Authors: Ashley Beale
Although I've lived
in Chandler my entire life, I have never entered the doors of this elegant French restaurant. When a plate of dinner costs a mere hundred dollars, it doesn't become too appealing. It doesn't mean that the moment I slide my chair forward and a napkin is placed elegantly on my lap that I'm not instantly in love.
Blaise goes ahead and orders our meals without asking if I'm okay with it. I've seen that done in movies before and mentioned how rude it is. How I'd hate if a man ever thought he were capable of knowing what I want before I do. However, something about Blaise taking charge with his charming confidence fills a void inside me.
Dominating. Sexy. Sweet. This is the man of my dreams.
Not to mention... unknowingly successful and wealthy.
Where did he come from? And how do I clone him?
"You really do look beautiful," Blaise claims.
I resist the urge to roll my eyes, mostly for the sake that when he calls me beautiful, I feel it. Instead I simply thank him with a smile on my face.
Once our dinner arrives, I'm ultimately amazed with the course placed in front of me. Maybe Blaise really does know what I want before I even do.
"What is this?" I stick my fork into the beef before slicing my knife through it, cutting myself a delicious slice.
"Porcini Pork Tenderloin. It's basically a tenderloin, seared first, then roasted. It's covered with a creamy mushroom sauce the restaurant makes from scratch."
I practically moan as it melts into my mouth. Once swallowing the first piece of heaven, I look up to Blaise. "It's amazing."
"My favorite. I knew you'd enjoy it."
I hardly have time to smile at him before shoveling another bite into my mouth. Not exactly sexy, especially on a first date, but I can't resist the food in front of me. Blaise simply gives me a humorous look before taking a bite from his own dish, something that looks much more exotic than what I have.
Finishing my dish, close to the same time as Blaise, I slide my plate away. I feel the urge to groan. My stomach is nice and full, but not overly so. "Thank you," I tell him. "That was incredible."
"I'm glad you think so."
On cue, the waiter shows up to hand over the bill, not without asking if we'd like desert first. I'm thankful when Blaise answers no for us, as I do not think I could fit anymore into my stomach.
He reaches around and takes the wallet out of his back pocket. I feel guilt ping inside me, knowing an estimate of the bill due. "Do you want me to pay my portion?" I ask, just to be nice.
The glare I receive could be deadly. "I asked you on this date. Please don't insult me by offering to pay your portion."
My face heats up. "Well... thank you." Not that I haven't already said it once, I just want to make sure he knows.
He grins wickedly at me. I have a feeling that eventually I'll be thanking him in other ways. Ways that are pleasing to the both of us.
On the way to his car, I look over at Blaise. The feelings he has brought out in me are surreal. Unexplainable. For this, among other things, I do not want to go home. Doing my best attempt at being cute, I smile up at him. "Where to now?" Hoping he doesn't say home.
"I have somewhere I want to take you."
He doesn't look at me. Instead, he simply slides his hand to link with mine, then we make our way together to his vehicle.
It’s not even fifteen minutes later that we're pulling up to an old dirt road, one that has certainly seen better days. Blaise slows as the bumps get worse, eventually pulling off to the side of this creepy back road.
"Uh?" I look over at him with concern.
Shutting the engine off, he places the keys in his pocket and looks to me. "Trust me."
It's not a question.
Adrenaline courses through me, causing me to hop out of the front seat and meet Blaise around the back of his vehicle. In the trunk he pulls out a large blanket and flashlight.
Maybe I shouldn't trust him that much...
We make our way through some old bushes, down a makeshift trail, until it opens into a field.
"Watch your step," Blaise warns me.
Instantly I slow down, looking around for pot holes or something.
He stops in front of me, placing the blanket down on the ground. He takes a seat and motions for me to join him. In which I do.
"If you would have walked another ten feet, there is a thirty foot drop. A stream is below it, but it’s almost dried up."
He chuckles. "My uncle owns the land but hasn't done anything to it yet. I've helped him hay the field a few times in the past. It's a nice location to get away from people." He points over to the west. "The house was going to go there, looking out over the valley. In the day time it’s an extraordinary view. We've talked a few times, and if I can prove myself enough, he'll sell the land to me. I want to build a log cabin."
I look over to where the cliff is. Not a place for kids to run around, that much is for sure, but it is a beautiful location. It's hard to see in the dark of the night, but thanks to the soft glow of the moonlight, you can get an understanding of its beauty.
"Why didn't your uncle ever build?" I look back towards him.
"My aunt passed away five years ago. Cancer. It was her dream to live here, not his. He felt like he was intruding or some bullshit like that. One man’s trash became another man's treasure."
I sit back in astonishment. This man has passion, drive, ambition. He is around the same damn age as me and is more successful than many men in their thirties.
Which brings me to...
"What do you do for a living? You seem very... driven. Focused."
He looks out in the distance.
I watch him closely, trying to assess what is happening. He looks lost in memories, and not the good kind.
"My mom had just started her career as a nurse when she met my dad. It wasn't long after they met that I was conceived. The first handful of years, the ones I don't remember much, he would take his anger out on my mom. He was angry because he felt trapped. He said he could no longer be the man he wanted to be. Around the time I started school, his drunken anger was taken out on me."
I gasp uncontrollably. "I'm so sorry." Reaching over, I touch his leg, resting my hand there. I'm not sure what else I can do to give him comfort.
I'm not even sure why he is telling me this. All I asked is what he did for a living.
"The rougher he got with me, the more my mom would try to step in. She ended up losing her job, and since my dad did nothing but drank himself crazy every day, we were forced out of our home. Shit just... it got rough. On all of us. That is when I started getting close to my uncle. I never understood why he was nothing like his brother. Why he had a beautiful home, a wife he loved, and a daughter he'd do anything for. I was nine when I started asking questions."
Finally he looks over at me. I can see the faint fear in his eyes. I can't even imagine what he has been through.
"He couldn't stop my dad, but he could help me the best he knew how. He kept me busy. Working for him, doing side jobs for his buddies. The older I got, the busier I got. Everything I know about life is because he taught it to me. I came to Chandler to work for one of his friends. I worked for him in Phoenix, but the cliental wasn't as large, so I moved here."
"Makes sense." I cannot think of another thing to say. My mind is zeroed in on the fact that he was beaten by his father and his mother or uncle never stopped it from happening. The only answer I want to know now is where his parents are, and if he still stays in contact with them.
Instead of asking him those questions, knowing he probably doesn't want to indulge in that conversation more, I go on about his work. "So what company do you work for?"
His eyes roam my face as he smiles down on me. I love the view of him in the moonlight. "Stocks." His smile grows larger, almost laughing. "The details are boring, but the behind the scenes marketing is actually fun. It’s harder work than people assume. I enjoy it though."
"Not what I was expecting," I admit.
I'm cut off at the end of my sentence as his lips press firmly against mine. It surprises me, but only for a second. Opening my mouth, I allow my lips to glide against his.
I fall back slowly, laying down on the ground as Blaise adjusts his body to get more access to my mouth. Claiming it even more with his own. My mouth now has a new best friend.
When Blaise pulls away, painfully slow, he looks down at me. The two of us under the stars, eyes locked, falling hopelessly for one another. I couldn't have dreamt of a better moment than this, no matter how hard I tried.
"I had a great night with you, Liv."
I can't help but smile largely. "I did too. Thank you again."
"No need to thank me." His lips press firmly against mine once more, but only for a second, as he lifts his body completely off mine into a stance. "But I do need to get you home before your dad comes looking for me."
Not that I'm happy about ending this already, he is probably right. "Fine," I say, dragging out the word. I stand up with him and watch as he folds the blanket up.
On the ride home, Blaise rests his hand on my leg. The small gesture leaves me feeling wanted. Adored. Hopeful.
"What does your work schedule look like? I want to bring you out on another date."
I look over at him, a bit ashamed to admit that I'm currently looking for a new job. I was the immature, selfish person who just up and quit her job. "I am between jobs," I say.
"When do you start your new one?" He quickly glances over.
"I just started looking for one today before you came and got me."
He chuckles. "What are you looking to do?"
"Anything," I tell him. "I just need to make money."
I watch his face contour into thought. "I may have something for you."
"Really?" I feel myself get giddy.
"I'll call you tomorrow and let you know."
Blaise pulls up in front of my dad house and cuts the engine. "What are you doing?" I look over and ask.
"Being a gentlemen." Opening his door, he gets out and walks around to my side. He then opens my door and helps me out of his vehicle.
Hand and hand we walk to my front door. I hope he doesn't think he is coming inside with me. I'm pretty sure my dad is currently sitting in his recliner with a riffle laid across his lap. Bringing a guy inside with me is completely out of the question.
Nearly reading my thoughts, Blaise stops us. "So is tomorrow good?"
"Tomorrow if perfect."
His lips brush softly against mine. Not nearly long enough but perfect nonetheless. "Have a good night beautiful. Sweet dreams."
Oh tonight, I'm nearly certain I'll have the sweetest of dreams.
Clarissa picks me
up at noon to grab lunch and finish purchasing stuff for our dorm rooms. We both have way too much to get still.
Each day that gets closer to college starting I feel the connection between us weakening. I'm not sure if it’s my imagination or not, and although we're still close by one another, it feels like this will break us. I'll be stuck in the same suburban neighborhood I've lived in forever, while she gets the taste of a large city and new friends.
So each chance we get to hang out from now until then, we are, even if it’s just a quick shopping trip and lunch.
Sitting down outside Vron's, a little Italian cafe we favor, each of us order our usual. Clarissa doesn't waste in any time in asking what happened last night. I go into detail, telling her most of it; from meeting my dad, to the fancy dinner, to the field down the old dirt road, ending at the kiss on the doorstep. I skipped over the family part, because that portion of it is none of her business.
"So... he just ordered food for you?" Happens to be the first question out of her mouth. I was waiting for that.
"Yeah," I tell her. "Surprisingly I found it sweet."
"More like awkward. What if you were allergic to something he ordered."
"I don't have any food allergies."
She rolls her eyes, taking a sip of her coffee. "Still awkward."
"Don't ruin my fairytale," I tell her with a smirk on my face.
"I'm happy for you. I really am. He better not hurt you though, I'll kill him." She winks her eye at me.
"I'll be the first in line to kill him," I say with laughter. "In all honestly though, I already feel like I can trust him. I never believed in love at first sight until I met him."
Clarissa just snort-coughs out a, "loser."
"Cute, real cute." I give her a glare, but the two of us burst into laughter.
"At least I feel better about leaving you behind. Which brings me to this." Clarissa adjusts herself in her chair, straightening out her back before leaning forward. The seriousness is attention grabbing. "I know we'll both make new friends, have boyfriends, and all sorts of things. So to reassure that our friendship will remain strong, let’s make a vow. Every Sunday we meet up and have lunch, or do something together. We need to stay in touch, no matter how busy our lives are."
Surprisingly it brings a small tear to my eye. "I think that is a perfect idea. What if one of us have to work though? Or what about the weeks of finals and we're crazy busy."
"If one of us works, then we'll reschedule for a different day, or at least have a phone date. Final weeks we'll figure out. We need to do this. Promise me?"
She leans back in her chair, smiling at me. "Good."
After lunch, the two of us travel to Tempe so we can shop at Ikea. By the time we leave our favorite store, the trunk and backseat are both filled with miscellaneous items. Enough to fill our dorms with bright colors, funky designs, and the cutest accessories. The only thing I have left to purchase is the appliances, such as a mini fridge. I had enough in savings for what I've purchased, but now I have to dreadfully ask my dad for help with the rest.
On the ride back home, my phone rings. I always feel a little awkward talking on the phone, like I have to come up with useless small talk to keep people entertained, but the second I spot Blaise's name on the caller ID, I pick up without hesitation. "Hello?"
"Hey beautiful," he responds. His voice bringing a peace over me. I've been waiting to hear from him all day. "Sorry I haven't called earlier, I was busy at work today."
"It's okay. How was work today?"
He sighs over the line. "Work," he laughs softly. "Busy, entertaining. What have you been up to today?"
"Just shopping with Clarissa, getting things for my dorm. Did some lunch."
"So I talked with my boss today. He wanted to know if you were good with answering phones or organizing schedules. Any of that kind of secretarial stuff."
"Um, yeah. I mean, I've never been a secretary, but I had to answer phones for my other job. Scheduling can't be too hard as long as I have a planner and information." I feel so hopeful for this job. Stock markets. That means I could really get my foot in the door somewhere when I'm done with college, having such a great reference and connections.
"Would you be able to meet him tomorrow?"
"Yes," I blurt out.
Blaise chuckles over the line. "Okay," he says with laughter. "I'll give him a call in a minute. As long as you're sure this something you want to do."
"I would love it," I tell him. "Seriously. Thank you."
"Well don't thank me yet, you don't have the job, just an interview. I put in a great word though."
My lips lift into a large smile. I'm ever so grateful right now. Everything in my world just came together like pieces of a puzzle. I guess the saying is true, good things happen to those who wait.
"Will I be seeing you tonight still?" he asks.
"I'd love that," I answer honestly. "What time?"
"I need to shower and stuff first. I'll pick you up, say six?"
Our call ends and I squeal out in excitement, replaying the conversation to Clarissa. She acts weary instantly. "I didn't think it was that easy to get a job in the stock market."
"Well, it’s not like I'm doing the actual stocks or anything. I'm just answering calls. How hard is it to get a job like that?"
She shakes her head. "I don't know. I just have a bad feeling about this." Before saying anymore, she turns up the radio and starts singing along to it, completely out of tune. I decide to ignore the fact she just brought me out of my high, and instead join in with the signing. I need to enjoy these lasts days with her and not be filled with bitterness.
Dad helps me empty Clarissa's car out when I get home, then I give her hugs with promises to see her sometime in the next day or two. Once everything is put into a pile in my bedroom, I tell my dad about the job interview tomorrow. He becomes much more excited about the information than Clarissa did, but I still see a look of concern in his eyes.
I don't think his concern comes from the job interview though, because he was overly excited about that. I think it comes from the fact that if I get this job, I'll be around Blaise that much more.
At least I think I will be. I'm not really sure what he does. He said he was more behind the scenes. I may never even see him from my desk. That is, if I do get this job.
As soon as my dad leaves the room, I instantly start raiding through my closet for something to wear tomorrow. I need to look my best for this job interview, I know I won't have a better opportunity than this.
Still trying to find my best attire, I hear a knock on the door. Glancing quickly at the clock, I see it’s already six. I haven't even thought about our date tonight and what I'm going to wear to that. I have been in here for almost three hours trying to find something for tomorrow. I'm stressing much more than I need to be.
I open the door. Dad leans against the frame with his arms crossed. "Your boyfriend is in the kitchen."
"He isn't my boyfriend," I retort.
I watch him grin before I turn to grab something to wear tonight. I don't think cut off shorts and black tank top is appropriate for a second date. I need something a little classier.
"I didn't know you were going on another date tonight," he says. He doesn't come in the room, just watches me as I dig through my already messy pile of clothes.
"I was focused on the interview tomorrow, I forgot to tell you." I look over at him, pausing. "Is it okay? I mean, I am an adult after all, and I..."
He cuts me off. "You're right, you are an adult. I trust your decisions. He seems like a decent young man, and he obviously is smitten on you. I just know what boys his age think of, and..."
This time it's me cutting him off. "Dad! Gross. Stop. It isn't like that." Before he can say anymore, I plug my ears so I can't hear the rest of the conversation.
When I see that he doesn't have more to add, I pull the fingers from my ears.
Dad smiles at me, but it’s not a smile that reaches his eyes. I can see the worrisome there. He is letting go of his baby girl more and more each day. College, potential boyfriend, becoming an adult. He is losing control of me. He knows I'm losing control of everything that has always made me innocent. I'm stepping into a new life, and no one is able to hold on to ‘once was’ anymore.
"I'll be good dad," I try to reassure him.
"I know, Princess." He turns and walks down the hall.
I quickly grab at the first pair of black leggings I can find and throw on a long pink tank top. It’s dressy-casual, so I'm hoping that no matter what we end up doing tonight that I'll look alright. I hate nothing more than feeling out of place.
Walking down the steps, I see my dad and Blaise engrossed in conversation about football. I do everything I can not to groan. I'm not a fan of sports. I hate even more when men act like ten year old boys the second they find out someone else likes the same team as them.
"Ready?" I ask.
The conversation comes to a pause as both eyes are on me.
"Absolutely," I hear Blaise say. His eyes filled with adoration. I truly do feel like the most beautiful woman on earth when I'm around him.
After grabbing a bite to eat at a much less elegant place, the two of us arrive outside of a closed down golf course. I look over at him with concern when the engine shuts off. He has a habit of bringing me to awkward places in the dark. I should feel a little more threatened than I do.
"Ready for me to kick your ass?" he asks.
"It's closed," I inform him. He should know this. We're the only people in the parking lot and there is most certainly a lock on the fence in front of us.
He dangles his key chain in front of me. There are over a dozen keys on the key chain. I'm not sure I've never seen a man with so many keys before. "I have connections," is the only thing he says before getting out of the vehicle.
I follow a foot behind him, a little surprised to see that in fact he does have a key to the golf course. We enter inside the area, where Blaise goes straight to a little shack. I'm passed a golf club and purple golf ball, as he grabs his own set. The sound of buzzing is heard before lights flash on, bringing a bit of brightness to the course we're about to enter.
"Ever gone mini golfing in the moonlight before?"
"Never," I tell him, grinning. "Ever had your butt kicked at mini golf in the dark before?"
He chuckles. "Nope. Not going to happen either."
"Oh, we'll see about that."
By the time we get to the seventh hole, I'm winning by a whole three points. It's a long tunnel, one that isn't lit by the extra flood lamps and is barely touched by the moonlight. I can't see where the hole is, so I just take a shot at the ball, hoping to get close. Turning to face Blaise, I discover he isn't there. "Blaise?"
I look all around me to come up with nothing. "Blaise?" I yell louder.
I walk around the side of the tunnel, hoping he went around to see if he I did in fact get close to the hole, but when I reach the other side he is not there. "Blaise?" I try again.
My ball didn't make it on the other side either. I sigh, knowing I have to go into the tunnel to find it. Instead of waiting on him to finish peeing or whatever it is he snuck off for, I walk into the small tunnel to find my ball. It has to be close by.
Looking around, I don't see it anywhere. The tunnel is pitch black. A little freaky I might add. I slip out my phone to use it as a flash light. A movement to the right catches my attention when the light of my phone turns on. No one else should be in here. "Blaise?" I whisper. "Is that you?"
My heart pounds when no one answers. I don't want to shine my light on the object that moved. What if it’s an animal and I scare it? I don't want to be attacked by it, especially if it’s a raccoon or something. Instead, I let my phone go dark and stand in place, keeping silent.
The object moves in a little closer, yet it keeps quiet. Urging myself not to make any noise, I stand still, keeping my breath even. My fear has me shutting my eyes, willing whatever it is to just leave. It brushes against my arm, so I know it’s taller, and without a second thought I yelp out in fear. My arms start swinging, trying to push it away from me enough that I can run. Maybe Blaise is back and can save me.
"Liv," Blaise whispers harshly in my ear. He pulls me close to him, wrapping his arms around me from behind. "Shh, baby, it’s just me." I can hear the amusement in his voice. "I was trying to be cute, I didn't mean to scare you."
I turn and slap him hard on the arm. "That wasn't cute! I hate you," I yell out.
"Aww, I'm sorry." I can tell he is anything but sorry. Especially with the small chuckles that come out of his mouth.
"You're such an ass. I thought I was going to be attacked by a raccoon or coyote or something."
He bursts into laughter. "You're so adorable." His hands come up and touch my cheeks. "I really didn't mean to scare you. Well, not that bad."
I glare my eyes at him even though he can't see me. "You can make it up to me... I guess."
Now that my heart is pounding out of my chest, I find a little amusement in the whole ordeal. It was still a jackass move, but now I'm alone in a dark tunnel with Blaise. It’s romantic in its own not-so-romantic way.
"Oh yeah?" His voice changes an octave. "And how is that?"
A new feeling ignites inside me. I find myself wanting more of Blaise. Needing more of him.
My breathing increases. I can feel him getting closer to me. "Liv," he whispers against my lips. "Tell me."
I love the firm tone of his voice. He is ordering me to take control of the situation. I can make love to him for the first time, right here, right now. I wasn't expecting a dark tunnel at a mini golf course, but I knew sooner or later I'd be giving myself to Blaise. I knew it'd be a special moment to me, regardless to where the location is.
"I need you, Blaise," I admit. "Now."
His needy lips are instantly on mine. His hands furthering to the back of my neck, pulling me closer to him. Our mouths move simultaneously, needing more from another. I've never felt myself starve for more attention from another man's mouth than I do right now.
I feel an urgency in his touch as he undresses me. He needs me the way I need him. Blaise is ready to be with me. To make love to me. He strips down just as fast as he got me naked. I lay down for him, watching the as his faint shadow moves to be between me.
"Are you sure you're ready for this?" he asks softly above my lips.
"Yes," I answer him. That is all Blaise needs to hear. He pushes softly between my legs, filling me slowly with his hard length.
"God, you feel amazing."
I don't have the will to respond. It’s true though. I've never felt more connected to someone during sex than I do right now.
Blaise pulls out of me before pushing back harder into me, over and over, bringing me to a bliss I knew nothing about. My body tightens around him as an orgasm courses through my body like never before. I scream out Blaise's name louder than I knew possible as my nails dig into his back.