1. The Thing About One’s Ex

C H A P T E R  1  :  T H E  T H I N G  A B O U T  O N E ' S  E X

K A T H E R I N E  B E N N E T

The most important thing Katherine Bennet had on her mind that Saturday afternoon was whether or not she wanted to go to the party that she had been invited to that night. Recalling the fact that the host was none other than Patrycia aka Paris de Bourgh's cousin, a grin of remembrance crossed on her face. Paris was her sworn nemesis for life, having tormented her in every chance she had gotten when they had grown up. Yet upon receiving a request from Jaxon, Katherine’s best friend who happened to be Paris's husband, to join the party to keep an eye on Paris, she found herself in such a predicament and not knowing what to do.

"Please, Kay, you know how much I love her. I am so sorry that I am asking you for this but there is no one else I trust more than you so, please. Will you help me?"

In all honesty, Jaxon was a mess. He had dropped at her flat with tousled hair and caged her bed for the night. From ten at night to two in the morning, he had told her all the things that worried him, including and most importantly, his belief that his wife, Paris, would betray him if she was given the chance. Above all, he had insisted that his wife had been very close with William Windsor, the Duke of Ashbourne, lately. Of course, Jax had not forgotten to mention that William was once Katherine’s boyfriend back in high school when all of them had been in Carlton High, Washington D.C.

The question remained, what should she do? Should she go to this party or make up some excuses to give to Jax? Yet no matter how she had played it, it all came down to one simple query: did she truly want to go? 

Katherine let out a heavy sigh. Frankly, she did not have a choice. Even if it would be a pain in the ass to meet Paris let alone monitoring her, Jaxon had done her a solid before, and moreover, she should do this as a friend. Even if Paris could be (or well, most of the time, really) a pain in the arse.

Although truth to be told, lately she felt that she was getting old. Instead of being one of the last to leave, she now was being the first. Parties did not bring her as much joy as they had previously. Perhaps she had outgrown going to the type of party that she had always enjoyed. Her mind drifted over the people who would probably be there tonight. All the pompous rich folks who would fling on their families' money. And then there would be the royals such as William. Katherine heavily sighed once again. William, William, William. It had been a while since she had last seen him yet it felt as if it was just yesterday that they had their last and most painful conversation.

William had been a rake and a rake he would always be. He was wild and untamed. She had nearly made the mistake of falling in love with him once. It had been touch and go for a while until she realized that any affair with him never lasted long. He would eventually get bored of her, and one day he would regretfully make excuses and leave. Just like he had always done in the past, leaving trails of broken hearts wherever he went. The town was littered with his discarded women. It had been like that since he was young and Katherine was lucky that she had managed to escape unscarred. Sighing, she let her mind take her back all those years ago.

Katherine still remembered like the back of her hand the day when she had found out what he truly was. They had been at a party at Castile Christophe, William's best friend, house. William, Castile, and three other boys were in a group known as the Crown Boys. They were good-looking boys and all the girls adored them. Just like in every party they had ever attended, William and Katherine had mingled with other people. Then there was this girl with curly blonde hair. Her name was Mandy. Mandy had come to Kate, introducing herself as one of William’s ex-girlfriends and telling her that she had approached Kate because she had seen Kate with William earlier. 

“Hi, I am Mandy. Nice to meet you, by the way!” Before Katherine even had a chance to reply, Mandy had continued with her introduction. “I hear you are his latest conquest!” she had said with a bright smile albeit that word 'conquest' had gotten Katherine puzzled. “So, how long has it been? I used to date him last year. When he was still a freshman and I was a sophomore.”

Katherine had been feeling wary then, wondering if Mandy was jealous or had gotten her heart broken by their breakup. Mandy seemed to notice her wariness as she waved her hand then pointed at the tall, sandy-haired guy a few feet away from us. “Do not worry. It is nothing but an old story. I am now dating Dallas right there.” Mandy turned to face her and smiled. “Liam was fun, while it lasted. He was great in bed, but again, I think we both knew that.” She let out a small giggle, blushing slightly.

Except that Katherine did not know that. Her relationship with William had yet to advance to the bedroom and being seventeen years old, she had not been sure whether she would like to or not. Still, she kept her mouth tightly shut and offered her a tight smile instead. 

“We remain friends although when he first dumped me, I wanted to kill him. But again, I should have seen it coming. All of the other girls had warned me yet I was too naive. I thought a mere freshman would not dare to dump someone who was older and more mature.” Mandy shook her head and laughed nervously. “How dumb I was, huh.”

“Other girls?” Katherine blinked, unsure what Mandy meant by her sentence. Since Katherine had only recently been moved to Carlton High, she had not known many people and no one had given her any warning about William, famously known as Liam.

Now that she looked back, they had met during the summer holiday and instantly clicked. She had not known of his history nor his title as an heir of an old dukedom. Curiosity got the better of her so she dared herself and asked again, “What other girls? What kind of warning?”

“Oh, you poor girl, you do not know what you are getting yourself into, don't you?” Mandy laughed while shaking her head.

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