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Grant crossed his arms. “Really? Because I asked around too, and several of our lovely contestants said the ‘wardrobe malfunction’ was that she refused to put on any dress chosen for her. You realize why she wore a FSU shirt, don’t you, Richie. I hate that team. And as for ratings, I don’t give a rat’s—”
“Please, lower your voice. This isn’t as bad as it seems.”
“What did you say to her to make her stay? Don’t give me anymore BS about loopholes in contracts, either.”
Richie pressed his fingertips together thoughtfully. “You say this woman was the love of your life, yet you don’t even realize what she’s doing. I find that difficult to believe.”
“You said she was the love of my life. I told you to let her go.”
“Not going to happen, Grant. Besides, I thought you’d be happy about this turn of events. About what it means for you.”
Grant scowled. “Are you incapable of being direct?”
“Isn’t it obvious, Grant? She’s making what I would call a tremendous effort for you to vote her off. Which means she still has feelings for you.”
“You have a warped sense of reasoning.” She might have feelings for him, but they sure as hell weren’t romantic in any way. What, she was trying to woo him with a sweatshirt that smelled like hot dumpster trash? Richie was crazy.
“She can’t stand to be around you because of all the feelings your presence dredges up. Is that so hard to understand?”
Grant blinked. It actually wasn’t; he could relate. He wished he could turn off the memories her presence provoked in him. “You can’t let her run wild on the set, Richie. She’s making a joke out of your show. Don’t you care about that?”
Richie laughed. “She’s doing exactly what I’d hoped she’d do. The question is, are you going to let her beat you at this game?”
Grant took the seat behind him and leaned on Richie’s desk with his forearms. Of course, she was trying to get voted off the show. She hated his guts, and had an entire decade to let this medley of hatred and anger simmer. This was her loophole. Her way of getting out of the contract. “You don’t know Chelle. She won’t give up. These tantrums will only get worse.”
“Look,” Richie said with a sympathetic sigh that barely hid his delight. “There’s a fine line between love and hate. Haven’t you ever heard that? She obviously has strong feelings toward you. It’s up to you to change the nature of those feelings.”
Grant wiped a hand down his face. Changing Rochelle’s mind about anything had always been a challenge. But changing her heart? Was that even possible?
“You handled yourself quite well last night,” Richie continued. “Very composed for the situation.”
“Am I just supposed to ignore her behavior? That’s not fair to the other women.”
Richie smirked. “Do you even remember the names of any of the other women?”