Not What It Seems Ch. 08byAscii©
I can't believe it's been eight months. I never intended to leave it that long but when you have deadlines after deadlines of assignments... but this would have been longer than eight months if it weren't for the fact that I'd rather write this story than do research for work. I actually sat in front of my laptop two days before one of my assignments were due and wrote about six pages, so who said I was going to leave this hanging? ;)
I can't express how sorry I am for the wait, and I just want to thank readers who've favourite this story and sends me messages or comments, those little surprises makes me so happy. This goes especially to one reader who always keeps me in check and gives me ideas.
As always thanks to Jim, the best editor. Any mistakes found are totally my fault.
Three days earlier...
"Oh baby, that feels sooooo good, harder yessssssssss.
Charles pumped harder into her, throwing his head back, the sensation threatened to overcome him. He continued thrusting into her, the feeling of her tightness swallowing him. He was about to come...
When at the most crucial moment his phone started ringing.
"Baby, oh baby I'm about to, oh g-god switch that shit off."
Charles picked up his cell and was just about to switch it off when an unsaved number flashed up. A number he had memorized and could recite. A number that was associated with nothing good. He sighed.
"Baby, what's wrong? Switch it off!"
He groaned. He had chased after this blonde for months on end, and now he finally had her. He was so close to coming inside her. Charles pushed her off him, as his dick left her pussy he groaned in frustration. She instantly glared at him as she got up. This was getting tiring, if not a little stupid. He didn't know what power Haltor held, but it made him succumb to his demands like a bitch in heat. But he already knew the answer. Haltor was rich and powerful, he knew better than to not pick up and piss him off. He ignored the woman as she got up and pulled on a robe. He didn't fail to notice the pissed off look on her face and his raging throbbing erection.
He picked up the call and growled, "What?"
John laughed mockingly at hearing his tone, "you got any updates with the deals?"
Charles paused. What he knew was limited. "No, he's been keeping quiet about everything, though there's speculation he's flying out to Beijing and Moscow to discuss the contract. I know the contracts with Petrov are lukewarm, though Zhang seems pretty keen to work with him. Jared recently told me that Zhang was a good friend of his a few years back, so I think it would be a waste of time of you to chase after that contract."
"Good. Make sure you carry on keeping tabs and tell me immediately of changes. I need you to do one more thing for me."
Charles sighed. This didn't sound good.
"You see, I'm getting sick of reports on how happy they are. It's boring me and there's nothing I like more than entertainment."
He laughed, "I'm meeting up with Alin on Monday and I want you to hire a journalist, photographer or whatever the you want- and make sure they get the best intimate shot of us. I want it to be released in the most influential newspapers and magazine. People, USweekly. Fuck, even in playboy, New York Post, Vogue. Whatever. I want the whole world to know. If you do a good job, you'll receive the money. Heard you lost big in Vegas last week-"
"John, I can't do that, do you know how risky that is?"
He snorted, "I told you before, I don't care how you do it, I don't care what the risks are, but you do a good job I'll reward you. Don't think you can fuck with me, I know how much you lost in Vegas. Do this for me and you get double on what you lost in Vegas. "I expect to hear the good news."
John hung up and smirked. Though Charles had a lot of contact in the media industry, John could have asked anyone to do the job for him. In fact it would be done more efficiently. However, as depraved as it sounds, he liked the idea of the power he had over Jared's right hand man. Charles was like a treacherous dog. If he could be disloyal to anyone he could be disloyal to you. John knew it was sad and obsessive to pretend he and Alin had an affair. He swore whenever he was in a meeting or out for social events, everyone would secretly laugh behind his back..
"She left him a week before their wedding"; they'd say. "Bet he's shit in bed"; they'd say. "Oh, Janet, you pined after him for so long maybe now that he's so down, you could be a shoulder to cry on..." Both women were fired.
To be honest, it was really child's play. The Haltor Corporation was a bigger scale in comparison to BankSafe. They really didn't need the money, but to John it wasn't just about money but a matter of reputation. He knew he played a dangerous game. His involvement with Charles meant he had probably broken about a dozen competition law. Still, he couldn't really care less. The satisfaction of seeing Jared's downfall was something he had wanted. How the hell Jared had managed to climb back up five years ago was beyond him.
He knew Alin was Jared's weakness. Not knowing she held a power over him too. John craved to see the replay of the events five years ago. He craved to win Alin back. Showing the world he wasn't a fucking loser. It was an obsession he didn't want to acknowledge. It was sad. So fucking what? No one knew how much it meant to him. How much she actually meant to him. No one. He had waited for her, waited for so long and then she fucked Valentine. Dirty whore.
Using her as a pawn to ruin him was very satisfying. What better way than ruining one's reputation in the business world? John stood in front of the floor length window of his condo, staring down at the world below his feet. Who the fuck dare mess with a Haltor now?
Charles considered the dilemma he was in. Somehow he had this feeling Jared didn't trust him as much as he once had. However, Haltor always paid him too handsomely for him to care. But no matter how much he paid, the money was never enough. He lived in the fast lane which included expensive habits of high class whores, drugs and heavy gambling. Two years ago, in order to fund his lifestyle and keep up appearance, he started to redirect company money into his accounts.
It was a stupid move on his part. Because once it started he was addicted. The money was just too easy to access- add the money he gets from Haltor, it was more than he made in a year. Charles wasn't stupid. He had made sure it was discreet; never taking too much that could arouse suspicions. It was more like pocket money. $5000 here and there. He was never going to make the same mistake as those two executives did five years ago.
However, he knew this game he played was perilous. Haltor was desperate to ruin Jared. Charles knew if he became too embroiled in the game, it could possibly get back to Jared. He could not leave a trail behind.
However, over the years Charles had managed to acquaint himself with a lot of powerful people through his lavish lifestyle. He knew a lot of people and had a lot of connections with affluent media moguls and editors. It was a pity really; Alin was pretty fuckable. It was no wonder Haltor never got over her, but to frame her and intimate that she was seeing Haltor behind Jared's back...that was just sad and desperate. He didn't know what was wrong with Haltor, but it seemed she really did affect him to the point of insanity.
All that thinking was giving him a headache. He had a few days to plan this shit. In the mean time he had more important things to do. He got off the bed, wincing as his painful dick constantly reminded him of the release it needed- and knocked on the bathroom door
"Baby, baby...listen I'm sorry, I had important stuff to do, missing that call would have cost me another diamond necklace for you..."
The blonde emerged from the bathroom with a seductive smile on her face as she dropped her robe. Charles smiled. Life was good and it was about to get better if everything falls into place.
Alin stared at her phone screen. Unable to process what had just happened. All her excitement was gone. John wanted to meet her. After their last phone call, Alin did not expect to ever hear from him again. It was so unexpected she had no idea how to respond. Ultimately, she forced herself to agree. She knew she owed John. He was a public figure and the scandal she had caused always made her feel guilty. She knew that seeing him was the least she could do.
However her guilt was definitely not shared by Jared. In fact it seemed he enjoyed the feeling of winning. Like she was some kind of prize. And taking her away from John had definitely proved a point. If Jared found out he would...Alin couldn't comprehend what he would do.
He went crazy over the night at the Cullen's'. If she was seen with John, he would take it the wrong way. It wasn't as if she and John would get back together. It seemed strange but it didn't feel right to be with another man apart from Jared.
That thought worried Alin. How could she be with a man who was callous and constantly vow to seek revenge from her so called betrayal? She shook her head putting that thought down to him being her first lover. It was always hard to let go of your first love, and that was exactly how she felt.
Alin hated the contradictions, lying to Jared was not something she wanted to do. It might be a white lie, but it was ultimately still a lie. She hated the feeling of guilt but either way, if she went or not the guilt was still there. She was only seeing John as a friend and Jared had no right to choose which friends she could see. Besides, John had told her he would make sure no one knew about this. She trusted him. As a matter of fact what could he gain from Jared knowing?
Jared left the meeting with a bigger headache than before. He had to fly to California on Monday to discuss a possible M&A of two online payment companies. It was likely to be five days, and then the following week he had to fly to Beijing to sign the biggest contract BankSafe had ever received. This was a lifeline for him since the deal with the Russians was unlikely to reach anything beyond a settlement and it was vital BankSafe regained investors' confidence; shares had dipped slightly in the past few months.
Business however, was far from his mind. He wanted Alin to come with him. Five days without her and then possibly a week in Beijing...it felt exactly like it did five years ago when he had to fly all over the world for business, it seemed yet again fate was playing its cruel game on him.
He pushed those thoughts out of his mind and concentrated on today. He had promised to take her out shopping, but that wasn't just what he had in mind. So, instead of asking one of his drivers to pick her up, Jared decided he wanted to pick her up and surprise her. After all the arguments, he decided from this day on he would treat her the way she deserved regardless of the past, because he genuinely cared about her.
From afar he spotted her exiting the main entrance. She was dressed in a floral summer dress with a cardigan, it should have been inappropriate for a typical cold March in New York, but today it was unusually warm accompanied with a slight breeze. The sight of her stirred his desire. Her features touched up by minimal makeup were currently marred by confusion as she slowly pouted her lips. Jared thought of those luscious lips wrapped around his cock. Was it only this morning that they had made love?
He noticed her now looking at him, her face lit up, her lips formed an o shaped indicating her surprise at seeing him. Her happiness was evident as her surprised expression quickly turned into a smile.
Alin knew Jared's driver was ever so prompt so when she looked around and spotted Jared leaning against his Porsche Carrera, with his suit and his charming smile, she knew at this point her feelings for him was stronger than lust. Words couldn't describe how happy she was that he decided to come pick her up. Maybe she was deluding herself but this was almost like a real date.
He watched as she ascended down the few steps. When she was a short distance away from him he reached out and pulled her to him, then pushed her so that her back was against the car.
His lips covered hers, muffling her surprised gasp. His hands moved down to cup her behind while he pushed himself against her, letting her feel what she did to him.
"Jared we can't ...n-not here." She whispered softly against his teasing lips. Her voice sounded weak and unconvincing.
His hands left her behind to open the passenger door. "Get in before we get arrested." He said this more to himself than her.
It wasn't as if Alin didn't enjoy shopping, it just didn't feel right when Jared constantly spent huge amounts of money on her- it made her feel more and more like his possession. Alin knew it wasn't a romantic gesture it was a stamp of possession and authority, him telling her how he wanted her to dress, moulding her into something she wasn't.
Jared took her to the most exclusive boutiques wanting the best for her. He wanted to show her what it could be like to be with him- the luxury lifestyle she could live, the things he could give her that no other man could. It still made him bitter whenever he re-called the heartless way she ended their relationship.
Sometimes he did wonder if she dated John to get back at him or for money. He knew she was never materialistic, he knew even now she hated the fact that he was buying her so many expensive gifts. She was financially independent, and if it wasn't for her father she would never have been in this situation today. Jared didn't know why, but buying her expensive gifts established her position: women he dated in the past were all gold diggers and somehow Jared knew the more he gave Alin, the more he can prove to himself she wasn't any different. She was simply a woman who traded her body for gifts and money.
But now it was different.
Today it wasn't about buying anything lavish for her so that he could belittle her; all that was behind him. It might be sentimental but he wanted to show her how much he cared without having to say it in words or express it to her in a way that made him seem weak. He didn't want to let on how much he cared about her or how when he held her at night he would picture their future together; truthfully Jared was never really the type to confess his feelings to a woman. He wasn't really one to make a dramatic speech about worshipping the ground a woman walked on, especially not to a woman who betrayed him in the past.
Still, he didn't know when he had come to have these feelings for her, it seemed each day and night he spent with her, she had managed to get under his skin and right to his very soul. To almost everyone, Jared Valentine had no emotions, though with Alin he had always wanted to show her, show her he was not like how everyone looked at him, though showing his emotions to her five years ago had turned out great, he thought bitterly.
Worst of all he didn't know whether he should feel guilty about treating her the way he had. Shouldn't he be a better man and apologize for the way he had treated her?
"I hate you...and I wished I had never known you."
To this day those words were still on his mind vividly. Jared knew there was no way he could undo what he had done, he couldn't let her go: even if she thought he was a monster or the devil, he still couldn't let her go.
During the short journey, he had told her he would be leaving on Monday for five days for California, then a few days later for Beijing where he would be staying for a week. There was immediate tension and silence in the car, but it didn't last more than a few minutes before Alin smiled and told him to bring her back something from Beijing. He didn't know whether to feel disappointed or not. He knew he couldn't push her; it was he who had told her she meant nothing to him in the beginning. Jared decided to slowly show her how much he really wanted her.
Alin felt anything but great. Jared was leaving for a total of 12 days. She wanted to believe they were having an exclusive relationship but she knew he would definitely sleep with other girls. He did that when they were engaged, what would the difference be now? It really hurt. What could she do? Demand his fidelity. They weren't even in a relationship. Alin hated feeling so insecure. Why couldn't she hate him? Why did she go and fall in l... stop thinking!
Jared held her hand as they strolled down boutiques after boutiques, stopping occasionally to admire a dress or the delicious displays of cupcakes, though never once stepping in a shop; it seemed Jared had another destination in mind.
To keep her occupied he would whisper sweet endearing comments in her ear as she laughed at what he had to say, she held onto his arm as she enjoyed a carefree late sunny afternoon.
She was so happy she hadn't fully realized Jared stopping. Before she had registered where she was, a well dressed man had escorted them into the shop.
It took her all but five seconds to register where she was. With its sophisticated surrounding and the displays of expensive jewellery, it was obvious she was in Cartier- minus all its customers as it was apparent that Jared had pulled strings to make sure they closed the shop for them.
"Jared, I don't need another diamond necklace-"
"We'll see." He smiled.
The man had given a box to Jared and had excused himself, disappearing as fast as he had come.
"Come," Jared grabbed hold of Alin's wrist and guided her in front of a mirror. "I didn't do this right the first time round...close your eyes"
She felt his eyes on her as he put the necklace on her. His breathing fanning the side of her neck. Opening her eyes as she felt him slightly move away, a beautiful necklace sat on round her neck. He laid his hands' on her shoulder watching her every expression from the mirror as she fingered the necklace.
The night when he gave her the necklace from the auction, he knew it was merely a way of telling her she belonged to him, but this necklace it had a different meaning.
"Jared...but this necklace.-"
"It took a lot of effort, considering how broken it was, the imperfection remains...but it's something I've always wanted you to have back."
"Do you like it?" he whispered as he kissed her neck.
Alin couldn't answer him without giving her heart away. The necklace was the one she had given back to him five years ago, the exact same necklace she had watched shatter to pieces as he threw it against the wall in a rage. She continued to finger it, tracing the necklace. Tears welling up, Alin still didn't know how she could answer him. Why was he doing all this for her? Why did he have to make her feel this way when she was supposed to hate him? Did he perhaps feel the same way for her as she did for him? Or was he trying to make her fall for him so hard that it would break her when he finally no longer wanted her?
She looked back at the mirror and saw him looking at her. She watched his expression and in that instant she saw a glimpse of vulnerability from him. He looked young and almost boyish. It was hard to explain but it seemed he was uncertain if she liked the necklace or not. It touched her.