Mom looks in my direction and smiles when she notices me approaching. “Morning sweetie, I didn’t hear you came home last night. I must be in a deep sleep when you arrived,” Mom says, pouring coffee into my mug.
“I’m sorry, mom. It was Amy’s birthday party last night. I couldn’t come home early because I carpooled with Maya and Garrett.” I take my plate of pancakes, scrambled eggs, and two strips of bacon she offers.
She hands me a cup of coffee. “You didn’t mention to me about going to a birthday party, sweetie. You also forgot to send me a message.” She looks at me with her famous worried look.
I sit on the stool of our small kitchen counter and start sipping my coffee. “Yeah, you worry too much. Did forget I’m twenty-one and not a twelve anymore? Don’t you have duty tonight?” I munch my breakfast quickly. I only have twenty minutes to get to the coffee shop where I work as a part-time waitress.
“I have. I’ll be here in the morning. We can have a movie marathon.” Mom’s duty at the general hospital as an ER nurse makes it difficult for us to catch up every day.
I roll my eyes. “Yeah. We can have a movie marathon while you’re snoring on the couch.”
Mom works hard to let me go to college. She took all the responsibility since Dad died in a car accident when I was fifteen. Mom didn’t even date anyone and just focused on her work and me.
Dad worked as a bank clerk in a local bank in town. He was the best father I could ever wish for, but unfortunately, he was taken away from me by a tragic car accident. His car hit the tree when he was trying to avoid hitting someone who crossed the road—he was confirmed dead on arrival.
“You, silly, you always chose a boring movie, all they did were kill each other. Who will enjoy watching that kind of movie? It’s too violent for me.”
I roll my eyes again, stand up, and take the empty plate and mug with me to the kitchen sink. I love action movies while Mom loves drama.
“Your choice of movie is more boring, mom. If not dying of cancer, a husband cheated on her. So dramatic. I won’t waste my tears for sappy movies like that.”
She laughs and shakes her head—Mom is funny. She’s not only my mother but also my best friend.
I go up to my bathroom to brush my teeth, re-coat my mascara, and wipe more lip gloss.
I grab my purse and my keys from the couch. “Got to go, Mom. Get some sleep, and I’ll see you tomorrow morning. I love you.” I peck her cheek.
I pull my car 2014 Ford to the driveway—Mom’s birthday gift for me two years ago.
Ten minutes later, I’m already in the coffee shop. I notice many customers—most of them are college students, football players, and a few couples busy chatting with each other. Suddenly, I feel a twist in my stomach.
“Sam, get your ass in here and wear your apron. We have customers to serve.” Daniel “Big D” Chase, who manages the coffee shop for five years now. A six-foot-tall and bulky standing in front of my locker wearing a scowl on his face.
“Good morning to you, too, Big D. Why so grumpy early in the morning?”
He is like a big brother to us, but, of course, he’s still strict when it comes to our job.
I grab my apron from my locker and wear it. Our coffee shop is the biggest coffee shop in the area, and it’s open seven days a week.
“The new owner will come to check the shop. I can be demoted or replaced by someone else, or worse lose my job.” He shrugs. Worry is palpable in his deep gravely voice.
My brows furrowed. “Why would you lose your job? You’ve been good at it. He’ll not be going to replace you, and I’ll kick his ass if he’ll demote you, Big D.” I playfully punch his huge bicep, but he doesn’t even flinch.
I’ve heard about the buying of this shop, but I don’t know who’s the new owner. I don’t really care for as long as I have a job and get paid.
“You don’t have any idea who the owner is. He’s ruthless and heartless. He bought some establishments here; a restaurant, nightclub, coffee shop, and a house on the Hillside. He already started changing management and fired staff.”
I purse my lips while listening to him. He must be very rich if he bought establishments and a house at the same time.
“He got a huge share when his father died. He and his brother got equal shares of the assets. He moved here from New York when his father died, but his brother stayed in New York and managed his own business there. I heard that’s where their mother stayed when their parents divorced. He is related to Hughes.”
I cross my arms over my chest. “Wow! You seem to hear a lot of gossips lately, Big D.” I fix my hair and walk with him inside.
“People talked around, Sam. I couldn’t help but listen especially when my only job was at stake.”
I feel bad about him. I grab his huge arms and squeeze them. “I’m sorry, Big D. I wish I can help, but if your job is in jeopardy, I am sure my part-time as well. I need to get to work.”
He nods, and I move to the counter and check all the supplies.
The door chimes and my work starts when a college couple gets inside and sits at the left corner of the shop.
Thirty minutes before my shift ends, I take a seat for a few minutes since only a few customers left. All their orders are served and supplies are refilled.
Something wicked in Amy and Maya’s smile as they walk in my direction.
“Did you know that the new owner is hot?” Amy giggles. She’s my close friend, dated a bunch of guys, but as she said, nothing serious. They just want to have sex with her and grab her D cup size. Well, I can’t blame them because Amy is a gorgeous blonde with blue eyes. She’s sassy and sometimes blunt. Okay, maybe most of the time, but she has a good heart.
I still don’t show interest.
She hits my arms to get my attention. “Did you not hear me, Sam? I said Mr. Williams is hot.” She shakes me and widens her eyes.
I raise my eyebrows. “So? I don’t care if he’s hot or cold. Our jobs here are over once he changes the management. Big D is worried as hell that he might be demoted or replaced, and all you have in mind is he’s hot?”
Amy flinches because I know she needs this job.
“How did you know that he’s gonna change the management?” Maya asks. Her brown eyes widened in surprise.
“Big D told me earlier. Well, not sure yet, but people talked and gossiped around. The owner changed the management in his other establishments though.”
When my shift ends, I punch out and leave immediately. I send Mom a message. Amy has a plan for tonight, so I’ll be alone since Maya of course, will be with her fiancé.
I reheat the dinner Mom left for me and eat, then I take a shower and change to PJs.
I grab my book on my study table that is still half unread, get in my bed, and tuck myself in. I flip the page where I Left with a bookmark. Before I can start reading the first line, my phone rings.
I roll my eyes to see the screen—it’s my ex, Tyler.
I press the answer icon. “Ty, ’sup?” I answer casually, then at the music blaring—he must be at the frat party like always.
“Sam, I can’t drive home. My dad will kick my ass if he’ll know I’m driving while I’m drunk. Can you come and pick me up?”
Jesus, he’s such an idiot!
Why do I even bother answering his call? I broke up with him because he’s an idiot, a cheater, and an egotistical jerk.
“Call your friend Ty or your girlfriend to drive you home. I’m in bed already and ready to sleep.” I emphasize the girlfriend, who cheated on me a year ago.
“Sam, please. You know we’re not like that anymore. My friends are already drunk.” Of course, they’re all drunk.
“Ugh! Send me the address. You won’t call me next time, Tyler. I’m not your DD.”
“Thanks, Sam, I owe you.” Owe you my ass.
“Be there. Bye.” I get up in bed and change my clothes.
I’m in front of the Frat house after twenty minutes. The music is still blaring from the house. I dial his number and he immediately picks up and says he’s on his way out.
“Hey, Sam. Thank you for coming!”
I don’t answer, instead, I walk to the driver's seat. He gets inside the passenger seat, and none of us start to talk while I drive silently. Until we’re halfway to his home—where I lost my virginity to him.
“You’re still mad at me, aren’t you, Sam?” He leans his head back to the seat and rubs his temples.
I release a huge breath. “That was a long time ago Ty. I moved on and I already forgave you.” I focus my eyes on the road.
“I’m really sorry, Sam. It was just a one-time thing. She’s not like you—she seduced me, and I was half drunk. When you broke up with me, I dated her for a free fuck. I missed you though.” He sounds sincere, but he still cheated on me.
I stop the car in front of his house and wait for him to get out, but he doesn’t move.
I look at him and furrow my brows. “Why are you—”
Before I can continue, he grabs my head and crushes his lips on mine. I’m still dumbstruck to react.
He kisses me hungrily, wet, and with pure rage. I can still taste the beer on his lips. I like how he kissed me before, but now I feel nothing but disgust.
I push him away, but he doesn’t budge. I push him again, instead of letting me go, Ty cups and kneads my left breast.
This is wrong!
I slap him, and that’s when he stops kissing me. He narrows his eyes at me full of anger. He kisses me again and bites my lower lip—a taste of sweet and metallic floods my mouth.
I push him again.
This time, he pulls himself away. “What the fuck, Sam? Are you fucking anyone already?” he asks with pure anger in his voice.
I don’t realize tears are already falling from my eyes. I wipe my mouth with the back of my hand and that’s when I see the blood from his bite.
“Get out of my car, Tyler!” I yell at him. “Before I’ll call the cops and complain you of harassment.” My voice cracks in the end.
“You’re not going to do that, Samantha. You know my dad is a lawyer. You’ll just lose your case and will be humiliated in the end. I already fucked you, why can’t I fuck you again, huh?”
I push him on his chest. “Get out of my car Tyler! I should never go there to pick you up and drive you home. You trick me, asshole. Get out of my freaking car!”
He opens the passenger door and gets out. “My offer still stands, Samantha.” He slams the door shut that makes me startle in my seat.
I drive away still crying from what he did to me. I was so stupid and didn’t think before going to pick him up. I don’t realize I’m not driving my way home.
Slowing down, I check my surroundings—I’m in front of the building that has a gym logo. The parking area is almost empty aside from the three cars are parked.
I stay for a while since I’m not blocking the driveway. I check my phone—no one call and gets out of the car.
The evening breeze touches my skin, making me shiver. I lean against the hood of my car and wrap my arms around me. My tears dry, but I’m still sniffing.
“Are you okay, miss?” A deep husky voice asks behind me that makes me jump.
My hand flies to my chest and turns to the voice from my back. My eyes widen. My jaw drops. Everything around me disappears, leaving just me and the man in front of me.
PHOENIX I had no plan on coming back to this place again after what happened in my life years ago, but after almost six years, here I am. I’m back. In fact, I even bought establishments and a house. I can’t stand staying at our old house—it only reminds me of a tormenting past. I was surprised to hear from my father’s lawyer that I was included in his Last Will. After what I did to him, he still considered me as a Williams. There’s still a part of me that still hated him for what he did to Mom, to my family, and to me. Hate is a strong word, but it did change my life. After working for my brother’s company for four years, I started my own business for three months now. When I bought the new house in Hillside, I know I will be staying here for a long time. I bought three establishments and made a few changes; from staffing, interior, foods, menus, and supplies. I’m surprised by the profits for three months
SAM My smile won’t just wipe away from my face after talking to Phoenix. A unique name to a gorgeous God-looking guy. Just his face, women will spread their legs for him. He’s also funny. His deep husky voice makes him sexier. My jaw just drops when I look at him—his disheveled brown hair looks freshly showered. Those thick eyebrows and wicked gray eyes surrounded by thick eyelashes gleam in the moonlights. And my God, those full red lips, and not to mention the bulging biceps that make my fingers itch. I can even see the hint of his pack abs through his shirts. I’m sure the V down there was drool-worthy. I can’t even believe I actually told him about what happened earlier with Tyler. How he laughed so much at my failure of guessing his brother’s name, and those laughs—he makes my heart beat faster. But I’m sure I’m not going to see him again.Well, there’s nothing wrong with daydreaming, right? I’m
PHOENIX I yawn, rub my eyes with the back of my thumb, then close my laptop after reading the email from the manager of the coffee shop I recently bought. I can’t help but think about the parking lot girl—her eyes, her laugh, and the way she jumped when she finally guessed the right name. It just...she makes me smile. I know one day, there’s a possibility of crossing our path again. This town is not that big, but the question is when? I wake up just when my alarm goes off. After my breakfast, I shower, then I wear a shirt and jeans to look more casual. I will check first the restaurant since the nightclub will open at night. It’s almost eleven when I get out of the restaurant, and everything is under control. I answer the call from Mom when I get inside the car. “Mom, how are you? Did you take your meds on time?” “Oh, honey, I’m good. Don’t worry about me. How about you? How’s your business?” She sounds
SAM I can’t believe Phoenix is Alex Williams who owns the coffee shop where I work, and I almost burned him. I thought I lost my job, but I’m grateful that he saved me from my ex. I’m so humiliated that he even held my hand in front of my friends. What will they think about me now? That I am flirting with the owner to keep my job? Every time our skin touches, I always feel something—the tingle is always there, and I don’t want to let go of his hand—it just feels good to have someone holding my hand—someone like him because I feel that I can trust him—I feel safe in his arms. “Care to explain what just happened over there?” I ignore Big D, instead, I take my soiled apron and put it inside my bag to wash it later. “Have you known him before, Sam? He’s our boss. He’s rich and a playboy. I don’t want you getting hurt again.” My face heats because he’s right at some point. “I know now he’s our boss. I
PHOENIX My blood boiled when I heard she took him back. Why she has to take him back? That asshole doesn’t deserve someone like her—she’s too good for him. He hurt her once—cheated on her, and he’ll do it again. Cheaters don’t change—that’s their nature. Was that the reason why she denied my friendship? Did he threaten her that day? I had to excuse myself from them, otherwise, they’ll see the dark side of me, and I, myself don’t like this part of me. I get outside of the apartment to release my anger, and I want to punch every surface here. But before I can do that, I hear the door open, then footsteps follow. Can this be her? I’m not ready to face her after ignoring her earlier. “Phoenix, are you okay?” Thank, God it’s Maya. “I just need some air. I’ll be there in a minute.” I can’t even face Maya. I’m so ashamed about how I reacted. I’m sure everybody noticed that what Sa
SAM Phoenix almost kissed me! Yeah, almost. I was anticipating when he leaned closer, but before it happened, he pulled back. I’m actually a little bit disappointed. Well, we shouldn’t, right? Who kisses a friend anyway? He always smells good—a scent of mint and musk, probably his cologne or his aftershave. Something feels different in his touch—it feels good, soothing, and igniting—like I want to cocoon in his arms. I’m glad we became friends though because I really missed him. I even admitted it. Going to his club is maybe a good idea. I can meet someone to get rid of whatever feelings I have for Phoenix. It’s insane how I know a little about him, and just met him recently, yet I feel the strong pull toward him. I might take Amy’s advice to get laid—my spell has been dried a long time ago, and she’s right—it’s time to clear away the cobwebs because I will die waiting if I will expect that Phoen
PHOENIX Surprisingly, I’m still not jumping on her, grabbing her head, kissing her senseless, and thrusting my tongue into her mouth. Last night was already torture—after sending her home, I went to my club and sat there for a while when a woman flirted with me. She was beautiful with a fuck-able body, but she wasn’t Samantha, and my cock didn’t even show interest. If it happened before I met Samantha, I already brought her to a hotel room and fucked her senseless, but since I met my princess, any woman wanting my attention, it seems like they don’t exist anymore. Now, she’s sitting beside me with a tiny dress that shows off her cleavage. My cock instantly throbs in my pants—it’s a little bit uncomfortable especially when she laughs freely. My shitty brain imagines her moans, her whines, her grunt every time I thrust inside her sweet tightness—it’s actually uncomfortable. The sweet scent of her perfume fills my nostrils
SAM My head is hammering a thousand times. I open my eyes slowly only to see the unfamiliar surrounding. The smell on the room seems familiar to me though—it’s like one of my favorite scents in the world. Panic settles in the pit of my belly. This isn’t my room. Where am? Did I go with someone? I quickly check the king-size bed. It’s covered with a dark sheet that matches the blanket where I am neatly tucked in. It’s definitely a man’s bed, but the other side is empty. I’m alone. Before I can sit up from the bed, my stomach twists sickly. I run into the nearest door, hoping it’s the bathroom. I flip up the cover of the toilet bowl and empty my stomach. Scanning the surrounding, I find toilet paper and wipe my mouth. I flash them and rinse my mouth with the water. I look at myself in the mirror—a smeared makeup still on my face with my messy bedhead. I’m wearing a gray T-shirt with the NYU logo that looks