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Completely baffled, Stefanie exclaimed, “What the hell are you talking about? Conspiring? What enemy?!”
“Axel Black! He’s the enemy!” She pointed accusingly at the door as if Axel was right outside on the other side. “Don’t you know that?! Nick is a petty ass freak who thinks he’s going to destroy me.” She went over to the door and looked out. “Damn them both. He’ll get his though.”
Stefanie could see Nick and Axel talking heatedly about something, but carefully keeping their voices down.
“What do you mean about Nick getting it in the end? You haven’t lost your mind and plan to do something stupid, Jezica, have you?”
“Stupid or the smartest thing ever and leave him. I may have lost that money I saved up, but I can do bad by myself. Who cares Nick’ll find out about the lovers and gifts and affairs.”
“What gifts?” Stefanie inquired.
“Cars, houses,” she cackled. “I paid off their bills and bought lots and lots of stuff.”
“You didn’t think Nick was going to ever find out? A car? A house? What were you thinking, Jezica.”
Jezica shrugged nonchalantly. “It was all his money anyway. I’ll be living okay, while you’ll still be consorting with the enemy.”
“How is Axel Black the enemy?”
“You’re not the smartest tool in the shed, Stefanie,” Jezica sneered as she closed the door went over to the sink and grabbed some paper towel. Blowing her nose viciously, she said, “Especially when it comes to deceit. They’ve all been playing you. All of them.”
“Would all of them include me?” she asked.
Guiltily, Jezica nodded. “I’ve been using you. Thinking I could possibly get something out of you that Nick couldn’t give me.” Tears rolled down her eyes and she blew her nose again. “I thought maybe some smarts would actually rub off and I could… accomplish something.” She hurled the mucus filled paper at Stefanie’s feet. “And you had to go ruin it by getting some balls. Everything was perfect!”
She was thoroughly confused Jezica’s whole demeanor. “Well, I’m sorry I ruined your life, Jezica,” she said sarcastically. “But keep in mind you ruined mine first.”
“I know! I know!” Jezica stressed.
Frustrated with Jezica’s horrible attempt to feel sorry, Stefanie asked, “Have you seen or heard from Lauren yet?”
“No! I haven’t heard a thing! I found that son of a bitch Dexter at the bar where we hang out.”
“Has he seen her?”
“NO!” Jezica exclaimed madly.
“And the money? Did he know anything about it?”
Looking fully disappointed, Jezica said, “Of course not. He pretended he didn’t know anything about that or where Lauren had gone. But all of them are in cohoots. I learned the truth from his bitch ass mother.”
Stefanie didn’t want to care anymore. Walking out, she noticed how Axel and Nick immediately seemed to just stop talking and smile at her as she approached.
Axel pulled her close to him with a deep look of concern.
“I’m sorry, Stefanie, about my behavior,” Nick apologized looking at her, but then sneaking a more worried look at Axel. “I guess misery likes company.”
She figured Axel reamed Nick out about his behavior and she relaxed. Jezica was crazy, or going crazy.
Axel Black was not the enemy. Hopefully, tonight he would be her lover.
“Well, we’re not going to join your pity party if you don’t mind Nick,” Axel said. “Talk to you later and next time you want to discuss business, please make an appointment with my secretary.”
Nick only nodded uncomfortably.
The waiter brought out two small white boxes and Axel tipped the man twenty. “Thanks D,” the waiter said and walked away.
She was about to say something, but then figured maybe she heard the waiter address Axel wrong.
“Ready to go?” Axel questioned.
He escorted her out and his car was waiting for them. When they were inside, he drove away asking, “Do you mind me taking you somewhere? We don’t have to get out of the car. I just would like to share something with you.”
She nodded her acquiesce.
“I do apologize for Nick just showing up like that,” he said.
“It’s really no problem. I mean, Jezica is doing him wrong. I can understand his frustrations. He made some bad decisions in college and no matter what how I tried to warn him he just wouldn’t listen.”
They pulled up to a red light and he looked at her suspiciously. “Warn him?”
“Yes. I think he thought I was just saying things because I liked him a lot. I mean I did. He was like my college crush and I just thought… you know for a moment in my life, I really believed in love at first sight. Nick made me feel like I was normal for the first time.” She sighed regretfully, but not because she missed those days, she just still cared for Nick as a friend and wished she could have warned him better about Jezica.
Stiffly, he asked, “But what exactly did you warn him about?”
“I said Jezica didn’t love him like I loved him.”
“And do you still?”
She saw the answer to this question meant a whole hell of a lot by the intensity in his eyes. Shaking her hand and putting her hand on top of his, she said, “No, Axel. Once I knew Jezica’s claws was in him, I knew I was no match for her.”
“And that’s why you won’t let yourself fall for me because you think Lauren’s going to get her claws in me and do the same, right?”
“I’m confident, but there’s just this little fear that yes, she will.”
The light changed green and he took off. Taking her hand in his and pulling her knuckles to his lips, he said, “She can’t.”
“Because she’s not you, Stefanie. I love you. I’ve always loved.”
Her heart did a quadruple flip and she smiled because his words were sincere. If he kept this up, she’d be definitely in love with him by the end of the night.
They pulled up in the parking lot of the Erma Henderson Marina owed by the City of Detroit. With the fall rolling in, a lot of the boats were moved to storage. He was able to drive down the Marina and park in front of a seventy foot three floor white boat.
“You like her?” he questioned.
She blinked twice and couldn’t believe what he was showing her. “That’s yours?
He nodded. “It’s a current year Alaskan Raised Pilothouse. I just got her a few months ago after I bought the island in Lake Michigan. Thought it would be fun to travel around Michigan on the Lakes keeping warm through the winter.”
“What?” she seemed dazed by the capacity of wealth he had.
Stefanie was no spring chicken, but the majority of her wealth she put in stocks and bonds or large savings accounts because she wasn’t into material things much except when it came to electronics.
“The boat. What do you think of her?”
Trying not to seem overly impressed, she shrugged, “It’s nice, but do you think you’re trying to compensate for what’s lacking?”
He chuckled. “Are you trying to hit below the belt or just being sarcastic?”
“A little bit of both,” she teased.
Leaning over to her, he asked, “Can I kiss you Stefanie Kent?”
At that point, he could do a lot more than that. Calmly, she said, “Yes you may Mr. Black.”
A wicked look of triumph crossed his features as he dipped down and gave her the sweetest kiss the world could ever imagine. Yes, she was fully falling in love with Axel Black.
La Revanche des Trois (Revenge of Three) – Chapter 19 (c) 2011 Sylvia Hubbard. All Rights Reserved.
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