Falling For Him
She turned when she heard the masculine voice, a big smile coming to her lips as her brown eyes locked with stormy blue orbs. She extended her arm happily, shaking hands with the man holding a manila folder in his free hand. He flashed her a kind smile, his eyes scanning her body quickly before returning his gaze to her face. “Aaliyah,” she introduced, slipping her hand away from his.
“Just call me Aiden,” he spoke, motioning for her to sit down. Aaliyah obeyed the redheaded man; sitting down nervously and folding her hands in her lap, watching him take a seat in front of her. He wasn’t much taller than her, guessing he was only about five foot three. She watched him as he opened the folder, sorting through papers. He was attractive; she wasn’t going to lie. The man seemed perfect, not one blemish on his handsome face and straight, white teeth. She eyed him a bit longer, noticing the little ponytail he had at the nape of his neck. His stormy blue eyes lifted, knocking her out of her inspection. “So, you want this job? You want to be the new assistant to Vance?”
“…Vance?” She remembered walking up to the giant building, a large D at the very top of the building. She knew that his last name was Drake, but never found out what his first name was. He was in several magazines, getting voted as the Most Eligible Bachelor once or twice, but Aaliyah never really paid any attention to the wealthy man. She had a boyfriend after all.
“Yes, my boss who owns this company,” he told her with a teasing smile. “You do know who you’ll be working for if I agree to hire you, don’t you?”
“Y-Yes,” she stammered, her cheeks flushing. “I just–”
“He likes to be called by his first name.” He closed the folder, “Listen, you seem like a really nice girl and all he needs is a new assistant.”
“…Can I ask what happened to his last assistant?”
Aiden didn’t answer quickly, letting out a nervous laugh as he recalled the incident where he heard yelling coming from Vance’s office, then no evidence of his assistant ever being in the office when he entered once summoned. “He got on his bad side and thus, he doesn’t work here anymore.”
Her face faltered. ‘Great, GREAT! Just my luck! My boss is probably some big asshole who treats everyone like complete crap. But, this is your chance to get a high-paying job, so don’t turn it down! I need the money since mommy dearest and my evil stepfather cut me off financially.’ “Oh,” came her weak response, forcing a small smile to her pink glossed lips. ‘He even seems scared of him…that’s not a good sign.’
“Other people came in before you, Aaliyah. To tell you the truth, I didn’t like any one of them. One had horrible body odor, one was too much of a valley girl, and the last was so nervous he began to sweat uncontrollably.” He gave her a toothy grin, “I like you, and so you’re hired. Do your job well, don’t piss off Vance, and you’ll be just fine here! Everyone is quite nice here, even if you did hear that our boss is a hard ass.”
He was right; she did hear things about this ‘Vance’ character. He was a womanizing, power-hungry man that didn’t care about anyone but himself. He treated people as if they were nothing, using them for his advantages without hesitation. Basically, he was a man that no one wanted to deal with or they feared him, and if they were involved with Vance, it was all for the interest of getting money.
“I’m hired–that easily?”
“Yes. You want this, don’t you?”
He laughed at her eager response, “You’ll be paid weekly and I’m quite sure you’ll be satisfied with your salary. I would let you meet your boss, but he’s out of town at this very moment. You’re probably wanting to know why I hired you so easily-”
“My resume?” She asked suddenly.
“That and my boss wanted a new assistant by the time he got back. He didn’t care as to whom; he just wanted one. Nobody likes his bad side,” he murmured. “Keep him happy and…no lives will be taken!”
Aaliyah let out a little laugh that was curtly ended as she stared at the man. ‘He didn’t sound like he was kidding.’ She stood with him, shaking his hand as his handsome smile remained on his face. “…When do I start?”
“Next Monday! Don’t be so nervous, you’ll have fun here. Trust me—though, things can get a little crazy around here, but you’ll be just fine.”
“…What do you mean?” Her smile was no longer on her lips. ‘Maybe I should reconsider, but no! I need money and I need to get out of that crappy ass apartment I live in! Fight, Aaliyah, fight! Stay here and suck it up for the money! When I get enough, I can move out of that cockroach infested complex and get a nicer apartment!’
“You’ll see,” he replied with a secretive smile that made her slightly uncomfortable.
Aiden watched as the attractive brunette left the building, standing in front of one of the large windows that gave a first-rate view of the city. The redheaded demon loosened his tie with an annoyed scowl, having a hatred for ties. Whipping out his cell phone from his comfortable slacks, he called Vance, yawning tiredly as he ran a hand through his red hair. After several rings, he heard a voice from the other line.
“Sir! I found an assistant!”
“Ah!” He snapped his fingers, “You’re speechless because of my abilities to find a new assistant so quickly!”
“I’m wondering if this assistant will end up as another nuisance.”
“Of course not! You’ll love her!”
He noticed the interest that came into his deep voice, “Eh, yes. But, I don’t think she’s as easy as the assistant way back when. She starts Monday. She’s a delight; there will be no need to take out your anger on her. Her name is Aaliyah Duncan-”
He continued to ramble, something he did often. Something that annoyed Vance to no end, but he kept the demon around because he served as his amusement also. He tested the name in thought as he rode in the back of the sleek limo, his amber eyes drifting out of the tinted window.
“She better be just as you have described her,” he interjected, the limo coming to a stop.
“She won’t be a bother like the rest. She’s attractive, nice personality—sir, you’ll be pleased.” ‘Let’s hope…’
Please Allow Me To Introuce Myself
Aaliyah tossed her brown hair into a ponytail as she left her bathroom, smiling instantly as her black cat came running up to her. Brushing against her legs slowly as a cry came out, she bent down to pick up her black cat, laughing lightly as he nudged her cheek roughly.
“I know, I know, you’re starving. I always tend to forget to feed you…”
As she entered her small kitchen, she placed him down, getting out the bag of Meow Mix as he sat impatiently next to his bowl. “I don’t think I’ll be fit to have children if I can’t remember to feed my own cat that has been with me for years! Right, Pooka?”
Pooka ignored her, his eyes set on the food that was pouring into his silver bowl. Aaliyah stood up straight once she finished, watching him greedily attack the once bare bowl. “Tomorrow I start my new job and as soon as I get the money, I’ll buy you treats and everything. You deserve it, putting up with starvation half of the time,” she trailed off, looking over her shoulder when she heard the doorknob rattling. She smiled to herself, knowing that it was either her best friend or boyfriend.
That loud voice could only belong to her best friend, Belle Russle. Aaliyah waved, almost drooling when she caught scent of the Chinese food in a plastic bag. Belle closed the door, slipping her spare key in her jean pocket as she made her way to her friend. “I see you picked up some great food!”
“Of course! I figured you were either too lazy to cook or didn’t have anything to cook,” she told her, putting the bag on the counter. “I got everything you like, so you’ll be satisfied. Listen, I was looking at some apartments that I could get for you–”
“Belle,” she warned lightly, reaching into the bag. “I know you want to help me out and everything, but so far I’ve been okay on my own.”
Belle Russle happened to come from a wealthy family, her father the CEO of a trading company. She met the girl in high school and ever since, they were inseparable. Belle tended to be a spoiled brat, but she was much better than most. She loved helping people out, donating money and clothes while people thought she was stuck-up and only cared about herself. They didn’t know how wrong they were. She wanted to help Aaliyah pay rent, wanted to get her an apartment, but the girl was being to damn stubborn!
“This tiny ass box you call a apartment is not okay.”
“You have bugs,” she whimpered, shuddering as the mentioning of insects. “Call the terminator.”
She laughed out loud, “You mean exterminator?”
Belle wasn’t too bright at times either. She should’ve been a blonde, but instead she came from an interracial couple and her skin was tan with brunette hair. Sometimes people thought she was a blonde in disguise with some of the stuff that slipped from her mouth. Her own parents thought so as well. “Yeah, sure.”
“I don’t have the money…”
She sighed loudly, “Have you talked to your mom yet? I’m sure she’ll help you out. There was never any reason to cut you off financially.”
“Yes, there was. My mom and I never had a great relationship and after my dad left, she didn’t like looking at me since I have a lot of his features. Also, the new man she married just…I don’t know why, but he hated me from the start. He brainwashed her to cut me off, I bet.”
“…Well, their loss,” she replied with a smile. “They are missing out on what a great girl you are. Hey, on a better note, did you get the job?!”
Aaliyah gasped after taking a bite of her chicken, “I did! I start tomorrow! I-I’m really nervous.”
“Don’t be! Just be on time and you’ll be just fine. There’s no reason for you to get fired unless you’re late or very annoying. You’ll be working for Vance Drake, won’t you?”
“…Yeah. I didn’t get to meet him when I went in, but he seems…okay I guess.” ‘Yeah right! What if he screams at me on my first day? I’ll freak out and scream back at him–then I’ll lose my job because I don’t know how to keep my mouth shut,’ she thought to herself, taking a bite of her shrimp fried rice. Feeling her black cat rub against her leg, she carelessly dropped a piece of chicken onto the kitchen floor, glancing down to watch Pooka eat it.
“My dad met him once, at a company party. He said Vance was completely eyeing my mom. Haha, what a pervert. I was too busy eyeing some piece of meat myself, so I didn’t notice, but I have no respect for men that checks out mothers when their family is right there.” She raised her brows as she took a seat, searching through her food with the chopsticks. “Have fun with that new job of yours. Call me after you get out to tell me how it went!” Seeing the look on her face, she laughed, “Don’t be so nervous! You’re a great girl, he’ll fall right in love with you!”
Aaliyah shifted uncomfortably in the elevator, clearing her throat as she eyed her outfit. Bringing her eyes up as the elevator stopped, she nervously stepped out, clutching her purse as she looked around. Two men passed her, giving her glances and she couldn’t help but stare at them as they gazed at her, their eyes colors extraordinary.
‘Contacts, has to be contacts. No one has that eye color,’ she thought to herself, tearing her gaze away from them to only see Aiden.
He gave her a cheeky smile, making his way to her and handing her the styrofoam cup of coffee. She stared at it for a moment before returning the smile, thanking him. She glanced down at her outfit, black gauchos covering her long legs and a cream-colored tank top covering her upper half, “I’m dressed all right, aren’t I?”
He eyed her without shame, lingering longer than he should have. “Yes, you are. I said casual. Did you think I meant stuffy suit by casual?”
“I would give anything to be in what you’re wearing instead of this damned suit,” he murmured, giving a tug to his tie after taking a sip of his own coffee.
Aaliyah laughed, tucking strands of her brown hair behind her right ear. “I don’t think you’ll look too good in a tank top and gauchos.”
Aiden gave her a grin, “I’m afraid you’re right. I don’t even want a mental image of that sight.” Putting his hand on the small of her back, he started to lead her down the hall. She let out a laugh, vaguely wondering how such a nice man could put up with a man like Vance. He didn’t describe him as too nice, so she found it odd as to why he stuck around.
“Yes, he is! He’s in his office making a few calls; so let me show you where your desk is. You’ll be answering calls there, but making no personal calls. Well, you can, just don’t get caught by Vance. If you’re caught, just tell him that I told you it was okay or something like that.”
“Wha–I couldn’t do that–”
“Don’t worry. What could he do to me? He needs me around, he won’t get rid of me or anything.” He sighed, “I’m always getting in trouble for one reason or another. It’s not that big of a deal.” He removed his hand from her back as they reached her large desk, Aaliyah eyeing the plain sight and mentally deciding that she would definitely decorate with a few knick-knacks and pictures. Her eyes lifted to the large D that was just above her desk on the wall.
“So, stay right here and I’ll go inform Vance on your arrival.”
Before she could respond, he was gone behind a black door, leaving her by herself. Standing in silence, her brown eyes drifted to the several cubicles a few feet away. Men and women were working quietly on their computers, several standing and talking silently to each other. Her eyes landed on a glass resting near a computer, red liquid filling it up. She let her gaze drift to the man next to the glass, his skin noticeably pale. She raised a brow, briefly wondering if he was sick or just didn’t enjoy getting any sunlight.
Hearing Aiden’s voice knocked her away from her thoughts, her gaze returning to the redhead to see him poking his head out from the office. She swallowed thickly, flattening out the imaginary wrinkles of her tank top as she made his way over to him. His head disappeared and he pushed the door open for her, standing aside as she entered the office.
It was huge, too spacious for just one man and his desk.
The dark paintings littering his wall caught her attention first, her brown eyes sweeping over the dark strokes of black and red that was the main colors in the paintings. Her eyes landed on a picture near the desk, consisting of one angel with black wings sprouting from his back.
‘…I’ve seen paintings like those before. They represent fallen angels–’
“You must be Aaliyah Duncan.”
Her eyes snapped to his, brown clashing with golden amber.
Her mouth went dry as their eyes remained locked, his deep voice sending shivers down her spine. Once she found the power to tear her gaze away from his, she took in his disheveled inky black hair, his bangs falling over his eyes.
His eyes were beautiful, drawing her in and hypnotizing her once again.
“I–yes,” she murmured lamely, watching him get up from his black desk. No pictures were placed on his desk, merely scattered sheets of paper and a laptop. He made his way to her as if he were stalking his prey, his large hand extending to her own. She glanced to his hand briefly before lifting her slender hand, shaking his as she lifted her gaze up to his own.
He was gorgeous. Why wasn’t he married?!
‘No doubt he probably has a girlfriend, though.’ She let a smile come to her lips, “Nice to meet you, sir.” ‘Well, he’s making a first good impression. Maybe Aiden was exaggerating…and those are contacts. They have to be. What’s up with colored contacts in this place?’
“Just call me Vance. We’ll be working together, so why not be comfortable with each other right off the bat?”
Aaliyah nodded numbly, Aiden watching from the door as their eyes remained locked. He smiled to himself, noticing the amount of interest that entered the golden orbs of his boss. Vance removed his hand from her own, briefly noting on how soft her skin was. He vaguely speculated if her entire body was just as soft as he gave her one last glance, but pushed it aside as he let a smile creep to his lips.
“Welcome to Drake Corporation, Aaliyah.”
“Now, Aaliyah…if you’ll please excuse us. I’d like to talk to Aiden for a moment.”
She gave him a bright smile, nodding, “Of course. It was nice finally being able to meet you sir—Vance.”
The smile remained on the redheads face as Aaliyah exited the room, closing the black door quietly. Slipping his hands into his pockets, his stormy blue eyes darted to Vance as he stood quietly in the room, his golden eyes fixed on the door. Aiden pointed, his smile widening. “You like her! Tell me I did an excellent job!”
He shrugged. “So was your last assistant.”
“My previous assistant served me,” he growled out lightly, rubbing his temples as his lids slid shut. “In case you didn’t notice, she’s wearing a cross around her neck. I never want to see it again. Looking at it gave me a headache just now. Why is she dressed like that? She’s supposed to be dressed in a suit–”
He nodded slightly, well aware of the fact that the last assistant was an open Satan worshipper. The human was considered sick among other humans, having no issues with Hitler or any other psychopath in history that did horrible things. The man didn’t think Hitler and others had ‘issues’, they were just simply misunderstood. He found his place working for Vance, but since he got on his bad side, Vance no longer wanted to look at him or have him around.
“She has nice skin,” Aiden mumbled absently. “I thought it would be nice to have some casual atmosphere around here, sir. It’s rather stuffy…and she’s cute in those clothes. Don’t you think so?” He slipped a hand from his pocket, scratching behind his ear as he gazed out of the window. When he heard no response from Vance, he continued. “She’ll be behind a desk most of the time, so why care what she is wearing?” His fingers slowed down behind his ear when silence entered the room, his stormy blue eyes returning to Vance. He smiled nervously as the golden eyes remained locked on him, “Y-Yes, of course. Strictly suits.”
“You just wanted to see her in cute clothes,” he bit out, rubbing the bridge of his nose as he closed his eyes once more in annoyance. “Get rid of the necklace.”
He threw his hands up, “What the hell am I supposed to say?! Crosses are banned at Drake Corporation? That will sound pretty ridiculous, if I may say so.”
“Think of something,” he grumbled as he rounded his desk, comfortably taking a seat in his large leather chair. He stared at the demon, watching as he clearly became confused. It was a common occurrence. “Tomorrow, she better be in a suit minus the necklace. If I see that necklace again, she’s fired.”
Aiden gave a pout, a pout that was normally seen whenever he was scolded. “Aw, but she’s my new friend…”
Leaning back in his chair, he watched as Aiden hurried out of the room, closing the door quietly. His golden eyes stared at the door, letting his thoughts drift to his new assistant. She was beautiful; he wasn’t going to deny it. He gave himself permission to eye her body, her long legs and creamy skin drawing him in as soon as he laid eyes on her. Her smile was another thing that attracted him, a sweet action; an action he didn’t receive often. He figured she wouldn’t be around for long. She was a human; she didn’t understand fully how the world worked. She didn’t realize that there were more than just humans on the Earth. She wasn’t aware of the many mysteries and occurrences beyond what she could imagine.
It wasn’t that she was the only human; there were several working for him. He saw them as slaves, nothing more. Pawns in his little game to slowly rise above the humans, to slowly build his empire. His eyes darted to his laptop as it started to beep, indicating that he had received a message in his mail. He allowed his thoughts to drift to his assistant once more before opening his laptop.
‘That smile was rather dazzling…’
“Oh man, he’s in a cranky mood today!” Aiden exclaimed, rounding Aaliyah’s desk and leaning on his elbows, staring at her.
“He doesn’t seem as bad as…you made him out to be,” she said, biting her bottom lip lightly. Maybe he was exaggerating…
“It’s your first day, sweetheart. Just wait.” He paused, sighing loudly. “I don’t mean to scare you. Vance can be a nice guy and have a sense of humor…if he likes you. His sense of humor can be pretty twisted too…”
She raised a brow. “Does he like me?”
“So it seems. He does have a few problems already with you. Geez, he’s never happy with anything I do for him.” He held up his index finger, “One, forget I ever told you to dress like that. Tomorrow, he wants you in a suit, okay? Sorry for the mix-up. I figured he wouldn’t care, but he’s so damn picky…don’t let him know I said that about him either. What we talk about stays between us, okay?”
She smiled slowly, “Okay.” ‘He’s entertaining…’
His middle finger came next, “Two, gotta get rid of the necklace. I didn’t notice it, but…he did.”
‘…My necklace?’ “Um…I’m not allowed to wear jewelry?”
“No, you are! But…just not that or any other cross.”
They had a staring contest before Aaliyah shook her head, puzzled. “Can I ask why?”
“Because…because Vance doesn’t want conflict!” He nodded. ‘Oh, that’s good! I’m using it!’ He gave her a cheeky grin, continuing his explanation. “He doesn’t care what you believe in or whatever, but he doesn’t want your beliefs flaunted around his office, so don’t wear it. You know…what people believe in causes arguments and whatnot, so leave it all at home. Don’t wear that necklace. Ever again. He’ll…throw a fit or something.”
“Oh…” ‘Ookay, does that even make sense? Great. I have some freak of a boss…what the hell did I get myself into? Aiden isn’t so bad, but Vance…he’s gorgeous. WAIT, that’s not what I was currently thinking about. He’s gorgeous, but I think there’s a few things wrong with him.’ “Sorry…it’s just something my good friend gave me. By the way, I like his contacts.”
He blinked innocently, “Contacts? Oh, right…yes, his contacts. Eh, colored contacts are becoming quite popular, aren’t they?”
“Seems like it…” She came to a pause, glancing at a man as he passed them. His eyes drifted to Aaliyah, eyeing the new assistant before a small smile came to his lips. Aaliyah returned the smile before returning her gaze to Aiden. “So…what are you to Vance exactly?”
“What do you mean?”
“Close friend that was hired, his other assistant? You seem really close to him…”
His stormy blue eyes wandered, landing on the rear of a curvy demon heading towards the elevators. As soon as she stepped in, away from his gaze, he returned his attention to the brunette in front of him. “Well, we’ve been together for quite some time.”
“…” Aaliyah stared at him for a moment before her brows rose in realization. “…Ohhh—”
He blushed lightly, “Not like that! Hells no, I’m strictly into fine women such as yourself.”
Aaliyah let her smile widen. ‘He’s a flirt…’
“Let’s just say I’ve been his right hand man for a long time. Around here, I make sure everything runs smoothly and there’s no problems.”
“So, what do you think of Vance so far?”
“Well, he hasn’t show me his so-called bad side you talk about, but he does seem a little…”
Aiden egged her on, wanting to know her thoughts. He had the ability to enter her thoughts and search through them, but he categorized that as an invasion of privacy. He knew the habit of humans, the habit they had of trusting easily. He knew he could get her to tell him almost anything if he continued to worm his way into her, forming a friendship between human and demon. “A little…”
“Creepy,” she blurted, biting her bottom lip. “Don’t tell him I told you he seemed creepy. He just has that…”
Aiden gave her a knowing smile, a glint in his stormy blue eyes. “Aura ‘bout him?” He finished off.
“He gets that a lot.”
‘…Is that a good thing?’
“Now, enough about Vance. Let me explain how the telephone works.” He pointed, “Line one is Vance. You will be able to contact him in his office with that line, vice versa. Every other line is for business partners that call. Easy enough, right? I’m sure you would’ve figured it out without my help. Also, feel free to decorate your space however you like…just don’t make it too colorful.”
“Let me guess, Vance doesn’t like a lot of color?”
He gave her a big smile, snapping his fingers. “Yes! How did you know?”
‘He smiles like a happy little kid getting candy,’ she thought to herself, “His office. All dark setting. Everything is almost black, including the paintings on his wall.”
“Yes, black and red are his favorite colors.” His gaze dropped to his watch, “I have to get going. Duty calls. If you have any questions, feel free to go and ask Vance. He won’t bite.”
Before she could say anything else, he was gone down the hall, his hands stuffed into the pockets of his black slacks. She shifted uncomfortable in her chair, her brown eyes slowly drifting to the black door. For some reason, she didn’t feel as comfortable around Vance as she did with Aiden. Aiden had a carefree attitude with a friendly smile while Vance had a deep, masculine voice with intimidating golden eyes.
‘They’re quite sexy though,’ she thought randomly, frowning to herself afterwards. ‘But I have a boyfriend, so I shouldn’t really be thinking about Vance in that way. He’s my boss too. Anyway, he wears contacts? I can understand if it was Halloween, but it’s not. That’s a little freakish.’ She glanced at a group of chuckling men exiting the elevator, ‘Maybe my boss is just one big, scary freak. I really don’t want to go in and ask him when I have a question…why can’t Aiden be around all the time?’
‘I’d feel a lot better if Aiden was always around at the same time as Vance. Maybe I’m thinking too much into it…’
‘I hope Vance didn’t notice that I checked him out. How embarrassing-’ Her thoughts were disturbed as her brown eyes wandered, meeting up with familiar gold. Silence came and she felt very stupid after several seconds of silence. How long had he been standing there, watching her daydream? She knew she heard her name being called and that she wasn’t going crazy.
She happened to have moments of skipping off into lala land.
She watched as a small smile appeared on his lips, his eyes focused on her own. “Slacking off on your first day?”
“Wha—no! Not at all, I was just—”
He lifted his hand to silence her, raising a brow. “Relax. You don’t have to be so tense.”
Her shoulders slumped, not aware that her shoulders stiffened until she did so.
“You seem to be a little nervous around me,” he mumbled, his smile slowly turning into a knowing smirk.
‘His voice is very…deep and sexy,’ she thought distractedly. “I’m not,” she lied easily.
“All right, if so, you wouldn’t mind joining me to grab some lunch on your first day.”
She wanted to say no, it was on the tip of her tongue, but due to his golden pools staring back at her intently…
After agreeing with him, she asked herself why she didn’t say no. It was a simple, two-lettered word and yet, she couldn’t let it come out. For some reason, there was something about him she couldn’t resist. She didn’t like him, she told herself. She hardly knew him. He was attractive, but it wasn’t enough to go on for her.
He placed two piles of paper on her desk, yellow post-it notes on both piles. She read over them quickly, information on what to do with them written on the post-it notes. As he turned to walk away from her, she opened her mouth to speak, a little noise coming out.
It caught his attention.
He stopped, looking at her over his shoulder. “Yes?”
“Just…us? I mean…for the lunch.”
“Yes. Who else would come?”
“…I was just curious. Never mind.”
Amusement entered his eyes. “Scared to be alone with me?”
“Wha—no, I was just curious,” she told him, her eyes narrowing slightly. Did he just tease her? ‘Maybe it’s not a good idea to glare at him, but he just teased me! Maybe he can tell that I’m lying…I kinda suck at it.’
“Lunch is at one,” he said before walking off, leaving the brunette with her papers.
There was something about that man and she wanted to know what.
Aaliyah silently followed her boss down the long hallway, distantly hearing employees passing them with quick hellos. She was too busy staring at his back, clutching her purse tightly in her hands as they neared the elevator. She came to a stop, waiting with him for the elevator doors to slide open. They stood in silence for several seconds before the quiet atmosphere started to get to her. Flickering her gaze to his tall form, she bit her bottom lip as she eyed his profile. There was no doubt about it; this man could have any woman he wanted. With his strong chiseled jaw and secretive golden eyes, woman must flock to him. She was certain that if he directed a woman to take off her clothes, she would gladly obey.
‘Or maybe that’s just my imagination…’ “Thank you for treating me to lunch,” she blurted quickly.
“Not a problem,” he quietly replied, sending her a glance.
She stared at him, the amusement still noticeable in his eyes. She tore her gaze away from him when she heard a light ‘ding’, the doors sliding open. A group of five exited the elevator and walked off without speaking a word. Aaliyah stepped into the elevator with him, allowing him to push the ‘lobby’ button.
“What did Aiden say about me so far?”
The question caught her by surprise, her brown eyes widening momentarily. ‘Oh no, what do I say? That he made him sound like a huge prick?’ “Not much,” she lied softly, glancing at him from the corner of her eye. He was good-looking with his smile, but the smirk that was planted on his face was downright arresting. She couldn’t tear her gaze away from his devilish smirk.
“I won’t get mad if you tell me what he has said. Aiden can’t help but talk. He rambles and he let’s things slip from that mouth of his.”
“Uh-” She cursed him for putting her on the spot. “You know, he just said…that you have a bad side that no one wants to get on. B-But everyone has a bad side, so that little fact didn’t really bother me!”
“You’re a little jumpy around me,” he pointed out.
She flushed lightly, “He made you sound violent and downright mean,” she admitted, walking out of the elevator with him as they reached their destination. “I guess I shouldn’t really bother lying to you about everything he said…”
“Everyone does it.”
“Does what?” She asked curiously, tilting her head slightly as she walked beside him. She quietly thanked the doorman as he opened the door, her eyes landing on the silver Mercedes-Benz waiting for them. She expected him to have a nice, perfect car with the money he had.
“Lie,” he answered, holding up his car keys to unlock the doors.
“True, but it’s not really right…”
“Who says?” He asked, tossing her a grin as he walked to his side of the car.
Her hand paused on the door handle, a smile coming to her lips at the silly question. That smile caught his full attention without fail. “Well…everyone says it’s wrong to tell a lie!” Climbing in the car, she eyed the interior, wondering if she was sitting in a new car that he got yesterday. She watched as he slipped in the car, somewhat surprised that he didn’t have someone drive him around wherever he needed to go.
“It’s okay to tell a little lie every now and then,” he spoke, starting the car and speeding off into traffic, easily dodging cars.
“…” She buckled her seatbelt after placing her purse on her lap. “I guess.”
“Lies get people out of trouble, correct?”
“They do, but lies just cause more complications and problems.”
“Only if you get caught telling the lies,” he told her with another glance, the corner of his mouth tilted upwards slightly. She leaned back in her seat in defeat, her brown eyes remaining on the mysterious man. Fiddling with her purse, she nodded slowly, glancing out of the window.
“True…where are we eating?”
“Anywhere you want. I personally feel like eating Burger King.”
“You sound a little surprised.”
“Normally…rich people like eating expensive food.”
“Are you stereotyping, Ms. Duncan?”
“N-No! I’m just saying…I’ve met a lot of rich people and they rather go for the outrageously expensive food because they can afford it. It’s like…once people become rich, the little things don’t matter much. I mean, what celebrities pay for clothes is just…insane. I know they know about Wal-Mart, but instead they go buy a $900 shirt that they’ll probably only wear once. They could put good use to their money, like donating. Do you donate?”
He wanted to say yes so she wouldn’t probe for answers with his original answer of ‘no.’ He stared ahead, glancing at the red light that they were encountering. He watched as it turned green as he neared it, his golden eyes drifting back to the cars ahead of him. “Not really,” he finally answered, switching lanes. He didn’t get a response and he sighed inwardly, getting something into his stomach his main concern. He was starving and he wasn’t necessarily in the mood to continue talking about meaningless things such as donating to humans.
Aaliyah figured he was too busy to find time to donate. ‘I’m sure he’ll do it when he feels like it…or something.’ She sat quietly as he pulled into the drive-thru of Burger King, reading the menu as he rolled his window down, ordering for himself. She glanced around the car, feeling a little uneasy. What if she spilled her drink in his car? Got crumbs everywhere? She had several spills in her own car and in Belle’s car. Because of those incidents, her boyfriend gave her the nickname ‘butterfingers.’ She ordered as soon as Vance finished his order, Vance taking that time to let his eyes scan over her.
The necklace was gone. He assumed she stuffed it in her purse as soon as Aiden told her a few hours ago. As she finished her order, he pulled up, waiting behind a van. “So, what do you think of Drake Corporation so far?” He asked quietly.
“…The people are nice, at least ones that I have been able to meet.”
“Did you know that there will be some traveling involved working as my assistant?”
“I did. It sounds fairly exciting. I don’t travel much.” She smiled, relaxing around the man. ‘Aiden was exaggerating! He seems like the type to do so. Vance isn’t really all that bad. He’s been decent all day. I don’t know anything about him, but he seems all right…’ “I’m sure I’ll love working for Drake Corporation and I promise to work well.”
Their eyes met.
‘I think I’ll keep this one around.’
Aaliyah entered her apartment with a sigh, closing the door quietly and glancing upstairs when she heard arguing. Rolling her eyes, she slipped her heels off and smiled as Pooka ran to her, brushing up against her legs. She gladly picked him up, looking over to the living room and letting her smile widen as she recognized the head of curly hair.
“Belle, sure, make yourself at home,” she teased lightly, making her way to the couch.
Belle smiled in response, watching her best friend take a seat. “I forgot what time you got out of work, so I just decided to sit here and wait until you popped up. So, how was the first day? Any cute men besides Vance? I know what Vance looks like, but he’s not my type I guess.”
‘All she thinks about is men.’ “Well…there’s this guy, Aiden. He’s very cute and he has an interesting personality.”
“Hmm, maybe I should meet this very cute Aiden. Is he taken?”
Aaliyah rolled her eyes, “Sorry, forgot to ask. Anyway, it wasn’t too bad. Vance was…okay. He’s a little intimidating, but we somewhat broke the ice today when he took me out for lunch. I was doing most of the talking. He doesn’t seem all that bad.”
“He’s probably just trying to make a first good impression. Hey! I got you a few things for your new job!”
She got off of the couch, Pooka jumping out of Aaliyah’s arms to sit on the floor and watch the lively woman. “Don’t complain about me helping you out! I was shopping today with my dad and just happened to see the cutest suits ever–some even sexy. They’re not all boring and crappy like you see all the middle-aged women assistants wearing.” She hurried off down the short hall, entering Aaliyah’s room and coming back out, a big smile on her face.
“Belle…why do I have a feeling that you spent a lot of money on the suits?” ‘Okay, so maybe I do need some new suits. I only have four and one has a rip…’
“Because I did! Aaliyah, Dolce and Gabbana items do not come cheap. Look at them, aren’t they lovely? Stefano and Dominico are just so talented. I love those two.”
“…Thanks, I really appreciate it, but you really didn’t need to.”
“Oh well, I wanted to. By the way, Jessy called. He says he wants you to call him back because he wants to talk to you about a few things.”
Aaliyah immediately forgot about the new suits as her best friend mentioned her younger brother. Her smile widened, few weeks passing since the last time she was able to see or speak to her openly homosexual brother. He was busy with school and events, also looking for colleges to attend when it came time to leave high school behind. She made a mental note to call her brother, her attention going back to the suits as she went through them. “Well, thanks again Belle.”
“No biggie,” she told her with her normally happy smile, glancing down at her silver watch. “Damn. I think I’m going to be late. I have a date—”
“Hey, I’m almost twenty-five and I have to go through men to find a husband. You know I want to be married before I’m thirty and possibly have a little girl before that age too. I’m the type of person that plans out their life…”
“You have a lot of time, Belle. Besides, you said that you wanted to be married by twenty-two!”
“I would’ve been if a certain jackass didn’t cheat on me with an anorexic model,” she bit out, picking up her purse. Giving her friend a quick hug and a smile, she hurried to the door, waving. “I’ll call after the date to tell you how it went!”
Aaliyah raised a brow, quite sure that the date will be another dud. She always managed to go for the wrong men. “You do that…have fun.” Hearing the door close, she gathered up the suits and headed to her bedroom, hanging them up as they were before in her small closet. Her brown eyes landed on her phone lying on her messy bed, tucking strands behind her ears before sitting down on her bed, dialing a familiar number.
A bored voice reached her ears as the ringing ceased, “Hello?”
“Is that any way to sound with your lovely older sister calling to check up on you?”
“Aaliyah! I was starting to question if you were alive or not.”
“I’ve been really busy and you’re always running around!”
“More like rolling around,” he corrected teasingly.
She rolled her eyes, falling back on her bed and resting her hand on her stomach. “You know what I mean. How are things there?”
“I want to move out. Why can’t I move in with you?”
“One, you’re in a wheelchair. Do you expect me to wheel you up stairs?” He laughed from the other line, “There’s no elevators in this place. Two, there’s only one room. Don’t worry, you’re almost eighteen and you’ll be free to move out of there.”
“I guess you’re right. Two of my friends want me to room with them once I graduate.”
“You sound eager to get out of there.”
“Well, you wouldn’t like it if mom tried to get the gay ‘out’ of you either.”
“…She’s still trying that huh?”
He made a noise in the back of his throat, annoyance lacing his tone. “That she is! She tried setting me up with the next-door neighbor…who’s a valley girl cheerleader. Now, if it were a guy with a valley girl accent, I wouldn’t complain. She’s making me miserable and that new husband of hers is uncomfortable around me.”
“He thinks I’m checking him out or something.”
“No! Aaliyah, he’s too old and not my type. I don’t find him one bit attractive. Enough about me, I heard you have a new job. How is it going?”
“It’s going…good. Today was my first day, so we’ll see how things keep going.”
Aaliyah sat quietly at her desk, sorting through papers as the day dragged on like any other day. For the past two weeks, nothing special happened except for Aiden taking her out to lunch himself once. She didn’t see much of Vance around, being gone for three days out of town and then locking himself up in his office for hours. She didn’t know if she should disturb him or not when he disappeared into his office.
She heard his bad side, hearing him yelling as she came into work. She wasn’t sure who it was, but figured it was probably Aiden since he was the only person that went into his office frequently. Once, she swore that he walked out of the office, but she never saw him go in. She was sitting at her desk the entire time, but assumed he ran in the office when she glanced away. She wasn’t sure.
Her brown eyes lifted to a pale face, a small smile on his lips.
‘The man that needs a little sunlight…’ “You can just call me Aaliyah,” she told him with a smile, taking the paper from him as he held it out to her.
He nodded, the little smile plastered on his face. “Vance wants you to call every number on there, reminding them all of the upcoming meeting that will be held here.” He paused before he continued, his voice soft and calm. “If they don’t answer, make sure to leave a message of all of the information. Tell them that they need to call back and confirm their presence. He’s giving you two days to do so since he has already given you other things to do.”
“All right…thank you.”
“No problem,” the vampire murmured. “Hey, what do you say about going out with me sometime for a bite to eat?”
“Oh,” she let out with a little laugh, “sorry, but I have a boyfriend.”
‘He could come too. Free meals without the chase,’ he thought to himself, his eyes darting to sudden movement. He backed away from her desk when he saw Vance watching him, his stare letting him know that the attractive female was off-limits for any feasting. He gave a slight wave to Aaliyah before heading off, Vance watching him disappear around a corner.
Previous assistants became meals for the vampires in the building when they had an unexpected craving.
He made his way over to her desk, glancing around momentarily before fixing his gaze on her. “Have you seen Aiden?”
“Actually…no.” ‘He’s usually running around here.’ “If I see him, do you want me to tell him you’re looking for him?”
“Yes.” He eyed the pictures on her desk, finding one more interesting than the others. “Your brother?” He asked, motioning to the picture of a boy in a wheelchair. Aaliyah glanced, nodding with a little smile.
“He is. His name is Jessy. He’s seventeen and in high school. It’s his senior year and he’s excited to get out of there.”
Curiosity snuck up on him, “Has he been in a wheelchair all of his life?”
“No. Seven years ago…we were in a car accident. I came out with a few cuts and bruises and…he ended up paralyzed from his waist down.”
He nodded, realizing that he didn’t know much about his new assistant and didn’t bother getting to know her over the weeks. He did, however, pay attention to the small curves that became obvious through her clothing. He would watch her, taking notes of some of her habits that he happened to notice whenever she became confused or upset. He had only seen her upset once after someone groped her without shame, the demon receiving a slap from his assistant. Vance found the amount of fury that entered her brown eyes quite attractive, her attitude showing through his normally nice and perky assistant. She was the type of woman that only let her anger show through when it was needed, but he wouldn’t mind the thought of upsetting her just to see one of her sexy glares.
The ringing of her phone ripped through his thoughts, his eyes dropping to the black device. He waved his hand at her when as she reached for it, “I’ll get it in my office. Get started on making the phone calls.”
She slowly nodded, watching as he disappeared into his office once again. She waited before opening one of her drawers, whipping out a GQ magazine that Belle let her borrow. She eyed the front of the magazine that Vance covered, the issue published three months ago. His elbows were resting on his knees, a playful smirk on his lips as he gazed into the camera with arrogant eyes.
‘No doubt that many teenage girls has his pictures plastered on their walls. He’s probably one of the few good-looking billionaires out there…maybe the only one. Unless, someone finds Donald Trump unbearably sexy.’ She flipped the magazine open, sending one last glance towards his door. If he happened to walk out, she would quickly hide the magazine and pick up the phone, pretending to be speaking.
‘I’ll get to that in just a second,’ she thought to herself, putting the list of names and numbers next to the phone. She found his interview, looking at his other picture for a short time. It was a black and white photo of his face, money falling in the background. She started to read through the interview, never a big fan of reading Q & A sections, but she wanted to see if she could get a glimpse of who he really was.
What kind of women do you go for?
V: Strong women. I want a woman that isn’t afraid to stand up to me and say what is on her mind or how she really feels about me. I want a woman that can drive me crazy with one simple action.
With actions, you mean as in…
V: Laughter, smiles, or how she looks at me.
You seem like the romantic type.
V: I can be, at times. Rarely.
Do you have any secrets?
V: (grins) Plenty.
What’s your biggest secret?
V: (brief pause) Who I really am.
Aaliyah stared at the last line, raising a brow after a few seconds. Her brows knitted together in confusion, reading the line over. ‘What does he mean by that—’ She tossed the magazine under her desk when his door swung open, snatching the phone and placing it to her ear. She heard his voice, lifting her gaze to find him speaking to another employee. He must’ve felt her gaze on him, his eyes darting to her own as a small smile came to his lips.
‘Just who in the hell is this man?’
Aaliyah sighed loudly as she stood in front of the familiar white door, glancing back to the driveway where only her car was occupying it. She was thankful that her ‘parents’ weren’t home, fearing that she’d most likely get into another argument with them. Lifting her hand, she pressed the doorbell, smiling at the tune she recognized when she did so. She heard a muffled voice from behind the door, then a loud noise followed by a string of curses.
Finally, her brother opened the door with a surprised look on his face. “Aaliyah! You could’ve called me!”
“I wanted to surprise you! Are you okay? I heard…”
“I ran into the damn table over there and chipped the wood. Mom is going to flip over her precious wooden table. You know how she is. She sees a fingerprint on her glass cups and she freaks.” He grabbed the wheels of his chair, pushing away from the door to make room for his older sister. Watching her walk in, he reached and pushed the door shut, a smile coming to his lips. “You look good. I thought that since they didn’t give you much money to leave with, you’d be starving and all! Pale, looking like a crack addict, you know.”
She rolled her eyes. “With this new job, I’m getting by. Belle is also helping out when I tell her not too…constantly.”
“She doesn’t listen too well.”
She giggled, nodding. “She doesn’t, does she? Anyway…this place looks nice.”
“It’s too clean. It’s scary. I can’t even leave a magazine lying around.”
“Your magazine probably has gay men in it…”
“Yes, but I can read what I want! Want anything to drink from the kitchen?”
“Sure, but I can get it.” Before he could protest, she was passing him, making her way to the kitchen. “Where are mom and her husband by the way?”
“They heard about a sale at this antique place. They’ll be there for another hour or two.” He paused, hearing the fridge open and close, Aaliyah leaving the kitchen with a water bottle in hand. “For a moment, I thought they were going to go to a church and get holy water to sprinkle on me.”
“Shut up! Nuh uh!”
“Yes huh. Mom surely thinks I’m a demon. She thinks dad is too. Come on, Aaliyah. You know she’s like…hardcore Christian and then her husband—dad—leaves her for a man and then…well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! I guess…I know it’s not right to be gay, so we’ve been told, but…I can’t really—no one can help how they feel…”
Aaliyah watched as the smile slowly faded from his lips, the joking done with. It was true that her dad left their mom for a man; he was actually caught in bed with one. Aaliyah was upset at first since he cheated on their mom with someone, but quickly got over it because she loved him too much. She couldn’t judge her own dad. Soon after, her brother came out—much to her surprise. Sure, he was a little too obsessed with Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp, but she never put it all together. Her brother didn’t have the ‘accent’ of a gay man either. She knew it was stereotypical, but it was true that gay men had a girly accent most of the time. She remembered her mom pacing, muttering profanities before leaving for the kitchen to get a glass of water.
Aaliyah sat down on the couch, placing her hand on his knee and giving it a light squeeze. “I understand.”
“I’m glad you don’t love me any less.”
“You’re my brother and you’re adorable. I can’t help but love you.” Placing her water bottle on the table, she unzipped her purse, “I have something. It’s a magazine Belle let me borrow to read since my new boss is featured in it.” She grabbed the rolled magazine, flipping to the interview and letting her brown eyes drop down, starting to read the interview.
“Aaliyah, he’s gorgeous, but I don’t care to know anything about—”
“Just listen,” she interrupted, exasperation in her voice as she sent him a little glare. He was known for having a short attention span. “The question is what’s your biggest secret? Vance—my boss, replies; who I really am.” She closed the magazine, looking to Jessy. “So?”
His brows knitted together, scratching his brown messy hair. “…So…”
‘Maybe I’m reading too much into it,’ she thought to herself. “It’s…creepy. What does he mean by that? The guy has been labeled ‘man of mystery’ and the line doesn’t really help him.”
Jessy gasped, his eyes widening for a second. “Maybe he’s a terrorist.”
“Jessy, let’s be real.”
“Hey! The guy serving us at Dunkin’ Donuts can be a terrorist! We never know…”
“I’m sure he’s nothing that extreme. Really Jessy, it’s a freaky thing to say!”
“You’re reading too much into it,” he replied, crossing his arms over his chest.
‘See?’ “…I guess you’re right.”
“I’m right. You’re liking the job?”
“…I am. It’s nice. There’s money.”
A smile bounced onto his face, “Good for you, Aaliyah.”
Aaliyah yawned tiredly as she walked up the steps to her apartment, glancing over her shoulder as two children ran out of the front door, giggling. An exhausted mother slowly followed, giving Aaliyah a glance before leaving the building. People around her didn’t care to be friendly, so she came to find out. She would muster up a smile when passing other people that lived around her, but they would merely stare at her without returning the smile. Some even gave her a weird look.
‘It’s called being nice, people! Maybe I shouldn’t be so nice to people around here from now on,’ she thought, gasping in surprise when she saw a man standing in front of her door. He was dressed in a white button up shirt with two buttons undone at his neck, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. His jeans fit just right, the left knee exposed due to the stylish tearing of the fabric.
Her surprise was quickly replaced with a smile, rushing up the rest of the stairs to meet him. Her footsteps caught his attention, a smile coming to his face as well. “I didn’t—what’re you doing here?!”
She wrapped her arms around his neck, hugging him as he laughed and replied. “I wanted to surprise you!”
“Well, you did! You weren’t supposed to be back for another two weeks!”
“I’ve been doing really well at that place,” he told her, kissing her forehead before unwrapping his arms around her waist. “Let’s go inside. I’ve missed you.”
Removing her arms, she unlocked her front door, “I missed you too!” She closed the door after he entered, glancing around the tiny apartment.
William Westveer, the favorite nephew of the man who put Westveer Hotels on the map. In fact, William was his only nephew. He was next in line to inherit his money, which Aaliyah couldn’t even guess how much he would receive. When he was starting to have an alcohol problem, his parents and other family members quickly came to the rescue, sending him off to rehab. Aaliyah knew he needed it, arguments coming between them because of his drinking and his incidents of drunk driving. He had several DUI’s under his belt.
William took a seat on her couch, smiling as she sat down next to him. She glanced around for her black cat, knowing that he was most likely sleeping on her bed if he wasn’t in sight. It was his favorite place to sleep. “So, you’re all better…for good?”
“For good! I’ve been sober for sixty-five days. The woman there said that if I ever have a sudden craving or thoughts about alcohol, I could call her. Don’t worry, everything is under control.” He placed his hand over hers, “It was hell not being able to see you or talk to you much. What’s new with you?”
“I…I got a new job working for Vance Drake! You’ve heard of him, right?”
“That’s great and I have heard of him! He has more money than my uncle! I think I met him at a convention of some sort. I was with my uncle and we were introduced. It was brief.”
“He’s been treating me well. He hasn’t screamed at me or anything…yet. I try not to do anything wrong.”
He frowned slightly. “He has a temper?”
“So I’ve heard.”
He raised a brow. “I’ve heard he’s quite the ladies man…”
She tilted her head. “Worried?”
A teasing smile came to his lips. “He might steal you away from me!”
“Doubt it. He hasn’t shown any interest, so calm down.” ‘It’s okay to think of your boss as sexy when you’re taken, right? Well…Will doesn’t need to know that little detail. It doesn’t really matter…it was just an observation.’
“Aaliyah,” he began, watching her get up from the couch to go into the kitchen. She motioned to the soda in her fridge, watching him shake his head. “I’ve been thinking—”
His sentence was caught off as noises above them caught their attention. Squeaking of a bed, then moaning coming from a woman followed shortly with groaning from a man.
Aaliyah closed her eyes briefly, an irritated sigh escaping her lips as the moaning increased in volume. “I swear I have two life-sized rabbits living above me.” She heard him chuckle from the couch. “They’re at it all the time. Anyway, what were you saying?”
“I was thinking that now that I cleaned up my act, maybe you’d want to move in with me.” He stood from the couch, making his way over to her as she turned to face him, slightly stunned. He asked once before and got turned down, so she didn’t expect him to repeat himself. When she was ready to make that step, she would do it on her own.
“Um…well, Will, you know that’s…a big step in a relationship,” she told him quietly. ‘I’m only twenty-three. I’m still young and I still kinda want to live on my own for awhile.’
“I know, but we’ve been together for two years!”
“On and off,” she corrected, lifting her brown eyes to look at him.
When they first started dating, they kept the relationship quiet and didn’t tell many people. But soon, word got around and immediately rumors started to appear. There were rumors of William having an infidelity issue, women having the guts of coming up to Aaliyah and letting her know that he cheated on her with them. She broke up with William, not bothering to ask if they were true. She could only take so many rumors before getting sick of them. Eventually, William convinced her that she was the only one he wanted and his cousin stood up for him when rumors continued. Women came up to her, telling her when the cheating happened but unfortunately, they didn’t make sure that someone wasn’t with William on the day during that time. Family members would be his proof that he wasn’t cheating, always with someone else when women accused him. Slowly, the rumors died down.
“I don’t think I’m ready for that and it might turn out to be a big mistake in the end. I just got this excellent, well paying job and soon—maybe—I can get out of here and buy a nicer place for myself.”
He ran a frustrated hand through his hair, expecting her to agree since they got along so well and he was over his ‘little’ problem. “Do you like living by yourself?”
She gave him a little smile, touching his arm. “You know I’m just a little independent, so yes, I don’t really have a problem with living on my own. Less problems that way.”
His blue eyes scanned his surroundings once more, his eyes landing on Pooka as he walked out from her bedroom, stretching his limbs. He shuddered slightly; scars on his legs to prove how much Pooka disliked his presence most of the time. ‘I never even did anything to the damn cat! Maybe he can sense that I’m not the biggest cat fan and I like dogs better. Much better.’ “This place is…tiny.”
She shrugged, taking a look around her apartment. “It was the cheapest thing I could get. Cheap isn’t always nice.”
“…Will you think about moving in with me?”
“I’ll think about it.” She let her smile widen, changing the subject with a kiss to his cheek. “Thank you for coming to see me and good job on staying sober for so long.”
“…I had someone waiting for me! I’m glad you stuck with me through the problem.”
“Just don’t let it happen again,” she warned lightly. “I would hate for something like alcohol to make our relationship rocky…once again.”
“Trust me, nothing will come between us. Drinking or anything else—nothing will go wrong.”
“Let’s hope not,” she replied, taking his hand. “Let’s go sit and watch a movie.”
“I’m back from getting your coffee,” Aaliyah spoke softly, looking at Vance as she entered his office. She closed the door quietly, watching him stand in front of the large window that gave view to the city. His back remained to her, his hands relaxing in his pockets. He sent her on another coffee run, ordering one thing but as soon as other employees heard the word ‘coffee’, they wanted some as well. Aaliyah took their orders, not bothering to complain. “I don’t see how you can drink black coffee.”
“I came to find out that people aren’t too fond of black coffee,” he spoke quietly.
“Of course not! It has no taste! I at least need five spoonfuls of sugar for it to taste good to me…maybe six.” She neared his desk, setting it down carefully since she had a habit of spilling liquids on paper. “Aiden just told me that he’s the same way.”
She heard a noise from the back of his throat. “I’m sure you don’t get hyper like a child with sugar like he does.”
“Not at all. Ah! I put your schedule for the next two weeks like you asked me to do. There are some new changes dealing with the times of a few meetings, so do read over it so you don’t get confused. Several magazines have also been trying to get a hold of you, but I told them you’d talk with them as soon as possible.”
‘Maybe this is my cue to leave, but…’ “…Is there anything wrong?” She asked hesitantly, afraid that he was in a bad mood. His golden eyes immediately flickered to her brown eyes, slight surprise in them. He raised a brow, eyeing her from head to toe.
This human had genuine concern for him.
That was rare.
Demons and humans alike feared him, didn’t know that he had feelings, but he knew that sooner or later she would discover his identity and fear him with the rest. Soon, she would start asking questions. It was only a matter of time.
Aaliyah slowly started to become self-conscious under his burning stare, her cheeks burning. Clearing her throat gently, she opened her mouth to speak, but he beat her to it.
“No,” he spoke, turning away from the window to head towards his desk for his coffee.
“You look nice today.”
‘…What? Um…’ “Uh—thanks!” ‘What do I say? You look nice too?!’
“You look nice everyday, actually,” he added as an afterthought, his gaze on her.
She didn’t expect him to continue, standing in his office as if she was a deer caught in the headlights. She wanted to tear her gaze away from his, but couldn’t find the willpower to do so. A smirk sprung to his handsome face. Was he flirting with her? ‘N-No way! He’s not flirting with me. He can do so much better. I’m just average and I’m his assistant. There is no way I will be cliché and go for that ‘assistant has sex with her boss’ bullshit! No way! No matter how sexy he is! O-Or maybe he’s just making a simple compliment and I’m looking too much into what he said…’
“Um…thanks,” she murmured quietly, wanting to leave the room. It was starting to get hot.
“That will be all. You can go—but bring me the schedule from your desk.”
“Right…uh, by the way…I never told you that I like your contacts.”
His brows knitted together in confusion, but realization hit him quickly. “You think they’re contacts?”
She smiled, “Of course they are! Don’t pull that ‘this is my real eye color’ on me!” ‘I fell for that too many times in high school…’ “I’ll go get the schedule.”
Before he could say anymore, she was out of his office. His eyes remained locked on the black door, her scent teasing his tenses as it lingered in the room, the scent of jasmine. Day by day, he was finding more things he liked about her and it was starting to get to him. Her smile was his first fascination, but now her scent was becoming more noticeable.
He ran a hand through his black hair, watching as Aaliyah re-entered his office with his planner in her hand, a folder stuffed under her arm. The smile stayed on her face as she handed them both to him, their eyes meeting once more.
She wasn’t sure what was up with the man, but she knew there was something different about him.
He felt the same, feeling that there was something different about his new assistant that he was getting to know over the past several weeks.
Aiden snapped his fingers; a flame appearing on the tip of his thumb as he listened to a friend ramble in his ear. The flame formed into a small sphere, Aiden tossing it up and down to entertain himself. He stopped bouncing the fireball in his hand when he heard the office door open, clutching his hand shut to put the flame out, small flames escaping between his fingers. He turned around with a smile on his face, watching Aaliyah walk to her desk. The man next to him quieted down as he noticed Aaliyah. “That was a longer visit to his office than usual,” Aiden pointed out.
“We had a little…talk.”
“About what? Was he talking about me again? Did he say something rude about me? He was most likely lying about me if he said anything bad…”
She smiled, sending him a glance. “He just mentioned that you became hyper with sugar in your system.”
He simply shrugged, closing his eyes briefly. “Mmm, that’s the truth. I just really like sugar. It’s the best thing in the world!”
‘Why does he seem like the type of person that actually eats sugar plain?’ She let out a little laugh at that thought. “He also…he told me I looked nice, which was a first. It surprised me.”
The two men exchanged glances, small smiles on their lips as they returned their gazes back to Aaliyah. “Well,” Aiden began, “Vance is full of surprises!”
Vance watched as his assistant left his office to go fax documents to a partnering company, his golden eyes lingering on her tempting curves. She wasn’t normally the type of person he went for, but he couldn’t help himself when it came to her.
Was it love? No, never.
Most likely. Her friendly personality caught his attention, her smiles made his heart skip a beat here and there, and her voice was like music to his ears.
He wanted her, but not because of the foolish emotion called ‘love.’ He had never experienced love, even if demons and humans warmed his bed many nights. He had a heart, which many people didn’t expect, but it only seemed to beat for power and horrendous things. He merely wanted to take Aaliyah for a test drive, so to say. It’s not as if he cared about the feelings of others.
His golden eyes lifted to his door when he heard a knock, expecting a certain redhead to appear. Aiden always managed to bother him.
“Come in,” he voiced, staring at Aaliyah as she entered.
“I finished what needed to be done.”
He simply nodded. She fidgeted briefly under his gaze through his disheveled black bangs. He noticed her uncomfortable movement. “Also, I wanted to remind you of the business party tomorrow evening starting at eight thirty at Montgomery Hall.”
His brows lifted as that event came rushing back to his memory. He had completely forgot. He nodded once more, the corners of his lips twitching upwards. “Would you like to go with me tomorrow?”
Her eyes visibly widened.
“Let me rephrase that,” he added slowly. “I want you to accompany me to that party tomorrow.”
Aaliyah opened her mouth to answer, but let it snap shut when no words flew out. Out of all the gorgeous women throwing themselves at him, he was asking her? His plain assistant?
Sure, she was attractive, but nowhere near drop dead gorgeous like the countless women surrounding Vance. She didn’t turn heads or cause people to stare. She considered herself average.
“Cat got your tongue?”
“Um—ah—no! I…I’m just…” Surprised. “I can’t give you a certain answer right now since it’s so last minute, but it doesn’t sound like a bad idea. I’d love to go.”
“I can call you, right?”
“You can. You have my home number, don’t you?”
“I do. I’ll be sure to call you tonight to let you know if I can go.”
“Ehh, Vance asked you to go along tomorrow?!” Aiden exclaimed in front of her desk. He caught the attention of several employees, but they quickly returned to what they were busy with.
“Yeah…” She came to a short pause, “You’re going to be there, aren’t you?”
“It’s a possibility.” He rubbed the back of his neck, Aaliyah briefly wondering if he was currently slacking off—again. “Vance is always snatching up women that I have my eye on! He does it on purpose I bet…”
She lifted her gaze from the clock sitting on her desk, “…What?”
He gave her a smile, “As a friend, I thought I would take you tomorrow because right now, I don’t have a date. I’m sure I can find one around here…”
“I’m surprised he asked me in the first place. What happened to that woman that came in last week, hanging on his arm?”
His brows rose. “That slut?”
She glared slightly. “That’s mean!”
“It’s true! I know how she is personally. Hell, I even had a go at her a few times before Vance got a hold of her.”
Aaliyah rolled her eyes, raising a brow as a small smile came to her lips. He was awfully open and honest about certain things. “Well, anyway, what happened to her?”
“He got bored.”
‘What kind of excuse is that to just…move on to another woman?’ “I see,” she responded quietly, noticing him eye the candy jar she had sitting on her desk. “Want some?”
“Sure.” She glanced down the hall as he grabbed the jar, popping the lid off and taking a handful of random candies.
“Vance has a meeting to attend in a few minutes, right?”
“Yes, he does…”
Placing the lid back on, he put the jar back as he stuffed the candies in his pocket. Opening his mouth to speak, his talking was interrupted when he heard Vance yell for him. He laughed nervously, glancing over to the door with a little smile. “Well, you know where to take them when they arrive. Vance needs me…”
Aaliyah nodded, watching the redhead hurry to the room and close the door behind him. She was sure that he was going to get scolded for something he did. She remembered a few weeks ago when Aiden snuck into Vance’s’ office and somehow, spilled coffee all over his new laptop. Vance wasn’t happy. There was also an incident where Aiden caused a small fire in the lobby. She didn’t even bother asking how that even happened. She assumed Aiden must’ve been playing with matches like some child.
Aiden unwrapped the tootsie roll in his hands as he stood in the office, his stormy blue eyes looking around the room as Vance fixed his tie in the small bathroom on the other side of the room. He knew Vance wasn’t the best at tying his own tie, hoping that he wouldn’t ask him to fix it since he was no better. He usually asked one of the females working in the building to finish off his tie for him. Vance did the same. “You called?”
“Yes, you were on the news—again, Aiden.”
“For what?! I’ve been well behaved!”
“Not behaved enough,” came his low voice, Aiden giving him his full attention as he recognized the tone of his voice. “You forgot to mention that you went to a club and started a fire. Don’t you know how to control your own power?”
“What was the problem this time?”
“Keh! I was flirting with this woman and this demon—her boyfriend became outraged and—hey, he started it!” His eyes found the plasma television resting on the wall, “As soon as flames appeared, everyone in the club started panicking and running around, so I didn’t get the chance to put them out. I take it the club burned down?”
“Half of it,” he grumbled. “You’re lucky the cameras didn’t pick up anything. They suspect that some delinquent started the fire and they’re looking into it.”
“Did you just drag me in here to scold me?”
“What else would I call you for?” He exited the small bathroom, a look of boredom on his face.
“What’s the big deal? So I lost control for a second and burnt down half of a club. It’s not as bad as those damned vampires leaving their meals lying around. Humans already know that supernatural beings exist because of other demons and their ability to be so damn obvious…”
“True, but you know better.”
He sighed loudly, running a hand through his flaming red hair. He went from annoyed to happy in a split second, smiling at his boss. “I hear you asked Aaliyah to that event tomorrow night! I’m telling you, sir, that she will not sleep with you like your…last female assistant.”
He raised a brow at the young demon. “Who said I’m looking for sex from her?”
“Because that’s all you think about besides business and corrupting this world. Slowly, but surely,” he explained quietly, looking over his shoulder as they heard a knock come from the door. Vance allowed permission for the person to come in, his eyes fixed on Aaliyah as she entered. She gave him a smile, glancing at Aiden.
“They’re here and I already led them to the conference room,” she told Vance, not bothering to comment on the paleness of their skin when she first saw the group of people that went by the name of Pure Bloods. “They mentioned that they would like something to drink and they said Aiden would know what to get them…”
Aiden nodded before Vance could reply, heading out of the room. Vance soon followed, Aaliyah closing his office door for him and touching his arm gently before he could continue heading towards the conference room. He turned to her, his taller form hovering over her as they stood in silence. She hesitated before her slender hands reached up towards his tie, finishing his job of straightening it out seconds later.
“And you learned how to tie these how?”
“My dad taught me and…when we were children, I always had to help my brother with his own.”
She smiled up at him, patting his chest lightly before leaving him standing in the hall with his thoughts on the simple gesture.
His eyes followed her a bit longer, watching her as she sat at her desk and two female co-workers rushed over to her. She had managed to fit in around the others, but many of the demons kept everything on the down low. She wasn’t ready to know what she was really involved in and what type of people surrounded her. She would probably think she was insane or in a realistic dream.
Vance couldn’t blame her.
Aaliyah entered her apartment, wishing for a shotgun as soon as she stepped in, noises sounding through the vents from upstairs. All she wanted to do was go a day without hearing sex noises of another couple. It could seriously disturb a person after so many days. She wanted to give them a warning shot with her imaginary shotgun. She closed her door quietly, locking it immediately. Break-ins were occurring with young teenagers that had nothing better to do than steal things from other people. Cars were also getting broken into, but Aaliyah managed to get a car alarm.
Pooka jogged over to her, a loud cry coming from the black cat to get her attention. She glanced into the kitchen, making sure that he had fresh food and water. William had spent the day at her apartment and she had told him to pay attention to her cat. He had the habit of forgetting that the feline was even in the house. She knew they hated each other. Seeing that William did as he was told, she picked up her black cat, rubbing his ear as she tossed her purse onto her small black table.
William looked over his shoulder at her from the couch, a smile coming onto his face. He patted the spot next to him, muting the television as she made her way over to him. She sat down; kicking her high heels off and leaning her head back against his arm, relaxing. “Have fun being alone with Pooka all day?”
He kissed her temple, briefly running his fingers through her loosely curled hair. “Not really.”
She rolled her eyes, a little smile coming to her face. “What did he do this time?”
“Every time I turned a corner, this little devil cat latched onto my leg. With his claws.”
She continued rubbing Pooka’s ear, unaware of the death stare her cat was currently giving her boyfriend. “I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that bad…”
“I’ve told you to get him declawed I don’t know how many times—”
She pouted, hugging the cat closer to her body. “That hurts for a cat! How would you like you have your nails ripped out?”
“I know how it feels to have claws digging into my skin,” he grumbled, scooting closer to her. Pooka jumped from her arms, slowly making his way to the kitchen to leave the pair alone. “How was work?”
“Uneventful, I guess,” she spoke softly, her brown eyes landing on the television. He was currently watching Comedy Central, Dane Cook being the comedian of the hour. He wasn’t necessarily her favorite comedian and his acts didn’t make her laugh as much as others. Aaliyah reached for his hand, loosely lacing their fingers together as Vance entered her mind. “But there was something today. My boss asked me to go with him tomorrow to this dinner party.”
“As a date?”
She questioned that herself. Did Vance just ask her because she was a last resort? He couldn’t find any other girl to go with him? She highly doubted it. She was sure that if he asked some random woman on the street to go with him, she would swoon and say yes. Maybe he just wanted to treat her to a fancy night and get to know her a bit better. She wasn’t really sure why he asked her to begin with, but she didn’t see the problem in accepting his offer. “No,” she replied. “It’s not a date,” she reassured, knowing that William could be the jealous type. “Just a boss asking his assistant to go with him tomorrow.”
He was silent for a few seconds, but nodded his head. “Well, have fun then.”
She removed her hand from his, patting his leg as she got up. “I’m gonna go change and call Belle. Be back in a second,” she spoke, leaning down to give him a quick kiss to his lips. She started stripping out of her clothing halfway down the hall, entering her room and flicking the light on.
Her eyes darted to her phone as it started to ring, walking over and sitting on her bed. “Hello?”
“Hi Belle—I was just about to call you.”
“Ohhh. What’s up?”
“I was going to ask you if I could borrow a dress for this dinner party—”
“At Montgomery Hall?”
“Yeah…how did you know?”
“My dad is going tomorrow. I won’t be there—there’s something else I need to do. Anyway, of course you can borrow something from me! I have these dresses from Louis Vuitton that I didn’t really wear yet—oh—and Chanel! I’ll come over with some and you can pick!”
“Sorry for asking to borrow—”
“You’re my best friend! Don’t apologize. Best friends borrow things. I’ll be over in thirty minutes, kay?”
“Okay…see you then.” Hanging up the phone, she left her work clothes on her bed, slipping on her pair of sweatpants that she left lying on the floor earlier in the morning. She had the habit of leaving her clothes lying around, but at least they weren’t dirty clothes lying around. She left her bedroom, slipping a large shirt on before entering the living room and heading to her purse. She faintly heard her boyfriend laughing at the comedy skit taking place on her television, rummaging through her messy purse and smiling slightly when she found a slip of paper with his numbers on it. Aiden had given her the numbers of their boss just incase she ever needed to reach him.
She turned on her cell phone, dialing his home phone and waiting for him to answer as she turned around to glance at the television. Glancing at her boyfriend, she watched as he nudged Pooka away from him with his foot. Aaliyah hung up after getting annoyed with the ringing, dialing his cell next. After two rings, his voice sounded. She cleared her throat, “Hi sir—”
“Just Vance,” he cut in quietly.
“Right—sorry, I still slip up every now and then.”
“Tell me you’re calling to let me know you can go tomorrow evening.”
She let out a short laugh, “I can.”
Belle smiled as she heard Aaliyah’s bedroom door open in the hallway, Pooka resting in her arms comfortably with his tail slowly waving back and forth as they waited in the living room for the brunette. She stood from the couch with the black cat in her arms, her smile widening as Aaliyah came to stand in front of her, clad in a black dress. Belle gave her a thumb up, smiling from ear to ear.
“Aaliyah, heads will turn. The dress does a lot for you,” she spoke, stepping closer to her best friend. It was simple, black, and strapless with a black sash tightening around her figure just below her bosom. The push up bra built into the dress led more attention to her breasts than she wanted, but she didn’t want to choose a dress that was too flashy and outlined her curves. It was the simplest dress she could manage to find and it was comfortable. The dress was the perfect length for her, never being the type of girl obsessed with mini-skirts. It ended right at her knees, black high heels with a diamond on each shoe adorning her feet.
“It shows off your long legs–which I’m jealous of! But…what is that?!” Without asking, she bent down and ripped the hot pink band-aid off of her leg, causing Aaliyah to step away from her and glare.
“Geez! That does hurt a little. I cut myself while shaving…”
“Clumsy. Here, I have a diamond necklace for you. Let me put it on for you–oh, and when is Vance supposed to show up?
Aaliyah pulled her loosely curled hair over her shoulder as Belle rounded her, slipping the necklace on. “In about twenty minutes…”
“If he gropes you, just slap him or something.”
“He won’t grope me!”
“How do you know?!”
She rolled her eyes, smiling at her friend as she moved from behind her and sat on the arm of the couch. “Let’s see, because I’ve been his assistant for a few months now and he’s never tried anything. He just asked me to go with him because…well, I’m not really sure why he asked me in the first place. I’m probably just a last resort.”
“Oh well. At least you’ll get to eat great food there and you’ll be on the arm of the hottest man there! Will was okay with this? We all know he can get a little jealous every now and then.”
“What guy doesn’t get jealous these days?” She carelessly shrugged, feeling Pooka rub against her legs. “He said it was fine…”
“Surprise, surprise,” Belle spoke, getting off of the couch and kissing Aaliyah on the cheek as she checked her watch. “I have to get going, but have fun tonight and call me tomorrow to tell me how everything went!”
“You’re making it sound like a date…”
Grabbing her purse, she headed towards the door with a smile on her face, tossing a wink in her direction. “Maybe to him, it is. Love you!”
Before she could respond, the front door was closed, leaving Aaliyah and her cat in the tiny apartment. She brought her hands up slowly, twiddling her thumbs. Maybe her friend was right. Maybe Vance does see it as a date. It’s not like Aaliyah ran around telling everyone that she was in a relationship with William and she was pretty sure that Vance had no clue she was taken.
‘Maybe I should’ve mentioned it to him and I should’ve made everything absolutely clear. Stupid, stupid me. I never think. I hope he doesn’t think I have a thing for him. Sure, he’s handsome. He’s drop dead gorgeous, I’m not going to stand here and lie about it. But I’m with William. Vance is my boss. He’s filthy rich. What would he want with me?’
She groaned softly. ‘I’m getting a headache. Maybe I’m thinking about this a little too much and I’m letting Belle put thoughts into my head. Damn her. She’s always doing that. This is an innocent dinner date. That’s all. That’s all—’
Knocking tore her away from her thoughts completely and her head shot to her front door. She swallowed thickly as she slowly reached for her purse, cursing softly under her breath when she noticed that her hands were sweaty. ‘Chill! Seriously,’ she mentally scolded herself, heading to her front door. She didn’t really want Vance to come to her apartment since in all honesty; the run down apartment complex was a little embarrassing. She even refused to invite some family members since her place wasn’t exactly ‘nice.’
Aaliyah stood at her door, inhaling deeply before looking over her shoulder to her black cat. She smiled and waved at him before opening the door, her smile falling from her face.
If she weren’t taken, she would’ve jumped her handsome boss.
If she were still in high school, she would’ve drooled over him like a silly girl.
She shook those thoughts, finding them a little disturbing. Taken women don’t think like that, but she was sure that they secretly lust after other men. It was normal. Everyone had their fantasies, lusting after men they couldn’t have like Orlando Bloom or Hugh Jackman. If any taken woman were asked if they had a small crush on a man other than their boyfriend, they would say yes. If they said no, they were lying through their teeth. Vance looked handsome as usual, wearing an impeccable black suit with a black tie around his neck. She had no idea as to whom he was wearing, but she was certain that it was from a famous designer and it wasn’t cheap.
“Are you okay?”
“Huh?” ‘Oh no. Did he notice me checking him out? Get a hold of yourself, woman! Quit making a fool of yourself!’ “Oh—yeah, sorry. You look great!”
A small smile slowly crept its way to his lips. “I can say the same about you.”
He didn’t miss her eyes wandering over him, but he chose to ignore it as he took the time to eye the woman in front of him. As soon as he laid his eyes on her, he immediately wanted to get her out of the little black dress and ravish her, but managed to force those thoughts aside as he went to focus on something else. As soon as Aaliyah noticed that his eyes wandered into her apartment, she smiled slightly. “It’s not much, but I plan on moving out as soon as I can. I was going to show you my cat…but it seems that he ran off. He’s skittish around new people.”
“Yeah. Didn’t I tell you I had a black cat?” She stepped out of her apartment, closing her door and turning her back to him to lock up.
“I don’t think so.” He held out his arm as she turned around, slipping her key into her pocket. “Shall we go then?”
For several seconds, she hesitated before taking his arm. “We shall.”
“I’m relaxed,” she lied easily, allowing him to lead the way.
“Hardly,” he replied, tossing her a grin with one brow raised. “Nervous?”
“A little,” she confessed quietly, her brown eyes landing on the lavish limo waiting for them as they walked out into the cold air.
“Don’t be. I’ll show you a good time.”
When they arrived, Aaliyah didn’t appreciate the flashing of cameras at all. The attention wasn’t too great either. She felt like everyone was looking at them and as she glanced over her shoulder, she realized that no one had arrived after them and they were the only two walking to the building. Returning her attention back the flashing bulbs, she tightened her grip on his arm as he stopped to pose for pictures. She wanted to run inside. She didn’t want to see herself on the front page somewhere tomorrow morning.
“Who’s the woman on your arm, Mr. Drake?!” One photographer yelled out over the rest, everyone quieting down to hear a response from Vance.
“My assistant, Aaliyah Duncan.”
Aaliyah quietly watched as several people scribbled down the new information, smiling slightly to herself. ‘See, if I were his date, he would’ve said: My date, Aaliyah Duncan.’ She relaxed completely by his side and letting him lead her when he decided that the time was up for posing for the cameras. Aaliyah faintly heard someone scream another question about if they were dating or not, but Vance simply ignored the question as they entered the building.
“Do you get sick of the cameras and everything? I would.”
“At times,” he answered, “but I manage to get them to back off every now and then.”
As soon as they entered the hall, walking out of the golden elevator, all eyes were on them once again, but momentarily. Aaliyah didn’t miss the dirty looks women gave her, figuring that they were looks of jealousy. It wasn’t hard to pick out Aiden, basically being the only redhead in the sea of bodies. He was busy talking away with another man, a drink in one hand and a busty brunette hanging on his other arm, looking a bit bored. A waiter passed them, Vance taking that chance to take one of the glasses resting on the tray the man was carrying.
“Most of these people are either involved in little scandals right now or there’s been talk of them losing money,” Aaliyah pointed out, receiving smiles from a passing couple.
Vance nodded after taking a sip of his drink, “And that’s why they come. To get more publicity and try to find someone that wants to be a partner which results in more money.”
“You know which ones are looking?”
“I do. I also know their little secrets.”
Interest appeared in her eyes as he looked down at her. She wasn’t one for gossip, but a little gossiping every now and couldn’t hurt. “Secrets?”
A smirk appeared. “Everyone in this business has their dirty little secrets. I just happen to know all of them.”
“Let me test it then,” she spoke with a teasing smile, looking around quickly and tugging his arm gently to get him to follow her gaze. His eyes landed on a pudgy man with a cigar hanging from the corner of his mouth, his beautiful wife standing next to him with his arm wrapped around her waist.
“Ah, Mr. Winters. Has a lovely, faithful wife and four young children.”
‘She is beautiful…how did he manage to get her? She must be with him for the money. That’s a little mean, but…sometimes I wonder,’ Aaliyah thought to herself, nodding at the information she received from her boss. She looked up to him, waiting for him to continue.
“He may come off as a nice man to everyone else,” he murmured, taking another sip of his drink, “but he has a slight obsession with child pornography.”
His eyes widened slightly at her sudden outburst. She didn’t mean to be so loud and she didn’t realize how loud she was until she realized that a few heads turned in their direction. Vance glanced at her before giving his attention to a man passing him, both of them shaking hands quickly. Aaliyah stared at the taller man in disbelief, but it was replaced with a smile. “You’re kidding around!”
“I’m not,” he responded dryly, returning her stare. She was fairly entertaining.
She searched his face for any evidence of a playful smile cracking any time soon, moving to his eyes to try and read them. He was serious. “…You’re not? No way! He has a family and everything. How does no one know?”
“He’s good at keeping his secrets hidden.”
“Then how do you know?”
He gave her a wink, “I just happen to know.”
She glared quickly as he avoided answering her straightly, her brown eyes darting into the crowd once again. This was interesting. Next, a blonde woman with more jewels on her body than necessary.
“Ms. Thomas. She’s in her late thirties and she’s having an affair with a fifteen-year-old boy.”
She scrunched up her nose cutely, “…Ew. Really?”
He rolled his eyes at the brunette, something she didn’t see him do quite often. “Don’t ask to know secrets if you won’t believe me.”
“She’s engaged, getting married in a month. She hasn’t stopped the affair though. She’s only getting married for the money her fiancé has.”
Her brows rose and her mouth formed into an ‘o’ shape, their conversation getting interrupted as other people came up to talk to Vance. She introduced herself, listening to their speaking briefly before tuning them out. A smile came to her face as Aiden made his way to her, his stormy blue eyes roaming over her body before a smile bounced onto his face.
“Beautiful as always! This is my date,” he spoke, introducing the brunette. “Enjoying yourself?”
“Good ta hear. Listen, a group of us were planning on hitting up a club after this little event. Wanna join?”
“It sounds fun, but no thanks. I just feel like relaxing after this. But thanks for the offer! Maybe some other time.”
“Some other time…for sure. And there will be body shots all around!”
Aaliyah laughed, shaking her head at the redhead. Time passed, conversations ended, and food was eaten. Aaliyah found herself particularly drawn to the chocolate dipped strawberries for some time, along with several other women. She spoke with a few of them, explaining that she wasn’t dating sleeping with Vance when they bluntly asked her after Vance excused himself to the restroom. They were more than happy, saying that they had a chance and then they gushed about the mysterious man.
Dancing came and Aaliyah skipped it, enjoying watching other people dance instead. She caught a glance of Aiden with a different woman with a pixie hair cut. She raised a brow, looking at Vance with a sly smile. “So, since you say everyone has a secret, what about you?”
“Me? Let me think. What about you?”
“I asked first.”
“But you can answer while I think about mine.”
She placed a finger on her chin thoughtfully, dropping her gaze to her feet. Staring at her high heels that were making her feet ache, she couldn’t come up with a secret about her that no one else knew. She didn’t really have any ‘skeletons’ in her closet. “I’m not sure if I have a secret…”
“I have one.”
“What is it?”
“Nobody knows this, but I usually wake up on Saturday mornings to watch some cartoons. I find some of them pretty entertaining…and I’m a big fan of Family Guy.”
Silence came between them. She wasn’t expecting that. It was silly; it wasn’t him. He didn’t seem like the type of man that liked to have a good laugh over some…cartoon. It didn’t suit him at all. Her laughter reached his ears and he didn’t bother keeping a smile off of his face as she laughed at him.
People surrounding them couldn’t help but stare at Vance momentarily when they saw a smile appear on his lips.
To them, Vance never smiled. At anyone. He was a cold-hearted man that cared about no one but himself and never showed any emotion.
They figured that Aaliyah had that effect on him.
Aaliyah followed Vance into the elevator, watching as he pressed the lobby button. His tie was now loosened around his neck, the first three buttons of his white shirt unbuttoned to show his lightly tanned skin. She watched from the corner of her eye as he ran a hand through his already messy hair, her fingers itching to run themselves through his inky black hair.
‘I’m scaring myself,’ she thought. ‘I’m thinking about him a little bit too much. It’s getting ridiculous. I need to get home. Away from him before my thoughts start turning a little perverted.’
The doors slid shut, leaving the two alone in the elevator. “Thanks for inviting me. I had a great time,” she spoke up. “The food was great too and you’re not a bad dancer.” He had talked her into dancing and now her feet ached even more than they did before she got out on the dance floor. “We should do it again some time.”
“We should.” He came to a pause, “Again, you look amazing tonight.”
Her cheeks heated and she cleared her throat, tucking loose strands behind her ear. It was suddenly very hot in the elevator and she wanted to run out. What if Belle was right? What if he did decide to feel her up in the elevator? Why didn’t she hold the elevator open for more people to join them on the ride down to the lobby?!
‘Stupid!’ Shyly, she smiled, turning her head to thank him.
And that’s when his lips met her own.
Shock. She turned and placed her hands on his chest to push him off, only to get his lips pressed more firmly against hers. She didn’t understand what was happening. Her thoughts were clouded, her body stiffened as soon as his hand slowly met her waist, and sirens went off in her head as she felt his tongue against her lips. She gasped, closing her eyes tightly as his warm tongue invaded the warm cavern of her mouth. The first thought that came to mind was to bite his tongue. The second was to slap him. The third…simply push him away.
She assumed that two of the three would get her fired or something, but she was having a problem with pushing him away. His kiss didn’t feel bad, far from it. To her surprise, he was firm yet gentle with the slow kiss and within a matter of seconds; she found her tongue brushing against his own.
‘No! More sirens!’
Somehow, she managed to gather the strength to push him away from her, her fingers coming up to her lips. She was stunned. What was that? Her brown eyes lifted to his and she glared dangerously as she saw the smug grin on his face.
“T-total violation!” She snapped, wiping her lips slowly as she kept her distance.
“You didn’t mind.”
“The hell I didn’t!”
“You kissed me back.”
“You’re my boss!”
“You’re my assistant.”
“I thought we were having a state-the-obvious contest.”
‘Is he trying to be funny?!’ “It—we—our relationship is strictly professional. I have a boyfriend.”
“So? Do you love him?”
“I—” She stopped herself, tearing her gaze away from his. It wasn’t his business if she loved him or not. “We’re having troubles, but…”
“But you don’t love him,” he stated confidently, his smug grin changing into a smirk. “Right?”
“Maybe not…” ‘But we’re working on things.’
“Ah…there it is. There’s your little secret. He probably thinks you’re still in love with him, but you don’t feel as strongly for him anymore. You’re keeping that from him. You’re leading him on.”
She didn’t bother to finish her sentence. The kiss-stealing bastard was right.
She was upset with him, but also a little creeped out due to the fact that he knew exactly how she felt about William.
Aaliyah sat down on her couch grumpily, grabbing her phone and dialing a number as Pooka rested quietly beside her. The car ride home was more than awkward. Vance kept his little grin on his face as if he thought the whole situation was funny, which annoyed Aaliyah to no end. She decided to give him the silent treatment in return as they sat in uncomfortable silence. It was uncomfortable for her, anyway.
She didn’t want to go to work because it wouldn’t be any better than the car ride. Her boss had kissed her. Her mysterious, handsome billionaire of a boss kissed her in an elevator. She didn’t expect it. It was something she thought would never happen between the two of them. She touched her lips lightly, the feel of his lips against hers still fresh in her mind.
Aaliyah groaned as the sharp noise of her phone ringing interrupted her dream, reaching out blindly and picking it up once she felt it. She brought the phone to her ear after pushing talk, her eyes remaining closed as she scratched her head, Pooka climbing onto the couch next to her. Opening her brown eyes, she glanced at her black cat. She knew that he had no food when the feline simply stared at her.
She swallowed thickly. She sounded horrible.
“Aaliyah! You didn’t call me last night like you said you would!”
She pulled the phone away from her ear slightly, frowning at the screeching of her best friend. Unlike her, Belle was definitely a morning person and it sickened her. “Calm down my half-pint friend. It was late and I was exhausted.”
“How did it go?” She asked, obvious interest in her voice.
“Eh, it went okay…”
There was a brief pause before Belle responded. “…That sounds no fun! Come on, are you holding back on me?”
‘Yes.’ “Belle, you’re so nosey!”
“So, that hasn’t stopped me before, has it?! You’re quite nosey yourself little missy.”
“Because you have an interesting life,” she replied, rubbing Pooka’s ear.
“You, my friend, went out with one of the hottest bachelors last night! You didn’t get home until very late, you two were alone–that all sounds very interesting, so spill,” she threatened over the phone. Aaliyah rolled her eyes, smiling slightly at the amount of curiosity her friend had.
“Okay, okay.” She felt like strangling something–anything as she recalled the night before, the feel of his lips against her own. “He kissed me,” she admitted slowly, feeling her heart clench slightly. It wasn’t a bad kiss, but she felt extremely guilty. She’s a taken girl and she didn’t push another man away fast enough. What kind of girlfriend was she?
“Seriously,” she murmured, glancing up at her wall clock. She had an hour to get ready and go to work.
“What? I want details.”
“In an elevator–”
“Belle, focus. My boss me.”
“Alright. I’m pretty sure you’re freaking out, right? Geez, what will Will think? I don’t think he’s going to be too happy, but if you ask me, I would choose Mr. Drake over Will any day.”
“That’s because you don’t like Will that much. Besides, weren’t you the one that said Vance was a little weird anyway?”
“I said something like that, but still. So…what are you going to do? Did you slap him?”
Aaliyah sat up, getting off of the couch and making her way to the kitchen, Pooka directly behind her. He sat and watched as she pulled out the bag of cat food. “No, I just…pushed him away and the car ride was really awkward afterwards. What I’m going to do…I have no idea! I don’t want to quit because the job has amazing pay and I actually enjoy my job, but what if he tries it again?”
“Tell him you want to keep everything professional. Simple as that. Maybe then he’ll back off and not try anything anymore. Wow. I can’t believe he kissed you. It’s a surprise since you’re a far cry from the other women he’s had on his arm.”
“I don’t mean that in a bad way!” She laughed, “You’re a beautiful woman, Aaliyah. I’m just saying…he’s dated actresses, singers, and easy blond bimbos. You’re his…assistant.”
Aaliyah filled his silver bowl, leaning back and watching as he started to eat. “I know what you’re saying…”
“Listen, I’ll let you go since you have to get ready for work.”
“Okay, I’ll talk to you later then.”
“Yup. Oh, by the way, you’re on the front page of a few magazines.”
Before Aaliyah could respond, her best friend hung up, leaving her glaring at the phone.
“Listen to this, Vance!”
His eyes drifted up to the noisy red headed demon, his fingers coming to a stop on the keys of his black keyboard. Aiden closed the door, a large smile on his face as he looked at his boss. He held up a magazine, watching as Vance’s eyes locked onto the picture on the front of Aaliyah and himself. Aiden turned the magazine around, looking down to read.
“Vance Drake’s new woman? Details inside on page 23.” He opened the magazine, flipping through the pages before coming to a stop. “Then on page 23, there’s just more pictures of you two from the event last night and they’re examining the body language and whatnot. Humans. They’re so entertaining. They think they can tell if people are in a relationship or in love just by body language?”
“Are you done?” Vance asked quietly, his attention returning to his laptop.
Aiden let the smile drop from his face, “In a bad mood? Need sugar in your coffee when Aaliyah gets in?”
He glanced up at the demon, “I don’t like sweet things.”
“Speaking of sweet things, Aaliyah is such a sweetheart. I didn’t think she’d be the type to fall for though, boss. I’m surprised.” He didn’t have to ask if he had any feelings for the human. After a few hundred years of being by his side, it got to the point where Vance’s rare facial expressions were readable.
Vance was silent after the demon finished his sentence, his fingers slowing down once again on his keyboard. He shifted in his chair, a frown coming onto his face. “There’s just something about her. Believe me, I’m just as surprised. It started out as lust.”
“See, I told you that you only think about sex and destruction.”
He easily ignored him, “But now…” ‘I want something more.’
He rolled up the magazine, slapping the palm of his other hand with it. “That’s what humans don’t understand! They don’t understand that you actually have a heart, Lucifer! It may be tiny and probably black…and cold…and hard to find, but it’s there!”
Vance wasn’t sure how to respond to that, his brows drawing together as he stared at the redhead. A knock was heard at the door and their eyes snapped to the door as it opened, revealing Aaliyah with two Styrofoam cups of coffee. Aiden easily gave her a smile, making his way over to her and accepting the coffee she handed to him. Aaliyah returned the smile slightly, irked about seeing herself on a number of magazine covers as she made her way to work. Some pictures were the front page; large and out there for everyone to see while some were corner pictures with small titles.
To her it didn’t matter the size of the picture, she didn’t want to be seen at all!
Her brown eyes locked with his and her smile disappeared from her face.
“Leave us,” Vance ordered coolly, Aaliyah watching as Aiden immediately obeyed and left the two alone.
She didn’t want to be alone with him! She didn’t trust him; she was starting to question if she could even trust herself.
“I take it you saw the magazines—”
“Of course,” she interrupted. Perhaps she was being slightly rude to her boss, but she couldn’t help herself.
“Upset about it?”
“A little, but I guess that’s what I get going out with a man such as yourself,” she bit out.
“I’m getting the feeling that you’re upset about something else as well,” he spoke slowly, a grin spreading onto his lips.
Her fingers itched to smack that smug, delectable grin from his face. He knew very well what was eating at her! He was playing stupid, purposely! She wanted to scream at him, throw something at him—anything! She had a right to do so. He kissed her and got away with it, so she felt it was right to get an attitude with him and get away with that.
The grin never wavered as he watched the numerous expressions cross her face. He leaned back in his chair comfortably, waiting for her to speak and to unleash her anger. It was practically radiating off of her slender figure, a figure he quickly wanted to claim as his own. “Aaliyah, what’s upsetting you?”
Was he teasing her?
‘Pig,’ she thought venomously. Maybe he did know that he made her stomach go wild when his smooth voice reached her ears or when his rare smiles appeared on his handsome face. Maybe he was just some conceited pig who thought he could get away with anything he wanted. ‘I won’t have this!’ “You know what’s wrong! Okay, so yes, maybe I am a little irritated about being on the front of some magazines. People will get the idea that something is going on between us!”
He merely blinked. “Is that so bad?”
‘He has the nerve to pull some ‘innocent’ act!’ “Uh—yes! I have a boyfriend. How will he react when he sees the headlines about us being some ‘couple’? No man wants to read that about his girlfriend. A-And you kissed me—I can’t get over that.”
“Because you enjoyed it?” He asked casually.
“No,” she lied, sending an icy glare his way. ‘How dare him!’
His grin widened, “Are you sure about that?”
Her lips formed a thin line as she went to the front of his desk, placing his black coffee down in front of him. She cursed the thought of wanting his mouth on her own once again. That thought appeared more than once since he kissed her in the damned elevator. She vowed to never be cornered like that ever again. “I’m sure,” she murmured quietly, meeting his gaze. She considered herself a pretty darn good liar. She could keep her face straight and keep herself from stuttering.
“I have a gift of knowing when people are lying,” he informed her, picking up his coffee.
Faintly, it still amazed her in the back of her mind that he could drink black coffee. She was hushed for a moment, raising her brow slightly. She heard about his type. The type of person that could never be lied to because they have this ‘lie radar’ built in them. “Good for you,” she responded finally, turning her back to him as she went to exit his large office. “I have things to do,” she added before leaving, using any excuse she could find to leave as soon as possible.
“I’m not going to sit here and lie to you,” he spoke, frowning a little. “I’m not really happy to see what was written in magazines and whatnot,” Will spoke gently, sitting across his girlfriend outside of a small restaurant. Aaliyah chewed her salad slowly, her gaze resting on her food. She blocked out other people sitting around them, ignoring their loud conversations and focusing on her boyfriend. She felt horrible. How could she tell him that she let another man kiss her who happened to be Vance Drake?
“I know, but now you know how I felt when I saw a few pictures of you in magazines with these young skanky socialites running around.”
“Aaliyah,” he sighed out, “you know nothing happened there in that situation. It was simply partying between friends.”
“I understand that,” she spoke softly, “but I still didn’t like how people were asking if you were fooling around with them or whatever.”
He reached across the small table, brushing strands of her dark hair away from her face. “You know I would never hurt you like that.”
“I know.” He was generally a nice, sweet guy. There weren’t really too many flaws with him that she didn’t like. She loved almost everything about him. He was a great boyfriend. He was patient, he listened well, and she came first most of the time. He really did care about her and she knew that.
His slip up with alcohol abuse surprised her and everyone around him, but that’s what happened when he partied too hard and didn’t control himself. It became a bad habit that entered his life outside of partying at night. Belle use to get along with him, but after his incident with drinking, she considered him a rich loser that would end up in rehab again sooner or later. Aaliyah didn’t feel that way. She was giving him another chance.
Was she being silly doing so?
Only time would tell.
“Just ignore the gossip, William. I’m not his new woman,” she reassured, glancing up and giving him a small smile.
“Is anything bothering you?”
Her fork paused for a split second in her salad. “No. Why?” She asked, wiping the corner of her mouth with the tip of her napkin.
He smiled slightly, tilting his head. “I’ve known you for several years, Aaliyah. I can kinda tell when something is bothering you.” He took a bite of his own food, swallowing before allowing himself to speak. “Want to talk about it?”
“Not really,” she answered, giving him an apologetic smile. “Maybe some other time. There’s just a lot on my mind. Sorry if I’m being a little boring.”
“Don’t worry about it. We’ll talk about it some other time then.” He wiggled his eyebrows at her, “Maybe I can get you to relax a little bit later on tonight.”
She laughed instantly, shrugging her shoulders. “Maybe. If I’m up to it and in the mood…”
He tossed a napkin playfully at her face, his smile widening. “You’re hardly ever in the mood! How much longer do you have for your lunch?”
She gave him a look, “Why?”
With a roll of his eyes, he replied, “Calm down. I’m not asking to check if we have time to do something indecent.”
“I’m sure,” she murmured teasingly. “I think that’s all you really think about, pervert.”
“With a girlfriend as good-looking such as yourself, it’s kinda hard not to. What do you expect?”
She childishly stuck her tongue out, “Twenty minutes by the way.”
“Enough to spend time with the girl I love.”
When did a rift form between them? During his drinking problem? With his drinking, his temper of course grew with her and he showed that side of him to her more than once. He never laid a hand on her, but she didn’t appreciate being yelled at over ridiculous things. She didn’t like being yelled at, period. She assumed it was during his time in rehab. They grew apart and the drinking didn’t help with their already slightly rocky relationship. She somewhat wanted to try new things, see new people to see if William was really the right man for her. She did love him, but the feeling wasn’t as intense as it once was. It was simple like now. He was someone she enjoyed being with, but she couldn’t see herself settling down with him and having a life with him in the future.
Aaliyah simply smiled at him, leaning into his touch when he stroked her cheek with his thumb.
There were many things to love about her boyfriend, but things didn’t feel right with Vance in the picture. She wanted to hate the man. He was too mysterious, too quiet about whom he really was and it bugged her, but she couldn’t deny the fact that he was popping up in her thoughts more often than her own boyfriend. That told her something.
It wasn’t love, she hoped. She didn’t want to be in love with her jerk of a boss.
She was certainly being a coward with her boyfriend though. She didn’t want to hurt him by breaking off their relationship, but she didn’t want to sit and let herself lead him on. She knew it had to be soon before things got too complicated.
She sighed loudly, closing her eyes briefly as the warmth of William’s hand was taken away from her skin. She slowly began to finish off her food, glancing up at her blond boyfriend once more.
She blamed that black haired boss of hers with the sexily unkempt hair for her problems.
Sequel is now available on Payhip!
Check it out: https://payhip.com/b/Y6yE
Falling For Him
- Author: Emma Nash
- Published: 2016-05-16 16:20:08
- Words: 20283