Realizing he stood behind me, I scrunched my face before I turned around. There was a huge grin spread across his lips, but I could still tell he wasn’t impressed with what he had just heard from me.
“Forget it. I’ll see you around.”
He walked away from Anastasia and me.
Ugh. I’m hopeless.
“What was that about?” My best friend turned to me. “It couldn’t have been that bad. The guy’s fucking sexy. What did you do?”
“Do you remember the party we went to at that big mansion? The one with the huge pool and our families were invited over?”
She tilted her head and thought for a moment. “I remember that. Yeah, what about it?”
“Well, that’s his family’s place.”
Her jaw dropped. “Are you telling me that fine ass is their son?”
I nodded. “Yep. The one and only.”
“He’s the guy all the girl’s chased? The one that had more than one girl a night?”
“Yes, that’s him. He asked me out and I said no.”
Anastasia smiled. “I see because you think he’s probably not the commitment type. That he’s a womanizer.”
“Exactly!” She raised her eyebrows, and I sighed. “I know it’s fucked. I’m judging him, but after what I went through, I don’t think he’s the type of guy I should be dating.”
“You don’t know him,” she replied. “Open up yourself and give it a go. Some people can surprise you. By the look on his face, it seemed like he was disappointed.”
“Yeah, well I wasn’t expecting him to hear me.” My shoulders slumped as guilt rippled through my body. “Let’s just go home.”
Anastasia and I stepped out of the airport. I closed my eyes the moment I felt the chill in the air. When I opened them again, my eyes locked in place with E’s. He was waiting in line for a cab.
“You still have a chance, you know,” Anastasia said then nudged my shoulder. “Go up to him and ask him out.”
I shifted my attention to her which broke my gaze with him. “Yeah, there’s no way he wants to be in the same room with me let alone talk to me.”
“Only one way to find out,” she said. “Hey, E!” Anastasia yelled.
My breath hitched as my eyes widened at her. She did not just fucking do that. “What the hell are you doing?”
She gave me a wicked grin. “You’ll thank me, babe.”
If I wanted to talk to E, I would have done it myself. I wasn’t the shy type. Most of the time.
I was pulled from my thoughts when we were interrupted.
“What’s up?” Ezra interjected.
My attention shifted to the guy with the unimpressed expression painted on his face, which was exactly how I felt about Anastasia.
“Beth has something she wants to say to you.”
“Does she now?”
Okay, Beth. Say something---anything.
He glanced at me and waited till I croaked my apology. “I’m sorry.” Good job, B.
Ezra’s lips curved up. “I appreciate that. I’ve gotta head off. I guess I’ll see you around.”
I nodded and watched him turn away from me before he jumped in the first cab which came by.
“Now what was the purpose of that?” I asked Anastasia.
“When you see him at the party next week, it won’t be so awkward.”
I furrowed my brows. “What party are you talking about?”
“The one at the mansion. That’s next week. My parents told me about it. Ezra looked familiar, but I just couldn’t pin where.”
I wasn’t sure I wanted to see him again. Sure, he was fucking sexy, but after what happened on the plane and the airport, I didn’t want to face him again.
“I know what you’re thinking,” Anastasia pulled me from my thoughts.
“Yes, you can face him again.”
I playfully punched her in the arm. “I hate it when you do that.”
Anastasia laughed before we made our way to the cab rank. “You take the first cab. I’ll call you later, babe.” She pulled me in for a hug which I broke the moment the car pulled up.
“Talk to you later on.”
I loved my apartment. It was decent sized, and I lived on the fifth floor which had some great views. My parents purchased it for me a couple of years ago. I only agreed on the condition they allowed me to pay them back slowly.
I’ve had a few serious relationships. I was twenty-five years old. The last one I had, I thought was the one. Completely in love, but I guess he never felt the same as I did, which is probably why I found out he had cheated on me with another friend.
I must have been naïve, because apparently everyone knew what he had done behind my back, but no one had the decency to tell me. The one person that wasn’t aware was Anastasia, but when she did find out---boy oh, boy.
When I arrived home, I unpacked my clothes and made sure to wash anything I needed to. I was about to put a second load in when I heard my phone ring.
“Hello?” I answered.
“Anastasia’s mother told me you were back. I wanted you to come over for dinner tonight if you can.”
“I don’t know,” I sighed. “I’m exhausted. Can I come by tomorrow?”
“Our friends are coming for a visit from Australia. I need you here please.”
My mom had a way of making me give into things I didn’t really want to give into. “Sure thing, mom. I’ll see you tonight.”
“Come by at 7. Love you, sweetheart.”
“Love you, too.”
I hung up the phone and threw it on the couch before I finished my laundry.
My mom and I were close. When my father passed away when I was young, she eventually remarried. My stepdad was amazing. It was difficult to recall my dad before he died. My mom constantly showed me photos all the time, and I would feel guilty for not remembering.
She met my stepdad while they were working a case. She told me that she hated him at first, but that passion grew to love. I guess not all relationships come easy.
I turned into the driveway of my parent’s home. It was huge, and protected by a tall and wide gate. After pressing the buzzer, I watched the doors slowly open allowing me to drive through. When I parked the car, I noticed a black limo just outside the front of the entrance.
“Hello, Jamie.” I smiled as I stepped out of the car.
“Hello, dear,” the faithful gardener beamed. “Welcome back. How was Bali?” Jamie was the resident gardener who worked for my family for years and loved working in the evenings for some reason. She’d always been so sweet to me.
“It was incredible. You should visit there one day.”
“Oh, I don’t think so, sweetheart.” She wiped the sweat from her forehead just beneath her grey hair. “I’m too old to be travelling overseas.”
“If you can work as a gardener, you can travel overseas. You’re still young, Jamie.”
“And that is why I love you, darling.”
“Are my parents inside?”
“They’re out the back entertaining their guests,” she smiled, but it soon faltered when she noticed the time on her watch. “I think you’re late, dear.”
I glanced at my phone. “I’m not late. Mom told me to be here at 7.”
“It’s nearly 8.”
“Oh, crap!” Jamie laughed as I ran inside the house and headed straight to the yard. In a panic, I almost tripped over the step which led onto the balcony. “Shit!”
The laughs of a few people echoed. I glanced up and noticed that everyone seated around that white table in the gazebo looked directly at me.
After fixing my dress, I walked up to them. “Hello.”
“You’re late, sweetheart.” My mom shook her head.
“I know. I’m so sorry,” I apologized. “I think something was wrong with my phone and the time. I was exhausted from the flight. I don’t know what happened.”
Why am I rambling so much?
“It’s okay, dear,” mom replied. “Do you remember the Parkers?”
The name sounded familiar. I knew they were from Australia as my mom had spoken about them before, but I didn’t know for the life of me what the fuck they did.
“I think so.”
The man and woman stood and reached out their hands to greet me. “Nice to meet you, Beth. You’ve grown up so much,” she smiled. “I am Kate.”
I glanced at her with a confused expression. “I’m sorry, Kate. Have we met before?”
“Yes, but you were very young. I would say we met when you were 7.”
“Oh, wow. I’m sorry, I don’t remember.”
My attention shifted to the man who shook my hand. “Nice to meet you.”
“Where did Jax go?” My mom asked
“Oh, you know him. He likes to be alone sometimes. I think he’s roaming the garden.”
My mom shifted her attention to me and smiled. “Well, honey. I asked you here because I wanted to introduce you to Jax. He’s going to be here for a while working. I want you to show him the best sights of New York!”
Oh, fucking great. I have to play tour guide for some fucking guy from Australia. As if my life isn’t busy enough.
“I’d love to,” I replied. The deceptive tone in my voice was hidden quite well.
“Ahh, there he is,” Kate said as she glanced behind me. “Jax, this is Beth. Beth, this is our son.”
My breath hitched in the back of my throat the moment I locked eyes with the most gorgeous guy I had ever seen. “Fuck me.”
Shit. Did I say that out loud?