Shame on Me
Author:Tara Sivec

“Nope, we’re good, thanks.” I try to tell her with my eyes that she should go away but she doesn’t get the hint.

“Really, I’m here to help. Would you like me to do anything else for you?” she stresses. She attempts to wink at me again, her way of letting me know she got the photos. The way her face contorts makes it look like she’s having a stroke.

“Miss, are you okay?” Matt asks her in concern, his arms still holding me close.

“Oh! Ha, ha, I’m great! I just wanted to let you know that if I can be of service, I’m here.”

She stands there staring at us, not making any move to walk away.

“Wow, they’re really accommodating to their customers,” Matt whispers in my ear. His warm breath gives me goose bumps and I realize I have completely lost control of this situation. Sure, I was starting to believe him, and seeing his wife show up on the arm of another man solidified the story he told me, but being this distracted by a simple kiss is not like me at all. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do now.

Under normal circumstances, I’d be feeling pretty smug that I was able to get the money shot of a subject, but I just feel dirty. I feel awful that I didn’t come clean with Matt when he poured his heart out to me. Now all I can think about is that kiss and when we can do it again.

I am so going to get fired.

“Okay. Well, I’ll just be over there, by the hostess stand, if you need anything,” she states with another awkward wink in my direction. As she turns and walks away, I can see a bulge in her front pocket that I know is my camera. My camera filled with shots of me kissing Matt. Shots that I want to look at over and over again alone at home.

When the girl is finally gone, I turn my face back to Matt. He’s staring at my lips and I can’t stop my tongue from sliding out and running over them, savoring the taste of him still there. Matt suddenly lets go of me when he realizes his arms are still wrapped tightly around me long after the threat of being spotted by his ex is gone. I immediately miss the warmth of his body.

“I feel like I should apologize for using you like that,” he tells me as I take a step back from him, his eyes still focused on my lips.

“And I feel like I should tell you that there’s no apology necessary, and you can feel free to use me like that anytime.”

We both laugh a little uncomfortably. Matt cranes his neck, searching around the restaurant. “I don’t see Melanie anywhere. They must have been seated in another room.”

Heat flushes through me when I remember the whole reason for the kiss: to make sure his estranged wife didn’t see him. I feel like I’ve waited my entire life for a kiss like that. And now I have to get up from this bar stool and walk away from him and never see him again. It would be unethical for me to do anything else. He’s not cheating on his wife, so this case is closed. I can’t help him any more than I already have. I’ve already compromised Fool Me Once Investigations enough for one night.



Kennedy’s family, along with Lorelei, Griffin, and me, are all standing around our offices waiting for Kennedy to finally come out of the bathroom. Earlier, I was happy to come here tonight and toast my best friend and her newfound love. Now, I’m preoccupied and freaked out that someone is going to ask me about the case.

It’s been an hour since I left Matt at the bar. Actually, it’s been one hour, eight minutes, and thirty-five seconds. But who’s counting?

Me! I’m counting!

I can still feel his lips on mine, and I can still hear the anguish in his voice when he told me about his wife cheating on him and trying to take away his father’s company. He’s a good man; I can feel it. I want to beat that bitch Melanie to the ground, but I can’t. She signed a contract with us and we have clearly defined rules and regulations in that contract that state there will be no conflict of interest and that everything we do will be to protect our client. Matt isn’t our client, Melanie is. Melanie: the gold-digging whore.

I listen distractedly as everyone talks around me, wondering if Kennedy would let me quit for a week so I don’t violate the contract by helping Matt.

“Oh, speaking of whores, what’s going on with that case of yours, Paige? Weren’t you working on catching some slutty guy whose wife suspected him of cheating?”

The swallow I take of champagne goes down the wrong pipe immediately when Kennedy’s brother, Ted, questions me. I cough and try to take a breath as he comes over and pats me on the back, adding more champagne to my glass.

I feel my cheeks redden, and I look away from Ted quickly, chugging the entire glass of champagne in one swallow.

“Guy? What guy? There’s no guy. I don’t know a guy. Who wants more champagne?” I ask, grabbing the bottle from Ted’s hand and walking away.

Thank God Kennedy walks in the room at that moment and I don’t have to acknowledge the questioning look he’s shooting at me.

Standing by the wall on the opposite side of the room, I forgo my champagne glass and drink directly out of the bottle while everyone fawns over Kennedy in her short red dress and awesome Jimmy Choo shoes that I let her borrow. No one cares that I’m drowning my sorrows in cheap champagne.

“Did you just drink directly out of that bottle? What’s going on with you?”

I sigh and rest my head against the wall as Lorelei folds her arms and raises her eyebrows at me, waiting for me to talk.

“Nothing is wrong. This champagne is just delicious. I didn’t feel like waiting to pour it into my glass. It’s such a waste of time.”

“Nice try. Give me the bottle,” Lorelei demands, holding her hand out to me.

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