This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
"Oh my God! Oh my God! What is this ring doing on my finger? What is that ring doing on your finger?! Get out of bed Colton this is serious, what did we do last night? I don't even remember! Get up Colton! I'm serious!" Kayla screamed. She was panicking. Why were they wearing wedding rings? She ripped the covers off the bed to get Colton up and he sat up immediately and began chuckling. Kayla glared at him and he just fell back into bed. She was pacing around the room trying to figure the night out, going through his pockets and through her purse. It was just like a scene from The Hangover.
One Day Earlier
Kayla was packing her suitcase when her two best friends, Molly and Finley, burst into her room. Molly had her brown hair styled in bouncing rims and her blue Ray Bans on. Finley was wearing an oversized hat to cover her fair skin and red hair. They had been planning a trip to Vegas for a long time as it was one of the last time the three of them would be together. Finley was going to Europe to work and Molly was moving to New York. Kayla felt completely left behind considering her friends were moving away on new adventures and she was still stuck in Los Angeles getting a degree.
Nate had slowed down her life and she had been too blinded to see it. He had all these ideas on how their life was going to be; she would be the perfect trophy wife for him and would help him to become President. He wanted her to stand by his side and support him, which she was completely satisfied with. She was happy with him and the best part was that he got a long really well with her father. He was there to protect her and provide for her; everything she had been taught to look for in a husband.
But when she had found him cheating on her, she was devastated. She had walked into his office to join him for a gala dinner while he was embracing another women. Kayla hadn’t even stayed long enough to hear his excuses or see who the woman was; she ran out of the building crying and calling for a cab. She didn’t leave her room for weeks, while he flaunted his new girlfriend around like she was the new version of a car. Her life was plastered all over TV in Washington and she didn’t know how to handle it. Before when they were engaged the media were always nice to her, complimenting her on everything she did. But the minute she became the ex-fiancé, the media completely embarrassed her and annihilated her. She had never felt so violated in her life. She saw her whole world fall apart around her and she didn’t know what to do. Her entire adult life revolved around him and now that she didn’t have him she felt like she had nothing. Kayla considered going back to him and talking to him, but Molly and Finley had firmly talked her out of it. And she was glad of that. This was her first girl’s trip as a single woman and she was going to enjoy it.
"Are you ready to go yet? The cab is waiting for us!" Molly exclaimed. She adjusted her brown hair before fixing her red scarf around her neck in the long mirror hanging on Kayla’s light purple bedroom wall. Finley came in after her and then tried to help Kayla with shutting her suitcase. They both jumped on the black suitcase and Molly quickly came around to zip it up.
"Okay, lets go! I am beyond ready for this trip," Kayla squealed. She picked up her iPhone 5 and began walking out of her bedroom with her suitcase wheeling behind her and towards her apartment door. When they had reached the cab they all piled in the back seat and the driver began to take them to the airport. They thanked the cab driver and quickly picked up a trolley to wheel their bags into the airport.
"When does your dad usually call?" Finley asked rolling her eyes as she checked her Blackberry at her work emails. Finley knew how protective Kayla’s dad was especially now that Nate had cheated on her. He had always been extremely protective of her, but now it was going overboard because of what Nate had done to her. Kayla’s father called all the time now to check up on her and it annoyed Kayla. She didn’t understand why her father needed to know what she was doing and where she was going every five hours. She was 25 years old; her father shouldn't be calling her every five hours to make sure she was okay; once a week maybe, but not every five hours.
"I'm not sure," she said, "probably in a few minutes but definitely before we take off." And just as they began walking in the airport to get their tickets, her father called. She looked at her phone, and there it was, an incoming call from her dad. She looked up at Finley and Molly and they began laughing while Molly grabbed the trolley from Kayla’s hands so she could speak with her dad. Finley almost walked into an ATM and finally lifted her head from her phone to see where she was going. Molly chuckled at her and kept pushing the trolley as Kayla answered her phone.
"Hi dad," Kayla said sighing. She rested her hand on a side of the trolley as the three of them walked up the line to get their tickets.
"Hi sweetie, okay so you are staying at Caesar's Palace and what time is your flight home Sunday night?" He said in his gruff Southern drawl. She rolled her eyes at her friends as they snickered while they waited in line for their tickets.
"Our flight is at 8:30 Sunday night, so we will be back in LA by 9:30ish," she said while moving up in the line. She crossed her arms and began playing with her nails. It was a nervous tick that she had picked up after her breakup with Nate.
"Okay, and what are your plans for the weekend? Which clubs are you going to? Which casinos and restaurants are you going to?" he asked. Kayla finally exploded and it unfortunately had to happen in the middle of the airport.
"Okay seriously dad, I'm not twelve years old, I'm twenty-five I think I know how to take care of myself. And no I am not going to tell you where we are going to be throughout the weekend because you are just going to have your FBI friends follow me around, which, I'm sure you are going to do anyway. So, we are getting our tickets now so I will see you Sunday night when our flight lands," she whispered angrily into her phone. She knew he was being protective because of what happened with Nate, but she needed to figure out what she was going to do with her life and he needed to back off. She understood that he was an FBI agent and he had seen bad stuff in his 35 years as an agent but he seriously needed to calm down.
"Don't speak to me like that and no I won't have any agents following you. I'm just trying to protect you," he snapped back at her. She rolled her eyes again because she knew that he would have agents following her the second they touched down in Vegas.
"Okay I have to go now we are going through security," she said. In actuality they were still in line waiting for their tickets. She just didn't want to be on the phone with him anymore.
"Before you go, I just a few more things I have to tell you-…" he said before she cut him off.
"Sorry dad, got to go the security guard is telling me to get off the phone, okay bye," she said quickly before hanging up the phone and putting it in her purse. Her friends just stared at her and so did the old couple standing behind them.
"Well that sounded... nice," Molly said smirking. They moved even closer to the front of the line.
"Typical. He just wants to know everywhere we are going. Probably to tap into the security cameras to see whom we are talking to. So dumb," she said annoyed shaking her head. They were finally at the front of the line. He frustrated her, but she knew it came from the love he had for her.
"Hello. How may I help you?" the lady at the counter said. She had her blonde hair done tightly in a bun and was wearing a Delta Airlines uniform.
"Hi, we have three tickets to Las Vegas under Kayla Stone," Kayla said smiling. The lady started typing on her computer and pulled up the reservation and began printing the tickets out.
"So how many bags do each of you have to put under the plane?" she asked pulling out a few tickets to stick onto each bag.
"We each have one suitcase to go underneath and we each have one carry on," Finley said counting all the bags they had. They each lifted their suitcases onto the conveyor belt and the lady put a sticker on each suitcase. The girls grabbed their tickets and thanked the lady and walked towards security. Kayla periodically checked her phone for a text from Nate. It was a habit of hers, they had been together for over five years and she was used to receiving text messages from him right before she would fly somewhere without him. They arrived at security and were able to get through with only Molly being pulled over for the random search. She rolled her eyes, an action she did almost every minute of every day.
"Every time," she says in an annoyed voice. She was searched and after a few minutes is allowed to collect her things and continue to the departure gate.
"Last call for persons on Flight DL 1875 to Las Vegas at 3:15pm," said the announcer. The girls looked at each other and then at their phones for the time. It was 3 o'clock already and they hadn't even noticed. They ran down the hallway in the airport, dodging people hoping they would make their flight in time. And just as they were closing the door the three friends made it just in time. They grabbed their tickets and IDs and were able to get to their seats in time so they could take off. The flight was very quick and nice; and when they landed in Las Vegas, the party began.
"Colton. Colton! Wake up!" yelled Mr. Darcy annoyed with how Colton was behaving. Mr. Darcy was a Senior VP for Manning Enterprises and the biggest idiot in the room. He was bald and fairly skinny, he just lost a lot of weight after his wife divorced him. He was wearing a very cheap suit considering the amount of money he made and he believed that he should be running the company not Colton. Dylan, Colton's best friend and one of the many VP's of Manning Enterprises, smacked Colton's leg and he jumped up. He fixed his custom tailored Hugo Boss suit and rubbed his hand through his naturally quiffed brown hair.
"I was listening, don't get your big boy pants in a knot," Colton said laughing. He fixed his tie and sat back down. Colton hated having to come into work for his father; he would rather be off on some island or on one of his many yachts then sitting in a stuffy room in a fitted suit. Dylan was chuckling a little but was trying to cover his face. The rest of the people in the room began to chuckle a little as well.
"Well being the son of the CEO of the company you should be listening to what is going on in these meetings," Mr. Darcy said clearly annoyed and embarrassed with Colton and the way that he was acting. Colton just shook his head and laughed.
"Well I think this meeting is done," Colton said motioning Dylan towards the door. They both got up and walked out of the glass doors before the rest of the people in the room even got out of their chairs. Dylan and Colton both walked back up to his office beside his father's office on the penthouse floor of the building. Colton's office, on one side, was floor to ceiling windows where Colton could see the entire Vegas Strip. The doors were glass as well but if he pressed a button on his desk they would change and become tinted glass and no one could see in his office.
"Where should we go tonight? I heard a few of the clubs were having something on tonight," Dylan said sitting in a plush leather chair in front of Colton's desk. Colton took out his putter and golf ball and began hitting a few into a cup on the other side of his office.
"I'm not sure. We should definitely go to dinner at Rao's in Caesar's Palace first. But I'm not sure after that," Colton said rubbing his chin thinking while leaning on his putter. He had taken his jacket off and threw it over one of the backs of the chairs and had rolled up his sleeves.
"I guess we could just pick up at the restaurant and just go with the girls," Dylan said laughing. He grabbed another putter and sank a shot.
"Ha! Yeah you pick up. And I wonder what your wife would say," Colton said laughing. Dylan started laughing too playing with his wedding band on his left ring finger. Dylan and his wife, Nicole had just married six months earlier but Dylan was still going out to bars with Colton. They enjoyed going out to the bars together and Nicole never minded either, as it was time she could spend with their daughter Ella and her girlfriends. She never worried about Dylan cheating on her and he always came home to her.
"Okay, so Rao's it is. I will meet you there but now I am going home to spend some time with my amazing wife and my beautiful daughter," Dylan said smiling. Colton gave him a hug and went back to his seat behind his large mahogany desk. His work phone beeped and he knew it was his father texting him to meet him in his office about the meeting earlier. He walked across the large open hallway between his office and his father's office and past Hilary, his secretary and Anna, his personal assistant, and his father's secretary, Mrs. Wills and assistant, Bradie. He pushed the large wooden doors and walked into his father's office, which was, pretty much dark, the windows had blinds on them and the only light was the one coming from his father's desk by his computer.
"Sit down," Robert Manning said sternly. He was older in his 50's but still looked like a dapper young man in his Armani suit. His buzz cut was white now that he was older and he wore designer glasses all the time. Colton walked to the leather chair in front of his father's desk and sat down. Colton and his father's relationship took a turn for the worst when Colton's mother died two years ago of breast cancer, they could barely be in the same room with each other for more than five minutes. The tension between them was almost unbearable and they were rarely seen out in public together.
"The meeting this morning. Mr. Darcy says you are present but sleeping through everything. You don't even listen to what he is saying. And you expect me to leave this company to you when I pass away," His father said angrily. Colton rolled his eyes and played with his tie.
"You can't even defend yourself because you know I am right. You are becoming irresponsible." Robert said standing up. The tension in the air was so bad it could be cut with a knife.
"I'm not irresponsible! I'm just trying to enjoy my life before work takes it over. Yeah, I sleep during Darcy's meetings because they are so boring but I read the memos I know more about what is going on in this company then Darcy knows! I know how to run this company just like you!" Colton yelled standing up as well. They glared at each other. It seemed like forever but it was only a few minutes before Robert's secretary Mrs. Wills walked in to inform Robert of a conference call. Robert sighed after hearing of the call, but Mrs. Wills gave him the ‘listen to what I say’ look and Robert reluctantly rolled his eyes and grabbed the phone on his desk. Colton laughed silently, as she was the only woman other than his mother who could do that. Colton stomped his way out of the office and went to his private parking spot and got in his black and red Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 and sped off to his penthouse suite in Caesar's Palace.
He dropped his keys off with the valet and walked in. He was met at the door and escorted to a private elevator that would take him to his own floor where no one else could go. He walked into his suite and slammed the door. He was angry, how could his father think he wasn't good enough to run the company? He slammed his arms down on the granite table and knocked the vase of flowers onto the floor breaking it and watching as the water flowed from the table to the floor. He had pretty much been running the company since his mother passed away because his father was so overcome with grief. His phone began ringing. It was Dylan.
"Yo, buddy. I'll meet you at Rao's for 9. That's when Ella will be in bed so I can go without her freaking out," Dylan said.
"Sure thing, no problem I will be there. Tell Ella her favorite Uncle says good night and I love you," Colton said smiling. He normally didn’t like children, but when Ella was born Colton’s entire outlook on children changed. He wanted to have children of his own now and he couldn’t wait.
"Ha, okay sure. See you in a couple of hours," Dylan said hanging up. Colton ordered room service for dinner, picked up the flowers from the floor and wiped up the water on the floor and had a shower before going through his two-room closet to find something to wear. There was a gold three-tier chandelier hanging from the middle of the closet and it shimmered in the light. There were mirrors everywhere and his shirts were folded by color. There was a spiral staircase leading to the jewelry room of his closet. Colton looked around and decided to just throw on a black Armani blazer with a white Ralph Lauren dress shirt underneath. He checked his hair in the mirror and ran his hand through it to make sure it was perfect and put on a new gold Rolex watch.
The girls had checked in and were in the lobby having a drink at one of the bars when they saw Colton Manning walk past them. He didn’t even look sideways to see them and he walked straight to the bar. They had heard he was staying in the hotel while he was in Las Vegas but he usually lived in Malibu in a secluded beach house. He looked around the bar and Kayla made eye contact with him he smiled a little but it was barely noticeable. However, Molly and Finley both noticed and bugged Kayla about it for the rest of their night. Kayla couldn’t get him out of her mind. He was arrogant and rude, but there was something about the way that he looked at her that she could not ignore.
"He is so fine," Molly said, looking at him as he walked into the elevator. Molly was right he was good looking. He had the quiff hairstyle perfectly styled, muscled arms and a toned stomach. His smile was perfect and his teeth were white. His eyes were brown as well but they were so piercing that you could never look away from him even if you wanted to. They sparkled as they looked around the room, especially when they landed on Kayla. She could tell he was well muscled, even through his blazer because she was watching him out of the corner of her eye.
"He is good looking, but he is a player. Don't you read the tabloid articles about him and see all the pictures of him with all those different girls?" Kayla asked sipping on her apple martini. She was not convinced that he was a good guy; just a rich kid who was playing around with daddy's money. She wondered if maybe there was something about him that was different then what the tabloids made him out to be. He was exactly like Nate; grew up with a privileged life and now thought he could do anything he wanted without any consequences.
“What are we going to wear?” Kayla asked around excitedly. The girls looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders. “I guess that means a shopping trip is in order.” They squealed and clinked their glasses together. They spent the afternoon shopping in the hotels and when they arrived at back at Caesar’s Palace they showered before deciding on what to wear. Kayla had chosen a figure hugging gold dress, Finley wore a simple black and gold dress, and Molly wore a silver dress.
They left the hotel room and walked down the hallway to the elevator, they headed to Rao's, a restaurant in Caesars’ Palace. They were seated and began looking at the menus when Colton Manning and his right hand man, Dylan Wilson walked in both looking dapper in their custom made designer suits. Colton looked the same as he did that afternoon when he was in the bar; his hair styled perfectly, Kayla could see his bone structure of his face and watched as his eyes stared forward and not on anyone else. Dylan wasn’t as done up as Colton, but his black hair was styled nicely like Colton’s and Kayla noticed he had on a bracelet of pink and blue. Colton and Dylan walked in and were sat at their usual table. Everyone in the restaurant had stared at them as they were seated.
"There's a few good looking women here Colton. Maybe you can pick up a couple of them tonight," Dylan said smiling drinking his scotch. Colton looked around and made eye contact with the same girl he had seen when he walked into the hotel. She had black hair that went halfway down her back and it was curled a little bit. Her eyes were hazel and were very big and bright. She smiled quickly at him before she looked back at her friends. Her eyes pulled him in to her and he couldn’t stop staring at her. Her laugh was infectious and he could see her looking at him from the corner of her eyes. She would quickly pull away from him and it made him smile. It was rare for a girl to hold his attention for very long, but because she tried so hard to ignore him the whole dinner he was intrigued.
"You'll never guess what my father said to me after you left," Colton said after taking a bite of his Sautéed Mussels.
"What?" Dylan asked with a full mouth of his Baked Clams. He wiped his hand on his napkin and continued chewing.
"He told me I'm irresponsible and he pretty much said that he won't let me take over the company when he dies," Colton said angrily. Dylan could tell he was pissed and he asked the waitress for two shots of tequila.
"Look you’re not irresponsible. Just take a shot and let's join that girl that has been staring at you all night and have a good time," Dylan said raising his eyebrows and grabbing the shots and handing one to Colton. He smiled and grabbed it from him.
"To a good night and many more funny stories," Dylan said. They clinked their glasses and took their shot and ordered more drinks for the table beside them.
"Hey ladies," Dylan said. "We thought we would join you for a bit, if that's okay with you." Dylan put down the drinks and grabbed another chair.
"Yeah sure, pull up a chair," Molly said smiling up at Dylan and Colton. Dylan never attempted to hide his wedding ring and never attempted to flirt with any of them. Kayla admired that about him.
“Hi, I’m Colton,” he said as he walked around to the other side of the round table and grabbed another chair for himself. Molly and Finley both said hello at the same time and then giggled to each other. Kayla hit them both in the arms and Colton just smiled. Colton kissed all of their cheeks and then sat down. Dylan did the same thing and sat beside Finley. The conversation continued to flow and the drinks continued to be poured. Around 2 am when the restaurant closed they decided to go to TAO's nightclub.
"Do you think we will get in right away or have to wait in line?" Finley asked. She didn't drink much and when she did, it was only a couple of drinks. Colton turned around and smiled while they walked on the street towards the door but didn’t say anything to her. Kayla was mesmerized by the way he walked; he had a lot of swagger but he also showed a lot of class. Always holding the door open for all of them, helping them up stairs or down them and just making sure they were okay.
"I think we will get in pretty quickly," Colton said laughing. The girls didn't really understand but were drunk enough to laugh along with him. Kayla was still not impressed with him. He just stood there assuming they would get in because he was famous and rich. That was the arrogance she hated so much. His smug smile irked her, but for some reason she was still intrigued with him. Maybe it was because famous and rich. Or maybe it was because she wanted to see something else in him that would make him normal like her. Or maybe it was because he reminded her so much of Nate and this was a way she could keep him close to her.
"What's so funny? I don't understand," Molly said grabbing Kayla's hand.
"Colton owns the club. He pretty much owns the whole strip," Dylan said grabbing Finley's hand and leading her into the club. Colton gave the bodyguard a pat on the back and a $100 tip and held the door open for Molly and Kayla. As they walked in Colton put his hand on Kayla's back and she jumped not expecting him to grab her. She could feel the warmth of his palm on her back and it made the hair on the back of her neck stand up. She could feel the strength of his hand just by the way he was holding her and it felt right. She looked behind at him but it didn't seem like he noticed. The club was huge and packed. They were playing a David Guetta song and Colton pointed upwards towards a VIP section and said something but Kayla didn't hear it, so they followed Colton up to the VIP section and sat down on the leather couches around the VIP lounge. There was a bar that was glowing and changing colors to the beat of the music. The couches wrapped around the sunken in table and the girls had trouble walking down the two small steps to sit on the couches. Colton and Dylan both held out their hands for the girls and they all sat down to a tray full of tequila shots.
"I think you sssshould get together with… Um… With Colton," Molly managed to sputter out. Kayla looked at her laughing and then looked over at Colton who was standing by a group of his friends and laughing. Kayla was shaking her head. He stood there leaning against the railing talking and laughing with random girls, but something in her wished he was talking to her."No way! He is is is not my type and he's way too... Like playerish and rich," she stuttered. They began laughing and Finley joined them on the couch as well. Dylan ordered another round of shots of tequila and called Colton over to join them. Finley opted out of taking shots but the rest continued to have three more and the rest of the night became a blur.
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