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Billionaire's Kiss Sloan Storm 2022/8/3 13:48:12

While I didn’t feel responsible for her actions, I did care what happened to her. The problem was she hardly spoke to me at all anymore, so even if I tried to help, I couldn’t. It was about as close to a ‘‘no-win’ situation as you could get.

And so it was when I arrived in town a couple of weeks after ‘the call’, things had almost completely stalled out between us. She seemed content to leave it that way, but I had no goddamn intention of allowing her behavior to drag the business down any longer. I hadn’t alerted her to my visit, so after arriving at around nine o’clock in the evening, I headed straight for the apartment.

Clutching the key in my hand, I slid it into the lock and turned it until it clicked open. As I entered, I looked to my left and saw the electric blue flicker of the television along the wall across from it. I closed the door and headed towards the living room and as I did, Maddie appeared to my right, clad in her bathrobe.

Her face carried a solemn appearance. I’d never seen her look so disheveled. I stood in place and swiveled my head as she shuffled past me without a word or even a glance, as if I were a ghost. My eyes trailed her as she plopped down on the couch. As she took her seat, Maddie tucked her legs underneath her robe, then picked up a glass of wine and sipped it. What little remained inside the bottle sat on the living room table within easy reach.

“What do you want, Grey?” she muttered, as she flipped the channel.

She still wouldn’t look at me.

What did I want? What did I want? I wanted my business partner, my lover, my goddamn friend. I wanted Maddie back and so, that’s what I told her.

She shook her head and mumbled, “Okay. Well, I’m right here.”

“No, that’s not what I meant.”

“What did you mean, Grey?” she asked. “Oh, do you want to fuck me?”

As she finished, she tilted the wine glass up and after the maroon liquid slid down her throat, she casually tossed it aside. The glass hit the floor and shattered. Shards radiated in all directions as it did.

I turned my head back towards her.

“Come on,” she said, as she smacked the wine off her lips. Maddie spread her legs and pulled her bathrobe open, exposing herself to me. Expressionless, she looked up at me and without blinking, she continued, “Come fuck me, Grey. That’s what you want. That’s all you want isn’t it?”

I looked down at her in utter disappointment. I felt like I didn’t know this person. And the last thing I wanted to do was fuck her. Snapping myself out of it, I nodded, straightened my tie and began to walk to the front door. As I passed by her, Maddie’s face flickered to life in my peripheral vision.

“Where are you going, Grey?” she said. Her tone elevated with each step I took. “Don’t you want fuck me anymore?”

I resisted the urge to curl my fingers into fists as I walked. Instead, I kept looking straight ahead. If I stopped and fed into it, nothing good would happen.

“What’s the matter, Grey?” she yelled in a drunken slur. “Don’t you want to fuck me anymore!!!?”

Just then, I heard Maddie get to her feet, followed by the sound of the wine bottle being dragged across the table.

“Maddie, don’t!” I yelled as I spun back to face her.

She clutched the bottle upside down and held it by the neck. As she did, what remained of the alcohol dribbled down her robe, leaving a trail of red. Maddie scoffed as she looked at me, shrugging her shoulders with a single jolt of sinister amusement before releasing the bottle from her grasp.

It hit the floor with a thud but didn’t shatter. Instead, it spun out of view as it vanished beneath the sofa. For an instant or two more she glared at me, then turned away and began to walk back down the hall towards the bedroom. As she did, the listless expression she’d greeted me with minutes before returned, disfiguring her delicate beauty once more.

“Get out,” she muttered as she disappeared from sight.

I sat straight up in my bed and sucked in a huge gasp of air. Wincing, I put my hand on top of my head as I groped my nightstand in search of my phone. Once I found it, I palmed it and flipped it over to check the time.

“Fuck!” I exclaimed with a loud whisper.

Battling a wicked Merlot-assisted headache, I stumbled to the bathroom to get ready as fast as I could. Best case scenario, it would hardly leave me fifteen minutes for a twenty minute commute.

As it turned out, Katy never flushed my keys. In my stupor, I hadn’t noticed she slipped them in her bra. Oh well, it was for the best because, uh, did I act like an ass. Everyone does it from time-to-time, of course, except my ‘times’ we’re getting closer and closer together and lasting for lengthier and lengthier periods.

Yet I got ready as fast as possible and decided to chance it with my makeup and put it on in the car. I threw open my bedroom door, broke into a half-run, but almost as soon as I reached the end of the hallway, I stopped dead.

Not more than ten feet ahead of me, Grey lay there sound asleep on the couch, with one arm and leg hanging off of it. I looked at him for a moment. He seemed so peaceful sleeping there. His breath rose and fell in a steady cadence.

I almost, almost, almost forgot how mad I was at him last night until I saw the wine bottle underneath the couch and remembered. I thinned my lips and refocused myself. Clutching at my purse strap, I tugged the heavy bag up over my shoulder and walked over towards him.

“Grey,” I began. “Get up.”

Now the man was a heavy sleeper, but this was ridiculous. Not so much as a flinch from him.

“Grey!” I yelled. I reached down and poked him. “Wake up!”

“Unnhh,” he grunted. He lifted his head up from the sofa and as he did, I noticed the imprint of the couch design had transferred itself to his face. As mad as I was, I couldn’t help myself and started to giggle. Here before me was one of the country’s richest men, asleep in his dress shirt and slacks, looking up at me with a face that looked the inside of a waffle iron.

“What?” he said as he rubbed his eyes and stretched at the same time. “What’s so funny?”

“It’s nothing,” I said, as I attempted to paint a scowl back on my face. “You have to go. I’m late.”

“Hmm?” he said, as he sat up and stretched. “Late? Late for what?”

“Don’t worry about it.”

The morning sun cut across his cheek as he looked up at me. Even with a waffle face, he looked so damn adorable. His usually perfect hair was ragged from a night on the sofa. Unshaven, a rugged swath of stubble cut across his face making him look extra squeezable. Ugh, it’s the same reason I couldn’t get a dog. I could never stay mad at something cute. One of my tragic flaws.

“Oh right, the audition,” he nodded as he leaned back into the sofa. He propped his feet up on the table and continued, “That’s canceled.”

What little bit of weakness I felt for him evaporated in that instant.

“What?” I said in a mix of confusion and disbelief. “Canceled? Why? How do you know about it?”

He smiled as he looked up at me. “Well because I had it canceled, Maddie. You’re not going.”

My eyes scanned for something in the room, anything, I could beat him with. Instead, I balled my fists and fired back, “What do you mean, you canceled it? Goddamn you, Grey!”

Just then, I yanked my bag off my shoulder and hurled it at him. He ducked to the left as it just missed him. As the bag collided with the wall, a large picture that hung over the couch shifted, threatening to fall on his head.

I spun in position and marched back down the hall towards my bedroom.

“Maddie!” Grey yelled. “Wait! You don’t understand!”

I slammed the door, ran across the room and leapt through the air onto my bed. As I did, I buried my face in a pillow and screamed into it. A moment later, I heard the door to the bedroom open and as the tears began to moisten the pillow beneath my face, I heard Grey walk towards me.

I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t fight him any longer. I was exhausted and on the verge of drinking myself to death over it. I felt his hand touch my back. I pushed myself and screamed as I slapped his hand away.

“Shut up, Maddie, goddamn it!” he yelled. “Shut your fucking mouth and listen to me. Jesus!”

I’d never seen him like this before. Grey’s entire body flexed as he glared down at me. Wiping the tears away from my face, I hugged my knees to my chest as he rubbed his chin and began to talk.

“If you would just listen to me. Fuck. Will you let me say what I need to say without going insane?”

I swallowed hard as I looked up at him for several seconds.

“Yes,” I muttered into my kneecaps.

“What?” he exclaimed.

I lifted my head up. “Yes, I will listen.”

Over the next fifteen minutes or so, Grey explained everything to me. He’d canceled the audition because he’d made the decision that he would fund the movie after all. The very same one he’d canceled after I got the part weeks ago. I didn’t know what to make of it or how to feel, but I didn’t want his charity or worse, his pity. And as he finished talking, I let him know it.