Boston: there really is nothing quite as beautiful in my mind as this city.I’ve been all over the world, seen many wondrous things, and I can honestly tell you that for me there is nowhere else I’d rather be.I had bought my brownstone on Chestnut Street in Beacon Hill almost seven years ago, thinking it would be a beautiful place to live, and a great investment for me.
I remember, when I first saw the neighborhood, I was completely captivated by its beauty. When we pulled up to the brick building with the ebony door, it was like destiny was calling out to me, and I already knew I loved the place. But once I was inside, there was never a question if it was going to be mine or not. The pride I felt when I purchased that place was staggering. A girl from Revere was going to be living in a brownstone on Beacon Hill, and I wasn’t afraid to let everybody know about it.
Packing up my things from my little studio apartment took hardly any time at all. I didn’t own much back then. The day of the move-in, I only had a handful of boxes, an old kitchen table, my Aunt Sally’s old green sofa, and a raggedy mattress that didn’t even have a bedspring to sit on. But honestly, I couldn’t have cared less!
It was home; this was my home. I had finally cut out a piece of this world and had made it my own…that was, until night fell. A visitor I had never wanted to see again showed up at my beautiful black door, shaking me to the core. He knew he wasn’t supposed to get within a thousand yards of me, but that hadn’t stopped him.
That particular evening, violence wasn’t on his mind. No, he had already tried to break me physically and lost. Now, before he truly left Boston, he wanted to break me mentally. And I’m ashamed to say…he did.
These memories returned as I took a cab to the brownstone after work, nervously popping a Tums as we pulled up. Taking a deep breath, I asked the cabbie to wait for me and got out.Staring at the daunting steps leading up to the glorious black door that had once captivated my eyes, I cringed at the memories it now held.
I made my way up and unlocked the door, revealing the beauty I once saw in this place. Stepping inside, I locked the door again and went into the master suite where I’ve kept all the clothing I can’t store at Kitty’s or Allie’s.
Tonight one of the CEOs coming to the meeting was with the Mewong Conglomerate; the Thompson Agency was chomping at the bit to have this contract with them. So I needed to look attractive, not sexy. Smart, but beautiful. Subtle, yet alluring.
I stopped at the double door to the master suite, seeing the ragged mattress still lying out of place on the floor in the massive room. I quickened my pace as my heart sped up, and the urge to flee the residence started to take over.
Once inside the walk-in closet, I rummaged through the zipped clothing bags that hung in front of me, trying to remember what precisely I had in storage here. Then I stumbled across the gold bag, and I knew what I was going to wear tonight. I took the bag out and placed it on a nice plated hook on the wall.
I unzipped the bag and looked over the dress, inspecting it for any flaws, and my hands traced over the black silky material. The cut would be perfect, black lace over black fabric with the softest edges around the chest and arms. The long sleeves and the sweetheart neckline would have the right amount of sophistication and allure I was hoping to achieve. The black silk would hug my middle, then flow freely to the ground, letting my curves show, but within a modest range.
With my mission accomplished, I also took a brown velvet coat and a pair of strappy black heels, and hurried out of the building. Once outside I slammed the door shut behind me, taking my key in my shaking hand to make sure it was locked.
My legs felt like gelatin, and my heart was racing as if an anxiety attack was about to happen any minute. But I managed to make it back to my cab in one piece physically, and only slightly a mess internally.
The cabbie looked back at me in his rearview mirror. “Where to?” he asked gruffly.
“I’m heading to Revere. Hall Street, please,” I said, as I laid the garments next to me. We started off, and I glanced down at my hands, only to see they were still shaking. I twisted them together like you would to get blood back into your fingers when they’ve fallen asleep, but to no avail. They still shook.
Too much was happening in my life at the moment, my nerves were a jumbled mess, and I hadn’t even made it over to see my mother yet to check in on her. My head fell back against the seat and I wondered if I should take my happy pill for my nerves, hating that after six and a half years, I debated if I should take one at all. That concerned me. But soon enough the cab dropped me at Allie’s, and I hurried inside to get ready for the night ahead.
My evening dress was on, my hair in curls and pulled back at the sides, and my makeup smoky and elegant. I was just applying my burgundy lipstick when a knock came at the front door. Hurrying with the last careful swipe, I snatched up my heels from the bed along with my jacket, and hurried to answer it.
When I opened the door the sight that stood before me was astounding. How a man could be so beautiful, yet have an air of raw male power about him, baffled my mind. But there he stood in a dashing black tuxedo that fit his tall muscular frame perfectly.
His black coat hung over his attire, making him look, in my eyes, like a movie star from the days of old, with his clean-shaven face, and sandy locks styled in that sexy modern fifties way that I so loved. “My, Davis, I would think with how you look this evening, many women are going to be swooning just from the sight of you,” I confessed as my eyes roamed over him, appreciating the man in front of me.
I stepped inside, letting him enter the residence, and shut the door behind him.When I felt his eyes on me, and realized he hadn’t spoken yet, I turned back around to him. I saw that look once again that was all predatory and extremely male, as he watched me leaning over, slipping on my heels. “Davis, is everything all right?” I asked, standing up.
He took my coat from the sofa and helped me slip it on, then his arms wrapped around me, hugging me close to his body. “I’ve never seen anything so damn beautiful in my life as you, Abie,” he growled in my ear, causing me to shiver. “It’s taking everything I have not to claim you right now, so then every damn man who lays eyes on you tonight will know that you’re all mine!” he whispered gruffly, possessively to me.
Trying to gain my composure, and not take him up on that little proposal he just whispered to me, I chuckled at him instead. “My, my pet is requiring such discipline for such strong words of ownership over his mistress,” I teased. “Maybe you on all fours licking my feet will remind you of who wears the pants in this relationship,” I told him, not as forcefully as I would’ve liked to.
He laughed in my ear. “I wouldn’t mind you lying flat on your back, and me sucking your toes. Then making my way up to your sweet little honey hole, sugar,” he promised me in my ear.
Damn it! He made me shiver again, and I was really loving the thoughts he just implanted in my mind about what he was willing to do. “You know, Davis, that right there is very sub, and I must tell you how much I like the thought of you down there licking me with my hands grappled into that lovely sandy mane of yours,” I purred seductively.
He released me quickly, taking my waist in his hand and leading us back to the door. “Damn it, woman, you already have me rock hard! You win, Abie, because if that’s sub for you, then let’s get this damn dinner over so I can do what I want to do with you tonight!” he said, and slammed the door behind us, making me laugh.
We pulled into the hotel where the valet came to open the door for me, and Davis was by my side in an instant. “I must say, did you drive that beautiful Jag just for me this evening?” I murmured as we walked up the stairs.
“I wanted to see how you looked in one of my favorite vehicles, is all,” he told me. The doorman opened the door for us, as he pulled me close, whispering in my ear. “I must say, you make the car look boring, when I have such beauty to look at.”
“My, the southern gentleman is out in full force this evening,” I laughed, as we made our way to the ballroom. I stopped, kissing his lips softly before we entered, and work took over. “Thank you for your beautiful words, Davis. They were recognized, and appreciated,” I whispered. “Now, let the fun begin.Shall we?”
None of the guests had arrived yet, just my associate and my bosses. Shawn came up to me with his wife Barbie, who looked to be pregnant again. “Hey, Adire. I hear we’re having quite a turnout this evening, and Mr. Douglas is chomping at the bit for Mewong.”
I laughed at him. “Isn’t Mr. Douglas always chomping at the bit for some new account, Shawn?” We both chuckled, and I felt fingers gently squeeze my side. “I’m sorry, my manners are lacking this evening. I haven’t introduced you to my, ah…boyfriend,” I stammered for a moment, but recovered. “Davis, this is an associate of mine, Shawn Slone, and his lovely wife Barbie. Shawn, Barbie, this is Davis Mills.”
Shawn extended his hand to him. “Nice to meet you, Davis… Are you by any chance the owner of Gravin Oil?” he questioned, already somewhat knowing the answer, but needing to be sure that his assumption was correct.
“Yes, among other things,” he said kindly, in his southern drawl. “And may I be the first to congratulate you all on your upcoming child. You must both be very excited.”
Barbie now gushed at the beautiful man before her. “Well, thank you, Mr. Mills. Yes, we’re very excited. We already have two beautiful children, but Shawn and I always wanted a big family,” she told him happily.
He smiled back at her. “Yes, I also have plans for a very large family. Lots of children would suit me just fine,” he drawled again, and I could tell by his sideways glance, he had told me something he wanted to make sure I knew about.
Barbie flushed a bright pink when she glanced over to me, then back to Davis. “Well, that’s wonderful!” she beamed, but looked over at my flat stomach. Then her eyes darted to me like she’d just guessed a secret.
I sighed, as Davis’s comment would spark idle gossip among the wives. “Barbie, Davis is just stating he would like to have children. Not necessarily with me, or implying that I’m with his child at this moment,” I stated, to make sure everyone was clear on the situation. The last thing I needed was gossip going around saying I was pregnant.
Shawn chuckled as her mouth dropped open, and her face was now a very nice shade of crimson red. “I think I’ll take Barbie to go get a glass of water. Please excuse us,” he told us, nodding his head at Davis.
He wrapped his arm around his wife’s protruding middle, leading her off and chuckling. “I’m sorry, sweetheart, I forgot you’re not around Adire like the rest of us. She can disguise her bluntness with rather impressive words…most of the time.”
Now I turned to look up at him. “Davis, please don’t start rumors at my place of business…” I was about to say more when my boss came up to us.
“Davis, what a pleasant surprise to see you here this evening.” His eyes glanced over to me, then back to Davis. I knew this was going to be a terrible idea. “Are you here to sing the praises of our Ms. Black, and the excellent job she did with your company?” he inquired.
Davis took his hand, giving him a quick manly shake, then his arm went back around me, where his hand rested on my hip. “No, I’m just here as her boyfriend tonight,” he stated simply. “But if you’d like for me to say some words about the excellent job she did when she was working for us, I would have no problem with that.”
Mr. Douglas smiled happily now. “That would be splendid,” he exclaimed as possible new clients started to enter the lavish ballroom. Mr. Douglas looked up at a particular man who had just arrived, then back to us. “If you’ll excuse me,” he said politely, making his way toward the Asian men who had walked in.
“You know, I knew I liked that man. He got the picture very quickly, and backed off,” he told me with a smile, while leading us to the bar. “I know you don’t drink, but I hope you won’t mind if I get myself a little something.”
I surveyed the room, and caught Mr. Thompson talking to Philip Myers. He looked fixedly at me, wanting me to enter the conversation with them. “No, that’s fine if you have something. If I did drink, I would be asking for something strong, and at least four shots worth of it at the moment,” I told him, at which he chortled. “You do realize, Mr. Douglas all but assumed that I gave you a little something…extra, for my work with your company. Lord only knows what he’s thinking I did for you to be singing my praises!” I ranted at him.
He took a sip of his bourbon before he kissed my cheek. “I would expect he thinks I saw a beautiful woman walk into my office, and once she was no longer under my employment, I snatched her up before any other man could,” he whispered into my ear.
“Now, someone’s looking for you to go mingle, and I see where all the boyfriends and husbands hang out while y’all are working. I’ll be an obedient pet, and wait for my woman to hurry her pretty little ass up, so we can go home for some discipline I’d been promised,” he growled in my ear softly. Lord, this man was going to make me lose my mind, as well as my heart!
Mr. Smith stopped at my side and smiled at me. “And here she is now. This little girl, Phil, will completely transform the way the world sees your company, and skim down the costs to where it works like a well-oiled machine,” he bragged.
I extended my hand to his. “A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr. Myers. I’ve heard spectacular things about your company, as well the man who runs it,” I smiled easily.
His smile was big as he glanced over at Mr. Douglas. “You told me she was smart, Bill, but I had no idea that she was so perceptive,” he now chuckled to my boss, with some manly eye conversation. Yes, men and their silent conversations with one another…and they think we’re too naive to understand. Silly men.
“Well, Ms. Black, I’ve been told that you are the best there is. I would love for you to come to my San Francisco office, and give me a rundown of what you think you could do for New Wave vapor cigarettes.”
I was about to address him when in my peripheral vision I saw someone move up behind me. A hand touched my hip and I turned to introduce Davis. But the eyes I was looking up into were soft brown, not blue. Trying to hide my surprise in front of my boss and a client, I bit my tongue on what I would’ve liked to say instead, and politely addressed the man in front of me. “Mr. Knight, what a lovely surprise,” I lied. He now stood very close to me, his hand still intimately placed on my hip.
I slipped out of his grasp as Mr. Thompson took his hand. “How are you, Tyler? I’m glad you could make it out from Chicago this evening. I heard the weather was pretty rough?” he inquired, as Tyler’s eyes met mine with a clever little smile. “Yes, it was iffy for a time, but we managed to make it through without any hassles,” he assured them.
The men nodded at him and were about to make conversation; I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to excuse myself from the situation I had just found myself in. Then as if on cue, another hand went around my waist, but very possessively.
My body was shifted away from Tyler, and tucked closely into Davis’s side. Mr. Myers looked perplexed at the very tall and intimidating man who held me to him. “Adire, I thought I’d come over and acquaint myself with these gentlemen,” Davis said simply, but there was a certain feel in the air around him and Tyler as we stood in the group. “Why don’t you introduce us?” he drawled, making sure one particular man was aware of his ownership of me.
Lord, I was surrounded by male ego and testosterone, and it was pissing me off! Gathering my wits, I placed my serene smile on in spite of my situation. “I would love to, darling. Mr. Thompson, Mr. Myers, Mr. Knight, may I introduce Mr. Davis Mills, of Gravin Oil Corporation & Industry.” I felt fingers squeeze me once more on my hip. “And my boyfriend,” I informed the group.
Mr. Thompson and Mr. Myers seemed impressed. Tyler was the furthest thing from impressed. In fact, he seemed just as pissed as the Texan holding onto me. Mr. Myers was generally pleased. “Davis Mills, glad to finally meet the man behind the companies. I knew your father for many years…good man,” he boasted.
Davis was about to answer, when I interrupted quickly. “Gentlemen, please forgive the interruption, but if you’d excuse me for a moment,” I said. Davis looked down at me, gauging my reaction to the company I found myself in, seeing if I was going to, excuse the term, bolt on him.
Instead I placed my hand upon his, giving him the best I’m fine smile I could manage. “I’ll be right back,” I told him quietly, as I excused myself and headed to the ladies’ room. Once inside, and checking that the room was empty, I laid my hands on the counter top, taking a deep breath.
I was going to give myself a verbal lashing, and yes, I was going to talk to myself. Just as any normal woman would do when her ex-sub, who had proposed to her not too long ago, has shown up out of the blue completely unexpected, and was just introduced to her new boyfriend. (Come on ladies, you know you would too!)
I needed to put me back in my place, damn it!I stared at the woman in the mirror before I let her have it. “Adire Black, what the hell is wrong with you!” I growled softly. “You of all people knew this could be a disaster on so many levels, that the sheer magnitude of it was mind-boggling!”
Taking a breath, I shook my head at myself in the mirror. “This man has got you in tangles. And yes, he’s beyond sexy, and all wrapped up in tall, lean, southern-accented, orgasm… Damn it! What was my point again?”
My hand went to my forehead.“Okay, just remain in control. You are used to dealing with men, and it’s your specialty to deal with men of power. Just file away the things you can do nothing about at the moment, and deal with what is laid before you. You are a strong, smart woman, and you can accomplish anything when you put your mind to it!” I told the woman in the mirror. But at the moment she looked a little lost, and completely overwhelmed.
Standing up tall, I threw my shoulders back, smoothed my beautiful gown, checked my false smile once more, and headed back out to the ballroom. In the hallway, a man with shaggy brown hair and a deep frown was waiting for me… Splendid!
As I approached him he remained in place, waiting for me to make my way to him. That’s the thing with powerful men. They like the submissive life when it suits them, but they are also used to the power their money and position bring them.And they always know how to use it.
“Tyler, I hope you weren’t waiting for me,” I smiled, as I approached him.
“You know damn well I was, Adire!” he fumed.
“I’m sorry you seem so put out this evening. But I suggest that we make our way back to the ballroom and join the others,” I offered, starting to walk past him. Then he reached out and took me by the arm.
“I deserve an explanation!” he barked at me.
I sighed at his anger. “There’s nothing to explain. We had our time together per our agreement, then we were finished. When we started that agreement you were quite content with the terms I laid out. I cannot help it if at the end, the terms were unsatisfactory to you. I told you from the beginning it was only for one purpose, and I fulfilled yours, and you fulfilled mine,” I replied.
He still had hold of my arm, and was squeezing it roughly. “Tyler, I suggest you release my arm. You are more than aware that I can take care of myself when need be.”
Letting go of my forearm, his hands now ran through his hair. “I told you that I loved you! That I wanted to marry you!” He was now hollering at me, and I quickly turned my head around to make sure no one had heard him.
My cool was slipping, and the verbal lashing I just gave myself was wearing thin. I won’t have men demanding explanations from me, or trying to control me. And unlike a certain man who was now in my life, the man before me trying to put me in my place, questioning my authority, was just pissing me the hell off. “Tyler, we had fun together. I’m not in love with you; let it go,” I now commanded him.
After that, to say he was mad… “You let him touch you, lead you, I saw him kiss you without permission, and he’s even out in public with you! You called him your boyfriend…what the fuck, Adire?” he implored, looking very upset with me at the moment. My eyes darted to the opening of the small hall leading out to the ballroom.
“I’m not going to discuss anything further with you. I’m sorry that you felt our relationship was something more than what it was. But what is happening in my life right now, or whom I take to my bed, is irrelevant, so I’ll inform you once again…move on,” I retorted, just about at my wits’ end.
He came upon me quickly, grabbing me by the arm and pulling me to him. His hand went to the back of my head, keeping my head in place as he forced his kiss upon me. I started to push away from him, when I was grabbed around my waist and pulled free of him.
Once out of his grasp I saw Davis’s anger as he placed me aside, and punched Tyler in the face. “Boy, what the hell are you doing touching my woman?” he hissed softly so he couldn’t be heard out of the hallway.
Tyler stood back up and his mouth was full of blood as he glared at me disgustedly, like I was beneath him. “I can have any woman I want, and I chose you. You were the one I wanted to marry, but I’m done!” he swore roughly, as a couple of people walked by the scene.
As he left for the restroom, I walked away from Davis and back into the crowded ballroom. If he thought that was going to hurt my pride, he was sorely mistaken. But with him gone maybe I would actually be able to do my job, without male interference.
Digging deep inside myself to put the incident behind me, I made my way around the room chatting with clients and associates alike, and answering questions about the company. I was heading towards Mr. Douglas, who was speaking very enthusiastically with a group of men and had them laughing at something. From the looks of it I would say the deal with the Mewong Corporation was pretty much set in stone.
He saw me talking to Stacy, and waved me over to speak with him and a client he was hoping to have in his pocket before the evening was through. “Aw, Adire, there you are. I’ve been telling Mr. Chow how brilliant you are at your job. I thought maybe you could tell him a little of the process you take when it comes to transforming a corporation like his,” he said.
Smiling, I gave him my full attention. “Wanshang ho. It is an honor to meet you, Mr. Chow,” I said, with a little bow, and was about to continue when a man placed his hand once again on my hip. I glanced up to see Davis at my side, and he looked to have put himself back together. I could only wonder what the hell he and Tyler had been talking about.
Mr. Douglas beamed at the sight of this man next to me. “Davis, this is Mr. Lee Chow of the Mewong Group in Beijing.” He looked over now to Mr. Chow. “And this is Davis Mills of the Gravin Corporation and Industries. Perhaps you could tell him what you thought of the Thompson Agency, and of our lovely Ms. Black,” he asked, hoping this powerful man next to me would sing our praises enough to gain him the account without a doubt.
And that was the rest of my night in a nutshell. When Davis brought me to gather my coat and purse, I was ready just to head home and sleep off this disaster of an evening. (Oh don’t get me wrong, we did get the account, but believe me…it was a disaster!)
Once inside the car, we really didn’t say much to each other. I gave my head a quick shake as I looked out the window. “I would really like to head home, if you don’t mind. It’s been an extremely long evening for me,” I asked him. But he remained silent, not even bothering to answer me.
Before I knew it we’d pulled up to his high rise and drove into the underground parking structure. Now my temper was beyond simmering with him. “Davis, I specifically asked to be brought home. Why are we at your building?” I demanded.
He looked just as pissed at me, as I was at him. “We need to talk, sugar, and we’re going to do that now!”
That had me rolling my eyes. “Oh, are we? You’re going to bark your commands at me, and I’m supposed to, what? Roll over and obey you now?” I scowled, getting out of his car and slamming the door shut. “We can have a discussion when I’m no longer in an evening gown, and I’ve had a good eight hours of sleep, and an enormous cup of coffee in me!” I hissed, heading over to the elevator.
Damn it, I just wanted to go home. I could feel my hands starting to shake, and that bubble of fear deep within my gut starting to erupt. I just needed to be where I felt safe. “Where the hell do you think you’re going, Abie?” he fumed as he followed me into the lift.
“I’m going home, like I informed you in the first place!” I answered, trying to keep my emotions and nervousness to a minimum.
“No, we need to talk about what happened tonight. And what precisely was Tyler Knight to you?” he growled.
That had me chuckling sarcastically at him. “Oh Davis, I think we’re both adult enough to know precisely what he was to me,” I drawled, not bothering to look back when I went into the lobby of his building.
He followed me outside to the street, where I pulled out my cell to call a cab. He walked in front of me so we were face to face, and I glared up at him defiantly. “Abie, we need to talk about this! This is what people do in a relationship, they just don’t run off all half cocked because they had a bad night!” he argued with me.
I squinted at him, barely containing my temper, my hands shaking with anxiety. “Run off? I was manhandled in my place of business, Davis. My boss now knows I’m seeing someone I consulted for. Oh, and let’s not forget to top off the perfect fucking night, by having an ex-sub demand of me to inform him of who the fuck you are!” I screamed, as the tremor from my hands was finding root in my body now.
My hand went up as the cab pulled up alongside me. “Now my ass is getting into this cab and I’m going home. I think I need to reevaluate this whole relationship idea,” I seethed, and his eyes went wide with shock.
Saying those words bothered me more than I wanted them to. I didn’t want to let this man go, but was this a complication I was willing to deal with? Was I willing to entangle my life in such complications?
“I’m accustomed to people seeing the quality of work I perform for them, and appreciating the pride and commitment I put into every account that is tasked to me. Having them base my work ethic and the quality of my work on who’s sleeping in my bed is something I refuse to accept!” I fumed, getting into the cab and slamming the door.
Davis stood there with his mouth open and his hands entangled in his hair, trying to stop himself from pulling me out of the car. “Just go!” I told the driver. I just couldn’t look at him as the cab pulled away from the building.
The young cabbie looked back at me while we pulled into traffic. “Where to, ma’am?” he asked with a thick accent. I closed my eyes, thinking I just wanted to go somewhere Davis didn’t know about. I really didn’t want to talk tonight, just pass out. “Southie, Tudor Street,” I told him, pulling my cell from my pocket book and texting Kitty.
“On my way 2 your place”
“Don’t care! Get out the cotton balls for me.”
“U want 2 talk?”
“No, need sleep”
“K, C U soon”
I put the cell back in my clutch, and tears started to roll down my face. I told myself it was because of the embarrassment, which I’d never had to deal with before in front of my peers. Or maybe because I was frightened over Yvette, and the Grayson situation.
Maybe it was because of the thing that triggered my mother’s fears of men once again, or the possibility that she was unwell, maybe sick, and could leave me all alone in this terrifying world of cruelty and hardships.
With a sad chuckle, I knew the reason my head hurt and my heart ached. My hands went over my face as I silently cried, because I knew it was because of a beautiful man, who for some unknown reason had found a way to maneuver through the steel barrier I’d placed over my heart so many years ago.