Mariana took a sip of wine and lightly sighed. Maybe it was her fault for holding on to the past and not being concentrated fully on the future. B. was a great man who all but asked her to move in with him. Her family loved him. Her other friends adored him. They had a great relationship and it was never a dull moment between them.
Of course, the comparisons naturally came:
Asking her to watch over the house while he went away on a trip.
Asking her to move in a short time later.
A proposal would happen after that.
Maybe not the last one. A girl can dream, huh?
“You shouldn’t be alone tonight,” a familiar voice said in front of her.
Mariana looked up and met eyes with Scott. Damn, he was gorgeous. His emerald eyes sparkled in the candlelight and there was a slight smile peeking at the corner of his lips. She briefly inhaled and was blessed with his earthy cologne.
She should’ve been happy to see him but the anger from B.’s revelation clouded her jubilation. “What are you doing?”
“I’m doing what Bernard is doing if I assume correctly,” Scott rocked back on his heels, “having dinner at a very expensive restaurant with my girlfriend.”
“You know what I mean, Scott. B. told me about his future trip overseas,” Mariana’s eyes narrowed at him, and there was no sign of elation within them, “he told me you were behind his new tour.”
“B. is very talented, Mari. He needs all the promotion he can get and I’m willing to help him with that.”
“Stop,” she was curt, “he doesn’t need your help.” Scott looked around the restaurant and then sat himself down at her table. “I didn’t invite you to sit.”
“I don’t care,” he brushed her off. He motioned to a server to bring him a drink and one was promptly served. Scott took a sip of his whiskey and chewed it, savoring the smoky flavor. He swirled the amber liquid in his glass for a short while before he turned his attention to Mariana. “Your boyfriend is passionate about something and I happened to have the right connections to make sure his dream comes to fruition. And you’re telling me you don’t want that to happen?”
“I wouldn’t care if it wasn’t you,” she clarified, not moved by his intimidation attempt, “it’s the fact you are so insistent in helping him that makes me wonder what this is really about.”
Scott took another sip of whiskey and leaned back in his chair. “And what do you think this is really about?”
“You do not want me to be happy,” she held eye contact.
“Au contraire, mi amor. I want you to be very happy.”
“You don’t want me to be very happy with him,” Mariana held her ground.
Scott played with his whiskey glass. “That’s a provocative statement.”
“It’s a true statement,” she replied.
“So you think.”
“So I believe.”
“Don’t believe everything you think,” he replied and Mariana uncomfortably shifted in her chair, “your happiness is all I care about, Mariana, contrary to what you believe. I have never wanted you to be unhappy because of something I did and yes, I’ll admit I did things that made you very unhappy and I sincerely and truly regret those things. But I will not sabotage your relationship for my sake. If I didn’t want you to be with Bernard, you wouldn’t be with Bernard.”
“You may have B. fooled into thinking you fully support him but we both know that’s not the case,” Mariana revealed, “you’re keeping tabs on him like you are on me.”
“You did not have to come back to McCormick, Mari.” Scott’s fingers circled the whiskey glass. “You chose to.”
“McCormick had the best package out there and it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.”
“It was an offer you could have refused and you didn’t,” Scott pointed out. “Now let me ask you—which one of us is keeping tabs on the other?”
“Do not flatter yourself,” Mariana retorted and Scott raised an amusing eyebrow, “I wouldn’t choose a job at McCormick just to spy on you.”
“Of course you wouldn’t,” Scott replied back as Dove took center stage at the dance floor behind Mariana, “I would hate to think you hate me that much, to care about what I’m doing.”
“You are convinced that I hate you and truth is…” Mariana briefly closed her eyes and counted to ten. There was a thin line between love and hate, though sometimes, it seemed that line became blurred. The man she would’ve done anything for was the same man who made her disgusted with anger.
She let out a small sigh and slowly opened her eyes. “I don’t ha—” Mariana stopped speaking when she realized Scott’s attention was behind her. She turned around and saw Dove grinding against another man in the middle of the dance floor. She was slightly bent over, moving her ass against the man’s crotch before she stood up again and ground more against his body, all the while locking eyes with Scott.
“You were saying, Mari?” Scott’s voice made Mariana sharply turn around to face him. A small smile formed on the corners of his lips as his eyes twinkled in delight in what Dove was doing.
“Am I boring you?” Mariana asked with a jealous annoyance in her voice.
“No, not at all.” Scott’s eyes danced from his ex-girlfriend to his current. “Dove was simply telling me something, that’s all.”
“That she wanted you take her back to her home on Whore Island?” Mariana snickered.
S&M IV, Part 2 is about to LIT.
I Need You is available on Amazon, All Romance, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and other retailers.