Happy Mother’s Day
(I’m sending this out early because I promised/threatened everyone that I wouldn’t do a thing tomorrow. No breakfast, no dishes, no nothing! To keep to my promise, I thought I’d get this out of the way and relax with a good book on our special day.)
Here are several Mother’s Day treats for you all. Though, technically, Michael & Chloe Vol. 2 won, I thought what the heck! It’s Mother’s Day. Let me give the ladies what they want. What do we want more on Sunday than to be by ourselves, locked in our rooms, reading? Nothing! Well, I wouldn’t refuse a nice handbag or a pair of shoes. 🙂 These are all first drafts so there are errors, awkward sentences, and storylines that might change. But, I wanted to share what I had with you ladies. Enjoy!.
Chloe: Revisiting History
Chloe! Please! Stop running away from me. I need to talk to you about Grandfather. It’s urgent.
I had no choice but to return Michael’s call when I heard this message. The last time I sat and had a deep and pleasant conversation with my friend was back in New York at that grubby pizza joint. Today was close to ten years past and sadly, neither of us took the time to continue our friendship.
A lot had happened in the past ten years. I guess if I were counting days, it was more like a little over nine years. Regardless, Michael and I had a lot to talk about.
“Chloe!” The relief was palpable even from my end of the earpiece. “Where have you been?” He started with an annoyed tone, but quickly changed his tune. “How are you, Chlo-No? It’s been too long. Haven’t you missed me?” What the hell to say. “Where are you, Friend?”
Why was he being so sweet? After being separated for this long, I didn’t think I’d feel anything for Michael. But, here we were again—or better stated, here I was again. Somehow, there was an automatic timer on my Michael-switch. Whenever he turned on the emotion, I followed his lead.
“I’m in Paris, staying at Grandfather’s apartment.”
“I’m hopping on the next train into Gare du Nord. I assume you won’t run away again?” I didn’t mean to sigh aloud. Judging by the chuckle on the other end, I guess he heard me. “See you soon Chlo-No.”
I hung up without a reply.
I wish I had a job to escape to right now. I wished I didn’t have to face the music with Michael. As the past years had not been good for our friendship, it had been over-the-top blessed for my career. Once I felt Grandpa Harry was settled, I jumped into my life as Pierre’s apprentice with gusto. We initially started with one wedding a month. Then we took on two weddings a month and eventually, I graduated to a wedding a weekend. Around three years in, I went from apprentice to full-fledged owner of my own business. I paid a handsome royalty to Pierre, but it was worth every pound.
Pierre’s business was a well-oiled machine and he was always available to answer any questions or help when I was in a bind. He had become like another duke in my life. I had been blessed with mentors all my life. For that, I was truly grateful.
This past year, I chose to slow down my business. Staying in posh hotels got tiresome and weddings did not produce the same kind of happiness, as I got older. I missed home, the comforts of my own bed, and I missed having people in my life. Long gone was the excitement of being surrounded by gushing bridal parties and sycophantic followers. While rushing to become the premiere wedding planner, I’d lost everyone who meant something to me. Of course my biological family and I never left each other for too long, but with the rest of my “family”…ugh! What a mess I’d created.
How had I gotten myself into this lonely rut? Greed, hunger, a need to escape—all three contributed to my workaholism. My insane schedule looked something like this: Mondays were my “office” days. Whether I was home in London or on location at possible future venues, I always reserved this day for future clients—whether prospective or current. Many times, I was scouting locations on this day in other cities and countries.
Tuesdays I reserved for finishing what wasn’t done on Monday, and for focusing on the upcoming weekend’s wedding. I’d email all the vendors, reconfirm times, dates, locations, and get in touch with the bride. Usually, I tried to stay away for as long as possible, before getting sucked into the bride’s vortex. Once in, there was no escaping.
By Wednesday, I was on site. Why so early, you ask? Because I learned that high-end, sky-is-the-limit wedding parties started early. Some had parties all week, but most started usually on a Thursday and ended with Sunday brunch. Usually, I stopped sleeping at night around this time and I was on-call until Sunday late afternoon.
Thursday brought the entire wedding party, family, and close friends. Earlier in my career, I saw to every activity from now until the post-wedding brunch. Now, having a little extra money, I hired people to take care of everything that didn’t happen on the wedding day.
Friday, of course, was the rehearsal and gigantic rehearsal dinner. When the evening began, there’d be about twenty people in attendance. When the free food and booze happened, the number grew three-fold.
Saturday was the main event. I tried to evoke a unique and precious memory for each bride and groom. Not duplicating anything I’d done in the past, unless requested by the bride, wasn’t an easy feat—but I reveled in the challenge. To see the euphoria on the couple’s faces brought mixed feelings of joy and sadness for me. I loved being a part of the happily-ever-after. But I also hated the loneliness that followed, knowing this was someone else’s happily-ever-after—never my own.
By the end of Sunday, I hopped on a plane and came back to my empty flat. After permitting myself a quick downtime, I was onto my next wedding.
This was how I’d lived my life for the past many years. For a bright woman, I wasn’t too smart.
Meet me at Le Jules Vernes at 2:00pm. I just arrived. See you there. This was the text Michael sent.
I got up to greet my past, trying to tamp down my hope for a future.
Chapter 1 Ben
Marry Me ~Jason Derulo
Mar. I will love you until I die. No matter the circumstances, I promise to be faithful to you. Though we will be miles apart, you will stay securely in my heart. You are my best friend, my lover, my life, my every breath. Before you leave, I wanted to tell you how much I love you. Though we’re young, I hope you’ll believe me when I tell you I want to marry you as soon as you’re done with school. I don’t want us to ever separate again.
Will you marry me, Mar?
“Sorry. Did I wake you?” Mar was surprised to see me when she turned on the light in our hotel room.
I popped off the couch in a daze. What the hell was that? “It’s all right. What time is it? Is Ali up?” Looking at the curtains to ascertain the time was of no use. It had been pitch black in the hotel room.
“It’s six. I got here early so you can get ready for your meeting. I guess you fell asleep on the couch.”
“Yeah. I guess so.” My head was discombobulated with all the shit swirling through it. This was late, but I needed to say what’s been on my mind all night. “Mar.”
She stopped mid-step. “Let me check on Ali, first?” She was deflecting. I was a complete asshole to her yesterday. I needed to make amends.
Grabbing her hand, I pulled her to the couch and sat her down. “About yesterday—”
“Stop,” she interrupted me immediately. “I get it. I’m not Ali’s mom. You feel guilty toward Melody. You want Ali to know her real mom. I can’t say I wasn’t hurt by your reaction, but I also can’t say I don’t understand.”
“Let me apologize,” I said, grabbing onto both of her hands. “I shouldn’t have reacted so…” I stopped talking because something wasn’t quite right. Looking down at her hands, I noticed a ring on her left hand. “What’s this?” I asked, pulling up the hand in question just in case my question wasn’t clear enough.
“It’s an engagement ring,” she answered quietly.
“To Noah,” she laughed with her answer, “who else?”
“I don’t understand. I thought you two were separated.”
“You know how it’s been with us. We’ve been apart, but we never really separated. I love him.”
“Does he love you?” Marni looked as if I’d slapped her in the face. “Sorry. What I meant was, after all the break ups, how do you know for sure you two should be married? Shouldn’t you wait a while longer before taking such a big step?”
Now, Mar was laughing at me. “I’m thirty-two. I think I’ve waited long enough to get married. You were married for ten years.” The first part of her statement had much anger, the second part, much resentment.
“I’m just watching out for you, Mar. I don’t want you to be hurt.” I said this boldly, but the doubt in her eyes made me doubt my own statement.
“Listen, if this is about Ali, I want to relieve your mind.”
I guess it was always about my girl. Her welfare was our first concern. That’s what bound us. “I take it you’ll find a new place to live?”
“Yeah. I don’t think my husband will take kindly to me sleeping in another man’s house.”
We both laughed until we heard Ali call out for her “Mama.” That moniker still perturbed me, but I decided there was nothing I could do about it. It wasn’t as if Mar coached my one-year-old into calling her Mama. Even if I wanted to un-train my daughter, I didn’t think it’d be possible.
“Mama!” The holler got louder.
“I’m coming, Ali-Girl.” Mar called out in a sing-songy way that had Ali giggling from her crib. “You’re awake early, Ali-Girl.”
“Mama.” My baby girl called her aunt and raised her arms to her and only her. When I reached for Ali, she pulled her hands away and swayed her body from side to side. This was her letting me know she didn’t want me.
“Seriously, Ali?” I picked her up and gently threw her in the air. That brought out a welcome laugh filled with drool. “I knew you’d want me instead. You see how much fun your daddy is?” I continued to throw her in the air.
“Dada!” She squealed.
“That’s right! Your dada is the best!”
As weird as it was that I was playing house with my sister-in-law, I loved that my little girl recognized me as her father. As she became more cognizant of those around her, I’d have to take time to show her who her real and only mother was.
“Ali-Girl.” As soon as Marni spoke, it was as if there never was a Dada throwing his little girl in the air. She jumped over to her aunt. “I see you have more teeth breaking through. You’ve been such a good girl even with all this teething. Most babies are a mess, but not my Ali-Girl.”
“Mama!” Ali continued to pat Mar on the cheeks with her chubby hands. She also leaned in to hug her tight.
The sight made me sigh deep. This time, it wasn’t the thought of Melody that came to mind, but I marveled at how much Ali loved her aunt and how much her aunt loved her. I was truly an asshole for being upset yesterday.
Mar watched me closely to make sure I wouldn’t go psycho on her again.
“Again, I’m sorry about yesterday.” I would continue to apologize until my friend believed me. “I love seeing my baby girl so happy.”
“What time do you leave?” I gave her a questioning look why. She answered, “The Admiral is leaving this morning and he’d like to have breakfast with all of us. May I take Ali with me while you’re at your meeting?”
“Sure…” I dragged that word out for as long as I could.
“If you’re not crazy about the idea, I’ll tell them I can’t make it.” Mar was still wary of my mood swings. “It’s not a big deal. I’ll see Noah’s dad when he comes to LA.”
Did I want my daughter a part of this happy family reunion?—not really.
Did I even congratulate Mar on her engagement?—not really.
Was I happy that Mar was getting married?—not really.
Did all of the above make me an asshole?—probably.
“That’s fine.” I blurted the words before I could take them back. “I’ll be back by Ali’s nap time. You mind if we talk, then?”
“I’m really fine about what happened yesterday. You don’t need to apologize anymore.”
“If that’s the case, could you and Noah discuss how you want to work Ali into your schedule once you’re married? Maybe you and I can talk about my daughter afterwards.”
“Sure…” Now it was Mar who was slurring her word.
“What?” I asked.
Her eyes stayed with me for a while. “Nothing,” she said to me and then turned her attention to Ali. “Let’s get you changed so you can go have breakfast with Noah, the Admiral, Cece, and Carson. Do you remember them from lunch yesterday? Do you remember how you sat on the Admiral’s lap and played with him? You already have Cece, Carson, and the Admiral wrapped around your little pinky finger. Noah told me you’re all they talked about, Pretty Girl.”
My baby girl giggled as if she understood.
I had no idea my daughter had already met the “in-laws.” Everyone knew each other, loved each other, and acted like one big happy family already.
Why the hell did I feel like the big fat loser in this equation?
“Come on, Jenna. You’ve got to help me.”
“Katie-Rose, I cannot go out tonight. I have a midterm tomorrow.”
“Puleez! I can’t miss out on this double date. Jackson has all but forgotten me this past month and now that he’s called, I can’t say no.”
“Why can’t you ask someone else? Why me?”
“Loren was supposed to be my double date partner but she just called to say she’s sick. It’s too short notice to get a hold of anyone during midterms. You have like straight A+s. You don’t even need to study since you’ve been studying for weeks. I promise you, dinner and then straight back home. It’ll be two hours, tops.”
My college roommate, Katie-Rose was in a bind and so was I with her request. I didn’t want to go anywhere tonight. No matter how much I studied the past week, tomorrow’s English exam was going to be tough. They always were.
“Why does it have to be a double date? Why can’t Jackson just take you out by yourselves?”
Katie-Rose hesitated. “Well, it just is. He has this business meeting and he’d like me to be there by his side. He’d also like for his associate to have someone there so it isn’t an awkward situation.”
Damn. Why did she have to put in me on the spot? “All right,” I sighed. “When’s the dinner?”
“In twenty minutes. Change.” She threw one of her black dresses at me.
“I can’t wear that. It’s too short and too revealing.”
Katie-Rose was about to say something but decided to pick her battles. She let me be as I picked out a demure black dress that fell below the knee, showed no cleavage, and had three-quarters sleeves. I rarely wore makeup so I went with my natural look, plus a little blush and lipstick. I knew Katie-Rose thought I looked lame, but she didn’t mention it.
We were headed to the Downtown Club. This was where couples celebrated special occasions, high-powered business meetings took place, or important-looking people were out to see and be seen. In a large city like Los Angeles, there were many places similar to this restaurant, but none quite as prestigious.
I did not belong at the Downtown Club. I didn’t think my roommate did, either, but I suppose there were facets of her life I never questioned. Katie-Rose and I met our freshman year and we got along well enough where we decided to room together the next three years. Though she was a good friend, I couldn’t consider her my best friend. In truth, I didn’t have any best friends. I’d always been a bit of a loner. I had hoped that by our third year together, Katie-Rose and I could become close, but there were too many secrets in her life. If she didn’t want me in, then I wouldn’t pry.
“Do you know the name of the man I’m to meet tonight?” I asked my roommate who was busy reapplying her makeup.
“I’m unsure. Jackson didn’t say.” She hurried her primping and pushed me out the cab door when the valet stood there waiting for our arrival. “Let’s go have some fun.”
Fun was not what I was thinking when I stepped inside the Downton Club. It was more opulent than I’d imagined. Now I really felt like I didn’t belong. I just hoped when faced with all the cutlery and glasses, I’d know which was which, and whether I should grab from the left or the right.
“Katie-Rose. Come.” A man who looked old enough to be her father called her.
My friend excitedly ran to him, despite his disapproving glare. This man, Jackson, looked as blueblooded as could be. Between the waspish skin complexion to his salt and pepper hair, to his deep voice, he was the stereotypical high-powered, sit-at-the-head-of-the-conference-table man who normally wouldn’t associate with the likes of college girls, unless they were his daughter’s friends.
“You look so handsome, Jackson,” my roommate gushed. She forgot entirely that I was there as her sidekick.
Her “date” didn’t miss a thing. “And you are?” he asked.
“Hi. I’m Jenna.” Geez. I sounded as ridiculous as I felt. I was so out of place here.
A few seconds of looking me over, I must have passed the silent test. He slightly motioned for me to follow. Katie-Rose excitedly called me over by flailing her arm, which Jackson immediately pulled down. My friend giggled to Jackson’s chagrin.
I walked several steps behind the mismatched couple and wished I was anywhere but here.
“Jenna?” Jackson called.
I looked up and that’s when I saw him.
He was utterly disarming. For the first time in my life, my body went into shock. It was like a thousand chrysalis to butterfly metamorphosis happening simultaneously—wanting to fly away, but trapped in my body. It was like an electric panel about to overload—sparks flying everywhere just before the breakers burst into flames. I felt eerily like a balloon about to burst because the helium tank wouldn’t shut off.
The man staring at me made me feel like a little girl walking into the principal’s office—nervous and curious as to why I was called. I couldn’t wait to meet him, and yet, I didn’t want to meet him at all.
“This is my business associate, Xander.”
“Hello.” I spoke in a bare whisper.
He nodded his head and put out his hand for me. What I was supposed to do with his hand, I had no idea. I spied a small grin as he placed it on the small of my back and led me to my seat.
This was going to be another damn boring dinner with an asshole of a business associate whom I hated. Jackson White was the epitome of a lazy, self-centered, bastard who wouldn’t have done shit with his life had he not inherited his millions from his father and grandfather. If I never saw this man again, it’d be too soon.
I gritted my teeth when he explained about our dinner “partners” who would be joining us soon. What I thought was going to be a quick meal where we talked business and parted, turned out to be a ten-course extravaganza with escorts. He wanted us to be “more comfortable.” Asshole.
The last thing I needed was a woman prostituting herself to me. This old bastard might need to pop a Viagra and open his wallet to get laid, but I sure as hell didn’t. By the looks of the girl walking with him, this was going to be a long, giggly night.
Short dress, fuck me heels, hair teased like Madonna in the 80s—where the hell did he find his girl? Did he really need to pay a service to hire a skank like her? I could have picked up anyone off the street and she would have had more class than this girl, walking arm in arm with a man older than her father. Regardless of my annoyance, I stood up and behaved like the gentleman my mother taught me to be.
I looked up and that’s when I saw her.
This goddess was alarming. Every part of my body stood tall to meet and greet her. I didn’t believe in shit like love at first sight, but this felt damn near similar. Like a sixteen-year-old, I could feel my heart beating faster, my palms getting sweatier, and my body humming to the excitement of saying hello. What the fuck?
She was a girl. She looked no older than twenty-one, a decade my junior. What the hell was I going to do with a simpering, idealistic girl barely old enough to drink? To her credit, if she worked this business, she’d be well versed in pleasing a man.
Putting all this horny teenage bullshit behind me, I walked over to meet my “date.”
“Jenna,” Jackson introduced us while his girl mauled him at the classiest members’ only restaurant in LA. “This is Xander.”
“Hello.” Her voice was as soft as her skin.
She looked exotic. I couldn’t say what her ethnicity was—white mixed with Asian? Middle Eastern? European? Whatever the hell she was, I was interested. This night just turned in my favor.
I placed my hand out for this Jenna. Why? I had no fucking clue. She obviously was in the same line of thinking. Staring at my hand, she inched her right hand forward, then brought it back to her side. This Jenna was cute.
Taking charge, I placed my hand on her back and led her to her seat. She tensed the moment I touched her. Her taut body was an electric charge to my own. I disliked the mixed feelings I had about this fierce chemistry between us. I wasn’t a should-I, shouldn’t-I kind of man. I should and I did was how I lived life. Being unsure of myself, and what I felt about others was not a part of who I was.
“Miss? May I offer you some champagne?” The waiter asked.
She politely said no, but I chose to take two glasses on our behalf. “I assume you’re old enough to drink champagne?” I challenged by sliding the alcohol in front of her.
She nodded and answered, “The maître d’ carded me before I was allowed in.”
With such a serious tone, I didn’t know whether she was kidding. “He obviously didn’t check the dress code for your friend over there.” There was a blush on this angel’s face.
We looked over at the overly amorous couple who needed to get a fucking room. With the movement of her hand—up and down, up and down—this girl was giving Jackson a hand job under the damn table. Idiot! I’d like to take a video of him and his whore and send it to his wife and grown daughters.
Jenna appeared embarrassed for her friend, workmate, whatever their relationship was, as she turned her head down and faced the cutlery on the table.
“How old are you, Jenna?”
“How do you know her?” I titled my head toward the slut across the table, without looking at her.
“The past three years.”
“You’ve been with her for that long?” Could that mean they’d been doing this escorting gig for three years? Jenna was only eighteen when she had started, if that was the case. She looked too innocent to be a part of that world.
“Yes,” she answered with a little bite. “Why do you ask like that?” This timid girl wasn’t as timid as she first appeared.
Pointing in the direction of the jack-off session in action, I didn’t need to state the obvious. Jenna quickly turned her head back to her cutlery.
“Drink?” I offered the champagne again.
She didn’t say another word as she gulped down the contents of the flute.
What the hell was I doing here? Help me! Get me out of this place!
Not only was this man’s dark stare giving me an outbreak of nerves, I wanted to pull Katie-Rose out of here. What was she thinking behaving like a common streetwalker? At this moment, I hated her for embarrassing herself and for placing everyone around us in an awkward situation.
I didn’t help our cause by drinking an entire glass of champagne in one gulp. Ten minutes into this night, I knew I shouldn’t have come.
We could hear Jackson zipping up his pants as Katie-Rose demurely told me, “Jack and I are heading out. Can you catch a cab back home?” As livid as I was with my roommate, I was thrilled our night was done. “Sorry,” she whispered while Jackson said a few words to Xander.
I could feel the anger vibrating off his body. With each spoken word, Xander’s body tensed even more. “All right.” I heard his clipped tone.
Off the two went and here I was, left with an intimidating man, but free to go home and study.
“Thank you for the company. I’ll leave you to go about the rest of your evening with whomever you prefer.”
“Stay.” That wasn’t a question or a request. It was a command.
He pointed to the four servers coming with our food. As much as I wanted to leave, it felt wrong to get up when someone went through the effort of preparing a meal for us. As it was, the servers were confused with the two empty seats.
I did as was told and stayed in my seat.
“I hope you’re hungry, and I hope you talk more than you’ve done so far. There are ten courses coming our way. It’ll be an awfully long dinner if you give me one-word answers all night. A few original questions of your own would be appreciated.”
Rather than cowering away, I smiled—almost laughed—and started on my soup. “What’s your last name, Xander? And is Xander short for Alexander?” The biting laugh reappeared. “Two questions original enough for you?” I wasn’t going to let this intimidating man strong-arm me during the ten courses. If I had to sit through dinner with a stranger, I figured I’d do it with a smile.
“Blane, and no.” Two questions. Two answers. The man played hardball.
Whatever. I had nothing to lose in this game. A nice, free meal to sustain me while I studied into the night was small compensation for enduring such strain with Xander.
She wouldn’t cave. After I gave my two answers, I expected her to ask a flurry of questions. Most women, when they knew they were with a rich, powerful man, either talked my ears off or stroked my ego. This girl did neither. She, too, ate her soup in comfortable silence. Though I knew for a fact, neither of us was comfortable.
Once the next course arrived, I asked my own two questions. “What’s your last name, Jenna? And is Jenna short for Jennifer?”
With a smirk, she answered, “Ashe and no.”
So that’s how it was going to be?
By the fifth course, I learned very little about my dinner companion. It shocked the hell out of me that I caved and started a conversation rather than a two-word question and answer.
“You’re a stubborn young lady.”
“You’re a stubborn young man.”
“Why are you here tonight? Why would you come to a situation like this?”
She thought about my questions thoughtfully. “I came to help out a friend. If it wasn’t for Loren getting sick, you’d probably be dining with a better conversationalist than I.”
This Jenna Ashe had a way of making me feel like laughing—something I didn’t do often enough. “Then what would you have been silently doing if you weren’t here?”
“What I should be doing right now—studying for midterms.”
That caught me by surprise. “You’re a student?”
“Yes,” she answered tentatively. “Did I sound too much like an idiot tonight for you to believe I was a student?”
“No.” I answered vehemently. “That’s not it. I was just surprised. I didn’t realize you were a student.”
“Well, I am. What do you do?”
“I’m in the finance world. I used to manage other peoples’ fortunes, but now I only manage my own. I also dabble in random investments.”
“I see. I’m an English major dabbling in nursing. By the end of this year, I need to step away from the fork in the road and walk toward a career path.”
“Which way are you leaning?”
“My heart leans toward English, but my legs will take me down the nursing road.”
“I need to work. I’ll have mounds of college debt when I’m done and graduating with an English major may or may not pay the bills.”
“You could be a teacher or a writer…”
“Or a blogger, or a struggling journalist,” she answered with a sad smile that made my heart feel emotions foreign to it. “I love English. The reading, the writing, the story behind the writers—it’s a wonderful luxury for me to study in college. But, reality calls and I’d like to make sure I can sustain a life. I suppose that’s why I’ll choose nursing.”
“But that’s such a tough profession. You’re a tiny woman. How will you care for two-hundred pound men and women?”
She laughed sweetly. “I’m a lot stronger than you think.”
It angered me that Jenna supported her life by selling herself. Where were her morals, her self-esteem, her damn parents? What was wrong with this girl? Didn’t she understand what kind of danger she was in? Her roommate was probably riddled with diseases by now if she was fucking the likes of Jackson White. I had no right to judge, but no matter the end goal, prostituting one’s body was wrong.
“I think we’re done.” I told the maître d’ who came to check on our meal. We weren’t actually done. There were two dessert courses left, but I wanted to be with Jenna no longer. Her profession disgusted me. She angered me.
We were having a nice conversation when suddenly, I felt anger vibrating from his body again. I thought through what I might have said to upset him so profoundly. He cut short our dinner and all but dismissed me.
I didn’t understand myself, but I had to blink back tears when I said, “Thank you for dinner.” This man was all that I disliked in people. He was a brooder, controlling, and intimidating. For a brief while, though, I thought he was interesting, kind, and caring. It was stupid of me to get caught up in this high-society world. There was something incredibly sexy about a man who wielded power and authority, no doubt! It didn’t hurt that he also had money.
Sighing, I didn’t want Xander to know I was disappointed. I sure as hell wouldn’t let him know I was hurt. For some damn reason, I couldn’t keep my emotions in check so I excused myself and hoped he’d get the hell out of here before I returned from the restroom.
I’d been on dates in the past, but never with a man who moved my heart so readily. I didn’t even think I liked this Xander Blane, but being pushed away didn’t feel good. I put myself back together and found my “date” waiting for me by the maître d’.
“Would you be able to call a cab for me?” I asked the host guarding the front.
He looked to Xander, first, and then slowly obliged my request.
Again, I blinked back these stupid tears. Why the hell was I so emotional tonight? Was it that time of the month? Why did I care that Xander didn’t want to drive me home? Why would he take me home? He hardly knew me. I barely knew him. What sane woman allowed a stranger to her house?
It was best this way.
“Thank you again,” I said with a forced smile. He was about to say something but the valet interrupted him. For a brief second, I saw the struggle in his eyes. There was a gentleman in him that wanted to see me safely home. I knew there was and the torn look proved my heart’s desire. But in the end, torn or not, he headed for his car. “Take care, Xander Blane,” I whispered, turned myself around and walked back into the foyer. No matter how much I wanted one last look at the man who’d charged into my heart, I didn’t want to give him the satisfaction.
This time, I would be the one to dismiss him.
Sorry, Ladies. I’m keeping this one a secret a little longer. (Now, don’t you wish you would have voted for this one?)