We pulled up to a beautiful glass fronted restaurant in the elite section of the bay, you’d never believe Kelly’s was only a few minutes drive from here, it was like two different worlds.
I’ve never been happier to be hungover, it always makes me put a bit of extra effort into my look to cover it up and by the quality of the people in here I definitely needed it.
“Reservation for Vanderbilt.”
He uses Clarisse’s name when making reservations instead of his own? I guess it does open doors most people can’t even edge through but it’s still odd. Has he told her he’s bringing me here?
Once the maître d has finished ogling Antonio she shows us to a table in one of the private rooms at the back of the second floor, the walls are covered in a dark blue and gold pattern wallpaper, with floor to ceiling windows that look out over the harbour that are dressed in plush thick velvet curtains.
I made my way into the rich deep chair after Antonio pulled it out and gestured for me to sit, all without saying a word.
I’d eaten at quite a few nice restaurants since I got this job with different clients but this place is the shit. I’m not even sure what half the stuff on the menu is, they don’t even do a burger!
“May I?” Antonio asks as he looks to order for me, does this guy not know who I am? No man picks my damn food.
I look at the waiter, who’s finally stopped staring at my tits long enough to realise I actually have a face. “I’ll have the steak, rare, and a glass of the 14 d’abla. Thank you.”
Antonio orders but the smirk never leaves his lips until finally the door closes and we’re alone.
“You’ve changed amore, you used to be happy with a bag of chips and a glass of the swill they passed off as vodka at the square room. What happened to my perfectly simple bellissima?”
I scoff. “She grew up real fast after that night.” Are we really doing this? Because I’m not sure I even want to.
Grabbing my note pad and pen I decide a change of topic is needed. “So this gift for Clarisse, what were you thinking?” Tapping my pen impatiently against the pages as I talk.
I can’t even look at him, every time I do I just remember the way his dick would harden underneath me whenever I would run my nipple across his lips whilst I danced for him. I know now it was all an act but I guess he’s still just a guy, a guy that reacted the way all other guys would when faced with me in that position I guess. It doesn’t change how it made me feel at the time though...
His hand reaches over and places itself on top of mine to still my insistently tapping pen, the touch of his skin making my heart skip a tiny beat.
“Amore, is that really why you thought I bought you here? We are going to be working closely together over the coming weeks and I felt it prudent for us to get this out of the way now before it becomes... too much.”
Too much? Doesn’t he think what he did to me was wrong at all? Where’s my bloody apology?
Look I get doing a job and getting paid for it, whatever, but I could never put a girl in the position to be that exposed and humiliated.
“I’m fine, it was a long time ago. You were just doing your job-”
He cuts me off. “Tell me about the blackmail, tell me what you started to yesterday.”
His voice is stern but like fuck am I reliving that shit. “It doesn’t matter, it’s done. That fucker is in jail and they didn’t get my sister, it’s all good. Can we just focus on the party? What is this gift?”
Antonio moves so fast I don’t even catch myself as I’m torn from the chair and slammed against the wall. “Tell me!”
Despite the force he used to get me here his grip isn’t rough, he’s just trying to take hold of the situation.
I grit my teeth. “I’m not telling you shit until you get your fucking hands off me.”
He immediately let’s go and steps back, clenching and unclenching his fists as he breathes deeply. “I’m sorry amore, please just tell me. I believe our understandings of that night are very different and I wish only to learn your side.”
Taking a small step forward I release myself from the wall. Okay then, here we go.
“You were hired to seduce me without my knowledge and pay me for sex. There was a private investigator opposite the room we were in who got evidence of it all and that was then used by my mother and her fucked up boyfriend to try take back custody of my baby sister from me and my grandmother... They and you were unsuccessful in that task by the way... Although having my grandmother see photographs of me pressed up against a window while you fucked me was enough of a punishment...”
Antonio steps further away from me, staring directly at his feet. “That’s not what I was told... I thought you were a part of this world...”
How could he possibly think that? Did I strike him as a definite whore? “Jesus Christ Antonio, how could you think that? I was seventeen! I didn’t know shit about this world back then!”
His eyes dart back to mine but he continues to stands completely frozen. “Seventeen?... I just... I assumed since you were working there you must have been at least... my god amore I’m so sorry.” Finally, a fucking apology.
He steps closer too me again and for a second I consider just punching him and making a run for it but his hands come up to hold my face and I have no control as I find myself just staring into his eyes. “They told me it was something you wanted, a fantasy. I had no idea what they planned to do to you I swear...”
No-ones touch should do this to me. “What do you mean a fantasy?”
Taking a deep breath he moves so our faces are so close I can taste his aftershave on my tongue. “I was never told everything with my clients but with you it was specific. I was told you were a rich girl, working at that club for kicks but what you really wanted was to be paid for sex but were too scared to just go out and do it, that’s where I came in.”
A rich girl with a whore fantasy? Where did my mother come up with this shit?
“I was told you wanted seduction so I was to see you three times, on the third time at a set date I was to convince you to come with me no matter what and take you to that hotel room. There I was told you wanted to feel... exposed... I took one look at you by that window and believed I could make both our fantasies come true, that was why I took you there.”
Both our fantasies? “But you saw me more than three times? You came in for almost all my shifts?”
A smile spreads gently across his face before he reigned it back in, his hands growing warmer as he held my face towards him. “I know... it was the first of many rules I broke with you amore...”
He seemed legitimate in his remorse but I’d learnt a long time ago not to trust a guy when he tells you exactly what you want to hear.
I stare up into his eyes but there’s no malice in them, in fact it’s something very different... something I wasn’t expecting. “I-”
I’m cut off as his hands move to the back of my head and pull me closer to him. “Bellissima I did not know. You must believe me. The agency I was with called to tell me the police were trying to find me a few years back but I assumed it was to do with my job, not you. I.. I left you the note because I was sorry I had to leave, sorry I could not wake up with you that morning. You were... different than the other women I had been with in that job...”
His breathing became rapid as his lips parted and I could smell the peppermint as it hit my skin. “You were innocent still in many ways, despite that front you put on in the club. That night was the first time I could not be a professional, the first time I kissed a woman’s lips whilst making love to her at work...”
Fuck. Okay so I guess the Pretty Woman thing is legit then.
“Brianna when I walked into that club I believed you were just a stripper too afraid to be a whore, one I was there to fulfil the fantasy of being with.. but then I made a mistake, I spent too much time with you. Our sessions alone became the thing I most looked forward to like a light in a time when my life was mostly darkness but I woke up that morning and knew I could not see you again without it becoming something much more than that...”
What the fuck is he saying?
“I wanted more than anything to wake you up that morning, pull you into my arms and beg you to let me take you out as me not the man hired for you... I had to force my body out of that room and kept telling myself since that we were both just playing a part so I should never think of you again...”
I don’t know how to feel, this isn’t exactly how I saw this conversation going. I’d always assumed he was fully aware of his role in my betrayal but if what he’s saying is true he asked for forgiveness in that note for something entirety different... he asked it for betraying the way he felt about me.
This was fucked up...
His hands move from behind my head to my chin, his thumb running over my bottom lip as his deep dark chocolate eyes stare through me into my soul. “Seeing you yesterday... I thought I was having another blissful dream, never could I have imagined you would grow to be even more beautiful... Tell me amore... do you still think of me?”
His body is pushed against mine and I can feel it.. all of it. The desire I felt that night comes barrelling back to the surface as his lips hover above mine.
Of course I still thought about him, no man had ever made me feel the way he did that night. He was strong, powerful and in complete control of my body. For the first time I surrendered to someone willingly.
Fuck I want to kiss him... by the way he’s staring down at me right now I know he’s thinking the exact same thing.
“Brianna... Do you still think about me?” His face combining with mine as he lets his lips gently tickle at my jaw.
Fuck I should not be doing this... but I can’t stop... “Ye-”
The door to the room opens but Antonio thinks nothing of the poor waiter on the other side as he slams his hand flat against it to keep it closed and I hear the glasses I’m sure used to be full of wine smash against the floor.
What the fuck am I doing here? Am I really going to risk everything I’ve built over a quick fuck with a hot guy? Hell to the no! Sonya would have my name buried so far into the black list it would never see light again.
I shove Antonio back and he almost stumbles into the table.
“We’re not doing anything like that again! I need this job Antonio and you are marrying one of the most powerful women in this country in a few months for only God knows what reason... it was a long time ago. Let it go.”
My voice has always been good at sounding a lot more sure than I actually felt and I’m incredibly grateful for that right now.
He smirks down at me like I’m a petulant child he plans to punish for my disobedience... which coming from him I wouldn’t exactly hate... Fuck! So not the time Brianna!
His hand comes up to stroke the side of my neck until it trails down over my collarbone, stopping just above my cleavage.
“And if I cannot let it go?”
Why does he have to be this fucking sexy? “Control yourself Antonio.”
His eyes flare at the sound of his name leaving my lips once again.
“Amore, if you wish for me to control myself around you then you must promise me one thing... you must try your best to stop being the most beautiful woman in any room I find myself in.”
Okay guys I know the right answer here but... I’m Brie.
I stare up at him as I part my lips and allow my breath to tickle his until I see the shudder I was hoping for pass through him.
“Sorry, no promises.”