Four days had gone by since Simon’s visit. Four days since Liam heard me say I loved him. Four days since he’d said he loved me without saying the actual words. Liam had gotten an unexpected business call and had to go to New York. Something about checking on one of the clubs he owned. He begged me to go with him.
“It’ll be boring without you, love,” he had said, pouting. “Please come with me.” He had dropped down on his knees, looking up at me pleadingly through his surprisingly long lashes. I had rolled my eyes and sighed in exasperation.
“Fine,” I had groaned.
“Yay,” he had shouted childishly, standing up and wrapping his arms around me tightly. And that’s how I ended up in New York with him. Paul had come along with us and was driving the limousine We were on our way to the famous Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. “I’m glad you’re here with me,” Liam said suddenly. When I looked at him in surprise, he smiled and continued. “These trips are normally so boring, but with you here I’m finally happy.”
I knew he was talking about more than the business trip. I knew he meant that I’d somehow brought sunshine into his life. Was he really in love with me? Before I could muster a reply, the limo stopped and Paul said,
“We’re here.” Liam looked away and nodded.
“Thank you, Paul.” Paul got out and came around to open my door. I got out, thanking him as I did. Liam slid out gracefully. One of the workers—a man in a suit who I assumed was the manager— rushed toward us and said,
“Mr. Hawke, Miss. Michaels, welcome to New York. We’re glad you’ve chosen the Plaza. I’m Jack. Your secretary just checked in.” I stiffened. Gretchen was here? I saw Liam’s lips tighten. If I hadn’t known his face so well, I would’ve never even noticed. He just nodded stiffly and one of the workers grabbed our bags.
“You called yesterday and we have cleared our best room for you. The Edwardian Suite has a king sized bed, 1.5 bathrooms and a seperate living area with a sofa and butler service,” Jack explained as we walked inside. The hotel was huge. It was beautiful and Victorian. I stared around in awe. Liam clutched my hand firmly as we walked up to the front desk. The man walked to stand behind the front desk and said,
“Since you’re staying two nights, your cost comes up to $4,000.” I had to stop my jaw from falling to the floor. I mean, I know Liam was a billionaire, but $2,000 a night was really steep.
Liam didn’t even flinch at the price, he just pulled out his credit card and paid. The manager typed in a few things on his computer and nodded, handing Liam his credit card. He gave Liam a key.
“Enjoy your stay, Mr. Hawke and Miss. Michaels.” He flashed a smile at me. “And don’t forget to check out our restaurant and our bar.” Liam nodded and I smiled and told him thanks. Liam took my hand and we headed to our room.
Gretchen paced around her room. She had the average Plaza suite, only $850 a night. Nothing compared to the Edwardian suite. Gretchen looked at her reflection in the mirror, smiling softly. He was gonna be hers tonight. They were in Manhattan, hundreds of miles away from Yvonne. Gretchen had to admit this business trip couldn’t’ve come at a better time. Gretchen knew that away from Yvonne, his head would be clear. Not distracted by that b—h. She looked at her curves in her tight red dress, her long brunette hair trailed down her back. She gave herself one last smile before leaving her room. She had a feeling she’d be sleeping in the Edwardian Suite tonight.
“I honestly didn’t know she was coming,” Liam said to me, pacing the room in front of me. I was sitting on the king bed, watching him. Liam looked stressed. He was waiting, anxiously, for Lucas to call back. “Don’t worry, Yvonne, she won’t come anywhere near you,” Liam promised me. He stopped pacing and sat down beside me, bringing my body close to his and hugging me tightly. I wasn’t scared of Gretchen. Not at all. I wanted that b—h to try me so I could have an excuse to rearrange her face. But I knew Liam was worried that she’d hurt me. The phone rang and Liam quickly picked it up.
“Luke,” he said. “Yeah, she’s here.” Luke said something on the other end. Whatever he said makes Liam nod in agreement. “I have a meeting tomorrow at 3:00.” Liam shot a look at me, his lips tightened and he said, “Can you have him here by then?” After a silence Liam nodded. “Good.” Liam visibly relaxed. He hung up and looked at me, his eyes tight. “Ryan will be here tomorrow to keep you safe until I get back.” He said the words so softly, but his blue eyes were cold as ice.
“Why do you and Ryan hate each other so much?” I finally asked. I couldn’t ignore the way they seethed every time the others’ name was mentioned. Liam’s full lips turned down at the corners before he smiled mischievously.
“I’ll tell you if you go out with me tonight.” I rolled my eyes at him. Like he even had to ask.
“Of course,” I said to him, grinning.
“I’ll explain my situation with Ryan over dinner.” He was smiling but it didn’t reach his eyes.I sighed and pushed myself off the bed. I walked over to my suitcase and began unzipping it. What was I going to wear? I paused and looked at Liam who was already watching me. My cheeks heated and I asked, “Should I dress casual or formal?” Liam smiled and got up, walking to the living area that was in the room. He came back with bags. I saw all the big names: Burberry, Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent and Stella McCartney. He also had a few M.A.C bags. He handed me the bags grinning.
“Why don’t you go get dressed?”
Gretchen had just found his room. She straightened her dress and smoothed her hair before knocking. And finally he opened the door. Liam stood, tall, blonde and gorgeous before her. He was dressed nicely in black pants that fit him well and a white shirt that fit him snuggly, emphasizing his muscular chest. He looked good. Really good.
“Gretchen,” Liam said stiffly, frowning at her.
“Hey.” She smiled. “You look good. Where are you headed?”
“What are you doing here?” Liam snapped, glaring at her. “I told you your assistance was not needed nor wanted.”
“Please.” Gretchen laughed. “You didn’t seem to mind my presence a year ago.”
“That was a mistake. I told you it was a mistake right after it happened and you’re not going to change my mind.”
“I’ll bet I could, ” Gretchen said, stepping close. “You’ve got to realize nothing good can come of this relationship. It’s not like you can marry her.” She laughed.
“And why not?” Liam hissed, glaring at her. Gretchen’s laughter cut off abruptly and she stared at him in disbelief when she saw he was serious.
“You can’t tell me you’ve thought about marrying her. ”
“What if I have?” Liam said defiantly. Gretchen’s blood boiled.
“She’s black and you’re white!” Gretchen screamed, her face a mask of disgust.
“If you’re trying to convince me not to fall in love with Yvonne it’s too late,” Liam said softly, shaking his head. “She’s all I’ve ever wanted and more. I don’t care about her race, that’s not a factor. And I know I’m gonna marry her one day.” Gretchen was pissed. She stepped away from him and shook her head.
“She’s tainting you,” she said sadly. “She’s brainwashing you.” Liam shook his head.
“Leave, Gretchen,” he said, closing the door in her face. She would have to speed up the plan after all. Now that he was thinking about marrying her, things were more serious.
I was wearing a black long sleeved sheer lace panel dress. The lace was on the sleeves and fit my body like a glove. I wore black patent leather platform heels that did wonders for my legs. I had lipstick and a few other things stuffed into black leather bucket back from Saint Laurent.I slung the Burberry London black wool double-breasted, fur collared coat. According to the pricetags, this outfit was $7,000 altogether. My makeup was also on fleek. It was a flawless, natural look. My hair flowing past my shoulders.
I walked out of the bathroom and stepped into the living area where Liam was waiting. He turned to look at me and my jaw went slack just looking at him. He finally wasn’t wearing a suit, but he was still dressed nicely. Those jeans fit well, not tight and not too loose. The plain white T-shirt fitting snuggly against his muscular body. He wore expensive Italian shoes and an expensive leather jacket.
I realized we were staring at each other. And I wasn’t breathing. I took a deep breath and he smirked, reading my mind like he always seemed to do. He walked until he stood right in front of me. He snaked his strong arm around my waist and pulled me to him. His eyes sparkled as he said,
“You look so beautiful.” He kissed my forehead. “You look amazing. It’s gonna be hard to keep my hands off of you.” My cheek warmed as he brought his lips to mine eagerly. He kissed me in such a way that had he not been holding me, my knees would’ve given out.
“Where are we going?” I asked breathlessly when we pulled away from each other. He took my coat and held it open for me. I put my arms inside and slid it on my shoulders.
“We are going to the one of the best restaurants in New York,” Liam said, buttoning the jacket for me as I smoothed my hair. When he was finished he stood up and smiled at me softly, touching my cheek. The look in his eye scared me. It wasn’t the kind of look that would’ve scared a normal woman in her right mind, but it sent alarm through my body. The look he was giving me was pure adoration. No one had ever looked at me that way before. Not even the guy I was supposed to marry. And it scared me.
“So where are you taking me?” I asked, changing the subject.
“The Modern,” he replied, smiling, his hand never leaving my cheek. “It’s a great restaurant.” I nodded and we headed out the door together.
After our dinner, Liam took me to the park. It was beautiful, decorated with Christmas cheer, the lights so bright you could see them from light years away. Liam sat beside me on the swings. He had been pushing me and I had giggled like a kid for a few minutes, but now everything had winded down. We sat on the swings quietly, my hand in his. Liam raised my hand to his lips and kissed it. Our eyes met. He was staring at me with that same expression from earlier. Like I was perfect. My cheeks heated.
“Stop staring at me like that,” I whispered. He raised an eyebrow at me.
“Like what?” I asked.
“Like…you adore me,” I finally said, looking away. Liam chuckled.
“I didn’t realize you could see through me so easily.” He shook his head.
“Well, you make it pretty obvious,” I said, fighting a smile when I saw his embarrassment. Then I remembered something and I looked at him seriously. “So why do you and Ryan hate each other so much?” Liam sighed and looked straight ahead, his lips pursed.
“Ryan and I were friends once,” he began, his voice soft. “Lucas, Ryan and I were like brothers. Soon Ryan met Lana and he fell in love. I’d never met her, but Ryan was very ready to introduce us to her. Then Ryan told me how Lana was scared that someone was stalking her. He begged me to look into it, so I did. I found out that Hathaway—the most fearsome mobster in this city—was after her.” Liam sighed and squeezed his eyes shut as if he were in pain. I held onto his hand tighter as he continued. “I looked further into it and found out Lana was betrothed to Hathaway. So I went to warn Ryan. He didn’t believe me. He said he’d found her dead and if she was really betrothed to Hathaway he wouldn’t have killed her. He told me what an ass I was for disrespecting her memory and that if he ever saw me again, he’d kill me. After that, we stopped talking.” It was quiet for a long time after Liam had finished talking. There was only the chill of the December wind and the quietness of our breaths.
“I’m sorry,” I finally said, leaning forward and kissing his cheek. Liam smiled sadly.
“It’s okay.” We were quiet for a while longer before Liam finally broke the silence. “I love you, Yvonne,” he said, his gaze unwavering. It stared past my face and into my soul. I was shocked. He’d hinted that he loved me, but now that he was saying it so straightforwardly, all of my vital organs slammed against the front of my stomach and it was suddenly hard to breathe. But the thing that surprised me most was my response.
“I love you too,” I said back. His eyes lit up and he smashed his lips to mine, kissing me like tomorrow was never gonna come.