“Are you sure you’re okay?” Liam asked for the millionth time. It was all I could do to refrain from turning my eyes to the sky and asking for God to come take me now. I knew he was worried and wallowing in guilt over me almost getting killed and him almost not being there in time.
“Jesus Christ let her breathe,” Chauncey cried out in annoyance, rolling his eyes.
“Here darling, I made you some tea,” said Carole handing me a mug.
“I told you to let me drive you home,” Levi shouted at me, his hands shaking. “Didn’t I, Martia?” He looked at Martia for confirmation and she nodded once.
“You should’ve gotten a ride with us,” Kayleen finally spoke, her voice quiet. “You could’ve died tonight.”
“I know that,” I snapped. I realized how much of a b—h I was being and took a few deep breaths to calm myself. “I just can’t live in a world where I’m constantly living in fear, having to always be afraid. I guess in a way I was resisting because I won’t live like that.” And because I don’t want to seem weak , I mentally added. Liam seemed to hear my thoughts and he looked at me, seemingly searching for something. When he found it, he nodded slowly.
“I understand that, Yvonne, but I can’t have you risking yourself like this again,” Liam said quietly, closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger. Everyone in the room–Chauncey, William, Carole, Levi, Martia and Kayleen– nodded their heads in agreement. “So from now on, I will have Paul drive you to and from work.” I opened my mouth to protest, but he just raised a hand to cut me off. “End of discussion,” he said sternly. I just sighed and let it go. Looking around and into the eyes of everyone surrounding me, I knew I had lost this argument.
When everything had died down and everyone had finally left, I found myself on the balcony in my nightgown and robe. I looked up at the moon–it was full and bright tonight–and I thought of the man again. His shaggy brown hair and sad sea green eyes. The tattoo of lightening on his hand. I shuddered as it finally dawned on me how close I’d come to death tonight. It all could’ve ended tonight. I would’ve never gotten to tell the ones I loved goodbye. I would’ve never gotten the chance to get back at Simon and Kate.
As I thought that, Liam’s face popped into my head. And I know most people would think it was because I had feelings for him, but that was simply not the case. I thought of him because I would’ve never gotten to tell him thank you. For his kindness and for creating a plan to get revenge on the two people who wronged me. Cocky a—–e or not, I was still grateful to him.
“Yvonne?” I turned at the sound of the voice and my eyes met Liam’s. He was still dressed in his Armani suit and Gucci shoes. I was surprised he hadn’t changed yet. It was ten-something by now.
“Liam,” I addressed him quietly. He smiled softly and walked to stand right beside me. We looked at the moon together for a short time and finally he turned to look at me.
“Why are you still awake?” he wondered quietly. I kept my eyes on the moon, not meeting his eyes.
“I can’t sleep,” I answered. I saw Liam purse his lips.
“I couldn’t either.” We stared at the moon together in solemn silence for the longest time until fatigue came over me. “You’re tired,” Liam said matter-of-factly. I nodded and walked back inside, Liam trailed behind me. He slid the door closed silently and walked me to my room.
When we got there I’m not gonna lie, I felt awkward. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be alone tonight. And with Liam around I felt much safer. But I couldn’t ask him to sleep with me. I was cringing in embarrassment at the thought of it. I could only hope he would decide to stay on his own. He looked at me and I looked back, internally begging him to stay. He cupped the back of his neck with his hand and said,
“I really don’t want to leave you alone.” He frowned. “With everything that’s happened, leaving you alone is a bad idea, so I think I should stay with you.” He looked at me for approval, looking oddly nervous. I swallowed and nodded. It wasn’t like he hadn’t slept in my bed before. Why was I so nervous? Maybe because you’re in l– I cut that thought off before I could even finish it. Because if I thought it then it would be true. And I wasn’t ready for it to be true.
“Seriously, how hard can it be to kill one girl?” Gretchen yelled at him, her face livid.
“I warned you it would be difficult to kill her,” Ryan responded calmly. He had to admit, he hadn’t planned on her attacking him. She was just full of surprises. It made his heart race in a good and bad way. Good because it felt like flying and bad because he should not feel like this. Liam and Lucas were also nuisances. He had just barely escaped Lucas’ clutches. He knew it was stupid to piss of a Hawke–especially Liam–but he needed the money. And while, admittedly, he could’ve taken another job, this was the one that called to him. And now he knew why. It was her.
As Gretchen yelled at him about his ‘incompetence’ he thought of Yvonne. He reached into his pocket and his fingers immediately came in contact with her silk ribbon. His heart lifted for the second time that night.
As Liam and I lay side by side, my heart strangely wouldn’t stop pounding. This pounding was different than the normal heart pounding I experienced when he was close. Where my heart raced because he was so handsome. And I began to wonder if maybe I was…
“Yvonne, could you do me a favor tomorrow?” Liam asked suddenly. I supposed I did owe him. He was currently helping me get revenge on the two traitors and protecting me from his psychotic assistant. I nodded then said,
“Sure,” when I realized he couldn’t see me in the dark.
“Every year my family holds a Halloween Masquerade Ball. People love it. It’s pretty popular. ” He wasn’t kidding. The Hawke Halloween Masquerade Ball was always the town’s favorite subject from October and halfway through November.
“I’ve heard of it,” I said to him. “What do you want me to do?”
“Well for the next week or so my mother will be very busy with the preparations and she’ll need some help. So I would appreciate it if you would help her prepare for it.” I knew what he was truly saying. He’d feel more comfortable if I stayed somewhere he would know I was safe. Somewhere surrounded by people.
“Yeah, okay, I’ll help her,” I said quietly to him.
“Thank you,” he said gratefully. Then he pulled me to him so my head was on his chest. And comfortable, safe and warm, I fell asleep.
“Oh, Yvonne, I’m so grateful for your help today,” Carole said, smiling kindly at me. “Things can get so stressful when we plan the Halloween Masquerade Ball.” She frowned. “I shudder to think about the Christmas party, then the New Year’s party.” She placed her forefingers on her temple and took deep breaths muttering, “Deep breaths, Carole. Deep breaths.” I smiled at her.
“It was really my pleasure. I can help you with the Christmas and New Year’s party if you’d like.” She smiled at me.
“If it’s not too much of an imposition, I’d love that.” I laughed.
“No imposition at all, Mrs. Hawke.”
“Please, Yvonne, I’ve asked this of you a million times.” She shook her head. “Call me Carole.”
“Right. Carole.” She grinned at me, flashing her pearly white teeth and said,
“Shall we get to work?”
“Yes we shall,” I responded.
“I can’t believe you were actually able to convince Yvonne not to come to work today,” Daniel Grover scoffed at Liam. He sat in the chair right across from Liam, glaring at him belligerently over the oak desk.
“Yvonne’s safety is in question,” Liam responded, looking at Daniel in disgust.
“You’ve been in love with her for years, shouldn’t you care?”
“Of course I care,” Daniel snarled incredulously.
“And you don’t know anything about me. How are you gonna categorize my feelings for Yvonne?” Liam raised one perfect eyebrow.
“So, are you objecting to being in love with her?” Daniel’s nostrils flared–both in indignation and embarrassment. He remained quiet. Liam smirked and said,
“That’s what I thought. I understand why you find her appealing. She has quite a personality.”
“You sound like you’re in love with her,” Daniel observed.
“I don’t know if I’d call wanting someone in my bed being in love.” He said it so surely but why did it feel untrue?
“Why did you ask me here anyway?”
“I need your help,” Liam stated simply. Daniel eyed Liam with mistrust.
“Really? And why would I help you ?” Daniel scoffed, not believing his ears.
“Because you love Yvonne.”
“Levi, I really don’t think this is a good idea,” I complained.
“B—h, it’s a wonderful idea.” He rolled his eyes. After Carole and I had called caterers, interviewed three DJs, talked to a party planner and went to numerous stores in search of the perfect Halloween decorations, Levi came over and stole me away. I’d been running all over town all day and really did not want to be whisked away. But once Levi wanted something there was no use fighting him