2. You can't handle me!
THE NIGHT BEFORE
The music emanated from every corner of the club as though it had fused with the swaying bodies around. The lights were dimmed and strobe lights bounced off the walls and the floor. I was in the VIP lounge with my colleagues, as we celebrated closing out on a huge deal as a team.
“Damn! This club is lit!” My closest friend and coworker, Ethan, exclaimed in excitement. He was a total party fiend.
“The best in New York City,” Lance, another coworker, chimed in, but didn’t miss the opportunity of boasting in his usual haughty tone, “And thanks to me, y’all get to lounge like a VIP in this place.”
Slouching on the couch he kicked his head back, arms folded behind his head before adding his unsolicited two cents, “Man! Music, booze, and hot chicks, just the perfect way to end a week.”
A low, annoyed groan rumbled from my chest at this dipshit’s comment. Lance was a class-A sleazebag, classic narcissist with a God Complex and a head so big, one more stroke to his ego and he’d turn into a fucking bobblehead any time now. Not one soul in our team had a high tolerance for his shit but the fucker was good at what he did and so, we just had to suck it up.
Not willing to put up with him this time, I was ready to rip him a new one only to be stopped by Ethan. I was already in the hot water with HR about an incident involving Lance and me. I wasn’t even at fault but given how wide the HR manager had been spreading her thighs for him, no wonder I had to take the brunt of it. Huffing, I slumped back, biting my tongue hard. I fucking hated that guy!
“Man, I just wanna enjoy and let loose tonight. I feel like I can fucking breathe finally. The number of deals that we had been losing this year, I’m amazed we still haven’t lost our jobs yet. This one was a make or break for us. I just want to chill tonight. ” Ethan said, his eyes already scanning the place for his next conquest.
“Tell me about it! Not gonna lie, I thought this one’s gonna slip through our fingers as well. The rate at which we had been losing tenders, you’d think somebody was selling us out to our rivals.” Diana chortled, taking small sips of her water.
But looks like our resident douchebag was unimpressed by that comment. “Oh, please Diana! Stop stirring the pot all the damn time. You and everyone here knows about the strict measures taken and tight protocols in place, not to mention, that little clause in our contract that no one would be stupid enough to breach..unless that person is you. In which case, I wouldn’t be surprised.”
Ooh! Wrong move, idiot!
“What did you just say, Lance? Care to repeat?” Diana glared at him which he returned.
“Lance, dude, come on! We’re here to celebrate, not to stir shit, man! Diana, cool down. It’s not good for your health.” Ethan tried to break the tension, always the peacemaker.
“Then ask her to keep her loudmouth shut!” Lance sneered and I had to practically restrain Diana to not to fly at him.
“What the fuck crawled up your ass? Knock it off!” I warned him.
“What are you getting so worked up about, Lance? It was a goddamn joke, in case your dense brain couldn’t get it. And, you better watch your tone! I’m not Ruby who has been gargling your balls and eating your shit to tolerate this ‘holier than thou’ attitude of yours! So, don’t even dare to talk to me in that demeaning tone next time! You don’t wanna mess with me!”
His face flamed red from anger and embarrassment, while the rest of us tried hard not to cackle at the words spewed out of Diana’s filterless mouth. This woman was fierce and Lance’s only Kryptonite.
“Don’t you dare finish that sentence!” I glared, warning him to not cross that line. I could get his ass fired if I wanted, a fact Lance was well aware of.
“Don’t bother Trey, he hasn’t got the balls to do so. He left them at Ruby’s desk this morning. Hey Lance, might as well check in the ‘lost and found’ box before you lose them for good!” Diana barked out the loudest laugh and I bit the inside of my cheeks hard. We might work in teams with a flat structure but technically, I was still their boss.
Lance shot up off the couch and snapped. “Laugh all you want now, but you two better watch your back real good! My eyes are on you people. You wouldn’t even realize what hit you!”
With that, he stomped out of the lounge, and everyone burst out with the laughter they had been holding back, including me.
“God! Diana, you’re something else!” I shook my head, grinning.
“What? He had it coming! I’m pregnant, hormonal and then you assholes decide to celebrate in a club of all places with Lance in here, and I couldn’t even have a drink to block him out. Nope! Too fucking much! That’s a lesson for you boys too! Don’t piss off a woman who’s going to push a human being out of her vagina any day now!”
“Geez, thanks for the image.” Ethan grimaced at the thought.
“Oh hush! Stop being a prude!”
Moments later, security entered the lounge and asked us to leave the VIP area. God, Lance!
“Who the hell let this grown child out of his house?” Diana chuckled, rolling her eyes.
“Beats me! Well, guess the party is over then.” Ethan sighed, dejected.
“You kidding me? The prick is gone, the party has finally started!”
“You guys, I’m beat! I can’t drink anyway so you lads enjoy the party. Go crazy! But don’t go too crazy!”
As soon as the words left my mouth, a smack upside the head wiped the grin right off my face.
“Watch it, Maynard!” She glared at me and I chuckled giving her a side hug.
“Let me drop you home. You shouldn’t go alone in this state.” I offered.
“Aww, aren’t you the sweetest? But, no, thank you. I’ve already called Daniel and he’s almost here.”
“If you are sure?”
“Ugh, yes! Stop fussing over me! I already have Daniel doing that to me 24/7! I can take care of myself, I’m a big girl!” She said, pouting like a child.
“You sure are!” I teased her and that got me another smack!
“You never learn your lesson, do you?”
“Ow! Fuck! Okay, okay!”
We chatted for a while longer with the rest of the teammates when Ethan drew my attention.
“Dude! Hot girl at 3 o’clock! ”
I followed the direction and noticed a pretty blonde girl giving me the “come fuck me” eyes. Eh, she was okay but looked as though she’d be one of those annoying ones and I didn’t have the patience tonight.
“She is pretty, but not my type.”
“Yup, that’s your quintessential bimbo! Also, bleh, Ethan you are almost 30 now, stop acting like a horny teenager at the sight of one!” she smacked him on the side of his arms again.
“Damn, you abusive woman! And never too old Diana, never too old.” He winked and she rolled her eyes. “And, suit yourself, Trey, I’m going for her.” Ethan walked away leaving us alone.
“Good luck, man! I’m gonna go get the rest of us something to drink.”
Diana bid us goodbye and I walked towards the bar to get us the drinks. This club was packed but the bartenders were quick. I leaned against the counter waiting and did a quick sweep but no one really caught my attention.
Looks like we are going home alone tonight.
And, that’s when she came into view.
A black cocktail dress wrapped snugly around her body with her soft brown tresses cascading down to her waist, this woman could have graced any billboard or magazine cover. In the sea of people where faces could drown easily, this woman stood out. Her aura was so strong and inviting, it would rather be a challenge to miss her. My gaze slowly traveled up from the curves of her waist, taking in every contour of her body, to finally settle on her perfectly plump lips kissing the rim of her glass, and all I could think of was how they would feel against mine. She was breathtakingly beautiful.
The bartender’s voice made me shift my attention away from her, and I quickly got the drinks to be sent back to our table. I had got something better to do here. Looking for a chance to talk, I ordered a drink and sent it her way, hoping to get her attention.
I saw her talking to him and that’s when our gazes locked. Her eyes held the most beautiful shade of blue, with flecks of grey as though they were touched by storm clouds. I had never seen another pair of eyes so intense and mesmerizing at the same time, it felt as though it could put anyone into a trance for eternity.
Did I seriously just narrate some romantic sappy shit like a lovestruck Hallmark movie hero?
Geez! Trey! Really?
I’m pulled out of my thoughts when she made her way towards me with the drink in her hand, swaying her hips, looking like an absolute sin on heels and boy was I tempted to get a taste.
The closer she got, the harder my heart thumped against my rib cage and that was pretty fucking unusual. Her expression was unreadable and usually, I was pretty good at reading people. Well, that didn’t make the situation any better. Shaking off the nerves, I took my cool stance and plastered my signature smile on, which swept the girls off their feet every single time. As she neared even closer, my lips curved up into a smirk that matched hers and the fact that she had checked me out real quick didn’t escape my eyes. Yup, she was just as interested.
Maybe we won’t be lonely tonight after all.
However, before I got to open my mouth to say something, she spoke up.
The skin between my brows wrinkled and the smile dropped as this was the last thing I had expected to come out of her mouth.
“I’m sorry, what?” I asked, completely baffled, feeling completely off my game.
Rolling her eyes, she held out the drink I sent her.
“Cosmo? Really? So, just because I’m a girl, I’d be into this sugary shit?”
Damn beautiful but fucking rude! How about a thank you, missy? Wait, why am I talking in my head though? What the fuck is wrong with my otherwise perfectly functioning tongue?
“My bad! So, what would the lady like instead?”
“For you to stop your clichéd attempts of getting my attention. Sending a drink to talk to someone is so last century!”
“Oh yeah? Yet, you are standing right here, talking to me. I’d say mission fucking accomplished!”
The smirk that disappeared earlier, graced my face again as I could feel my temptation for this fireball reach new heights.
“Pfft! Please! I’m just here to let you know that you’re wasting your breath on chasing what clearly can’t be yours. Your old school self might work on the plastic Barbies out there. But, me?” She snickered slightly before continuing, “honey, I’m not that easily appeased.”
“So you’re playing hard to get?”
“Nope, just being someone who knows her worth and that ain’t you.”
“Dance with me.”
“Did my words fall into deaf ears or are you just an ignorant ass?”
“Come on, sweetheart. Just one dance. That’s all I’m asking.”
“Don’t call me that!” She snapped, walking away from me and I started following her like a lost puppy.
Why? The fuck I know!
“Do you have a boyfriend?”
“Why’re you following me?”
“That’s not the answer to my question.” I was still hot on her trails as she picked up her pace, moving away.
“That’s none of your business!”
“I’ll leave you alone if you have one.”
She stopped in her tracks at that turning around abruptly, and I almost crashed into her not foreseeing the move.
“Fine! Yes, I got one and he is so much bigger than you, he’ll beat you into a pulp and ruin that pretty face of yours if you don’t leave me alone now, you creep!”
What a load of bull!
“So, you think I’m pretty?” I grinned and her nose slightly crinkled at my question. So damn cute!
“That’s all you got from our conversation?”
“Well, it was the only part that was true.” I shrugged and she let out a frustrated groan.
“You know, there are so many girls out there that you could take home right now. Why the hell are you after me? Coz, let me tell you, I’m not your type!”
“Who’s stereotyping now?”
“Are you telling me by the end of the night, you won’t be leaving with one of these bimbos on your arms?”
“Why are you making it sound like that’s the worst thing in the world? There is no harm in having some fun.”
“I never said that. All I’m saying is I don’t wanna have that fun with you. Now excuse me, please.”
The way she said the word “you” pissed me off a bit.
“You know what? Fine. Enjoy the rest of your night.”
With that, I walked away leaving her alone and joined my friends back at our table. I was in a pisspoor mood.
Who the hell does she think she is?
She was pretty and all, but there was no reason for her to be this rude. But, for some reason, I still couldn’t get her out of my head. I took a few too many drinks trying to soothe my bruised ego when the blonde from earlier joined us.
“Hey handsome, wanna dance?”
I almost rolled my eyes when she threw this overused line at me, which I’m pretty sure was used on every prospective lay of the night and just as I had predicted; clingy and desperate. But that was no reason to be an ass to her so I opted for polite declination.
“Sorry darling, I’d have loved to but I drank a little too much. Maybe, you should ask my buddy, Ethan, here.”
“But, I asked you!” She pouted like the brat she was. Take a hint!
“Sorry sweetheart, just not in the mood.”
Just then my gaze fell on the dance floor, the pretty but rude girl from earlier was grinding against some dude and I’m not gonna lie, she got moves. But, wow! She blew me off saying she was not the type, yet she was all over some random guy. That pissed me off even more!
I shifted my attention towards the clingy blonde.
“Cynthia was it? Still up for that dance?”
“Yes!” She nodded, too eagerly, might I add.
We made our way to the floor and I made sure we danced right beside them. Two can play at that game. Okay, maybe I was being shallow but I was too damn drunk and impulsive, not to mention, pissed.
Arms thrown around the guy, she twisted and rolled her hips against him, and even though I was irked, my eyes couldn’t help but admire that perfect ass. But apparently, I wasn’t the only one stealing glances so I decided to take it a step further.
Pulling the girl, whose name I seemed to have forgotten, I wrapped my arms around her torso, planting feather-light kisses on her bare shoulders. Just that moment, the pretty brunette across me got even closer to the guy, swaying her hips to the rhythm, kissing his neck.
In response, I swiftly turned around Cindi or whatever her name was, her back crashing against my chest while my fingers traced an invisible path down her side, making her shiver.
This was now less of a dance and more of a pissing contest, but I was enjoying our little game, both of our dance partners oblivious to it.
A hint of a smile curved upon her face as she twirled around to face me, her head rested against his chest. She craned her neck, swinging lazily from side to side, allowing her lips to graze gently against his chin and an odd feeling settled within me. If it was the bubbling annoyance or fleeting jealousy, I didn’t know. And when a drop of sweat trickled down the length of her neck disappearing down her cleavage, the mere sight of it stirred something in me and I knew I was a goner.
I had lost the game.
Not being able to take it any longer, I decided to approach her again. She was sending me mixed signals and working me up at the same time. What the hell did she want?
So, when the guy with her left to get them drinks and Celine or whatever went the same way, I took my chance. I stepped behind and in a swift movement pulled the sexy but infuriating as fuck woman against my chest, one of my hands wrapping around her waist to steady her.
“What are you doing?” she spat, clearly not liking our position.
“You tell me. You ignored me, insulted me, and then when I finally left you alone, you tried to entice me. What are you playing at?”
She glared at me, pointing at my hands and I released her.
“Excuse me? Entice you? Man, you really got your head way up your ass, huh?”
“Cut the bullshit! You know what you were doing.” I matched her challenging glare.
“I was just dancing.”
“Which I offered you first after you accused me of doing the same thing you pretty much are doing now. Hypocrite much?”
“Aww, your pride got hurt, didn’t it? Poor fragile masculine ego. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.”
“What’s your problem with me?”
“That you’re a stubborn asshole who can’t take no for an answer.”
I was losing my cool at her attitude now. She was assuming things about me without knowing shit and I wasn’t okay with that.
“And exactly what have I done to earn that title? I’ve been persistent, yes, because I didn’t understand your hatred towards me. All I wanted was to get to know you and for both of us to have a good time. Last I checked, wanting someone was not a crime.”
Her lips curled up and her bright blue eyes suddenly turned into an intense murky shade. Slowly closing the distance between us, she pressed her body flush against mine as her arms curved around my neck while mine wrapped tight around her hips in their own volition.
Is this truly happening?
My heart studded wildly against my chest while my mind was trying to comprehend if it were real or I was just drunk as hell to be imagining it. But, the moment she spoke and our lips almost brushed, I knew it was.
“So, you want this?” she asked, her voice seductively low.
Did I just stammer? Fuck! Treyton, get your shit together!
“You want me?”
I could barely manage a nod, being so turned on and a smug smile crossed her face. Just when I thought she’d finally be giving me what I desperately craved, her lips moved closer to my ears as she whispered into it.
“Well, too fucking bad coz you can’t handle me!”
With that, she left me standing there, dumbfounded, and while I knew I should have felt offended for her to trample my ego under those heels all over again, I found myself wanting her even more.
My eyes followed her back to the bar, ordering herself a drink. It was whiskey, neat. And, just when I thought she couldn’t get any sexier, she downed the amber liquid without so much as a flinch. Just like that. Raw and pure. Dangerous and fucking delicious and something told me, she shared the same traits as her choice of drink, too.
Her head turned slightly in my direction and I twisted my body to find her staring right back at me as she slowly took a sip of her second drink; her gaze sultry and downright tempting as hell, challenging me, and Lord knows I’ve always loved a good one.
Just then, I felt someone rub up on me shifting my attention away from her. I turned around to find the blonde from earlier asking if I’d like to leave. What the fuck is her name?
Cinderella? No, that couldn’t be it.
Even an hour ago, I probably would have taken up on that offer but now I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to leave with her. When I turned to check if my mystery girl was still there, she was gone.
I scanned the area but she was nowhere in sight. I never even got to know her name! Fuck!
“Well?” she asked in her whiny voice.
I looked at her, considering what to do. Fuck it! She probably left with someone herself, after leaving me too worked up and now I needed to blow off some steam. Why should I stop myself on her account?
“Just so you know, I don’t date or sleep casually with someone. Just one night of fun. No strings attached. You okay with that?”
“Just a night of fun.” She smiled and bit her lip and I internally groaned.
Fuck! If I’m going to do this, I might as well have a few more drinks.
Because there was no way I’d be able to handle her whiny snobbish self, sober. After downing the vodka. I paid for the drinks and informed the others that I was leaving.
“Let’s get out of here, sweetheart.”