‘Oh, come on, Tabitha—surely you’re not that naïve? For the same reason that you’re here with my brother: money and position. Why let a little detail like love get in the way of a good deal?’
‘But I’m not with Aiden for his money.’ She was stunned that he thought this of her.
‘Please,’ he scoffed.
‘I’m not,’ she retorted furiously, but Zavier wasn’t listening.
‘Sorry I took so long, Mr Chambers.’ A waitress rushed over, a glass of ice and a bottle of mineral water in her hand.
‘Just the bottle will do.’ He took a long drink as Tabitha searched frantically for Aiden. Finally catching sight of him, Tabitha groaned inwardly. The bride was chattering to him now, which meant there was no chance of imminent rescue; she’d just have to make the best of it.
‘So what do you do?’
‘For a living.’ Her patience was starting to run out now. ‘I mean, I assume that you work?’
His brow furrowed for a moment before he answered. ‘I work in the family business; I would have thought you’d have at least known that.’
Tabitha frowned; there was obviously rather a lot of ground that she hadn’t covered with Aiden, and his brother’s resumé was one of them. Still, she was happy to attempt a recovery. ‘That’s right! Aiden did mention it, of course. I’m useless with names and details like that.’
‘So how did you meet my brother?’
‘At a party.’
‘Well, it wouldn’t have been at work, would it?’ He flashed a very dry, guarded smile. ‘We both know the effect that four-letter word has on my brother.’
‘Aiden does work,’ Tabitha bit back. ‘He’s a very talented artist.’
‘Oh, he’s an artist all right.’ Zavier’s black eyes worked the crowd and they both watched as Aiden knocked back one drink, grabbing a couple more from the passing waiter. ‘Dedicated too,’ Zavier mused. ‘So, what do you do for a living?’
Tabitha swallowed. Normally she loved saying what she did for a living, loved the response it evoked in people, but somehow she couldn’t quite imagine Zavier’s face lighting up with undisguised admiration when she revealed her chosen profession. ‘I dance.’
He didn’t say a word, not a single word, but his eyes spoke volumes as they slowly travelled her body, one quizzical eyebrow raised in a curiously mocking gesture as she blushed under his scrutiny.
‘Not that type of dancing,’ she flared. ‘I work on the stage.’
‘Classical?’ he asked, in the snobbiest most derisive of tones.
‘A—a bit,’ Tabitha stammered. ‘But mainly modern. Every now and then I even get to do a poor man’s version of the Can-Can.’ The bitter edge to her voice was obvious, even to herself, and she blinked in surprise at her own admission.
A sliver of a smile moved his lips a fraction and his eyes languorously drifted the length of her long legs. ‘Is that the sound of a frustrated leading lady I hear?’
‘Possibly.’ Tabitha shrugged. Hell, why was she feeling like this? Why did one withering stare from him reduce her to a showgirl? ‘But, for your information, I’m actually very good at what I do,’ Tabitha flared. ‘You might mock what your brother and I do for a living, but you don’t have to pull on a suit to put in an honest day’s work. We happen to give a lot of people a lot of pleasure.’