A/N: I consider "Secrets, Lies, and Folks in Disguise" complete as is, but this is a short sequel I did on request.
Operation: Robert Grows a Pair
"I'm heading out!"
Ash blonde wig in hand and bobby pins clamped between glossed lips, Amy twisted around to glare at her boyfriend of fourteen months. "Na' lie tha' you're na'!"
Robert peered at his reflection in the decorative mirror near the bedroom door. There was nothing wrong with his appearance. A worn ball cap covered the long-ish, auburn, 'sex-hair' that drove all his fans crazy. He'd stopped shaving two days earlier and was wearing a pair of black, wire-framed glasses rather than his contact lenses. When all of that was put together with baggier-than-usual clothes, he looked nothing like Robert Addison 'A-List' actor. He was just Bobby.
"What's wrong with this?"
"'S na' a berry goo this-thighs," she responded around a mouthful of pins.
"It doesn't hide my thighs?" Robert teased. Riling up Amy was one of his favorite pastimes. He adored the way her green eyes sparkled when she was angry. Her eyes, the one thing she didn't change when going from Amy Lampis, genius forensic engineer, to Lissie Vaughn, sister of two celebrities and debutante party girl, had been the first part of her he fell in love with.
Amy spat the pins onto the granite vanity and spun around to lean against it. "It's not a very good disguise, Bobby."
"Of course it is. I've been using this same disguise for years. It's perfectly fine for a night out with Nick and Frank."
Amy rolled her eyes. "What if someone knocks the cap or your glasses off? What if the boys want to go somewhere nice? You know I love your grunge look, honey, but it's not getting you into many places."
"What would you have me do, then?" Though his tone was sarcastic, he honestly was looking forward to hearing her opinion. She'd spent over a decade separating her life into "Amy" and "Lissie." He wasn't as adept at splitting himself into who he really was and who the public wanted him to be.
"Let me dye your hair."
"Dye my hair?!?" Robert's voice rose an octave with every word. His hands flew up to pull the ball cap down tighter on his head as if to protect his hair from a sneak attack.
"Real manly there, Roberta." Amy reached into the cabinet under the sink and retrieved a tall, thin bottle. She shook it lightly and turned the bottle so he could read the label. "It's a light brown. I use it to touch up my hair. It'll wash out after three shampoos and won't damage your pretty, pretty hair."
"We're not coloring my hair." Robert absolutely worshiped the ground Amy walked on, but he didn't trust her near his head. He'd heard too many stories from her sisters and mother about the pranks she'd played. For all he knew, the bottle was full of blue or green dye. He wouldn't put anything past her.
"Fine," she exhaled, setting the bottle on the countertop. "You're such a baby."
She turned back around and placed the wig on her head. Half a dozen pins later, it was firmly in place. She tilted her head and scowled at her reflection. The blonde hair made her skin look even paler than usual. She'd spent too long in the lab and at her computer and not enough time outside. After brushing bronzer on her cheeks, she brushed past Robert on her way out of the bathroom.
"Where are you girls going tonight?" Robert shoved his hands in his pockets and watched his girlfriend slip a black-and-white vintage lace cocktail dress over her head. His lips turned down in a frown when the hem only hit mid-thigh. Would she slap him if he told her he thought it was too short? She never wore things like that when they went out together.
He had no right to be upset, though. He was the one who had decided that "Lissie" and "Robert" couldn't be seen as more than casual acquaintances. Bobby and Amy were the ones in the relationship, and their dates were more laid-back so as to protect their privacy. He was starting to regret that decision. He had the money and prestige to get him into the swankiest places in any city. None of it really seemed to matter if he couldn't show his girl a good time.
"I don't know. Lily's got the whole thing planned out. She wants the whole thing to be a surprise for Rose so she hadn't told me anything. I just know the dress code." Amy stepped into a pair of pair of black-and-silver peep-toe pumps. She grabbed the elbow-length black satin gloves off the top of her dresser and tugged one on.
Amy shrugged and flipped her arm over so that he could see the six-inch pink stripe of healing skin along the back of her right forearm. She'd gotten too careless with a piece of evidence from one of her cases a week earlier. "I don't want to have to answer any questions about it. Besides, I didn't tell Mom about it and I don't want her to read about mysterious injuries in the papers. She'll kill me."
Since they were in Austin, only about an hour from the Vaughn family home, Robert couldn't accuse her of being overdramatic. Poppy Vaughn didn't like "discovering" things about her three daughters from the gossip columns. She'd have no problem driving up and confronting her youngest daughter.
Unable to simply watch any longer, Robert crossed the room in three long strides. He swept the long hair off Amy's neck and pressed an open-mouthed kiss to the warm, bare skin of her shoulder. "I want to take you out."
"We're going out Saturday, remember? We're driving to Houston to watch an Astros game. You, me, a pair of cheap seats, hot dogs, and overpriced beer."
He shook his head and trailed the pad of his finger along her spine, grinning when she shivered. "Not an Amy and Bobby date. I want to take you out like this. Somewhere fancy with you all dolled up."
Amy spun around, looped her arms around Robert's neck, and smashed her lips against his. Oh how she wanted to go public. She knew he wouldn't dream of cheating, but seeing his name linked with starlets and models in the tabloids left a bitter taste in her mouth. She wanted to claim him the way her sisters had claimed their men.
When her lungs burned for oxygen, she pulled away, glad to see that he was just as flushed and glassy-eyed as she was. Her cheeks itched where his scruff had rubbed against her. "You need to shave and I need to get going."
"Amy," he groaned.
She smiled brightly but her eyes were sad. "I know, Bobby, but you're not ready. It's okay." She pressed a kiss to his lips to soothe the sting of her words.
Before he could argue that he was ready, she scooped up a black purse off the edge of the bed and darted out of the bedroom. "Have fun with the boys, but bring Rose's fiancé back to her in one piece, okay? She gets pissy if anyone messes with her precious Frankie."
The front door slammed shut. Robert was left in the bedroom with Amy's words ringing in his ears, her light, citrusy perfume filling his senses, and a plan forming in his head.
"Thanks for doing this, man." Robert clapped Frank Marlin, a successful rock musician and Rose Vaughn's fiancé, on the back. He and Nick Rudd, another actor and victim of the Vaughn Sisters' charm, were supposed to be taking Frank out to celebrate their engagement, but they'd gotten sidetracked by Robert's plan.
"It's no problem. I'm glad you and Lissie are…," Frank chuckled, cheeks reddening, "coming out so to speak."
"No kidding!" Nick laughed. He'd been pushing Robert to do something like this for months. Part of it was that newlywed-I'm-happy-so-everyone-needs-to-be-too euphoria and part of it was wanting someone to share the spotlight. "Now Lil and I don't need to find 'dates' for the two of you when we go out. I always feel bad for the poor suckers having to watch the two of you make googly eyes across the table."
"We are not that bad!"
"Yeah, man, you are," Frank responded. "First time I met you guys, I knew you were a thing. I can't believe you've fooled everyone for this long."
Robert grinned and shook his head. At times he found it difficult to believe that everyone continued to buy the "we're just friends" line. There were too many moments where he'd been sure that he or Amy had blown their cover. It was hard watching your girlfriend flirt with another man even if you knew she was just acting. Jealousy had always been one of his problems.
By the time the salesman returned with the black velvet box, Robert's palms were sweaty. He traded the box for his credit card and stuck it in the pocket of his black dress pants. After signing the credit slip and returning his card to his wallet, he followed his friends out of the store. Thankfully his "star" status and Nick's link to the Vaughn family helped him convince the jeweler to open after hours.
Stage one of "Prove to Amy I'm Ready" or "Project Robert Grows a PAIR" as Nick called it was complete. Robert glanced around the busy street to see if any photographers had followed them. So far, the coast was clear. With the "instant information" of Twitter and Facebook and all of the girls having their phones on them, he didn't want to take a risk of them finding out about his plan before he was ready.
"Any idea where the girls are?" Robert asked as they strolled along the sidewalk. They paused outside one of the many bars lining the street so that Frank could sign an autograph. He was itching to put stage two of his plan into action.
"A couple of blocks over. They're having dinner. And so are we." Nick pulled both men into an upscale steakhouse. As much as he loved his wife, he wanted to spend time with his two friends. With their hectic schedules and obligations, they didn't see each other as often as he'd like.
Over juicy, perfectly cooked beef, baked potatoes, and cold Shiner Bock beer, they commiserated over press schedules, bossy managers, and life with the Vaughn girls. Frank revealed that his agent and Rose's were capitalizing on their upcoming nuptials to launch a "Marlin & Marlin" tour. It didn't seem to matter that Rose planned on keeping her maiden name at least for publicity purposes. Nick admitted that he and Lily wanted to start a family, but had decided to wait until their schedules calmed down. Nick was supposed to fly to New Zealand for a shoot the next week while Lily had to be in New York.
As one, Frank and Nick turned to Robert. Feeling the weight of their stares, he glanced up with wide eyes. "What? I think we're all aware of what's new with me!"
Nick and Robert argued over the check. Frank took advantage of their distraction to slip his credit card to the amused waiter. By the time they realized what Frank had done, he'd already signed the receipt and slipped his card back into his wallet. He rolled his eyes at their furious expressions.
The second time Robert asked where the girls were, Nick pulled out his cell phone. He pulled up a map-like program and waited for a green dot to appear on the screen. He turned around, glanced up at a street sign to orient himself, and pointed towards a neon sign a block away. "They're down there."
"You track your wife via GPS?" Frank whistled lowly. He was just a protective over his Vaughn as Nick, but he didn't have to the guts to do that.
"Amy'd castrate me," Robert muttered.
"That's why Lily doesn't know." Nick glared at his friends. "And she's not going to know, right?"
They nodded in unison. They weren't about to get between Nick and Lily. The Vaughn sisters were known for their sharp tongues and short fuses. While Nick would take the brunt of Lily's fury, no one would escape unscathed. With their luck, she'd pull her sisters onto her side so that everyone would be miserable.
The three men nodded at the bouncer as they entered through a side door. It didn't take long to spot Lily, platinum blonde hair standing out like a beacon, at the bar. Nick zeroed in on her while Frank and Robert followed in his wake. Rose was perched on the barstool beside Lily but there was no sign of Amy.
"Bathroom?" Robert asked Rose after kissing her cheek and hugging Lily. He could tell they were surprised by his appearance, but didn't have time to answer their questions.
"Dance floor," Rose responded. She opened her mouth to ask why their plans had changed, but Frank gently nudged her in the side and shook his head. Wrinkling her nose, she stood on the rungs of the stool and pointed in the general direction of the dance floor. "She's out there somewhere."
Robert nodded once and set off in search of his girl. He ignored the hands that reached for him and the shrill voices that called out his name. He was on a mission. Stage two would be complete as soon as he located Amy. Stage three was the tricky part.
He found her dancing with a tall, vaguely familiar, dark-haired man. Though the man was a decent dancer, he had no hope in hell of keeping up with Amy's fluid, almost ethereal movements. Robert pitied the man for a second. Pity burned into anger when the man's fingers wrapped around Amy's hip.
Her dance partner coughed to get her attention when Robert moved into the space between Amy and the wall. Amy's eyes flew open, her neck twisted around. Her eyes lit up, but she bit her lip to fight down the beaming smile threatening to take over her face. "Bo – er – Robert!"
"Aren't you going to introduce us?" Robert inquired, bending low so that his lips brushed the shell of her ear. He stuffed his hands in his pockets to keep himself from shoving the other man away from his Amy.
"Of course. Robert, this is Travis York. He plays for the Spurs. Travis, this is my friend Robert Addison." With her back to Robert, she couldn't see the expression on his face, but whatever it was it had Travis taking a large step backwards.
"I'll catch you later, Lissie. You know my number." Travis chanced one last look at Robert's dark eyes before retreating to the bar.
"I thought you boys were going to hang out at a sports bar and watch baseball." Not that she really minded. Robert was gorgeous as ever in his dark pants and midnight blue dress shirt. She hadn't minded his scruffy, casual look, but a clean-shaven, dressed-to-kill Robert made her weak in the knees.
"Come on, Ame. You know we can't stay away from you lovely ladies for that long." Robert wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her back against him. The flash of a camera had Amy's spine stiffening, but he refused to let her slip away. "Did I tell you how amazing you look?"
"No," she sighed. She wanted to ask him what in the hell he was doing dancing with her so intimately in public, but couldn't think past the lust fogging her brain.
"Well, you do. Almost perfect, I'd say." Robert released her waist and retrieved the box from his pocket. He grabbed her left hand and slipped the platinum-and-diamond ring onto her third finger. The shiny ring contrasted nicely with the black satin glove. "Now it's perfect."
"Bobby!" she squealed. She pivoted to face him. Tears welled up in her eyes and her lips trembled.
"Marry me? As Amy Lampis and Lissie Vaughn. I want both of you, all of you. Always."
Throat clogged with emotion, she nodded furiously and threw herself into his arms. Her ring caught the overhead lights and twinkled brightly. It was the second flash of a camera that pulled them out of a heated kiss. Amy glanced over to where a group of people, her siblings included, were staring at them in shock. Without a doubt, this was going to be all over the entertainment websites and blogs before the hour was up.
"Oh, Bobby. Mom's going to kill you."