2 | The Invitation
I stare at the maroon-colored envelope with disdain when I notice the gold engraved ‘W’ in the midst of the smooth hard paper.
Placing it back on the kitchen counter, I stroll towards the beige leather couch and flop down on it.
The cool leather makes contact with my bare back-side as the white silk material of my robe rides up. I honestly never bother to put many clothes whenever I’m inside the safe confines of my home, which has become a habit, ever since I started living on my own.
My mind keeps on wandering back to the maroon envelope that contained yet another trip to doomland. The Woodward’s were hosting their annual gala and this time I have to attend. Why if you ask me? It’s simply because my beloved parents can’t make it.
Over the last eight years, I’ve avoided this event at all costs, much to my parent’s disappointment but now that I think of it, maybe I’m strong enough to handle it.
I mean for fuck’s sake, I succeeded in tolerating that piece of shit and his slutty pathetic excuse of a sister. The gala shouldn’t be such a big deal.
An old haunted memory crosses the threshold of my brain where I kept it buried for ages.
As I reached his dorms, a loud DJ song was in full swing. A drunken boy with emerald eyes and shaggy blond hair opened the door.
“Hey, bombshell who ya lookin’ for?” He slurred. He could barely finish before Nate appeared in front of me. Clad in a blue flannel shirt and black denim, he was absolutely making me drool.
“Oh my god, Phoebe! What are you waiting for? Come on in!” He said.
He literally dragged me inside. After handing him his birthday present he instantly started kissing me. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. I was astounded. I instantly started responding to him. Next thing I know I was naked underneath him with my left nipple inside his hot salivating mouth, harshly sucking as if his life depended on it. I was uncontrollably moaning but all my dreams come crashing down just as he was about to enter me.
He called me Jane
HE FUCKING CALLED ME JANE!
And damn did it hurt. All the time while I was thinking about having an ‘us’, he was busy fantasizing me as his ex-girlfriend who tore his heart out aka Jane. I know I sound pathetic.
But as soon as I registered everything, I oppressively pushed him off me and got dressed up. With hot tears brimming inside my eyes, I rushed out of the party and he did not even make an effort to come after me.
Outside the dorm, I took fresh breaths of cold November wind. After convincing my former pathetic brain, I went inside in search of Nate for demanding some answers, instead, I was met with yet another huge shock, which tore me apart completely.
Just a few minutes ago where Nate was about to take my virginity, in that same spot a blond bimbo was bouncing on his cock with her tits flying everywhere. Their moans and grunts made me feel like I was watching some cheap porn.
Never in my life did I feel so much disgusted and humiliated. A void started forming. It was like hell. The picture of those two having sex made me throw up twice on the flowerbeds that were situated outside the dorm.
After relaxing for a beat, the stench of alcohol mixed with my puke made me want to throw up again but instead I ended up with nothing but dry heaves.
However, all my thoughts halt when I feel a pair of thick arms wrap themselves around me in a death-like grip. Before I can even scream out, an excruciating pain resonates through my entire skull, and the next thing I know, my entire vision shrouds with darkness.
The shrill sound of my phone’s ringtone pulls me out of my dark memories and I scramble up from the sofa to retrieve it from the kitchen counter, where I left it along with the invitation card.
By the time I reach the phone, the ringing stops and I unlock the screen to see the caller ID as unknown. I frown guessing about the caller and become even more confused when I see the code. It was obvious that the number belonged to a Seattle citizen but I wondered who it might be.
Nobody had my number except for my employees, family, relatives, and friends.
I shrug away the thought and grimace when I look at the card.
Looks like someone has to attend the Gala…
“Are you sure you’re going to be okay?” I hear Kyle asking for the nth and sigh with frustration.
“Ok seriously. Now you’re treating me like I’m a child” I exclaim and peer down at the black lacy dress in front of me with narrowed eyes.
Hmm. This one definitely makes my boobs look big but…not appropriate for Gala
“How can I be treating you as a child when you are a child?” I could almost see Kyle smirking over the other side of the line and glare at it.
“Ugh! Shut the fuck up and just let me focus on my dress-hunting. Also, you don’t need to escort me there. I can handle myself all fine without you”
“You’re still searching for a dress?! What the fuck man? It’s been almost an hour!” Kyle exclaims dramatically and I roll my eyes at his tone.
“Look, I need to look fucking flawless ok? I don’t want to look like a hooker’s tab or whatever they call it. Besides, I’m going to attend their annual gala after almost a decade, I need to look hot. Big time!”
“In that case, wear something regal with a big ass slit. You’ll do all right”
“Ah! That’s exactly what I was thinking about!”
“Of course you were. Did I tell you that last week when Sophie and I went shopping, she literally told me or I quote ‘Daddy, I want to look sexy for Jean’s birthday party’. Imagine my fucking horror when I heard her say the S-word” He sighs with terror and I throw my head back laughing.
“Oh shut it! I’m not surprised. With the rate you swear all day, I’m surprised that she hasn’t been spewing ‘Fuck you daddy’ in your face”
“Ugh, don’t give me nightmares and I don’t even swear in front of her” He defends himself.
“Maybe one of your many one-night stands did that before you threw them out of your house. You should be glad that you don’t have a son. I can bet my life over the fact, that the kid would’ve probably learned how to wear a condom before hitting puberty if you were his father”
“Hmm, I’ll take that as a compliment, and don’t even ask me why. Anyways Hun got to go. Work’s calling”
With that said, we both hung up after exchanging our goodbyes and I resume back to my dress-hunting.
Shit! Why do I have so many blue-colored dresses?!
Finally, I settle for a sequined dark teal green evening dress with a plunging drape-fold neckline. The dress’s train was long which added elegance in my point of view and as Kyle suggested, the dress also entailed a long slit that would probably run down from the upper part of my right thighs.
Setting the dress on top of the silk brown duvet of my queen-sized bed, I sit down on the plush stool in front of my vanity mirror and start working on my face with make-up.
By the time I’m done with my face, the clock strikes six and I realize that I only have ten minutes until the gala starts.
One of the main rules of attending a gala in my opinion is always to arrive fashionably late.
Looking at the mirror one last time, I watch my maroon now-painted lips curl into a smile when I see my face looking glowingly flawless underneath the soft yellow lights of my bedroom. My long wavy dark brown hair was swept to one side with the help of a clip, revealing my neckline and diamond stud earrings that my brother Adrian gifted me last year.
Standing up, I shrug out of my white satin robe and methodically put on the beautiful dress, making sure that my make-up and my styled hair stays intact.
The dress hugs my body like a second skin and shows off my curves perfectly well.
Sitting down on the bed, I tie the thin straps of my metallic silver jimmy Choos around my ankles and pick up my silver clutch whilst checking the contents inside.
Compact Mirror? Check
Cash and credit cards? Check
After surveying my mental list, I make my way out of the house and call my Brother Adrian’s driver, Logan, who’s designated to me for the evening.
Once out of the door, I look up from my phone after he ends his call and sees a man in his mid-thirties standing beside a black limo. He was wearing a typical suit that most bodyguards wear and his face held a stoic expression that reminded me of the fact that he was an Ex-Fed. I roll my eyes at the car and wordlessly step inside the warm interior of the car as the driver holds the car door open.
Typical Adrian. Always the one to ensure dramatic entrance everywhere.
“Should I drive directly to the venue, mam?” The gravelly voice of the driver brings me back from my sulking and I nod my head yes.
As the car smoothly glides past the Seattle cityscape nearing the venue, an uneasy feeling starts gripping my throat like a vine.
I rest my head back on the leather head-rest as I take light sips of my champagne.
Just one glass won’t hurt, right?
“Saying that I’m impressed would be an understatement, your works were completely phenomenal” The elderly man, Francisco Beaufort stands tall in front of me as he praises me with his rich heavily accented voice.
He was one of the guests who attended the ball at Monaco.
“You flatter me Mr. Beaufort” I laugh lightly and take a small sip of the red-wine that was handed to me by one of the passerby waiters after I entered the grand ballroom of one of the Woodward’s luxurious five-star hotels.
I had to admit, the place was decorated beautifully with a golden and white setting. The lights were a bit bright for my own liking then again, who was I to complain?
Someone taps me on the shoulder and I turn to look at a very familiar face.
The last time I saw him, was probably at the thanksgiving which took place almost nine years back. He looked like he didn’t age, not even one bit. Ryan Woodward’s aka Nate’s father was what one would call eternal youth. His features were a stark replica of Nate’s.
Speaking of Nate, he stood beside his father who sported a face-splitting grin, unlike his son who resorted to brooding. However, when I fully turn to face them, I notice his eyes widen a fraction as he takes in my appearance. His eyes fall on the upper part of my cleavage which was exposed provocatively through the plunging neckline of my dress. I see him inhale sharply and a coat of pink blush taints his cheeks when he realizes that I noticed where his eyes trailed down to.
“Excuse me, Francisco, do you mind if I borrow this beautiful young lady?” Ryan politely asks Mr. Beaufort to which he silently nods with a smile, “Phoebe Honey, it’s so good to see you after such a long time” With that said, he envelopes me in a fatherly hug which I return.
Despite his children being a complete piece of shit, Ryan Woodwards wasn’t that bad. Sure he was ruthless and a bit inconsiderate with his employees, but he always treated me with warmth and affection which is one of the reasons why this poor old man has no clue what his beloved son did with me in the past.
Why did he not know? Because I didn’t have the heart to tell him what bastards he raised, knowing that it would break his heart.
I swallow back bile as the memories resurface and force a smile on my face when we pull away.
“It’s good to see you too Uncle Ryan. You don’t like you aged a day since I last saw you” I compliment him genuinely and he smiles back at me with paternal warmth which radiates through his entire aura.
“Yeah right, but you, on the other hand, you look stunning my dear”
Someone clears his throat and I tilt my head to a side to see Nate who was still standing beside his father looking all sullen.
Seriously? Did the man ever smile?
Heartbreak really changes people. Before his break-up with Jane, Nate used to be the sweetest guy you can ever encounter which was one of the main reasons why I used to love him so much but after the break-up, he became bitter, cold, and ruthless. A part of me wanted to see that Nate which my 16yr old self loved but the rational part of me wanted Nate to suffer for all the things he did to me.
I mean what did I do to deserve all that pain? Was it the fact that I loved him more than I loved myself?
Dismissing my dark thoughts, I nod in his direction as acknowledgment and for a moment I see his face contort with hurt as if he was offended by my lack of pleasantries.
Oh well, boy you got what you deserved
Suddenly a flurry of movement catches my attention from the corner of my eye and I turn my head to see no one other than the man who has been plaguing my thoughts ever since I stepped my foot inside French territory that was almost a month back.
My throat gets clogged up with unnamed emotions as I watch him stride inside the ballroom magnificently exuding power like always. His charming magnetic presence compels everyone to turn their face in his direction as he nods his way past the sea of greetings that are thrown at him.
He was wearing an expensive three-piece suit and for the first time in my life, I wanted to be a shirt. More specifically the shirt he was wearing.
But what snapped me out of my dirty day-dream was the girl beside him. He was smiling down at her fondly as she kept on blabbering about something. As if feeling my gaze, he looks up and his smile drops when he takes me in.
My heart which I tried mending over the last week, breaks all over again when I finally register who she is.
There was no hope of thinking that she was his cousin or something like that because the girl who was elegantly standing by his side was no one other than my therapist, Dr. Alana Axton.
A/N - What do you think Alana’s doing with Blaze? How do you think Phoebe will react?
Let me know all your thoughts and just a small reminder that this is a draft so please excuse my grammatical errors.