Cole Adams gave Joan Belle a taste of his profound brown-eyed gaze. He rested his arm on the chair while running his fingers through his hair.
His focus remained on her grey eyes for seconds, seemingly putting her in place and casting a spell on her.
For a moment, Joan lost her senses. She shook her head and reminded herself of how many women have fallen into Cole's hands; probably more than her fingers could count. More importantly, she only wanted Christopher.
Christopher was the man of her dreams.
Minutes passed and Christopher finally joined the dining area together with his father, Gabriel Hale, greeting eighteen of their relatives who came for their special lunch.
Like always, Christopher reflected a welcoming smile. He was admirable as always, looking dashing in his black suit and blue tie. He had a well-proportioned body, perfectly symmetrical. He had intense blue eyes, pinkish lips, and dark blond hair, everything of which could easily catch anyone’s attention.
Even from a distance, Joan felt anxious. Her heart skipped a beat at Christopher's handsome looks. She repeatedly pressed her lips together and fixed her golden hair, putting them properly behind her ear.
“Jesus, you are hopeless,” remarked Cole, seeing how tense Joan was at the sight of his best friend. Joan merely shot a glare at him before returning her attention to Christopher, who was walking their way.
“Bro, nice to see you made it. I thought you’d still be drunk from the party last night at the Smiths,” said Christopher to Cole. “I hope you did not sleep with both Smith twins now, their father might cancel your sponsorship.”
Cole scoffed and said, “No man! What are you talking about? You know how I choose my girls.”
“Right. Don’t go for good girls and ones that pay for your career,” reminded Christopher, pointing his finger at Cole.
Christopher took a seat at the end of the table, right next to his best friend. He merely glanced at Joan, thanking her for her presence.
“Ha - Happy birthday, Chris. Happy 28th birthday,” said Joan.
“Thank you again, Joan. Where are uncle Alex and your mom?” Christopher asked, seeing she was alone.
“My parents are away on a business trip, but they will join your evening party tonight,” said Joan. After explaining the absence of her parents, she gave Christopher a sweet smile.
“I see. That’s good to know,” responded Christopher.
Before their lunch officially started, Joan held the box of cake in front of her and said, “Chris, this is your favorite fruit cream cake. I had it made for your birthday. The cake shop no longer makes them these days.”
She stood up just to hand over the cake to him. In the past, she had given him many valuable gifts, from a Rolex watch to an expensive tie, but he never wore them.
It was four years ago that she decided to bring him his favorite cake, and to her surprise, he ate it during their lunch meeting. Thus, since then, on his succeeding birthdays, she brought him the cake instead.
Christopher was well off and could afford anything. She determined; what valued most to him as a gift was something more special than material things, like her effort to request for his favorite cake.
“Thank you, Joan. I appreciate it.” He smiled and said, “We can eat this later, after our lunch.”
Joan was happy that he accepted the cake and, true to his word, they ate the dessert after their lunch meeting. For such a simple gesture, Joan was over the moon with delight. She hoped that this year would finally be the time that Christopher would see her as a woman.
The lunch gathering ended quickly. Everyone still needed to prepare for Christopher’s official birthday party at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
The gathering was a double celebration as Christopher would officially take over the Hale Industries as the CEO after five years of working under his father. At the age of 28, he would be the youngest CEO in the city.
That evening, Joan came with her parents, Alexander and Jessica Belle. They were assigned to a table together with other prominent families living within their neighborhood.
Christopher’s mother, Meredith Hale, walked towards their table in her exquisite long red dress. She greeted the Belles and spoke to Joan, “Joan, dear. We should be ready to start. Do you want to go to Chris’ room and fetch him for me? He is not answering his phone.”
Meredith winked at Joan, suggesting she was trying to help her. Seeing Joan think twice, Meredith said, “It’s okay, dear. You will simply walk with him to the party. Besides, you will be checking on him upon my request. It should be fine.”
Joan’s parents looked at each other, but considering the friendship they had with the Hales, they concluded it was also acceptable.
“Okay, Aunt Edith. Let me check on Chris,” responded Joan. She walked out of the hotel’s grand ballroom in her peach attire, with her off-shoulder, yet three-fourth-sleeve dress.
The dress she wore that night nearly hugged her body tightly, and it showed for the first time her beautiful curves. Like earlier, the skirt on her dress had a slit that went up three inches above her knee.
To anyone who saw her gracefully make the walk outside, they thought she was absolutely lovely, in a conservative way.
Just as she stepped outside the venue, she bumped into Cole, walking in with two beautiful blondes, holding his arms.
He was flirting and chatting with the ladies left and right when he saw Joan taking another route. He called for her, “Joan! Joan, where are you going?”
She faked a smile and said, “Aunt Edith asked me to get Chris. The party is about to start and he isn’t here yet.” She quickly turned away and said, “Bye.”
Cole sneered. He could not let Joan go to his best friend, not now. He excused himself from the two beautiful blondes in his arms and went after Joan.
“Joan, wait! Wait!” He was a second too late. Joan rode on a lift to the twentieth floor, where Christopher’s room was at.
It took another two minutes for Cole to get on another elevator. After reaching the twentieth floor, he practically ran in the direction of Christopher’s room while calling Joan’s name. “Joan! Joan? Wait!”
Joan was shocked to see Cole run after her. She said, “What in the world are you doing?”
“Don’t go to Chris’ room - “
“Why not? I - I wasn’t going to do anything! I would just tell him the party is about to start!” Said Joan.
Of course, deep down, she hoped they would go to the venue together as if she would appear as his date.
Cole was already in a panic. Joan was two doors away from Christopher’s room. He reached for Joan’s arm and said, “Look. Chris doesn’t like it like that. Besides, there are things that Chris does not tell Aunt Edith anymore. He is… a grown man!”
Pulling her arm towards him, he said, “Let’s go back to the party. How about making me your date tonight? Huh?”
“No!” She pulled her hand away and turned to Christopher’s hotel door.
Right at that very moment, room number 2205 opened and while Joan expected Christopher to come out, it was a brunette, with a perfectly curved frame, wearing a sexy long coral dress. It was Shantal Lin, a rising singer, known for her soulful songs and alluring looks.
She came out giggling and Christopher followed, planting a kiss on the young twenty-five-year-old singer.
This woman was apparently Christopher's date for the night.
Joan heard Christopher say to Shantal, “Let’s go. My party is about to start.”
Joan paled at the sight of Christopher kissing another woman, but just as she thought she would be faced with shame, coming up to see Christopher, Cole came to her rescue. Putting an arm around her shoulders, he said, “Joan, my room is right here! Where are you going?” Christopher turned to find Cole and Joan, heading for the room next to his. He grimaced at the sight of them and said, “Cole? What are you doing here?” “Ah, Christopher, I'm taking Joan to my room,” said Cole. He pushed Joan against his chest, knowing she was hurt by what she saw. He gave her time to compose herself. Joan took deep breaths while hearing the beating of Cole’s heart. She looked up to him, blinking several times, not missing to appreciate his fine jaw-lines and how his adam's apple moved as he spoke. It took seconds before she realized what Cole was implying, but it was better than being found out that she came for Christopher. She cleared her thr
From the rooftop of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Joan and Cole sat in front of a round table, drinking and passing time. Joan practically objected to Cole's conclusion, throwing questions left and right. “What kind of excuse is that? Too good?” Joan challenged, raising her voice at Cole. She turned to look for the waiter, asking for more alcohol. On a bright and sunny late morning, someone was still sleeping off the pang in her chest from inside her room.Curled under the sheets, Joan tried her best to think not of the sight of one Shantal Lin being kissed by Christopher.From her bedside table, her phone had been ringing nonstop, buzzing while left on vibrate mode. She had clients today. She knew, but she was not in the mood.Last night, she told her assistant to cancel all her appointments. She gave no valid excuse."Urrgghhh!" She got up in anger. Joan grabbed her phone and answered, "What is it, Gina? I told you to cancel my appointments today!""Miss Joan, I'm very sorry, but a rising singer came in the shot today asking if you can her official stylist! It would be a good chance for you to shine!" Suggested her assistant, Gina. "Not that... you are not shinning. You are already... somewhat famous."After finishing college, Joan had pursued her great
The Playboy Superstar Versus The CEO Just Friends
On a bright and sunny late morning, someone was still sleeping off the pang in her chest from inside her room.Curled under the sheets, Joan tried her best to think not of the sight of one Shantal Lin being kissed by Christopher.From her bedside table, her phone had been ringing nonstop, buzzing while left on vibrate mode. She had clients today. She knew, but she was not in the mood.Last night, she told her assistant to cancel all her appointments. She gave no valid excuse."Urrgghhh!" She got up in anger. Joan grabbed her phone and answered, "What is it, Gina? I told you to cancel my appointments today!""Miss Joan, I'm very sorry, but a rising singer came in the shot today asking if you can her official stylist! It would be a good chance for you to shine!" Suggested her assistant, Gina. "Not that... you are not shinning. You are already... somewhat famous."After finishing college, Joan had pursued her great
"Joan, are you feeling better?" Joan Belle heard Christopher's voice on the other line.Right after Shantal left, she called him immediately. She had to. She had six missed calls from him last night, and it was not like Christopher to call him so many times.Heck! He rarely called her."Yes, I'm fine now. Thank you for your concern," she said. "I'm sorry, I missed your party. I just - I just wanted to rest it out. Cole brought me home instead. I did not stay in his hotel room."'I could not stand the sight of you being with another woman. I just could not,' she spoke only in her mind while holding the phone up to her ears."I see. That's a relief," Christopher softly said. "I mean, that you are better."Her brows furrowed at his words, but just went on to ask, "Chris, you are dating Shantal Lin?"There was an odd silence on the other line before he said, "Yes. Yes, I am. In fact, I am meeting her today. Would you like to join us
Joan Belle's heart was racing. Again and again, she pursed her lips while sometimes taking deep breaths."This is it, Joan. No turning back," she muttered to herself, seeing the buildings past her line of sight.Following Lina's advice, Joan rushed to the Hale Industries office, wanting to finally let out all her feelings to Christopher.Lina was right. She repeatedly reminded herself.She had loved Christopher for so long, but she never really told him. Even if she was being obvious, she could at least confess to him and get an answer.Yes or No! That was all she had to find out.It was Lina's driver who brought her to Hale Industries and the second she arrived; she asked to speak to their new CEO.Being a family friend of the Hales has its advantages. Joan was immediately directed to the CEO's office.Christopher's assistant was not there, but one other secretary recognized Joan
"Coming to you live at Park Central Los Angeles, this is ANN Afternoon with Carie, and today, we have a special guest!" Announced the show's host, Carie Umber.The forty-year-old host pushed her hair back, giving a sly smile in front of the crowd. "Guess who it is?"Screams could be heard from the audience. They came for the special episode of the famous afternoon talk show."Ahhh! I love you, Cole!""Cole Adams!""Cole Adams!""Cole is the best!""Cole is so fucking sexy!""Calm down, girls! Calm down! Geez!" The host called the ladies' attention while grinning widely at the crowd. "I'll have him first before you do!""Ahhhh!""No! No, Carie! He is mine!"Clearly, the screams from the surrounding ladies outroared the teasing of Carie Umber. She could not help but chuckle at their reactions.It was challenging to tame the surrounding excitement, but with the help of the production c
"Come on, answer me! Cole! Where the heck are you?!" Joan was wailing from inside the taxi while holding up her phone. They had been going around in circles, without any specific direction.She had been texting and calling Cole for the past ten minutes, but to no avail."Miss? Where are we headed?" The driver asked, looking at her from the rearview mirror."Please, can you go around the block again? I'm still waiting for my friend to reply," she told with her eyes watering and her lips trembling."Are you okay, miss?" The driver asked, worried for her state.Joan had been weeping the second she got in the car. Her earlier plan to confess to Christopher was a total fail. Worst, she heard him doing it with Shantal Lin!"I'm fine. Thank you. Please, just - just go around the block a few more times. I'll pay for every minute that I use up, anyway," she pleaded.A minute later, she finally received a rep
"What did you just do?" Monica Wells, Cole's manager, asked. "You practically hinted that you have a woman on the side, carrying her like a princess! Couldn't you just have waited until the crowd had dispersed?"Cole massaged the bridge of his nose before shaking his head. He said, "I couldn't. She looked so sad and in despair - ""I get that, but you might ruin your career because of this and all for what?" Monica let out a heavy sigh and said, "Anyway, we'll stick to the story of your friend being in need of help. You just need to be consistent with the interviews, okay?"Cole nodded before running his hand against his hair."I'll have your car brought around the back of the tent for your convenience. Take her home and deal with whatever is her issue," said Monica before taking a leave.The two were in a serious conversation behind the show's temporary set. A tent was set up, meant as a changing area, and it was there where Cole hid J