drake solve another mystery while she tries to settle into some normalcy with Bastien.

Notes: I used some of the original PB dialogue and bedazzled it a bit. Also, this section has some hella fluffy moments. That’s right, I said “hella.”

CW: references to sexual assault and violence

New to the series? Catch up here: Part 1, Part 2Part 3Part 4, Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8,Part 9Part 10Part 11Part 12Part 13, Part 14Part 15Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25, Part 26, Part 27, Part 28, Part 29, Part 30, Part 31


The next morning, Alice awoke to the sun trying to burst through the curtains in her room on the train. The light split the seams, trying to break through into the small world she’d created in there with Bastien. She closed her eyes again and snuggled closer to him, safe in the warm cocoon of the bed. He shifted when she moved, eyes slowly opening.

“Good morning,” he murmured sleepily, kissing her forehead.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you,” she said, relaxing into him as his thumb traced a lazy pathway around her shoulder.

“You didn’t,” he said. “And anyway, it’s nice to be able to wake up next to you like this. We’ve never gotten to do that before.”

“I know,” she agreed. “One of us has always had to sneak out in the middle of the night. Well, except for yesterday, but that was different.”

“This is much better,” Bastien said with a contented sigh.

Alice tilted her face towards his and kissed him, a slow, languid kiss that made them both feel like time slowed down.

“What do you have planned for today?” Bastien asked when they finally stopped to take a breath.

“Hopefully more of this,” she said, snuggling closer to him. Bastien smiled as he tightened his arms around her.

“I’d love to stay here all day, but unfortunately I have to start working on the security for Liam’s bachelor party tomorrow,” he said.

“Another one?” Alice asked. “I thought he already had one in New York.”

“He did, but that was the unofficial one. He’s having an official one in Paris as part of the engagement tour.”

“Does that mean that Maxwell is going to officially keep his pants on this time?”

Bastien laughed. “God, I hope so. Will you do me a favor and help keep an eye on him tomorrow? I can only handle so many security disasters at one time.”

“I would, but I don’t see how I can if it’s a bachelor party,” Alice said. “I joined the last one, but that was under different circumstances.”

“It’s a co-ed bachelor party,” Bastien explained. “If you want to go, that is.”

“I mean, I guess it’s either that or I stay here and miss you until Maxwell has finally been wrangled,” Alice said.

“Oh, hey, I almost forgot,” Bastien said, reluctantly extracting himself from her before climbing out of bed. Alice groaned in protest and buried her face in the pillow, making Bastien chuckle as he retrieved something from his jeans. “Here.”

Alice picked up her head to see Bastien holding out a phone to her. “What’s this?”

“A burner phone. I wasn’t sure if our personal phones were still being monitored, but this way we can still talk when we’re apart. I already programmed the number for mine into here,” he explained as he sat on the bed. Alice sat up and took the phone from him.

“Thank you,” she said. “But a flip phone? Really? I’m going to look like a drug dealer.”

“Love is the drug,” he said, grinning as he leaned in to kiss her.

“Oh, Christ, you did not just say that,” Alice laughed as she returned his kiss.

“Oh, I definitely did,” he said as she stood up and crossed over to the sofa where he retrieved his jeans and pulled them on. “And, unfortunately, I have to go.”

Alice sighed heavily. “Fine, if you must.”

Bastien walked back over to the bed and took her hand in his. “I’ll see you later?” She nodded and he bent down, bringing her palm to his lips. Then he left and Alice sat on her bed, amazed at how empty the room already felt without him in it.

Moments later, her phone buzzed with a quote from Pride and Prejudice.

“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Alice smiled, a warm glow in her chest.

Are you even back to your room yet?

No. I just had to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.

Alice thought for a moment before sending back a line from Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence.

“Each time you happen to me all over again.”

😘


After breakfast, Alice was on her way back to her room when she heard someone calling her name, causing her to stop and turn.

“Ayers!”

“Hey,” she said with a smile.

“Hey, I’ve been looking for you,” he said. “I want to talk to you about something?”

“Sure, what’s up?”

“Do you remember that envelope of cash we found in the Beaumont study?” Drake asked.

“You mean the envelope you found when you were snooping and shouldn’t have been?” Alice asked.

“Yeah, that one,” Drake said, looking a little embarrassed. “Anyway, it had a Parisian address on it, remember?”

“Yes…” Alice said slowly, unsure if she liked where this was going.

“So, there’s not really anything going on today and I was going to go to the address and check it out and I wanted to see if you wanted to come with me,” Drake said. “Unless you already have plans or something with Bastien…”

“No, he’s coordinating security for tomorrow,” Alice said. “But I don’t know if this is a good idea. And how do you even remember the address?”

“I, uh…went back and took a photo of it with my phone,” Drake admitted sheepishly.

“You what?”

“I know, I know! But the Beaumonts have been so weird about everything and they’re broke but are sending envelopes of cash and–”

“And this is none of our goddamn business!” Alice hissed, trying to keep her voice down.

“Maybe that’s true,” Drake said. “But what if…” He trailed off.

“What if what?” Alice asked, narrowing her eyes at him.

“Remember at that party when Kiara said she’d been teaching my sister French before she left?” Drake asked.

“I’m failing to see what one has to do with the other, but yes, I remember that.”

“What if they’re connected? What if this has something to do with Savannah?”

“Drake,” Alice said gently. “You realize that’s a huge leap to make, right? I know you want to find your sister, but the likelihood that an envelope that, again, is none of our goddamn business and your sister learning French are connected is pretty slim.” She paused, noting the expression on his face, and sighed. “You’re going no matter what, aren’t you?” He nodded. “Fine, I’ll go with you, but only because I think you need a babysitter.”

“Thank you.”


Soon, Alice and Drake arrived at an apartment building that matched the address on the envelope.

“Cool, so we’re just going to barge in on some stranger’s home,” Alice said. “Great idea.”

“Yup,” Drake said, holding the front door open for her.

They rode the elevator up to the third floor and made their way down the hallway to the designated apartment.

“Before we do this, I’d like to mention one more time that this is a terrible idea,” Alice said.

“Duly noted,” Drake said. He knocked on the door and they waited. There was a little bit of sound coming from within the apartment, but no one seemed to be coming to the door. Drake was about to knock again when the door suddenly opened. Standing there was a beautiful brunette, whose jaw dropped when she saw them.

“Drake!” she exclaimed, shocked.

“Savannah?” Drake asked, dumbfounded.

“Holy shit,” Alice said. Both siblings turned to look at her. “Sorry.”

“Who’s at the door?” a familiar voice asked before its owner came into view. “Oh, holy shit,” Maxwell said, the color draining from his face.

What is going on here?” Drake demanded, his face darkening with anger. Alice quickly stepped between Drake and Maxwell.

“Drake, I–” Savannah started to say when she was interrupted by a small cry from within the apartment.

“Is that a…baby?” Alice asked as Savannah turned and hurried into the apartment.

“Mama’s coming, Bartie!” Savannah called as she headed towards the cry.

“Maxwell, what in the actual fuck is going on?” Alice asked, watching Drake to make sure he didn’t try to lunge for him.

“Yeah, I’d like to hear the answer to that. Right fucking now,” Drake growled.

“Okay, that’s not helping,” Alice said to Drake. “You need to stay calm.”

Calm?” Drake asked. “At a time like this? Calm is the last thing I’m feeling right now!”

“Then get calm!” Alice said in a stage whisper. “Freaking out is not going to help right now. At the very least, if you’re yelling and ranting, you’re going to scare the baby.”

Drake exhaled loudly through his nose and folded his arms. “Fine.” As he stood there, his face began to fall. “I shouldn’t even be here. Savannah didn’t want me here. She didn’t want me involved in her new life.” He swallowed hard. “I should go. I’ll only upset her if I’m here.”

“You don’t know for sure that’s true,” Alice said. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Maxwell trying to slowly back away from the door. “Don’t fucking move,” Alice said, pointing a finger at him.

“I’m not!” Maxwell said quickly, putting his hands up in surrender as he stopped walking.

“If she wanted me around, she would’ve called. Written. Anything. I’m going,” he said, turning to walk back down towards the elevator. Alice hurried after him and caught his arm.

“Drake, stop,” she said. “You just found her after all this time–and by the way, I take back everything I said about your hunch being far-fetched. You can’t leave yet. Let’s just take a breath and stay for a minute to talk to her. If she really wants us to go, we’ll go. I’ll even buy you a bottle of whiskey afterwards. A good one, not that crap you usually drink.”

Drake sighed and looked back at Savannah’s open door. To his credit, Alice could tell from his shadow that Maxwell was still standing where she’d left him.

“Do I at least get to punch Maxwell?” Drake asked.

“No. Now let’s go.”

Alice led Drake back to the door where Maxwell was waiting.

“Um, can I get anyone some water or anything? Tea?” he offered weakly.

Drake glowered and opened his mouth to say something, but Alice got there first. “Literally no one cares about beverages right now,” she said. “Start talking.”

Maxwell suddenly turned and hurried into the kitchen. “We need tea!” he called back over his shoulder. Alice rolled her eyes and she and Drake entered the apartment, closing the door behind them, when a thought occurred to her.

“Wait a second…” Alice said. “The baby’s name is Bartie. Wasn’t that Bertrand and Maxwell’s dad’s name?”

“Barthelemy Beaumont,” Drake said, nodding. “Which means…”

“One of the Beaumonts could be the father,” Alice said. “Why else would anyone saddle a baby with that name?”

Drake smirked in spite of himself. “Could be worse, I guess. Some people seem to get really weird with baby names.”

“See? We’re already finding silver linings,” Alice said. “Let’s go to the kitchen and find out if Maxwell has escaped out a window or something.”

They headed over to the kitchen where Maxwell was anxiously cleaning an already spotless countertop as Savannah re-entered the room with a baby on her hip.

“Savannah…” Drake said. “Before you say anything, if you want me to go, I’ll go. I don’t want to force anything you’re not ready for.”

“That’s not…oh, Drake,” Savannah said sadly. Tears began to well in her eyes and she handed Bartie to Maxwell before quickly crossing the room and pulling Drake into a tight hug. “I’m so sorry I shut you out,” she said. “I just didn’t know how to tell you. I didn’t think you’d understand. I didn’t want to ruin things for you at court.”

So you didn’t even give him a chance to react? Alice thought, biting the inside of her cheek to keep her comments to herself.

“For me?” Drake asked, surprised. “Savannah, don’t you know that your happiness means so much more to me?”

Savannah pulled back from their hug, wiping the tears from her cheeks. “I know. I guess I always knew. I just wasn’t ready to reach out, but now you’re here and I’m just so glad to see you.”

The baby squawked grumpily from Maxwell’s arms and everyone turned to look at Bartie.

“Don’t worry, little guy,” Maxwell assured him. “No one forgot about you.”

“Drake, do you want to meet your nephew?” Savannah asked hopefully as she took the baby from Maxwell and handed him to Drake. “This is Bartie.”

“I…am I doing this right?” Drake asked as he awkwardly held the baby as he and Bartie stared at the other.

“Here, let me help,” Alice said quietly. She helped Drake rearrange his hold on Bartie and Drake started to relax a little. Bartie began to study the buttons on Drake’s shirt with intense fascination.

“Just because you’ve got me holding him doesn’t mean you’re going to get out of answering questions,” Drake said.

“No, I know, I’m ready to talk to you. Go ahead, ask away,” Savannah said as she took a deep breath.

“Well, let’s start with…what happened? When you left, I mean,” he said.

“It was a very difficult time for me…” Savannah said. “At one of the Beaumont parties, Bertrand and I ended up alone in the study.”

What is with everyone and that goddamn study? Alice wondered as Savannah continued.

“I’d always thought the world of him, but I didn’t think he’d ever look twice at me,” she said. “But that night, we talked for hours…and then…well, I’ll spare you the details.”

“Thank god,” Drake and Alice said in unison.

“But suffice to say, this little miracle was the result,” Savannah said, smiling as she reached out to affectionately squeeze Bartie’s leg. “I didn’t even realize I was pregnant until almost six weeks later. I went to tell Bertrand, but before I could even get a word in, he started giving me a big speech about how we couldn’t be together.”

Oh my fucking god, Bertrand doesn’t know, Alice realized.

“What are you saying, exactly?” Drake asked.

“Bertrand doesn’t even know about Bartie. At the time, I tried to play it cool and tell him that I was fine…but as I left Ramsford, I started crying.”

“And that’s where I came in,” Maxwell said. Alice turned to stare at him and he did his best to avoid eye contact with her. “I saw Savannah in tears and got the whole story out of her.”

“So you’ve known this entire time?” Alice asked, trying to keep her voice level. “Why didn’t you tell your brother?”

“Believe me, I wanted to,” Maxwell said, finally looking at her with a pleading gaze. “But Savannah made me promise I wouldn’t. I couldn’t betray her by telling Bertrand.”

“So instead you betrayed your brother by not telling him he has a kid?” Alice asked.

“I’m sorry, who are you?” Savannah asked her.

“Alice Ayers.”

“Oh, right! Maxwell told me about you,” she said before her face fell. “I’m sorry about what happened to you. Tariq has always been a jerk.”

“Not the time to bring that up,” Alice muttered as Drake asked another question.

“Why don’t you want Bertrand to know?” Drake asked.

“Oh, come on, can you imagine anything more pathetic?” Savannah asked. “I don’t want Bertrand to feel like he’s obligated. It was my choice to become a single mother. I don’t want to drag him into this now, or make him feel pressured to be with me because of Bartie. He made his feelings quite clear on the matter, and I don’t want him thinking that I had Bartie to get him to change his mind. I might not have Bertrand, but at least I have my pride.”

And Bertrand has never had the opportunity to even know his son exists, Alice thought angrily. You don’t even know how he would have reacted because you never fucking told him. To keep from saying what she was thinking, Alice bit the inside of her cheek so hard she could taste blood.

“So instead you’re in Paris,” Drake said slowly. “And Maxwell has been sending you money.”

“I didn’t want to take it at first,” Savannah said. “But Maxwell can be very insistent.”

“Most people use the term ‘annoying,’” Maxwell said with a smile that faded the moment he met Alice’s pissed off gaze.

“I could never say that about you!” Savannah exclaimed before turning back to Drake. “When I didn’t accept his first payment, he sent gifts instead. A crib, prenatal vitamins, ridiculously frilly baby clothes…”

“It was the least I could do,” Maxwell said. “He’s a Beaumont, after all.”

You are in so much fucking trouble, buddy, Alice thought as she stared Maxwell down.

“Anyway, I’m very glad to see you, Drake,” Savannah said. “I was dreading telling you, but you’re taking it a lot better than I thought you would.”

“Honestly? I missed you so much and I just want to be here for you however I can,” Drake said. Alice softened a little when she looked over at Drake, so clearly relieved to see his sister. “And for Bartie, too.”

Savannah gave him another hug until Bartie protested between them and she backed up, laughing.

“Excuse me, would you mind if I used your restroom?” Alice asked.

“I’ll show you where it is,” Maxwell volunteered. He led her down a short hallway to the bathroom and then he stopped. “Alice, I don’t know what you’re doing, but please don’t call Bertrand.”

“That’s not what I’m doing, but I swear to god, Maxwell, what the actual fuck is wrong with you?” she hissed. “How could you keep this a secret from Bertrand? Do you know how stressed out he is about money and you’ve been sending all this money to Savannah? I get helping her, but I’m guessing Bertrand has no idea and he’s been trying so hard to keep your heads above water and you’ve been lying to him for…well, however old Bartie is plus nine months.”

“I know,” Maxwell whispered back. “And I feel terrible, but she made me promise!”

“Fuck that!” Alice hissed. “Your brother has a right to fucking know. Neither you or Savannah has even given him a chance to step up and be a father. Even if he didn’t want to be with Savannah, you and I both know he would’ve supported Bartie and been there for him.”

“I should get back out there,” Maxwell said awkwardly.

“Fine,” Alice said. “But we are not done with this conversation.”

She expected him to leave but he surprised her by pulling her into a hug. “I know. I’m sorry. I’ll try to convince her to tell Bertrand. Just…please don’t be mad at me.”

Alice softened a little and returned his embrace. God dammit. “I’m pissed off at the situation, but I still love you. We’re family, right?”

“Right,” Maxwell said, as he pulled away from her, a small smile on his face. “Although I think you’re going to be Bertrand’s favorite sibling for a while.”

“No fucking kidding,” Alice said. Maxwell squeezed her shoulder before heading back out to the living room and Alice went into the bathroom. Once she was inside with the door locked, she immediately pulled the burner phone out of her bag.

You are not going to believe where I am right now

Bastien’s reply was almost immediate. Are you okay?

Yes, sorry, I didn’t mean to worry you

So where are you?

In Savannah Walker’s Parisian apartment where she lives with Bertrand’s baby, who has no idea he’s a father. Oh, and Maxwell has been financially supporting them this whole time without telling Bertrand

A few second later, Alice’s phone buzzed with an incoming call. She turned on the faucet and the bathroom fan to cover her voice.

“Are you serious?” Bastien asked, completely skipping over a greeting.

“Oh, yes,” Alice said. “I can tell you all the details later, but my head was about to explode.”

“Wow,” Bastien said, exhaling slowly. “Yeah, I understand why.” He paused. “You’re being nice, right?”

“Of course,” she said unconvincingly.

“Gray…”

“Okay, fine, I’ll try harder,” she promised. “How are things on your end?”

“Nowhere near as exciting as your day,” he said. “I miss you though.”

“I miss you, too,” Alice said. “I should get back out there, but I’ll see you later.”

“Keep me posted with everything. I love you.”

“I love you, too,” Alice said. She hung up.

Back in the living room, Alice joined the group and sat down beside Maxwell on the couch.

“So, Alice,” Savannah said, Bartie on her lap. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

“I knew I was in the bathroom for too long,” she joked, trying to keep her promise to Bastien. Savannah laughed.

“Maxwell keeps me up to date on all of the courtly gossip,” she explained. “I hear you dated Bastien.”

“Wow, we’re just…jumping right in,” Alice said slowly. “Actually, we just got back together.”

“That’s so great!” Savannah said earnestly. “Bastien’s really great. He was the best babysitter when we were kids,” she said, gesturing to Drake. “He let us get away with everything. But I’ve always worried a little about him being lonely. He was always such a…well, a loner, especially after our dad died.”

“That must have been really hard for all of you,” Alice said. “My dad passed away a few years ago.”

“Do you have any other family back in the states?” Savannah asked. Alice hated how nice she was. You promised Bastien. Also, if nothing else, she’s the mother of Bertrand’s kid. You have to get along with her.

“No, just a few friends who’ve become family,” Alice said.

“Plus she has us!” Maxwell said, bumping her shoulder with his. Alice still couldn’t believe how unbelievably stupid Maxwell had been about Savannah and Bartie, but she couldn’t help but smile at him.

“Hey, I just noticed the time,” Drake said. “I hate to say it, but I think we should be getting back.”

“Yes, it wouldn’t do for Bertrand to get too curious and discover where you’ve been,” Savannah said as she stood up.

God dammit, Savannah, I almost liked you for a second.

“But thank you all for coming,” she continued. “This really meant a lot to have you here.”

“Oh my god, picture time!” Maxwell exclaimed. “Drake, let’s get a photo of you and Savannah and Bartie to commemorate this.”

“I don’t think that’s necessary,” Drake said quickly, blushing slightly.

“Oh, come on, it’s a good idea,” Alice said. “It’ll be your first photo of you with your nephew.”

“I’d like that,” Savannah said, looking hopefully at her brother. “Something to show Bartie what Uncle Drake looks like so he doesn’t forget you!”

“Fine,” Drake said. It was only a moment, but Alice saw the ends of his mouth twitch up slightly.

“How about on the balcony?” Maxwell suggested. “There’s no better backdrop than Paris.”

Everyone gathered on the balcony and Alice tried to keep her face neutral as she took in the spectacular view from Savannah’s apartment. Granted, Paris was beautiful anyway, but certain vantage points were better than others. Jesus fucking Christ, I don’t even want to know how much an apartment like this costs, she thought as Maxwell pulled out his phone. She stood behind Maxwell, examining the shot over his shoulder as he over directed the siblings into the perfect pose.

“Maxwell, come on, we’re going to lose what’s left of the light,” Drake said.

“Okay, okay,” Maxwell said. “One…two…three!”

He snapped the photo and Alice leaned closer to check out the finished product.

“You guys look great,” Alice said.

“Texting it to everyone…now!” Maxwell said dramatically as he tapped his screen with a flourish. A moment later, Drake, Savannah, and Alice’s phones all buzzed with the text. Drake pulled out his phone and studied the photo, his face softening.

“Thanks,” Drake said. “This is really…thanks.”

“I’m glad we did this,” Savannah said.

“Me, too,” Drake said. “And I hope I’ll get to see you more from now on, too.”

“I…I think I’d like that,” Savannah said, seemingly surprised by her own response. “I love you, big brother.”

“Love you, too,” Drake said before turning to Bartie. “And you, little guy.” He gave Savannah a hug and kissed his nephew on the forehead, who cooed happily. Then Savannah gave Maxwell a hug, followed by one for Alice, who felt supremely uncomfortable the whole time. Be nice, be nice, be nice…

“Savannah…I know it’s not really my place to say, but you should tell Bertrand,” Alice said gently. Sadness clouded Savannah’s face.

“Maybe…maybe one day,” she said. “But right now, I just don’t think I’m ready.”

Yeah, no, it’s much better to wait until Bartie is applying to college.

“We should really get going before we’re missed,” Drake said.

“Good luck out there,” Savannah said kindly to Alice.

“Thanks.”

“Give the little guy a kiss goodnight for me!” Maxwell said as he, Alice, and Drake headed out the front door and into the hall.

“Always,” Savannah promised.

The elevator was uncomfortably silent as the three of them rode down to the lobby. Outside, a limo waited at the curb, summoned by Maxwell from his phone. Once inside, Maxwell rolled up the partition between them and the driver.

“I think that went really well,” Maxwell said lightly.

“Don’t think you’re off the hook,” Drake said, narrowing his eyes at Maxwell.

“What do you mean?” Maxwell asked. This time it was Alice who turned to glare at him.

“You knew where Savannah was this whole time!” Drake snapped. “You know how worried I’ve been about her! You could’ve said something…at least dropped a hint that she was okay.”

“You’re right,” Maxwell said simply. “You’re absolutely right. I just didn’t know what to do. I’m really, really sorry, Drake. I wanted to tell you so many times, but I just couldn’t. It wasn’t my secret to tell.” Drake looked away, his face hard and angry. Maxwell turned to Alice. “You get it, right?”

“Maxwell, I love you and I get where you’re coming from, but I still think you were wrong,” Alice said. “How could you do this to Bertrand?”

“I didn’t think of it as doing anything to Bertrand,” Maxwell said. “I was doing it for my nephew.”

“By lying to Bertrand and keeping this from him,” Alice said. “He needs to know.”

“Alice, please don’t tell him,” Maxwell begged. “Savannah doesn’t want him to know yet.”

“Well, at a certain point, she’s going to have to put on her big girl pants and be honest with him,” Alice said. “It’s not like Bertrand’s some abusive guy she’s hiding from. Can he be kind of a dick sometimes? Yes, but he’s also a good person who tries to do the right thing. He deserves to know.”

“Okay, yes, I see your point,” Maxwell said. “But you don’t need to be the one to tell him.”

“I know,” Alice said. “Because you need to.”

“What? No! I meant Savannah!” Maxwell protested.

“You can’t expect me to keep this from him,” Alice said.

Maxwell started to argue with her, then stopped. He sighed. “I know. I’ve hated keeping it a secret from him; I just don’t know how to tell him. Can you give me a few days to figure out what I want to say?”

“Fine. But I’m not happy about it.”

“That’s fair.”


When they returned to the train, Maxwell quickly took off, leaving Drake and Alice alone.

“Hey, Ayers…thanks for coming with me today,” Drake said as he walked her to her room.

“Hey, anytime,” Alice said. “It was kind of nice to be on the other side of the helping equation for once.”

Drake chuckled. “I can see that.” He pulled out his phone again. “Thanks for encouraging me to take the photo. This is really…”

“Yeah,” Alice said, smiling at him. “I know.” She pulled him into a hug and he held her tightly before he pulled away, trying to nonchalantly wipe at his eyes.

“You’re a good friend, Ayers,” he said.

“Back at you.”

Drake nodded as they reached her room. “Goodnight, Ayers.”

“Night.”


“Wow,” Bastien said as he examined the photo on Alice’s phone as they sat side by side on her bed that night. “I can’t believe Savannah’s a mom. In my head she’s still ten years old.”

“I just can’t get over the fact that she and Maxwell have kept this a secret from Bertrand,” Alice said. “It kills me that he doesn’t know.”

“I know, but you have to give Maxwell and Savannah a chance to tell him first,” Bastien said. “It should come from them, not you.”

“Oh, fine, be right about it,” Alice said as she took his hand, lacing her fingers between his. “Anyway, I’ve been going on about this for ages. Tell me about your day.”

“First of all, I like listening to you,” Bastien said, bringing her hand up so he could kiss her knuckles. “Second of all, my day really wasn’t all that interesting, aside from calling you when you texted me. The bachelor party is at the speakeasy-themed club and getting security set up was mostly busy work. The building has a pretty simple layout so I just had to figure out the rotations and positions for the guards. But,” he said with a grin. “As long as things go well, I shouldn’t have to be there all night. We’re going to end up a little over-staffed.”

“Oh yeah?” Alice asked. “Got any plans for tomorrow night?”

“Maybe. Why, are you interested?”

She leaned over and kissed him. “I’m always interested in you.”


Part 33


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