Mr & Mrs Sullivan

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Chapter 3

Dane’s Point of View

Where the hell was she? She did remember we had this booked today didn’t she? My lounge was full of extra lighting and all their camera equipment. I was charming the reporter and doing my best to keep her attention on me and not on the fact Emerald was half an hour late.

But I couldn’t keep her from not noticing my wife, who was meant to be in this article and interview with me, was missing.

The reporter, Anne, from Press Magazine and Press Tonight was going on about the details of her wedding which had also been this month. I kept asking details and pretended like I was interested when really, I was about to call Emerald ask where the hell she was.

As soon as Emerald got here I had news for her. She wouldn’t be bolting off to another shoot. Or doing whatever she has been doing all week. It was Friday and I wanted her home for the night.

Tomorrow was my first day of the season and I knew she had promised to be at the game. It was part of the agreement. I wished she wanted to be there. But I’d settle with having her forced here. As long as she was there.

Anne had just asked me if Emerald and I had talked about kids, when I heard the front door.

Finally.

I heard her heels click up the foyer. Here I was beginning to think I had made up the fact I had a wife.

Then she rushed. My eyes flashed to her. God she was even more beautiful than I remembered.

“Oh my god I’m so sorry I’m late.” Emerald moved gracefully across the room. “I got a flat tyre. And I might have talents when it comes to being in front of a camera but I have zero when it comes to anything hands on.” Emerald extended a hand. “Sorry for keeping you waiting...”

“Anne from Press Magazine and Press Tonight.” Anne took her hand smiling. “It’s fine Emerald. Your husband and I have been talking and I swear time went nowhere. Didn’t even notice you were late.”

I took in the scratches on Emerald’s knees and the marks on her dress. She had indeed been changing a tyre. I felt a bit of a dick for thinking she was late on purpose.

“Why didn’t you call me? I would have come.” I didn’t like the idea of her on her knees struggling to change a tyre. Not when that’s what she had me for.

“My phone died. I couldn’t even call road assistance. Anyway doesn’t matter I changed it.” She ran her hands down the sides of her dress. Like she was nervous.

She turned heading for the couch which was set up waiting for us. I reached out for her, putting my hand on her side and pulling her back to me.

“Don’t you have a car charger?” Surely someone who was on their phone as much as her, she would have spare chargers everywhere.

“Nope.” She turned looking up at me. “Maybe I should get one?”

That confused smile had me and the tension I felt all week went. From wanting to message her, to controlling myself and not messaging her. To the build-up about tomorrow night’s game. I kissed the back of her head. “We’ll invest in one for you.”

I took her hand and her skin was just as soft as I remembered. I sat down on the couch still holding her hand and I was thankful when she didn’t sit far from me. Instead she seemed relaxed enough to be sitting against me. I let go of her hand and put my arm around her back, gripping onto her hip. Keeping her in place.

“So guys we will keep this as simple as having a conversation.” Anne smiled and the fact we were about to go on television dawned on me. I hated press. Usually because they never had anything nice to say about me.

I must have went stiff because Emerald picked up on it because her hand ran down my thigh. Like she was trying to calm me down.

“Dane’s not much of a talker. So feel free to pepper me with questions.” Emerald said grinning. God did she reason how incredibly she was? Taking the heat off me. I would have to thank her later for doing that.

“So Emerald I saw your schedule this week. Talk about crazy!” Anne took the opportunity to question Emerald.

“Yeah it has been a busy week.” Emerald shrugged it off like it was a big deal. Like the fact she hadn’t been home all week, wasn’t a big deal. I doubted she was sleeping. And considering she was gone before breakfast and wasn’t back for tea, I doubted she was eating properly.

Anne cued for the camera to start filming. My grip on her tightened. Why could I face a stadium of fans and cameras filming my every move but an interview had me terrified.

“So Emerald, we just heard on the grape vine you have been extended a very exciting offer. From what we are told it will be the highlight of your year and not your wedding.” Anne started talking.

Emerald frowned and when she didn’t answer. Anne realised she had to give more information.

“I’m talking about the offer from Victoria Secret being the face of their new lingerie brand.” Anne gave more information.

How could Emerald forget something like that? I wasn’t in the industry but that seemed like a big deal.

“Oh that.” Emerald sighed. “Yeah they have reached out to me but I haven’t really given them an answer.”

“But it’s going to be a yes right? We heard the money they are offering you is enough to set you up for retirement.”

“Money isn’t everything.” Emerald shrugged.

“So we can’t confirm you are taking the deal?”

Emerald laughed it was sweet and enchanting. “No you can’t. Sorry. I haven’t really given it much thought. After I realised it sort of conflicts with Dane’s and mines plans. Right now the focus is on football not on whether I should do more pictures in my underwear.”

She was turning down advantaging in her career because of me?

“But this is the golden ticket?” Anne looked at her confused. “I know football is important but so is your career. Surely you aren’t ready to give up on furthering it?”

“I don’t have my heart set on being the face of this new line. As much as I’m flattered to be considered. But this time of year, the focus is football. I’d rather be at Dane’s games than a runway.”

“Are you just saying this to run the money up?”

Emerald laughed. “Nope not at all. In fact I don’t think there is anything that would tempt me this time of year to not focus on Dane. His career is more important than mine.”

“Because you’ve already made your mark?”

“No because modelling to me had always been fun. Never about a career.”

I noticed the way she used the words had been fun. Was she stressed? I didn’t know much about her work life. All I knew it was keeping her away from me. As stupid as I was. I didn’t even really think about what she was doing. Handling school and work. She was giving it all her time.

She relaxed into me, as if we were really a couple. And she felt safe with me.

“So you’re willing to put your career on hold, while the season on?” Anne was trying to work Emerald out. Like she was mystery. I knew every viewer would be thinking, what the hell was I offering her for her to not to follow this clearly huge career opportunity.

“I wouldn’t call it putting it on hold. It’s just I’m more picky of what contracts I enter and being realistic. I can’t promise someone I’m going to give them full access to me, when I’m still juggling being my final year at school and being a new wife.” Emerald turned and smiled up at me. As if saying to everyone I was more important than Victoria Secret. “No contract or deal would have my heart pumping nearly as fast as it was when Dane proposed.”

And just like that she twisted the line of questioning off her career and on to the fake proposal and wedding. Emerald handled all the questions all I did was smile and nod my head at the right moments. Then I gave a brief outline of where the club was at and how we were prepared to take our second year winning the grand final and make a third.

But I had to give it to my wife. She knew how to handle the press. She knew when to bite and when to hold back. It even seemed like she knew what question was coming next.

When Anne and her staff had packed up and we had waved them good bye and closed the front door. It hit me that I had Emerald for the night now.

“I have to change and go.” She quickly took off back into the lounge room.

Why was she leaving? Had her agent not tell her, her plans had changed tonight?

“Where are you going?” I asked her, watching her look in her hand bag.

“Um shoot. Why?” She didn’t take her attention off whatever she was searching for in her hand bag.

“Didn’t your agent tell you that was cancelled?”

“I haven’t spoke to Megan today. My phone died. Wait a sec,” She looked up. “how do you know it’s cancelled?”

“I cancelled it.”

“You did not just say that.” Emerald dropped her hand bag on the couch. “You did not get involved in my working life.”

“You need a break. You need a good night sleep. Food which isn’t junk and Megan agreed.”

“You went behind my back?” Emerald looked at me with deadly calm eyes. Like she was ready to attack me.

“I need you ready for the game tomorrow.” I guess this was my opportunity to remind her of our commitments tomorrow. “Anyway you have been running all week. Megan said they will reschedule the shoot. Said it wasn’t a deal breaker. Maybe if you had a charged phone. You would have got her call.”

“Don’t you dare blame this on me being out of contact for one day. You went behind my back and straight to my agent. Cancelling a shoot I had booked! I don’t have time to just fit it in next week as it is!”

“Then cancel it all together.”

“Just because I said I was putting your career before mine, doesn’t mean I’m about to walk away from it.” She scoffed and waved a dead phone at me, so that’s what she had been searching for in her bag. “You had no right.”

“When did you last get a solid night sleep?” I knew she hadn’t all week. I had waited up till after midnight every night hoping I’d catch her. But I never did and when I got up at six, she was gone. So I knew maybe she was getting a few hours but considering she would also be having to jam in studying. I would bet all my money on that she hadn’t slept properly all week.

“What does it matter? It’s not like I’m going to miss your game or something!”

“This isn’t about the game. You being there or not. This is about you not looking after yourself.” I moved towards her. Trying to keep her calm and make her see reason. “Just one night in. It won’t kill you.”

“I don’t do nights in. I work. I study. I sleep. I repeat. I don’t rest.” She went to push past me but I grabbed her arms, stopping her from storming off.

“Emerald. You need this.” I could see the exhaustion in her face. She mightn’t think she needs rest but her body was screaming saying it did. “Just trust me. This once.” My eyes dropped to her lips. “I wouldn’t be forcing this if I didn’t think you needed it.”

“Why do you even care?” She frowned at me. “Seriously? I’m not really your wife. Hell I’m not your girlfriend and as you made clear on our first day together. We aren’t friends.”

That friends comment coming to slap me in the face. She extended me friendship and being stubborn and wanting more from her I had turned it down. Not because I didn’t want it. But because I wanted a hell of a lot more from her than just friendship.

“Just let me look after you? You saved my ass in that interview and I want to help you in return.” And spend one full night with you.

“I don’t need anyone to look after me.” She seemed more determined about this. Like I had insulted her. Like she had never relied on anyone for help and she wasn’t about to start now.

“I’ll cook you whatever you want and I’ll even let you watch reruns of Bondi Vet. Whatever you want. As long as you aren’t near a laptop and that phones stays dead.” Come on Emerald, meet me half way.

I never cared about a woman before. I never considered or worried if they had slept right or not. I would never take notice of their working commitments. Hell I can’t remember the last time I had offered to cook a meal period. A part from breakfast on our first day together.

She pursed her lips and then brushed my hands off her. That wasn’t a good sign. If she didn’t want me touching her, didn’t that mean she wasn’t comfortable around me?

“How do you know if Bondi Vet, is even showing?” She was doing her best not to smile and I knew then I had got her off the cliff of being determined to work tonight.

“I recorded it so, you wouldn’t miss it.”

“You did not!” This time she couldn’t stop the smile from coming out on her face.

“I know you didn’t think I could get any more attractive.” I was flirting with her and boy did I want to do more than that with her.

She shook her head. “You are full of surprises Sullivan.”

The first time she had called me by my last name. I preferred it when she called me Dane. Everyone at the club called me Sullivan.

“The remote is on the coffee table. Do you know how to use Foxtel?”

“I’ve lived in nearly every country and you are seriously asking me if I know how to use a simple thing like paid television?” She rolled her eyes and moved towards the couch.

“Don’t even think about putting that phone on the charger.” I told her, knowing it would be killing her not be checking her emails and messages all day.

“So what you cooking for tea?” Emerald picked up the remote.

“What do you want is the real question?” I would cook her anything or order her anything. She just had to name it. All I wanted was for her to get a good meal.

“I can have anything?”

“Anything at all. Just name it.”

She turned to look at me. “Do you think Mr Wong’s restaurant would deliver? I would kill for his dim sims.” She was actually thinking about it. Like that man would turn her down.

“If you asked. I reckon he would personally deliver it.”

She grinned and put her hand out. “I need your phone then.”

Seeing as I didn’t want her charging hers I was happy to hand it over.

“Do you know what it is called? I’m shocking with names.” Emerald handed the phone back to me. “Pin please.”

“It’s four zeros.” I typed it in and handed it back to her. “And no I have no idea what the place is called but it was on Church street.”

“That’s a really easy pin.” She looked up at me.

“It’s only to keep the boys out of my phone. Learnt the hard way what happens if you don’t lock them out.”

“I don’t have a pin on mine.” She shrugged and started googling.

“Aren’t you worried people will go through it when you leave it at a shoot?”

“Nothing on it apart from work crap. If they really want to know the finer details of my newest contract. Go for it. They bore me to death.”

“You should put a pin on it.” I didn’t like the idea of someone going through her phone.

She shrugged her shoulders and put the phone to her ear. It took only a few seconds before I heard her talking Chinse with Mr Wong. By her grin, I was guessing she had convinced him to deliver.

I went to the fridge grabbing a beer and a soft drink for her. I noticed she didn’t drink. So I had stocked up on all flavours of soft drink, hoping she liked one of them.

She hung up and I handed her a coke.

“Guessing you got your way?” I sat down next to her.

“I did. When I told Mr Wong where I lived. He didn’t believe me.” Her eyes flashed down to the phone and she frowned. “Did you call me today?”

“Yeah you didn’t answer. How did you know that?”

“Just assuming I’m the only one of your contacts called wife.” She looked at me with a smile. “Unless you have more than one.”

“You would be the only one.” And the only woman I would admit to being in a relationship with. She looked at me for a few long seconds. It was when she started biting her bottom lip I knew she was really thinking.

I sat forward and gently pulled her bottom lip from her grasp. She had no idea how much that turned me on and how much I wanted to be the one to bite that lip.

I picked up the remote next to her and hit play. Taking the can of coke off her hands I put it on the coffee table and grabbed a cushion, putting it on my lap. I gently pulled on her arm for her lay down.

“If I lay down. I’ll fall asleep.” She protested.

“I’ll wake you when the food comes.”

“You promise?”

“I wouldn’t lie to you.”

She slowly gave in and I wasn’t happy till her head was on my lap. Running my hand through her hair. She sighed and I felt her body relax. Good that is exactly what I wanted her to do. Relax.

I saw her eyes close and kept running my hand through her hair. I held my beer in my other hand drinking it, while massaging her scalp.

She was asleep within a few minutes.

I suddenly back in the couch, enjoying having her on me. Even though she was sleep I didn’t stop massaging her head. I didn’t want her to wake. I had finished my beer and was actually watching Bondi Vet when I saw on the cameras a car at the gate. Gently lifting her up and placing her back down. She sighed but didn’t wake.

I paid the deliver guy and when I walked back into the lounge room, seeing her fast asleep. I couldn’t bring myself to wake her. Even though I promised. I placed the food on the kitchen island and went to her.

I scooped her up, and she curled into my chest, not waking. She would be more comfortable in bed. I wasn’t letting her sleep on the couch like she had done on our wedding night.

I opened her bedroom door. Her room didn’t show any evidence of her living here. A part from her sculpture.

I pulled the blankets down and put her down. It was when I saw how tight her dress was I knew she wouldn’t sleep in it comfortably. I undid the zip on the side of her dress. And then gently tugged it off her. Geez Christ.

I just stood there blinking. She sighed and rolled onto her side. Giving me a perfect view. No wonder every man loved seeing her pictures. And I saw first hand exactly why Victoria Secret was chasing her. She was fucking beautiful. And I couldn’t stop staring. It was only when she shivered I snapped out of it and grabbed the blankets and pulled them back over her. Placing the dress on the chair. I left.

I knew I would struggle to sleep knowing she was on the other side of my wall, wearing only that.

Emerald’s Point of View

I woke up feeling amazing. I felt rested and I swear I would have slept longer, if it wasn’t for my stomach. I was showered, had on the only clean clothes I had left and no makeup. I actually didn’t have to be anywhere today.

I wasn’t used to having days off and didn’t know how to switch off. So even though it was six in the morning. I knew I had to do something. So I grabbed my glasses and my textbooks and headed down stairs.

I dumped my books on the table and went to the kitchen. I needed food. I opened the fridge and saw the dim sims. Hell yes. Perfect breakfast. How many times had I had as left overs, for breakfast? I put them in the microwave and went back to the fridge.

Had Dane gone mad on soft drink this week? I frowned. Strange and grabbed a coke. The microwave went off and my stomach growled at the smell, as I opened the microwave.

God yes. I needed these.

I went at sat back at the table. Opening up my maths book. Seeing as I hadn’t finished the questions in my last module. I might as well start with them. I put my glasses on, which I only wore when I was going to do some serious reading or school work.

If I didn’t my eyes would ache.

I ate the dim sims and read the over the maths. It was actually making sense. Why couldn’t I work out the value of X before? It was so clear. I starting scribbling down my answers and kept going through the questions.

I had finished my dim sims, the plate and empty can of coke pushed out of the way. I had taken over the table.

“See you’re up?”

I didn’t looked up, my focus on the last question. “Yep. Did I wake you?” I started working the equation.

“I don’t think studying could wake anyone.”

I nodded my head. Now if I carried the two, added the fifty five and times it. Then dividing it by the value of Z. I should get my answer.

“I didn’t know you wore glasses.”

I frowned, my attention on the problem. “Only when I do serious reading or in this case studying.”

“You look like a sexy librarian.”

That made me look up. Why the hell wasn’t he wearing a top? I swallowed sharply. “Why um wear is your top?” Didn’t he know walking around showing off his perfect crafted body would do things to a woman’s hormones?

He grinned and it was charming and way too sexy.

“I’m going for a run before heading in for pre game.” He stepped closer to me. “Wanna take a break from the books and join me?”

Usually I had a strict workout routine. But I hadn’t done a session with my personal trainer all week.

“You sure I’m not throwing your routine if I join?” I put my pen down.

“Nope. Come.”

“Give me a minute and I’ll change. I think my gym clothes are the only thing that is clean.” I got up taking my glasses off and putting them in their case.

“If you have washing, just leave it out. I can do it.”

“Sweet but I can do my own washing.” I walked pass him and then paused. “Um about last night. Thank you.”

How had he known what my body needed? I didn’t even realise I needed sleep that bad, till he put me to sleep with that scalp massage.

“Don’t worry about it. Now get changed.”

I nodded my head. I was beginning to realise that there was more to Dane. He was sweet and caring. And why I didn’t know that side of him very well. In fact I don’t think anyone did.

He came off like he didn’t care what anyone thought of him but I had felt him go stiff in that interview. I knew he was nervous when it came to the press. I guess it was because of them, he was married to me.

I was in a crop top and shorts with my runners on when I walked down to the beach to meet Dane.

“So how do you like it?” He smirked at me.

“Like what?”

“Running? Slow or fast? Short distance or long.”

I grinned the way he asked that, it was as if he was asking me how I liked it in bed. Well he would never know the answer to that. Or could he? I stood in front of him confidently. He was flirting with me, why couldn’t I flirt back at him. I usually was always confident around men. Always making sure my walls were firm and up. But when it came to Dane he went through my walls, that usually kept men at bay.

“I like it fast and long.” I purred smirking at him. He wasn’t expecting that. I knew that as soon as the smirk dropped from his face. Liking the fact I pushed him off his confident front, I pushed him in the shoulder. “Race you to the pier.”

I took off.

I think it took him a minute to catch up.

“You got a head start.” He caught up to me

I just smiled at him.

I liked pushing my body to limits when it came to exercise. I liked the aching muscles after a good workout. So I kept racing him. I knew this was his career and if he really wanted to, he could pass me with ease. Still I wasn’t making it easy for him.

We were passing families setting up for a day on the beach. Kids that were already in the water. And we just kept racing. The pier was coming in to sight when I knew I would have to play dirty to get the win.

So not caring that it was cheating, but only caring at the fact it would slow him down I pushed him into the water.

I heard the water splash up his legs at his sudden entrance to the water and laughed.

“THAT’S CHEATING EMERALD! YOU’LL PAY FOR THAT!”

I kept running but faster because I could hear him chasing me. My pulse racing at the sudden need to get away from him. My heart beat beating in my ears. I squealed when his arms wrapped around my stomach, lifting me off the ground.

I quickly tucked my legs up, not to get wet as he jogged us into the ocean. His chest was heaving in and out and his skin was so hot against mine.

“Put me down Dane.” I puffed. And then my arms reached out for him. “Actually don’t do that!” The waves were crashing up his legs.

He was smirking at me. I knew what he was thinking. He better bloody not do it!

“DON’T YOU DARE DROP ME!” My eyes went wide.

He laughed and then his grip on me was gone and I fell down into the ocean. He dropped me in the bloody ocean! A wave crashed on my back. The cold water was welcoming on my hot skin. Washing the sweat off me from our run. But that didn’t mean I was happy about being dropped in the bloody ocean!

He was laughing. “You look so pissed off.” He put a hand out to help me up.

“You think you’re funny, huh?” I was already wet so I didn’t care when I pulled on his arm, taking him by surprise he came crashing to the ocean floor next to me. A wave crashed over him. And he sat up, looking not amused. “Now I think that’s funny.” I splashed him.

I went to get up but his hands were on my hips and he pulled me back down to in between his legs. Turning, I straddled him.

“I think I won the race.” I smirked at him, my hands on his shoulders. If it wasn’t such a hot morning, we would be freezing right now. But I was hot from the sun but also from the run.

“You cheated.” His hands ran up my back, and he pushed me closer into his chest.

What was he playing at? I took a shallow breath in. He must know by now, that I couldn’t think straight when he was this close. It wasn’t helping, he was topless and the sun was highlighting his detailed tattooed across his chest and stomach. Why was his eyes on my lips?

Keeping one hand on my back, he pushed the wet hair from the side of my face and behind my ear.

Why was he so gentle with me? As if he was scared he’d break me.

My knees sunk into the sand, causing me to be pushing into his groin. And he took all my weight. I saw the desire spread through his eyes at my little movement. My hands ran across his chest and up his neck, and even though everything was happening quickly. It felt like we were frozen and I had all the time in the world to touch him.

Before I even thought, what the hell was I doing. I was lowering my head closer to his, this little sign must have been what he was waiting for. Because his hand on my back, pushed me firmly against his chest and brought my lips crashing to his.

The fact the waves were crashing against us didn’t matter. All that mattered was him and this kiss. At first it was sweet, gentle. Our lips just touching. But once I got a taste I wanted more. So I kissed him. And he kissed me back just as hard and as desperate. As if I had been driving him mad all morning and I had been the one tempting him. He was the one being topless. He was the one being sweet and caring. He was the one putting me to bed last night. He had tempted me.

And now I was done for.

He nipped my bottom lip and even though every single reason went against me deepening this kiss, I opened my mouth.

God he tasted amazing. Tasting of mints and something that was forbidden. I couldn’t stop the moan from escaping my lips as his tongue swirled so bloody perfectly against mine. Making me hot all over, even though we were surrounded by water. He was giving my whole body tingles.

Then as he held me pinned against his chest and his other hand ran up my back, I realised there were no cameras around. No one was watching. No one cared if we kissed or not. He was kissing me because he wanted to.

Isn’t that why I was kissing him though? Because I wanted to? This relationship was meant to be business. I couldn’t let feelings get in the way. Especially my feelings.

I never let my feelings grow for a man. Not when I knew I couldn’t really be in a relationship. The only man I had ever thought of letting past the walls I put up, was Jordan and well that was ended as soon as I told him I was engaged.

I didn’t do feelings. I didn’t trust men. I couldn’t let this business relationship be ruined because I couldn’t keep my feelings in check.

For these reasons I pulled away from Dane’s lips; and regretted immediately that I had touched him. All the reasons and my sanity came crashing back to me.

Business relationship Emerald. Key word. Business.

“I shouldn’t have done that.” I muttered against his lips, my heart beating uncontrollable. God was this what it felt like to have a heart attack? The heart pumping so fast, that I swear my veins were swelling from the blood rush.

“I kissed you. If I remember correctly.” His words blew across my face. He didn’t look like he regretted it but I was positive the only emotion that showed on my face was regret. I pushed away from him and got up.

What happened to the distance I was putting between him and me? Where did that idea go? Why had my brain suddenly thought, fuck it, kiss him. That’s a great idea! You wouldn’t be encouraging more than a business relationship at all!

God I was stupid. Right now I was blaming my age for it. Clearly I was young and stupid and falling for a man I shouldn’t. Darn it why couldn’t Dane not be incredibly attractive and kind? Why couldn’t I have scored a jerk of a fake husband. Who didn’t care if I slept or ate. And didn’t record shows for me.

“You alright?”

No. I was so far away from alright it wasn’t funny. Maybe this is what a panic attack felt like?

“Emerald?”

Right he was asking me something. “Fine.” I turned and started to walk as quickly as I could, as soon as I hit the sand. I nearly jumped when I felt him take my hand.

“You don’t look fine.” He could see I was currently freaking out.

“That just. That can’t happen. Like ever again.” I swallowed sharply. “Business remember. This is business.” I was saying it more to myself than I was him. “Now don’t you have a pre game you need to leave for?” I kept my feet moving. I was expecting him to let go of my hand but he didn’t. It was as if he was holding on to it, to keep me from freaking out further. Or just not wanting to let me go. Either way, touching him wasn’t helping. If anything it was reminding me just how much I liked to be touched by him.

He was looking at me, as if he could see through the freak out and to the real problem. Like he knew I had a problem trusting men and couldn’t possibly face him breaking my heart. I hadn’t married him to fall in love. I married him to put more distance between men and I as possible. To make me even more unreachable from men and what they could cause.

“You got any plans for today?” He looked at me calmly. Like he was purposely trying to change the subject to take my mind off my freak out.

I quickly snapped my eyes off him and looked up the beach. His house was nearly in sight.

“Um your game. That’s it.” Maybe if I had something to take my mind off him. I would survive the day. But I knew I wouldn’t have my mind fully off him till I was back at work and school on Monday. I really wished I had booked a Saturday job. But I was working tomorrow. So that would be a distraction.

“Maybe you should go to the spa or something? Try and relax?” He was drawing circles on the back of my hand and that seemed to always calm me down. Did he know that that calmed me? I felt my stiff hand melting into his cool welcoming warm hand. God if only he was drawing those circles on my back.

Don’t focus on it.

I snapped out of it. God did he know what he did to my thinking?

“I’m not stressed.” And I wasn’t. Was I? Was I overacting? Because I had had a busy week? If this was my reaction to one week of a full work and study load. How the hell was I going to be after a month? Or worse, what if I took that deal with Victoria Secret? Would I be a walking stressed hormone?

“Do you have a busy week?” He was still making small calming circles on my hand.

“Victoria Secret are hunting me down this week. I committed to a runway appearance. But they really want me to sign the deal to be their new face. That on top of what is already booked means I won’t be seeing you again after tonight.” Why the hell was I telling him this? I could have just said one word. Yes. That would have answered his question. He didn’t need to know the details.

“About that.” He pulled on my hand, forcing me to stop. “I don’t want you not taking that opportunity.”

What was he talking about. I frowned. “What do you mean?”

“This deal that Victoria Secret are offering you. I don’t want you turning it down for me.” It sounded like he had really thought about this. Hell it seemed like he had given it more thought than I had.

“I made a commitment to you first.” I didn’t care if I wasn’t the new face. I really didn’t need the stress. But from the messages I was getting from Mum, and the fact she was getting Dad to call me. Meant she wasn’t letting me pass it up just for Dane. “Like I said in the interview. You come first.”

“I don’t want that.”

I groaned. “Well I can’t do everything!” God why was everyone expecting everything of me! “I can’t finish school. Continue my university studies. Keep up with already booked modelling commitments. Be your wife. AND give them full access to me! I just can’t!” I pulled my hand from his grasp and went to go up the porch steps, but he blocked my path. His hands going down on my shoulders.

“Emerald I’m not expecting all that from you.”

I scoffed. “Sure. You mightn’t be. But everyone else with an opinion expects it of me.” The articles. The continued pushes of me to make a decision. Megan on my back. Mum on my back. Victoria Secret pushing and pushing. I’m going to snap. Hell I was snapping!

“Screw everyone else and just do what you want.”

“It’s not that easy! Victoria Secret just keeps throwing more money at me!” I was feeling so overwhelmed. I ran a hand through my hair.

“Do you need the money?”

“No! The last thing I need is money. I don’t even spend what I’ve got. The only person who spends my money is...” My throat went dry.

“Is?”

“Jeremy. But he is in hospital now.”

“Have you gone and seen him?”

“No he won’t see me! I can’t get past security. All he wants from me is to pay for his rehab treatment. He is blaming me.” Maybe that’s what was really eating at me. Or was that just on the cherry on top.

“It wasn’t your fault.” Dane’s hands tightened on my shoulder. Making me stop squirming and standing still. “Breath.”

I rolled my eyes. I didn’t need to be told to breath. But when he arched his eyebrows at me, waiting for me to do it. I took a deep breath in and breathed out.

“You know that wasn’t your fault right? What happened with your brother?”

“I gave him access to drugs and alcohol. It was my fault.”

“You let him have access to money. What he did with it was his decision.” Dane said firmly. “You didn’t give him the drugs or the alcohol and you didn’t give him a razor. That was all him. And the fact he is blaming you just proves he is too weak of a man.”

“But-”

“No buts.” Dane took a step closer to me. “Now I need you to calm down.”

“I’m calm.”

“No you’re not.”

I took another deep breath in and slowly exhaled. And repeated it a couple of times. “Happy?”

“Not even close.”

“Don’t you have to go?” And leave me to drown on my own.

“You’re more important.”

“You need to go.” I pushed past him, his hands off my shoulders and I walked up the porch steps.

“Emerald don’t run away from me.”

I slid open the door and headed for my bedroom. It wasn’t helping I was dripping wet and as soon as I stepped into the air conditioning I was freezing.

“I need to get changed and you need to go.” I said over my shoulder and walked through the lounge room.

“Stop.” His hand gripped my arm, forcing me to stop at the bottom of the stairs.

“I’m cold Dane.” And I was.

“We need to talk.” Dane ran his hands down my arms, as if he was trying to warm me up. “About work, your brother, everything. I don’t want you stressed. If I’m making your life worse, we can end it.”

He’d really end it? We had a contract? I couldn’t just walk away from it.

He wasn’t making my life worse. It was the opposite. “I’ll see you tonight at the game.” I stepped out of his grasp. “If you’re late for your first pre game. There is no point us being together.”

“You’ll be at the game tonight?” He looked torn.

“Yep. I doubt you will see me in the sea of people but I’ll be there.” I took a steady breath in. “Now get your ass moving.”

He nodded his head and started to walk up the stairs.

“Oh and Emerald?”

I looked up. “Yep?”

“What happened before. I don’t regret it. And you shouldn’t either.” He smiled, winked at me and then turned around and jogging up the rest of the stairs.

He didn’t regret kissing me? Wasn’t I clear that, that wasn’t going to happen again? Unless there was a camera pointed at me I wouldn’t be kissing him again. I knew when Dane disappeared. I would have to try harder to keep my walls up.

But the fact was I had feelings growing for him. And they weren’t of friendship. God how could I let this happen!

Dane’s Point of View

The stadium was packed, first game of the year always attracted fans but also because we were last year’s winners, brought even more people it. It would be a good game. And I wasn’t nervous one bit about it. As we walked from the locker rooms. I had done the pre game interviews.

Had what I was going to say to the boys in my head, ready for the pep talk which we did on ground before kick off.

I was ready. I was prepared. For the game.

Not for seeing Emerald.

We walked out on to the ground and I smiled, seeing her laughing with Jessie, Scott’s girlfriend.

“Looks like the girls are getting on.” Scott hand balled me a footy. “Em really nice.”

“Yeah she is.” I hand balled it back to him. And jogged over to her. She had her back to me, and I couldn’t stop the grin, seeing the jersey she was wearing with my number on the back.

“Nice jersey.” I wrapped my arms around her and she jumped. Was she still upset about this morning? When she turned in my arms smiling. I knew the answer. She wasn’t.

“Thanks.” She put her arms around my neck. “Now I’m supporting you. You know you have to win right?”

“I won’t let you down.” My eyes flashed to her lips. Would she freak out again if I kissed her? She looked so much more relaxed, and so darn beautiful. She looked like she had just stepped off set. Which had me asking. “Did you go to work today?” She was meant to have the day off. Her only day off. If she had gone to work.

“No why?” She frowned up at me.

“You look like you have just stepped off a set.”

She smirked. “Is that your way of saying I look good?”

“You always look good.” I pulled her closer to me. “So you’re feeling better?”

“Yep. Sorry about this morning.” She went on her tippy toes. “I may have taken your advice and gone to the spa. And did some reading that wasn’t educational.”

Thank god she took my advice. I smiled. “Good.” My eyes darted to her red lips again and as much as I wanted to kiss her. I didn’t want to make her freak out again. “And don’t worry about this morning.”

I swear I had never enjoyed a kiss more, till I saw the look on her face when she pulled away. She didn’t have to tell me she regretted it. I saw it clear on her face. I hadn’t known want to say. But I hoped I had somehow eased her doubts.

I may have had extra time between press interviews and our pre game conference and did something I promised myself I wouldn’t but after her reaction this morning I had to do it.

I googled her.

When it came to camera she was always beautiful but the sex appeal she sold in those pictures had me wanting to chase her down, till I got a good taste of what she looked like free of underwear. I don’t think any man would lie and say they hadn’t pictured Emerald Asher naked.

The fact that men had and would be masturbating over my wife. Had my temper going up. And it was only going to get worse if she did accept this deal with Victoria Secret.

My wife was famous. More famous than me.

Still I hadn’t just spent all my time just gawking at her pictures. I had found out small facts about her. Like how she hadn’t lied when she said she didn’t do relationships. From what I could find out, she has never admitted to being in a relationship with anyone. There wasn’t any pictures of her with another man, that wasn’t a model and it was clear she was only posing with a fellow male model for work.

There wasn’t one article mentioning her having a boyfriend or a lover. Till she released a few months ago she was engaged. She like me, hadn’t mentioned who she was engaged too.

Because she didn’t know.

The only articles on her were about her modelling. A part from one that went into detail about her being stalked. Which resulted in her leaving the country and heading back home. Here. Where she picked up working again but had body guards now.

She never told me she had body guards. And she hadn’t told me she was being stalked. Was that the reason she agreed to marrying me? To make her fans see she wasn’t available?

If she wanted to keep men away from her, I would happily help her. I wanted the world to think Emerald Asher was my wife. And was completely and totally mine.

I tucked the stray hairs from the side of her face behind her ear. And the theme song started. Show time.

“I’ll meet you at home. I’ll be home late.” I looked at her lips again then looking into those soul sucking orbs of hers. “Don’t feel like you have to wait up for me.” As much as I wanted to talk to her. To find out her every secret. I knew she was working tomorrow and that was the beginning of her week. Like she said, she doubted she would see me this week.

I’d have to do something about that.

But I couldn’t cancel any of her shoots just because I wanted to spend time with her.

I had to let go of her when I realised the boys were waiting for me to run through the banner.

Suddenly I was nervous. Not because everyone was expecting us to win this game but because she was going to be watching. I didn’t want to let her down.

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