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Mr & Mrs Sullivan

By Simone Elise- explode All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Drama

Blurb

You choose you marry don't you? In Dane and Emerald's case, the first time they met was on their wedding day. They didn't fall in love and decided they wanted to spend the rest of their life with each other. They were brought together because of their own personal problems which would be solved by marrying one another. Dane wasn't expecting a beautiful model to be promising to be his on his wedding day. And Emerald couldn't understand why a man like him would need her at all. When he could simply have anyone. While it may solve their personal problems. Emerald soon realised that she was falling for someone she shouldn't. And she hadn't put all these walls in place to keep men away from her all her life, to let them down now.

Chapter 1

Emerald’s Point of View

Nothing in my life was ever simple. Not my career. Not my family. Not even my school life. I knew I had thought this through numerous times. Had come to many possible outcomes. I knew what I was about to was frowned upon by most. Hell I even thought it was crazy. Yet here I was sitting in back of a brand-new Bentley, in a wedding dress.

At eighteen.

While all others my age stressed about returning to school for the final year.

I was freaking out about meeting my future husband.

My Dad was an oil miner. Very successful, one of the richest man in the country. Still as I looked at his face now I knew he didn’t want me to go through with it. So why was I deciding to marry at eighteen? To commit to a man I had never met?

I still couldn’t give a straight answer.

One day I was talking to my agent about how much easier my life would be if I had a husband. It would keep all the other men that were obsessed with me away.

Being a highly paid model had is advantages and as well as disadvantages. The one disadvantage that was haunting me was men. Drooling over me. Messaging me. Stalking me. I joked that they would stay away if I was married and if I was off the market then I could focus on my career and that alone.

I was at the highest of my career. Modelling was all I knew. I had been brought up by mum in beauty competitions. Mum still was my number one support. So I knew even though she didn’t fully understand why I would commit to a man I had never met, especially when her and dad decided marriage was their worst mistake and divorced before I was three.

Still here I was about to walk down the aisle.

“Emerald you can still get out of this.” Dad’s large rough hand covered my small one which had a death grip on the lilly’s I was holding.

“I know you think I’m making a mistake but...” I found myself losing my words. Shaking my nerves I looked at Dad “I really need your support Dad.”

His face softened “That’s all you needed to say Emerald. You ready?”

I nodded my head.

Here goes everything. What’s the worst that can happen? I only had to be married to him for a year. That was the time frame in the contract. This time in a year it would be over. Thank god for divorce. Cause that was my get out of jail card.


Dane Sullivan Point of View

Fuck Jamieson. So what if I liked to party? Come the start of season I was focused I was dedicated. Nothing came before my career. Playing football had always been my dream and now I was at the top of my game. But the partying was giving me a bad public image. Which was affecting my career. Being in the headlines every weekend was not just getting the coach on my back but also the CEO and director of the club. They didn’t want their star player a drunk of a weekend before pre season.

Jamieson started the rumours I was seeing someone and it was serious. Before I knew it I was engaged and everyone would love to know who the mystery woman was. Hell I would like to know who the mystery woman was.

So instead of the star player being a ladies man and an alcoholic, I was filling the papers of my up coming wedding.

Who the hell would willingly decide to marry someone they have never met?

I wanted to meet her as soon as the rumours started. But she was the one who said no. I knew then it was the fact she was pig ugly. Jamieson went on and on how it was a perfect match. She needed something from me and I needed her to be a trophy wife. To be at every game cheering us on and then in a year, after I had locked down a five year contract I would divorce her.

I had been forced to stay away from women because of my engagement. Everyone a part from Leah. Who was right now in the front row smirking at me. She knew how much it was killing me doing this.

I loved my women. I hated commitments. But I loved my football career more than anything. Which was why I was standing in a black tux ready to take the dive into marriage with a woman I didn’t know.

“You ready brother?” Max’s hand clamped down on my shoulder. Being family he knew the truth.

“Never. Ever will I be ready for this.” I grumbled.

“Well pull your shit together because the car just arrived.”

Dread filled every part of my body. Just kill me. That would be easier. I glared down at the alter floor. It was a garden wedding and not only was every player of my team here, but also every media outlet possible. And family and more friends. It was a huge wedding.

I had kept glancing to her side of the alter. She had as many guests here as me. Why was she putting on a show?

Time to put on a game face as the music started.

Gasps. I heard gasps. I knew she would be ugly. More gasps. And they were so loud you could hear them over the music. And the cameras started flashing.

“Wow.” Max said behind me.

“Any ugly jokes and I’ll kill you.” I whispered yelled at him. Not turning around.

“Brother I really think you should look at her.”

I guess I couldn’t put it off forever. Come on Sullivan. You can do this. Face your fate.

As much as I would like to put it off. As much as I would like to run away. My football career depended on me marrying this woman. Till I got that five year contract.

So I turned.

At first I just blinked at her as she walked up the aisle.

The white dress showed off her perfect curves, it dipped low showing off her perfect round breasts. The curves was enough to get any man excited. But it wasn’t that, that had me stunned. It was the way her blonde hair framed her snow white face. And those green eyes. Forest green. The type of green you would expect to see in a magazine, that have been digitally altered.

She was small, she was young, she was gracefully and she wasn’t anything I was expecting.

Why the hell would a girl like that want to marry me?

Max whacked my arm. “You can stop drooling.” He whispered at me.

Fuck it. Put your shit together Sullivan. You are acting like you have never seen a woman before.

But when I thought about it. I hadn’t ever seen a woman like her before. She looked like she had just stepped out of a magazine.

She was stunningly beautiful.

And completely out of my league.

Yet she was about to marry me?

ME!

Her Dad was basically glaring at me as they reached me. I knew he was threatening me. Looked like a powerful man. If he had any idea who I was, I would be thinking the worst as well.

Her expression was blank a part from a small smile which I think she was forcing because every camera around us was on her.

She didn’t look scared of them.

Even I hated the cameras but she didn’t look like a deer trapped. She was acting like this was a perfect afternoon and she wasn’t nervous about marrying a complete stranger.

Was I the only one freaking out?

Then her eyes bounced off the celebrant and on to me. As soon as our eyes locked. She smiled. And it lit up her whole face, from her dimples to her emerald eyes. She was beautiful young woman and I had no idea how Jamieson had found her.

Her Father handed me her hand, and she skin was as soft as it looked. Her nails were perfectly manicured. Everything about her was perfect, especially that smile.

Suddenly I was insecure about myself. Did she like tattoos? Because I was covered in them. My fingers, my hands, arms, chest, legs, shoulders, neck. Hell even my back. I had never felt insecure before. But I was insecure as soon as I took her hand.

Everyone went to sitting and the celebrant starting welcoming everyone.

“You look beautiful.” I said looking down at her. The truth just tumbling out. I wanted to speak to her, but wasn’t sure what to say- so I just start the truth.

“Trust me it’s the dress.” She smiled up at me. “But thank you.”

It wasn’t the dress it was all her. Now I had her attention I didn’t want to lose it. “Dane. My names Dane.”

“Emerald.”

“I know your eyes are.”

She laughed, “No my name is Emerald. But everyone calls me Em.”

Emerald. Perfect name for the most beautiful woman. “I guess it’s show time.” I looked at the celebrant as he started the part I was dreading.

“Yeah it is.” I heard the nerves in her voice as she said those three words. Maybe I wasn’t the only one freaking out about marrying a stranger. I didn’t think about what it would mean, I squeezed her hand reassuring her.

And then the celebrant started talking to us. Now all those times I had practiced this part with Leah over the last week was going to pay off.

***

The wedding reception just turned out to be a big party. We had skipped the speeches bit and the dancing. Everyone was happy just eating and drinking. As for Emerald and I, we hadn’t had one moment to talk.

I was throwing back shots with the boys when I saw her across the room with an elderly woman.

“I can’t believe you kept her a secret!” Scott whacked me. He was the best ruckman in the league and also a great friend.

“I’d keep her a secret as well.” Jamie said. “Not only were you dating The Emerald Asher but you married her!”

The boys seemed to know who she was. I had no idea. But I couldn’t say that. Every time they mentioned her, they were just overly impressed. I would say it was her beauty that had them drooling, but it was also the sex appeal.

“No wonder not one guy had a chance with her if you were hooked up with her.” Scott handed me another shot. “I would love to say I was in with a chance, but I would never have got close enough to one of her shows, let alone a shoot. The closest I’ve got to her is one of her calendars.”

“Or her website.” Jamie laughed.

She was famous. But I didn’t know what for. “I haven’t seen either.” I threw back the shot I had just been handed.

“So you weren’t one of the men stalking her then? Come on mate, her in her underwear has helped me out numerous times.” Jamie wasn’t joking. Did he just say he was wanking off to my wife?

“How about that Miss December shoot. Just a glimpse of her naked ass was enough for me.” Scott said. Ok that was enough with the jokes.

“Are you lot fucking with me?” My temper creeping up.

“Mate you are the one who just married the hottest model in the country.” Jamie picked up more shots handing me another.

She’s a model? I looked through the crowd but couldn’t see her.

“She keeps her work private.” I lied. Why hadn’t anyone warned me she was a model?

“Well you get to do what every guy wants to do with her tonight. You know I read in a magazine she’s still a virgin.” Jamie leant in. “Unless you have already been there?” He smirked at me.

I threw back a shot not wanting to answer I looked at the shot glass, how many of these have I had? I swear I’ve had a drink in my hand all night. And when I didn’t someone was giving me one.

“I’m not telling you lot about my sex life.” I put the shot glass down, only to have Nathan hand me a rum and coke.

“Come on it’s locker talk. She’ll never know.” Nathan nudged me. “Just tell us is her body as good as it looks like in the pictures.”

I had only touched her hand. But they were all looking at me wanting answers to their perved questions. I started to gulp down the rum and coke.

“You’ve seen her body in real life. You know that it’s better than the pictures.” There was no possible way a photo of her would compare to the real thing.

The boys laughed and that seemed to answer their questions.

Nathan put his hand up for the bartender and I knew this night was going to get messy. The boys were enjoying the fact that this would be our last night on the drinks before season.

So I didn’t stop throwing back the drinks. Fuck I needed to be wasted just the thought of being alone with her in my house tonight, had me all sorts of nervous.


Emerald’s Point of View

He was drunk. So drunk he couldn’t remember the password to his own security gate. He ended up ringing his brother asking for it. He had somehow made it up the front steps of his mansion. And when he was struggling to put the key in, I took over.

He stumbled in, knocking over a foyer table, causing a vase to break and the roses and water spilling over the floor. As well as, keys, sunglasses, and everything else that was on it. And then he stumbled into a mirror. I was trying to steady him as we walked inside. Seeing as he was walking hazard.

“I think I’m going to be sick.” He slurred and leant against the stair case.

Well my husband was an alcoholic. But at least he wasn’t an angry drunk.

I helped him down the stairs to a sunken lounge room which over looked the beach. I would love to take in the view but he had just said he was about to be sick.

“Do you have a bathroom downstairs?” I asked, holding his weight up. God he was tall, and muscular and I was glad he wasn’t fully leaning on me because I’d be on the ground.

He groaned and pointed down a passage.

Following his instructions. We had reached one door when he forced it open and went straight for the toilet bowl. Spewing.

How romantic.

I shook my head, picking up my wedding dress and heading back the way we had just came. The front door was still open and my suitcase was still on the front steps. Picking it up, I headed back inside.

My heels slipping in the water and I fell to the ground landing on my arm awkwardly and the suitcase landing on my stomach. So this summed up my evening as I glared up at the ceiling. Cursing I pushed it off me.

I sat up in the water, grabbing one heel and pulling it off and then the second. Stop bloody things.

Getting back up on my feet, I picked up my suit case and headed back into the lounge room. I could still hear him throwing up. I looked for a light, but couldn’t see a switch anywhere. So I opened my suitcase up and pulled out my phone. Dialling a number I hadn’t expected to use so early.

“Emerald?”

“Hi Amy.” Amy was Dane’s mother. We had exchanged numbers at the reception. “I was just wondering if Dane was allergy to anything? Was on any current medication?”

“No he isn’t. And he was on pain killers when he did his shoulder last season but a part from that he is clean. Can I ask why?”

I looked up the hall, hearing him throwing up. “Just making sure I won’t kill him if I give him some maxalon. Thanks Amy.”

“I’m guessing my son partied too hard at the reception then? He looked wobbly on his feet when you left. I’ve been telling him to take it easy on the alcohol. I swear every weekend he is a mess. Don’t you be cleaning up after him. He knows better and I’m so sorry Emerald.”

My nightmare confirmed. He was an alcoholic. A man as handsome as him, so confident, shouldn’t be so depend on alcohol.

“It’s not a problem. Nothing I haven’t dealt with before. Night Amy. Sorry to call so late.” I hung. I had spent my childhood cleaning up after my older brother and his crazy weekends. My brother was an alcoholic. It was one of main reason I never drank. I still loved my brother and didn’t mind looking after him when he came and stayed with me. But I had never wanted to marry a drunk and put up with it for the rest of my life. Then again it was just a year.

While the bitch in me wanted to leave him to moan and groan on the bathroom floor. The better half of me was digging through my bag and pulling out my medication purse. I always had medication on hand. Especially anti nausea medication. Because sometimes I would get so nervous before a shoot, I didn’t mean to but I would make myself sick. Anti Nausea medication was my best friend.

So was my hydralyte. I grabbed a tablet and walked to the kitchen, dropping it in a glass off the shelf and watching it dissolve as I added water. Restoring electrolytes was highly important otherwise he was going to wake up with one hell of a hangover.

How many times had I forced this cocktail in my brothers mouth? I sighed picking up the Maxalon and headed for the bathroom. He was sitting gripping the toilet.

“Here. Open your mouth.” I kneeled beside him. He looked at me glassy eyed but did as I said. Handing him the hydralyte. “Swallow it with that.” He threw back the glass of hydralyte like he had been throwing back the shots tonight. I grabbed a towel and wiped the vomit off his face.

Again something I was used to doing.

“I think I need to sleep.” He stagged up, his hand reaching for me, as I helped him stand.

“Do you think you can manage the stairs?” I asked, holding some of his weight. And assuming his main bedroom was up there.

He shook his head. And we walked out of the bathroom. He pointed to another door and I opened it.

Spare room by the looks of it.

He basically fell down to the bed as soon as he was in distance of it. I undid his shoes and pulled the blankets back, throwing them over him.

Just like my brother.

Why was it when it came to the men in my life, they were all useless? Why did I expect my fake husband to be any different?

I dropped his shoes on the floor. I don’t know what happened to his suit jacket and tie, but he wasn’t wearing either when we left in the limo.

The buttons of his shirt had been undone, showing me his tattooed chest. His shelves were rolled up showing off the tattoos on his arms.

I didn’t know much about him. But I would say it was fair to say, he loved to drink and he loved tattoos.

I walked back to the lounge room, my wedding dress hustling at my feet. Now I didn’t have my heels on it was way too long for me.

I was back in the lounge room and seeing as Megan had got me into this mess. I didn’t see it as an issue to make her up.

So picked up my phone and dialled her number.

“Em, calling me on the wedding night. What to thank me?” She answered first ring.

“More like to ask who the hell did you make me marry?” I scoffed.

“Dane Sullivan. As in the footballs star player Dane Sullivan.”

Foot ball player? I guess that answered by the wedding was filled with overly tall and muscular men. “I don’t care who is he. He is a drunk.” I went to undo my dress, but couldn’t reach and undo the corset. Bloody hell! Don’t tell me I was stuck in this for the night. I groaned. Would this nightmare ever end?

“So you’ve already googled him then?”

“No. Why would you say that?”

“Because his partying and the alcohol is the reason he had to settle down. The club wouldn’t sign him on for longer than a year. If he gets his social life and public image back in shape, he will get signed for another five next year.”

Well that explained why he wanted to get married but why to me? “Couldn’t he have married a friend or something? It’s not like he is like me. He could have anyone.”

His looks, his fame, hell just the way he carried himself would have women dropping for his attention. I had noticed the females were drooling over him at the reception.

“So you could Emerald.”

“My situation was different. You knew I couldn’t just link up with anyone. It had to be an arranged temporary thing.” I cursed because that is exactly what I had got myself in for. “How did you link us together? It’s not like you can run an ad looking for a man wanting to marry a stranger?”

She went silent for a minute. “Well I may be dating his agent.”

I groaned. “So this was organised over pillow talk?” I wanted to slap her. Lucky for her she was in a different state right now.

“It solves both problems. You help him repair his public image and he deters men from stalking you.”

“You still haven’t promised me that it will stop. I checked my letter box today and I had more cut outs.” Creepy ass letters. Looked like they were from a serial killer. All my letterboxes were private apart from the fan one but somehow this creep had managed to get my private addresses.

“It will stop. And the police are looking into that one. Look Em. Just take a Valium and get a good night sleep.”

“I’m not self-medicating cause you have me married a drunk!”

“It’s only for a year.”

I had my hand on my hip and was looking out at the beach as the waves crashed on the sand. “I’m not moving in with him.” I was firm on that. “Ever.”

“It’s part of the contract Emerald.”

“Well I’m not selling my properties.” If I had to live with him. I would make sure I didn’t give up one of my houses. I had apartment and houses across the world. They were my escape.

“You don’t have too. Look you just have to focus on his football season. Be at the games-”

“Be a trophy wife?” I cut her off snapping at her. “Does this mean I can only take jobs around the city?”

My career was built for around the world. I didn’t do permeant jobs. I was used to being in a different country every week. I liked the freedom of traveling. But school was starting and this year I wouldn’t be doing it by correspondence.

“No. During the week you can be wherever you want. It’s just the weekends.”

“I need to go before I start abusing you.” I hung up before she could say another word.

It just the weekends.

Was this really worth it? Maybe I should have just put up with the men. Wasn’t a big deal. So what if they were all drooling, always wanting to touch me, always hitting on me. I groaned. I couldn’t have more security if I tried.

I had three body guards and the men still got through.

I dropped my phone on the couch and laid down. Staring up at the glass ceiling. Clearly the star foot ball player had money. Well that was one thing I had too.

I didn’t just have family money I had my own money. I had earnt every million. Still money wasn’t going to save me from a year with a drunk would it?

Money didn’t save me from the men always brushing me, always touching me.

Money didn’t solve a darn thing.

All it did was buy me places to hide.

I looked at the wedding ring on my finger. Was that going to save me from the men?

Dane’s Point of View

I woke up rubbing my eyes. Where the hell was I? I looked around the room. Down stairs. I was down stairs. Why wasn’t my head pounding? After the amount of spewing I did, I expected more than a slight headache.

I remembered Emerald giving me something to take and swallowing something that tasted funny.

FUCK EMERALD. My eyes went wide at the realisation. It just hitting me. I had been so nervous about being alone with her, I had gotten off my face.

I threw the blankets back and stumbled to my feet. Not only do I remember her cleaning vomit off my mouth but she also put me to bed.

Fuck Sullivan.

I caught a glance of my reflection in the mirror. I looked like a hung over wreck and I smelt like the bar. Stains of liquor were down my white shirt. Rum would do that.

I quickly ripped my shirt off, not wanting to remind her of what a drunk I had been.

I walked up the passage and then I saw her. Asleep on the couch, still in her wedding dress. Her hair was to the side and while she looked like a sleeping angel I looked like something you would pick up off the street.

Her dress had worked its way down, and her breasts were basically spilling out. I grabbed the over throw off the arm chair and laid it over her.

She stirred but didn’t wake. After last nights impression I doubt I could come back from that. But I would try. I hadn’t shown her the house. I hadn’t given her the tour I was planning on. Or wowed her with view of the beach.

Hell I didn’t even give her a bed to sleep in. I walked up the step and into the foyer, noticing my side table on the ground and water everywhere. I guessed I had done that too. But by the tracks left in the water, it looked like she had fell and ditched her heels here.

God I was a jerk. Really living up to that reputation Sullivan.

I took the stairs two at a time and walked up the second floor, till I reached my room. It was spotless cause the cleaner had been. I grabbed a pair of jeans, boxers and shirt that were folded on my bed and headed for the shower. I was going to make a better second impression. Even if I was as nervous as hell at the thought of being alone with her.

***

I smelt like myself again, not like a bar. Looking at myself in a mirror, I decided to roll up my shelves. I don’t know why I was so bloody nervous. I could kick a winning goal on the siren but the thought of facing Emerald had me doubting every single thing. Right down to what socks to wear.

I decided to go with bare feet.

Spraying myself with more deodorant. I decided I couldn’t put it off any longer.

I opened my door and headed down to the second floor. I’d cook her breakfast and tell her how extremely sorry I was. Sure I liked to party but that didn’t mean I was drunk and normally for nine months of the year I was deadly sober.

It was only in the off season, I let myself drink. And yeah, I had been drinking a bit too much lately. Waking up in strange places with women I couldn’t remember their name.

I stepped over the water at the bottom of the stairs. I had to clean that up. Still wasn’t sure if she fell or not but again I would say sorry for that too.

I walked into the lounge, expecting her to be still on the couch but she wasn’t. My house was open living, there wasn’t places to hide. I looked out the window and there she was. Sitting on the beach still in her wedding dress.

I pushed open the sliding door and walked down the porch steps.

Time to be a man Sullivan.

“Morning.” I said to her back. Was she as beautiful as I remembered? Even my drunk mind, had put her out of my league and not a lot of women, made that class. In fact I hadn’t met one.

She looked over her shoulder. And darn I had been right. She was completely out of my league. Was it possible for a woman to be that beautiful in real life? I didn’t think it was possible. No wonder she was such a successful model. She didn’t just have the figure for it but she also blew every other model away with her beauty.

“Morning.” Her words were sharp but still friendly. She forced a smile. “You’re looking better.”

“Yeah um.” I scratched the back of my neck. Ok time to apologise endlessly. I wasn’t above grovelling. “I’m so sorry. I really didn’t mean to put you in the position. Seriously I am so sorry-”

“Its fine.” She cut me off and looked back at the ocean.

I didn’t like the way she just dismissed it like it was nothing. Like she hadn’t done anything for me. No one had never looked after me like that. Not even Mum did that when I was little. It was big deal that she did. And I didn’t expect that of her. Ever.

Still she had done it, without knowing me. She had a good heart and I had taken advantage of it.

“Still I’m really sorry. I swear it won’t happen again.”

I watched her shrug her shoulders. Her whole body turned to look at the ocean.

What do I do now?

This wasn’t going how I wanted it to be.

I guess when it came down to it, I was a stranger to her. A stranger that she had to look after.

“You hungry?” Seeing as me apologising wasn’t what she wanted to hear. I wanted her to feel comfortable around me. After all we would be together for a year. But it wasn’t just that reason I wanted her to feel comfortable around me. I don’t know why, but suddenly her welfare was important to me.

She nodded her head and went to get up. I grabbed her hand and helped her up. She pulled her dress up.

“Still in your wedding dress I see?” I held her hand, even though she was steady on her feet now. But she was quick to take her hand out of mine. Both her slim hands were holding up her dress now as she walked.

God even her feet underneath her beige tights were perfect.

“Don’t even start me on the dress.” She grumbled clearly having an issue with it.

I didn’t understand, isn’t a woman meant to love their wedding dress? Maybe she didn’t like it because she was forced to wear it. Wasn’t like we married out of love. Hell maybe she didn’t even pick the dress.

It was perfect on her though. Framed her body. All I wanted to do was touch her hips as she walked up the stairs. Her ass slightly swaying. So darn perfect.

The door was still open. She walked in and I followed in her shadow, sliding the door shut behind me. It was going to be a warm day. You could already feel the string of the sun.

“Can you do me a favour?” She spun around, looking at me biting her bottom lip.

“After what you did for me last night, yes.” God I’d do anything she asked.

“Can you get me out of this dress?”

I just stared at her. Did I hear that wrong? Yeah I must have. “What did you say?”

“Can you get me out of this dress?” She said it slower. “I swear they have stitched it into me.” She spun around, giving me access to her back. She pulled her hair forward.

“You sure you want me to take it off?” My hands were itching to do it. Surely she wasn’t giving me permission to strip her?

“God yes.” She blew out and looked over her shoulder frowning. “Please.”

She didn’t have to beg me. My hands slowly undid the corset. The more skin I saw the more excited I got. Then I saw black lace. Please don’t let her be dressed in sexy lingerie.

I was hoping for a mismatch bra and panties. That would be enough to send my fantasies off. But as I undid the final lock and the dress fell to the ground. She sighed in relief. And I froze.

The black straps running up her thighs clipping to her panties to her tights was enough. The black lace only covered half her ass. She turned around and I couldn’t take my eyes off her breasts. The low cut black bra, was just screaming for me to free them out of it.

“Thanks for that.” She put her hands on her hips and I ripped my eyes off her breasts and looked her in the eye.

“You um, really are um...” What was I trying to say? How incredibly beautiful she was? How she had me throbbing, like no other woman had before? How I had never seen anything sexier than what was in front of me.

“I had a shoot before the wedding.” She shrugged her shoulders. “Didn’t have time to change.”

“Wait.” I pointed at her. “There are photos of you wearing that, just that?”

“I am a model.” She frowned. “It’s what I do.”

“So you model underwear?”

“Sometimes.” She tiled her head. “Most of the time though I have more clothes on.” She smiled “And I don’t usually do personal shows. Like this.”

Right. Snap out of Sullivan. “Right I’ll um let you get dressed.”

But I watched her turn around and walk to the couch opening a suitcase. I knew I had to look away. I knew it was gentleman thing to do. Still my eyes were glued on her as she undid the straps that connected her tights and she rolled them down. Taking them off. I loved seeing the way her underwear moved up her ass as she put her leg on the couch and rolled her tights down. Was it possible to get this hard, without even touching her? As my blood ran downwards I knew my answer. Fuck yes.

My wife was the sexist woman on the planet and it was going to torture me being so close and not being able to touch.

She pulled a dress out from her bag, and threaded her arms through it. Wasn’t till it dropped covering her I was able to look away.

“Breakfast yeah? You still hungry?” I snapped out of it and went to the kitchen.

“Yeah but you don’t have to cook.” She pulled her hair up, I’m sure she had had a hairdresser working on it this time yesterday but she threw it up like it wasn’t perfectly shaped for her face.

But when her hair was pulled up. I realised how delicious her neck looked.

“I um can cook.” I opened the fridge. Just stop looking at her.

I was gawking like a teenager.

I scanned the fridge. “You’re not vegan are you?” My hand hovered over the bacon and eggs.

“Nope.”

“Eggs and bacon then?”

“Sure.”

I started cooking and forced myself to focus on that and not the fact her dress had risen up her perfect thigh. I knew what was under that dress and I had never wanted to rip something off a woman as badly as I wanted to rip that off her.

“So we should talk.”

I looked over my shoulder taking my eyes off the eggs. “About?”

“Maybe start with what we do?” She arched her eyebrows at me. “Megan said something about you being football last night.”

So she didn’t know who I was before she married me. That meant she hadn’t married me for money or fame.

“Who’s Megan?” I took the bacon out of the oven that had been keeping it warm.

“My agent. She is dating your agent. The pair put us together.” She didn’t sound happy about it so I wasn’t shocked to turn around and see her frowning. “I thought it came together to quickly and easy.”

I placed the bacon and eggs in front of her.

“So that’s how Jamieson found you. I don’t mean this in a mean way or anything but why the hell would you get married, you’re young right?” I had so many questions for her. I didn’t realise how many till I now had the opportunity to ask them. “You look young.”

“Eighteen.” She picked her fork.

Fuck me. My wife was eighteen.

“So um why did you do it?”

“Why did you?” She threw back at me. Not answering.

“I didn’t really get an option.” I served up my bacon and eggs.

“Yeah but you could have married a friend or something. Hell there was enough females at the wedding.”

I did have a lot of female admirers. But not one of them was nearly as beautiful as my pretend wife. “Yeah well I saw enough men looking at you as well. Hell, all of my team mates were ready to jump you. Still think most of them made a crack on you as the night went on.”

She rolled her eyes. “Men so typical.”

“So why didn’t you marry one of your admirers?” Why pick me?

“I needed to be a contact. Clean and crisp. No emotions or feelings.” She took a bite of her bacon. “Just keep it business, you know? So, why didn’t you?”

Keep it business. Guess that mean my charm wasn’t going to work on. I knew I had charm when it came to women. Normally I wouldn’t have to do much to get a woman. Something was telling me that Emerald was as close as she was going to get. Like I thought. Totally out of my league.

“Similar reasons.” I muttered.

“So what do you want from me?”

I choked on my bacon. Because what I wanted was her in my bed.

“You ok?”

I filled a glass up with water and downed it. “Um yep fine.” I wiped my mouth.

“So like I was saying, what do you want from me?” She cut up her eggs and looked at me like I was just another business connection. Hell, she was using me and I was using her. We had just fooled the world by declaring we loved each other enough to get married.

“I thought we covered that in the contract.”

“Not really. It just outlined you needed me for a year.”

“Yeah well I have to repair my public image.” I wanted to roll my eyes. It was pathetic. You would think playing good football would give you a contract. But the thing holding me back was my image to the club. I was the captain and if I didn’t pull my shit together. I wouldn’t just lose the chance of a five year contract at the best club, that was heading for a grand final but I would also lose the privilege of being a captain. “Marrying you was the first step on repairing it.”

She nodded her head. “I can help with that.”

“I don’t think you know what you are getting yourself in for.” Being a captain’s wife was hard. She would have to put up with crazy hours, team mates always here. Deal with the fact my focus would be on the club not her.

“Do you know who I am?” She put down her fork and knife.

“I know you’re a model.” That was all I knew about her.

“That would be me, Emerald Asher.”

“That’s Emerald Sullivan now.” I smirked at her.

“True. But I built my reputation from nothing. If I can build a good reputation in a dirty industry. We’ll repair yours. Anyway how bad can it be?”

I laughed at her. “Considering it’s made me get married it’s fair to say it’s pretty darn bad.”

“Well we will work on it. Where do we start?” She got up and walked around the kitchen island, grabbing a glass off the shelf. I liked that. That she felt like she could do that. I stepped away from the sink as she filled up her glass.

“Well the boys wouldn’t shut up about you. They all knew a hell lot more about you than I did.” It bothered me that my team mates knew more about her than I did.

“Please tell me they didn’t mention the word December.” She looked at me with regret and when I nodded my head she cursed.

“What’s wrong with that?”

“One shoot. I take my clothes off for one calendar and I swear it is all the boys know. God it wasn’t even a full naked pose! I did it for charity needless to say it has been just one major headache.” She gulped down her water. “Trust me they know nothing about me. They may have just seen my picture or that stupid calendar.”

“What about facts like you love animals?” I remembered Scott mentioning that.

“I do love animals.” Her face melted. “It was for an animal shelter I did that calendar for.” She pointed her glass at me. “But everyone knows that. I’m sucker for anything furry.”

“So they knew more about you than I did.”

“They don’t know why I married you.”

“No they think we are madly in love. Swear they didn’t leave me alone once they heard I was dating someone.”

“I know what you mean. My friends wouldn’t shut up about it either because I have a strict, don’t date rule.”

“Yeah well you didn’t have headlines and gossip columns trying to guess who it was. I swear every interview I did, came back to you.”

“Yeah well did were your parents on your back, going on and on about how I was letting the family down by marrying.”

“What they don’t like marriage?”

She shook her head rolling her eyes. “My parents don’t believe anyone should be in a relationship, let alone get married because they don’t believe in being faithful.”

“What are they hippies?”

“Something like that.” She sipped her water. “Your parents know the truth.”

“How do you know that?”

“Amy and I had a conversation.”

Mum and her spoke? “When?”

Emerald smiled. “She approached me at the wedding. Your dad is really lovely too. Plus we spoke last night on the phone.”

“On the phone?” Why the hell was mum calling her!

“I kind of called her.” Emerald looked at the ground and then back up, looking guilty. “I needed to know if you were on any other medication or had any allergy’s.”

“Why?”

“Cause I kind of gave you a maxalon. So you didn’t feel like a train wreck this morning. I also forced fed you electrolytes.” Emerald was looking extremely guilty now. “Sorry if I crossed a line.”

I had never had anyone look after me. Or cared if I felt like a train wreck or not. I had never had a female care about me.

“Did I say thank you enough?” I smiled at her, and her expression changed from tense to relaxed. Good I didn’t want her stressed. “Really Emerald, thank you.” I reached out linking my hand with hers. “I really owe you one.”

Her eyes were on our linked hands. Was she feeling that spark? Or was it just me?

“You should call me Em, all my friends do.” Her voice was shaking. Looks like I wasn’t the only one feeling the spark.

“I’m not your friend.” I was her husband. From one look at her I knew. I wanted to be more to her than a friend.

“You’re right.” She pulled her hand away. “You’re not a friend.” She looked at me as if I insulted her. “I need to go.” Had I hurt her feelings? I wanted to be more than a friend to her. She had turned so quickly I didn’t get a chance to read her expression fully. I had never been much a reader when it came to women. I knew what lust looked like on their face and when they wanted something but when it came to other emotions. I was shit.

I quickly followed her into the lounge. “Where too?”

“My house.”

“I thought it was part of the deal you moved in here.” I followed her to the couch where she was pulling something out.

“I never gave a date on when I’d move in.”

“Nah don’t you dare back track. We had an agreement. How will it look if my wife doesn’t even live with me?”

“Maybe that we haven’t arranged it yet?” She shrugged.

“Emerald this is bullshit. This is our first day together and you are backing out!”

“I’m not backing out. I have things to do.” She pulled out her wallet and house keys. “It’s not a big deal.”

“I don’t know if you realise this, but we are at the part where we leave for our honeymoon.”

“Megan said we weren’t having one.”

Fuck it. She was right. “Yeah because my season starts this week.” Now I wished I had made the wedding earlier, so I could take her away. Spend one on one with her. Why the hell was I thinking that? I haven’t even known her for a day!

“So why are you so mad?” She narrowed her eyes at me.

“Because you made a commitment to moving in here. In fact, why isn’t your stuff here? We have an interview this week and it’s going to look weird if the house has zero of your belongings in it.” Was this our first fight? Screw it. I had only had her for a morning and I was already screwing things up.

This is why I didn’t do relationships.

She pursed her lips, looking up at me. “I was never keen on the idea of moving in.”

I scoffed. “And you tell me this now!”

“Why do I have to move in? We both have careers. I’m going to be busy with school and work. You’ll be busy with your football. So what if we don’t share a house.”

I usually didn’t do mad. I was calm, controlled, relaxed. One word to sum me up, it would be controlled. But I wasn’t feeling controlled right now.

“Emerald. You made a promise. Do I have to pull out the contracts and get our lawyer involved?” I attempted to be reasonable.

“You know what,” She took a step closer to me. “do that. Because that will string things out for weeks.”

“The end result will you be living here.” I was fuming. Was she really going to make me do that? Make me go through her lawyer? If the press even got wind of this, our little game will be over. “Please don’t make this harder.”

I could see the debate in her eyes. “I still need to go out.”

“Where? I can take you.” I wasn’t ready to let her go. If she was seen without me, one day after our wedding- it would make the headlines.

“I’m fine. But thanks.” She brushed past me.

“You haven’t got a car.”

“But I have a phone that can call a taxi.” She waved the phone over her shoulder.

I wasn’t letting her get away from me that easy so I followed her. When she was about to open the door, my arm shot out in front of her and I closed it. Trapping her between me and the door.

“Emerald please let me take you. If you get seen without me today, one day after our wedding. It won’t look good.” Come on please don’t make me beg.

I watched her frozen body.

“Please Emerald.”

She turned and looked up at me. “You have to stay in the car.”

“You sure I can’t help you move?”

“I’m not moving today. I have to check on or see if....” She stopped talking. “Just say you’ll stay in the car and you can come.”

I picked the car keys to my Lamborghini off the floor. “Promise I’ll stay in the car.”

Emerald’s Point of View

I left Dane in the car. When I noticed my front door ajar. I knew I had my answer. I should have known something was wrong when he didn’t show up at the wedding. He had been avoiding my calls for at least a week and I had been staying at Megan’s apartment. I should have guessed he would be here.

I pushed the door open.

“Jeremy?” I called out. All the curtains were pulled. I walked into the lounge room, dropping to my knees as soon as I saw him. “BLOODY HELL JEREMY!” I shook him. Looking at the coffee table, I saw the drugs, my credit card, and empty bottles of alcohol. How many times had I paid for him to go to rehab? The first time I was only thirteen.

Dad refused to pay for it. He had washed his hands of Jeremy when he was twenty. Jeremy is ten years older than me.

I shook him again. Alcohol poisoning or over dose? I looked at the table. Maybe both. Running a hand through my hair. Chad. I needed Chad. I left Jeremy where he was bolting out the front door, bumping into Dane’s car. I quickly ran around it and down the driveway. Tears running down my cheeks.

“EMERALD WHERE ARE YOU GOING?”

I heard Dane yelling at me. But panic was filling. My brother was out of it. Again. Possibly dead. I ran up Chad’s driveway. Reaching his front door, I started banging and ringing the door bell.

Come on Chad please be home.

This wasn’t the first time I was relying on my neighbour Chad who was a paramedic.

The front door opened up.

“Thank god your home!” I basically blasted him “It’s Jeremy, he is out of it again. I think he could be dead.”

Chad grabbed his kit and started quickly walking beside me. “How long?”

“I don’t know I just got here.” We started running down my drive way. Past a confused Dane.

“Emerald what’s going on?” Dane questioned me as we ran past him.

“I haven’t been home for a week. I knew something was wrong when he didn’t show to the wedding yesterday.” I said as ran through the front door. “I knew he was in a bad state. I should have checked on him earlier.”

“He is an alcoholic and a junkie Em. You weren’t to know.” Chad dropped to his knees and started checking Jeremy’s pulse.

“Please tell me he is still breathing.” My heart was tight, my blood vessels pulsing. I couldn’t breath. I was struggling right now. This was all my fault! I shouldn’t have had alcohol in the house! I knew he had a key. Still don’t know how he got my credit card.

“What the hell is going on in here?” Dane said behind me.

“JUST TELL ME HE IS BREATHING CHAD!” I yelled at Chad.

“Call an ambulance. I got a pulse but its weak. Do you have any idea what he has taken?” Chad was checking him out. Looking at his track marks.

“I don’t know.” Jeremy’s drug use wasn’t something we talked about. But I knew the truth. “He takes whatever he can get his hands on. For Christ sake he was only in rehab last month! This time it was the most expensive one I could find. He showed improvements! I thought.... I thought he was better.” I humbled with my phone. Right call an ambulance.

Dane’s hand was on my shoulder. “I’m calling the ambulance.”

I turned to look up at him. Tears running down my cheeks. “Thanks.” I wiped my tears away.

Taking the bottle out of Jeremy’s hand and putting my hand in his. Should I call mum and dad? I rolled my eyes Dad would be pleased to hear. He already thought Jeremy was a dead weight.

“You should start getting rid of the drug evidence Em.” Chad said.

Right. Clean up. I was used to this. I stumbled to my feet. Barely hearing what Dane was saying on the phone and went into the kitchen. That’s when I saw the blood and razors. Spinning back around I bolted back into the loungeroom.

“Check his other arm!” I yelled at Chad. Not caring that Dane was on the phone to the ambulance. And not caring that Chad was looking at me like I was mad. He pulled up Jeremy’s other arm. And I saw the blood.

I clenched my eyes shut.

This wasn’t an accident.

It was a suicide attempt.

Chad reached out for Dane’s phone and took over.

I grabbed a towel off the washing basket and handed it Chad. Who applied it to Jeremy’s arm.

I went back to the kitchen grabbing a bag and headed for the lounge, starting to wipe it of the drugs and bottles. I was more cautious when I reached the needles.

If Jeremy was that sick, why didn’t he tell me? How could he use my house, my money to pay for this shit and kill himself! How did he expect me to live with that! How could he expect me to find him like this!

Why would he do this to me?

But what was really bothering me was, why the hell hadn’t I fucking noticed?

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