I'm back home after a whole year in France, working in the family company. Our late dad left his advertisement business to me, and my brother. My sister had no interest in the family business, she has always been a career-driven person and has wanted to be a doctor since she could talk. So she's now a surgeon.
My brother Michael was heading the London branch while I was in France but now I'm back to London and he's going back to France.
I got home yesterday night and I'm crashing at my brother's penthouse, I also inherited our family home which has been in the family for generations.
My dad knew how much I loved the gorgeous victorian mansion so he left it to me. I'm making renovations before finally moving in.
Did I also say today is my birthday, I'm turning 23 today. I don't really have anything planned other than my brother and sister are taking me out for dinner.
"Ready yet?" My brother Michael asks knocking on the guest room door before poking his head in.
"Yeah, I'm ready." I say putting on a pair of high heels. "Who and who are going to be there again?" I ask.
"Just you, me, Tina, Robbie and I invited Liam." My brother says.
"Liam? Your best friend Liam?" I ask my heart already panting.
"Yeah Liam." He says.
"What? You don't like Liam?" He asks looking worried.
"No, it's not that, I just haven't seen him in a while." I say.
"Oh okay, anyway he's coming and you'll also be working with him. He has an account with us at the company." Michael explains.
"Sure." I say panicking already.
What if he remembers me from last year? I mean it's been long maybe he won't remember, I try to convince myself.
I decide to change my dress, I was dressed just casually but when I heard Liam will be there I decide to dress even sexier.
I'm wearing a short peplum black dress, that hugs my chest perfectly, I had already put on little makeup so I just put on lipstick. I let my long honey blonde hair down and I pair everything with my power heels.
"Did you change?" Michael asks me when I finally come downstairs.
"No, I wasn't completely ready." I say avoiding his eyes.
"Okay let's go, our sister is already hounding me with calls." Michael adds.
When we get to the restaurant, I have to take a few deep breaths before going in.
My nephew Robbie runs to me immediately he sees me, "Auntie Auntie." He says hugging me.
"My favorite little baby." I say hugging him.
"I've missed you." I say kissing his cheeks.
"You're literally his favorite person, all he does is talk about you." My sister Tina says hugging me. "Both Cedric and I are a little jealous." my sister adds referring to her and her husband.
"He's my favorite person too." I say.
Then I see Liam he's standing by our table too, it's in a private dining area of the restaurant.
"You remember Liam?" My brother says as he sits down.
"Of course she does." Liam says giving me a hug which I didn't expect, he even lingered for a moment.
"Yeah, I remember him." I say faking a smile.
Liam was smirking, he obviously remembers me from last year. I hope he doesn't tell my brother.
"We all take our seats, and order our food." My sister orders a glass of champagne toast for my birthday.
"Happy birthday little sister." My brother says taking his champagne glass to toast.
"Little sister? Mickey." I say to my brother.
"I'm 23 years, I'm not little." I say rolling my eyes at him.
"You'll always be my little sister." Michael says.
"Let's eat, Robbie wants to sing you happy birthday." My sister says because she knows the argument between mickey and i can go on for hours.
We eat in silence, my brother mostly talking with Liam, my sister and I talking about random stuff. The whole time I could feel Liams eyes on me, and I whenever I let my eyes meet him he was staring.
After dinner, the waiter brings out a cake.
Robbie my little nephew sings happy birthday to me, while I blow out candles.
"We brought presents but I know you'll probably open them back at home so I left it at your room." My sister says.
"I didn't bring a present." Liam says looking at me.
"Well you better get her something." My sister says and I know she's about to tell a story of one of my birthdays when she didn't get me a present and I went off on her.
"It's okay Liam, you don't have to." I say eyeing my sister.
"Are you sure? You remember your 21st when I didn't get you anything__" my sister starts to say and I cut her off.
"Liam it's fine really." I say.
"I do want to hear the story." Liam says teasing me a little.
"Maybe I'll tell you later." My sister says to Liam.
"She won't." I say eyeing her and she finally stops.
"I left my present at home with Tina's." Michael says changing the subject.
"Thank you." I say.
"Oh and Carla you'll be staying back at my penthouse with Liam until the renovations at your house are done." Micheal says looking between Liam and I.
"You stay with Liam?" I ask looking confused because I slept in my brothers guest room and I didn't see any indication of Liam there.
"Yeah he wanted to get his own place but I bullied him into staying with me." Michael says.
"He was staying at his new hotel but he's renovating the whole hotel so I asked him to move in." Michael explains.
"When are you leaving for France?" Liam asks Michael.
"My flight is tonight, 2.am." Michael says checking his wrist watch.
"I have my bags packed already, I'll be heading to the airport straight from here." Micheal adds.
"Robbie and I are also catching the late train tonight." My sister says.
"You're going back to Birmingham already?" I ask.
"Yeah, I have a surgery to do tomorrow." My sister explains.
"So it's just us." Liam says looking at me and my heart thumps at the thought of being alone with him.
My sister leaves first, leaving me alone with Liam and my brother.
"Liam please take care of Carla," my brother says to Liam like I'm not sitting with them.
"You do know I'm right here?" I say rolling my eyes him.
"And why does he have to take care of me, or do you think I should always have a male savior." I add frowning.
"Don't start with your feminism stuff, I just want him to look out for you." Michael says.
"I get worried about you, you work too much and I worry you're not taking care of yourself or having any fun." Michael says.
"Mickey, I'm fine." I say to my brother smiling lovingly.
"Liam please look after her, don't let her work too much and don't let her have too much fun."Michael says turning to Liam.
"You've got it Mick." Liam says to my brother but he's looking at me the whole time.
Liam and I head back to my brother's penthouse after Mickey heads to the airport.
Carla. That's it, Carla.
She's the same girl who has been in many of my dreams since a year ago.
Michael my best friend's little sister, is Carla.
She's so beautiful, I haven't forgotten about her and it has been a year. Somehow right now she's even more beautiful than the last time I saw her.
Well, she's all grown up now. I can't believe I didn't recognize her, we used to hang out together when I stayed with her brother over summer breaks but she was just a teenager then. About fourteen or fifteen so we barely talked, she was always so shy around me.
I watch her sitting beside me, using her phone.
She is avoiding me, did she know who I was when she went to my hotel room? Well I'm going to find out anyway because I'm going to ask her.
"So Carla, Manchester nights huh?" I say and she looks up to meet my eyes.
"Manchester nights?" She asks feigning innocence.
"You, me, your friend and my hotel room." I say.
"Don't know what you're talking about." She says. "It must have been someone else." She adds.
"Oh okay, let me call Mickey and confirm your graduation date then." I say smirking then I bring out my phone and start typing.
"Don't." She says trying to grab my phone but I hold her hand tightly.
"Okay yeah it was me." She finally admits it.
"Finally some truth, so why did you run off?" I ask.
"Should I have stayed knowing you were my brother's best friend?" She says avoiding my eyes.
"So you remembered me?" I ask.
"Of course I remembered you Liam, but you didn't remember me." She says.
"We have barely had any interactions over the years and you have grown up of course I didn't remember you." I explain.
"But I haven't forgotten about you since then." I say my eyes lingering on hers.
"And I'm also glad, you ran off because I wanted to do so many sinful things to you that night and it wouldn't have been appropriate since you're off limits." I say as I drop her hand.
"Off-limits?" She asked, looking straight into my eyes.
"I'm your brother's best friend." I say.
"That doesn't make me off-limits, I can sleep with whoever I want." Carla says with a huff.
"No, you can't. Mickey will murder me if he ever finds out we're talking about this." I say as the driver finally parks outside the building.
We get out of the car and head upstairs, we were quiet until we finally entered the penthouse.
"My room is downstairs," I say pointing to the door.
"Right next to mine." Carla says pointing to her door.
"We probably won't see much of each other, I'll try as much as possible to stay out of your hair." Carla says opening her bedroom door and going in.
I didn't want her to stay out of my hair, I wanted her every way I could have her but that can't happen she's off-limits.
Instead of leaving her and heading to my bedroom, I knock on her door.
"Carla we don't have to act like strangers, we can be friends." I say immediately she opens the door.
She smiles at my words and that made me smile back.
"How about we work out together tomorrow?" I ask.
"Like the gym?" She asks looking confused.
"Yeah, Mickey has a nice gym set up here." I explained pointing to the door.
"Sure okay." She says nodding.
"Okay cool, 6.am?" I ask.
"Yeah okay, I'll meet you by the door." She says pointing to the gym door.