Fury suffused him. “So the fucker was attacking you?” He stood up, wanting to go back to the bar to kill him.
She shook her head. “He was just messing with me.”
Craig considered the fact that she’d been in the position to allow Angus to mess with her. “And how did he manage that, eh? I thought we agreed that you were over the whole childish revenge scenario. What made you approach him?”
Her eyes brightened with anger as she whirled to face him. “One, I didn’t approach him, he approached me! And two, I never agreed to let it go.”
“Well you’re fucking letting it go now!” he yelled. “How do you think your sister would feel about this? You really think she’d be okay about you doing whatever it takes to get revenge on her ex-boyfriend? Did you really think she’d been fine with you fucking her ex?”
“I would never have slept with him!” Rain shouted. “I’m not a whore! Unlike some people I know!”
He jerked back, feeling like she’d hit him. “And what the hell does that mean?”
“You know exactly what it means,” she hissed, stepping toward him, her whole body bristling. “I am a complete idiot!”
“What are you talking about?”
“I had to sit there in that bar tonight and watch you with those women.” Her voice cracked as she spoke.
Craig suddenly felt something unpleasant and uneasy settle in his gut at the pain he heard in her voice, the hurt he saw in her eyes. Pain and hurt he’d apparently caused. “The customers?”
“Your customers.” She smiled bitterly. “The one whose hair you touched, the one who touched your chest, and all the others you wink and smile at and call beautiful. Just like you call me beautiful.”
“Rain, it’s not the same.” He shook his head, dumbfounded that she could even think it was the same thing. “It’s work.”
“No.” She shook her head wearily. “You said you’re with me, which means that flirting with women for whatever reason is out of the window. You shouldn’t want to or need to, and you should certainly be mindful of me when I’m in the same fucking room!”
“You know, Joss and Braden can’t take their eyes off each other,” she suddenly said, confusing him momentarily. “I watched them. Their eyes always finding each other throughout the night. And of course I was watching you. But you rarely looked for me. It would seem you either forgot I was there or you just didn’t care if I saw you flirt. So which was it? Because I don’t know what’s worse.”
“It’s not like that.” He stepped toward her, trying to find the words to explain, to calm her down.
“You punched Angus for touching me,” she said, frowning in what appeared to be confusion. “You stake your claim on me in pubs and eyeball men who look at me. I’m yours. For now. But you’re not mine. You can flirt with other women, and do it front of me, and I’m supposed to be okay with that.”
More uneasiness washed over him because he was starting to see her point. He would have been furious, too, if he’d had to watch her flirt with a bunch of men . . . and more to the point that she’d done it in front of him.
“I’m sorry.” He nodded, taking one final step toward her. He itched to pull her to him, but her body language and expression screamed at him not to touch her just yet. “You’re right. It was thoughtless. But it also didn’t mean anything. I flirt with the customers to get good tips.”
“Well I don’t like it. You hurt me.”
Remorse filled him. “Darlin’, I am so sorry I hurt you. I never meant to do that. I promise.”
Her expression softened a little. “It was just for tips?”
“Of course,” he said emphatically. “I don’t want anyone else but you.”
“So you won’t do it again?”
It was his turn to be confused. “What?”
“You won’t flirt with the customers or any other women for that matter? Out of deference to me.”
“Rain, I need the tips.”
Her eyes narrowed. “And what about me? Do you need me?”
Renewed anger swept over him. “I won’t be told by anyone what to do. This is my job we’re talking about. This has nothing to do with our relationship.”
Rain flinched as though he’d hit her, and he might as well have for all the guilt that kicked him in the gut. She looked away and he glanced down to see her curling her hands into fists. When he looked back at her profile he saw her jaw was taut and tears trembled on her eyelashes. She was fighting the tears. And losing.
Tears he’d caused. “Rain,” he pleaded. “It’s just for my job. It doesn’t mean anything.”
“But it should!” she cried, turning to face him now as the tears slipped down her cheeks. “It should matter to you that it makes me feel badly.”
“Darlin’, you’re putting whatever issues you had before you met me on to our relationship,” he said as gently as possible. “That’s not fair.”
She glared at him like he was the lowliest scum on the earth. “You’re right,” she said, the bitterness he hated so much back in her voice. “I lost my whole world when I was little and I was left to an alcoholic aunt who knew better how to slap me than hug me, to verbally cut me than praise me. That’s what Darraign is.” She pointed to the tattoo on her arm. “That’s what my company is. It’s vindication. She told me I was worthless, desperate to make me believe it. She told me I would never make anything of myself. That I was unworthy of greatness.