"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 for lunch?"
It was shocking to her. He never once invited her out, but now he was. Then again, it was his lunch date with Shantal. She will only be oozing with jealousy should she go. She naturally declined and said, "No, it's your special time with your date. Enjoy your lunch with her."
She cleared her throat and said, "Anyway, I'm having lunch with Cole... So enjoy it. Goodbye."
Joan was quick to put down the phone. She simply sent a text message to Cole, saying, "Should Chris ask, tell him we are having lunch together today, okay?"
Cole replied, "Fine, but you owe me lunch."
"I'll send you packed lunch one of these days," her only reply to the playboy.
Joan buried the idea of getting coached by Cole. Why would she? The farther away she was from that Casanova, the safest she was.
Of course, she received a reply from him, reminding her of his offer, but she ignored it. His conditions required to change herself and she refused to heed to the idea.
The next day, following Shantal Lin's visit to her shop, the TV network aired the news of the surprising relationship with Christopher Hale and the rising singer, Shantal Lin.
Photos of the two were posted, being sweet during his birthday party, as well as a lunch date on another occasion.
It naturally affected Joan that she sought the comfort of her girl best friend, Lina Clark.
Lina Clark was her classmate in college. While they both took up marketing, on the side Joan had always loved to design clothes since she was young.
Her girl best friend was another famous socialite. Their family owned a famous pharmaceutical company, and it was there that Lina chose to devote her career, being the company's marketing director.
"We are here, Miss Joan," told her driver, Alfred. "Do you want me to wait for you?"
Joan looked at the Pharma company from the window of her car and revealed, "No need, Alfred. Lina and I may spend some time together. I don't want you to wait."
She made her way to her best friend's office, and it was there that the two covered her undying love for Christopher Hale.
"I hate to break it to you, Joan, but Chris had never publicly announced a girlfriend before," said Lina before giving a sneer. She was sitting behind her desk, reading the article about Shantal Lin and Christopher.
Lina scanned a few more photos, flipping from one website article to another before she declared, "I think this is serious shit."
Joan had been walking in circles in front of her girl best friend. When Shantal Lin came to her office the other day, she earnestly thought she may have a chance with Chris. Why else would the singer go after her in the first place?
"I can't accept it," Joan said. She turned to Lina and bit her lip. "The way she threatened me - I felt like it might have ignited from something - somehow!"
"You know what, Joan. Stop beating around the bush and just tell him. For your sake and for the sake of all of us around you! Tell the man that you love him!" Told Lina. She closed her laptop and said, "Find out... once and for all what he really feels about you!"
Lina shrugged and added, "For how many years have we been second-guessing? Don't you think it's high time to put an end to your madness? If he responds to you, then good! If he doesn't, I beg you, please... please stop."
The truth was, Lina had been equally hurt, seeing her best friend go through so much for many years now, one-sidedly loving Christopher Hale. She saw Joan Belle halt her own career just so she could persistently see the man.
It was late last year when a famous Italian designer wanted to take JB Vogues to Paris, France. Joan obviously refused, for she could not take it, being away from Christopher for more than a week. It wasn't like they were together.
In fairness to Joan, Lina thought, Christopher was utterly confusing. He treats Joan sincerely like a friend, but when she was not around, he would go about looking for her. She took a deep breath, recalling the night of Christopher's birthday.
Two nights before.
Lina Clark and her family arrived late at Christopher Hale's grand birthday party. They were invited, obviously, being a famed family as they were.
When Lina arrived, the first thing she did was looked for Joan, but her parents told her she was unwell and that Joan returned home.
She assumed it was true, but in the middle of the party, Christopher came to her, specifically asking where Joan was.
Back then, he said, "Miss Clark, have you heard from Joan? She is not answering my call."
He cleared his throat before adding, "It's - it's not like her to miss my birthday party."
Unfortunately, their conversation was interrupted with Shantal Lin came after him, hooking her arms on Christopher's.
"Chris, why are you suddenly leaving without me?" Shantal asked, giving Lina that look.
Lina could tell, the singer thought of her as a menace.
"I was just looking for my friends, Joan and Cole. They haven't returned," replied Christopher to Shantal.
Ignoring the eyes of the singer, Lina told Christopher, "Don't worry, Chris. You know her. She will always find time to talk to you. I'm sure she has her reason for not being here. She would never miss your party. She never has."
For the remaining hours of Christopher Hale's party, Lina saw how uneasy he was. From the table where he sat, he was constantly eyeing his phone, as if waiting for someone.
Lina earnestly thought Christopher was longing for Joan's presence, but why?
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
"So what is this appointment you are going to?" Joan asked after hopping on to Cole's car."Meeting with the California Yacht Club president. They are planning to re-market the club and Monica wants me to be the next model for their upcoming ads," said Cole while turning on the ignition of his Jaguar."It's going to be a party that we will attend to so, get ready to flaunt your assets," he said with his usual killer grin.It was no wonder he had a stylist work on her attire. Joan was wearing new shoes, on top of her new dress, and had put on light makeup for his appointment. He was also dressed up for the part.Seeing the reluctancy on her face, Cole asked, "What? No backing out now. I just spent thousands of dollars on you today."She rolled her eyes and said, "Fine. I don't want to go home, anyway."For a second, she took a peek inside her purse and saw that her phone's battery had died. She sighed, thinking it was
"Joan, dear. What are you thinking?" Her mother, Jessica Belle, asked as they were having lunch at the Cafe Teragram.After attending a morning service nearby, they went straight for lunch."Nothing, mom," Joan said and decided to start with her salad.She was still in deep thought about what Cole suggested. He told her that getting the contract with the Yacht Club would be a way for her to catch Christopher's attention, but right now, she wasn't sure what she wanted.Joan hasn't gotten back to Cole for two days.Just as she was in deep thought, another prominent family arrived at the Cafe and Alexander Belle, Joan's father, easily invited them to their table.They had used up an entire ten-seater long table, just the way her mother always liked it.When she looked up to find out who it was, she paled. It was the Hales. Worst, the singer starlet was with them!"Oh, Jessica, it's good to
Cole wrapped Joan in a towel after his security handed it to him.She was sitting on one bench, utterly soaked."What in the world were you thinking, Joan?" Cole Asked as he kneeled down to level with Joan, drying her hair.Joan was taken aback. He was treating her like a wet puppy. 'Or a girlfriend,' she thought.For seconds, Joan found herself distracted by his athletic frame. She could not help but appreciate how well molded his abdomen was. She had never seen a man who had such a slender waist!"Joan?" He asked again, quickly shifting her gaze to his small and manly face.Yes, Cole had a slender face, but they were well-shaped, perfectly athletic looking, and it went well with his military haircut."Are you... gawking at me?" He asked. At that point, she awoke from her stupefied moment."What?! Gawking?! No! I'm - I'm just hurt." She slightly shook before telling, "I met up with the Hales e
Dance music could be heard from across the huge area of the LX Nightclub, an exclusive venue for famous people to party and have a good time without being followed around by paparazzi.The DJ was manning his Console, playing back a record, and mixing it with another famous song."Y'all, let's hear some back to back Justin Bieber and dance to it!" Announced the DJ, swaying his hands in the air.In one corner, Joan was hiding her face with her long blonde hair, utterly ashamed for having arrived with Cole at the club later that night.From the Los Angeles Athletic Club, they had a late lunch and spent some time discussing the benefits of accepting the Yacht Club contract. They had dinner and after which; she was practically dragged to the LX Nightclub.They had been resting for half an hour and had two drinks all in all. Yup, like always, she was bad with alcohol and she was feeling herself getting warm.While run