Mr & Mrs Sullivan

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Chapter 13- 22

Chapter 13

Dane’s Point of View

I had loaded the last suitcase into the limo, closing the boot. Emerald’s driver shot me another dirty look for loading the suitcases in, he told me- respectively that it was his job. I had a strong feeling, he had enjoyed being her driver, and having her relying on him.

I glanced at the open door, waiting for Emerald to come out. I was guessing she was being held up. I still didn’t know how I felt about her working all night.

We were outside the studio where she was meant to be doing her last shoot. She said she had to do it. I hadn’t even so much as seen her, since she took off last night. Saying something about needing to tie up loose ends before leaving.

All I knew was our flight was meant to be in an hour- at least that is the time she gave me. How she thought she was going to get all these suitcases through customs, in time for our flight- well I didn’t know how she was going to do it. And it wasn’t like it was just these suitcases, there was also all her shit from her place, which had been ‘taken to the airport’.

Still had no idea what that meant or how that worked. Megan came and backed up Emerald’s things, she made very brief conversation with me while doing it in the early hours of this morning. I think she would have got enjoyment out of thinking she was waking me up at two in the morning- pity for her I was still awake.

I leant against the limo and waited for Emerald. I thought she would be coming out any second now. Cause we didn’t have much time on our hands.

Then I don’t know what the fuck happened- but suddenly cars were pulling up from everywhere. Had I missed something? It was the early hours of the morning and we were in a side street. Next second I knew, there was cameras in my face. I fucking hated the paparazzi. First cameras and then, something worse- questions!

They weren’t asking nicely, or questioning me nicely- they were shouting questions at me. Main question- Were Emerald and I still together?

I pushed my way through them, getting through just in time to see Emerald walking out. She was rushing out and in such a hurry, she nearly missed the crowd that went off me and on to her.

Her eyes went wide, as the cameras focused on her and those questions that had been shouting at me, well now they were being directed at her. She clearly was as shocked to see them as I was.

My eyes were glued to her. She was barely dressed and then the fact ran through my mind, again, she was barely dressed- and had multiple cameras on her and I heard them clicking and flashing.

I snapped into defensive mode immediately. Emerald’s body guards weren’t here to protect her or block the paparazzi. I was pushing them out of my way, trying to get to her. I admit it I was being rough, but right now all I cared about was Emerald- if that meant an assault charge so be it.

I pushed the last fucking paparazzi scum out of my way, when I saw a man with a camera on his knees, aiming up Emerald’s short dress. She was basically still in lingerie- I assumed it was a lingerie dress, cause it was short and fucking sexy as hell.

Looked like the sort of thing men drool over, yeah in fact I can guarantee if there was pictures of her wearing that, it would be pinned in every mans shed or worse bedroom.

I already got my jumper off and as soon as she was in arms distance I threaded it over her head, and roughly threading her arms through it, and then when she was covered I wrapped my arms around her, pulling her into my side, blocking the paparazzi from her, as we got to the limo.

Her driver had actually done something useful and had the door open. I didn’t push her in, cause I didn’t want to hurt her, but I blocked her from complete view of the paparazzi as she climbed in, as soon as she was in- I was quick to get in myself slamming the door and the noise and cameras out.

I don’t know why, but my control over my temper wasn’t tight. I was furious. Then my eyes went to Emerald.

“What the fuck are you wearing?” My words had a lot of heat to them, and I guess I was deflecting my anger about being surrounding by the paparazzi who had made it their goal to always be documenting my mistakes and fuck ups. Just when I think I’m out of the view of the camera, I would see images of me on a magazine, of the night before.

Emerald frowned. “I was rushing…I thought…” She looked at me nervous and took a sharp breath in. “Sorry Dane for putting you in that position.”

“You shouldn’t have stepped out of the shoot wearing that!” I was taking my anger of the situation on her. Blaming her, like it was all her fault because of what she was wearing. “Why were the paparazzi even there? Did Megan set it up or anything? And you thought fuck it, I’ll step out basically naked!”

I knew what I was doing. I was blaming her- when it wasn’t her fault and I realized my mistake when the last words came out of my mouth. I saw her hurt expression, and immediately felt like a dick.

“Sorry Emerald. I just…” I reached out for her hand but she pulled it onto her lap. Great. I had done damage. My fucking temper always got the best of me, especially when it involved the paparazzi. “I just don’t want you splashed across the headlines wearing that. I just…”Ok I needed to do damage control. “I just wasn’t expecting them to show up.” There I said it, I was shocked they turned up and even more shocked when she stepped out barely wearing anything.

Her eyes were glued on her lap and she wasn’t saying a word.

I leant back, ok what do I say now?

“Guess we should cancel our flights, right? We won’t make them now.” I was going to make small talk with her. Maybe she would ignore me but if I kept talking about small things, there was a chance she would speak back to me. “I’ll call and cancel. You can go back home, get some sleep. Then if you still want to go, we can reschedule.” I looked at her. “I’ll pay for the flights, I don’t want you out of pocket.”

She lifted her eyes off her lap and looked out the window at the main streets, flashing by- as the limo headed for the airport.

“I’ll um tell the driver.” I went to hit the button for the window to go down to tell her driver.

“It’s will be fine.” She finally spoke, but wouldn’t look at me.

“Emerald even you can’t keep a flight grounded.” I was being reasonable with her- but mainly I just wanted to keep her talking. “Sweetheart, we can make the next one.”

I realized now that she hadn’t come out with anything. Not a bag or a phone. Nothing.

I frowned “Wait where is your stuff?”

“Back at the shoot. I was only coming out to tell you something.” Her words were low and she still wouldn’t look in my direction.

“I’m sorry Emerald.” I reached out for her hand in her lap, this time she didn’t pull it from my grasp. I realized now, she wasn’t letting anyone see her in real life with what she was wearing, she was only planning on me seeing her in it. Fuck. I’m a dick. “The paparazzi brings out the worst of me.” I was honest with her.

“It’s ok. I understand.” She said that but her tone was telling me she didn’t understand- or she had miss understood what I meant.

“I’m not angry at you Emerald. I swear. I just hate the cameras and the fucking questions and all that shit. I hate people thinking they have a right to know personal details of my life.” I kept trying to explain to her. I didn’t want her thinking it was her I was angry with. Sure she had copped some of my temper, but it wasn’t hers to cop. I knew that now- I should have thought before I opened my mouth.

She scoffed but kept whatever she was thinking to herself.

“What?” I read her expression she had something she wanted to say to me, but wasn’t. Maybe cause she wanted to torture me- cause her not talking to me was fucking torture- especially after how I snapped at her before. I didn’t want her mad, I wanted to defuse the situation. Which meant I needed her to speak. “Come on sweetheart what’s wrong?”

Her eyes snapped to me, and I knew I was in shit immediately- deep shit.

“You should have let me do the press release yesterday.” Her words were low, but it was her eyes that had me frozen and my heart pulsing quicker.

“Why would I want that?” I finally spoke, what she said registered. Why would I want her posting a release saying we were getting a divorce?

“You hate people prying into your personal details? You loathe the paparazzi. The paparazzi and I go hand in hand. I always have a camera pointed at me, whether I know about it or not. So if you have a real deal with it and can’t handle it. Then you should have let me release you from your commitment to me.”

It wasn’t just what she said, it was how she said- it was the way her tone twisted. I heard the hurt, the betrayal but most of all anger.

I took a deep breath in. Ok. I needed to approach this carefully.

“Emerald. I’m sorry.” Fuck I should have kept my reaction to myself! “I don’t want that to happen. I don’t want to lose you. If I have to deal with a few cameras so be it.” I would put up with more if it meant I had her- but I didn’t want to scare her about what lengths I would go to, to keep her in my life.

Shit if she knew I was going to walk away from my foot-ball season for her- I think she would freak.

“It’s more than a few cameras Dane. You aren’t just in a relationship with me, you are in a relationship with them as well.”

“I’ll deal with it.”

She arched her eyebrows at me. “Really? Cause a minute ago, you said you couldn’t.”

“I overacted.”

“No you didn’t.” She pulled her hand from under mine, crossing her arms. “You said you hate the cameras, you hate the questions, you hate people knowing the details of your life?” She looked at me firmer. “So did you just lie to me about that? Or are you lying about willing to put up with it?”

Great. I really was in a corner. I looked back at her, staying calm. I needed to approach this situation calmly. And use my brain which I hadn’t used before when I snapped at her and blamed her for the paparazzi showing up.

“I’ll handle it.” I looked into her heated eyes. “I’m sorry Emerald.”

“Really? So before was that you handling it? Before when you were yelling at me? Is that you handling it? I hate to tell you Dane, but how you just handled that, shows clearly you can’t handle it.” She took her eyes off me. “I think we should rethink the divorce. Cause I don’t think you can handle me, or what comes with me.”

I knew what she was doing- she was pushing me away.

“Just because some paparazzi got the best of me, doesn’t mean I can’t handle you.” I wasn’t letting her push me away- not now- not ever. I was going to make sure she knew when it came to her, I wasn’t letting her brush me off because of that reaction.

She looked back at me, her eyes still narrowed, and the heat still in her beautiful eyes. “You are forgetting the other things that come with me.” She turned in, facing her body towards me, looking fucking determined. “You can’t just handle the paparazzi that come with me, you also can’t handle the money.” Crossing her arms tighter. “You can’t handle what I do for a job either.”

I wanted to scoff- really she wanted to have this argument with me? Now?

I kept my eyes on her. “Your money is just that, your money. As for your job, you know all I’ve been is supportive.”

She looked at me harder. “You just gave me a lecture about what I was wearing! Don’t you get it, what I’m wearing right now, was just photographed and will be in catalogues!”

Ok, she did have me there. “You and I both know it is edited, and you make sure you are covered.” I was not going to argue with her of this. “I’m not going to fight with you over something that isn’t a problem.”

She shook her head and took her eyes off me, and I would bet everything I owned and will own- she was glaring out that window.

“Sweetheart I’m sorry.” I keep reading her body language which told me she wasn’t backing down or accepting my apology. Ok. What do I say? I kept looking at her. “How about from now I’ll handle the paparazzi better?”

She was still glaring at the window. I waited a few more minutes, then realized she wasn’t backing down at all. I groaned. “Ok Emerald, just tell me what you want to hear? And I’ll fucking say it? I screwed up. Again. You can rub it in as much as you want. Just tell me what you need me to do?”

I didn’t like begging but I would beg for Emerald. It went against my character to beg. It went against who I was. But yet here I was- doing it. For her.

I was thinking of what else I could say, cause clearly what I had just said, hadn’t worked. Maybe I’d have to grovel? I opened my mouth going to do just that when she turned to face me.

“You’ll do anything?” Her words gave me immediate hope.

“Yep. Anything.” I meant it to.

Her lips twitched up slightly. “Then you’ll help me invest and spend our money.”

My expression dropped. That could not be her condition. “No.” The response just came out before I even gave it a bit of thought. But at the end of the day, I was the guy- I gave her money. I didn’t take her money. The husband provides for the woman simple.

“Why do react like this when I mention our money?”

“Not ours. Your money.” I made that very clear. Again. “You’re the billionaire not me. Simple.”

“I’m your wife! You can’t just have one part of me and not the rest!”

“Exactly you are my wife. Which means I provide for you. I’m the husband. You should be spending my money. That’s how it works!”

I thought her eyes were heated before and things couldn’t get worse- I was wrong.

“Is that how all your other relationships worked?” Her eyes got sharper. “You just throw money at your girlfriend? Is that what role you want me in? Some submissive wife!” Her voice was going up and I knew shit was going to get worse. “I’m confirming the divorce as soon as we are at the air port.”

Now- right now, the way she was acting- reminded me of her age. Eight fucking teen. Stubborn. Head strong. Knows what she wants and a career driven woman.

You know what was worse?

I loved her more for each of those characters.

I sighed, running my hands through my hair. I had no option. I looked back at her.

“Fine. I’ll do what you want.” I was going to hate every second of it, but I would do it. “I’ll help you invest or spend, the money or whatever.” I would go anything to make sure I didn’t lose her. If she really wanted me spending her money- even though I would hate every second of it- I would do it.

The car was slowing down, and I hadn’t looked at her yet. I was too busy hating myself for how low I would sink to keep her. Here I thought no woman would break me. No woman would control me. And here I was handing all myself over to an eight-teen year old. I sighed, but I knew it was fucking worth it and I also knew, I would sink lower to keep her- maybe that was showing how pathetic I was.

I knew Emerald was giving me a shot- but it wasn’t like she was giving me her heart or anything. Come the end of the year she could just walk- cut all cords with me, and leave me completely. I knew there was a huge chance she would walk from me- cause unlike me, she wasn’t addicted and wanted our ‘fake marriage’ to a real one.

The car came to a complete stop and I kept my eyes on the floor. “What do you want to do? Just wait at the airport for the next flight?” I finally looked up, glancing at her, to see her eyes locked on me. Why was she looking at me like that? “What?”

She was smiling. “Nothing.” She slid across the bench seat to me. I don’t know what shocked me more, that she was smiling or that she was coming closer to me.

She reached across me and I wasn’t sure what she was doing. I went to question her, when the window started to wind down. Frowning I glanced out the window and I hoped to fuck I wasn’t seeing what I was seeing. No. Surely not. Nope. Couldn’t be possible. My luck couldn’t be that bad.

“That’s our three million jet hun. Do you think we should upgrade?” Her words brought reality crashing to me. But what was worse- she was getting amusement out of this. I felt her kiss my cheek. “Come on out hun, my pilot is patience but not that patience.”

I turned to look at her. Did she like me squirming? I took a sharp breath in. She said money came with her. But this sort of cash was ridiculous. I was hating this more by the second.

“Tell me you only own one.” I finally spoke- my words were tight and I think how I felt about this, was clear in my voice.

Her smile went to a grin. “We, own..” She leant in coming closer to me, “just one.”

Well at least that was something. I sighed. “Emerald I’m telling you this now.” I turned my body towards her. “I won’t be a rich prick.”

Her grin fell, into a smile. Her hand going to my cheek. “I don’t want you to be that rich prick either.” Her lips came closer to me. “But I hate to break it to you, we are billionaires.”

“Well at least the money isn’t in my name.” I muttered and my hand went to the door handle. But her hand covered it.

“Dane, we are getting a joint account.” And with that said she kissed my cheek again. “And before you start telling me know, it’s in our marriage contract. Now get your ass out.”

I knew it, I always knew it, that I would regret never reading that contract would come and bite me in the ass.

***

My eyes were on Emerald. It took me a bit to get used to the jet. The expensive wood, the high-quality fabrics, the lounge chairs and then there was that bedroom. Which I was immediately avoided as soon as Emerald went in there to change. Being in a bed with her was hard- but knowing she was naked and there wasn’t even a door keeping her from me- it was fucking torture.

Then she came out, looking stunning. No makeup, relaxed clothes and I would admit I liked her covered and in baggy clothes- it helped me to keep my emotions under control and stopping me from stripping her naked with my eyes and then taking her to the bedroom, and taking her virginity. It’s every guy to be in the mile-high club and I was so fucking tempted right now- even with her in those baggy clothes.

She had the cutest frown on her face as she stared at her laptop. I knew that cute frown came when she was either studying hard or had a problem.

So I got up from the lounge and walked to the chair in front of her.

“Anything I can help with?” I asked, and pretended like I hadn’t been stripping her naked out of those baddy clothes- yeah when it came down it the baggy clothes wasn’t helping. Because I knew the figure that was undernearth those clothes. And it was fucking worth me, worshipping every inch of her and agreeing to whatever she wanted- even if that meant me spending her money.

She looked up. “Just catching up. Nothing important.” She said that but I knew from her tone- she was lying.

I reached out for the laptop and turned it to face me, her expression dropped as soon as it was now facing me.

My eyes ran over the email she was had been reading. And suddenly I realized why she didn’t want to tell me about it. My eyes went up, looking at her over the laptop.

“Guessing you didn’t want to que me into this?” I just assumed by the way she had told me ‘nothing important’ line.

“I didn’t want to you know, drop you in the deep end.” She seemed to be squirming. “It isn’t your problem.”

“I think how we announce that we are still together, is a problem we share- not something you just deal with.” I kept my eyes on her, as she kept squirming.

“It’s just. I don’t want to lock you in. You know. Pressure you back into a relationship with me.” Her eyes were everywhere but on me.

She thought I was going to have second thoughts? I was the one worried she would be the one to have second thoughts.

“Emerald come here.” I pushed the laptop away from me, and stood up. She was immediately on her feet. I put my hand out for her. “Come here sweetheart.” She still wasn’t moving. “Please.” I added.

She sighed but then got up, as soon as she was on her feet, I took her hand, pulling her to me.

“Dane what are you doing?”

I sat down back on the lounge and pulled her to my lap.

“Dane what are you up to?”

I pulled out my phone. “You worried about me changing my mind?”

She was still looking at me, with that cute frown. She was confused. “It’s just I know you don’t like everything about my life. The money. The lifestyle.” She sighed. “I know really hate the idea of being a billionaire.”

I already had my phone out, and before she said another word I moved forward kissing her lips. She was still at first. Then her lips melted, her hands going into my hair and I had her just where I wanted her. Then I took the picture and pulled back from her.

“We can pick this up in a minute.” I said to her, just when her face were covered in concern.

I was already typing on the post. If Emerald thought for a second I was going to back away from her, she was wrong.

“What are you doing?” She reached for my phone but I was still typing.

“Not finished yet.”

“Dane what are you doing!”

I hit post and then let her take the phone she was trying so hard to get. Her confused expression, dropped and I knew she was reading it. I watched with pleasure as my little wife read what I had just shared with the world.

Her eyes snapped to me, her mouth slightly parted. Then her eyes went back to the phone. “Shit Dane, do something people are liking it and sharing it!” She sounded so panicked and then her eyes were back on mine. Quick Dane, everyone is seeing this!”

“Good.”

“Not good! Do you even know what you said, what I look like and what you are saying!”

I took the phone off her. My eyes going to the post. “Looks like I just said to the world that a woman stole my heart and I’m lucky enough to call her my wife.” She was still looking at me like what I had said wasn’t true. I grinned at her. “Then it says, hashtag living the billionaire life.” I dropped the phone. “Looks like I’m a sucker for my wife.”

Then my lips were on hers, and this time I wasn’t just getting her attention for a picture. My hands went to her hips and I positioned her on me, straddling me.

“Dane.” Her lips broke from mine. “You didn’t have to do that.”

“However, you want to officially announce us being back together, I’m happy with. I’ll let you pick.” I wanted to go back to kissing her, but she pulled back.

“I actually have already locked us into one.” She seemed hesitate.

“Sweetheart, whatever it is, I’ll do it. Now I really want to go back to kissing you.” I leant in, and pulled her back to me.

“Dane, you mightn’t like it. It’s-” And I silenced her with my mouth. I didn’t care what we did to officially announce us not getting a divorce. I assumed some boring interview. At least we had given the media a pic of us and my dedication to my wife. All we needed now was to give a press release or whatever.

“I really want to strip you out of these clothes.” I murmured against her lips. “You still wearing that dress under those clothes?” My imagination started to run wild, with the thought of seeing her in it and getting the chance to really take in the view.

Her lips twitched up. “You want to find out?”

And just like that she threw fuel on my burning imagination and I was speechless.

This is for Dakota 😊

Chapter 14

Emerald’s Point of View

Ok I could do this, I could totally do this. I reached for my phone. Yep. I was doing it. I was totally doing it. They had to know it hadn’t stopped. They had to know, whoever it was, still had my personal address.

Megan had directed my mail to Dane’s and when we arrived early this morning, there was a bag of mail waiting for me. I didn’t have the intention to open any of it this morning. I convinced Dane he needed to get some sleep. I knew sleeping straight away didn’t help you adjust with the time difference. But his coach had heard Dane was back in the country, so I wasn’t surprised Dane was called in for a meeting this afternoon.

I had to somehow get Dane back on his coach’s good side. I’m guessing right now, the coach- in fact everyone at that club hated me.

I looked back down at the letters. Each cut out letter from magazines or newspaper- and each letter terrified me. Then I read the whole sentences. Yeah. I had to tell the police. Whoever was behind this had found out where my permeant address is- which I’m selling now. But if they managed to get that address, it means they could get Dane’s.

My stomach twisted at the thought of going to the police. I remember last time, they gave me a speech about there wasn’t anything they could do- but monitor it and if it developed, they would see what they could do.

I really didn’t want to be dragged into the station and questioned. Last time it took up a full week.

Maybe I should call Megan?

I scrolled down to her number. She would be asleep though. She had flown about an hour after us on a commercial flight. I couldn’t wake her up and again, was there anything she could do?

I was selling the house. Which meant that whoever it was sending these creepy ass letters- wouldn’t have my current address.

“What time is it?”

Shit. I quickly covered the letters with the fan mail and bills. Looking up from the dining table at Dane.

“Um nearly two. I was going to wake you up in half an hour.” I glanced down at my letters- the stalker letters were covered. I didn’t need Dane to see them, again there was nothing he could do either.

“Fucking Coach pulling me in first day back.” Dane grumbled pulling out a seat next to me, his eyes going from the letters to me. “Sorry. I thought we would at least get a day together before they were on my back.”

“Well I’m partly, no, the whole reason why they are on your back. Is there anything I can do to help? Maybe soften the blow of the lecture you are going to cop?”

“All good babe. My problem not yours.” He gave me a smile. “You going to get some sleep? You must be exhausted.”

“I find it easier just to stay up, wait out the difference, then tonight I’ll try and sleep.”

“Well you would know what is best way to handle the time difference.” His eyes darted to the mail which was covering his dining table. “Fan mail, I’m guessing?”

“Mainly bills.” I lied I didn’t want to scare him- this was like a tiny, tiny, dose of the fan mail I do receive. “So you better getting moving, maybe being early will impress them.” I got up from the chair. “And I’m guessing you are going to be busy all week?”

He hadn’t got up off his chair instead he was picking up a letter from the table. Shit what had caught his eye? Fuck was it one of those letters. I was going to reach for it, snatch it from his grasp, but he was already reading it.

“You’re going to be in the top one hundred sexy women alive spread?” He turned with an impressed smile on his face. “My wife one of the hottest and sexiest women alive.” He got up and still had a smirk on his. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Well I hate to burst your bubble but I could be number one hundred, then would you be as impressed?” I challenged him, just as he wrapped his arms around me. “Plus it is just another article, I doubt it will get much press.”

“You really under rate yourself, don’t you?” He kissed my forehead. “What do you have planned for today?”

“I’m sure Megan will have me booked for the week.” I sighed and let him pull me into a hug. “I’ll be at your game on Saturday.”

“That’s six days away. Don’t tell me I’ll have to wait till then, to see you?”

“Well if it makes you feel any better, you won’t even be seeing me till that night, when you come home.” I pulled away from him, “Let me know how you go with your coach. And don’t lie to me and say everything is fine. I want details of just how much trouble you are in.”

What I said caused him to roll his eyes and then he looked down at me. “I’ll tell you about how much trouble I am tonight in bed.”

I frowned. “Sorry Dane, I don’t know when I’ll be home tonight. To be honest with you, I think Megan has me locked in for night shoots at the beach.” I saw the disappointment across his face.

“So basically, I’ll be training all day, dealing with conferences and game plays and all that shit during the day and when I get home of a night, you’ll be leaving to go to work?”

“I’m afraid we won’t even cross paths, between you coming and I going. I’ll be starting in the afternoon, so…”

He groaned. “I won’t even see you between you starting and me finishing?” He didn’t hide his disappointment and his groan, told me it was like I had just ruined his week completely.

“Come on. It won’t be that bad.” I went up on my toes. “You can message me anytime and I would say call, but Megan answers all my phone calls.”

“But not your messages?”

“Nope they are private.” I smiled at him, my fingers running down his jaw. “Now get moving Dane Sullivan. You’re in enough trouble as it, thanks to me.”

He gave me another kiss on the cheek and let go of me. I watched him walk away and I would admit I wasn’t looking forward our time apart. It seemed like right now, we needed to be together and work things out- but our careers were pulling us apart.

I guess that is what happens.

“Oh Emerald?”

I looked back at Dane. “Yeah?”

“If you need me, call. And let me know what we are going to officially announce us being back together. I’ll drop whatever it is I’m doing, to do it.” He gave me another genuine smile and then turned and left.

Well I knew how we were officially announcing us being back together- but I wasn’t sure how Dane was going to like it- let alone, how he will feel about it.

I think him ‘dropping everything’ to do it- he will be regretting saying that.

Dane’s Point of View

It was the Friday and all week the trainers had been punishing us- the whole team- thanks to me. The boys didn’t hide how pissed off they were. We didn’t just lose last week, we got flogged and lost two places on the ladder. It wasn’t all my fault. But I had costed them training, our game plan and the guy who filled in for me- well he wasn’t really a great full forward.

Scott our ruckman, had been out due to a knee injury. Nathan our forward pocket- he was out because of injury as well. Jamie was out on suspension and I was in Europe.

This weekend we were all back. Our coach, our CEO, our Director- were pressuring us, we had to win and by a lot to get our percentage back up.

It wasn’t just about our position on the ladder now. It was more about our reputation.

I was doing weights with Scott- who hadn’t said much to me all week. When Coach wasn’t on my back, the boys were giving me the cold shoulder treatment. You would think I had cheated on them or something.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to fix the damage done by me picking Emerald over them.

Jamie was meant to be training, but he was sitting on the bench press near us, on his phone.

“Shit.” He muttered and his eyes darted to me, as I just got off the press, after completely my set.

“What?” I reached for my drink bottle. I expected him to dish on his latest girl trouble.

He glanced at me, “Nothing.” And in that one word, I heard jealously as long as anger- he expressed both emotions in his one-word answer at me.

I picked up my phone from the side lines, which had been next to my drink bottle. I had been messaging Emerald all week. I had told her how bad it was at the club. But I also told her over and over- it wasn’t her fault.

I was focused on tomorrow night, I would do everything I can for the win- and fulfil what the coach and all that need from me. But I wasn’t going to lie, I was looking forward to Saturday night, being with Emerald- finally seeing her.

The game was just something I had to get done and out of the way.

I was so focused on thinking of what to message Emerald, I wanted to know how her day was, but she could be asleep- which had me hesitate to message her.

My mind was on my phone and Emerald, but even I felt the shift in the air- and the fact all my fellow players- had their attention on something.

I looked up and just like that- I knew where every pair of eyes had gone. On to my wife.

I pushed myself off the wall. What was she doing here? Was something wrong?

Jamie stepped in my way and shoved his phone in my face. “You see this, this is what you get us invited too, to make up, for ditching us.”

I glanced at the phone. “What is it?”

“It is the top one hundred hottest woman party. A private party that they all will be at.”

“How would I get you invited to that?”

“Well your wife took out the number one spot.” He gave me a somewhat jealous look. “So seeing as she is the star and now classed as the hottest woman in the world, I’m sure she will be going to the party. Which means, you will be going- and you owe us.”

I rolled my eyes, “Move Jamie. I don’t owe you shit.”

He scoffed and I pushed him out of the way, but I didn’t need to head to Emerald now. She was now walking towards with my coach and the CEO- who had just come out of a meeting.

“So Emerald, Dane hasn’t told us, how was Europe?” My Coach asked her, his voice was actually friendly.

“I heard on the grape vine you are back here, working?” The CEO was also talking to her.

“Yeah back in the city. I love working at home.” Emerald was smiling at them, making small talk with them.

I looked at both the men who were known to be assertive and had been on my back all week, were looking at my wife- the way all men looked at her, with lust and even drooling basically.

Clearly Emerald had come to see me, not them. Surely they knew that?

“How’s Lizzie, Taylor?” She asked my Coach. I never heard anyone call him by his first name. Now come to think of it, not one of his players dared to call him Taylor. Even the press avoided it.

Coach frowned. “She was fine this morning but come tonight, I think that will be a different story.”

I frowned, was Coach actually telling Emerald about his relationship problems?

“How so?” Emerald kept talking, and hadn’t even glanced at me.

“It’s our anniversary and I don’t know what to get her. Left it till now, and still blank on ideas.” Coach sighed. “Liz’s taste still remains a mystery to me. Even after being married to her for this long.”

“She loves ruby’s.” Emerald opened up her clutch which was buzzing. I swear her phone never stopped ringing. “What colour does she wear? Rose gold? Gold? White gold?” Emerald ignored whoever was calling. “I have this designer, he is known for creating one of a kind pieces. It was actually one of his rings I was wearing that Liz complimented me on.”

“She wears gold and I might be a coach of a football team, but if being worn by your Emerald I doubt it’s in my budget.”

Emerald smiled. “I’ll make a call. Don’t worry about it. He sent me his latest catalogue and if I remember correctly there was a stunning ruby necklace in it.”

“No Emerald, I don’t want to put you in that position.”

“Don’t be silly. I owe you.” She looked up off her phone. “You let Dane come to me when I really needed him, I know how much it put you out and it costed you two spots on the ladder, but a decrease on your yearly percentage.”

I don’t know when it happened, but the whole gym was listening to the conversation between Emerald and Coach. She had just said what everyone knew. But not one of us had spoken about it. I had really put the club in a shitty position.

Coach’s eyes glanced at me and then were back on Emerald. “It isn’t all Dane’s fault. We had other members out on injuries and suspensions. Plus I moved players from their normal positions.” He looked at the CEO who was nodding his head and then they were both looking at Emerald. “It’s not your fault Emerald. At the end of the day, there is more than one person on a team and more than one person responsible for our results.”

Was he just saying that to ease Emerald’s guilt? Or did they really mean it?

“Regardless I contributed to your clubs problem. Which is one of the reasons I’m here if I could sit down with Jones in a minute?” Emerald’s eyes went to our CEO, again I had never heard anyone call our CEO by name. “But first I have to give Dane this.”

Emerald took a few steps towards me and handed me a gold envelope. My eyes were on the envelope she was extending to me.

“I sort of feel guilty for roping all the players into this. It’s basically a girl go wild party. Every woman that got listed is planning on letting loose.” Emerald glanced at Coach. “If the boys misbehave it is completely my fault. I swear the women are out of control at these parties.”

“Wait is that invitation to the top one hundred party?” Jamie was at my side, basically pushed me out of the way and snatched the invitation. “I thought you could only get a plus one, how did you manage to get the whole team invited?” He didn’t hide his shock, and the disbelief of the situation.

While Jamie was speaking, the rest of the team had got closer to us. As soon as they heard the words. ‘girls go wild party.’

“Well I’m line the honoured guest and the face of the event. And I said I wouldn’t show unless I could include my own guest list.” Emerald shrugged like what she had done wasn’t a big deal. “Don’t feel like you guys have to go or anything. I swear the models and actresses at these things are out of control.”

I don’t know whether Emerald was realizing that her words were encouraging the team, but discouraging them from going.

“Don’t feel like any of you have to go.” She added and then looked back at our CEO. “Can we have that word now?” Her voice switched from light hearted to serious. Why did she want to talk to the CEO of my club?

The CEO looked at me then nodded his head. “Sure Emerald come this way to Taylor’s office.”

Emerald gave him a smile but before she disappeared and followed him, she took the few steps that were between her and I and she quickly kissed me on the cheek- her mouth going to my ear.

“I’ll tell you tonight.” She stepped away from me, and then started to follow our CEO to Taylor’s office.

What was she getting at?

As soon as the door to the office closed the boys couldn’t hold their excitement and stared planning how they were getting to the party and how many opportunities there were for them to score that night.

You know what also happened? That cold shoulder the boys had been given me, dropped. Suddenly they were all whacking me on the back, telling me how much of a legend my wife was. And how I didn’t have to hook them up to the most exclusive party of the year.

They then started going about how they were only messing with me, and come tomorrow shit was going back to normal. So much for their cold shoulder being permeant. I still wasn’t sure if they meant that, that come tomorrow after the game they would go back to normal.

Or they were just so impressed with the invitation they now wanted to make sure to stay on my good side.

“They weren’t lying by the way.” Scott words broke me out of my thoughts, he was standing at my side now. “We all agreed to punishing you for a week but come Monday whether we win or lose, things were going back to normal.” His smile told me he wasn’t lying. “Your wife is one hell of a woman though, why does she want to talk to Jones though?”

That I didn’t have an answer for. Why would my wife want to talk to the CEO of my football team?

Chapter 15

Dane’s Point of View

“Her modelling has always dominated the media. With everyone having an obsession on the recently awarded world’s most beautiful woman. It is no surprise that her love life is also getting as much attention as the career and name she has made in the industry. Now to Emily for the details.” The news anchor switched to a reporter and my eyes widened when I saw where that fucking reporter was!

The live logo bright red in the corner, threw a can of fuel on my anger.

“Thanks Justine. Emerald Asher, now Emerald Sullivan is currently making headlines for a whole new reason. And this reason really has her fans is awe.” The reporter looked delighted with whatever she had to broadcast. “It is no secret that Dane Sullivan and Emerald’s story has been what most consider a fairy tale but it would seem even as woman considered the most beautiful woman in the world- still can have marriage problems.”

My grip tightened on the phone as I watched the television, the ringing being faint over the noise in here and the broadcast coming from the television.

“Emerald herself stated in an interview earlier this month, she was ending her short marriage to the famous football star Dane Sullivan. Emerald was located in Europe at the time of the announcement and her husband was still in their home country.”

I don’t know what was worse, them feeding somewhat true details to the public or listening to them build up a story- I didn’t know the ending too.

“Dane Sullivan was then spotted on a plane heading to Europe within a week of Emerald announcing their split. Which had everyone thinking he didn’t see it coming and went into damage control mode.”

Well they weren’t wrong there- that pissed me off more, just when I didn’t think it was possible for me to be anymore furious- I heard her answering machine. Like I had been doing since this report started I hung up and called her again.

“Dane was absent from two games, which costed his beloved club two spots on the ladder and their average percentage to drop. When Coach Taylor was questioned on whereabouts on his star full forward, he repeated the ‘no comment’ statement that was also coming from Dane’s camp.”

Sure the media had made it their mission to get into my personal life, but this was the first time that my drinking or outrageous drunk stunt wasn’t the feature. No it was worse. My marriage was their feature.

“Dane was spotted at several of Emerald’s shoots but an unnamed source, told us exclusively, that he wasn’t wanted there.”

Who the fuck said that! I was going to find the bastard and kill him- but I think at this point I just wanted to take my frustration out on anyone. It would have to be a male too, cause I had seen the jealous and pissed off looks the other men had given me when I did show up there.

“Dane Sullivan posted a picture of them together in the early hours of Monday morning. Indicating they were together. Also dedicating his love to his wife.”

I narrowed my eyes, I knew when a reporter had an edge to their voice like that- they were about to work an angle.

“However no one can confirm when that picture was taken. With their relationship being secret for so long. For all we know, that picture could have been taken early in the relationship.”

I scoffed. And the dialling tone went to her voice message again. Fuck it. I hung up and dialled again.

“Emeralds camp had remained silent on the subject. Till tonight a cryptic post on all her social media accounts, stating expect an announcement and a slight hint that there won’t be clothes involved. Which has sent her fan base into a craze with countdowns all over social media till the release next Friday.”

What the hell where they on about? No clothes!? For maybe the hundredth time tonight I was thinking, what the fuck.

“Emerald was spotted tonight at Dane’s game, but no wedding rings could be seen and Emerald did state, that the two were friends first and would remain friends. So it seems we will all be counting down with her worldwide fan base on her announcement come next Friday.”

Why the hell wasn’t Emerald wearing her wedding rings!

“Thanks Emily, and as we can see behind you, there is a crowd growing at the Sullivan house?” The news anchor questioned their reporter.

Yeah mine and Emerald’s fucking house! I couldn’t even see the gates it was that crowded!

“That is right Justine, we are all wanting to see if Emerald will be returning to her husband’s house tonight, or staying at an unknown address- which could give us an answer on whether she is, or isn’t Mrs Sullivan.” Emily the reporter gave a wide smile. “Back to you.”

How the hell was I going to get them all to piss off? The ringing went to her voice message again. Oh for fuck sake!

“Dane have you ever considered security? Cause mate I don’t see how you are getting through that.” Jamie decided to be the first one to speak and pointed to the screen on the bar wall, that had all of our attention.

I wanted so bad to take my frustration out on someone- anyone- but I kept my lips tight shut. I would not let him be the one to cop my outburst.

We had the game of the year. Killed our opposition and considering they were on the top of the ladder- we managed to get our percentage up. All week I had my mind focused on the game. On winning it- proving to everyone there was a reason I was the most highly paid player in the AFL and that our club is the reigning champions.

But as soon as that siren went off, confirming our win- my attention was off the game altogether and on to my wife- who I hadn’t seen she showed up at the club. Still didn’t know what she talked to our CEO about.

As much as I wanted to know, I wanted to see her more. But I was dragged to this run-down bar, with our immediate players and to celebrate our win- low key without media attention. Basically, the boys wanted to get drunk and couldn’t do it in town.

I was dragged along, but I owed them since I let them down. So I came. But then Emerald’s and mines wedding picture was on the television and Scott then shouted at the bar man to turn it up.

And I had just watched the last month of my life summed up. It seemed my picture hadn’t confirmed Emerald and I were back together, it has just told the public- I was a desperate man trying to get his beautiful rich wife back.

“Has she answered yet?” Nathan asked, seeing as his girlfriend Grace had been spotted next to Emerald in the corporate box.

I shook my head. “No she hasn’t picked up once.” My words were clipped and tight. Was it pathetic that I hadn’t even considered how she was getting home after the game? Yeah. Fucking another point to me for being a fucking loser of a husband.

I didn’t know where she was!

I didn’t think for once, she would be putting up with this type of media pressure! I knew they were all over the club, but I thought that had more to do with the club than me. However it would seem the media was living up to my views of them.

“I’ll try Jess.” Scott pulled out his phone.

“Yeah and I’ll call Grace.” Nathan added.

“And I can call her agent?” Dean offered, seems all my mates finally realized the panic attack I was having.

Also how important it was to know Emerald was alive and safe.

I riddled off Megan’s number to Dean, seeing as Megan hadn’t picked up one of my calls. And I had been calling her in between calling Emerald. Maybe Megan would pick up Dean’s call not knowing his number.

I knew Megan wasn’t a fan of mine.

I dialled Emerald’s number again, and I knew the noise I hated most in the world now- was the ringing tone.

Scott clicked her fingers in my face. Gaining my attention.

“So Emerald’s with you?” Scott’s eyes were on me, as he repeated what Jess had just told him. “Ok where are you?”

She was with Jess. That meant she was alive. Ok I took a much-needed breath in.

“What the fuck happened?” Scott frowned and his eyes went to Nathan. “What happened with Grace?”

Suddenly Nathan’s attention was on Scott as well. I stopped him from pulling the phone from Scott’s hand.

“Fuck Jessie! Why didn’t you ring us!” Scott shouted into the phone.

“What’s wrong with Grace?!” Nathan was shouting at Scott now and Dean and Jamie were holding him back.

“Grace is fine!” Scott yelled at Nathan- who was one step away from taking all the boys out and getting the phone. “So it was Em?” Scott’s eyes were on me, and I knew that look. “Right well we will head there now.”

The seriousness in Scott’s voice….

Something had happened. There was a reason Emerald hadn’t been picking up her phone or Megan. It was because their focus was on something else- something more important than answering a phone call. Especially a phone call from me, the loser, dead beat of a husband that didn’t even organise his wife a ride home!

“Right did they arrest them?” Scott spat into the phone, the disgust clear in his voice. “Why can’t they take her to the hospital?”

“Is Emerald hurt?” I snapped, I couldn’t just listen for small details. I needed answers. Like what the hell was happening!

“Right well I’m sure Dane will have another opinion on that.” Scott scoffed. “Look we are about half an hour out of the city, we will meet you at the hospital.”

Hospital? Emerald needed to go to hospital? “What the fuck is going on!” I yelled at him, and now Dean and Jamie were blocking me from getting to Scott.

“The ambulance can’t get through the crowds.” Scott repeated something Jess had just told him. “So what is their next option?”

“What the fuck has happened!!” I yelled at him, the bar didn’t have many people in it, but everyone’s eyes were on me.

“Ok so Jones and Taylor has got this.” Scott put a hand out “A helicopter is on its way. Ok babe. We are on our way. But can I just ask, why did no one call Dane?”

Well that was a fucking good question!

“What do you mean Jones told them not to! Emerald’s Dane’s fucking wife! He should have been told someone assaulted her!” Scott was yelling into the phone.

That sentence was slowly soaking in. The CEO, Jones, stopped someone from telling me my wife had been assaulted! It was automatic wanting to lash out, but I needed to know something else first.

“Is she ok Scott? Ask Jess if Emerald’s ok?” The panic and worry was clear in my voice. What did they mean by assault? Was she punched? Pushed? Slapped? Then my stomach stuck, what if it was sexual assault?

I think Scott realized where my thoughts were going to.

“She want’s Dane. Ok. Tell her we will be at the hospital, which one is she going to?” Scott repeated what Jess must have told him.

Jamie was paying our bill. Dean was getting the car keys out. Nathan was blocking me from attacking Scott and taking the phone.

“Tell Emerald we are coming and I’m sure Dane is going to have some words for Jones. In fact tell Jones to not be at the hospital.” Scott’s eyes were back on me. “When Dane hears about this, he might walk from the club. So tell Coach and the CEO to not be at the hospital.”

If Jones had stopped someone from telling me my wife was hurt- fuck Scott is right, I could walk- nah no fucking could. I would walk.

When it came to Emerald, my heart was beating solely for her, my love for her was growing. It had been torture not being able to see her all week. Then I got a glimpse of her at the club, then nothing.

Now to hear she was hurt- and I didn’t know why or how she got hurt. All I knew it was my fucking CEO who had stopped her from calling me.

“We’re heading to the car babe. Tell Em, Dane is on his way. Just keep reassuring her, she is ok now.” Scott was walking beside me as we all headed for the car park. Then he hung up.

“Is Emerald ok?” It was my first concern. Second was to know what happened, but first I needed to know she was ok.

We all stopped at the car. I was hanging out for an answer, my heart beat was racing- I was feeling sick to the stomach. Something told me- no that fucking look on Scott’s face told me. Something had happened.

“I think so.” Scott’s eyes flashed with nerves. “Dane, I need to be calm when you hear this.”

Calm? I scoffed. I was anything but calm right now. But I nodded my head.

Scott looked around the boys, as if silently telling them I was about to freak out. Then his eyes were back on.

“Emerald was found unconscious in the bathroom.” Scott took a hesitate breath in. “With a male on top of her.”

I blinked a few times, the words sinking in. Emerald. Unconscious. Bathroom. Male on top of her.

“Look she won’t tell anyone what happened, or anything. She just wants you.” Scott was speaking but my mind was racing, Emerald was assaulted- possibly sexually assaulted. “She hasn’t stopped crying since she came too. Apparently she won’t tell anyone what happened. All she keeps saying is she wants you.”

My fists clenched at my side. I sick to the stomach but furious at the same time- like uncontrollable rage that I wanted to let out- but couldn’t because like Scott said, I needed to stay calm.

Chapter 16

Dane’s Point of View

If they wanted a reaction, they were fucking going to get one. But I was currently stuck in the car.

“Fuck this is a nightmare.” Scott who was driving and was trying to get through the thick crowd. The camera where fucking everywhere and packed to the brim- fucking paparazzi. “They must have got a tip off or something.”

Jamie scoffed in the back. “Maybe the helicopter leaving from the ground tipped them off.”

Seems like the paparazzi had relocated from outside of my house to the hospital and the only reason they would do that- is because they knew Emerald was here.

“Where is the bloody police?” Dean snapped. “We can’t even get to the entrance!” He was also in the back and was seeing just how frustrating this situation was.

The paparazzi weren’t moving. If anything, they were making sure we couldn’t get to the door. Now they had their cameras pressed against the windows. Taking pictures hoping for a glimpse of who was in the car.

“You had to drive something so bloody expensive didn’t ya Scott.” Nathan muttered in the back, the three of them made the back seat of the enormous jeep, look small.

“At least I don’t have personalised plates.” Scott snapped back at him. “Anyway it’s not like we can fit anymore than one in your sports car.”

And that was the beginning of Nathan’s and Scott’s favourite argument, of who had made the right car choice.

“Shut up the two of you!” Dean yelled before their argument got out of control. “We need a plan to get Dane inside.”

We all went quiet. Cause the car was surrounded now. We were stuck and I had no idea where the entrance to the hospital was- cause I’ve never used the main entrance.

“Should have went back alley or some james bond shit.” Jamie shared his useless statement with us.

“Look we can either run over them or…” Scott glanced at me, then the boys in the back. “Or we get out and just fucking push our way through them.”

I knew, we all knew- that if one of them got on assault charge- they would face suspension, without pay as well.

“Nah we can’t do that.” I had to talk reason before they jumped out and just started knocking the cameras out of the low lives hands. “Gotta think of the team and fans. If we all got suspended, their goes our defence and full forwards. And the team’s chance of the cup.”

I don’t know how I was being reasonable right now. But I was. So I somehow spoke sense to them but in my head, I was thinking of all the ways I could get inside and hurting as many as those bastards and breaking their cameras along the way.

“It’s my problem and I’ll handle it.” I said my hand going to the door handle.

Then the doors locked. What the fuck? I looked at Scott.

“Nah no way you are going out there. I know what’s going through your head. And we aren’t seeing you being dragged from here in cuffs, not even making it to the entrance.” Like always Scott knew what my reaction was going to be as soon as I stepped outside this door.

“Unlock the doors Scott.”

“Nope.”

I groaned. I knew that tone. Scott and I were a lot alike. Stubborn as and knew each other backwards. So he wasn’t letting me out.

“I’ve always wanted to be a body guard you know.” Jamie spoke up, seeming to think that this situation needed his humour.

“Before or after the surfing career you wanted?” Dean decided to join Jamie’s angle, before we all got out and either got arrested or up on assault charges- costing us money and the club it’s season.

“Come on Dane, lighten up.” Nathan whacked my shoulder, seeing he was in the middle of the backseat. “It’s just footy remember? Em matters more than money and a win.”

He was right. Footy didn’t matter. I had always put it first. Emerald mattered more. And right now, if I had to pick- well it was an easy choice.

I nodded my head and Scott unlocked the doors. We had made a decision. It was going to be costly to the club and I didn’t know how I would thank my mates cause they were risking their careers. Like me all their contracts were up for review at the end of this season.

My phone started to ring, I glanced at it- had no intention on answering till I saw her name.

“Emerald you ok?” My words were a quick flash out of my mouth.

“Sorry Dane it’s not Em.” Megan scattered my hopes. “Look I just got told you are out the front, I’m heading down now with the security team and the police officers.”

“Why?” I frowned.

“To get you in?” She said that like it was obvious.

“Here I was thinking you wouldn’t want me in.” It was no secret she hated me.

I heard her sigh. “Look Dane, I was going to call. I had to go into damage control as soon as Emerald was admitted, someone tipped off the media. They were crawling the hospital with in ten minutes. I had to get the hospital cleared.”

I felt like a bit of a dick now. Of course there was more important things she had to handle than letting me know. She was putting Emerald first and I didn’t want it any other way.

“Sorry. I forget what you and Emerald put up with.” I looked at the camera that pointed directly on the window at me. Pity for them they weren’t going to get another shot but black. “So what do I do? Can I see her? Or should I just leave?”

The reality was, as much as I wanted to be here- it might not be what Emerald wanted. Jess may have said on the phone that Emerald wanted me, but Jess may have been reading the signs wrong.

“No. You are coming in.” Megan’s voice was firm. “Um Em, isn’t letting anyone touch her or answer questions.” Her voice was coated in concern and panic. “She won’t even let them run a blood test.”

I frowned. “Why?”

“You know what she is like with people touching her. All her shields are up and I’m hoping that Sullivan charm of yours can get her to let the doctors test what drug is in her system.”

“She’s been drugged?”

“Date raped drug we are guessing, she is still not all with it. Just very defensive.”

I had never felt so many emotions at once. Fear. Anger. Frustrated. Concerned and then finally- Nerves. Cause what there was nothing saying Emerald was going to be any different to me, then she was with everyone else.

“I’m with the boys, should we all come in or what?” I didn’t really know what to do. Guessing they didn’t want a crowd at Emerald’s bed.

“Grace and Jessie are in with her. They haven’t left Em since we got here, but the doctors wanted to talk to Em privately. Jess and Grace wouldn’t do it, they have gone into pit bull mood. Here I was thinking I was the only one who did that around Em.” Megan sounded impress. “Seems your friends have a good taste in women.”

I would have to thank them when I got up there. I knew what Grace and Jess were like. They had been so used to the football scene, they always had each others back. And it would seem they had adopted Emerald. Wasn’t hard to not want to protect her though, I think every single person that had meet her, automatically wanted to make sure she was safe.

I glanced out the tinted window, seeing the crowd being forced apart.

“Alright get your ass in here Sullivan and I think it’s best for Em that we start getting on again.” Megan’s voice was actually friendly and then she hung up. Guess that was her way of saying sorry, and time to put the past in the past.

The police and security had the car surrounded.

“Well there goes my one and only chance to be a body guard.” Jamie broke the silence after I hung up.

“I don’t expect you guys to stay. If you want to leave, you can.” I offered before we all got out.

But I saw their expressions, it was like I had just insulted their character or something. I sighed.

“Right I get it.” I muttered and my hand went to the door handle. It was our unspoken code, we always stood together. Usually though they had my back when I was spewing in an alley or us stopping each other from driving drunk.

This situation was above what I expected them to do for me. I’d have to make this up to them.

***

I stood out of the way, waiting. Megan had gone into Emerald’s room, to tell her I was here. I was getting more nervous by the second. What if she didn’t want to see me? What if right now she was telling Megan all the reasons why she didn’t want to see me? Like how this whole thing was my fault?

The door opened and Grace walked out with Jess. I was so nervous I didn’t automatically start thanking them. Scott gave me a squeeze on the shoulder and then was quick to get Jess and head towards the private waiting room where Jamie and Dean were.

Nathan gave me a smile, as if he knew I was about to be sick from nerves and disappeared down the hall with Grace under his arm, following Scott and Jess.

Ok. My eyes went back to the door.

It was like a private suite here. I had never seen a hospital like it. It was a one bed ward. Highly private- reminded me of a pent house suite. Private waiting rooms, other rooms for visitors to sleep. It wasn’t like a hospital at all.

The door opened, and I saw the expression Megan face, closing the door.

“Try and convince her to let a doctor examine her.” Megan glanced at the closed door and back at me. “Please Dane, try everything. Cause she won’t let anyone touch her. Not even me.” I could tell by the tone in Megan’s voice, she was really worried about her friend. Then she looked me back in the eye. “She has never once not let me not touch her. I’m worried that serious damage has been done here.”

“She’s just in shock.” The words and weak reason to why Emerald wasn’t letting anyone touch her. “She’s be ok.” I don’t know why I felt like I needed to reassure Megan that her best friend would be ok.

Megan gave me a weak smile. “I have to call her parents. Don’t want them waking up finding out from some media outlet.”

“I’ll call them.” It was about time I started to deal with Emerald’s parents. They had to realize it wasn’t just business between their daughter and I now. Megan looked at me with wide eyes. “Can I go in now?” I asked her when clearly she was questioning my sanity by willingly wanting to deal with Emerald’s parents.

She nodded her head, look speechless and then that was my cue to move around her. My hand going on the door. Ok I can do this. All the possibilities ran through my head of what Emerald’s reaction to me was going to be.

“Um Dane?”

I looked over my shoulder at Megan.

“She is only saying the word no and won’t let anyone near her. So if you get more than a no out of her, you’ve made more improvements than me.” Megan said that before walking off down the hall. Maybe giving me reassurance back, cause I had attempted to reassure her.

I pushed open the door. The room was low lit. Like the feel to this whole ward, it felt more like a pent house bedroom suite and it looked like a pent house bedroom as well, as I took in the overly large bed, the details of the room. But my eyes were just running over it, scanning it and then I saw her.

In the middle of the bed. Her knees to her chest, her arms wrapped around her legs. Sitting staring aimless at the end of the bed.

I stood just slightly in the room, watching her for a few minutes- summing up how to approach her.

I decided if she wasn’t taking people touching her or being near her, right now. I should break the silence with words.

“Emerald?” My words sounded so loud after the silence of the room.

I don’t think she heard me, cause she didn’t react. Ok. Well at least Megan was getting a no out of her. Maybe I had spoken to softly? Well that at least what I was hoping for, instead of the opposite- her ignoring me.

“Em?” I spoke louder.

Her eyes snapped off the bed, and on to me. Immediately I wanted to go to her. But I needed her to give me a sign she wanted that because I didn’t want to spook her.

“What did you call me?” Her words were low, and you could tell that was the first sentence she had said for a while.

I realized my own mistake. “Sorry. It’s just everyone being saying it all night.” I had made a point of always calling her Emerald. Ever since we married and clearly she had noticed.

She just stared at me. Her eyes were slightly red, but you would have to look closer to notice any more details that indicated she had been crying.

I waited for her reaction. For her eyes to drop. For her to shut off from staring at me. For her to tell me to leave, maybe? Anything- I was just waiting.

Then she unclenched her arms from around her legs and started to move to the edge of the bed. It was clear she been in that position for a while. She had gracefully got to her feet, I watched her standing at the end of the bed.

Not sure what to expect.

Megan said Emerald hadn’t been moving. Well Emerald had moved. Now I just wasn’t sure what the fuck to do. Go to her? Nah that might spook her. Ask her if she was ok? Fuck that was a stupid, question. I could tell she wasn’t ok. But that was the best I had.

“You ok?” I asked my stupid question which had an obvious answer.

She didn’t say anything, and I wasn’t surpised- it was a stupid question after all. Then she slowly moved her head from side to side, and as soon as she did that- I just went to her.

Didn’t think about spooking her. Didn’t think that she wouldn’t want me. I just went to her, and she didn’t bolt back from me, instead she stepped into my arms as soon as I was in reach.

And it was like my touch broke her. She was silently shaking in tears, within seconds of my arms wrapping around her.

Chapter 17

Dane’s Point of View

I thought at first she needed time, but it was seeming the more time I gave her- the more she went in her shell. She hadn’t said more than a few words to me. I couldn’t say she was in shock, it was more like she was angry with herself. The problem to that, was I didn’t understand why she would be upset with herself.

She hadn’t done anything wrong, she hadn’t asked to be attacked.

“Emerald, do you want something to eat?” I attempted to make conversation with her, I always took the opportunity of meals to talk to her- usually I always got a shake of the head.

But if she thought for a second she was getting out of another meal, she was wrong.

“Alright, let me rephrase that.” I walked towards her with the dinner tray. “You are eating.”

Her eyes went from the plate to me. “You should be at practice, you shouldn’t be here.” And her eyes dropped to the plate again. “Don’t take any more time off because of me.”

I wanted to groan. Why was it, when she wanted to talk so would make a point of how I shouldn’t be here- where the hell did she expect me to be? She still hadn’t let a doctor look over her. She still hadn’t let them even do a blood test and by now the drugs were getting out of her system.

It was like she knew all that and was why she was avoiding it.

I placed the plate in front of her, and she looked at it like it wasn’t the high class food it was and I just handed her dry bread or something. It was time I did some tough love. She needed to get looked at- she needed to be seen too and she needed to stop blocking everyone away.

“Ok. This is what is going to happen.” I crossed my arms, guess now was the time for that tough love. “I’m getting a doctor and you are being looked over. That blood test you’ve been avoiding. Well bad news. You are having it.” I looked at her slightly widened eyes- guess she hadn’t really seen this side. “And if you mention one more time I shouldn’t be here, I’ll drop out from the season, understand?”

She just stared at me, blinking a few times- maybe debating on whether I was serious or not.

“You doing to do as told Emerald?” I asked of her, waiting for her response. I wouldn’t be shocked if she started screaming security and got me thrown out cause let’s face it- emerald did what she wanted when she wanted. Because that’s what she has always done.

“Guess you should get that doctor back in.” She muttered, giving in to my threats and picking up a chip off the plate. “As for the blood test, you better be prepared to hold my hand and let me squeeze the shit out of, cause I hate needles.”

I couldn’t stop the smile and leant across to her, kissing her cheek. “Good girl.” And for the first time in days, Emerald ate and was finally going to let the doctors look at her. I was relieved but at the same time extremely anxious- cause what if she was hiding something. And that was the reason she was turning the doctors away.

I frowned watching her take small bites. “I love you Emerald you know that?” I felt like right now she needed to hear that, and her head snapped up immediately her eyes locked with mine. “Whatever the doctor says won’t change anything between us. You know that right?”

Her eyes were still locked with mine, and it was like she believed me but didn’t believe she was that lucky that I’d stand by her in the good and the bad.

“Keep eating, I’m going to arrange for a doc to come back.” I couldn’t make her debate ease- she needed to come to the conclusion herself that I wasn’t leaving. I knew it was hard for her to believe that, cause everyone in her life departed as quickly as they came.

Look at her parents, they both lead different lives- not caring about Emerald but expecting her to be there when they need her.

I closed her hospital door, and headed for the nurses station. I knew I was going to have to prove to Emerald I wasn’t going anywhere and that was going to take time; which didn’t bother me.

Chapter 18

Emerald’s Point of View

I hated needles. I really hated them and as soon as I let them take one sample of blood, they suddenly turned into vampires.

Dane let me hold his hand the whole time. I felt awful when I saw my nail marks in his skin. I said sorry, but he just brushed it off, like I hadn’t implanted nail marks into his skin. A few hours passed and when food came again, I attempted to eat it because Dane was watching.

I knew what the results were going to say. And I didn’t want to hear it. I hoped enough time had passed, so it wouldn’t show up. Had I put it off long enough? This was all his fault. Inside I wanted to scream at someone- anyone what really happened.

I knew he hadn’t been arrested. I had made sure of that, with one phone call. He was let go. Dane obviously hadn’t been told yet, because once he heard I let the guy who attacked me go, well I think he would storm down to the police station- demanding answers.

Then they would have to say, I wouldn’t press charges and I ordered them to let the ‘attacker go’.

I was starting to get nervous- what if someone figured it out. What if, someone put two and two together.

“This is bullshit!” Dane’s cursed at his phone. “Do you have any idea how they are spinning your story. The shit they are coming up with!”

I knew the media would have a field day with this. As soon as the ‘cannot comment’ line goes out- the media decide they can say anything and do anything.

Dane scoffed, and I was mildly interested in what the current article, he was reading was saying.

“You really need to get off that phone.” I said, sitting up.

Dane’s eyes flashed to me. “Screw that. They won’t leave us alone!”

“If they want to talk, let them talk. So what?”

Dane’s eyes were back on me. Looking at me like I had just slayed a small cute animal or something.

“They don’t know a thing about us Dane. Just let them say whatever they want.” I added and reached for my water. “The truth is between us, so who cares what they come up with.”

Seriously, did he need me to tell him that? The media didn’t know a thing about us. They only knew what we told them. So far that was nothing. They were coming up with stories and at the end of the day- that’s all it was. Stories.

“I guess it could be classed as fiction.” Dane’s attention was on me and not his phone. “You feeling alright?” He got out of the armchair and walked to me. “I’ve been trying to give you space.”

I laughed. “So that’s why you’ve been sitting across the room?” I couldn’t stop the grin that spread across my face. “I thought it had to do with the whole nail thing.”

“Sweetheart you can dig your nails into me anytime.” He sat down, leaning into me. “But next time I wouldn’t mind if those claws of yours, are digging into my back and we are by ourselves.” A mischievous tint was in his eyes. “In a bed.”

A blush crept across my face. I couldn’t say anything, but I did chew my bottom lip immediately, cause I wasn’t going to lie- I had thought of what it would be like to have sex with him. Sex never really had been on mind, sure I was always told, I had ‘sex appeal’ but never once had I wanted it to attack males.

But in this case, I wanted to use all my sex appeal on Dane. I glanced at the closed door. No one should be coming. Maybe I could turn the tables on him, instead of him making me blush and breath sharply- I could get a similar reaction out of him.

I got up, seeing the frown on his face- he might have thought I moving away from him but he was wrong. I stood in front of him, I wasn’t exactly wearing anything sexy- just shorts and a singlet. But I think that would do the trick. I knew how to pose to turn guys on, I knew what angles they liked. So surely, I could seduce my husband.

I saw his surprised look when I straddled him. If he thought for a second that this was all he was getting, he was wrong. I wanted him to get as worked up as me. And come this week, after we filmed our announcement-I was hoping to lose my virginity that night. Cause I wanted his tight grip on his self-control to be snapped in half- maybe even crumble into pieces.

His hands were gripping the edge of the bed, like he didn’t want to touch me. Placing my hands on his- I pried them off the edge of the bed and placed them on my back.

“Stop looking so scared.” I smirked at his expression- my fingers running over his clenched jaw. “You’ve seen me in less.” I leant into towards his lips. “You’ve even touched me. Or do I have to remind you of the wardrobe and pool incidents?

I heard him gulp.

Gently I kissed his cheek. “You know I’ve been meaning to tell you something” My voice was low on purpose. My hands went to the straps of my singlet and I pushed them off. “My shoulders are aching.”

He breathed heavily through his nose. “Well I doubt the weight of your straps, is causing it.”

“You’re right,” I faked a frown. “But it wouldn’t be helping. Maybe I should take it off in case?”

And those little words snapped his eyes to mine.

“Stop it Emerald.”

“Stop what?”

“This.”

“Dane, if you can’t deal with this, how are you going to cope when we do our filming?”

“What filming?”

“We are doing a music video scene together.” I ran my hand over my bare shoulder. “It’s being released Friday, after everyone sees it, they won’t be doubting us being a couple anymore.”

A sharpness and surprise filled his dark eyes. “What makes you say that?”

“Well I’ve never let anyone see me nude, and I’ll be topless for the scene.”

“What the fuck!”

“Calm down. No one is going to see it.” The my lips twitched up, “A part from you.”

His expression dropped. “You are fucking with me, right?” The horror on his face, made me smirk widely.

“It’s going to be your job to make sure I’m covered.” And that was true.

He gulped. “With what a blanket or something?”

Now time for the icing on the cake. My mouth went to his ear. “With your hands or body.” My voice as a low whisper. “Personally I don’t mind the idea of being pressed into you or your hands.”

Now I wasn’t a mind reader or anything but I think Dane’s imagination just went into shock and overdrive at the same time. And I had to supress the grin. Come Wednesday I was going to do everything possible so when the night came and we were alone in that big bed of his, he wouldn’t be able to control himself or stop. Cause I was going to tease him all day. Come night time, his self control will be gone.

Chapter 19

Dane

I couldn’t stop my frustration building up inside me, it was boiling to the point I was struggling to keep the lid on it. Emerald wouldn’t listen to what the doctor had to say, not when they came in with the results, not when they pressed her again the next day. Nope. Wouldn’t listen to a word they had to say.

And now- weeks later, she still went cold quiet every time I brought it up. She refused all their help and I still had no idea what she was drugged with or who he did it because the person who they suspected was released- cause my wife, wouldn’t press charges. How many fights did we have about it? Over and over, night after night I told her she couldn’t let them get off- she could have been raped!

And that was when she really closed up- and stopped talking to me, no- stopped yelling back at me. When the arguing stopped, her work load excelled- to the point I hadn’t seen her this last week.

And tonight was the night of the big party. The party celebrating the hottest women in the world but also their contributes to society. Emerald took out first place the boys were buzzing about it.

Somehow Emerald had pulled it off, that they all got plus ones- most, no nearly all the guys had failed to bring a date to this party. Usually there was a competition on who brought the hottest, woman, we did beats on it. There was also a pool for who got the best lay that night, that one was always hard to win. Because it wasn’t like one of us would admit to having a bad lay.

Jess and Grace were upstairs with the hairdressers and makeup artists, it was buzzing with people up there. And it was a reality check that Emerald put up with all those people on a daily basis.

Scott, who was currently not on speaking terms with Jess cause he was seen with another woman the other day. According to the gossip column. And us boys knew he had been with another woman, and it was Leah- but the papers hadn’t picked and the reason Scott wouldn’t own up to it being Leah is because Jess can’t stand her.

Jess put up with Leah, but that stopped the night Leah stumbled into Scott’s hotel room on an away game. Scott said nothing happened and I sure as fuck believed him but Leah said otherwise.

Then I think Scott approached Leah to clear things up, for her to tell the truth- but instead it hit the gossip columns he was with another girl. Back fired in his face and now Jess thinking the worse, that Scott has another apart that isn’t Leah on the go.

Nathan and Grace’s relationship was the most stable. And considering those two usually were always fighting over the smallest things, well it was a miracle. So Nath was currently rubbing the fact his relationship was more stable than Scott’s in Scott’s face.

Jamie and Dean were counting down the minutes till the girls were done so we could head to the event. They both had their eyes on a woman on the list, Jamie was Dianne, she was ranked at the twenty second and Dean, being Dean, went for number twenty one.

The limos were here, and so was influx of black sedans- who they were for I didn’t know.

“Can you believe it, that we managed to get this party on the same weekend we had a by?” Jamie threw back a shot. All the guys couldn’t believe that the party fell on a weekend we weren’t scheduled to play- they thought their luck couldn’t get any better. But I had more information, I made the connection between Emerald’s meeting with the CEO and Coach, and our sudden by.

She had organised this and thought I wouldn’t pick it.

I threw back the shot, that the boys kept handing me.

Emerald and I not speaking had been easy to hide from everyone because no one was around. She went to work, I went to training. And then when she got home, she would go to the guest room- yep we were back to the guest room crap.

She had gone completely back in her shell and that announcement she had planned was pinned as ‘pending’ on her social media. I think she had rethought the idea of me seeing her topless and had backed out of the idea completely.

Wouldn’t surprise me if I was served with divorce papers any moment, that’s how bad shit was and I couldn’t fix it. Didn’t know how, because she was in the wrong. She was letting a criminal off- she was putting a possible rapist back on the streets! Why!? To protect her image? Was she that fucking worried about what people thought of her?

“Geez man, you are lucky.” Jamie whacked me on the back and I was feeling anything but lucky. “The hottest woman as your wife.”

“Not to mention she is sweet eighteen.” Dean added, jealously clear in his voice. “Deflowering the hottest woman and marrying her, who thought you had it in you Dane.”

Sex. Why. Why. WHY! Did he have to mention that! I was fucking craving it. Didn’t help that Emerald had left pictures of one her shoots for Victoria Secret on the table the other day. Fuck me. I felt like a sixteen year old again.

When Emerald was near me, I was fucking tuned into her every move. The wear her dresses clung, the cleavage. I swallowed sharply and I knew I couldn’t blame her for what she was given, but why the fuck was she given the body of a sex goddess. She rushed my body with possible fantasies and I’d be the first to admit they weren’t clean fantasies and I sure as hell wasn’t a gentleman in them.

Grace and Jess walked into the lounge smiling, and I knew any second Emerald would be done and I wasn’t sure how she was going to react to me. I hadn’t seen her since Wednesday, and I had once again, choose to take the subject of her not pressing charges up again.

She didn’t take it, and hadn’t returned one of my calls since then. It was Saturday night, and everyone, including me was wondering how Emerald’s and mines first public event would go.

Fall or fail Sullivan, time to man up. I thought as I heard the hells coming down the hall.

But just as I maned up, my heart sunk it wasn’t Emerald, it was Megan.

“Ok game plan people.” Megan clicked her fingers together, gaining the attention of everyone in the room. “Everyone is aware of the rules? Phones are allowed up to the VIP party, then as soon as you step through those curtains and into that room, phones are off. No photos. And if anyone questions you what happens in there, it’s a ‘no comment’ answer? Understand?” Megan looked around the boys then when the guys nodded, she seemed settled with the idea.

“Ok, security is in the black sedans, and you all have limos. Under no circumstances are you take or get a drink from the bar yourself, each has a security member which will monitor drinks- then when you hit the VIP room, you are responsible for which drugs you take and don’t.”

What the fuck?

“There will be drugs!” I was speaking before anyone had a chance, Megan’s expression which was ‘are you seriously asking that question’ told me she wasn’t lying. “Well, you don’t have to worry about that, cause all of us,” I looked around the room. “Are remaining clean. We have a bye, not a season break.”

“Well that might be the case for you lot, but everyone else will be letting loose.” Megan’s eyes went to me. “Including Emerald, so don’t you stop her. There are certain things expected of her tonight, she is like a fine tailored actress and I won’t let you or,” her eyes went around the room “stop her from acting the role.”

“Emerald won’t be doing drugs.” I would have this fight here in front of everyone if I had to, no way was my wife being pressured into drugs- she didn’t even drink!

“No she won’t be.” Her eyes sliced mine. “But she will be drinking, it’s the one event where she is expected to let loose, so don’t get in her way Sullivan.” With those final words and firm look Megan, told everyone to pile into the cars, but I was waiting back. I wanted to speak to Emerald, why was she down here yet?

“She’s not coming down.” Megan finally spoke, when everyone had left. I opened my mouth. “It’s not because of you, it’s because she is on the phone to her dad, plus they scheduled and time she has to hit the red carpet. You know make the grant entrance.” Megan’s phone buzzed and she pulled it out, before looking back to me. “If it makes you feel any better, she wants to speak to you before she hits the red carpet. So keep your phone on you.”

Then she turned and left.

I wanted to scoff and just storm upstairs and demand her to tell me whatever it is she wanted to speak to me about. But once again, she blocked me out.

As I piled into the limo by myself I still couldn’t believe she was making me go to her event, without her.

***

The cameras, so many cameras. The boys were on the carpet, answering questions, but they were just drooling over the women who kept making an entrance on carpet.

We were on the sidelines now, and they were scoring the women. Emerald still hasn’t called. Which made me think, she was really done. Sending me by myself then not even calling me to explain- yeah that was fucking saying something.

There were gasps at first then the cameras went into overdrive.

Holy fucking hell.

“Lord help us all.” Jamie just spoke what we were all thinking. And I knew exactly what he meant- hell every male was staring, even some of the photographers were stunned- speechless.

I shut my mouth, when Jess hit Scott on the back of the head for openly just admiring what we were all seeing.

“There should be a fucking law against that.” Dean waved a hand in Emerald’s direction and she had only stepped out of the car. “Lord have mercy on us.”

I noticed how Grace and Jess were tight lipped and not impressed whatsoever by our reaction. But I couldn’t get my eyes off my wife, as she wore a dress with perfectly placed diamonds and very little red lace.

“How the hell does she have a figure like that!” One of the models snapped near us, clearly bitter.

“Can’t blame her for working that money maker.” Another model or actress said, all the cameras along the red carpet were on Emerald.

Then Emerald stopped posing, and smiling, her eyes scanning the lines- then landing on me.

Don’t know what I was expecting. But I saw hell wasn’t expecting her to start walking towards me, ignoring the questions being thrown at her, as well as pictures extended wanting signatures.

“Fuck Sullivan you are living every mans wet dream.” Nath said, then Grace punched him, but my focus was on Emerald- so leaving my friends I headed for her.

As soon as she was in hearing distance, I wasn’t sure what to say- or how she wanted to play this. It was hard to hear over the screaming of her fans and the paparazzi. I closed the gap between us, trying to hear what she was saying to me- her mouth was moving, but I couldn’t hear a word.

Was she silently telling me to keep my cool?

Then her hands went to my shoulders, her mouth going to my ear. “I pressed charges.” Then she pulled back, finally I saw a smile on her face, directed at me. The cameras were focused on us and I normally hated the attention but in this case, I wanted every one of those fucking cameras on me, as I kissed her- she was mine, and I wanted every headline and gossip column run this picture tomorrow of me giving my wife.

Chapter 20

Emerald

I sort of felt sorry for all the boys, they looked bored as shit, as the formal part of the evening happened. I think they were all disappointed- didn’t blame them, the speech that each actress or model gives, gifting their prize to a charity- was long and fucking boring.

Like always I gifted my money to the animal shelters. And people were departing- the ones that weren’t invited to remain for the next section of the party.

“So Jamie did this live up to your expectations?” I asked, while sipping my wine, tables were emptying and people were getting up.

I think every male from Dane’s foot ball club, thought they had just wasted three hours of their life, little did they know you have to go through the bad before you get the girl.

He politely gave me a smile and nodded his head.

Then the host appeared at our table. “Hi Mrs Sullivan, are you and your parties ready to move to the black room?”

And ears pricked up at that.

The other tables filled with Dane’s club members were just waiting to leave. Little did they know the party was about to begin.

“Sure am.” I handed my clutch over. “No ID, phones or filming devices.” I looked at Dane. “That goes for you too.”

The hosts started to hand out keys for belongings.

“Why can’t we have our phones?” Grace didn’t seem to want to be parted from her phone the way she was clenching it.

“Because.” I spoke before the host. “It’s the locked event of the evening.” And I glanced at Dane. “Maybe you can set the example and hand your phone over?” Seeing as all his fellow members and mates weren’t willingly handing their phones over because their phones had been the only source of entertainment for the last three hours.

Dane saw my issue, the ball room was just our party now, everyone had either moved on or been politely told the party was over.

“Look I don’t mean this nasty, but I can’t sit through another speech.” Dean looked at me, then the host, “Without my phone that is.”

The host was frowning immediately. “They haven’t been to one of the events before.” I explained and got up. “They are yet to know that the fun begins when the cameras go away.”

“So they don’t understand it’s a staged event.” The host clicked on and grinned at me. “They would be regretting to agreeing to coming if they thought this was it.”

“I know.”

It was just as a pair of giggling blondes popped out of the double doors, wearing only underwear; the boys started handing their phones over like they were hot cakes.

“So this whole exclusive no phone shit was real, that your manager mentioned?” Jamie was at our side, now we were about to enter.

I nodded but I knew I was behind now I had seen the blondes.

“Em you are behind!” Megan appeared out of nowhere, confirming what I knew.

“Yeah I guessed that by the blondes.” I was quick to take the envelope she was handing me, wads of hundreds, which I handed to Dane. His eyes widening when he saw all those hundred dollar notes.

Dane’s team mates were all basically in now, it was just Dane’s immediate friends.

“What’s the cash for?” Dane looked utterly horrified.

“I think I work a whole year for that.” Jess muttered and I had picked up on the fact she wasn’t her normal self tonight.

“If you want to keep your clothes on, you need it.” Megan handed them each an envelope. “Compliments of Victoria Secret. Which if you aren’t wearing, you better not lose one piece of clothing Emerald.”

I rolled my eyes, grabbing Dane’s hand. “Ok so I hope you can hold your liquor better than our wedding night Mr Sullivan.”

“Why?”

“Cause there is a set of how many shots we have to take, and,” The doors opened, and the music was booming through the air, the number on the screen was at sixteen.

The waiters were at us as we entered the door, with a platter of drinks that is expected to be drunk.

“It’s called shoot or strip.” I gripped the shot glass. “You either do the number of shots on the screens, pair two hundred to skip each drink or,”

“Strip!” Jamie and Dean exclaimed at the same time, catching on to the game. Maybe the girls in their underwear already, gave that bit away.

Jess and Grace looked less than impressed and I was already handing them the passes. “You two have a golden ticket, so no need to join, you can just watch the craziest.”

“Did you get a golden ticket?” Dane’s words had heat to them.

“Nope.” I grinned. “Cause I’m the current reining champion.” Now that made my husband speechless.

Dane

The music was pounding a thick beat and each time a number flashed on the tv screens, everyone started throwing back shots. There was partying and then there was this, the dancing, the liquor everything about it- showed expense. This was how the rich partied. The models weren’t lose or drunk, the men weren’t drooling- unless you count one of my team mates, who couldn’t believe they were around so many beautiful stripping models.

Emerald was still clothed and I couldn’t be more thankful, cause every time a number came up on the screen, all the guys eyes went to her to see if she was going to do it- and it was after two in the morning and she was still throwing them back.

“I thought you didn’t drink.” I gripped her by the waist after she threw back the last shot of seven.

“I do at certain events when it is expected of me.” She had a smile on her back, and I could tell she was getting tipsy now. Which meant my luck of her keeping up- was about to fail.

“He is cheating lying prick.” Jess didn’t hold back. “And I want to go home.” She stood up.

“This is about Leah isn’t it.”

All eyes at the table went to Emerald. We all knew that was the reason, but not one of us had said it directly.

Emerald’s expression softened. “You shouldn’t believe her. I didn’t.”

“What is that mean?” I was quickly to question her on it.

“Leah, she was in our bed.” Emerald answered my question, not seeming mad about it. “She gave me some line about you and her.” Then a number flashed on the screen, saying ‘lucky number one’. “Shit that’s me.”

“Wait,” Jess gripped Emerald’s arm before she took off, where Emerald was going I wasn’t sure.

The crowd was chanting Emerald’s name now- loud and dominating.

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