A/N: I know you're confused. I thought I lost the first draft. But I was able to retrieve it today. I can't post the second draft I've been editing cos...lol I wrote more scenes and have a lot to polish so that will go into the published version. I was planning to publish this in April, but due to some unfortunate events, I'll have to step back and take it slow. Anyways, in the meantime, I know many of you wanted to reread this. Happy reading!
The party was in full swing with loud music blaring through the speakers. It started off with a slow song and now at midnight, the well-known businessmen and women shook their booties like youngsters with no care in the world.
Paparazzi would pay millions to get a sneak peek inside the party, for a single photo of their acclaimed business magnets getting wasted in a drunken haze.
Kevin took a sip from his glass, half filled with the amber-colored liquid that burned his throat numbing his heartache.
His eyes wandered across the dance floor. The host caught his eyes and winked at him as he shook his heavy body on the dance floor. Two women clung on each side of his arms, rubbing their bodies against him seductively.
Rodrigo Fernandez, a sixty-year-old ruthless businessman, was known for his mean weekend parties. The man threw parties for anything and everything.
His parties served as an escape haven for all. Mainly because of the tight security, not even a fly could get through the security Rodrigo had around his billion dollars’ worth mansion in The Gold Coast, one of the wealthiest neighbourhoods in Chicago.
This was the place were top businessmen in Chicago met occasionally and closed many beneficial deals, a place where they let go and enjoyed with no worries.
“Hey… looking for some fun?” A red-haired woman wearing a black skimpy dress ran her hands suggestively on his arm bringing him out of his thoughts.
Kevin took a moment to look at the beauty stood before him. She was beautiful with an hourglass frame and long toned legs, which was adorned with red fuck-me heels. She will be a good lay. He had no doubt in that.
Did I want to take her on the offer?
“Apologies my lady, I will have to decline the offer for now, as I have a long day tomorrow.” He smiled not wanting to hurt her emotions.
The woman pouted before slipping her card in his pocket, “Just give me a ring if you need me,” she chimed, giving him a seductive grim before walking off. Kevin did not miss the way her round hips swayed as she went to join others on the dance floor.
Rodrigo, who noticed their small exchange, met his gaze and gave him a meaningful smile, with a curt nod before turning his attention to the party.
It’s time to leave.
He hated these parties, but coming here meant new business deals. Rodrigo had contacts across USA and Kevin used this opportunity. He called his driver on the way out, who had his car ready when he stepped out.
The drive towards his home in Lincoln Park was silent. Though it was no longer a home, he was used to calling it one.
Home should be a place where someone lived with their family. Wasn’t it?
He thought about the girl in the party. Why couldn’t I say yes to her? He was no longer married. He was free to have any women. Why? Why the touch of other women doesn’t appeal anymore?
Because you are not her, his conscious piped in. His chest constricted at her memory. The love of his love, the one chose other man over him. Unlike her his love for her was true. He blinked to get rid of the tears that had gathered in his eyes.
His mansion was dark when he went inside and he didn’t bother to switch on the lights as he sauntered towards his bedroom. Kevin was familiar with the dark interiors of his home by now. It has been the same routine for past few years.
She had taken his light along with her.
He didn’t bother to change as he plopped on the bed, the whiskey he consumed lulling him to sleep.
Kevin stared at the newspaper in front of him. After all these years he still couldn’t believe the news he was reading.
She was engaged.
The Chicago Daily had published a full blow-up photo of his ex-wife posing with his arch-enemy Ethan, sporting a fat diamond on her ring finger as she exited the Chicago airport.
His long fingers traced her face that glowed with joy. She looked a lot different now. She was no longer the lovely book loving Jessika he knew.
His hands reached the phone on their own, dialling the extension for his secretary, “Maria, cancel rest of the appointments for today and don’t disturb me for a while.” He disconnected the line without waiting for her reply.
He was upset—yes. Because he was still in love with her, he still hasn’t moved on even after her betrayal. A small part of his mind still hoped to get her back. He almost called her once when another photo surfaced showing her partying hard in Ibiza, wearing a bikini that barely covered her assets.
However, this news confirmed that she had moved on from him. He didn’t realize when his legs had carried him to the other end of the office.
He wondered if it was a coincidence or she did it on purpose. Five years ago, on the same day, she left him for his enemy. Memories of that day were still fresh. He remembered even the minor detail of everything that happened.
Kevin met Jessika Smith during his senior year in college. She was his junior and was a friend of Ethan.
Kevin and Ethan’s families were business rivals and Ethan made it a business to compete with him for anything and everything. He even stole his second girlfriend from him, which infuriated him in return.
Though Kevin had met Jessi at college, they never spoke to each other. He was at a birthday party of their football team’s Quarterback when he saw Jessi entering the party with Ethan.
She took his breath away in a simple peach color dress that ended a few inches below her knees. He looked at her properly for the first time, her long ebony locks cascaded around her round face. At college, she was always with her friends or in some corner reading something.
He wondered how she even befriended a jerk like Ethan. He didn’t think they were an item because Ethan was dating other girls and the entire college knew of his playboy manners.
Though she did not cake her face with makeup like other girls, just the simple eyeliner and nude lipstick highlighted her facial features, making her look elegant. He could tell that she felt uneasy. She looked at the crowd chewing her lips while her thumbs fiddled with each other.
It was around midnight when he went to the washroom he heard a female cry and rushed to help her. He was beyond angry when he found a drunken Ethan trying to force himself on Jessi, who was crying for help.
Kevin lost it when he saw a red handprint on her pale cheek. The bastard had hit her. What man in his right mind would hit a woman?
He didn’t waste a second before pulling Ethan from her and beat the daylights out of him. Kevin stopped only when he saw Ethan’s blood. Jessi cried beside him. He took her home that day, and the rest was history.
They were happy, so much in love. He gave her everything. He was with her when she went through the miscarriages.
His and Ethan’s rivalry continued, with Stanfield Corporation always staying on top of the charts and Ethan’s Fulton Inc. trying to beat him down. It was when Kevin went on a long business trip he received the first photo of Jessi and Ethan embracing each other.
Though he was furious at first, he did not bother much and he did not ask her about it, because he trusted her so much and for all, he knows someone could morph the photos. The Ethan he knew would go to any extent to ruin his marriage.
No matter how careful he was, there came a time when his trust in her was broken. It was during Jessi’s third pregnancy. They had lost the baby at five months due to some complication and the distraught almost drove them apart.
He was too much occupied with her for a few months he did not concentrate on his business and their position in market charts took a nose dive upsetting the staffs, shareholders, business associates and everyone related to the business.
There was so much pressure from everywhere and he had to leave her at one point and their position in the market charts almost gave him a heart attack. Fulton’s had gained an upper hand, and he even knocked a few deals, that belonged to Stanfield’s.
His father had shouted at him to get back his shit together and warned him not to ruin the family business. Kevin had drowned himself with work and ended up traveling most of the time closing new deals.
In next five months he met Jessi only once, he was planning to spend time with her when his father sent him on another long trip. The number of times he spoke to Jessi has reduced and he could feel them drifting apart.
Realizing the bitter reality, he wound up the business deals sooner and took a break from his work when he received the shocking videos and few more photos.
Again he couldn’t believe his own eyes. He contacted his friend Maxwell Turslow, CEO of Turslow group to investigate on this matter. Maxwell ran the Chicago’s leading private detective firm and served as a reliable source considering how their friendship had grown over the years.
The reports he received was shocking, Maxwell confirmed that the photos and videos were real. He had followed Jessika and confirmed that she was having an affair with Ethan. He had provided more evidence of their affair which Kevin still couldn’t believe.
His heart still wanted her but he couldn’t have her after knowing what she did. Every time he thought about forgiving her, the intimate moments of Ethan and her flashed in his mind. So, he did the one thing he felt right.
He let her go. Kevin loved her so much to hold her. He blamed everything on him. Maybe if it was not for him being away from her for so long, she wouldn’t have gone to Ethan.
His phone rang breaking his thoughts, wiping his tear stained cheeks when he realized he was crying. He had never cried before Jessi.
Kevin pulled his phone out of his coat pocket when it wouldn’t stop ringing, to see it was his mother and groaned.
“Kevin, darling you no longer attend any of our family dinners.”
He almost chuckled when she put it that way. Kevin knew well about his mother’s family dinners. For short, it was never a family event. A dinner with your neighbours and friends wasn’t a family dinner, according to Kevin.
“Mom, I am working.”
“No more reasons boy. Momma misses you. You are coming for dinner today and that’s final.”
Kevin rolled his eyes at that. There was no point in arguing with her. “Okay.”
“See you then, bye.”
That was his mother, always getting to the point, her calling for another dinner did not sound like a good plan. She always had something in mind for him.
What has she planned now?
Kevin reached his parent’s mansion on time. They only lived two kilometres apart. As he expected his mother had at least fifteen people for dinner and he groaned when his eyes found Stella.
Not her again.
His mother tried to hook him up with Stella from his early twenties and he doesn’t understand why Stella would be even interested in him after all these years. He heard she broke up with her boyfriend of two years and was single again, which was why this dinner could be dangerous. His mother would again try to hook him up with her.
Just when he contemplated on making his presence known, Stella squealed running towards him.
Fuck… I should have never agreed to this.
“Kevin! It’s been so long.” She chirped engulfing him in a bone-crushing hug. He winced at her high-pitched voice and returned the hug.
“How are you doing?” He asked as he pried her hands off his body.
“I’ve been better.” She said pulling him along with her and he couldn’t wait for the day to get over.