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Bittersweet

Giggles? Music? What sorcery is this? I rang the doorbell not ready to see what’s happening and before I could ditch the door opened. A gorgeous number leaning uninterestedly on the door as I was trying to formulate a sensible question.

“Ugh. Are you lost?” She asks in a European accent. When I was unable to answer she continues

“The After party is downstairs, this is a Private party and the motif is formal.” She says sounding annoyed.

Finally aligning my thoughts with the situation I ask fearing the answer.

“Is Mr. Robert Sleigh around?” I ask wishing this was a wrong room and she’ll tell me no, you’ve got the wrong room but NOOO!

“How do you know him?” She looks at me in an appalled face.

“I’m his assistant, Miss.” I say regaining my Secretary Persona even in my silk robe.

“Oh.” She says unmoved

“Could I possibly speak with him?” I ask in the most polite manner holding back my anger

“He’s around here somewhere and I’m sure what you have to say can wait.” She says looking really bored. This chick is impossible, not only does she look dumb she might as well be. I hate these kind of women they disgrace our race.

“Well, then. Please tell Mr. Sleigh that his flight goes on as planned and that it’ll be at 8 am.” I shot at her.

“Ok. If I find him I’ll tell him.” She says shutting the door at my face.

“The heck you will.” I muttered and went down feeling disgusted and angry. To think I was going to give myself to him or even just spend the night in his company, well he seemed to be unsatisfied by my PG persona. I could be R rated. He’ll find out soon. Nobody can play me like that.

I went back in my room and booked the first flight out the country for me to regroup and replenish myself and not come off as one of his silly conquest and look defeated. After booking the flight under the account of Robert, I took my unpacked luggage and my already packed files and laptop, borrowed a trench coat to cover my silk robe and nightgown, some flats and sunglasses then fled the building before any more surprises hit me.

Waiting for my flight at the VIP lounge I checked my reflection in the lounge’s comfort room. Dried my tears applied a little make-up and gave myself a convincing pep talk, thankful that no one was around to see how pathetic I looked. Heading out someone called my name in a distinct familiar voice.

“Angela, what a pleasant surprise.”

“Alistaire?” I ask in shock.

“What are you doing here?” I continued

“I’m actually just waiting before my assistant shows up something was wrong with my flight details and she had to sort them out. How about you and where’s Sleigh?” He asks

“Oh, I needed to head back early I still have work tomorrow.” I replied as we both sat on a plush sofa.

“Really? I’m surprise he let you out of his sight again. So tell me what do you do?” He asks

“Oh. He was busy.” I said with scenarios of various girls hanging on to him in mind and a bunch of stuff that’s making me rage inside. Calm down.

“I’m actually his personal assistant.”

“That lucky son of a-”

“So you’re here on business trip?” He stops in before he could cuss and asks me all skeptical looking.

“You could say that. We came here for the Peninsula opening but then again he gave me time off to explore Paris” I lied

“Really.” Before he could interrogate me for the truth his assistant showed up telling him his charter is ready.

“I’d offer for you to come join me but I’m heading to Monte Carlo I’m afraid. Plus I don’t want you losing your job because of me.” He says politely as we stand to bid each other good-bye.

“It’s fine. My flight is boarding soon anyway. Nice seeing you again.” I say demurely

Before leaving he looks back and asks

“Forgive me for being too forward but I’ll be in New York after tonight. I would love to take you to dinner tomorrow.” He offers.

“Dinner? Um- well I’m not sure if I can I don’t know what time I’d be finish.” I say in total honesty he seemed to be upset

“I mean I just came back from a trip honestly if I was free I would.” I say and then he gives off a smile.

“I can wait. Give me a call.” He persuades me handing his business card to me.

“Sure.” I say and then he leaves. A little silver lining, who am I to say no? after all I’m not cheating, I’m a single woman. I convince myself.

On my business class seat, I looked at my phone and searched for messages, feeling hopeful that he’d notice but who am I kidding? He won’t even notice until morning. I have left myself vulnerable and to open just because of the situation and Paris. My heart ached and tears just kept flowing good thing the cabin was still dim and I had no seatmate. I hugged my pillow closer to muffle my sobs and hugged the blanket closer letting the music ease my pain away. After all the romanticism, a bit of flirtation, complements, incredible dates and that kiss, ugh that kiss. I was just another Assistant to cross out his list, another woman he made plans for just out of curiosity and left with nothing, well not everything, I still had my dignity and virtues intact, and to think I was thinking he could be my first. Well thank God for that situation. I don’t know what would happen if something happen between us.

I went back in my apartment tired and worn out, I looked at my reflection took out my shades and saw a very haggard version of me post Parisian bliss. I took a deep breath and gave myself a lecture about locking away my feelings and moving on, but I still knew my heart was dented by what had happened last night.

I woke up at around 10 in the morning and decided to go to work, what can i say? better late than not show up. I forced myself to take a shower and freshen up. Once my head isn’t clouded with anger and confusion I stared at my reflection. Looking at my closet I wished I had bought the entire closet that I had in Paris. I looked for the most body-hugging outfit that I could ever find, but I had to work with what I have. I found a tight high-waist fitting pencil skirt that stops on my knees, button down silk shirt, a fitting blazer and sky-high pumps to match. I applied make-up concealing the hurt clearly plastered on my face with dark eye bags.

“There.” I say looking at myself in the mirror, hair all fluffed and bouncy, my face looking fresh and it didn’t look like I was crying for hours.

“One more final touch.” I say once more as I placed a beaded necklace to cover the slight opening of my blouse that exposed a slight cleavage. Too much? Nah. Show him you’re not a silly hopeless romantic girl. Show him you can stand firm.

After my seriously long pep talk to myself I descended down the Centurion and head out to the office. Arriving at the SHI building I composed myself inside the taxi and started to get out. I planted my feet firmly on the ground and balanced myself before starting to walk.

I entered the lobby with a false confidence enough to fool everyone, except me and walked with my head high across the granite floor. I felt everyone’s eyes on me as I strode confidently but I didn’t care the rush of being this new person felt great. I rode up in an empty elevator to my office floor.

The elevator door opened and a group of girls was clustered discussing something, when they looked up and saw me they paused in conversation and looked at me as if I was someone important making me applaud myself in the inside for achieving my desired look.

I entered Robert’s foyer to his office and was greeted to a different looking room with two tables opposite each other with Robert’s door on center. A petite girl stood up and started to come at me. She had a thin frame, pretty Asian decent I presume, long wavy hair with highlights and glasses that framed her face perfectly.

“Hi, um, What can I do for you?” She asks in a bright mood

“Oh, I’m Angela Morley, you must be Scarlett.” I say with a smile.

“Oh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t recognize you, you look really great by the way. Anyway I have already updated Mr. Sleigh’s calendar, I have compiled the Costa account and the feasibility studies and trends from Maxine.” She says to me as I removed my coat placed in in the cupboard together with my bag,

“Has Mr. Sleigh arrived yet?” I ask facing her.

“Yes, in fact I’m about to bring these files for him to sign and peruse and also update him on his calendar as he asked earlier.” She says going back to her table and lifting up the files.

“Oh, no. It’s ok I’ll do that. Thank you so much for taking over.” I say to Scarlet and she gives me a bashful smile

“Ok. It’s no trouble; your system is amazing, its super organized. No wonder Mr. Sleigh needs you so much.” She says

“Well, I couldn’t have done it without you. After I deliver these let’s talk about you’re work.” I say and I make my way to the entrance door as Scarlet went back to work.

I knocked and entered but my imposition was not remotely interesting to Robert, who looked at the skyline splayed across his huge floor to ceiling, his back at me, so as two other people in an in depth conversation.

Not the entrance I wanted. With a quick thinking I cleared my throat demurely to let the gentlemen know my presence. When they realized that they weren’t alone they turned to me. Not the brightest idea, I should have come back when Robert was alone. Trying to regain my confidence I spoke what was appropriate in the moment.

“Mr. Sleigh, I’m sorry to have interrupted but I have the papers that you asked from Scarlet this morning. Where shall I place this?” I asked Robert who looked taken aback seeing me in his office no doubt questioning my choice of wardrobe, not like how I usually wear. My inner person smiled wickedly at the thought that he was taken a back but another part of me wanted to throw a punch at him and scold him.

“Angela, Hey! You look great.” Then I realized the people with Robert were Riley and Alistaire. Great. What bad timing!

“Thanks.” I say smiling demurely not knowing what to say.

“Angela? What are you doing here?” Robert steals my attention again. Deep inside me I wanted him but I needed to stop my addiction, then the rush of my suppressed anger for him snaked back into my head.

“As I said Mr. Sleigh, I’m here to drop the papers that you asked from Scarlet.” I said professionally with a slight sarcasm in my voice hoping it wasn’t noticeable.

Before Robert could ask me more Alistaire spoke ” I’ve got to go Rob, I still have more meetings before catching my flight back to Paris.” Tapping Robert on his back.

Alistaire meets me with a smile and I smile back trying so hard not to break a sweat carrying a mountain of files. Mentally trying to telepathically tell Alistaire not to say anything about his offer for dinner.

“Let me help.” Alistaire says scooping the files and placing them on Robert’s table.

“Thanks.” I say as he places the files on the table.

“So have you thought about tonight?” Alistaire asks in a semi-hush voice still not soft enough to escape the prying ears of Riley and Robert. Darn it! Telepathy is a myth!I froze.

“What’s tonight?” Riley asked in a masked outrage

" We saw each other last night, got to talking and I asked her to dinner.” Alistaire says

“And don’t think I overstepped, as I know she’s not seeing anyone.” Alistaire continues at the obvious failing of Riley’s face and no one talked. Robert certainly was silent making me want to lunge at him and choke the sneakers out of him.

“Well, She can’t tonight-” Riley interrupted and I gave him a butt-out look. This is such inappropriate talk in the office, I should be fired.

“And why is that?” Alistaire looked from Riley to me and I was flustered and speechless thinking of ways to get out of this situation but why? I could go with Alistaire. Before I could argue and say yes to Alistaire-

“She has a meeting to attend to tonight. ” Robert interrupted and we all looked at him

“She does?” Alistaire asked

“Yes, She’s accompanying me and Riley tonight.” He says unbuttoning his tux and sitting down on his chair behind his desk with the grace that showed superiority.

“Is it really necessary for her to be there?” Alistaire asks smelling the scheming

“She is the reason we are having a meeting.” Robert says plainly and I see triumph plastered on Riley’s face.

" Oh. Is that so?” Alistaire looked crushed as he looked at me and I try my hardest to throw him an apologetic look while getting raged up inside. What business does Robert have to butt-in on my date?

“I’m sorry.” I say in a bashful smile.

“No worries, ma chère. Whenever your in Paris and need company, you have my number.” He says as he kisses my hand and then leaves.

The air was thick with awkwardness that you can see it engulfing the room, Riley stood there looking at me as if I was an animal in a cage and Robert seemed to have a lot on his mind.

“So, were going to a dinner now?” I asked not being able to conceal my irritation at Robert

“Um- I need to go. So see you both tonight? Tell me where. I have suppliers coming over the restaurant. “Riley bolts before Robert can even reply or before I could even ask him questions.

“Yes, is there a problem. Would you rather have dinner with him?” Robert hissed looks at me as if he was trying to figure out why I was getting angry.

“Not particularly, but its not in your position to tell him off.” Another outflow of irritation

“You looked like you handled the situation well. You were seconds away from saying yes.” He retaliates making me flashback at my silly reaction of freezing. His voice intense, his face darker than his smug looks earlier.

“So what if I did?”

" You seriously tell me that you want to go out with Alistaire? That ladies man, you wont mean anything to him after he’s done with you.” He reasons and looks at me intently leaning on his desk

“He can’t be worse than some people I know.” I retort trying to obviously send a message.

“What does that mean? And why did you leave without me? And now you’re planning dinner dates with someone?” He bombards me with questions, frustration plastered all over his face.

“Well, Mr. Sleigh, you were busy last night and I didn’t want to disturb you. I’m sorry to have my personal life mix with business hours; I have never had this incident before. Now if you’ll excuse me I have a hotel to call for a guest list so I could send flowers and sweet nothings to whoever you were with last night and I also have to go to the PR department to kill another story about you.” I say furious at him

As I finish he stands and stops in front of me. He places his hands on my face and lifts my chin up to see his eyes staring intently in mine.

“Angela Snow Morley, are you jealous?” He teased with an arched brow curious at what I might answer, but my anger shot up seeing how he really didn’t take me seriously

“Don’t play cocky with me, Sleigh. I’m not in the mood.” I say breaking free of his hands

“Snow, let me explain.” He says, his endearment aching me, his playfulness disappearing, concern and hesitation set in.

“No. Stop it already.” I say frustrated and tired taking a step back.

“Let’s just forget about it ok.“I say breathing in deep to stop the hurt, I see him run his fingers through his hair in frustration letting out a frustrated breathe.

“I get it. I was a task, just another item to check off your date the secretary list-”

“Snow, you must understand, it wasn’t like that-” He starts but I didn’t want to hear more empty explanations.

“Don’t worry about me Mr. Sleigh. I have encountered men like you. I thought I’ve mastered shutting people out, never again to mistake being kind from liking, at least you didn’t go and date my best friend or ending up marrying my cousin.” I blurted out my frustrations of failed “almost relationships”

“Mr. Sleigh, if I still have my job, I’d really like to get back to it if you don’t mind.” I say stepping back, standing firm and looked up at him, while his expression was not readable.

“Before I leave, you have a lunch date with Miss Sarah she’s back in town and she wants to meet up. At 2 you have a meeting with Mr. Klein. Dinner reservations has already been confirmed, Isaac has been briefed with your schedule as well.” I say looking at him unmoved.

I didn’t want to stay longer and loose my will so I started to head for the door as he grabbed my hand making me look back, he just stood there and stared at me as if formulating words in his head and I saved him the trouble and gave him the most reassuring look that I could give.

“Anything else, Mr. Sleigh?” I ask and he shook his head and slowly let go of my hand as soon as he did I bolted out the door and headed towards the comfort room and balled my eyes out as quietly as possible.

When I got myself together, I cleaned up a bit and head on to work. I walked in the foyer of his office and was greeted by Scarlet who was holding up lots of folders towards her table. She smiled at me as she placed the heavy folders on her desk.

“Oh, Ms. Morley, What’s wrong?” She asks me concerned

“No last names, Scarlet. Please call me Angie.” I offered

“Ok. Angie. So now your back what do I do?” She asks me ignoring the fact that my eyes must have been swollen and trying not to pry in my business.

“Well, all of Robert’s personal agendas, calendars and anything that includes his personal life, I’ll handle that. Paper works and other agendas we can both work on that, you’ll run errands and any work that may require your services.”

“No problem.” She says

“Oh, and here-” I say grabbing another IPad mini in my drawer and handing it to her

“This is yours, this will contain Robert’s Calendar and all the other files that you may need to work efficiently, if you have any other questions, I’m here for you.” I say smiling at her. She has this warmth that made me feel like we knew each other for a ling time.

“Wow, is this mine?” She asks me

“Yes, it’s my welcoming gift for you. It’s not from the company so you can personalize it as well.”

She lunged at me and thanks me as I try to hug her in her vice like grip. She the apologized for being unprofessional and I tell her it was fine as long as Mr. Sleigh don’t catch us. My job was ten times less stressful now that I have helpful hands; she was very efficient and didn’t complain for every errand she had to run. She was lighthearted and so outgoing. We were just going to get along just fine.

At lunch Robert had left to meet with Sarah, with not so much as looking at me. Before sadness floods me Maxine comes to view.

“What’s eating him?” Maxine asks me as she just walked pass Robert.

" I don’t know.” I say acting a fool

“Don’t play innocent Angela Snow Morley. Spill” Maxine scolds me

“Not here Max. Let’s go to lunch.” I say grabbing my bag from the drawer and stood

“Do you mind if Scarlet joins us?” She asks

“I’d love for her to join us.” I say and I see Scar delighted and grabbing her bag

“But you’re not going to get any information about my trip.” I whispered to Maxine as we were about to head out

“Oh, so you think. Scarlet knows, you can spill.” Maxine says smugly

“What? Who else knows?” I ask in protest wanting to hide under a table stopping both Maxine and Scarlet’s tracks looking at me like I was an errant child

“No one. Sheesh, don’t keep your panties in a knot.” Maxine assures me

“Just us” Scarlet mouths behind Maxine

We had lunch in a secluded Italian restaurant and were snug in a booth. I spent the whole time half eating and spilling how our “Parisian trip” went. Both feeling happy and giddily giggling at the sweet moments that we spent until I told them the bitter ending that had them mad and wanting to punch Robert in my face, but then we all knew it would be front page. Three disgruntled employee beaten employer Entrepreneur billionaire Robert Alexander Sleigh. Not good.

“I’m so sorry, Angie, I shouldn’t have encouraged you about this.” She says holding my hand feeling sorry for me

“Don’t be sorry, I gave it a shot, thinking he was genuine.” I say holding back my tears

“I refuse to be affected by him.” I say firm and strong willed

“At least nothing really happened between you guys.” Scarlet says

“True.” I smile at her. Although she was right that Kiss still resonates in my head every time I see him and I secretly ache.

After our girl talk and getting to know Scarlet, We came back in the office with much work to be done and the afternoon went by so fast that I hardly noticed the time until Scarlet asked permission to leave. I was finishing up when Robert swung open his door.

“Goodbye Mr. Sleigh.” I say out of habit

“Ms. Morley, do I have any appointments for tonight?” He asks leaning at Scarlet’s table and facing me.

“Mm, let me check.” I say looking through his calendar and I immediately cringe. Hasn’t he forgotten this? Do I really have to go?

“You have a dinner reservation with your brother.” I say hoping he would forget a minor detail. Praying and hoping that I don’t have to go.

“You’ve forgotten a minor detail.” He looks at me raising his brows , waiting for me to answer

“Do I really have to go? Why?” I whine at him seriously not being professional but I just don’t want to go.

“Why not? As I recall, you don’t have any engagement as I canceled them.” He says sternly

“What if I do? What if I have another date you don’t know about?” I retort he seemed amused at first but when the silence deepened his expression darkened and he walks towards the front of my desk places both hands on the table and looks at me intently.

“Then I’ll just have to eliminate the problem, as vast as my power allows me.”

I then quickly keep my things and asked him to give me a moment to get ready and retreats back, leaning on Scarlet’s desk as his eyes trailing my every move making me wish I was The Flash. When I finished stowing away my stuff, I grab my purse and stand in front of the hidden closet door.

“I’m all set.”

“Now that was quick.” He looks at me victorious at his persuasion.

We drove down to a restaurant front that I don’t recognize, There were people lining up at the entrance waiting for a seat.

“Where are we? I set up a reservation at The Essex House, Riley specifically told me to get a reservation just this afternoon.”

“This is a new place, Riley knows. He’s inside.” Robert says as the car went into a slow halt, stopping just in front of a Red Carpet and Paparazzi loose to take pictures of the people. no doubt there’s a celebrity in the building.

Robert opens the door and puts out a hand for me to receive but seeing that I hated him, I slipped out the other side of the car and met him where he stands.

“What are you doing?” He asks looking at me with intensity that I almost forgot how to speak and fight back.

“I’m capable of getting out of the car, Mr. Sleigh.” I say and he was cold and his eyes dark and for the first time I saw annoyance

“I know you can, but it’s dangerous to get out from that side.”

“Never stopped me before.” I commented

“Come.” He yanks me in place next to him making it hard for me to push him away as the paparazzi snapped away, making me blind from the flashes of light, even blocked by my hands. I was a bit glad that Robert held me or I would have made a fool out of me published on the news.

“How do you get use to those lights, I’m seeing spots.” I ask blinking more than I use to.

“I just focus on something, but I think I’ve gotten immune to those lights.” He says as we walk inside.

We entered the very elegant black steel and glass exterior and entered an earthy modern looking interior. Concrete finish floor, black steel accented all the wood furniture. There are wood planked U-shaped booth, a very sleek looking bar at one side and the low lighting using only bulbs wonderfully hanging from the L.E.D filled ceiling imitating the night sky made the place a bit more romantic to my annoyance but the exquisite smell made me excited.

“Mr. Sleigh, Good evening, your booth has already been prepared.” A tall very attractive woman in a very form fitting blouse and high-waist skirt greeted us. Robert only gave a nod and off we were.

As we sat, the waitress introduced us to our server and poured sparkling champagne unto our wine glass and left us.

“Where’s Riley? and How did you pick this place?” I ask still irked by this arrangement.

“He’s on his way, he’s a bit tied-up. This is The Night Dock. I co-own the place.”

“Why am I not surprised?” I look at him as I took a sip on the refreshing champagne.

“Co-own? As in share? with who?” I ask interest peaked.

“Me.” Riley came out of nowhere looking really handsome in his chef outfit.

“I - I - I’m so happy for you. Wow.” I say jumping at him hugging him briefly in the process.

“Thanks!” He says as we took our seats.

Before any talk could take place a waiter brings in great smelling food and my eyes start to sparkle with glee. I looked down at my food and recognized it instantly.

“Seafood pasta?” I ask looking at Riley and he nods with glee

“That and a big surprise.” Riley says as I take one bite.

“How did this happen?” I ask acting like I wasn’t that eager to devour the food.

“I had loads of time and a very generous partner.” He says nodding at Robert

“Only, because I know it’ll be a hit.“Robert says as he took a forkful of pasta.

We were eating as what Riley describes as the best food in the house dishes and food after food I felt my spirits lift up as I hear the lively conversation of Riley and Robert. It felt like hours until my favorite part of the meal came.

“Voila, menthe gâteau au chocolat” He says

“The what now?” I ask excited only understanding there would be chocolate and the he unveils his wonderful masterpiece and I gasp.

“You took my advice and made bigger portions.” I say and both of them laughed. Mint Chocolate.

“Well, Riley, you outdone yourself. Congratulations.” Robert raises his glass and so do we.

I ’m so glad I saved room for this. Bite after bite I melted.

“So, Why The Night Dock?” I ask

“It’s a very cool theme, It was Robert’s idea, he thought to tie up the name to the kind of food we serve and since it’s mostly seafood, The Night Dock seemed apt. An ideology that a dock would be a lovely place to spend a blissful evening.” Riley says looking right at me, like he wanted to tell me something but I was to engrossed to put the pieces together.

“Incredible. It’s exactly how I feel now.” I say in awe while devouring my dessert.

We spent the night talking like the last time the three of us had dinner. Riley shared about his struggles in the restaurant and how glad he was Robert was his partner. A few people asked to approach the booth to thank Riley for a wonderful meal and singing praises. I rarely looked at Robert the whole evening, I just didn’t want to destroy my blissful state.

“So how was Paris?” Riley asks. Thanks a lot Riley you now completely ruined my night.

I couldn’t start so I shrugged, stuffing my mouth with dessert, looking at Robert who looked at me with the strangest expression. Maybe it was because of what I said earlier about forgetting Paris. Riley then started asking me about what sights I saw, if Rob didn’t let me. While he was asking I blurted out random thoughts.

“Well, the meeting was cancelled so I was able to see Paris as I imagined it.” I say

“Where did you go?” He asks and looks at me and then to Robert

“Um- ” I paused to look at Robert who seemed to be waiting for me to tell Riley. What in the world will tell him? I guess Robert trusts me to tell what Riley needs to hear.

“Well, Fortunately for me I was able to see Versailles, taste a little food in the market and then get to go bike riding and a picnic.” I say to Riley

“Alone? Where was this schmuck?” Riley gestured towards Robert

“Schmuck huh?” Robert looks at Riley amused

“I met someone while he was at the palace, he rented out the whole palace with a very model-like brunette with him re-enacting what it would have been like to be a Royal.” I say totally separating Robert and I in the story but of course Robert with a sexier and prettier version of me. Robert and Riley’s expression dropped and so did their forks.

“Met someone? Who?” Riley asks in outrage.

“Well, He was kind and funny, He kept me company as we toured Paris.” I say trying to stay calm as both me looked really pissed.

“Did you know about this?” Riley asks Robert

“No. I had no idea apparently she met someone. Do tell us more about this someone.” Robert looks at me with a confused look on his face.

Before I could make up some more stories, a waitress came up and asked if Riley could go to a table who would love to complement the chef. He stands and changes his mood and off he went while I get stuck with the equally flustered Robert.

“You met someone? when did you ever meet someone we were on that date. Riley is never going to let this go.” Robert seemed appalled.

“I thought we agreed to forget what happened. Don’t forget Mr. Sleigh I am simply doing some cleaning up of what You did.” I say really pissed off at why he is so appalled.

“Well, what do you want from me. Tell Riley, oh yes, Robert and I dated and then he went off to be with a bunch of girls in a party, where I was rudely shrugged off at the entrance by a sexy bombshell blonde wondering why a nobody is standing in front of Robert Sleigh’s doorstep. That for sure will be a far more interesting story than the new guy, Prince Eric.” I snapped at him then took a sip of my champagne holding back the tears that was creeping in slow.

“Ok so he’s not a Prince, he’s the only name I could think of as of the moment.” I say answering the confused look from Robert’s face.

“From little mermaid, night dock?!” I explained a bit more, I don’t think anything will change judging from his expression.

Robert looked at me in the most hooded look, I could see he was frustrated not knowing what to do. My words may or may not hurt him but right now I’m a bit more concerned of how much longer I am going to keep up with my charades of acting like I didn’t care when I can snap at him like this at any given time.

“Angela, never look down on yourself like that. If anything you should be hating me instead of yourself. Believe me, it wasn’t my intention to hurt you.” He says in the most sincere way that he could muster up and the worst part was I believed that I may mean more to him than I think. Just stop it, Angela. Don’t kid yourself.

“I’m sorry.” He says and I felt a searing pain in my chest and before i could stop it a tear rolled down my eye

“Angela, Please don’t cry.” He says placing a hand on my cheek and wiping off the tear with his thumb making me ache more that I could never hold him the way I held him back in Paris.

“No. Just stop. As I’ve said a new guy that Riley will never meet is a better story.” I say pulling my face away from his touch. I then give off a smile making me feel really silly and breathe to stop my tears. Getting back to my own persona.

Before he could explain Riley was back bringing all smiles and told us about the praises that everyone has told him. He was so cheerful that I needed to up my facade and show him my gleeful smile.

“What’s wrong?” Riley asks me as he noticed my puffy eyes.

“Oh, Um Robert told me a joke.” I say laughing at the image of him actually telling me a joke.

“It was that funny?” Riley is skeptical

“No. That’s why I’m laughing.” I giggle a little bit more to convince Riley hopefully he wouldn’t ask about the joke.

“I told you, leave the tomfoolery to me.” Riley says patting Rob in the back

“I’m just a bit rusty.” Robert says changing his persona as well as to not ruin Riley’s big night.

“So, What’ the deal with this guy in Paris.” Riley faces me

“He was just a nice guy plus, I’m never going to see him again. What’s it to you?” I ask Riley nudging him a bit.

“Well, I just wanted to know, It would be dangerous.” Riley explains showing deep concern

“So, you guys weren’t able to spend time together?” Riley continues looking at Robert and back to me. Before I spill the beans Robert answered.

“We were able to spend a bit of time before the Gala. We roam about the flea markets, seen some sights.”

“Oh. that’s good. So you didn’t see this guy?” Riley just can’t seem to let the topic go

“No.” We both resounded at him and he puts his hands up and we all laugh at how silly our topic has gone.

“Ok. Good. If you’re never going to see him, that’s that.” Riley says and it looks like he was taking comfort of the fact that I wasn’t going to see the guy again.

“Seriously though, Congratulations. I love the portions and I can definitely afford this.” I praised.

“Thanks. I remember how you loved huge portions and this is totally inspired by you.” Riley said and I immediately was able to connect everything. This was the scene where Riley and I spent at Lina’s party. But how is it that Robert has thought of that moment?

“Right.” I say and continue sipping my champagne as the last of my dessert, not wanting to believe his notions.

Riley was beyond intoxicated that I had to accompany both men up to the suite. Robert took hold of his brother and helping him walk towards the huge sofa while I lugged the gifts and flowers Riley received.

Robert quickly places Riley down and scoops up the mountain of adoration from me and places them down beside Riley.

“My fans love me.” Riley slurred and then crashed unto the sofa.

After he did I went to his side and let him lay on his back, brushed his hair off his face, he looked so serene quiet. I went to Robert’s linen cabinet grabbed a blanket and covered Riley with them.

Riley fought as I covered him, blabbering about how much he loved me and looking for his brother, speaking something in French and slept right back. After making Riley comfortable, I looked around for Robert to bid him goodbye seeing as it was late.

Robert was out on the terrace staring out, with thoughts as deep as the ocean. I contemplated to leave quietly and leave him to his thoughts but he caught a glimpse of me and called me out.

“Is there anything else you need Mr. Sleigh?” I ask formally standing at the threshold of the terrace.

He was silent and unmoved and silence was getting to loud for comfort. I waited but the air was too heavy for me to bare so I spoke.

“Mr. Sleigh, I’d like to inform you , your flight has been booked and accommodations are in place. Any particular company you’d like to be with during your stay? Any reservations I have to make?” I ask him. I can’t believe I’m putting up with this. What’s wrong with me?

“No. Nothing in particular.” He says looking up at me.

“Are you sure, you don’t want any company from last time?” I ask in a hush voice that only I could here but apparently Robert has a super human sense of hearing.

“What?” Robert asks me and this time curiosity flashing through his face

“Nothing Mr. Sleigh, I was just asking if that was all.” I explain. Angela, you coward.

“Why are you acting like this. I thought we’ve gone pass this formality. Heck we flew all the way to Paris so we could get closer.” Robert stands and paces. Both hands passing through his luscious locks.

“Yes, it was wonderful but I flew back from Paris broken, further from you and knowing just where I stand. I’m sorry if I couldn’t just let it go!” I snapped once again. Really great restraint, Angela.

“I was hurt ok. I was fine with our situation until that Paris trip that we shouldn’t have done. I think I may have opened up too much. I should have known better. I mean - I don’t expect something more or regret the dates we had, if anything it was lovely. I just thought it could be different this time. You’d be different and so will I.” I continued and before I could stop it, tears started to well up. In one swift move Robert was now in front of me.

“Angela. Please don’t cry.” Robert begged placing his hand on my cheek and wiping away the tear with his thumb.

“I’m really sorry. As you might already know I’m not very good at this thing. I don’t know how to make things better .I shouldn’t have risked it.” He says as he brings me to an embrace. That sweet scent drawing me closer as I just sink into his chest. The ache of maybe never getting another chance of his body next to mine.

“You shouldn’t have done it. I was ok with not having to get to know you better. How am I suppose to go back?” I cried on his chest. Sobbing as he caresses my back awkwardly.

“Well, I think friendship is a good start. Not as a Boss-employee way but as real friends who looks out for each other.” He proposes. How could he think it would be a good start. How do we even go back? There’s nothing in this world he could buy to fix the situation unless of course he buys or develops a time machine.

“Do you think we could do that? Do you think I could see you as a friend? ” I ask looking up at him annoyed at the cliché.

“I don’t know how it’ll turn out, but I think it would be better for us.” He explains

“Fine. But don’t expect me to just be all chummy right away.” I say moving further from him.

“Maybe this time apart will give us time to fall back into place.” I continue and he just nods his head.

We fell silent as we just stood there on the balcony looking out. I had a feeling of good-bye and it struck me to my core. Tears started rolling down and I couldn’t bare the pity any longer.

“If that’s all Robert, I’d like to rest.” I say as I turn my back on him, before I could get away he held my wrist.

“Good night, Snow.” At the endearment I nodded and walked away as fast as I could and left.

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