DALTON

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Chapter 13: Avery And Aidan

Avery and Aidan



Shelby takes a deep breath and tells me the secret. "They dated, for some time. Well actually a long time, on and off for years." I gasp. "The thing is they were so careful, nobody ever found out. The only reason I know this is because I walked in on them late one night in her office. She used my job to threaten me into silence, not like I would have ever talked."

My eyes are so wide right now. I mean I suspected that but I didn't want to jump to conclusions. "Isn't she like so much older than him?" I ask.

"Avery turns 40 in September. Aidan is 32, she's not that much older than him." Shelby defends. "Besides she even looks younger than me. That woman is fit. And also men date women half their age and get away with it. Don't be a sexist Riley."

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the details. "When even was this? How long exactly did it go on for?"

"I'm not sure but I caught them about three years ago. Then around a year ago they were distant, I guess they broke up. Then Avery started reconnecting with her husband and Aidan started dating other women. Eventually, they became friends again."

"Um okay, I'm following so far. So if things are good between them why did they just have this massive fight." I ask

"I don't know. I've been trying to figure out what made him so angry before he left." She shrugs.

I bring out my phone from my pocket. "If Avery won't talk, I'll ask Aidan."

Shelby aggressively snatches my phone. "Are you mental. You're not supposed to know about their history. They're going to trace it back to me and I'll lose my job."

I grunt. "If I don't do something I'll lose mine." She cast me a murderous glare. "Fine, you're right. I won't get involved." She doesn't believe me. "I'm serious, I won't say anything."

"You'll get this back when I actually believe you." She says dropping it in her drawer.

"Trust me it's not going to be there for long. I get phone calls all the time." I say.

"We're just going to have to wait till..." She is interrupted by my phone ringing. "I swear you planned that."

"I swear I didn't." I stretch out my hand to collect the phone. "Told you."

She rolls her eyes and hands it back. "Good day, this is Riley Hartely speaking."

"Hello miss Hartely." Liam says from the other side. "I'm calling to make an inquiry about my monster endorsement."

I cough, I can feel the butterflies flutter in my stomach. "Um yes Mr. Harlow. What can I help you with." My voice comes out shaky.

"Mr. Harlow." Shelby mouths confused.

"I originally talked to Avery but she said, rather harshly, that I should ask you." I bite my lip to keep from smiling. "I wanted to know if we could meet in person to discuss some issues."

"Yes, yes we can. Will you be able to come up to my office." I ask.

"I'm already here." I swear he can hear my heart pounding from his side of the phone.

"I'm on my way up." I say before cutting the call.

"Riley." Shelby snaps. "I'm serious though. Don't get involved."

"What." I ask confused for a second. "Oh that. Yes sure whatever. They're big kids, um they'll solve it out by themselves. If you'll excuse me, I need to go somewhere." I rush away from her desk.

The elevator was too far up so I take the stairs, I try not to run. I don't want to seem desperate. And also I don't want to be all sweaty and out of breath when I get there. I make it to the front of my door and adjust my clothes and hair before walking in.

"Mr. Har..." Liam cuts me off by circling his hands around my waist as I walk in. "Liam." I say giggling. "I could have been with someone." He shuts the door behind him and leans on it.

"I have been thinking about you a lot these past two days." My face is inches from his. "I'm so happy we're finally alone together." He bends down to kiss me softly. "I couldn't pay attention to anything after you walked in."

"Really, you liked my little outfit." I ask teasingly. "Your teammates seemed to like it as well."

He laughs lightly. "They're disgusting idiots. I wasn't sure if you wanted me to defend you or keep quiet."

"I kind of did and kind of didn't." I say. "You made it perfect with that little jab at the end though."

"Oh that. I'll say it's some of my best work." I reach up to kiss him. His hand is still wrapped around my waist, he pulls me closer to him and I lose myself in the kiss.

"I have been dreaming about this for so long." I whisper into his lips.

I raise my hands and wrap them around his neck. His hands slide up and keep going till they're on my stomach. I nod my head for him to continue. His hands keep going up and up.

"Riley." I hear Avery call as she tries to open the door. We break apart in half a second and Liam rushes to the front of my desk. "Why can't I open your door."

I adjust my clothes and Liam takes a seat. "I was in front of my door, sorry. You can come in, the door isn't locked."

She opens the door and inspects the surroundings before entering. "I was getting a copy of William's contract with monster. He said you told him to meet me."

"Oh yes." She said suddenly remembering. "Um hi William, sorry for being unavailable earlier, I was...busy."

"It's alright Avery. It's been a stressful month, I completely understand." Liam says sweetly.

Avery smiles politely. "Are you done. I was hoping to speak privately with Riley."

Liam stands up. "It's alright, I shouldn't keep you here past the workday. We can talk during my break tomorrow." He doesn't even look at me as he's leaving. "Good night Avery. Riley."

Avery walks up to my desk and places her expensive designer bag on it. "I came here to... not apologize, I didn't do anything wrong." She starts. "I may have been too harsh on you. I was angry about something else and I shouldn't have poured my anger out on you."

"Oh it's alright. I shouldn't tell you how to do your job. And I should dress more decently." I say still standing by the door.

She waves her hand dismissively. "No you were right. The gift basket wouldn't have worked with Raina. They pay influencers thousands of dollars to promote events. She wouldn't have fallen for a little Chanel purse." Little, lol. "I'll talk Ron into convincing her to promote it. And your outfit." She sighs. "It's not bad, I don't hate it. And screw decency, Daniel and Penny didn't wear a shirt for a whole week last summer."

I laugh and she joins in on it. "What I'm trying to say is that. I may have hired you because of nepotism but in your few weeks here you have shown more competence than any of my other assistants. You don't complain about work hours, you're efficient and the lads really listen to you." She snickers. "And you haven't slept with any of the players."

My breath hitches in my throat. "Me what no. Why would anyone think I was hooking up with one of them." Subtle.

"Two assistants before you were fired were because of that. Dating a player interfered with their work and made them insufferable, I just had to let them go." I want to yell hypocrite at her.

"And you. You've spent fifteen years and you haven't hooked up with any of them. I admire your strength." I can't help but say.

Her shoulder tense slightly. "Well dating them never ends well. They get into your personal life and start messing everything up. It is one of the worst decisions you can make." She catches me looking at her and clears her throat. "From what I've seen that is. The point is, don't date the players."

I nod. "Thank you for the advice, Avery." She picks up her bag and walks to the door. I open it for her.

"I like you Riley, please don't makes me have to fire you." She says lingering in the doorway.

"I'll try my best. Goodnight Avery." She leaves me alone in my office with a racing heart. How did I not just get caught? I close the door and text Liam.

Instead of replying, he calls me. "What happened after I left." He's laughing.

"She apologized but didn't apologize." I say laughing too. "What." He asks. "She said she was sorry for being mean earlier and that my outfit is actually cute, I think. After that she gave me a lecture on how I shouldn't date or be involved with any of the players." He stops laughing. "But she doesn't know about that. I'm sure of it."

He still doesn't say anything. "So what happens now, do you still want to continue or..."

I'm not sure what to answer so I pick a reply that says everything on my mind right now. "My place or yours."



***



We decided to meet up at his place. I hang back for ten minutes before driving to his apartment. The building is pretty, modern and requires a biometric passcode to get in. He grants me access to the building and I ride the elevator to his penthouse which is located on the top floor.

"Cute." I say walking into the apartment. "I love your place." I was worried about security at first. Could anybody just walk into the apartment. Then I realized that there's probably security clearance to get to this floor.

"Thanks." He says handing me a glass of champagne. "But it's not mine, it's my sister's. She's out of town so I'm staying here for a few weeks."

"What about your house." I ask sipping the sweet champagne.

He cringes slightly. "My dad's there. He can be...much, I usually avoid him whenever he's in England. He lives in Italy with his girlfriend."

The way he speaks about his dad tells me he doesn't like talking about him, I let that go. I walk deeper into the apartment inspecting the place as I go. The living room is larger than my apartment and the kitchen is so neat and open.

"I really do love this apartment." I say. "The windows are so big and clear. Can people see us from outside."

He points at a remote panel on the wall. "Only if you want them too. Right now the windows are tinted, you can see out they can't see in." He picks up the house phone. "I'm ordering dinner. Do you want anything."

"I'll have a... Wait what are you getting, I don't want to get something that'll maybe mess with your diet."

"It's alright, order what you want. I'll be fine." He says.

"Okay. Is there like a menu." He hands me a thick black menu with gold embossment. I skim through it before placing my order. "I'll have the orange chicken dish and their special chocolate cake for dessert." I have a guilty look on my face.

He smiles. "I'm serious, I'll be fine." He calls the restaurant and places the order. "They'll be here in twenty minutes." He tells me walking up to where I'm sitting in the living room.

"And what to do till then." I tease pulling him down to me and take his lips with mine. He settles down beside me and leans into the kiss.

We stay like that for I think ten minutes before his phone starts to ring. He pulls away to check who it is. His face tightens when he sees the caller ID and he puts his phone on silent.

"Was that important." I ask gesturing to the phone. "I don't mind, if it's important you should take it."

"It's nothing really, I don't need to get it." He leans forward and we continue our kiss. The phone keeps buzzing and Liam keeps ignoring it.

"It doesn't seem like the person is going to stop calling. Maybe you should take it." I say breaking away. "It's a little hard to concentrate with the thing going off every five seconds."

"Why not." He sighs picking the phone up from the table. "Excuse me, will you." He stands up from the sofa and moves to a different room to take the call.

I pick up my own phone and answer a text from my mum and Sloane. I soon hear a buzzer sound and go to the elevator. Next to the door is a screen, it's currently on and flashing.

"Liam." I call he doesn't answer. "Okay Riley, you can handle rich people crap." I encourage myself. I tap the screen and yelp when it changes. On the screen is video footage of a delivery man standing outside with the food. To the side are different buttons arranged strategically to confuse me. I survey the buttons and pick one hoping I made the right choice. I do, the downstairs door opens and the delivery man walks in.

Okay now for the elevator. I click another button and nothing happens, I press it again, nothing. I select another button and wait. Fortunately the elevator dings some seconds later and the delivery man disembarks.

"Thank you." I say to him. "My...friend is coming out, he'll pay you." I don't know how much this stuff cost, the packaging bag looks nicer than my purse.

"Oh it's alright. The bill will be added to Miss Harlow's tab." He explains.

"Okay." I reach into my pocket and pull out a five pound note. "Tip." I ask.

"Thank you Miss." He says cheerfully taking it. "Have a good night." He gets back into the elevator and goes back down. I open the bag and the sweet aroma drifts into my nose. This will be good.
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