Dane’s Point of View
I had hoped I had put enough thought in to this. I was nervous for some reason. I had never wanted to impress a girl on a first date before. Never once had I cared if it was successful or not. But I was counting on her love for animals to help me win this date.
I pulled in to the Zoo and glanced at her. I couldn’t stop the smile spreading across my face when I saw her face lit up. “The Zoo? Are you serious?” She looked at me, as if I had just brought her to see the sign.
“You love animals right?”
“So I’m guessing you’ve been before.”
She shook her head quickly. “Nope. I never had time. I was booked in for an African safari when I was in Africa. But Dad got sick and I had to fly back to take over the company.”
“What you can do that? Just take over his company like that?” Surely, she didn’t take that on as well. Did she know how unbelievable she was? I knew you had to be incredibly smart to be able to do that.
“It’s not a big deal. I’m cc into all Dad’s emails and meetings. I know his schedule, nearly as well as I know mine.” She shrugged it off. Like being the second in charge to a billion-dollar company was something everyone did.
“Do you take over from him a lot?”
“Only twice. So far.”
“You just drop everything and go to him?”
She frowned. “Of course, I do. His family. And he doesn’t just give me millions on millions not expecting me to earn it by some means.”
“So that money he gave you has strings attached?”
She frowned. “Not so much string but expectations. Dad has always expected me to be able to take over from him. I was sixteen when I first did it, I was in Africa at the time. It was only for a month and then again a few months later when the doctors ordered him to take leave due to stress.”
“You’re incredible you know that?”
“More like insane.” She laughed. A grin spread across her face and her eyes went wide. “Do you think I’ll see a meerkat?”
I laughed. “Yeah babe I think you will.”
“Dane it’s just not acceptable. You had close to no disposals. Only kicked two goals and nine behinds. That’s itself is enough for us to bench you. But the fact you aren’t giving your all to training, late to conferences, and you’re meant to be leading this group of players.”
I just sat there and let the coach, CEO and director attack me.
“Your head isn’t in this.” The director pulled himself forward at the conference table. “Do you want to tell us what’s going on?”
I knew I wasn’t playing my best. I knew the last two games were the weakness I’ve ever played. I knew why too. But I wasn’t about to tell them that mind wasn’t on the game, it was one a blonde with killer curves and smile to die for.
“Is it your wife?” Coach said. “Marriage is a stressful thing, we understand if that is. But we need to know your performance will get better. That you will recommit to the game. In fact, we’ve been talking about it and we think maybe you should take a break from seeing her.”
“Just till you remember what is important. Till your head is back in the game. Show us you still want to be captain and you are still our main player. Some distance between her and you, might be the best thing for your career.”
I had married Emerald for my career. Now she was becoming the reason I wasn’t playing my best. I was too worried about the fact she was in the stands. I doubted everything. It was fucking with my head.
But when it came down to it. My career did come first.
“Ok. I’ll crash at Scott’s for a bit.” Just till I had my career back in the limelight and maybe I would be able to think straight.
But when it really came down to it.
I was bad for Emerald.
I could never put her first. She deserved that. Maybe it was better that I ended our relationship before it got serious. It would kill me to go backwards with her. But I couldn’t let her impact my game. Which I had been letting. I had been more focused on taking her out on dates and then thinking about those dates, then I had been worried about winning games. Which was probably why we had lost the last two games because I wasn’t kicking straight.
“Maybe some time with the boys will do you good.” The CEO nodded his head. “Wouldn’t kill you to spend time with them.”
I knew whenever I spent time with the boys it ended with me drinking and with a new woman.
Was I doing the right thing, ending it with Emerald? It wasn’t like I was being given a choice. Being with her repaired my public image. But really being with her, impacted my game. They were telling me I couldn’t have both.
I wasn’t ending things with her. I was just putting my mind back on the game. After two weeks of me being fully committed to the game maybe then I could try and rebalance both.
Surely I could have the woman and the career.
Or should I do her a favourite and let her go? Who the hell would want to be second? She deserved to be first. When it came down to it, I had nothing to offer her. She has a career, she has the limelight, she has money, she didn’t need a man and she didn’t need me.
I still don’t know why she decided to marry me.
But I’d be the first one to say that I got the better half of the deal. I had her for another nine months and then she would be free. I was the dead weight and history showed that I normally always brought everyone around me down.
I wouldn’t do that to her.
I had to somehow figure out how to make her equal with my career. But first I had to get grip on my career before I completely let it go to shit.
Emerald’s Point of View
“Europe now?” I said into the phone to Megan. “You know I can’t just leave. Not with Dane’s games.”
“Victoria Secret want an answer. This is them calling you up and needing you to start production. It’s a yes or no. And I need the answer now.” Megan was firm on the phone.
She never backed me into a corner but I knew she must be getting some serious pressure to be making me decide- now.
I heard Dane come down the stairs. I hadn’t seen him since he got back. “I’ll call you back in a minute.”
I just had to run the idea off someone that wouldn’t be making money off my decision. I walked out of the lounge and into the foyer and I frowned when I saw the packed bags.
“Um hi?” I said.
Dane looked up from his phone. “Hi.”
“Going somewhere?” I looked between him and the bags.
“Yeah I need a break.”
“Us. This whole marriage thing and us dating.”
He needed a break from me?
Men can’t be trusted. How many times I had I told myself that? How many times did I have to see it? Why did I let him get close? I thought everything was going fine. Hell, just a minute ago I was counting on his opinion to help me make the biggest decision of my life.
But I saw his hardened expression. I might have started to count on him but he wasn’t counting on me.
“Ok.” I said. Not really sure what else to say. Was this his way of ending our fake marriage or us dating? This is why I don’t date because my heart gets attached and when I start to feel something for someone, I go all in.
And Dane had been no different.
Now I was feeling something I didn’t want to ever feel. Loss.
“Just do whatever you want. Don’t come to games. Just don’t worry about me for a bit.” He said and picked up his bags. “Just focus on you.”
Just focus on me? Did he not know that right now I needed someone! I needed to be able to talk to someone about this deal. I was counting on him and now, what, did he just decide this morning he wanted nothing to do with me!
But like always in my life, I only ever could count on me.
After weeks of wearing down my walls. After weeks of touching me, making me smile and putting me first. He now all of a sudden regretted it?
I didn’t know who to hate, him or me.
“Bye Emerald.” He turned and left.
Left me standing here.
I am so incredibly stupid! Why the hell did I trust him! Angry tears were sliding down my cheeks as I heard his car pull out of the garage and the gate open.
Ok put the heart break aside for a minute. I had to make a decision. Did I want Victoria Secret? My mind was running through every nice thing Dane had done with me and said to me over the last few weeks and how I had finally let myself trust a man.
A man I thought was good. A man I thought wanted me as much as I wanted him. Hell my feelings had grown for him and now, now I was left with this, hollowness.
How had I only had a taste of him for a few weeks and now I couldn’t picture not having him?
I wiped the tears off my cheek. The only thing holding me back from taking the Victoria Secret up on their deal, was time. I couldn’t split myself between school, modelling I already had booked and being a wife.
But I realised now. Dane had just freed me from one of those things.
I didn’t know if he was ending us or not. But I decided in that moment I was making the decision.
I was ending us. I wasn’t just going to wait around to get dumped or divorced.
I dialled Megan back.
“Get the jet ready. I’ll pack and be there by the time it fuels up.”
“So this is a yes?” Megan said overly happy.
A dim smile graced my lips. “The one thing that was holding me back, isn’t anymore. So yes, it’s a hell yes. Let’s do this.” At the end of the day all I had was my career and I was never going to let someone else get in the way of it again. It came first. I realised I would just have to hire more body guards. “I’ll see you soon.” I hung up, feeling like I made the right decision but what really hurt me was I had to make that decision on my own and here I was thinking this morning, I had someone to rely on.
I needed to pack and get out of here.
I would not let the likes of Dane Sullivan bring me down.
Sure my heart was twisting and the pain I was feeling was like nothing I’d ever felt before. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed and cry because I got a taste of what it was like to have someone. To know that someone cared. And they didn’t care because their pay cheque depended on it. They didn’t care because they expected you to be successful.
I thought he cared because well he liked me, even loved me.
Hell, he didn’t even let me down gently. He just dropped me. Like I was nothing.