complication

Hi,



Yet again I want to apologise for the long wait but with exams and work, this obviously was not my top priority.



I want to thank two readers Fran who encourages me to keep on writing, even though I want to give up at times and to CVC who sends me very long suggestions, which have greatly improved this chapter. Most importantly Jim, who has yet again done a great job with this and made it that much better to read, so again any mistakes found in this chapter, is totally my fault.



This story is drawing to a close, it’ll maybe be one or two more chapters before the end, and yes this is a long one, originally wanted to split it in two but since it’s been nearly three months since I’ve posted…



Anyway don’t forget to tell me what you think of this chapter, and before anyone asks, I’ll try and post the next one very soon!



Ascii




*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



Alin had been thinking the whole morning of what she could do when Jared came home. The idea of dressing in sexy lingerie and lying in bed so that he could ravish her was something that didn’t sound bad. After all, the phone interlude yesterday and his declaration of making love to her until she begged him to stop, lying in bed and playing the seductress would definitely be appreciated. She tingled slightly; secretly hoping Jared lived up to his declaration.



Strolling to the kitchen to grab something to eat, an idea suddenly struck.



She could cook for him!



Since moving in, Jared had always taken her out for meals and even with her privileged upbringing, her mom had never liked eating out in pretentious restaurants, and insisted on cooking wholesome home made meals. Though the idea of cooking for him was definitely not particularly original, it would be a pleasant surprise for him, and who knows she could definitely offer herself for dessert…



“What to do now?” Alin wondered out loud.



Without sounding arrogant, she was a damn good cook, but this was Jared’s favourite meal she was trying to re-create. Something he had always told her, no one, absolutely no one could do better than his mom. The meal was stir fried lobster laid on top of crispy noodles, then finished off with dessert of dark chocolate cake with whipped cream. Since Jared had a humble upbringing this meal had always been reserved for special occasions. He often complained that he still hadn’t had it anywhere close to his mom’s cooking.



Deciding to accept his ‘challenge’ Alin picked up the ingredients and started to prepare, praying this wouldn’t turn into a disaster. What Jared had described was a challenge for a master chef, (the timing for cooking the lobster had to be accurate, the vegetables had to be al dente and the chocolate cake, Jared had said he preferred it not too sweet, but not too bitter). If the top restaurants charging hundreds of dollars for a meal didn’t impress him, she didn’t know how she could. Still she had eight hours before he returned, which gave her more than enough time to do everything. Or so she thought…



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



“Is there anything else I can help you with, Mr Valentine?”



The blonde flight attendant’s sultry voice drifted into Jared’s trains of thoughts until he realized she was actually talking to him. It was the third time she had come and specifically asked him. Though he was in first class, this treatment led to very familiar territory.



“No…” he looked at her name tag, “Gina, it’s okay. I don’t think I’ll need anything for the remainder of this flight. Thanks.”



He watched as her expression became sullen but she composed herself quickly and leaned closer, “I understand Mr Valentine, but if there’s anything at all you need, please don’t hesitate to ask me, I’m willing to help you in any way.”



“Thanks Gina.” He turned back to the window subtlety dismissing her.



A few years back he would fuck her as soon as he got off the flight or worst fuck her inside the confinement of the cabin bathroom. Funny how money can turn one’s eye away from when one’s breaking the law. But now, women like the blonde didn’t satisfy him. It wasn’t because they weren’t attractive but because there was someone he couldn’t stop thinking about.



He had made a silent vow to himself he couldn’t love her, but the more time he spent with her the more he knew his feelings towards her couldn’t be controlled. And after these five days apart, Jared no longer wanted to live in denial. Staring out of the window, he couldn’t wait to go home.



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



The messy kitchen, utensils, pots and pan strewn everywhere, Alin’s optimism was diminishing more by the second. Her mom once told her confidence is good, too much confidence is arrogance. At the time, she had nodded her head but not truly understanding the meaning. Now she finally understood. Alin spent the past few hours lounging around and working on her latest proposal for a client, assuming that the meal tonight would be an easy enough task. Now looking around at the mess, half cooked food and then the clock, her mom’s word really rang home.



Luckily, it wasn’t as if she’s messed anything up, it was the fact that nothing was going to plan and the workload was killing her. Not only had she been out of practice with cooking, the lobster was very nearly overcooked, and most importantly she nearly forgot to set the oven timer for the cake. Fortunately, she had checked before disaster struck.



Still she was worried. Jared was a perfectionist and she was worried he would be too critical. Even worse the uncertainty of him maybe just politely pushing the food around. Oh god what have I got myself into? Alin thought, mentally wondering if giving up now was an option. Staring at the rising cake in the oven and the cooked lobster, hands on her hips, Alin decided giving up now was definitely not on.



‘Okay…” Alin looked around and mumbled out loud, slight panic settling in, “the whip cream’s done.” She dipped a finger into the soft fluffy cream and licked her fingers, nodding to herself how delicious it tasted, “Now the sauce for the lobster and noodles, then I’m pretty much done.” She did a double take and mentally slapped herself, “Damn I haven’t even showered or changed.” She glanced at the clock, another hour or two before he came back. Deciding her appearance was probably the least important thing, Alin proceeded with the sauce, trying to make sure the consistency was right.



“Something smells nice”



Alin jumped at the sound, turned and was shocked to see Jared leaning against the kitchen counter top, a small smile on his lips.



“Wh-what?” She stuttered in shock, “W-when did you get back?”



Jared came back a good ten minutes ago to the sound of pots and pans clanging, and the delicious wafting smell of chocolate cake. He had proceeded to the kitchen and was taken aback by the sight. Alin dressed in a simple pair of tight fitted jeans and white tank top, bending over to tend the cake. It was a sight he could get used to. Then he heard her groaning as she tasted the whipped cream, it was too bad that she had her back to him, otherwise it was definitely a sight he could get used to.



“I got back ten minutes ago-”



“Oh!? You were standing here-” Alin blushed, if he got back ten minutes ago…he must have heard her checking things off her fingers and her fretting about everything going wrong. He must have thought she was a mad woman.



Jared continued to grin at her. She was so damn sexy and cute, especially since she had no idea she had two streaks of whipped cream on either side of her cheeks.



She folded her arms, somewhat frustrated, “Why are you smiling-”



He tried hard to contain his grin, “because you look so sexy with your hair all loose… and cute with two streak of whipped cream on your face and-”



Alin bit her bottom lip quickly touching her face, where indeed she could feel the wetness. How the hell did she not feel that? Without thinking, she scooped the cream from her face with her finger and licked it.



Talk about sexual innuendo- Jared had never seen anything so innocent yet so alluring-



“The sauce!” Alin exclaimed and turned back round, stirring the content quickly. To her relief, nothing was burnt and the consistent of the sauce was perfect. She was about to tell Jared what a disaster he would have caused, but before she could say anything, he wrapped one arm around her waist, while his other hand covered hers and they both stirred the sauce together.



“Hmm…I think I’ve got myself a sexy domestic goddess. This smells delicious. Just like mom’s cooking… I can’t believe you remembered.” His hot whispers in her ear were making it hard to concentrate.



Jared started to kiss her neck sucking at the flesh tenderly. He used the distraction to switch the stove off.



“Stop, I need to…” her reluctance was weak and all coherent thoughts were out the window as Jared slid his hand over the apron and underneath her white vest top. She could feel his hardness and his increasingly seductive kisses on her neck.



“Jared-”



He turned her round, and looked at her, all dishevelled and hazy eyed staring back at him. Jared brushed her hair away from her face.



“You did this all for me?” he whispered, touched at the effort she had gone to for him.



She nodded unable to speak.



He lifted his hands to circle her lips, “The cream… you left a spot…” and before Alin could do or say anything, he replaced his fingers with his tongue, licked the cream off her lips and kissed her.



Jared had started to untie the apron from her back and undid the button on her jeans. He needed her. He couldn’t believe she still remembered, it seemed everything he had told her in the past she had remembered.



Before he could continue with his thoughts, she pushed him away, breaking away from the kiss. “Jared…no…this-” she gestured to the food on the stove “took me ages. We are going to eat it.”



He laughed, “Okay, but… do I get to taste you later?”



“Jared!”



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



The presentation of the food looked really good. It was how it tasted, which was the most important. Jared had always confessed his dislike of food that had a small piece of meat on a bed of minuscule salad drizzled with sauce. He had told her food like that was pretentious and pointless; it was home cooked and wholesome food he preferred.



“How is it?” Alin watched him eagerly, noting a small frown. That was definitely not good. It wasn’t as if there was any way she could cook as good as his mom, but coming a close second was at least some sort of consolation. She tried to smile, “I didn’t expect it to be good. I mean-”



“Try it first.” His expression was neutral as he lifted his fork so that she could try. Alin tasted the content off his spoon. She didn’t want to admit it, but it tasted pretty good. In fact without sounding arrogant, it was really good. But then again she knew it was Jared, and his unbearably high standards.



Jared scooped up a piece of lobster meat and tasted it. “You know, if I didn’t know, I would have thought my mom was cooking for me right now. The lobster’s not too stringy or flavourless, which is what you get if you overcook it.” He tried the vegetables, “and this is done to perfection.” He twirled the slightly crispy noodle with his fork and tasted it, “and this is still crispy and the flavour of the sauce complements the ingredients well. Seriously you’re the perfect girl mom’s been describing.” Jared said teasingly and didn’t fail to see the smile on Alin’s face as she slightly blushed at his compliment.



Jared remembered when he was younger and his mom had cooked this meal for his birthday, he had simply asked her if anyone could cook as good as she did. She bent down to ruffle his hair and smiled while telling him: “You will. Of course you will honey, and when you find her, marry her.”



“Now I think you’re just exaggerating, this is my first time making this, how can I, in anyway compare to your mom?” She pouted, disappointed that Jared rather lie to her then tell her the truth.



Jared remembered when he was younger and his mom had cooked this meal for his birthday, he had simply asked her if anyone could cook as good as she did. She bent down to ruffle his hair and smiled while telling him: “You will. Of course you will honey, and when you find her, marry her.”



“You’re lying.” She pouted, disappointed that Jared would rather lie to her then tell her the truth.



He held his hand up in the air innocently. It was by far the best he had tasted. He wasn’t being bias, okay maybe a little, but it tasted exactly how mom used to make it. Everything was right. “It is nice! Why would I lie? And-” he held up a hand to stop her protests, “When I finish this meal…I’m going to ravish you for dessert. The chocolate cake can wait.”



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



They both made light conversation during dinner, and from the appreciative noises Jared made whilst eating the meal, even asking her for seconds, Alin was pretty sure he did enjoy it. After he was finished, Alin cleared the plates and went inside the kitchen to prepare the cake. It was a rich slice of moist chocolate cake with whipped cream on the side.



“I said dessert can wait didn’t I?” Jared had come up behind her prying the plate out of the hand and placed it on the kitchen top. He kissed her tenderly with a hint of urgency. In between kisses he whispered, “You know we’ve never christened every room…”



“Jared, we can’t do it here!” Alin half protested but she was curious and excited about the idea.



“We sure can.” He whispered back. “But before we go on…” he swept her hair to the side, “I’ve got a present for you.”



“Jared, not another diamond necklace. I appreciate it, don’t get me wrong. But-”



He laughed and put a chain round her neck. Alin looked down, expecting to see a sparkling pendant shining back at her, but it wasn’t. It was a set of keys.



She turned back to him. Instead of his usual teasing looks, he looked at her with softness in his eyes.



“I remember when we first met, you asked me what my favourite season was. I thought it was such a…random question. But I answered summer. And the reason I gave you was because I get to see girls in next to nothing. You laughed, but disagreed with my reason. You said summer was your favourite because when the sun is shining, it made you happy. When you said that, I remember you smiling back at me. I’d never seen anything so beautiful. So, when I was in California I thought about taking you somewhere really hot, Maldives, Hawaii, South Africa, Egypt… but with our work schedule, I knew you wouldn’t want to tear yourself away for a few days let alone for a week. Then I was in LA discussing the contract, not really paying attention, then while the man was talking, I looked at the window and thought, wouldn’t it be great if we had a holiday home?” he picked up the set of keys that were around her neck. “This place is near the beach and it’s yours. Just need you to sign the papers.” He shrugged his shoulders, “from time to time you get your sunshine and I get to see you in a bikini and your smile- what’s not to like-”



Her lips were on his before he could finish. It wasn’t because he bought her an apartment, though that was pretty generous of him, but because he wanted her happy. He wanted to see her smile. With Hallie and Ryan being the exception, no one really cared whether she was happy or not. She could never tell him she loved him, because she feared it wouldn’t be returned, so instead she poured everything in that kiss.



He lifted her up, placing her on the kitchen counter top while he continued to kiss her. He wanted her, wanted her so badly. “Alin, I want you; I want to hear you scream for me tonight. I couldn’t stop thinking about you these five days. Do you have any idea how many times I’ve wanted to be inside you? To make love to you until you scream my name?”



“Jared-”



“Let me love you.”



She felt tears at his sweet words. How was it that four simple words can make her quiver and weak for him? Men say things in the throes of passion they don’t mean, Alin knew this but still she hoped, really hoped she was as important to him as he was to her.



Ever so slowly he took off her tank top and then he unclasped her bra. He let his lips linger on hers, then slowly trailing his lips to her ear, “Do you have any idea…” his breathing became even more ragged as the softness of her skin touched his. “…I couldn’t stop thinking about you. Alin, I need you…please, Alin tell me you need me too.”



Alin “Yes…Jared…I need you.”



He took a nipple in his mouth, groaning at what he had missed. How the hell did he even manage to survive five days? Taking the chance to undo her tight jeans, he impatiently tossed it aside, while his lips and tongue played havoc with both her nipples. Using his hand he lightly traced over every inch of her skin until he was close to her pussy. Feeling the front of her panties he could feel the moisture that gathered and the heat. Impatiently, he pulled her panties aside, he traced every fold of her wet pussy, as he fought to control himself at finding how wet she was for him.



Alin pulled him closer to her breasts as he continued to tease her nipples with his wicked tongue and his fingers lightly stroking her clit. She needed him, but it seemed he took greater pleasure in teasing her to the point of insanity than giving her what she wanted.



“Please-” she moaned breathlessly. “Jared…I n-need you…please.”



Jared moved his kisses to her luscious lips, and removing his hand from her pussy reluctantly, he started to strip himself of his clothing. He was so hard it hurt. Five days- okay maybe four days after one solitary completion in the shower, the pent up sexual frustrations made his cock twitch as he released it from its confinement.



He held his erection in his hand and slowly stroked it, while teasing her with light kisses on the corner of her lips, “do you know how hard I’ve been for the past five days thinking of you spread out on the kitchen table.” He started to trace his erection along her wet pussy and occasionally slipping the head of it inside of her before pulling out again, “do you have an idea what seeing you right now do to me” his breathing became erratic, he slowly inched his way into her before burying himself all the way to the hilt.



Feeling her tightness wrapped around him and the way she clenched and unclenched her muscles made him stop to compose himself. He bit his lip hard as the sensation of her pussy made it so painful not to pound into her and fuck her relentlessly. He spread her legs wider and leaned down to capture her lips. Slowly he started to thrust into her deep, his lips catching each moan she emitted. He was holding her close as if he never wanted to let her go.



That was it.



He stopped moving suddenly; still hard inside her. Alin looked up at him, wide innocent eyes staring up at him. She smiled mischievously at him.



His breath hitched.



“Alin… I l-love you.”



He searched her expressions as she remained speechless. Jared wanted to die there and then, of course after making love; at least it was a good way to go. It might be obnoxious but he had never felt rejection before. Truthfully he had to be the one to stop women from throwing themselves at him. But now wasn’t about his ego, it was the fact that she didn’t feel the same for him. He buried his head into the crook of her neck so that he didn’t further betray how much the unreturned love had hurt him. He started to push into her gently, as she opened her legs wider to accommodate him.



Alin remained speechless at his revelation. Instead she chose to fully compose herself before she answered him, because truthfully, the words could mean nothing to him. He started to thrust into her before she answered, and he buried his head in the crook of her neck. she shuddered as he touched her so intimately, the tense feeling in the pit of her stomach built up, Alin craved for the release- craved for him to take her faster, but he was going so slow that she could feel his hardness sliding in and out of her pleasurably.

Silence apart from their moans and heavy breathing filtered in. Alin felt moistness against her neck. At first, through her hazy induced pleasure state she had thought it was their slick sweat and his wet lips tracing her sensitive skin, but it didn’t feel right. She moved him so that she could kiss him, and at that moment she caught the tears in his eyes, the vulnerability reflecting through his eyes.



He bent his head down to capture her lips, pouring every emotion, every word he wanted to tell her in one single kiss. It would never be enough if she couldn’t love him back, but for now, this is what he would settle for, but he would never ever give up what he could have with her again. She pulled back to kiss the corner of his lips.



He loves her. She smiled up at him but his eyes were closed and his face was warped with pleasure…and pain. Pain because he thought she didn’t love him.



Alin moaned as he started to speed up, taking her closer and closer to the edge, his cock touching her in all the right places. Her pussy was slick with arousal as he easily slid into her again and again.



“Jared…!”



Before long, he was spilling himself inside her, still driving into her until she too lost all control to the pleasure he was giving her.



Jared slumped against Alin his head against hers.



Who the fuck was he kidding? How the hell could this ever be enough? How could he make love to her, knowing that each time, she was only doing it because she owed him money, not because she loves him? How could he-



“I l-love you too…”



It was so faint that Jared swore it was his imagination fucking with him. The softness in her eyes and the way she looked at him, it was something that was engraved into his mind forever.



“I thought you…I-I really thought you could never love me again-”



He lifted her up with ease and she squeaked, actually squeaked in fear of him dropping her. Jared chuckled as he carried her; she wrapped both her arms around his neck still in fear. He paused and kissed her swollen lips. “Alin, I love you. These past five days… hell these past five years no one, no one I could ever care and love more than you, you were the one I always thought about.”



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



He carried her to the shower, though the distance was short, her eyes started to flutter sleepily.



Turning on the shower, Jared led her in as he turned her round and soaped her back gently. She leaned against him and sighed in contentment, the sweet sound immediately made him hard.



Feeling his hardness poking her, Alin reached behind and slowly stroked it, shuddering as he kissed the side of her neck, his hands cupping and shaping her heavy breasts. Lost in the sensation, Jared groaned as she began to stroke him faster. Wanting so badly to come inside her again, he pushed her against the cold tiles and entered her from behind. He held onto her hips and thrust hard and deep inside of her.



This was unlike anything she had experienced; it was hard, fast and exhilarating. Jared continued to thrust his hardness into her while his lips suckled gently on her soft skin.



“Alin, Baby, I’m gonna come.” He buckled, “F-Fuckkkk”



She helplessly held herself upright as he drove into her, the pleasure blocking her ability to do anything but feel every single wicked thing he did to her.



He lost control. His testes twitching, his climax hitting him hard as he shot thick ropes of come inside her.



Alin slumped against his hard body.



After a few moments to regain his equilibrium, Jared held a sleepy Alin in his arms and started to lovingly wash her. She sighed dreamily, her eyes closed. Jared had his arm wrapped around her as they were stuck in a moment of tenderness.



“I think it’s time for us to get out…you’re getting wrinkly.”



He towelled her dry and wrapped her up in his oversized bathrobe not wanting her to catch a chill. She half protested about him treating her like a child. But the way her lips curved up showing a hint of dimple, contradicted her words. He wrapped her in a towel, while he was naked.



“Hey put me down!” she gasped as Jared picked her up and walked towards their bed.



He put her on the bed and immediately went with her, covering her.



“Alin, I love you…I love you so damn much…” He whispered again and again. The words were so right. He didn’t get to say it to her in these five years, and he’d wanted to say it so much so that he could make up for lost time.



She giggled. “Stop, Jared. I get it.” She poked him in the chest gently to emphasize her point, “You love me!”



Jared smiled lovingly at her, she was so damn cute, as she giggled.



“No, it’s not enough-”



“Then show me.” She whispered, though the challenging undertone was not lost on him.



…And so he did. For the rest of the night he made love to her until they were both satisfied, falling asleep in each other’s arms. She smiled: he certainly lived up to his promise of making love to her until she begged him to stop.



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



Alin woke first, knowing instantly it was likely going to be late morning. She actually ached everywhere- even there. The pleasure between her thighs did nothing to quell the giddy feeling inside her as she recalled when he had told her he loves her. He loves her. He loves me so damn much!



It was the first time they had slept together all night and actually stayed in bed without one of them rushing off. He was still sound asleep as he spooned against her, one strong arm wrapped around her waist.



Carefully she lifted his arm and moved out of his embrace. She put on his robe and looked back at his sleeping profile. The rush of love she felt for him couldn’t be described. It felt so right, yet she was worried that happiness wouldn’t last for her



He may have proved to her he really cared but old habits were returning. She went out into the balcony and looked out into the brilliant skyline. Thoughts ran through her head, annoying voices telling her: would it last this time? Would happiness really last for her? Maybe she wasn’t meant to be happy? It was always the same in her life: happiness would only last a few fleeting moments until she wasn’t sure whether the experience was merely a delusion, whether she craved happiness so much she’d imagine it to be.



“You’re not in bed?” she turned and was greeted by a half-naked Jared.



Jared wrapped his arm around her waist, kissing the column of her neck. His whispers made her tingle.



“I-I was just…it’s nearly 11.” She shrugged her shoulders hoping he wouldn’t ask any more questions.



He turned her round so that she was facing him, “Tell me.”



“Last night…” she drifted off, regretting even bringing the subject up as he looked so seriously down at her. He probably forgotten about his 35 times declaration to her (she wasn’t counting, promise)



His frown suddenly turned into a warm smile. “I love you.” He was now grinning at her as she looked at him in surprise.



“If you’re asking if I meant it, I’m telling you now, I meant every word I said last night. I’m not one of those guys who say those words to get a woman in bed, in fact apart from my mom, I’ve never said it to any other girl. And besides I said it to my mom when I was five, so-”



She flashed a toothy grin before standing on tiptoe and kissing him deeply.



“Is that the best you could do after I just said that?” He picked her up, flinging her across his shoulders, caveman style, whilst she shrieked in alarm and excitement.



Hey put me down, y-you stupid… c-caveman.”



“I’ll show you what a real caveman’s like” He chuckled as he dropped her on to the bed, then immediately putting both his arms on the bed, trapping her underneath him.



“Don’t you think yesterday we did it enough times?”



“It’ll never be enough.” He whispered though the tone was no longer teasing but genuine. Alin gave into the kiss, kissing him back with the same urgency.



The phone rang suddenly.



Jared groaned. Didn’t the whole phone-ringing-and-ruining-the-sex-part only happen in movies?



“Fuck. Baby, please don’t pick it up.”



“It could be important! No one ever rings our home number unless it’s important. Remember how Tom reached you on this number because you switched off your phone?



He growled, knowing she had a point, “I’ll get you back. I swear, no phone calls later, you’re staying here today- naked.” Jared rolled off Alin and strolled towards the bathroom, groaning even louder as his cock twitched angrily.



Alin rolled her eyes. Laughing, she reached across the bedside table to pick up the phone, ignoring his protest.



“Hello?”



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



The last words Jared caught of the conversation after coming out of the bathroom was Alin saying ‘No, I’m busy -bye’



She hung up and stared into space, obviously distressed at whoever had called. It couldn’t be Haltor? Jared panicked slightly, what the fuck was he up to?



“Alin?” You ‘kay? Who called?”



“It was my dad.”



Jared felt bad that he was relieved. He clearly knew how much that scumbag Fanning upset Alin. But knowing it wasn’t Haltor instantly made him relax. He sat down next to her, “What did he say?”



“H-he asked if we would like to go dinner tonight. I said ‘no’ so many times- like a broken record, then he tells me it’s Sunday – family day. As if I’ve ever had that in the past ten years. Then he pulls my sister into it. Something about her missing me a lot. Even though we’re not that close, she’s still my sister, and he knows how much I care about her. Using her as a pawn. Anyway she’s not even here. Every year she goes camping with her friends around this time. I seriously don’t know what he wants this time.”



He held onto her hand. “Alin, call him back. We’ll go-”



“No, Jared, we both know why he called. ‘Cause of you. He wants you to invest in his companies or whatever. It’s money. It’s always been about money for him.”



“Baby, trust me on this one. Call him back.”



“But-”



“Alin, trust me ‘kay? It’ll do you more good than harm. I promise you.”



“Do you really think he wants to make amends with me? Jared, you don’t know him like I do-”



“Baby, I know what he’s up to, that’s why we have to go.” She frowned in confusion, “Trust me on this one.”



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



“Fuck! Where the hell are the caterers? You said it’ll all be ready for seven!”



Timothy Fanning shouted in frustration. Why can’t his wife ever do anything right without fucking things up? He had given her a whole day to sort out a meal, not that she could cook or do anything a woman should do. Timothy didn’t know why the hell in God’s mind he had married her. All she was adequately good at was being on her back, but even that she could no longer satisfy him compared to the young models half her age.



Her inability to think really pissed him off. Dumb bitch. She clearly didn’t know how much this meant to him that Alin called back and both of them were coming. Timothy gambled on the fact that making this so last minute his daughter couldn’t think of a way to cancel. His pray was obviously answered.



“Yeah, I’m coming, Timmy, calm down! God! You’re scaring Dolly!” she screeched indicating the Chihuahua. “It will be ready! It’s only half six. It’s not as if they’ll be early-or even on time.



Timothy wanted to gag her. How the hell did he used to think her voice was even sexy? “Okay, okay, you’re fucking annoying me now. Anyway did you order the wine like I told you?”



Obviously annoyed at having to do everything, she stated, “I can’t remember everything. Maybe.”



“Don’t fucking play with me now.” He stated angrily.



“Look, this is costing us probably more than 10 thousand dollars, just in case you didn’t know.”



“It’s my fucking money anyway! And you were the one that wanted this to happen! And the wines are Valentine’s favourite. So I suggest if next time you want another diamond ring to show off to your bitches, you better shut your mouth, stop acting smart and listen to me.”



As if on cue the doorbell rang. A triumphant smile appeared on her face as their housekeeper opened the door for the caterers. “I hope you get your investment back.” She left him at a loss for words.



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



“Alin, honey, come here!” she felt uncomfortable as the woman embraced her tightly. “God, you know I always ask your daddy to give you a call but he’s one stubborn man.”



Timothy shot daggers at his wife. She was really grating on his nerves. Moving on she pulled Jared into a hug.



Jared could’ve sworn she winked at him. “Well, hello there…” she purred batting her eyelashes, “you must be my daughter’s boyfriend. God, we’re the same age aren’t we?!” Jared rolled his eyes was the woman seriously flirting with him? She looked closer to early fifties with the botox, bleached blonde hair, fake tits and excessive make up. He glanced at Alin, sincerely hoping she wasn’t angry with him, because there was no way he’d reciprocate her signals.



Timothy put his arm round Jared as if they were best friends, “Come, son, I’ve prepared the best meal and the finest wine- even money can’t buy in New York”



No matter what, her opinions hadn’t changed. She couldn’t forgive her father, she couldn’t accept his wife. They were so…fake? Her high-pitched laugh, their constant need to outdo each other was something that really made Alin genuinely felt sorry for her sister. Being raised by parent like them was anything but tragic.



Dinner was at best pleasant. Her father would consistently tell stories about her childhood to Jared, about how proud he was of her. It made her see him even more clearly. He was proud of her, only because she happens to ‘date’ millionaires. He was never there for her when her mom died, never there when she graduated, never there when she struggled with the debt.



After dinner, Jared and Timothy moved the conversation to his study. Alin didn’t know what to make of the situation. Jared wasn’t enthusiastic to be in her father’s company nor did it seem he hated it. She, on the other hand, was left with his wife. She babbled on about her perfect life, not realising her perfect life was the result of ruining one’s family.



“…I just think it’s time we made amends. I mean, you’re daddy loves me. We’re in love. I’m so sorry that your mom had to choose that path, but honey let me tell you, you can’t choose who you fall in love with, regardless if they’re married-”



Alin stared at her in disbelief, unable to control her anger she cut her off angrily, “Shut up!”



“What the-”



“Shut up, you know what? You’re a b-bitch! I don’t want to pretend to be nice to you anymore. Looking at you w-with your stupid made up face and fake smile I just want to throw up.”



Her fake smile was gone, shock stamped across her forehead, she stuttered, “W-who the hell do you think you’re t-talking to? Don’t forget I’m your stepmom. And fucking get over it, your mom died a long time ago-”



Alin slapped her hard across the face. “I can’t believe you just said that. You’re not my anything. You evil w-witch. Everything you have is my MOM’s. But good luck to you because that man,” she pointed to the study, “will never be capable of loving someone. Sooner or later he will trade you in for a younger woman. He doesn’t love anyone but himself!”



It was her turn to look at Alin in disbelief. Never did she expect this from her. She was supposed to be a doormat, a pushover like her stupid mother. She left the room, clutching the side of her face Alin slapped, hoping Timothy better get something out of this otherwise she’ll slap the shit out of him for putting her through this pain.



Alin stayed sitting on the couch. She couldn’t believe what she had done, but it felt so good. She had never accepted the woman, but as much as she disliked her, it was her father she couldn’t stand, because he played the biggest part in hurting her mom. Coming here today really hurt. This was the house she grew up in and to see everything changing around her really showed how insignificant her mom and she meant to her father. She was frustrated with Jared for making her come today; did he not understand how much her father had hurt her in the past?



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



Meanwhile in the study, Timothy couldn’t have been happier to be rid of his stupid daughter and finally talk business with Jared, “Son, you know I’m so glad we’re family now. I’ve never liked John Haltor much, he never deserved Alin. You know I’ve told her countless times that Haltor was never good enough for her, didn’t listen to me, but you know what-?” He handed a glass of wine to Jared, “I’m so glad she’s finally seen sense. After her mother’s death she hadn’t been herself- blaming me for it. But you know I love her too much to be angry with her.”



Jared laughed inside, wondering how long he had practised this speech. This man was fucking unbelievable. He knew how manipulative and fucked up Timothy is. And that was the reason why he came today, to tell him his fate.



“…So, anyway enough talk about the past- it’s all behind us right? Son, I think you have a lot of potential. I know you used to be a professional investor before BankSafe, and seeing as I’ve got a new project going on, I’d like to give you a chance to be on-board-”



His words cut short as Jared’s rich laughter cut in. He couldn’t hold it in any longer



Jared studied his glass of wine, “Fanning, you’re one deluded fucker. I’m so sorry that Alin’s related to you.” Jared swished his glad of wine and inhaled the rich aroma before taking a gulp, the bittersweet taste sliding down his throat easily. Timothy remained motionless and speechless, seemingly shocked at Jared’s words. Jared finally looked up at him, “signing your daughter away to debtors. Making her pay $5million? How the hell do you think she was ever going to be able to pay that? Marry Haltor? You sad fuck.”



He pretended to look surprised “I didn’t make her pay $5million, it was- um it was her mom’s debt-” Timothy was cut off sharply by Jared



“-Do you think I’m fucking stupid like you?” He leaned closer, “Do you know that $5million? Do you know why you were allowed to borrow that much with no questions asked? Or why sometimes the people didn’t come knocking on your door? Because YOU owe me.”



He let the words sink in. Suddenly Timothy realized, “Y-you played me you motherfucker!” he hissed.



“Well that’s one way of putting it.” Jared smirked, “But you know what makes it even funnier? The fact that you think people around you are fucking stupid and they believe this façade you’ve created. You standing there and pretending to be a great father- you make me fucking sick.” Jared continued, “You really think I came here do listen to your pathetic business pitch? Even if you had the best idea in the world, I would never work with someone like you!”



“Fuck you. She was a spoilt brat anyway. I raised her, what’s wrong with her paying me back?”



Jared chuckled sarcastically, “You’re good, you know that? How that fucking brain of yours work and the logic that you come up with really baffles me. But I’m glad you called today, because if you didn’t call I would’ve totally forgotten about the $5million YOU owe me.”



“You-”



“Yeah YOU owe me. As a matter of fact it’s not $5million is it? With interests for the past few years, the sum is closer to $7.5million. But since we’re family as you always say, I’ll knock off .5, and we’ll shake our hand on $7million. You know if you weren’t so greedy, if you treated Alin like your daughter, you wouldn’t be in this position today. $7million is nothing to me-”



Timothy felt his temper rise. This was not how he pictured today would go. “So, you listen to that whore now?” He spat out and then sneered at Jared, “Didn’t think you were a man to be so easily pussy whipped. Defending that stupid brat. You know I bet in order to pay for the debt she opened her legs so many times to Haltor, you’re just fucking a used pussy-”

Before he could finish a sharp pain hit his face- Jared was so angry he punched Timothy hard. He spat blood out, whimpering in pain and was about to retaliate, when Jared grabbed hold of his hands and put him in a lock.



“Don’t you ever say that about her you lowlife.” He warned before pushing him onto the floor. Timothy groaned in pain as his back hit the floor.



Jared walked towards the door, “The money you owe me, I’ll collect every last penny starting today. You fall behind payment, interests will keep increasing. You can forget about that knocked off .5, you can carry on paying me with $7.5million with interest. Don’t say you have no money. I’ve got people who can find this out for me. And don’t try to use her sister as a pawn to manipulate her kindness. I see right through you. And before I forget don’t you fucking dare sell stories about anything to the media, because if you do, I guarantee you I’ll ruin you. The fact that you’re Alin’s father will mean nothing. I’ll take care of her sister and throw you and that wife of yours out of this house before the print is out.”



“Are you threatening-”



“I’m not threatening you, I’m telling you. Just remember I never say things I don’t mean. And if you think you can get away with not paying me, you can fucking think again. ” He opened the door and left.



Timothy was left stunned to the core.



Jared left the study and found Alin alone in the living room.



“Come, Alin we have to go.” He grabbed her hand and left abruptly.



Timothy was seething as he downed his wine in one. “What the hell happened here?” his wife quizzed as she entered the room. “Where’s that little bitch and Jared?”



“Don’t ask.” He replied curtly



“She slapped me! That little whore slapped me.”



Timothy laughed bitterly, “Well about time someone has.” He knew this time Jared was serious, he picked up the phone ready to dial John Haltor’s number, but then suddenly stopped, remembering Jared’s warning.



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



“Jared, what happened?”



They were silent all the way through the car journey; Alin was afraid to ask him as he remained quiet with a thunderous expression. When they got home he sat her down.



“I’m sorry.” He whispered quietly. Jared felt like killing her father, but the realization that he acted just like him a few months ago made it that much more painful. He was angry but more so at himself. The words weren’t easy to say. He thought he was never wrong.



“Jared-”



“Alin, I’m so sorry…” he began but not knowing how to finish it. The words and his past actions not only shamed him, but voicing it out loud made him realize how fucked up he treated her “for using the $5million…” he didn’t know how to continue, as shame washed over him, he might be still upset and sceptical over her betrayal in the past, but using the money against her was no better than the way her father treated her. “I shouldn’t have done what I did, and if I could change it all I would. I’m no better than him. I can’t believe you had someone like that as your father. And I used his betrayal to my advantage, I’m sorry. Can you ever f-forgive me for the way I treated you?”



She paused. There was no doubt that she loves him, but would giving him a second chance mean a second time for heart break? She looked at him and could see the regret in his eyes.



“I forgive you.” She hugged him as hot tears slid down her cheeks, she whispered softly, “Promise me you’ll never h-hurt me again. Please because it would b-break me.



He held her in his arms and kissed her forehead affectionately, “I’m sorry. I love you so much. I’ll never hurt you again. Alin please don’t cry…beautiful girls crying turn me on.”



Alin laughed and cried. Jared used his finger tips to wipe away her tears.



“By the way what happened in the study?”



He hesitated, “I may have hit your father-”



“What?”



“You’re angry?”



“No!” she laughed, “actually I also… I slapped his wife. I can’t believe I slapped her. It felt so good. It was long due but I never expected I’d do it.”



“You slapped her? No way! Better not get in your way. Underneath your innocent exterior lies a pretty feisty woman.” He winked at her



“I know it sounds wrong but you hitting him actually makes me so happy.”



“And what do I get now that I’ve done it?”



She pulled back from his embrace and smiled at him, her eyes rolling, “Is sex all you think about?”



He smiled down at her, “No, just with you.”



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



Monday morning came too quick. Jared woke up to the smell of bacon, eggs, toast and coffee. How perfect can one’s life get? What did he do to deserve someone like her? He was half way through his breakfast when Alin blurted out, “Jared…um Steven Daniels called.”



Alin had thought about the best way to put it across to him. But with everything that happened this weekend she had forgotten to mention it. The look on his face made her realize why she shouldn’t have told him.



Jared stopped eating his breakfast. That name along with John Haltor was something he’ll unlikely forget, “What does he want?” he stated bluntly, not looking at her.



“He asked if Ryan and I wanted to work on a project-”



“Is this the only thing he said to you?” Jared’s tone was calm and cool, but no doubt dangerous.



“He…”



“Is this the only thing he said to you?” he repeated, now looking up at her.



“He did say he wanted to g-get to know me better-”



“You’re not working with him.”



“No, I told him what my relationship is with you. He understood, and now he truly just wants to work with the company.”



“No.” he went back to his breakfast. Dismissing her.



Alin was beyond angry now. “So we’re really going back to this now? You dictating my life again?”



He got up and moved closer to her, “Fuck, Alin, don’t you see it? He’s only employing you-”



She gasped in shock, “Don’t say something you’ll regret.” She held up her hand in frustration, “Why is it that the whole world thinks I have the ability to make it, but the person I love always, always thinks I have to sleep my way to the top.”



“That’s not what I mean-”



“But it’s what you wanted to say! You said last night you didn’t want to hurt me again.”



“Don’t use that against me!” He paced up and down in frustration “I’m trying to fucking protect you!”



“I’m not nineteen! I’m not stupid and naïve either. You know it’s not even protecting me,” She sighed, “you just want to control me, that’s always been it…why can’t you ever trust me?”



“It’s them I don’t trust!”



Alin gathered her jacket, bag and folder, “I’m not going to argue with you. Because whatever it is, you always think you’re right.” She stated and left him without a backward glance.



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



Jared arrived at his office in a foul mood, even calling off the press conference and interview due in the afternoon. He sat down and looked at the documents waiting for him to sign. He was reading it, but nothing was actually registering. Why was he the only who saw it? Why is it that she never understood his point of view? He was angry, but also a little at himself, though he’d never admit it. He could just pretend to accept it, but now she was mad at him for caring about her! He didn’t understand women, probably never will.



His secretary came round the door as he massaged his head.



“Mr Valentine, Miss Naomi’s here.”



Jared perked up a little. Naomi would solve all the problems for him. Naomi was the female version of him. She was ruthless and callous in her dealings, but also damn faithful. He owed Naomi a lot for what she had done for him. She had helped him trace the accounts of the two executives who swindled money out of the company five years ago as Jared didn’t want to get authorities involved. After that she also helped out when BankSafe was on the verge of collapse, and now he was about to ask her for a bigger favour.



She smiled as she entered his office. “Congratulations Jared, everyone is buzzing about your takeover of Media One. So tell me why the sudden need to see me, eh? Miss your old friend, that much?”



Jared laughed at Naomi words. She was the only one who could lift his mood and not piss him off. Her flirtatious manner and charisma was not directed at him, but it was just in her nature. He had met her four years ago… though that’s entirely another story. Now at the age of twenty-two, he was proud of what she’d become.



“Naomi, your flirtatious manner will one day get you in trouble, still single?”



“Well tell your hot friend Ryan to call me then,” She winked at him while he snorted in mock sarcasm. “Anyway, what can I be of service today Mr Valentine? Hate to say it, but your life would be at a loss without me!”



“Yeah, you’d like to think that.” He handed a folder to her, “There are a few people I need you to check for me.”



She scanned through the list and looked up at him in confusion, “Look I normally just do the job and not question you, but why are you checking up on him?” she pointed to a name on the list.



“I have my reasons. I just need you to access his bank accounts, credit card statement, phone records… the usual. I’ll get my answers once you give me the information.”



She shrugged her shoulders as if to say whatever, and then carried on looking at the list. “W-wait why would you need to know about Steven Daniels? His dad’s in real estate.”



“Naomi, why am I not surprised you know that?”



She laughed, “Just so you know, I have a whole database of the world’s most eligible bachelors, so everyone that runs in your circle, I’d know about. Why’d you want to know about him, you’re in the technology business, he’s in real estate…”



She smirked. “It must be something to do with that pretty girlfriend of yours.”



Jared held up his hand in mock surrender, “Okay, okay smartass. Yeah, he called her up- long story short he wants her to work for him, and I don’t trust him.”



“I’m warning you, Jared, your girlfriend’s not going to like it if she finds out-”



“She’s not going to find out.”



“Fine, don’t say I didn’t tell you so. Anyway, I’m just a recent graduate, so I’ve shitloads of things going on. And nowadays it’s not that easy to run checks, you know with all the increase security and firewall shit. Just want to remind you that the process is long.”



“No problem. Naomi, I owe you so much.” He was genuinely grateful for her help.



She smiled at him sweetly, “Don’t worry you’re billed for every second I spend on this.”



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



Alin screwed up the second piece of prototype she tried to draw up. Her day was definitely going from bad to worst. Her creativity diminishing by the second. Damn Jared!



She was in the throes of self-pity, when Ryan popped his head round the door and gave her a disapproving sigh.



“What the hell happened here?”



“I’m just really stuck.”



Ryan came into the room and slumped himself on the chair opposite her. Arching a brow, he stated, “Really? Come on Alin, can you really not trust me?”



She narrowed her eyes in suspicion, “Hallie told you?



“Well…”



“And she’s supposed to be my best friend. God, I’m never telling her anything!”



“Oh come on Alin, as if I’d not find out or at least guessed eventually. I’ve know your jealous boyfriend since we were in high school, as if I wouldn’t know him well enough.”



“So you agree with me too?” She shook her head, “I just don’t understand why he’s so controlling.”



“Of course I agree with you! I persuaded you to work with Daniels. But not the controlling part- it’s a men thing. Our ego takes precedence over common sense I’m afraid.”



She sighed, “You know that’s exactly why I didn’t tell him about meeting with John-”



“But he does have a point though. I mean come on that fucker really were trying to come on to you.”



“If he had trusted me just a little bit more I’d never do stuff behind his back! Am I really naive? Maybe I’ll just have to live with him never trusting me.”



“Honey, no I don’t think you’re naïve. I think you’re too trusting and there’s a difference. People can say shit about you, but trusting someone is not naïve. You just have a good heart. When you put trust someone, whatever they do you’ll subconsciously justify it for them, even if it’s wrong. It’s those fucking pricks like Haltor taking advantage of you.”



Ryan held her hand in his, “As for Jared…sometimes he’s just used to being getting what he wants. I’m telling you, he’s met his match in you. He’s so used to getting his own way, with girls who’s after his money hanging onto his every word. You challenge him; he’s never had that before. Everyone is scared of the almighty Jared; well of course he’d like to think that, so just give it time. Don’t back down. Show him what you’re made off, and if he doesn’t like that, tell him he can talk to your good ol’ boss.” He left her hand and patted her on the head affectionately.



“I thought he was your friend?” She asked smiling.



“He is, but if he’s acting like a dick, I have to interfere, don’t I? Can’t let him bully my best architect.” He winked as she laughed.



She stood up and hugged him, “Thanks, did anyone say you’re the best? Because believe me, if I was single I’ll totally chase after you.” She teased jokingly.



He snorted, “Hey, so it’s that ‘nice guy’ line I always hear. You know that stupid line girls always feed me,” he put on a high pitched voice, ‘I like you Ryan you’re such a nice guy, why is it that I always attract the bad ones.’ Girls.” He rolled his eyes.



“Not every girl likes bad guys, the right one’s probably just waiting for you to save her.”



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



Alin purposely took longer than expected to go home. She was still angry and confused at the way he still treated at her. It wasn’t as if she didn’t understand where he was coming from but it was frustrating that it seemed everything she did or wanted to do have to get his seal of approval.



She turned the key, opening the door and before she stepped inside, a strong burning smell invaded her. Panic set in.



What the hell was going on?



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



Fuck! Jared hissed. What the hell was he doing? He was glad she wasn’t back yet to witness how stupid this idea was. The whole morning he had struggled to accept that he was wrong, but he knew that Alin was right; he did want to control her. It wasn’t because he was chauvinist…okay maybe a little, but he was afraid of losing her. The truth was he came from a poor background and was not college educated, unlike Alin’s many suitors. Losing her to Haltor had made him really feel inadequate, like he wasn’t good enough for her. This was something he liked to keep to himself, even from Ryan, it was better to let people think of him as some kind of callous bastard rather than see his insecurities.



He sighed. Cooking was definitely not his forte. He looked around at the storm he created in the kitchen and thought maybe now was the time to clean up the before she came back and saw the mess he had made.



“What’s going on?” Alin followed the burning smell to the kitchen, and was shocked to see Jared there in…an apron?



Jared knew how stupid he looked, and was actually afraid to turn round to face her.



“I was…cooking.”



Alin stifled down her laughter, “What are you trying to make?” Jared took out whatever he was making out of the oven, which obviously explained the burning smell.



“What is that?” she giggled.



“It was supposed to be lemon cake, before it burned- stop laughing it’s not funny.”



She stopped and realized what he was trying to do. “Lemon cake’s my favourite.”



He took off his oven gloves and walked towards her and pulled her to him, “Alin, I’m sorry for how I reacted today. It’s not you I don’t trust- it’s them.” he leaned his forehead against hers, “I don’t want to lose you again.” His voice laced with uncertainty.



She looked at him, tears glazing her eyes, “Why is it that whenever I’m angry with you, you always do something…y-you always do something like this.” She whispered.



“Because I love you.” He angled her lips to his so that he could kiss her. His arms still wrapped round hers.



Suddenly Alin pulled away from the kiss and looked around the kitchen. Stifling a laugh, she stated “I’m sorry coming home today and seeing you in an apron with gloves on just about did it for me.” She laughed even more, “it suits you- you look really domestic. I wonder what people who think Jared Valentine as some alpha male will think. Can’t wait until I tell Ryan this!”



He narrowed his eyes, “That’s it payback time.” And with that he kissed her tenderly before picking her up so that she could wrap her legs around him.



“Wait- it’s such a mess in the kitchen, shouldn’t we tidy it up first?”



He arched an eyebrow, “seriously? Cleaning the kitchen now? No, I’ll arrange for someone to do it tomorrow,” he placed her on their bed, covering her, “I promise from now I’ll never stop you when it comes to your career. I guess I’m not used to not being the one to look after someone. I’m just afraid that- that someone will take you away from me. You’re too good for me and I- “



“No,” she whispered, “you’re everything I’ve ever wanted. Other men can do whatever they want, but it won’t mean anything, because I’m yours.”



Jared smiled at her words and held her tighter in his arms, “Alin, wherever you want to go to work, be it China, Brazil, India, or wherever your career takes you, I’ll make it work, damn I’ll go with you.”



She looked at him with humour in her eyes, “A workaholic like you? As I recall someone’s going to Beijing on Thursday for a week. At this rate, I’ll be accompanying you.”



Well,” he started to use one hand to undo the buttons of her blouse, whilst his lips linger on hers, “I guess for now, we’ll just have to make do. As for a week in Beijing,” He groaned, “Do you know how hard that’s going to be?”



He unzipped her tight pencil skirt and tugged it off. He started to trace his hand on her wet pussy, her lacy black panties acting as the only barrier, “I guess I’ll just have to get myself off while I lie in bed thinking of you…or I’ll call you up and listen to you touch your wet pussy like last time. Do you remember how good it felt?” Jared watched as she nodded helplessly, his hand playing havoc with her every sense. “Did it feel good because you knew how fucking horny I was listening to you masturbate? Listening to you finger fucking your wet pussy?” Alin bit her lip as his finger applied even more pressure on her clit, his words driving her crazy.



“You know what I haven’t done in a long time?” He took off her panties and using one finger he traced his finger softly along her slit, collecting the honey that leaked from her pussy. He licked it off, sucking his fingers until every last trace of it was gone.



Alin couldn’t control her breathing. He gently opened her legs never breaking eye contact from her, “I want to taste you-”



And before Alin even registered what he said, he buried his face in her wet pussy and started to lick each fold, Alin held onto the sheets and started to twist it, as the sensations continued to build and build. Before long he buried his tongue even deeper, pulling out and then repeating.



“Oh Jared…it feels so good. So good…” she moaned his name again and again, wanting this to never end, but also craving the release so badly.



Jared pulled back slightly to watch her in the throes of passion. To him, she was beautiful whatever she was doing. But right now he had never seen anything as erotic and beautiful than watching her passion come alive. It made it that much sweeter that he knew no other man will ever see her like that. He used his finger to trace light circles around her clit, keeping her on the edge, but not yet giving her the release she craved.

“You know when I was away, all I thought of was tasting you. Hear you scream my name like you’re doing now. Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?”



Suddenly, Alin got up and pushed him onto the bed almost forcefully, and as it was so unexpected Jared fell onto the bed with no resistance. She got on top of him, straddling his thigh, her eyes filled with lust, need and love.



“I knew you would tease me.” she said in frustration, almost anger, “So I’m going to take what I want!” she started to lower herself onto his cock, taking him deep inside her.



Jared rolled his eyes as her wet tight pussy fit his cock so perfectly. He threw his head back as Alin started to grind herself on his hard cock. The pressure on her clit was too much; she lifted herself up and went down, holding onto her breast whilst riding him.



Jared couldn’t believe the sight in front of him. A few months ago she was a virgin, and now she had the power to bring him to his knees. Her passion matched his, and she never shied away from his touches, she initiated it, she needed it as much as he did.



He couldn’t take it anymore, he was so close yet he could tell she was exacting revenge, purposely taking it slow just to give him a taste of his own medicine.



Alin smiled mischievously down at him as she leaned in closer to him. He licked her hard nipples, sucking it while she continued to lower herself. Jared was so close and he could feel from the way she increased her pace and the way she clenched and unclenched round him that she was too.



Slipping both his hand around her waist, Jared suddenly held onto her so that he could roll her over. Before she knew it, she was underneath him. He grinned roguishly at her, and leaned down to capture her lips, his arms wrapped around her. He thrust into her deep and slow, wanting to savour the feeling, even though he wanted so badly to come.



“Alin, I want to come, baby I-” he increased his thrusts, growling as he shook with the pleasure her body was giving him.



The wild streak in his expression as he fought his climax and the way he held her close touching her so intimately sent Alin over the edge, and before she knew it she trembled violently as her orgasm made her moan so loud she briefly wondered if the whole of New York could hear her.



He couldn’t hold back, “I love you, Alin, I love you.” He growled his release while still holding her tightly. Slumping on top of her, Jared still couldn’t believe why when they made love it was so perfect. He had always thought of sex as a form of release, but with her it was nothing but love and passion. Her soft breathing indicated that she was drifting off.



Jared rolled off of her and watched as his come dripped down her thigh. He smiled, hoping they had conceived a child, because when he comes back from Beijing, the first thing he was planning to do was propose to her. Bringing her closer to him, he pulled the covers over their cooling bodies, As sleep claimed him, the last thing on his mind was praying that luck would be with him the second time round.



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



“I’m going to miss you.” Alin hugged him, trying to delay time, somehow thinking that if she held onto him for long enough he would miss his flight.



The dynamic of their relationship changed ever since he came back from California. The fact that he loves her was a big bonus, but aside from that, the first time they were together they were both not ready for a committed and serious relationship. Looking back, as strange as it sounds it was a relief it didn’t work out, otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to appreciate their marriage as she was too young and he too stubborn to actually sustain a lasting and happy marriage.



But now Alin knew him better. She had never seen a gentle side to him, but in the last couple of days, when he held her in his arms each night it felt right, it felt truly amazing to be loved by someone.



“Baby, I’ll be back in a week, it’s not going to be that long.” He said it more to reassure himself than her. It was going to be long. No doubt about that, if five days apart drove him crazy, seven days was unimaginable. Tom looked on slightly amused at seeing a different side to his boss.



Jared ignored him, and taking the sign, he went to buy a drink.



“I love you,” kissing her forehead, he moved out of her embrace. “Baby, before I forget a business client’s wife is hosting a dinner party. His wife is a chairman for a children’s’ charity and he asks that I come along, so we could discuss business and make his wife happy. I think it’s a day after I come back. Its usual business affair, stuffy shit, but I’m afraid I have to attend, you free to come with me?”



She nodded, “If it’s raising awareness for a charity it’ll be great if I attend.”



He leaned down to kiss her, this time it was a lingering kiss, “I have such a perfect girlfriend- beautiful and kind hearted, what did I ever do to deserve you?” He cupped her face, seeing tears in her eyes. “You’ll be the only one I think about.”



After an exhausting flight, Jared was in his presidential suit. The last time he was in Beijing was shortly after his split with Alin. Tao Zhang had promised to recuperate his loss and also to repay for the time in Vegas. Jared remembered the wild days and though they were something he enjoyed very much, he hoped Tao didn’t intend to take him down memory lane tomorrow. After all, Alin was the one he truly cared about and there was no way he was going to betray her trust.



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



Like Jared, Tao Zhang started out as a professional investor and had his hands in anything from food and beverages to retail chains. Now, he was a major owner in a SOE in telecommunications and financial advisory company. Both were very influential companies.it didn’t hurt that Zhang also dabbled in real estate.



Likewise, Jared fared well. Apart from BankSafe, he owned stakes in many American and European telecommunications company. It went both ways. Jared wanted to enter the Asian market, Tao Zhang wanted to dabble in the American and European market. They were essentially helping each other.



If it were based on finance and influential status, Tao would have chosen to work with John Haltor, but unfortunately that was not what he wanted. Jared’s company had the potential to grow and were full with people who were risk takers. On the other hand, Haltor Corporation was conservative and likely to want full say in the direction of the company, something Tao Zhang knew would be trouble if they were to co-operate.



“Valentine! How long has it been? Four years? If I didn’t insist you come, our deal would have been closed over a damn conference call!”



Jared laughed, giving Tao a friendly handshake, “I’m here aren’t I? Tom-” He gestured to the other man, “Tao Zhang, your new boss.”



He laughed, “Jared, you fucker. Listen, tonight since none of us are married here, I’m taking us to the wildest part of Beijing.”



“Business?”



“Business will take about three days- going over the fine print of those contracts. Another few days for press conferences and celebrations. That leaves us a day or two days to get high as fuck, and you can delay your flight indefinitely. Come on, what happened to the Jared I know? Four years ago you were ready to fuck.”



“I’m in a committed relationship.”



“You’re still with her?” Tao arched his brows in surprise, “You know I was surprised about that. Never thought for one second you would be brought down by one woman. Don’t get me wrong though, she’s beautiful. Fuck it. She’s fucking hot. Saw reports on it. Can see why you can’t leave her alone. You’re a disappointment, but hey more woman for me. Anyway, I’ve got your novice here”



“9am tomorrow I’ve got my attorney with me. We can discuss the contracts- and Tom I expect you here promptly.”



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



John flicked through the photos, marvelling how great they looked. He downed the glass of wine, and poured himself another, “Tell me, who the hell did you hire? I love it. I love how fucking good we look. You know you’re worth every damn penny I pay for” John took another sip of his $15,000 red wine that he and Alin didn’t finish that night. Even the bitter taste now seemed unbelievably sweet.



“Glad to be of service.”



“You know Charles, you’ve finally done something good for me, and you’ve finally proved to me why Valentine still keeps shit like you on his fucking leash.” He sniggered, “Anyway I’m attending some business dinner next week- Friday I think. I know that cocksucker and Alin are definitely going. I want the pictures out on Monday. You know what I want. Money as usual will be generous and deposited to your account the following week.”



He hung up and continued to study the photos. If there was a definition of picture perfect, they were. They looked like models…they looked like they were so in love. The picture of him putting his arm around her waist and one on her thigh, while he whispered in her ear… he couldn’t believe how convincing it looked even to him. Anyone seeing the photos would instantly know he was fucking her.



I love Jared. I’ve never stopped loving him



John snorted, seeing these pictures would definitely prove to Valentine ‘how much she loves him’. He couldn’t wait for the pictures to come out. For every newspaper and magazine to see how much she wanted him. John smirked. Wasn’t life just so perfect when money can buy you that level of entertainment?



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



“Anyone ordered delivery?”



Alin looked up from her work, the lamp the only source of light and saw Hallie. “You’re a star.” Hallie smile and handed her the bag, “I’m so hungry.” She only managed to grab a small bagel at lunch and it was now past half eight.



“Woah, stop you’ll burn yourself!”



“I’m sorry but you’re probably the best cook I know!” Alin slurped the pasta nosily, “you make simple pasta nice. God I don’t know how you do it. I’ve always thought you were either going to be a chef or fashion designer-”



Alin stopped suddenly; the words didn’t come out right. Hallie was deep in thought.



“I didn’t mean it that way. If you had focused on a career you would’ve never had two beautiful children-”



“But do you think I could go back to it all?” Hallie whispered meekly.



“Fashion design?”



Hallie sighed, “I’ve been thinking really hard lately. Obviously Penny and Alex are still young, but if I could find someone to look after them whenever I’m in classes’ maybe it could work.”



Alin nodded in agreement, while trying to digest the too hot pasta, “Go for it! Hals, it has always been your dream to go into fashion design. I remember your first year college project for your bridal collection. It was so amazing. Forget Vera Wang, Valentino, or whatever. I’m thinking Hallie Blanc. Isn’t that great?”



“But am I not too old for it?”



Alin took her hand in hers, “Hallie you’re twenty four. How’s that old? As a matter of fact if you graduated a few years back, the fashion industry may not have taken you seriously; you know how young designers are viewed.”



“You’re the best, A. You’re the only one who I could really talk to. Mom and dad have always said that marrying Jack was the best thing to happen to me. Jack? He would never agree to it. But you know what I really don’t care what he thinks. I’m not putting this first. Being a mother will always be my priority. I know it sounds stupid and I haven’t even been accepted, no, I haven’t even applied anywhere but the thought really excites me. “



“I can see the smile on your face. Hallie, I’ve never seen you look this happy!”



It was true. At first Hallie had thought wanting to go back was just a phase and that she was probably sub-consciously using the whole fashion design thing as a decoy for her unhappiness. Then she felt incredibly guilty for not putting her children first.



Hallie smiled, “I’ve got all the forms but I just really needed the moral support.” she hugged her friend; she looked at Alin in amusement, “Wait, what did you say about Vera Wang and Valentino?”



“Huh?” realization dawned, “Oh that. Yeah I said your brand should be called Hallie Blanc.”



“Hallie Blanc?” she laughed. “Why Blanc?”



“W-well you know things with a French and Italian touch to it usually sells kind of well, so Blanc is white in French, and I remembered your college profile was full of pretty, lacy and bridal inspired designs so I thought Blanc would be suiting and-?” Alin stopped rambling when she saw Hallie’s laughter turn into tears suddenly.



“Hals I’m sorry. Did I day something wrong? Please don’t cry-”



“No, I’m just grateful for the support. N-no one ever s-supports me the way you do. You’re the only one who believes in me”



It was true. Her mom and dad had told her to stop chasing a stupid dream. And that marrying Jack was enough blessing. And Jack had refused to let her go back to college and warned her she better not embarrass him and fuck things up. With Alin’s support she didn’t care what anyone else thought.



“Hals that’s what friends are for. And besides…you have to design my wedding dress for me…”



Hallie wiped the tears and grinned at her friend. “Jared proposed?!”



Well, he didn’t but we…these past few weeks have really changed for us. I don’t want to deny it any longer, I love him Hal…and he told me he loves me so damn much!”



“That wedding dress is on me.” Hallie said happily, knowing Alin’s marriage will be nothing like hers.



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



“It’s not that I don’t want to actively involve myself in the projects but it’s not viable for me to take on something new and fuck up the current client base we have.” Ryan wanted so badly to involve himself in the chains of luxury hotels the Daniels Group commissioned to them, but it just didn’t work out like that. Taking in Alin’s shock expression, he knew this was not going down well.



“If you’re out, then so am I.” Alin stated.



“No, A, I’ll still be involved in it. Daniels is most interested in you and he’s happy for me to take a back seat and oversee the projects. I got off the phone with him a few days ago and he told me with all the red tape surrounding the project in China, the projects won’t be officially planned till a few months’ time. I have a few projects myself going on and you’re nearing the end of some of yours, so it’s best if you’re actively involved in this rather than me. I can’t let my attention be divided.”



“But I don’t know if I can handle it on my own.” Alin asked, really doubting the fact that she could do it on her own.



“Come off it. You’re twenty-four. Do you know how many people look up to you? Hell in this firm many junior architect would love to have your creativity and logic. Have more confidence in yourself. Daniels is not just hiring you ’cause you have a pretty face, he knows you’re good at what you do. Besides, I’ll be here to support you. Daniels doesn’t require you to give him an answer straight away.”



“I’ll think about it.” Alin stated, though the commitment was something she was doubtful about.



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



Earlier in the day, Jared had used his free time to shop around. There was only one thing on his mind, which was to buy an engagement ring for Alin. He had stopped at many places but now somehow found himself in an independent jeweller.



“Mr Valentine, this is our newest design.” She opened the box for him to see, “All our designers are either college students are graduates, I assure you, you won’t see anything similar. Tiffany and Cartier may be global, but in my opinion, it’s overproduced and the design is not as creative as ours.”



Jared took the ring out of the box and closely examined the details. It was indeed beautiful, the quality was second to none and he was certain that he wouldn’t find it anywhere else. His expertise was merely down to experience; he had been an avid client of Tiffany, Cartier, and Harry Winston when the girls he used to date would pout and smile for him to add to their collection. Alin deserved better.



“I’ll take it.” Jared took out his card and handed it to the excited girl. He knew exactly what engagement ring he’d give her, this one would just be a souvenir.



Now, Jared sat at the bar and drank his shot. He glanced at his watch: three am. It was three o’clock in the afternoon in New York. He wanted to give Alin a call but he knew she was in a meeting. Tonight Tao had dragged him out, another of his many excuses to party. The club was vibrant, flamboyant and with many people looking for hook ups. Jared had an aura about him that made people know he was important. That was a good quality to have, yet it meant he received many propositions from young, single women. Tao rolled his eyes at him.



“That’s the fifth girl you’ve turned down. That chick was fucking hot.”



Jared smiled at him but remained speechless and took a gulp from his drink.



“You know those girls thought you were gay.”



Jared laughed out loud, “Oh fuck it, not that it’s any of your business but I went out to buy a ring today.”



Tao arched his eyebrows, “My oh my, you really have changed. I can’t say for better or for worst but hey, who am I to judge? Someone finally tying you down eh? Getting engaged doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun though…”



“You just don’t quit do you?” Jared stated but in good nature.



He snorted, “I just can’t imagine why anyone in their right mind under the age of forty-five would want to get married. Listen, tabs all on me tonight, but I gotta run,” he gestured to the girl in his arm. He leaned closer to him, smiling mischievously, “Tomorrow we carry on where we left off, and think of it as a pre-celebration for your engagement.”



Jared lifted his glass to him, “Have a good night, I’ll see you at the press conference tomorrow morning.”



He was walking out of the club as he dialled Alin’s number. “Hey baby, you okay? How’s everything going with the Daniels’ contract?” The club was a few minutes’ walk from his hotel.



“Jared?” he smiled at her sweet voice. “We’ve just had a meeting about it actually-” she heard the loud music slowly fade in the background. “A lot of red tape surrounding some of the projects and Ryan is only overseeing the projects, so I’m not sure if I really want to accept it.”



If he was perfectly honest, Jared wasn’t 100% happy about it. But one thing he was sure was that Alin was really talented. He could manipulate her and tell her how big a project it is and her inability to handle it. Five years ago he would have done that; anything to stop her and stop other men from ‘taking’ her away from him.



“Babe, you’re talented and creative. Daniel’s would be stupid not to hire you. With or without Ryan you’d still be the best person he’s ever hired.”



“You really think that?” To hear him say the words really touched her.



“I’m not saying that because I love you, I’m saying it because I know you’re the best. You shouldn’t doubt yourself so much. Oh and throw in the fact that you’re the second hardest working person I know-”



“Who’s the first?”



“Do you really have to ask? Me of course. Wait, no I take it back you’re third.”



“What?! Who’s second then?”



“Ryan.”



She chuckled, “Fine, but you’ve just proved to me, both of you actually don’t have a life. “Anyway, um where are you. It’s nearly four am in Beijing.”



“Tao dragged me out today to a club.” He didn’t mention part strip club…because it was a white lie and she didn’t really need to know that, because nothing happened. “I’m back at the hotel now. It’s good that the hotel is so close to all the night life.”



“Oh…” he could detect the hesitation in the tone of her voice.



He flopped onto the bed, phone in one hand. Though he was exhausted, sleep was the last thing on his mind. “Alin nothing happened. When you have the perfect girl waiting for you at home. Dressed in lingerie and cooking you the best meal, no other girl can really compare to that. And besides, you’re not just any girl. You’re my girl and I’m you’re guy.”

“That is the lamest thing I’ve heard.” She said but they both knew she wasn’t telling the truth because he could hear the smile in her voice “And may I clarify, I was NOT wearing lingerie when I was cooking. It’s a health and safety hazard.”



He couldn’t help but chuckle, “Okay fine, you weren’t but whatever you wear it has the same effect on me. Hell if you were wearing a bin bag, it’ll still make me horny-”



“So…” Alin lowered her voice, suddenly feeling really daring, “Have you missed me? Has it been as hard for you as it had been for me?”



He didn’t like where this was going. Sleep definitely now far from his mind. “Baby, don’t do this to me.” Jared said and she could hear the strain in his voice.



“I was licking a strawberry lollypop today…and I thought about how much I’d like to put something bigger and harder in my mouth.” He hitched his breath, “I really want to suck your big wet cock, tracing my tongue all around the head, while my hand stroke the sides…” Alin felt herself growing wet. She wanted to take the upper hand like he had last time on the phone, but she was getting pretty aroused herself…



Jared was slowly stroking himself through his trousers at her words. She was driving him fucking crazy.



“Oh god, Jared you have no idea how much I’ve missed having you inside me. I think about you every night when I-”



A knock sounded at her door and Alin just had about enough time to make sure her appearance was acceptable, then she covered the mouth piece.



Jared couldn’t take it anymore as he released his hardness from the confinement of his trousers. But then all of a sudden he heard Alin stop and a muffled noise before she covered her mouth piece.



“Alin? Are you still there?”



Alin was flushed as her secretary knocked and came in telling her the half four appointment with a client was already here. He was an important client who did not like waiting even though it was barely half four. “Thanks Sophie, I’ll be out in just a second.”



She uncovered the mouthpiece and whispered in a rush, “I’m sorry, Jared I have to go-”



“You’ve got to be kidding me!” he growled.



“I’m really sorry. I’ll make it up to you. I love you.” she hung up before he could even begin to protest.



Looking down at the ‘mess’ she created, Jared couldn’t help but smile at his inability to control his desire when around her… or even when she’s thousands of miles away. She brought out the best and worst in him, but instead of letting him get his own way, she always managed to reason with him, unlike other girls who would bow to his every whim. It was beyond him how he’d managed to live without her for five years. With that thought in mind and picturing their future, he drifted slowly to sleep.



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



Tao Zhang certainly lived up to his expectation as a party animal. Using the excuse of Jared’s not-yet-there engagement he managed to persuade him to go out with him for the remainder of his stay. The co-operation between the two was a huge success, and as the press conferences and the news of the two companies working together hit global headlines, after months of speculations from the media, both men watched as their companies’ shares increased in value.



It was the last night of Jared’s stay and though they were business partners, he had come to think of Tao as a good friend. Tonight he had insisted he come to his family home for a wholesome home cooked meal. Jared knew this wasn’t the only reason why he was invited, but he couldn’t tell what was. He brought a gift with him and waited by the door. An elderly woman opened the door. There was no mistaken she was Tao’s mother.



Ni Hao Mrs. Zhang. Ni zenmayang?” She smiled graciously, returning the greeting and gestured for him to take a seat when they were in the main room. Tao appeared and kissed his mother on the cheek. For a flamboyant character his family home was humble and warm. Something Jared admired and wished he had.



After finishing the meal and thanking Tao’s mom, Jared was sitting in his study as both men drank and reminisced about the good time. However, it didn’t escape Jared that Tao seemed to be on edge the whole night.



The meal tonight was partly because Tao wanted to give Jared a good send off. It was hard to make real friends in business, but he found Jared to be genuine and a laid back guy, much like himself. The other part for his invitation was because he had pressing matters to tell him. Tao decided the best way was to throw it out in the open, “Fuck, Jared I’ve got something to show you.”



“Is that why you’re on edge the whole night?”



He reached behind his desk to take out a brown envelope, “One of my acquaintance is a part majority shareholder of Wenner Media LLC and Time Inc, their subsidiary companies include Usweekly and People-”



“You’re talking business with me now?”



“No.” He stated then hesitated, just take a look inside.” He gestured to the A4 size envelope.



Jared reached inside and took out the content. It took a few seconds for him to digest what he saw in front of him. He picked one particularly photo up amongst the scatter. His heart clenched. The pain hit him so hard he was speechless.



“The bid for an exclusive is quite high. Apparently the guy who took the photo said Alin was there till seven in the morning. Obviously the guys at Wenner Media and Time had to double check if they were fake…but they’re not.”



He tried to remain calm while listening to Tao, “Do they know who the seller is?”



“The guy who contacted Wenner Media and Time was just a middle guy. There’s obviously someone who’s behind this. So really you have to keep a look out. It could be someone who’s close to you.”



“Thanks for this.” Jared tried to compose himself. Trying hard to mask the pain. Every picture showed the level of intimacy they shared. He really wanted to rip and burn every picture, but being in business for many years taught him one thing: never show your weakness to anyone.



“I consider you a friend. I’m…I didn’t really want to show you this.” Tao sighed, “Listen Jared, these pictures are going to be released soon, I don’t know when, but there’s nothing to stop it. Both of them don’t want to lose an opportunity to grab headlines.”



Jared gathered the photos and put them back in the envelope, “Mind if I take it?” he asked.



“Go ahead. He paused, before adding, “Jared, your girlfriend may not be the guilty party, just make sure you find out what happened before you jump to conclusions. I know I did with my first fiancée and-”



The words were lost on him. “I know.” Jared cut in. “Tao it’s been great. Say thanks to Mrs. Zhang for me, but I’m afraid I have to go I’ll arrange a conference call after I get back to New York.”



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



The photos were only two weeks ago…the day after he went to California. She certainly wasted no time. He held onto her hand, leaning close to her, whispering in her ear. His other hand drifted to her lower back and then her upper thigh. Another of her leaning into him as she laughed at something he had said. A picture could tell a thousand words, and these pictures definitely did. He went through photo after photo. It was almost like a video, each photo a snapshot of what happened that day, second by second.



But she told me she loves me.



Old habits die hard. Jared wanted so badly to believe she wasn’t like that, but she did betray him in the past, didn’t she? Then he thought back to the day when they went to see Timothy…maybe now that she no longer owed him a penny, she wanted to leave him? Maybe all along she was stringing both of them. Craving all the attention. She’s always loved being center of attention, Jared smiled bitterly. She loved it when men chased after her like a pathetic little puppy. Now that he bared his soul out to her, she finally decided that it was no longer fun to play along. The moments they shared were all a lie. A fucking lie. He dropped his head into both his hands, the pictures splayed on the desk. Pictures after pictures of intimacy.



It might be a set-up, there may be other pictures that show a different side of the story… she’s not like that!



He tried to reason, but as he stifled through the last photo of her entering his apartment…she stayed there till seven in the morning. He shut his eyes in pain. Why the fuck did it hurt so much?



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



Alin couldn’t concentrate at work. Jared had another five hours before landing. It was strange he didn’t call her before departing, but she reasoned he may just have forgotten with all the media hype about his successful merge with Tao Zhang. She was ecstatic for him.



Alin left work a little early to prepare for the meal tonight. She decided on seared scallops, grilled asparagus and a creamy mushroom sauce. It would be filling, yet light enough for him after the flight. As she prepared the meal, she checked her phone: no calls. It was strange because by now he should be on his way home. She decided to call him but after a few rings, it went to his inbox.



“Hey, Jared, when are you home? I’ve made dinner…and also have a surprise for you! Can’t wait till you get home. Love you! Come home quick!”



He listened to the message and every word she spoke, he felt like someone punched him hard. Why did she lie to him? What did Haltor have that he didn’t? He didn’t want to see her tonight, in fact he didn’t want to see her at all. He swallowed the bile in his throat, as he opened the box that contained the ring he was going to give her. The ring that was passed through his family. It was fortunate that he hadn’t given it to her again otherwise he would have given her another chance to throw it back in his face.



Suddenly in a rage, Jared swept everything off the desk. He was angry …but nothing could wipe the aching in his heart. How he wish anger was the only thing he felt. Whoever said a broken heart doesn’t exist must have never fallen in love. Still, there was a strong part of him that kept telling him to go home and listen to her side of the story…but in the end, his insecurities won.



Alin sat at the laid out table waiting, unlike last time, she was dressed nicely and he didn’t catch her whilst she was going crazy over the food. He had always said he was fond of having her long hair down so that he could smooth it down whilst making love to her. She smiled at the fond memories, knowing tonight would be even better because they hadn’t seen each for a week! How the hell did she survive a week without going crazy? She called his phone again just in case. Still, he didn’t pick up.



“Jared, I’m really worried. Where are you?”



She called Ryan but got nowhere. Relief flooded when she called his secretary and was told that he was booked into a suite. When Alin pressed for the exact location, she was apologetic but told her that Jared didn’t want anyone to know where he was. Alin pondered the reasons as to why he didn’t tell her. The last time they spoke was the time when she had teased him. Was he angry because she left him in a state or was he playing with her? It was probably the latter, she smiled at the thought. Alin got up to put the uneaten food into containers and tided up, slightly disappointed that he couldn’t eat the meal that she so painstakingly prepared for him tonight. Before she fell asleep, she reassured herself again nothing was wrong.



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



The next day, Alin waited for his call. She didn’t know what was going on. It was stupid and childish of him to ignore her calls even if she did do something wrong. Her thoughts drifted. Were they back to square one? Where she was nothing more than his…whore. Even the thought of it made her sick. Is that what he wanted to tell her that what they had shared a week ago was merely her delusion? Maybe that’s why he had asked for her to attend the dinner party tonight. Just to tell her that he wanted female companion. Another thought unexpectedly entered her mind: did he meet someone in Beijing? Is that why he’s ignoring her, so that she could take the cue and leave him to be? But it was impossible…they spoke only a few days ago, it couldn’t be that soon already. She shook her head at the ridiculous thought and continued doing some work, when the front door opened.



“Jared?”



He didn’t say a word.



She ran to him, but the expression in his face made her stop, “Um…Sara said you checked into a hotel last night.”



He shrugged as he put down his small suitcase. “Yeah, I had work to do.”



“Oh right, well, I made dinner last night, do you want me to reheat it or do you-”



“I’m not hungry.”



She looped her arms in his, “do you want to go to bed? I’ve missed you so, so much.” she purred.



Fucking lies, fucking lies! That’s all he thought as he stared back at her.



He looked down at her and Alin thought she saw…disgust? “No, I’m tired. Just get ready for seven and we’ll go together to tonight’s dinner. I have work to do.” He didn’t look at her. It seemed he didn’t really want to talk to her either. Alin couldn’t understand the shift. Was he playing with her?



“Jared,” she started but was cut off by him.



“Alin, I have a fucking headache. Maybe you think I was out partying and fucking girls-”



“-I don’t think that-”



“-but I was working. Day and night so that if anything does happen to the company like it did five years ago, I’d have things to fall back on-” he wanted to carry on, but the expression on her face… He walked past her and went to his study, banging the door shut.



It happened so fast. She stayed standing in shock after he slammed the door. She couldn’t comprehend his behaviour towards her. It wasn’t as if he didn’t get the contract. Five years ago. He kept telling her that. If every argument, not that she understood how this one started, but if he kept bringing up what happened five years ago, she couldn’t foresee a future for them. In addition to the fact that she didn’t even do anything five years ago. What could she ever do to regain his trust? How could you regain a trust that was never there? As tears gathered in her eyes, Alin turned back to the room and tried to concentrate on her work.



Jared poured a drink into his glass and gulped it down in one. What was he going to do? He took out the pictures to look at again. Fuck this. Fuck her lies. All her tears were fake and to think he wanted to build a life with her… but his instincts were always right. He was so good at seeing right through people. Maybe he was really wrong. He glanced at the pictures. The images flashing back at him. Ignoring his instincts, he shook his head. He’s been duped again.



Alin zipped up her white dress. Jared had gone to bed after staying an hour in his study. He didn’t look at her as he walked into their bedroom. Alin decided to leave it. Still holding on to the thought that the stress he faced for the past few weeks had gotten to him. She thought maybe after the rest he would be back to his lively self. It was half past six when he emerged from the room, and Alin marvelled how great he looked in a suit and bow tie. He glanced at her direction. But there was no warmth or anything in his eyes.



He watched as she smiled at him. Jared didn’t miss how good she looked. Dressed in a strapless white prom style dress that ended just above her knees, she looked angelic, elegant and sexy. Her hair loosely curled and swept up, make up light but accentuated her features perfectly. She was like a bride on her wedding night. Seductive yet innocent.



Innocent. He scoffed at the word. She was innocent as fuck.



Jared didn’t talk to her on the way there. She didn’t want to make conversation either. If he didn’t want to talk, so be it. She was sick of making the effort and then for him to throw back in her face.



*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*



The dinner party was supposed to be an intimate affair, but it was obvious the host and his wife were anything but wallflowers that enjoyed lapping up any attention they received. Many who ran in their rich and lavish circle were invited.



The host came over to greet them, “Jared, I’m so glad you could make it. Really after the good news with Tao Zhang we thought you’d get fucking hammered. Besides didn’t think you’d come because…” He stopped. It was better for him to see Haltor than him telling now. He turned his attention to Alin, “And who do we have here?” he looked at her from top to bottom and again, now turning his full attention on her, “I’m Fred Price…” He took her hand but instead of shaking it he kissed it, “and you must be the pretty girl who’s brought out Jared to his knees- Alin Fanning, the girl I’ve heard a lot about.”



She was uncomfortable but tried to remain friendly for Jared’s sake, “I hope what you’ve heard is all good things, because if there’s anything bad you’ve heard, I assure you, they’re all just rumors.”



Jared looked down at her in disbelief. She never changed.



“Course it’s all been good.” He was about to carry on when someone called out for him. He flashed a smile at her, “Until next time Miss Fanning.”



Jared left her standing there and she hurriedly followed him to the grand hallway. There was no one there. She decided now was the time to confront his behavior towards her. “Jared, please tell me what’s going on? What have I done wrong? Why are you-”



Suddenly a voice cut in, “Alin, I’m so happy to see you again.” She stiffened. John… and he said ‘Again?‘ Why did he have to say that?! Why was he here now? Why did he have to make her life even more complicated? She was afraid to turn around.



Jared stared at John Haltor as he walked towards them. Alin had her back to Haltor, but Jared saw him come to them. His fucking smirk. That fucking smirk on his face. When he started talking, she stiffened, the color draining from her face. Why, Jared wanted to know. But he knew the answers already: she was guilty. Pain and anger consumed him. Before Alin could do anything Jared pushed past her and grabbed onto John’s shirt, pushing him against the wall.



“Jared, no!” Alin said but both men were ignoring her pleas.



“What the fuck is your problem? Get off me!”



Jared held even tighter and hissed, “You better get out of my sight before I do something you’d regret.”



John took the bait, “oh, I get it now. Is it because I saw your girlfriend two weeks ago-”



She gasped, “Jared it wasn’t like that!”



John lowered his voice, almost to a whisper, so that only Jared could hear, “yeah I enjoyed fucking her tight pussy,” Jared’s gazed narrowed dangerously, “I enjoyed how much she was screaming my name when I dumped my load inside her.”



He released his grip on and turned away from him. John thought he was off the hook, but then all of a sudden Jared turned round and before he could react a hard blow landed on his jaw and his stomach.



“Jared!” before she could stop him, John was on the floor.



“Piece of shit.” Jared spat out.



He clutched at the throbbing pain in his jaw, “What? Just ’cause you can’t satisfy her-” Jared kicked him hard in the stomach again, as he groaned in pain. At that precise moment guests came running out and was shocked to see the display. Grabbing hold of Alin’s wrist forcefully he pulled her away.



Jared held onto Alin’s hand as he casually walked past everyone. They all stared at him open-mouthed whispering to each other. Jared stopped when he walked past Fred Price, “Fred, thanks for the evening but I’m afraid my evening’s just been ruined.” He shrugged his shoulders and left before anyone could muster a response.



When they got outside, Alin immediately pulled away from him, “What’s wrong with you!” she said through her tears.



He held her wrist tightly, gripping it painfully. Using his other hand he opened the car door.

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