When had she stepped into an alternative reality where Clark Anderson was eating dinner with her in a diner? Bella ran fingers through her hair, easing out the length. She kept her hair tied up when she worked as the strands got in her way. Getting it cut was not an option. She liked her hair long and intended to keep it that way. Spotting a dirty cup ring, she picked up some paper towels and wiped the mess away.

    “You don’t like mess, do you?” he asked.

    She shook her head. Putting the towel underneath her milkshake, she took a quick suck to test. The milkshake was creamy and tasted right with just the hint of chocolate.

    “No, I don’t like mess.”

    He reached over the table to take her hand. “Relax, Bella. We’re having dinner, and afterwards I’ll take you home.”

    “How do you know my name?” she asked.

    “You work for me. You know my name, and I know yours.”

    Smiling, she drank some more of her milkshake. Clark didn’t let her hand go. His fingers stroked her own. Licking her lips, she checked the clock to see it was after one. They’d spent an hour together.

    “I’m sorry. I’m not used to this,” she said.

    “Not used to what?”

    “Dinner, talking, and spending time with someone.” Bella lived in her

    routine. She liked her routine, but she liked talking with Clark.

    He opened his mouth to say something else, but the woman came back to put their food on the table. The scent of fatty burgers and chilli scented the air.

    Her stomach rumbled again. She wanted the floor to open up and eat her. When would her stomach give it a rest? She was about to eat.

    The woman left them.

    “This looks pretty tasty,” he said.

    She nodded, picking up her burger and taking a bite. Unable to contain her moan of pleasure, Bella closed her eyes enjoying the succulent meat.

    “I love a woman who enjoys her food.”

    When she opened her eyes, she saw Clark watching her.

    Smiling, she took another bite of her burger.

    “How do you know where I live?” she asked, trying to fill the silence with something other than her moans of approval.

    “It was on your employment record. I have everyone checked who works for me.”


    “I’m a wealthy man, and I’ve made enemies.”

    He didn’t elaborate, and she didn’t ask for more information. She knew all about keeping certain things close to her chest.

    “You’re not going to ask to know more?”

    She shook her head. “No, you’re not wanting to talk about it. We’ve not known each other very long, and I don’t expect anything to change between us.”

    Clark sat back observing her.

    “What?” she asked, feeling self-conscious under his questioning gaze.

    “You’re not like other women.”

    “Is that a bad thing?”

    He remained silent as she ate her food. Clark ate as well, but the silence remained while she waited for him to answer her question.

    “It’s not a bad thing. I’m just not used to it.”

    “You date supermodels and actresses. They know what to talk to you about. I’m a cleaner and a waitress, Clark. I’m not exactly in the know when it comes to you and the company you keep,” she said.

    Clark smiled. The action lit up his whole face. He looked so handsome when he smiled. Her throat became dry. Taking a sip of her milkshake, Bella averted her gaze.

    “You’ve taken notice in the glossy magazines about me,” he said.

    “I’ve seen the stories passing several newspaper stands. You’re a well known guy.” She shrugged finishing up her food. Clark ordered another coffee and a milkshake for her.

    “Yes, I know. Don’t read all the newspapers. The stories are made-up crap,” he said.

    His face darkened. Swallowing past the sudden lump in her throat, Bella looked at him. “Which stories?”

    “All of them.”

    “So, you haven’t slept with porn stars?” she asked, smiling.

    “Well, there wasn’t a lot of sleeping involved.”

    Bella burst out laughing at his joke. His wicked smile sent tingles throughout her smile.

    Another hour later they were ready to leave.

    “Come on, I’ll take you home.”

    She climbed into his car and strapped herself in waiting for him to start the car. Clark wouldn’t allow her to pay for their meal. She’d enjoyed every second with him talking. He wasn’t dark or brooding but fun.

    He parked outside her apartment. She turned to him, grabbing a key out of her bag.

    “Thank you so much for tonight. I really do appreciate the lift and the food.”

    “I’m glad. I enjoyed spending time with you.”

    Bella climbed out of the car as Clark leaned in close. She didn’t want to know what he was about to do. Men were off limits and especially him. Clark was a player. She’d read enough about him to know he loved women. Bella had also seen an interview where he’d spoken quite clearly about never being in a long term relationship.

    She waved at his car from the door before making her way up to the third floor where her apartment was. Once inside, she slid the locks into place then made her way straight for the bathroom. The scent of lemon permeated the air.

    After a quick shower, she set her alarm for nine and then eased down under the blankets. Her mind playing over the night, Bella wondered what had happened. His attention didn’t make any sense. She wasn’t pretty like his models, and she was sure he’d leaned in to kiss her.

    Thinking about his lips made her shiver. Her pussy melted as heat swept through her. Frank never left her feeling so passionate even after a night together.

    Running her fingers through her hair, Bella cut off all of her thoughts. Her imagination was running wild. Clark wasn’t going to kiss her or try to do anything with her. She wasn’t worth his time.


    Clark drove home feeling like he’d missed out on a kiss. He’d leaned in close intending to kiss her sweet, plump lips, and she’d moved away from him. Why had she moved away from him?

    Going back the way he came, Clark ignored the passing scenery. His only intention was making it home. There were many nights he’d gone without sleep.

    Since his obsession with the lovely Bella, his sleeping patterns had changed to match hers.

    He didn’t like her being in an apartment in an area of the city he didn’t trust. There were a lot of things he didn’t like about his woman’s current lifestyle. The fact she’d skipped lunch and dinner annoyed him. He liked her appetite. Dating women who ordered salads or soup irritated him. Clark remembered a time when he’d loved the slenderness of a woman. Now, he found their eating habits and their neurotic obsession with weight annoying. On several dates they’d talked non-stop about other actresses and models with fatter figures or slimmer figures. He was tired of hearing about weight, food, and the damn celebrity business.

    Parking his car into the parking lot of the apartment complex, Clark made his way up to the penthouse suite. The large windows overlooked the city. He walked over to them the instant he closed the door behind him. Pulling at the tie around his neck, Clark threw the tie away and loosened a couple of buttons.

    His life was changing. Being in the public eye was losing its appeal, and if he was honest with himself, a family started to look more appealing every day.

    Several of his friends were settled down with a couple of kids while he remained single, living the bachelor lifestyle. He recalled the conversation he’d had with John at their garden party the other month. The last of the summer rays had been dying away, and the guests were gone. He’d watched John reading to his little girl before she went to bed. John’s wife had come out to the garden to take their daughter into the house.

    “You look happy,” Clark said.

    John smiled at him. “I am. Having a family is amazing. I’m a husband and father.”

    Sipping his beer, Clark looked out toward the garden. “Don’t you ever miss it?”

    “No,” John said.

    “Do you know what I’m talking about?”

    John laughed. “You’re talking about women. Do I miss women and having a new woman in my bed every night?”

    Clark nodded. His friend let out a sigh.

    “You’re sleeping with the same woman, John. I remember a time when you’d never settle down. Sleeping with different women was your thing.”

    “Exactly, it was my thing. Not anymore.”

    He waited for his friend to elaborate. “You’re not going to let this go, are you?” John asked.


    After several seconds, John sat forward. “Sleeping with lots of women wasn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. Yeah, it was fun. I didn’t know the women I was fucking, and I didn’t care. When I’m with Samantha, I care. There is a connection between us. When I’m with her, I do everything I can to please her. There is not some quick release and then leaving her alone. I love watching her come apart. When I go to work every day, I know I’ve got someone to come home to. I love my family, and my life is a hell of a lot fuller for being with them. I don’t envy your bachelor lifestyle, Clark, and I wouldn’t go back to one either.”

    John’s words came back to Clark. Since that night he’d not been able to stop thinking about Bella. She’d been in his thoughts but never as bad as it was now. He stayed behind at work to see her and waited for her to leave. Waiting for her to speak to him was new for him. Women spoke to him all the time trying to gain his attention. Bella did nothing. Even in the car she hadn’t tried to instigate a kiss; she’d run from him.

    Closing the blinds, Clark shut out the world. Tomorrow was Thursday, and he looked forward to the end of the day more than he did the beginning. Going to the fridge, he grabbed a glass of milk before heading to bed. He checked his phone to see several calls and messages from the women he’d been seeing in the last month.

    Call one of them and fuck Bella right out of your system.

    He didn’t want to. Cancelling all of the messages and calls, Clark climbed into bed alone. He’d not been to bed alone in years.

    His aversion to relationships stemmed from when he was a teenager. The girl he’d given his heart to had crushed him by dating his brother instead. Clark thought about Tonya. She was his age and had been his best friend. Tonya was now married to his brother, and they had three children. His brother, Seth, adored Tonya, and their relationship was strong.

    Clark’s parents were still married and their love stronger than ever. He loved his family even though he avoided them. Family occasions annoyed him as his parents were always trying to set him up on dates. His parents didn’t approve of his lifestyle.

    He recalled his father’s comment last Christmas.

    “Son, watching you parade a load of women around on the television is not what I wanted for my boy. I’m proud of what you’ve done with yourself. I know you didn’t want to be anything other than your own businessman However, you’re going to regret your life if you continue with this. You're breaking your mother’s heart. You deserve a good girl to settle down with.”

    At the time he’d thought his father was nagging him again. He wasn’t made the way his parents or his brother were. Closing his eyes, Clark tried to forget about Bella. She wasn’t like his other women, but she wasn’t in his future either.

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