My lips slightly trembled. My eyes stung with dry tears. My sore heart, which Eric trampled on, ached. I was in a place with a hundred people, yet I felt completely alone. Desolate in Chicago.
I watched Eric as he took the podium, a mic in his right hand giving his thanks and pleasantries for the gala. He looked like the Eric I knew. Confident and smooth. Cocky and charming, with his dazzling smile. Like nothing had just rattled him. Our conversation was never had fifteen minutes ago. It hurt my heart. I knew he couldn’t show his emotions while he was doing his speech. But did I mean nothing to him? I couldn’t help but think it.
I watched Rebecca, shimmering in her gold dress, sparkling at the front of the stage, her eyes lit in awe and admiration looking at Eric that she claimed was ‘her man’. Who was I kidding, maybe he was? The thought made me feel sick.
I gulped roughly and blinked hard. I grabbed a passing champagne flute from one of the waiter’s tray and gulped the bubbly drink in three gulps. Hoping it would calm my damaged nerves. But it didn’t help. I couldn’t watch Eric talk anymore, not after I poured my heart out to him, and it fell flat.
I was supposed to stay behind till the gala ended, but I didn’t care any longer. I did my duties, and it was time I went home. The once beguiling masquerade turned disenchanting. I walked fast, repelling towards the doors, threading in between the cheerful guests. A hand grabbed my arm softly as I passed.
It was Jesse.
“Hey, are you okay?” He asked, as we stopped near the Auction House entrance.
I nodded my head abruptly and forced out a smile. “Yeah, of course.”
“You seemed upset after you returned from the terrace.” He frowned. “Eric came after you.”
I shook my head and waved it off. “Oh, it was nothing.”
Jesse’s brow creased. “It didn’t look like nothing Violet. Do you have something on with my brother?”
I looked at him, opened my mouth, but remained still. My eyes probably saying a thousand words.
Jesse laughed in the air. “I can’t believe this. Not from you.” He said in an almost whisper.
I frowned. “What do you mean?”
“My brother’s a ladies’ man, a bona-fide Casanova, a skirt chaser that doesn’t believe in commitment, and he tells the women he dates exactly what he is. Yet women fall in line for him, knowing what they know.” He said firmly.
My eyes prickled as I tried to hold the tears back. I didn’t know what to say, except shake my head. Because it was a fact. It was true what Jesse was saying to me.
“I thought you were better than that Violet. That you could see through it,” he said skeptically. “But you of all people fell... for my brother.” He lifted his head up and almost chuckled.
I held back the tears, my eyes burning from it. Determined to hold myself together till I got home. “Yes, I fell in love with your brother. Another lovesick assistant falling for Eric Bolton.” I admitted firmly with my head held high. “I’m sorry for disappointing you Jesse, I didn’t know you cared about my love life that much. But at least I allowed myself to be brave enough to follow my heart!” Even though it got crashed in the collision.
He shook his head unbelieving. I walked swiftly past him and out the damn gala, meeting the cool nights air. I stood at the edge of the street and breathed it in.
“Don’t cry. Don’t cry.” I mumbled to myself, as I ordered a taxi. I wanted to run away. I felt humiliated. Rejected. I hugged myself as the breeze turned cold. People smiled and paraded outside still feeling the buzz from the masquerade. I bit my lip and I climbed into the idling taxi that arrived just at the right moment, rescuing me.
Thirty minutes later and I was at my lonely apartment. I banged the front door closed with a loud thud, vibrating its walls! Jesse’s words were harsh but honest and rang endlessly throughout my head.
I was stupid. So foolish to believe Eric could change... for me. What was I to him? But many women, I was just like the rest and Jesse confirmed it, so did Rebecca and Penny. And I didn’t listen. I decided to obey my heart instead and ignore the warnings.
My hands roughly pulled down my straps from my shoulders and I climbed out of my evening dress. The dress that made me fearless and beautiful. Now, I felt nothing but foolishness. I took the damn dress and threw it across the room. My anger powered by heartbreak. I unstrapped my heels and kicked them off roughly, it skidded over the floor. I felt like hitting something to ease the naivety, but there was nothing to hit!
I placed my shorts and an old t-shirt carelessly on. My hands grabbed wet wipes and harshly removed the makeup off my face that was already run down with tears, my body fell hopelessly on my bed. Tears flowed as I cried. I cried into my pillow, staining the lilac sheet. Trying to pour out the humiliation and pain I felt I had endured with Eric. The ache in my heart turned into a throb.
“How could I be so stupid!” I scolded myself. My sadness turning to heated anger.
I hated Bolt Investments.
I hated Chicago.
I hated Rebecca.
I hated Eric Bolton!
My thoughts were scattered, a tangled mess. He’s probably laughing at me right now. Him and Rebecca!
I lifted my head from the tear-soaked pillow, the tears slowed down, and the sniffles ebbed away. My mind fiercely drifted as new thoughts emerged, I won’t be an assistant any longer. I’ll leave the company. I’ll follow in Stacey’s footsteps and be with family and friends once again.
I’ll go back home to Canada and start over!