The personal questions unnerved her. She didn’t like talking about her past as that’s where she wanted her past to stay and never come out. Munching on the noodles, Bella waited for him to start talking.
“Why don’t you have any photos?” he asked, ignoring her question.
She finished eating and placed the carton back on the table. Why did this have to be so hard? This was why she kept to herself. The hours she worked stopped her from attaching herself to people. The diner was perfect as none of the staff had time to talk. Some of the girls tried to get her to go out, but she refused because of her second job. Working in Clark’s building took her late into the night when everyone was home. If anything, she talked to the security guard on the way out of the building, no interactions at all that left her feeling out of place.
“I don’t have any photos to put up,” she said. “I don’t like these questions, and I’d prefer to know about you.”
Her mother never owned a camera, and there were never any photos of the happy times when she lived with her mother. She didn’t own a single photo of her time growing up. Talking about growing up made people pity her. Bella had learned that lesson with past boyfriends, especially when they threw the guilt back in your face. Frank, her last boyfriend, was a prime example of him throwing her past in her face. His excuse for staying with her for so long was because he felt pity for her. He didn’t want to leave her after he found out about her past. How fucked up was that? Not only that, he liked to slap her a little bit as well. The more Bella thought about her past with Frank, the happier she was to have gotten away from him.
She’d learned from her past mistakes. Men didn’t really want to know the truth unless it was sunshine and roses. Her past was anything but sunshine and roses. There was no way she’d be telling Clark about her past. Her past was for her to know and for no-one to find out.
“I’m not going to get past your walls, am I?” he asked.
“No,” she said not even pretending to not know what he meant.
“Okay, what do you want to know?” he asked, picking up another carton.
“Whatever you want to tell me.” She wasn’t lying. Bella liked the thought of Clark being her friend. He was funny and sweet. Their lives didn’t need to conflict. He was a businessman while she cleaned his building.
“I’m forty-five years old. I’m not married, and I run a successful business.”
“I know all this. I’ve read some stuff about you in the paper. Shouldn’t you be married with an heir or something to take over your growing fortune?” she asked, smiling.
Clark chuckled. She liked the sound as it made goose-bumps erupt all over her flesh.
“That’s very old-fashioned. No, no heir. My family are really happy for what I’ve achieved. My dad is proud of me forging my own way.”
“And there’s no woman on the scene?” she asked.
He shook his head, but his smile fell.
“Come on, tell me?” She touched his arm, and an answering spark of electricity worked its way up her arm.
“There was someone a long time ago.”
“What happened?” she asked. Her appetite vanished as he spoke.
What was wrong with her? There was no way they could ever be an item. They were from different worlds, and she never wanted her life to be mixed with his. She'd never be the type of woman to mingle in high society.
Her education was lacking, and she didn’t come from money.
It doesn’t mean I can’t want him from a distance.
“Are we going to do this?”
“Do what?” She lifted her gaze to his.
“Haven’t you ever had a girl that’s a friend?” she asked.
“No, I fuck every woman I know.”
She swallowed down the food she’d been chewing. Fucking. Wow, Bella couldn’t believe her body responded at such a crass word. Her nipples tightened, and her pussy flooded with warmth.
“Then yes, we’re friends.”
He kept staring at her. His intense gaze made her uneasy. “Can I trust you?”
Bella frowned. “Why couldn’t you trust me?”
“There are people out there who want to see me fall. I’ve made a lot of enemies because of my success.”
She shrugged. “Tell me the people, and I’ll remember to cross them off my list. I’ll never be their friend. I promise, Clark, I’m being serious. I think it’ll be cool to be your friend.”
Bumping his shoulder, she grabbed the remote from the small table she kept by the sofa. Turning on the television she averted his attention to the small screen. “This is the biggest television you own?” he asked.
“Yes. I don’t watch a lot of television.” She flicked through the channels as he cursed.
“If we’re friends then this is not acceptable.”
“What’s not acceptable?” She paused in turning on the television.
“If we’re going to be friends then you need a bigger screen, and you're going to need beer in the fridge.”
“Are you planning on invading my life now?” she asked. “I’m not accepting any gifts from you, Clark Anderson. You can keep your money in your bank account. I’m happy with everything I’ve got.”
Was she making a huge mistake? Clark was used to having one thing from the women he dated. She wasn’t that kind of woman, and she didn’t want to get involved with a man way out of her league.
Stop over-analysing. There is no way Clark could want you. Relax and enjoy this new friendship you’ve created.
Clark settled back on the sofa feeling a little out of place. Friends? They were going to be friends and nothing more.
You don’t just want to be her friend. You want to be more and have more with her.
He turned to stare at her. Her brown hair was tucked behind her ear, giving him a good view of her face. Her skin looked so soft and made him want to reach out and stroke it. The movie she’d picked filled the silence. Reaching his hand behind her head, he played with her hair. She didn’t stop him or slap his hand away. Clark twiddled the length of her hair between his fingers relishing the newfound closeness he’d discovered with her.
After a couple of hours Bella stood up and stretched. He gulped past the lump in his throat as her rounded stomach peeked from beneath the jeans and shirt she wore. Full women had never appealed to him until now.
What was it about Bella Hawkins that called to him? He could have his pick of any woman, and yet he was sat in Bella’s apartment eating Chinese without the promise of a fuck. He felt dirty at his thoughts. Fucking wasn’t everything.
“I’ve got to call it a night,” she said.
“Are you throwing me out of your apartment?” He stood, hoping she wouldn’t spot his raging arousal.
“I’m sorry, but I am.”
He looked down at the leftover Chinese. “Let me help you put these in the trash.”
“Absolutely not. These are perfect for leftovers.” She started picking up the cartons and moved toward the fridge. He followed her with several more cartons. “These will be perfect for me over the next few days, and you can come by anytime and help me finish them.”
He’d stick to that invitation. She saw him to the door.
“I had fun tonight,” he said and meant it. Clark had never thought simply sitting with a woman could be so much fun. Most of the women he dated ended up on their back by the end of the evening. He loved sex and wasn’t ashamed of his need for it. Bella made him want so much more.
Shit, he was turning into a fucking pussy like his friends before him.
“I had fun as well. You’re really good company, Clark. I’ll see you tomorrow?” she asked. She’d put her hands in the pockets at the back of her jeans, and her tits were thrust up as if on some glorious display.
“Yeah, you’ll see me tomorrow,” he said, taking every effort not to drop his gaze to her chest. He leaned down and kissed her cheek. “Good night.”
He turned away and went around the back to get his car. Clark breathed a sigh of relief when he saw it was still intact. Maybe her neighbourhood wasn’t so bad after all.
Clark made it back to his apartment in good time. He probably broke several speeding laws on his way, but he got home in one piece. It was a little after two in the morning. He threw his keys on the kitchen counter and went straight to his bedroom. A woman in red lingerie was laid on his bed with a seductive smile on her lips.
“Hello, handsome. I was wondering when you were going to get home.”
“Cherrie, what are you doing here?” he asked, recognising the model he'd dated last year. How had she gotten into his apartment?
She climbed off the bed. “You haven’t been in touch. The last time we talked you gave me your key.” Cherrie pulled his apartment key from between her breasts. “If you never responded to my call then I was to let myself in and make myself at home.”
He gazed down her thin frame. She was perfect model thin, and he saw the outline of her ribs even though she wasn’t breathing in or stretching. Running a hand down his face, Clark wondered how he was going to get her out of his space. He must have been drunk when he gave her a spare key. None of his women were allowed inside his apartment without his say-so.
She reached around the back and removed her bra. Her breasts stayed where they were. She’d gotten a breast enlargement for a job she’d been working on. Her breasts were unnaturally large, but now they looked more fake than he remembered from the last time they’d been together.
Bella’s were full and real. He saw how real they were in the way she moved. Her breasts moved with her whereas Cherrie’s stayed in one place.
At the sight of the model’s body, Clark didn’t get any reaction. He’d fucked Cherrie numerous times, but he couldn’t find anything attractive about her now. His cock remained flaccid in his pants.
“I didn’t invite you back to my apartment,” he said. “It’s late. I’m tired.”
He needed to tread carefully. Cherrie was prone to overreact, and he wasn’t in the mood to deal with her drama.
She rubbed her hands over her breasts. “Come on, Clark. I know you want to fuck me. You always want to fuck me.” Cherrie went to her knees and crawled to him. Clark closed his eyes as a wave of disgust swept through him.
Cherrie reached him and opened the first button of his pants.
“Stop!” Clark shouted the word. Cherrie stopped.
“What? This is what you want. This is what you always want,” she said.
Gone was the seductress, and in her place was the whining woman.
“I didn’t give you permission to enter my apartment. I want you to leave. I haven't seen you in over a year, Cherrie. If I see you again, I’ll have you done for trespassing on my personal property.” He grabbed the coat from his chair and threw it at her.
“You’re an evil bastard,” she said, jerking the coat back on.
“Get the fuck out.” He followed her to his door and slammed it in her face. Next, he called security to warn them about her presence.
Staring at the sheets in his room, Clark decided on the sofa for his night’s sleep. How had his night turned into a fucking nightmare?
The next few days flew by, and before Bella knew it, the following weekend was there. Every night during the week Clark had been waiting for her in his building. Some nights they went to the diner to eat and others he dropped her home without going inside with her. She didn’t mind as some nights their friendship confused her. Clark talked a lot about his work, and she got the feeling he didn’t talk with anyone else. His own friends were settled down with children. He liked to talk about them a lot. She didn’t mind listening. He stopped asking her questions about her past. Turning over in her bed, Bella checked the time on her alarm clock. It was gone nine on a Saturday morning. She’d gone shopping last night after finishing work early at the diner. Bella switched on the radio and climbed out of bed. Walking into the bathroom, she cleaned her teeth and started a shower. Once her shower was finished, she dressed in a long denim skirt and pink jumper. The weather looked chill
Bella had never intended on talking about her past boyfriend. Clark shared so much with her even though he didn’t need to. The trust he displayed made her wish for the same kind of ease to share all of her troubled thoughts with him. Biting her lip, she stared out of the window. The only way for her to talk with him about Frank was if she wasn’t looking at him. “What about Frank?” Clark asked. “He was my last boyfriend. I thought he was amazing. He worked in a bank as some kind of accountant. I met him in the supermarket, and we hit it off. He asked me out on a date. I jumped at the chance to see him. I was a fucking fool. I can’t believe I gave so much of my life to him.” She shook her head remembering how quickly she’d fallen for his charm. Frank had been heavily built with brown hair and the kindest eyes she’d ever seen. He knew what to say to make her feel special. All Frank had been doing was spinning her lies. Frank knew what to say, even though he never meant an
The day at the art exhibition was fantastic. Bella couldn’t imagine a better way of spending her time than with Clark. He was sweet, and his friends were great. She saw how relaxed he was around his them. Bella wished she had her own set of friends she was as comfortable around as Clark was with his friends. Afterward at the Italian restaurant she’d sensed a lot of people paying attention to them. The restaurant made her nervous. Everything about Clark’s richer way of life made her nervous. She didn’t like feeling less than he was. When he started with his money and being able to pay for certain things she could never afford, it put her on edge. His money meant nothing to her, but the way his friends stared at her made her think they were assuming the worst. She’d never be a gold-digger. The concept of using a man for money disgusted her. Bella was more than happy making her own living. She earned enough to keep her going. The bills she kept in the safe would be paid without c
Clark’s family was huge, and Bella saw they all loved each other. The display of affection was making her yearn for something similar. There would be no happy family gatherings for her and no public displays of affection. If anything, her mother would proposition Clark after already getting blind drunk. She’d not seen her mom in years, and the thought of returning to the trailer where she used to live filled her with fear. His mom turned to look at her. She had expected to see the disappointment or some other emotion of disgust. What she got was a large smile, and then she was pulled into his mom’s arms. She turned her gaze to Clark wondering what to do. “You need to wrap your arms around her, dear,” the older man who looked like Clark said. The others chuckled. Bella smiled along with them and wrapped her arms around the woman. The older woman smelt so comforting. Her vanilla scent helped to calm Bella’s nerves. “Penny, dear, I think you’re scaring the wom
One month later. Bella placed the food down in front of her regular customer. She waited for them to ask for something else. When they ignored her, she walked toward the next customer. She checked the clock on the far wall to see how long she had left before it was time to start heading for her other job. Her time with Clark was the best part of her day. Their time at his family’s home had really cemented their friendship. After she’d promised to always be in his life, Clark had held her close, and their friendship deepened. They were no longer the Billionaire business man and the cleaner in her mind. They were simply Clark and Bella, two friends who enjoyed spending time together. He was her first real friend, and she adored him. She checked the clock again to see if the hands had moved faster. This was how her life had become, clock watching. She grabbed the cloth and started wiping down surfaces while also taking used plates and trays back into the kitchen. The othe
Tiredness consumed Bella, and for once she was pleased she wasn’t cooking. Clark drove them to his apartment. Her eyes widened at the sheer size of the building in front of her. He punched in some numbers, and then he was driving underneath the building. “You live here?” she asked. “Yeah. It’s nothing like my parents’ home, but this is where I live when I’m not with them.” “This is insane. I can’t believe you want to spend time with me when you could be here.” “It’s lonely, Bella.” She kept her mouth closed after that statement. Clark had opened his heart to her the last time they were at his parents’ house. “I’m sorry.” “Don’t worry about it.” He parked the car, and together they made their way up to his apartment. She stared at their reflections in the metal door of the elevator. Clark wore a designer business suit while she wore her cleaning uniform. They were like chalk and cheese. Her old tattered purse dangled in front of her legs. They were p
Bella opened the mail on Saturday morning and almost spit the coffee she’d been drinking all over the door. She’d been sent a bonus for her cleaning work and the amount had her gasping for breath. Looking over the numbers she decided the amount had to be a mistake. She went down to the pay phone they kept in the building. Putting a few quarters into the machine, she punched in the number for the company where she worked. Once she reached the boss she asked her about the amount. The amount was correct, and the bonus would be paid in full. All she needed to do was take the check to her bank and cash it. Gazing down at the amount she wasn’t paying attention as someone knocked on the door. Looking up she saw Clark stood with a key in hand. He was unlocking the door as she made her way over to him. “What’s the matter?” he asked. “I’ve been sent a bonus.” She lifted the check up for him to see. “Do you have anything to do with this?” He took the check from her. “
Christmas at the Andersons’. Bella waited for Clark to pick her up. It was Christmas Eve, and everything had been arranged for him to collect her on his way to his parents’ house. He’d stopped off at his office building prior to picking her up. She checked her suitcase for the hundredth time then all of her bags to make sure she’d packed the presents. Her stay with the Andersons would last until the New Year. She looked forward to bringing in the New Year with them. Tucking her hair behind her ear, she pushed her glasses up her nose before putting on her coat. She sat waiting until finally there was a knock on her door. Clark stood with his hands in the air in surrender. “I’m sorry. Traffic was a nightmare. Is this everything?” he asked, grabbing some of her bags. “Yeah, this is everything.” “It’s snowing out.” He warned her as they got to the ground floor. She followed him out the door and around to his car. He’d put snow tires on the instant the bad weath