As I stepped out of Saks Fifth Avenue with my new black Dolce & Gabbana cocktail dress for this evening, my phone began to ring the familiar tone that belonged to my husband. He had sent me out to retrieve a dress for his son’s return, and I knew he wouldn’t leave me to go shopping without calling. Speaking of his son, I was nervous to meet him for the first time. He hadn’t attended our wedding and had been MIA during our entire relationship. Rumor had it that he was upset that his father married someone the same age as him. I couldn’t blame him as I would probably feel the same way if my mother married someone my age.
“Hello, darling,” I answered as I shifted the bags in my arm to hold onto the phone properly.
“I gather you have found a dress for this evening?”
“I have. It’s black just as you instructed.”
He chuckled into the phone. “Very good. My son will be arriving soon. Will you be returning now?”
I pulled my phone away to see that the time was just after four in the afternoon. “I will be heading back after I find some matching shoes. I shouldn’t be long.”
“And you don’t have shoes here that could match the dress?” The annoyance in his tone told me that he wanted me home sooner rather than later. I hated to make him upset and decided I didn’t want to deal with his attitude tonight.
“You’re right, I’ll be home directly. Love you.”
“Be safe, love.”
He hung up as I made my way to the pearl white Escalade that drove me around most days. The driver was a handsome man that never spoke to me other than asking for directions on where to go next. I knew nothing about his personal life and knew he would never tell me so I didn’t pry.
“I’d like to go home now, Pearson.”
Without another word, Pearson took off and headed home. We weren’t far from the shopping center, and before I knew it, we were pulling back into the driveway. I still gawked at the nearly all-white mansion overlooking the ocean beyond it. If someone had told me a few years ago that this is where I’d be now, I’d have laughed in their face.
“Welcome back, ma’am,” Penelope greeted as soon as I stepped inside. She was my personal assistant, and even though I had told Marcus that I didn’t need one, he had insisted. I treated her more like a friend than my maid. It felt more natural.
“Hi, Penelope. How long do I have to get ready?”
She looked down at her small wrist watch and grimaced. “About twenty minutes, ma’am.”
I groaned. That was hardly any time at all, but it was better than nothing. I shifted the bags in my hands and took off up the stairs to my bedroom. I hated that I had a separate bedroom, but Marcus had insisted on it. He got in late so many nights from business and said he didn’t want to wake me. To be honest, I wasn’t as upset about it as I thought I would be. It was nice to have my own space.
After I tossed the bags onto the bed, I got ready as quickly as I could. The black cocktail dress hugged me perfectly, and Marcus was right, I did have the perfect shoes for them in my closet already. They were black stilettos with silver studs on the back.
A light knock echoed from the door before Marcus stuck his head in. For an older man, he sure was handsome. His dark hair had begun to turn grey just above his ears and his goatee was the shade of salt and pepper. He kept himself in really good shape, though you could still tell that he was an older man. Twenty-eight years older than me, to be exact. I wasn’t ashamed. I needed stability and protection, and Marcus provided both of them for me.
“He’ll be arriving any moment. Are you finished getting ready?” He stepped into the room before he approached me and placed his hands on my hips. “You look ravishing either way, darling.”
I smiled at him through our reflection in the mirror. Most people snickered at our marriage since I was just a year younger than his son. Standing next to him now made me realize just how different our age gap really was. I’d never really paid much attention to it before, and I still didn’t mind. Marcus was good to me.
“I’m ready,” I replied.
He kissed the top of my head. “Shall we?” He held out his hand for me to take before he led me from my bedroom.
My nerves were all over the place, and I couldn’t explain why. I was just meeting his son, for fuck’s sake, there was nothing to be nervous about. Maybe I just wanted his son to accept me after he turned his cheek the entire time.
The room where we hosted our dinner parties was nearly packed to capacity. I knew many of them from Marcus’s other gatherings, but they normally ignored me. Tonight, they were smiling and nodding at me. Should I be worried? This was strange.
Marcus led me through the crowd and straight up to a younger man in a black suit. The sides of his head were shaved, but the top was longer and had a braid. It reminded me of the look of a Viking. Neck tattoos were visible above his collar and went into his hairline. I had always been a sucker for men with ink. It was too bad that Marcus didn’t have any.
“Gabe,” Marcus stated as he grabbed the young man’s shoulder.
My nerves tried to get the best of me as I swallowed and put on a smile for his son.
When he turned around and looked me dead in the eyes, I nearly fainted. No. This cannot be his son. Holy fuck.
“I’d like you to meet my wife, Bentley. Bentley, this is my son Gabe.”
Gabe’s lips turned into a sultry smirk as he studied me, and the gleam in his eyes told me that he recognized me but couldn’t figure out from where.
I hadn’t seen or heard from Gabe after our sweaty tumble in the back of his Jeep seven years ago. Now I knew why.
“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you, Gabe,” I lied through my teeth. I had met him before, all right, and it was the sexiest night of my life.
I cried to an old friend when he didn’t call. A drunken one-night-stand would do that to a person, though. He rocked my world and then disappeared. I was young and dumb, but I didn’t regret my night with him.
He took my outstretched hand to shake but held it longer than expected.
“Have we met before?” Gabe asked while he continued to hold my hand in his.
I shifted uncomfortably in my spot, careful to play it cool with Marcus right next to me.
“I don’t believe we have,” I lied again.
“Oh, Cindy is here. I’ll just be a moment, darling.” Marcus kissed the top of my head before he stepped away.
Gabe still held my hand in his as he studied me. “I’m sure we’ve met before,” he added.
I shook my head and giggled like a nervous hen as I looked around. “I’m sure you’ve mistaken me for someone else.”
He finally let go of my hand, but wouldn’t stop staring at me. Why the hell was he staring?! His piercing blue eyes caused a shiver to run down my spine, much like it did the night I first met him seven years ago.
“Hmm, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen you before, but I can’t put my finger on it.” He grabbed a drink from the tray of a waitress passing by when he winked at me. “Have a goodnight, killer.” And then he disappeared into the crowd of people.
I let out a breath and tried not to make a scene in front of everyone. My husband’s son just so happened to be the guy that I couldn’t stop thinking about for the last seven years. Even on my wedding night, I thought about him. Now it seemed so fucked up. I was totally screwed.