“Just answer. Inside or Outside?”
“Purple, like indigo, not pastel.”
I laugh. “Favorite flower?”
“Forget-Me-nots and Hyacinths”
“High Heels or flip flops?”
“Dresses or Pants?”
“Depends on the occasion, I wear both”
“Gotta be Tacos”
“Not old enough to drink the adult stuff.” She laughs “But a glass of red wine is great at dinner, otherwise Dr. Pepper.
“Go out or stay in for a movie.”
“In, unless it's something really specific, then it’s the midnight opening show.” She‘s giggling again.
“Are you planning to finish college? What do you want to study?
“That is technically two questions, but yes that was the plan until yesterday. I have my associates in business already, I wanted to do something with finance or marketing, I enjoy both. I guess that all depends on you now.”
“Yesterday I was a recently graduated high school student, single and planning a year long world tour before starting classes next spring. Now, I think, I’m engaged and planning a wedding and a business merger. I won’t have just me to consider when I make decisions, I have to consider you and the business, and there is probably some sort of social protocol thrown in there for good measure. So yes, what I do with my life will rest partially in your hands starting next week.”
Everything just hit me like a tidal wave. I never once thought to consider, she might actually have to change her life around for this arrangement. Her brother made it sound like she was desperate to be married with no real life goals. This girl, woman, was anything but that. And she was right, I was so focused on meeting her and working out the details, like this was just any other business deal. I never thought about the fact that another actual person was as greatly affected as me by this whole thing. And I never did actually ask her to marry me. How did I miss that very crucial step?
Feeling like an ass and really having nothing left to say, I just want to end this call. “Hey, Lindsey, it was really great getting to talk, but you’re right it’s getting late. I should probably let you go. Call me if you need anything at all.”
“Oh, Okay, Bye Reese.” She said in a hollow voice then hung up quickly.
I was left holding my silent phone to my ear, what just happened? I mean I know I just happened, but where did I go so wrong?
“Brandon!” I call out to my assistant. “I need your help, it's an emergency.”
“What is it, Reece?” He looks panicked. I don’t usually ask for help, I tend to bark orders. He’s been around me my whole life and just understands I speak my mind unfiltered. Me asking for any kind of help is uncharacteristic. I always know what I want, even if it’s someone else’s opinion.
“You know that girl, Fabian’s sister, the one who I am going to marry for the sake of my family and company? I think I just messed up, but I’m not sure what to do or how to fix it.” I rest my elbows on my desk and press my forehead into my palms.
“So first of all bossman, you have me a little worried. So you are going to need to start from the beginning so I can understand your situation.”
I fill him in on the conversation I had with Lindsey and he just starts laughing at me, like falling off the chair hysterically laughing at me.
“What the f**k is so funny?” I say in a flat tone, clearly not enjoying this at all.
“You have never had to work for a woman’s attention and this girl has you all levels of flustered.’’ He says between laughs. “You thought she was going to be some sweet demure princess and instead you got a warrior princess ready to fight for herself and what she believes in.”
“Well, this is what we’re working with, so what do I do? We were having a great conversation and then she started talking about what she was possibly giving up by doing this and I froze. I had no response. I don’t even know what I could have said at that moment.”
“Well, at least she has you thinking about your impact on her life. It took less than twelve hours for her to get under your skin and you have barely talked to her. She must be special.” He winked at me and I rolled my eyes.
“Just tell me what to do, I think I hurt her feelings and then made it worse by…”
“Running with your tail between your legs?” Brandon cuts me off.
“You do know I can fire you right?” I glare at him.
“And if you did, you wouldn’t have me around to save your a** with the Mrs. now would you? Give me her number and her address, I know you said she has this friend Anton that is going to take her shopping, but Anton and I are about to be the best of friends. You said she’s not your typical socialite, so flowers and a fancy dinner aren’t going to work. You are going to have to think outside the box and work for this one. This may actually be fun. Make some kind of plans for the two of you tomorrow night and I will make sure she’s ready.”
“Why tomorrow? We have 6 meetings on the books and the new client to prepare for. There’s no time for this nonsense.”
“Remember she is giving up her life for you, this nonsense is just a drop in the hat of things you will owe her for putting up with you, now man up. You only have a week to prove you want this to work too. You need to have your first date sooner rather than later. Now I will forward all my calls, but I am leaving and will be in late tomorrow. I will be busy saving your cute a**.”
What the f**k just happened? We were having a great conversation and then he just hung up when I told him I was putting things on hold. This company and it’s employees mean the world to me, of course I would give up my time to help them. I never had plans to marry. I’ve only ever had one boyfriend and that was a complete disaster. The whole institution of love was a foreign concept to me, so why not marry a man who seemed to have the same distrust for love based on Angie’s research. It’s just a decade, I tell myself. I have to make it ten years, that’s all. School can take four or five and I will be busy rebuilding my parents business. We will really only have to tolerate each other at formal functions like charity events and other things like that his company is involved with. Otherwise we can live our own separate lives. That is the best I can ask for in my current situation. It’s what my parents wanted, it’s what my employees need. I can do this.
I didn’t realize how long I was actually on the phone with Reece until I had to wake up four hours later.
“Ugh! Angie, why do we have to start shopping so early?
“Because you have a card with no limit and have to meet the standards of society b**ches without looking like my grandma. This is going to take some time, and that means lots of food and coffee breaks for you. The more treats I give you the more you comply.”
“I both love and hate that you know me so well. What time is Anton getting here?”
“Already here, lovely, now move your sweet a**, I have some money to spend.
By three I was ready to kill both of my friends and I’m pretty sure James was too. He got stuck carrying everything. I tried to get him to bail with me, but he had already been bribed by my friends to keep me here until they were done.
When we got to a lingerie shop I stopped in my tracks. “No. Absolutely not. I have no need for anything in here.” I protested.
“Of course you do.” Anton almost yelled at me. “You are shopping for your wedding night and honeymoon. I have seen your man, you need to make him sweat a bit too.”
“Oh my god, stop talking now.” I turned the brightest shade of red imaginable.
“What, at some point you are going to have to lose it, it might as well be your husband.” Anton either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that he is drawing attention to me.
“Anton, stop, she can’t blush any more than she already is, and why are you announcing her personal business to the whole damn store?” Angie finally defends me.
I just want to run and hide and cry.
All of a sudden another man walks up to us like he owns the world. “James so good to see you.” He blows air kisses at James, which I find comical sinse James is the most straight edge, military serious kind of guy with an expression that doesn’t even flinch at the new arrival.
The new guy reaches out his hand to me, “Brandon, I’m Reece’s personal assistant and he had some special requests for you to purchase today, so I thought I would help.”
He looks through some of my shopping bags, back at me, then at Anton. “You and I are going to be great friends. You have her mostly set, we just need a few more pieces. But clearly we need to accentuate all of these fabulous buys with undergarments to match.”
My eyes went wide, how did Anton multiply in the space of a few moments?
I am pretty sure they had me try on everything in the lingerie store, just to make me as uncomfortable as possible. At least everything they chose was nice and fit well, nothing impractical. I actually felt myself having fun, now that someone else had most of Anton’s attention.
As we loaded all the purchases in the car Brandon looked at me, “I need you in the outfit in the blue garment bag ready to go at 7pm sharp. Shoes, accessories and undergarments are all in there. James has the address. I would go with hair down and pinned with the rhinestone bobby pins on one side he directs at Anton. Then turns abruptly and leaves.
“He’s like a tornado, that one.” Angie says. “I like him, can we keep him Lindsey?”
I laugh at her and then at James’ expression. “Apparently he’s already ours for the taking. And speaking of taken, he seemed pretty interested in you there my friend. “ I say to Anton as we all pile into the car.
When We get back to my apartment it takes all three of us to get the bags unloaded. When we enter there is a huge bouquet of forget-me-nots and hyacinths on the coffee table in my living room. My stomach goes wild with butterflies. The card just reads 'Thank you for the stimulating conversation, I can’t wait to continue. R.” He was listening.
“Get in the shower, I only have two hours to work my magic, chop chop.” Anton claps at me.
LindseyBy the time 7pm rolls around I am in a black pinstripe romper. The top fits like a vest, high in the back with a deep ‘V’ in the front. The pants are comfortable, but not too baggy. I am going to have to recruit Bandon and Anton together more often. My light brown hair looks soft in big waves like a 1950’s pin-up model. Anton even got my hair into one of those fun victory rolls. My make-up was light and classic, with just enough to highlight my caramel eyes and a soft pink lipstick. The jewelry was just as simple. Little silver teardrop earrings and a delicate chain necklace with a matching teardrop charm that went well passed my cleavage into the romper. To finish the look I had on bright blue heels with one thick strap across the toes and a strap around my ankle. I know I’m not ugly, but this outfit and the hair and m
ReeseShe looks at me with concern in her eyes, but I continue to step back from her. I try to cover up the awkward moment by telling her to come and eat.“One of the things I failed to ask you was your favorite foods. So I brought a variety. I hope that’s alright with you?” I give her a small smile.“Sure,” She takes a breath and looks like she’s making some sort of internal decision. Whatever it is she walks over to the serving table with me.As she’s choosing I’m trying to take mental notes. She takes a small piece of chicken, several different kinds of vegetables and a few fruits, then she grabs the whole bread basket and walks over to the table giving me a side gl
LindseyThis just got real.I’m sitting in the back of the car, James is driving me home. I can’t stop looking at the ring. This is happening and there is no looking back now. I’ll have to call Ralph in the morning and fill him in. I hope he understands I couldn’t just let the company fall because Fabian has no idea what he is doing. Those people are like family to me.James slows as we pull toward my apartment building. “Miss Carter, I don’t wish to alarm you, but there are about 15 paparazzi outside your building right now. I’m going to continue around the block, while you decide what you want to do. I have already alerted Mr. Raines.”&
Reese I don’t know what I feel for Lindsey, protective for sure, she’s already been through so much in her young life. There’s something else though and I don’t know what it is. She seems to always be at the front of my thoughts, like part of my brain is forcing me to consider her when I make decisions. It can’t be love, I’ve only known her for a few days, but I can’t deny that there is some level of protectiveness that has woken up inside of me when it comes to her. I made several phone calls to put extra security around her apartment and to put my PR people on top of finding who is leaking information about my connection. My first guess is to always look inside my company to the people closest to me. You never know what someone’s price i
Reese “Holy, motherf***ing s**t!” Is all that runs through my head. The most beautiful woman is standing in front of me with nothing but this short dark blue sweater that is form fitting, barely hits her mid thighs and is hanging off one shoulder. Her hair is down and still wet from her bath and no make-up on. I thought I was a goner last night when she was all dolled up, but this is the end for me. “What?” she questions softly. Looking around, like she has no idea what has my attention. Which, now that I think about it, she may have no idea what she is doing to me. “Nothing.” I recovered lamely “Did you enjoy the bath?” I ask, trying to regain my focus and turn back to making breakfast. I try to
ReeseI messaged Brandon to meet me in my office and to get a hold of Anton. He acted offended for about five seconds. I knew he got every phone number to every person associated with Lindsey. He’s actually better at keeping tabs on people than any reporter I have ever come across.I walk into the office past the secretary and two offices that sit before mine. My grandfather likes to keep pretty ladies at the front of the entrance, he says women make everyone feel more comfortable. Personally I think he likes the eye candy and probably has had his fair share of it too. They are like vultures though, with far too much staring and not enough working in my opinion. I converse with them as little as possible. At least getting married will be a good excuse for not talking to them ever. Brandon als
Lindsey I am so irritated at being stuck here. I thought getting out from under Fabian was going to mean freedom, not a different kind of cage. I found a book while he was in the shower and just put on relaxing music on my phone. This whole damsel in distress thing is going to get old quick and I need to get to the bottom of whatever he is hiding. I’ll give him a couple days, he clearly is just as uncomfortable with all of this as I am. Maybe he just needs time to adjust. We’ll see. I won’t let him lock me up and hide me forever. I hope he isn’t regretting his decision to get married to me, I mean this was his idea, mostly. I am listening to my calming music and getting into this book when there is a tap on my shoulder. LindseyWe arrived at the storage unit and Kittie was waiting for us. She walked up to me and gave me a big hug.“It has been too long sweetie! How are you?” It’s a loaded question. She knows about Fabian and his idiocies, but she is also giving me a chance to give her the ‘code word’ to let her know I am here against my will.“I have been great! This last semester really kicked my butt, but I graduated with honors and both of my degrees like I planned.” I smiled at her. “Obviously new things are happening. This is Anton, I have told you about him, and this is Brandon a newly acquired shopping diva, now I have a set.” Kittie and I laughed while both guys tried and failed to look offended by my comments.
Sold to Him. 13
LindseyWe arrived at the storage unit and Kittie was waiting for us. She walked up to me and gave me a big hug.“It has been too long sweetie! How are you?” It’s a loaded question. She knows about Fabian and his idiocies, but she is also giving me a chance to give her the ‘code word’ to let her know I am here against my will.“I have been great! This last semester really kicked my butt, but I graduated with honors and both of my degrees like I planned.” I smiled at her. “Obviously new things are happening. This is Anton, I have told you about him, and this is Brandon a newly acquired shopping diva, now I have a set.” Kittie and I laughed while both guys tried and failed to look offended by my comments.