I woke up on my couch, snuggled in a black coat that smelled amazing. I vaguely remembered strong arms carrying me inside. I remembered seeing his silhouette leave and I remembered thinking how much of a gentleman he was for not taking advantage of a drunk girl.
I sat up slowly, my head pounding. Despite the sharp pains however I could see a pair of blue eyes and blonde hair in my mind. Sensual lips, perfect physique. I looked at his coat, which had kept me warm all night and smiled. The tag on the inside of the coat read ‘Armani’ so I guess it was safe to assume this coat was very expensive. I wanted to return his coat and thank him for driving me home, but I didn’t know where he was.
I sighed and checked my phone. The battery was almost dead and I had 20 missed calls and 10 new text messages. I frowned, I didn’t know I worried them that much.
“OMG, Yvonne, where r u? Levi and Martia just got into a fistfight with Kate and Simon and got us kicked out of the club! And Kate was wearing an effing engagement ring! Like wtf? U need to call me pronto!!”
I sighed–of course they were fuckin engaged. For some reason, though, it didn’t really hurt like I thought it would. I hooked my phone on the charger and headed to the kitchen. I popped an aspirin and brushed my teeth, took my shower and changed my clothes. By the time I came back, my phone was only on 30%. I decided to just call Kayleen before she freaked out more than she probably already was. She answered on the first ring.
“Yvonne, Yvonne, where did you go last night? Are you okay? Where you now?”
“Kayleen, I’m fine,” I laughed. “After I stormed out of the club, I met a guy and he drove me home. That’s where I am now.”
“A guy?!?” she shrieked. “Was he hot? Oh my gawd! How hot was he? Spill, spill, spill!” I chuckled.
“It wasn’t really anything. He just drove me home and that’s it.” Kayleen grumbled in disappointment, but I cut her off. “So, Simon and Kate are engaged.” There was a long pause and finally Kayleen said,
“Yeah. She announced it to mom this morning. And, Yvonne, she wants you to come.” I paused. She wanted me to go? To attend her wedding with the groom who was supposed to be my groom.
“Kayleen, I gotta go. I haven’t eaten breakfast yet.”
“Yeah, sure,” she said, softly. “I’ll talk to you later, Yvonne.” When we hung up, I surprisingly didn’t cry, instead I thought of the handsome man I’d met yesterday. I thought of his name again. Liam Hawke. Liam Hawke. Liam Hawke. Liam Hawke.
That name was so familiar. I grabbed my laptop and Google searched Liam Hawke. His picture came up and I recognized the drop dead gorgeous guy I had met last night. Turned out he owned over 130 Scarlet Kiss nightclubs all over America. His fortune was over 7.5 billion dollars. He was apparently an infamous Playboy who had a new girlfriend every week.So, I guess it meant nothing to him when he called me beautiful last night.
I laughed. I laughed at myself because I had been so foolish. So stupid. But no matter how hard i laughed there was a tiny pang in my chest. Rejected twice in a matter of 5 weeks. How sad, my subconscious whispered. I shook my head, ridding myself of those thoughts, and wrote down the address to his office. I would return his jacket to him, thank him and that would be all. Return the d–n jacket, thank him and leave. That’ll be the end of it.
I pulled up to the large building and stared at it for a moment. I mentally steeled myself for being face to face with Liam. I breathed out slowly and grabbed his jacket. As soon as I was inside, I walked straight up to the secretary. She directed me to the top floor and I went. I stepped out of the elevator and Liam’s secretary looked up at me. She was a young woman with long brunette hair and appeared to be in her mid-twenties.
“May I help you?” she asked.
“Umm…I’m here to see Liam Hawke,” I said nervously.
“Do you have an appointment?”
“Well, no, but I’m a friend of his.”
“Is that so?” she smirked like she thought I was a complete idiot. “Well, I’m afraid you’ll have to make an appointment to see Mr. Hawke.” I didn’t like her smirk and I opened my mouth to let her have it.
“That’s not necessary, Gretchen,” said a familiar husky voice that sent warmth down my spine. Gretchen was blushing. I turned and came face to face with Liam. He grinned at me. “Miss. Michaels is a good friend of mine. So from now on if she wants to see me, let her on through.”
“Yes, sir,” she said flirtatiously, batting her eyelashes. He had screwed her. I could feel it. And for some reason that pissed me off. I shoved his jacket into his chest. He looked surprised as he caught it.
“You left this at my house last night,” I hissed, watching a look of rage flash across Gretchen’s face. Like I had suspected, he had been boning her. I stormed past Liam, not sure why I was so upset. What did it matter if he was sexing up his assistant? I gave him the d–n coat and now I could leave.
I was almost to the elevator when a strong hand caught my arm. Liam pulled me past Gretchen who was glaring hatefully at me. I had an urge to punch the b—h. But I knew if I did she’d end up in the hospital and would try to sue me. Instead I focused on trying to swivel out of Liam’s strong grip.
“Let go of me, dammit! Let go!” I was so mad I could spit. I was so jealous, I should be green. Liam sighed and shook his head, still managing to look extremely attractive as he did so. He pulled me into his office and closed the door.“You are so d–n pushy,” I grumbled, glaring at him.
“Yeah well you’re so rude for someone so beautiful.” He looked me over in approval and smiled softly. “You look amazing today.” My heart pounded at his words, but I shook it off. I can’t start crushing on him. He’s a Playboy. Girls are just objects to him.
“Yeah, I’m sure you say that to every woman you meet. Especially Gertrude. Gretchen. Whatever her name is,” I said hatefully. He didn’t deny any of this, he merely smiled and raised an eyebrow.
“Jealous, are we?” He smirked.
“F–k you.” I glared.
“You want to do that here in my office,” he chuckled. “I don’t know, we might get pretty loud.” I rolled my eyes at him.
“Yes, I do.” He grinned widely. I shook my head at him.
“Look I only came to return your coat and say thank you for taking me home last night. You have your coat, thanks for taking me home, now bye.” I turned.
“You can’t go just yet,” he called after me. I whirled around to look at him, only to find his perched on the edge of the desk, looking completely at ease.
“And why the hell not?” I asked, looking at him like he had grown a third eye and a webbed foot.
“Because you owe me for my kindness. Please have a seat.” He gestured to the seat in front of him. I sighed in exasperation and slowly made my way over to the chair, eyeing him suspiciously the entire time. When I finally plopped down he grinned and said, “I think you owe me an explanation, Yvonne.”
“An explanation about what?” I snapped angrily.
“You were pissed last night, why?” Last night really came back to me. Kate and Simon. The anger and sadness. And then apparently Levi and Martia had kicked both of their asses after I’d left. I had forgotten to ask Kayleen about that… I finally sighed and said to him,
“It’s a long story.”
“I’ve got time.” He grinned. “Start from the beginning.” I began to tell my story, forgetting where I was and who I was with. I’m not sure why I did it, but some part of me felt like I could trust Liam, even if I barely knew him.
“When I was little I had two best friends, Kate and Simon. All three of our mothers were friends and Simon’s mom and my mom would always say they wanted us together. We all grew up together, being the best of friends. But soon Simon and I lost touch after high school. But one day we met again and things took off from there. When he proposed to me, it just felt right.” I sighed deeply, my heart sinking as I got to the bad part.
“Then finally it was our wedding day. I had noticed how weird Simon and Kate were acting, but I just ignored it. Simon stormed into the room an hour before the wedding and said we couldn’t get married because he’d been with her—Kate— for a year behind my back and they had fallen in love.” I met Liam’s eyes and saw sympathy, I quickly looked down, hiding the tears in my eyes.
“And you know what’s really f—-d up?” I asked, my voice shook. “When I called my friend this morning she said they were engaged. She said they both wanted me to come and support them.” I shook my head and stared at my hands which were clenched into fists and shaking violently. I heard Liam sigh and say,
“So you want to get even?” My head snapped up and our eyes met. He had a strange expression on his handsome face. I couldn’t be sure, but I thought I saw a sort of wistfulness that seemed to say he was once in my shoes or someone he cared for had once been heartbroken like me.
“Get even?” I repeated, tasting the words on my tongue. He sighed again.
“Yes, get even. Make him feel what you felt. Make the girl–I think you said her name was Kate–wallow in regret and jealousy and want for what you have.” I thought about his words. Making them angry and jealous, making them feel what I felt… But how could I–? “You’ll need the perfect man,” he began, looking at me. “Rich, handsome, charming. And you’ll need to flaunt him around your ex- fiancé and your ex- best friend.” I blinked at him and tilted my head to one side.
“And where do I find a guy like that?” Liam smirked.
“You’re looking at him, angel.” “You?!” I shrieked, mouth falling open in shock. “What? You don’t want me?” he laughed cockily. He seemed to know full well that I did.
“So you’d be willing to pretend to be my boyfriend.” I eyed him. “For what price?” Liam eyed me slowly from head to toe and back again. My face got hot and my body grew warm as he chuckled. His smile was dangerously sexy as he said,
“Oh trust me, it won’t be free.” I was about to throw a witty retort at him when Gretchen walked into the room. She took in the scene and tossed a glare at me.
“Mr. Hawke, you have a meeting in ten minutes,” she said, her face hard.
“Thank you, Gertrude.” She looked like she wanted to correct him for saying her name wrong, but instead she nodded, not leaving. She stood there, staring back and forth between Liam and I. Finally, Liam threw her a look that said ‘get lost’ and she hurriedly backed out of the room. She stared at me with hate the entire time. B—h, I thought to myself as I glared back.
“Well as you’ve heard, I have a meeting in a few minutes. I won’t be long, only an hour at the most. After that hour is done meet me and we’ll finish our discussion.” He wrote something on a piece of paper. I nodded and shoved the strip of paper into my pants pocket. I headed to the door and before I could open it, his hand shot out to hold the door open for me. I turned around to thank him and found his face very close to mine. My breath caught.
“I look forward to working with you, Yvonne.”