Looking around her, she wasn’t familiar as to where they were, but it looked a long way from home, she looked over at him, “Where are we?”
“I’m headed to my meeting,” he answered as if that were obvious.
“I thought you were taking me home.”
“I never said that,” he refuted. “I ask if you wanted a ride.”
Chon wanted to throw the phone at his head but was scared he might drive off the road and kill them both. “I’m not prepared to go to any meeting, Mr. Zane.” She looked through his phone to see he was meeting with Alejandro Bellini, from Bellini Entertainment and Hotels, one of the largest minority hotel owners in the United States. He owned the five-star boutique hotel in Detroit, St. Royal on the Boulevard and it looked as if Dorian was headed in that direction.
“You can call a cab when we get to my destination,” he said. “It’ll be my treat.”
She gripped his phone to hold herself from hurling the device right in his gorgeous face.
“You know drinking heavily and reporting to work in your condition does not bode well for a very good reference for you, Ms. Tolbert.”
“As I said before, it’s my day off, Mr. Zane. You awoke me at an ungodly hour.”
“Ungodly? Six a.m. isn’t ungodly. It’s when sober people should be up and ready for the day.”
“It was four a.m when you called,” she corrected.
It looked like he was trying not to smile. “You said you were my slave. I took that literally. At my beck and call – anytime; any day.” He pulled into the St. Royal Hotel valet parking. The valet opened her door and she happily got out, glad to be away from him.
Dorian walked to the front door of the hotel and waited for her to come to him to bring his phone.
“I can have the lobby call you a cab,” he said as if he was doing her a favor.
Stiffly, she said, “Thank you, Mr. Zane.”
He started to walk away but turned around. “Will you be at work tomorrow, Ms. Tolbert?”
“Yes, Mr. Zane. I don’t quit easily.”
He smirked, and she saw his eyes drift down her body to settle on her midsection. He had slipped his hand into his coat pocket as if he held something wonderful there. “Will you be wearing underwear when you come to work?”
It took everything in her not to blush. “Of course, Mr. Zane.”
“Good,” he said, licking his lips. “I’ll work harder on getting you to quit.”
“Try all you want, Mr. Zane,” she challenged. “But I’ve never let down a client whether they wanted me to or not.”
He walked back up to her and the taupe flecks in his eyes seemed to dance in excitement. “So there is nothing I can do to make you quit?”
“Nothing,” she said confidently. “Whether or not you realize it yet, you need me. And I’m going to make you realize it.”
He licked his lips again, slower this time, as his eyes visually caressed her, pausing again at her midsection as if he could see right through her clothes, before returning to meet her eyes again. “I love a challenge, Ms. Tolbert.”
She stepped to him just shy of touching his body. “I won’t give you the keys to drive me crazy, Mr. Dorian Zane.”
Dorian leaned down with his face millimeters from her lips. “Then I’ll just have to steal them.”
As she watched Dorian Zane walk away, Chon was really scared of what this man had planned for her sanity.
One full hour she sat in the lobby trying not to look like a two dollar hooker. She was even more exhausted before a cab pulled up and picked her up. “What took so long?” she asked the cab driver.
“The hotel said they were instructed not to request a cab for an hour. I was paid an extra fifty to wait exactly an hour before coming,” the driver said.
Chon had a feeling Dorian Zane most likely told them to make her wait that long.
At least the hotel allowed her to charge her phone. The entire time, Chon watched as Dorian changed calendar items, appointments and meeting times.
She didn’t mind him taking control of his scheduling and she was actually glad he was learning fast to rely on his technology. He even answered all his urgent voicemails and handled those calls or at least pushed them to complete.
Most creatives took a while to adjust to using technology, but he seemed to acclimate to it well.
This put her mind at ease. Before getting home, she was able to reschedule all her appointments and meetings. She also remembered she had left her car at Cliff Bells valet parking. They promise to have it ready for her whenever she came to get it.
Walking in the door of her home, Chontook full notice that things were still a little out of place. It was as if someone had been looking around the house and tried to put things back to normal. A robbery was her first, but her computer, laptop, and television were all there.
In her work area, someone had gone through the drawers and then in her bedroom someone had gone through her closet and drawers.
Austin had been the only person in her house, supposedly unless when he dropped her off, Tracy had come in with him?
Chon wasn’t going crazy, she was positive Tracy had been in that yellow Aztec with Austin early this morning.
When she called Austin to find answers, she was immediately pushed to voicemail and she didn’t leave a message. She didn’t even text him.
She would try to see face to face at work and find out what was going on.
Her pillow never looked so good and she wasn’t even sure if she fell or crawled in the bed. Either way, it felt so good all over as Chon descended into blissful sleep.
The tropical smell filled her nose, and the pressure was on her waist.
She was dreaming or remembering. Austin had never did this and it was so dark, but she felt… so good.
Electrified pulses shook her body, taking her senses in directions she couldn’t logically explain.
She was moaning, crying, screaming until…
Awaking in her bed soaked to the bone in sweat, Chon looked at the time. It was close to nine p.m. and she still needed to get her car.
Getting out of bed, she stripped or more like peeled the clothes off her body from the night before.
She looked around for the panties that matched her bra, but she couldn’t find them anywhere. Would Austin have taken them?
He had never done that!!
Hell, he had never used his mouth on her before. She gnawed on the tip of her index finger as she wondered and pondered why had she dreamed of something that had never happened to her.
Calling a cab to take her to her car, she was very glad she hadn’t drove it home.
Had Austin tucked her in?
Why wouldn’t he answer her call?
That was easily excusable. He was engaged, but if Tracy had been with him? Damn!
Chon brain screamed at not knowing answers to the questions.
Maybe she had imagined that too. Maybe she had just imagined everything.
Last time she had gotten drunk she thought things; Crazy things and Austin had told her she was just imagining things.
Yes, she was imagining things all over again just like before because that would be silly for a yellow Aztec and Tracy to be at her place! Very silly.
Hell, Chon should be focusing on her own guilt about letting Austin back in her life. Just because he did her this only favor by getting this big account so she could make the money she needed, didn’t mean she had to let him back in her life.
Austin broke the relationship off first right after high school prom when she gave him her virginity. She was nineteen years old. Grandmother Wei made the school hold her back in eighth grade because Chon had scored below a 3.0 GPA.
Being older than all the kids and a grade behind from her peers made it truly difficult for Chon. She was highly intelligent and Grandmother Wei knew this, wanting Chon to enter high school with a GPA that was at the top of the game, not average.
“You will never get in honors classes with a GPA like that,” Grandmother Wei snorted.
Chon ended up graduating with a 4.0 and perfect attendance from high school. Many attributed to her repeating the grade over again with her intelligence and praised Grandmother Wei for doing what she did. Yet, Chon never thought so; Being left behind had made it difficult for her to even socialize with boys.
With Grandmother’s Wei’s strict upbringing and determined for Chon not to end up like her whore of a mother, Chon further distanced herself from associating with men altogether never understanding how to open up natural dialogue with them.
Being Craig’s best friend, Austin had been the only boy who had paid attention to her and been around. Going to the prom with him seemed natural because it was better than going with her brother.
When they left the prom, Austin suggested a hotel room. In her innocence, Chon agreed to this not really knowing what was to come. As soon as the hotel room door was closed, he was feeling on her, touching on her and kissing on her.
She was overwhelmed with what to feel and just let things go the way he wanted them to go. Grandmother Wei had not told her what to do, nor had Chon seen pictures or read books about what to expect. She had done a sex education course, and all she knew was that they were supposed to use protection.
Once it was over, and he was jumping out of bed and putting on his clothes on.
“Get dressed,” he ordered.
Chon had become accustomed to being displeased and not getting what she wanted. Grandmother Wei had hurt her so many times verbally, and with nonchalance, Chon usually kept her feelings to herself.
Austin’s words and actions had hurt at that moment, and Chon just wanted to do what she had always done when this had happened… eat.
Since there was no food around, she got out of bed and put back on the prom dress he had almost ripped off her body just a few minutes ago. “What’s wrong?” she asked, knowing he was acting distant.
He gave her a long hard look and said, “Craig can never know we did this, okay?”
Nodding, she agreed because if Craig knew Grandmother Wei would know. “I promise,” she said.
“And we can’t do this again, Chon.”
“Why?” she asked with frustration.
He looked at her as if it were obvious. “Grandmother Wei is not going to let you out of her sight, and she certainly doesn’t want a man like me around you.” He smirked disgustedly. “That old bat don’t want no man around you. Thinks you’re cursed to become your mother.”
She didn’t deny that what he was saying, yet she implored to him passionately, “But I love you.”
He smiled and cupped her cheek. “Nah, Chon, you don’t feel that way about me. Plus, when I marry, I plan on marrying a woman who only wants to give it to me.”
“I would only do that,” she beseeched.
“How do I know? What if another guy had asked you to prom? And then asked if you wanted to go to the hotel room? I know you would have just gone, wouldn’t you?”
She didn’t know how to answer since only he had ever asked her out.
“So grow up and perhaps… But now… We can’t see each other again.” He put on his coat. “Come on and let me take you home.”
So confused, Chon had no idea how to understand what was happening or how to make things better for herself. She damned her grandmother for shielding her from human experiences, especially those that had to deal with men.
Over the years since high school, Austin had used her heart, her body and her expertise to help him, but at no point helped her – even though she had made sure she gave herself to no one except for him.
So many nights of frustration, so many times she wanted to just go to his doorstep and throw herself at him, so many days of just crying in loneliness, so many hours of eating and eating and then purging and purging… all for him – all because of Austin.
When she had agreed to help him graduate and get a good job after graduation, she asked him in return if he could help her convince Craig to give her Grandmother’s Wei’s money.
Grandmother Wei had passed away in Chon’s third year of college and left Craig to head over the trust.
On her deathbed, Grandmother Wei told Chon, “When you are ready, the money will be all yours.”
That was the gist of instructions Chon had been left. Unable to hire a trust attorney or get any legal help, to this day Chon was still confused about how to get her hands on money that she felt was hers.
By this time also, Austin, being a year older than her, hadn’t been able to graduate from college on time because he was partying too much and didn’t know how to put together a resume or find a job.
With her skills, he was able to get several great offers and wouldn’t have the job he had if it had not been for her.
He reneged on his promise to convince Craig.
When she awoke partially sober in his bed the night after his graduation party, being roughly shaken awake from him and told to get dressed, she thought it was like high school all over again.
“Are you going to talk to Craig today or soon about the money?” she asked.
“Chon? Do you know what you are seriously asking me to do? If I talk to Craig about the money, he’ll know about us, and we can’t have him know about us. He’ll never respect you. He’ll think you’re some slut that throws yourself at anyone and everyone. You’ll never get your hands on the money.”
“But you know I’ve only been with you,” she implored. “You could tell my brother that.”
“Craig won’t believe that. He’ll just think you opened your legs for a wink and a smile. That’s all I ever do to get you in my bed.”
“But I’ve only been with you!” she protested. “Only you.”
“You say that now, Chon, but how do I know? Get dressed and get out of here before Craig sees you leave out of my hotel room. He’s only down the hall. Hurry up.”
He walked out of the hotel room leaving her there by herself.
Yes, she had cried, but also, she had gotten up and gotten dressed, drove herself home and just left everything like that. The gallon of ice cream and an entire cake hadn’t helped ease her pain.
It also kept away the confusion of what had happened on his graduation night. Austin had gotten her drunk, and Chon couldn’t remember what had happened or what they had done from the moment she took her third drink of wine.
Waking up naked in his bed told her she had given her body to him.
She knew he used her, but there had been hope of renewing their relationship.
This job had been the first time Austin had been nice to her or given her anything. She could hope again, couldn’t she? Should she?
Be smart, Chon. He’s still using you. He needs you on this project most likely to be his eyes and ears to Dorian Zane, which no one seemed to get close too, she told herself.
Last night had been all about lust, and just a yearning to feel wanted for just one more time before he took the big plunge of getting married.
It was wrong, and Chon had to make a promise not to get involved with Austin ever again.
All Rights Reserved. 2016 (c) Sylvia Hubbard
Flashbacks are not my forte, but this one was really important to do in order to understand the relationship between Austin and Chon. I could have done it in a dialogue but decided against that.
I felt this was better. You really get to understand how Chon cannot handle being sociable with a man. Explaining her feelings or even understanding her feelings with a man.
Also in this chapter I mention Alejandro Bellini. Yeah, he’s a foe to reckon with and yes, he will have his own book, once I get into the Bellini Saga. Not now, but soon.