I had to get ready for a dinner that night. And after my meeting with Tyler yesterday I wasn’t quite up for polite conversation, and making nice with all the locals, so I poured myself a drink. In the midst of that first numbing sip, Allie found the time to call me just to check in… Damn you, karma! “So you doin’ okay now?” she asked in her nosey-sister kind of way.
I took a sip of bourbon before I answered her. “No.”
“Are you drinkin’?” she asked, appalled.
“Yes,” was my smart retort.
“A.B., you don’t even drink. What the hell are you doing?” came her worried reply.
I took another gulp, trying to wash away a little more of the man I missed so much, but couldn’t have anymore. And trying to come up with a plan for what the hell I was going to do about another man who could very easily destroy me, both in my workplace and mentally. To say this man had me over a chair with my ass in the air ready for him to give me a good hard spanking, topped off with whatever he saw fit to have me do, was an understatement of my circumstances. Allie would only worry with such information, and I wouldn’t worry her when there was nothing she could do to help.Feigning indifference to what she said, I answered her. “I have to get a little numb at night, Allie. It’s really nothing to be concerned over. “
“Nothing to be concerned over?” she practically screamed in my ear. “You don’t drink! You’ve never drank. Yah always said you hated the taste of the shit.”
“Look, let me just get past all the things I’m going through with my life. Then I promise I won’t drink anymore,” I tried to placate her.
“No, this is ridiculous,” she cried to me. “Just call him, A.B. Tell him you want to work this out, tell him you miss him, instead of drinking yourself into a stupor. Yah know what our ma’s always said about us being Irish and letting the drink get to us.”
“You know, I never like how you can always seem to manage to rain on my parade, Allison,” I quipped at her.
She giggled at me, losing some of her temper. “What do you think best friends are foah?”
I sighed, going over to the sink and pouring the liquor from my cup down the drain. “It’s gone, sweetie. I’ll make it through the party with my water, okay?” I promised her.
“That’s my A.B. I know you’re going to be fine. You and Davis just need to talk, but I’m not gonna bug yah about that now. So whatcha wearing tonight? Is it smokin’ hot?” She giggled once more.
I chuckled, slipping into my dress. “No, it’s not hot, it’s classic. A beautiful black cocktail dress can go anywhere and become anything you need it to be. I’ve told you time and time again to get one,” I said, strapping on my slim gold watch.
She sighed. “I know, I know. When you come back to say hi, we’ll go shopping.”
“I can’t come back home, there’s just too much heartache…”
“A.B…” she began.
Really, I just didn’t have time to go there with her at the moment. “I guess I’m going to be heading out, darling, I’ll talk to you soon. I’m working with impossibly difficult people who presume I’m at their beck and call,” I informed her.
“Okay, A.B. I’ll talk to you in a couple days, then.”
“Yes, that sounds wonderful. Why don’t you have Kitty over and we’ll all Skype.”
“Yeah, sounds good. Now be your dominant self, and go kick ass,” she giggled at me.
“Thanks for the pep talk,” I joked, and we hung up.
The dining room where the dinner party was being held was beautiful, and once I was in the lavish arena I could get myself together and mingle among the masses. So by the time Mr. Chow came up to me, I was well at ease, talking and making conversation. But Mr. Chow seemed to be very chatty with me this evening. After an hour and a half of Mr. Chow talking to me about how the Gravin Corporation was such an astounding company, and how a certain man was so in tune with the market… I really could use a drink. “Please excuse me, everyone.” I bowed to the group of people around me, and headed over to the bar.
Trying to maintain poise and sophistication, when all you really want is to break down and have a good old-fashioned cry, is not quite as easy as you’d think it would be. The bartender came up and asked what I’d like for a drink. Well, what I really wanted was something very strong, and reminded me of a particular man with a cowboy hat. So instead I just sighed, thinking of Allie’s words to me before I left and what I’d promised her. “Just a water, please,” I told the man, knowing if I went back on my word to Allie I would have some very bad juju on its way.
You know that feeling like someone’s watching you? That was how I felt at that precise moment. I glanced around the room, looking for a pair of eyes that could be watching me, maybe someone leaning against the wall, or someone in a group who was looking my way. As I searched subtly throughout the room, no one stood out to me. But the feeling was still there nonetheless.
When someone came up behind me, my shoulders stiffened. Then the smell of aftershave hit me and I knew precisely who was there, but just couldn’t understand why he felt the need to accost me in front of witnesses. A woman would think she’d be safe among the many…guess I was mistaken. “I take it you’re now the type of man who prefers to sneak up on a woman, instead of coming directly at her, Tyler,” I accused him.
He came around in front of me, smiling that smirk that made me want to slap it off his face. “I see you still only drink water. There are so many other things to drink in this world, that taste so much better. Might be time for a big-girl drink, don’t you think, A.B.,” he chuckled.
Rolling my eyes and giving my head a little shake of annoyance, I looked over at the man who was once a lover, and now just a pest. “I don’t understand this obsessive talk about this big-girl idea of yours for me? It’s obvious I can have a drink if I wish, and I can swear if I must, but you are trying to push some point of yours around,” I hissed at him.
His hand went to my knee as he continued to grin at me. My gaze dropped to the placement of his hand, then angrily rose back to his face. “I just know how you are is all,” he explained with that damn smirk. I was at a dinner party, and what I wanted to rail at him I couldn’t, so I cursed him in my head.
I reached for his hand that was caressing my knee at the moment, and threw it off very casually. “Your touch is neither welcome nor appreciated, Tyler. And I haven’t received anything via text that you were threatening me with. Therefore I will explain to you once more that we are over, do you understand that? If I see you anymore within my personal space, or even have the notion that you’re following me, I will be calling the police to get a restraining order against you.”
He came closer; his slacks skimmed against the side of my leg, one hand on the back of my chair, and the other on the bar. “And will they enforce that in Beijing, you think?” he angled at me.
My shoulders were so tight, I swore they were knotting up.“I’m not here to play your boorish games with you. I’ve said what I must, and that’s it. Now if you’ll excuse me,” I huffed, getting up from my stool and pushing him out of my way. As I tried to quickly make my escape from him, his hand reached out and snatched my arm. “Tonight, Adire. I’ll send the photo tonight, so be ready for me to come to your room and tap that fine round little ass of yours,” he promised me.
Once again I shrugged him off, and pulled free from his grasp. “Yes, we shall see about that, shan’t we? Because I haven’t witnessed anything so far to indicate that you have what you claimed to have, to blackmail me with. So until then, Tyler, fuck off,” I answered softly so only he could hear me. “I presume that was enough of a ‘big-girl word’ for you.” I smiled sweetly at him, before I turned my back and made my way out among the masses once more.Hopefully that man would just leave me be now.
My night seemed much longer than it really was after the Tyler episode. I was hoping he would leave after our little argument, but no such luck. He went around the room consorting with people, even coming to a group I was speaking with a couple of times, just because he could. And he wanted to show me just that.
It was late when I made it back to the room. I unlocked the door and left the lights off. I was too damn tired to deal with the light; just let it be dark and let me brood in peace. My thoughts drifted to the liquor that reminded me of the man I missed and thoughts I didn’t want to think about that evening. I guessed bad juju would be on its way, because this girl needed a drink something fierce.
I dropped my clutch on the bed and unzipped my dress, letting it fall to the floor. Stepping out of the pile of black material around my feet, I started to walk towards the bar. I left all my unmentionables on, and black crystal studded heels. A pair of beautiful heels can make a woman feel sexy, even when her day was an absolute nightmare.
Remembering Tyler’s comment, I reached back down and pulled my cell from my clutch before going back over to the bar. I pushed the control button for the curtains to the window that spanned from the floor to the ceiling, bringing the flashing city neon back into view.
Golden liquid poured into a glass tumbler, as the first swish from my cell came through, then two more. I should’ve known. I stared at the phone for a moment, pretending nothing was wrong. I picked up my glass of bourbon from the bar top and took a sip. When the burn reached my stomach, I then gulped the rest down before pouring some more into my glass, to face my reality.
With cell phone and liquor in hand, I made my way in front of the window to look out upon the nightlife. Taking a deep breath to mentally prepare myself for whatever I might see, I looked at what Tyler had sent me, and what he clearly thought was his ace in the hole. My thumb swiped my phone and when I hit the text, the first of three very damaging photos stared me in the face. I gasped when I saw the first one, then the second one, but the third one was the most damaging, just as he told me it would be. My hand fell to my side as he texted me about when I wanted him over tonight, and my head fell against the glass of the window. This was bad; this was very, very bad. And he knew he had a winning hand. Now it was time for me to decide what I was willing to do for my career, and whether I’d do what he was asking of me when I craved only one man.
The cell started to ring, and I knew my choice had to be made now. I sighed as I stood leaning against the window, and swiped the cell on with the speaker ready to go, so I could hear what this son of a bitch had to say. “What?” I answered coldly. My hand with my drink went up against the window as I looked down.
He laughed. “I told you I had some good ones, didn’t I.”
“You really are a bastard,” I seethed at him.
“Bastard or not, baby, I’m on my way over now to start our new arrangement. I’ve got some ideas about taking you in the ass,” he bragged.
That got me chuckling. “You think so, do you? You think I’m going to just bend over and let you have your way with me.”
“I don’t think you have a choice now, Adire, do you?” he boasted confidently.
“Oh darling, that’s where you’re wrong. One always has a choice. It’s which choice you’re willing to live with, that’s the main question to that answer. And as for me, I would rather you sell me out than be your toy,” I told him sarcastically.
“I have the fucking pictures, Adire, and I’m not afraid to use them! I will own you and that pussy of yours!” he roared at me.
“Oh yes, let’s not forget those pictures; you do have pictures of me, Tyler. Just remember, I know your secrets as well. As much as you think you could destroy me with those photos, wouldn’t people love to know what you were willing to do for me? If I recall, you were a very needy and very obedient pet of mine. In fact you were my little bitch for quite some time, and my, how you loved to come running when I called for you,” I heckled him.
I could hear the frustration in his breathing, as his easy lay was going out the door. “You can say all that shit, A.B. But I know who you are, baby, just remember that. And I’ll take everything away from you,” he growled.
I laughed at him again, taking a sip of my drink. “You have no concept of who I really am. You were a mere toy I took in for my delights, one that I could bend to my will…and I did bend you, darling.
“But as for you thinking you know me?Please, the master doesn’t show the pet anything but what she’s willing to show. So you go right ahead and show your little photos around to whomever you please. See how far you can get in destroying my career. Now that I’ve been with a real man, my passive little play toys seem so inconsequential.”
I could hear his angry breath through the speaker of my phone. “You bitch!” he snarled at me.
That made me laugh. “Ah, you’re just now getting that, darling?” I purred.
“I’ll get you, I’ll make you suffer!” he started to rant.
This was done, and I didn’t want to hear anything else from him. “Have fun with whatever you have planned for me. Just remember, Tyler, I was the one with the strap on, fucking you in the ass! And I would rather be thought of as a whore than let some weasely little sub have his way with me,” I seethed, hanging up and throwing the phone to the floor.
I took some deep huffing breaths, trying to calm the rush of adrenaline that was coursing through my body. “Oh lord, oh shit, oh holy shit!” I puffed, trying to steady myself. My hand with the drink was at my side, while my free hand against the glass pane kept me from falling over. “What the hell have you done, Adire? What the hell have you done…” I asked myself, shaking my head, now that the conversation was over.
“I’d say you just saved that ass a trip to the hospital. Because if he got anywhere near you, sugar, I would’ve beat the fucking hell out of him!” came a deep Texas growl.
I jumped, looking over to the darkened corner, only to see Davis emerge into the dim lighting of the room.