Asher sat at his desk, his crystal eyes focused on his computer. The swift pace of his fingers typing notes about his next project. He was in his element, his brows slightly furrowed as he chewed on his lip.
“Sir.” His older secretary interrupted. “We’ve found a replacement for Daniel.” She admitted, throwing some paperwork before him. He hadn’t thought about Daniel in a long time, it hurt his heart to think of his former friend.
Daniel had been there for Asher during his dark days after Kate. They grew up together and now they weren’t even talking. Asher told himself that at some point he would go and see him. He hated to admit it but seeing Daniel the way he did the last time hurt him, even though he deserved it.
Whatever happened between Daniel and Siena, Daniel had still managed to sort her out a place in college. He definitely needed to hear Daniel’s story.
Without a moment’s hesitation he left his building and drove in the direction of Daniel’s house.
Once he parked outside, a security guard approached him.
“State your business?”
“I’m Asher. Daniel's friend.” Asher cringed at his own words, he knew they were far from friends right now.
“Let him through.” Daniel called, making intense eyes at his former friend.
Asher walked through behind Daniel, they stopped in Daniel’s lounge where he gestured for Asher to take a seat.
Daniel’s face had almost healed, he still had a few visible cuts and bruises but nothing compared to the last time Asher saw him.
“Why did you do it?” Asher asked, his voice stern as he watched his friend lean against the fireplace, the cackling flames drawing hues of red and orange upon Daniel’s face.
“No. You don’t get to come here and ask questions.” Daniel snapped. “Some friend you turned out to be.” He scoffed.
“Daniel you were out of order.”
“What’s out of order is how you’ve thrown away 20 years of friendship for that maid.”
“I didn’t throw it away. You did, when you blackmailed her.”
“Blackmail?” Daniel scoffed. “She lead me on and you know it.” He turned to face Asher, rage buried deep into the flecks of his dark eyes.
“She wanted it. She wore a skimpy dress, practically shoving her tits in my face the whole night.”
Asher didn’t want to hear anymore. “Well clearly she didn’t want it. Otherwise you wouldn’t be in this situation right now, would you?”
“I swear I’ll make her pay for what she’s put me through.”
“Don’t talk like that!” Asher growled, shooting out of his seat.
“Seriously Asher put yourself in my position. All I did was ask her to fuck me. Was that so wrong? Did I really deserve to get the shit kicked out of me? Did I deserve to be out of my job?” He shook his head, running his fingers through his platinum blonde hair.
“Ash, are you really going to throw away all our history man?”
Asher stayed silent, he didn’t know what to think anymore. He wanted to give his friend another chance but wasn’t sure if he could trust him. He made a grave mistake, that much was clear. The last thing Asher wanted to do was anger him more so that Daniel hated Siena.
“Daniel I don't know if I can forgive you for what you did, I need time.”
“Fuck you Asher, who was there for you when you were alone, crying, heartbroken?” He yelled.
“You should have just told me that you were fucking the maid, I would never have gone there. For you!”
“I’m not sleeping with her!” Asher hissed.
“Just go man. You and your maid have ruined my life.”
Daniel shoved Asher towards the door, the security guard grabbed hold of Asher, dragging him back to his car.
“Get the fuck off me.” Asher shrugged out of the man’s hold. He got in his car, his face red and full of anger. He should never have gone there.
By the time his car parked up outside his apartment he had calmed down a little. As he walked through the front door he shrugged out of his coat. Siena wasn’t in the kitchen as usual, she must have been showering.
The sounds of whimpering echoed from the lounge.
“Siena?” He rushed towards his crying maid, she was curled in a ball on the couch, looking lost and helpless.
“Hey... what’s wrong?”
Siena snapped out of her thoughts and leapt up into Asher’s arms. Her tears falling uncontrollably.
“Siena you’re scaring me. Tell me what’s wrong?”
“My aunt has pulled Tia out of college, she’s getting her married to a stranger.” She sobbed. Asher held her tight, he knew what Tia meant to Siena as she would talk about her constantly.
“Do you want to go there? I can come with you.” Asher asked, his voice soft and comforting.
Siena let out a sad chuckle, her tears still streaming down her face. “I don’t think it’s that simple.”
“Can you take me to see Diego?” She asked, shivering.
“Of course. Whatever you want.” Asher replied, wiping away her tears with the pad of his thumb.
The car journey was silent, Siena was quiet. A large sweatshirt around her body as she stared out of the window. The heated seats soothing her. Asher hated seeing her like this.
It wasn’t long before they parked up outside Diego’s house.
“Go. I’ll wait here for you. Take all the time you need.”
Siena threw Asher a warm smile before making her way to the house. She didn’t know how she’d thank him for all his help.
They sat at the table, staring at each other blankly. Diego was the first to clear his throat and speak after listening to Siena.
“I can find out who the man is, but I doubt I’d be able to change Zia’s mind.”
“You have to try Diego. Please!”
“Siena I can’t. You don’t realise how obsessed she is with paying off the loan shark. She must have been planning this all along.”
“No. Why would she let Tia start college only to pull her out? I would rather she make Tia work than get her married off to some stranger.”
“I know Siena.”
Briana brought over some tea, patting Siena on the shoulder before retreating to fetch some biscuits.
“Siena perhaps you should invite your friend in.” Briana insisted.
“What friend?” Diego asked, his voice growing curious.
“Mr Hayden is outside!? Siena why didn’t you say something. We can’t have him sitting out there.”
“He said he’s fine!”
“Oye oye he’ll think we have no manners. What is he doing here with you?” Diego’s question implied many things, as he moved the blinds back to spot the black sports car outside his house.
He sighed before walking towards his front door, but before he stepped out he turned back to Siena.
“Siena, what is going on between you and your boss?” His voice stern, as his brow cocked up.
He gave her a look to say he didn’t believe her before walking towards Asher’s car.
“I’m so sorry Mr Hayden, I didn’t realise you were out here. Please you must come in.”
Asher was practically dragged into the house and sat at the dining table. He was offered tea and biscuits. The house was a lot more quiet than the last time Siena was over as Charlie was fast sleep.
“Thank you so much for bringing Siena all the way here. You are too kind.”
“It was nothing. She needed to see you. I hope you guys can sort out your family issue.”
Briana pulled Siena into the kitchen before giving her a knowing smile. The place was small, so the kitchen was right next door to the lounge where the small dining table sat.
“That man is in love with you.” She whispered. “How did this happen?”
“He isn’t in love with me.” Siena replied, a small sense of irritation in her tone. Her cousin was being forced to marry and all Diego and Briana were concerned about was Asher.
After everyone sat back at the table Siena took a deep breath.
“We have to do something Diego. I won’t let this happen to Tia!”
“Siena please. I will find out all that I can, I will go there first thing tomorrow okay?”
“Okay.” Siena croaked.
Asher sipped on his tea trying not to get involved. He knew it had something to with an unpaid debt.
On the way back home Siena leaned on her hand, staring out at the dark sky. “Maybe I should take her place.” She whispered, her tears falling free.
“What? No! Look Siena.” Asher sighed. “How much are we talking here?”
“No!” Yelled Siena.
“I can help yo-“
“No Asher!” She shook her head, her eyes closing. She was helpless but she would never ever in a million years expect Asher to take on this burden. To pay out of his own pocket. He had already done so much for her.
“Fine, but I never want to hear you say that you’ll take Tia’s place. Are we understood?”
Siena stayed silent, she glanced at Asher beside her. His face was filled with concern, what a man he was. Willing to lay everything down to help her.
He didn’t deserve to get dragged into this mess and in order to keep him out of it she wouldn’t consider taking Tia’s place, her heart was broken.
She wanted to steal Tia away and protect her. She already felt guilty that she lived the life that she was living, that she got to wake up everyday on a comfortable bed and go to college.
Tia would wake up on a dingy mattress on the floor and then one day be taken away by a stranger. She had to do something.
As Siena walked into her bedroom, she felt exhausted. The stress was weighing her down, Tia’s frantic voice kept replaying in her head.
Without thinking Siena dialled a number as she lay in bed. For some reason she found herself wanting to hear his voice.
“Alec.” Siena sniffled.
“I’m coming.” His deep voice spoke before the phone cut. Siena lay in bed, her eyes growing more heavy. Did she just imagine ringing Alec?
The room was silent, Siena lay fast asleep in bed. Suddenly she felt a hand wrap around her arm, she jolted up, her heart racing.
“Ssshhh. It’s me.” Alec whispered, putting his hand over her mouth so she wouldn’t scream.
He slowly let go before jumping beside her switching on the bedside lamp. His musky scent had filled the room. Siena thought she was dreaming, maybe she was dreaming.
She pulled the blanket higher up, realising she was in her underwear under the sheets. Her face heated as she sat up.
Alec stayed silent, as if waiting for her to begin talking. He slipped off his shoes and made himself at home, stretching out onto her bed. His sharp eyes met her own as he leaned up on in his elbow. How did he even get in?
Siena didn’t want to talk, she didn’t even know what made her call Alec and now he was there, she felt at peace.
“Alec, I don’t want to talk about it right now.”
“It’s fine. Diego filled me in.” He replied, moving a strand of hair out of her face.
Siena inched closer climbing above him to turn off the lamp on the bedside table. He stiffened at her surge of confidence before she settled back down. Her head fell onto his chest and she breathed him in. His arm wrapped around her waist as she pulled him down, her head burying into him.
He was not expecting this, laying here in her bed with her attached to him. It took all of his will power not to flip her over, touch her, taste her. Fuck!
“Siena?” He whispered but there was no answer. She was fast asleep in his arms within minutes. Now he was stuck in bed with the sexiest girl alive, she was vulnerable and half naked. He wanted to smack his head with the hard palm of his hand.
So much for staying away.
The light sprinkled into the room as Siena opened her eyes. She was well rested even though her heart still felt heavy. She looked to the space beside her to find it empty, she would no doubt have thought she dreamt that Alec was here last night if it wasn’t for his musky scent that invaded the room and her bedsheets.
She stretched out beneath the sheets, her heart fluttering as she thought of the way he looked at her. Like she was the only girl in the world, his silver eyes were mesmerising.
Why was he her weakness?
She started to get ready for college, rummaging her wardrobe for something to wear. She slipped on a grey jumper with jeans and tied her hair up into a messy ponytail.
Asher sat at his desk, he wasn’t sure how much longer he’d be able to avoid Kate. He clearly told her it was over between them and at one point she agreed, what did she want now? Asher didn’t want to speak to her, to give her the satisfaction of hurting him again.
“Sir?” His secretary interrupted.
“Your meeting with Mr Roman Marigold is scheduled for next week.”
“That’s fine, thanks.” He replied, sipping on his coffee.
His head was pounding, he wondered how Siena was getting on. She was so upset, he only hoped that Diego could find out some information or better yet stop their aunt from making stupid decisions.
Before Asher knew it, he was in his car and he didn’t even know where he was heading. After a ten minute drive his car stopped outside the university. He knew Siena was in classes but for some reason he was hoping to bump into someone else.
Sarah walked out of the campus cafe with her coffee in hand, Tory was beside her looking down at her phone.
“Hey Sarah!” Justin called, a smirk brewing across his lips.
“Argh what do you want Justin?”
“You know what I want. When are we going out?”
“We’re not. Especially since you tried to kiss me at Tory’s birthday party.”
“C’mon that was purely because I was drunk.”
“Believe me I know, that’s why you’re not dead right now.” She scoffed.
“How much longer are you going to keep rejecting me. It’s not like you have a boyfriend. Date me or you’ll end up alone.”
“Are you kiddin me Justin?” Sarah couldn’t believe this guy. He just couldn’t take no for an answer.
“What? It’s the truth. Even Tory told me no one wants you, so you’re lucky I’m interested.” Justin quipped, snatching one of her books from her hand.
“Seriously fuck off Justin.” Sarah snapped, turning to Tory who gave her a sheepish smile.
Sarah shook her head in disbelief before glancing up behind Justin. What the fuck! Is that Asher Hayden?
Asher’s wind swept hair shined hues of gold as he walked over to Sarah, his ocean eyes fixed on her alone. Surely he didn’t come here to see her, he must have been looking for Siena.
He stopped beside Justin, giving him a death like stare. His eyes dropped down to the book in his hand and he grabbed it off him, passing it back to Sarah.
“Who the fuck are you?” Justin hissed, trying to maintain his courage under Asher‘s intense stare.
“M..my boyfriend!” Sarah blurted, realising it was too late to take it back. Her coffee almost slipped out of her hand before she swung her arm around Asher.
“What took you so long baby?” She purred. Asher furrowed his brows, but went along with what she was doing.
“Sorry babe I got caught up in traffic.”
“What!?” Tory barked, her face red with confusion as she watched Asher and Sarah.
Sarah smirked as she dragged Asher away and stopped beside a building around the corner. She couldn’t contain her laughter. Asher watched as she smacked his shoulder in a fit of giggles, her little snorts escaping her. He couldn’t help smile.
“So what was that all about?” He asked.
“Oh you just saved me from Justin asswipe!” She grinned, shaking her head.
“Asswipe?” Asher laughed. “I saw him harassing you.”
“That’s nothing. He’s even tried to kiss me once.” She replied. Asher turned serious, kissing a girl without her consent, that’s beyond fucked up.
“I should go back there and sort him out.” He growled.
“No wait.” She giggled. “It’s fine! He’s harmless.”
“It’s not fine.” Asher folded his arms against his chest. “If I was really your boyfriend, that kid would wish he was never alive.”
Sarah gulped at his words, his crystal eyes boring into her soul. She hoped he couldn’t sense the heat radiating from her face.
“Uh... let me take you to Siena.” She insisted, her voice low. -but as she walked past him, he grabbed her hand and pulled her back.
“I didn’t come to see Siena.”
His face mere inches from her own, the wind whipped around them. His words carried more weight than she could imagine. He came to see her, but why?
Sarah reached out for his face, her warm hand pressing against his cheek. He closed his eyes relishing under her soft skin, it lasted no more than a few seconds before she snatched her hand away. Her amber eyes studying him with confusion.
“I have to go.” She stated, deadpan.
“Wait.” Asher tried to grab hold of her hand but she snatched it away.
“Asher why are you here?” She snapped. Witnessing his silence, he didn’t know what to say. What was he doing?
“I... don’t know.” He whispered.
“That’s just the answer I was expecting from someone who invites one girl to be his date and then wanders off to visit another girl for no reason.” She scoffed.
Asher tilted his head back with frustration, he knew what he was doing was wrong. He felt just as confused by his own actions. Nothing was making any sense to him, he just wanted to see Sarah. With her he managed to forget everything.
“Siena is in the building to your right. Bye Asher.” She released a breath as she walked away from him, gripping her books to her chest.
She couldn’t help turn around one last time to find Asher still standing there, staring at her. Her heart skipped a beat before she turned around and ran out of sight.
This can’t be happening.