This is chapter 7, part 1 (more to follow) re-written from Jake Carrero's perspective as per requested by you, the lovely fans. (The Dance)
Please note there is swearing and sexual references and this is not suitable for those under 18 years of age.
Read at your own risk!!
Read at your own risk!!
Jake shifted in his seat for the millionth time and tried once more to get his brain to focus on the laptop on the highly polished walnut surface. He just couldn’t keep himself on track lately.
The sound of a female clearing her throat startled him to look up and the impatient stance of Margo waving a piece of paper with a raised eyebrow suggested she had been talking to him while he was zoned out.
‘Sorry. What?’ He frowned and sighed heavily, pushing himself back into his moulded leather chair and rolled up his shirt sleeves in agitation.
‘For god’s sake Jacob. I have been here for three minutes talking at you. You need to just bloody well call her.’ Margo’s stern tone did nothing to help his current mood and he just shifted forward again to try and ignore that intent, chastising glare. He went to his laptop, ducking his head in an attempt to dodge her blue eyes and typed something aimlessly.
‘Don’t know what you’re talking about. And less of the Jacob…’ He shrugged with one shoulder and pushed images of Emma from his head for the millionth time. He wondered if maybe he should remind Margo that personal relationship aside, he was still her boss.
Damn Emma for always being inside his head.
‘Sure!…. Because moping around like a love-sick kid for weeks on end after impulsively firing the best assistant you ever had means nothing. Look…. You may not want to spell things out to me but it is pretty obvious you crossed the line with her, problem being that for some stupid reason you then let her go or should I say, pushed her away.’ Margo moved towards him and perched her tight skirted ass on his desk the way Emma used to do anytime they had time in here. He shook his head to dislodge it from his mind’s eye and instead went back to typing pointless words on a ruined document. ‘Stop that.’ Margo covered his hand with hers and stopped him from continuing. He yanked his hands free impulsively, agitated, pushing back his chair and getting up to walk up and down the length of his windows, finding no peace in the skyline out there for once.
‘I didn’t just let her go…. It was never going to be anything more for her, so I stopped myself from crossing that line again….. Why are we even talking about this? Is there something I can actually help you with?’ He stomped back to his seat, not sure what the hell he was even doing and slumped back down, creasing his shirt and not giving a damn, running his fingers through his cropped hair and frowning once more at the stupid document on screen.
‘You can figure out what you’re doing with these then… Deal with it yourself. I do not happen to like dealing with the Giovanni stubbornness in you, short sighted and pig headed to boot!’ She threw the paper she had been waving around in her hand on top of his laptop keyboard in a distasteful manner. Taking them idly he noticed tickets stapled to the top corner with Emma’s name printed on. He looked up at her quizzically with a frown.
‘What are they?’ He genuinely had no clue.
‘Tickets to that infernal dance you wanted all the staff to attend. I suggest she gets them and decides for herself if she wants to see you.’ Margo didn’t wait for a response, she was turning on her heel and moodily trotting out on stilettos that made an echoing clip clop at speed. She was pissed at him still, had been since she came back and found out what he had done concerning Emma.
‘Margo? What the hell?’ It was futile, she was waving him away and playing deaf. She kicked his outer door shut to emphasise that she was still seriously furious with him. He had endured weeks of her snippy attitude and stern chastising already, he had no clue why he hadn’t fired her ass for it. Probably because deep down he knew he deserved it, he had behaved like an ass hole and Margo was only thinking about Emma and how this must hurt her. All he had thought about since her departure was how much this must be hurting her.
He lifted the tickets again and read over the name printed clearly in gold foiling, a thumb tracing her first name slowly as that familiar ache in his heart panged to the forefront. Without hesitation, he hit his intercom buzzer to Margo’s desk.
‘Send them to her as soon as you can.’ He let it go without expecting a response, chucked them back to the outer part of his desk and sank back covering his face with the back of his hands and sighing. He had no idea if she would even go to the dance but part of him wanted it to be her choice if she did. He wanted to see her yet he didn’t, because it would hurt either way.
The door to his office opened almost instantly, the clip clop of heels, the swish of fabric and waft of Margo’s perfume, by the time he moved his hands she was retreating to her own part of the office carrying the sheet of paper and still freezing him out. He rolled his eyes and thought better of trying to chastise her about this ongoing behaviour, Margo was like a second mother to him and his own mother would probably be acting the same way right about now. He had better get used to her angry stand off because he knew she wasn’t going to let up on him anytime soon.
* * *
Jake pulled at the collar off his tux repeatedly, trying to stop the choking sensation of wearing a bow tie and ignored the glances his way. He had been here only minutes and already showing up single was attracting way too much attention, probably because he had never come to an event dateless in years. He could feel the judgemental and surprised looks from the array of rich and minor celebrities in the ball room, less than an hour after opening and he was already hating it here.
‘Hola!’ Leila butted into his thoughts and slid an arm through his confidently. ‘Looking as suave as always my lovely.’ She grinned up at him with that cheeky youthful face he adored like a sister and just yanked at his collar once more, stifling in this crowded ballroom and hating having to dress up in this monkey suit. She pulled his hand away and started to fix his crooked bow tie for him, slapping his hand down when he tried again to get at his top button.
‘You look nice, classy dress.’ His eyes swept the long black glittering ball gown with the peak of pink at the neckline while she fussed over him, typically Leila. ‘You brush up pretty well for a skinny tomboy.’ He was relieved to be released when she had done fluffing him over.
‘Shut up loser.’ Leila nipped his bicep with her overly long manicured nails, arm slid back into place inside his and threw him a suddenly serious look. ‘She’s coming you know? She text me, I don’t think she knows that I know.’
Jake swallowed hard, an impulsive response he had no control over, frowning as the stomach lurching sensations hit him again. This had been happening all day.
‘What do you expect me to say to that?’ He focused his gaze across the room, uncomfortable with this topic of conversation and already wishing he had never confided in Leila about any of this over the phone the night before. She was unpredictable sometimes and he knew she rooted for Emma like no other. She had been one of the worst to give him a hard time over sending her away.
‘I expect you to look happy at least. Jake. You need to at least tell her how you feel……’ Jake held his hand up and hushed her, it was all new to Leila and nothing he had not heard before from Margo, his mother and hell, even Daniel.
‘Look. Stop. Not the time or place Leila, so get any dumb thoughts out of your head about interfering in this.’ He threw her a warning eyebrow raise and hated that her stubborn jut of the chin became more prominent. he had no energy for a Leila manoeuvre tonight.
‘Oh, for god’s sake! Look just stop being arsey as fuck and try and act like you’re happy to see her when she gets here. She did nothing wrong Jake and you need to man up and stop sulking anytime anyone mentions her name.’ Leila jutted her hip out and almost slammed her hand on it.
Jake glared at her, his own mood taking a nose dive, a skill Leila had since childhood..
‘You can stop looking at me like that too or else I will poke you in the eye with my new nails. Do you like them by the way? Extra sharp incase you’re ass-hole best mate shows up to piss me off.’ She swayed around her sparkling pink nails.
‘Stunning’ Jake replied flatly and then dodged her pretend cat like claw aimed at his face. Leila was one of those annoying friends that you let get away with murder because they were genuinely more family than friend. At times though he just wanted to strangle her, tonight was one of those nights after a full day of her constant texts, questions and lectures.
‘I can see you watching for her you know.’ Leila cut in, looking at him smugly and lifting one eyebrow as she edged in close. Not that it made a difference as she hadn’t bothered to lower her voice over the in-house orchestra blaring some Mozart.
‘Jesus! Leila for fucks sake…’ He lowered his voice when he realised he had just snapped loudly and people were looking his way. ‘I’m going to the bar, you can stay here and piss someone else off for a change.’ He dropped her arm from his and moved away, striding aggressively in the direction of hordes of overly dressed up strangers in a bid to get some head space. He hated that she was right though, he had been scanning the crowd ever since he got here. On edge, nervous and tense and just watching for the one girl in the world that he couldn’t mentally escape from. He had been a fool to kiss her only days ago, to keep ending up with her no matter how hard he tried to stay away. He knew he was only torturing himself and dragging this out.
The inner floor was full of people mulling around in various degrees of expensive formal wear. The music loud and invading from the full orchestra as he pushed through people that wanted to cling to him and bask in his presence.
Jake strode purposefully through a heavy crowd of glittering women in floor length dresses, coming out into a clearing with a side step away from an over eager pair of hands and walked smack bang into the one face that made his heart stop beating.
Emma walked into the clearing at the exact moment he did and they both just seemed to stop and stare at one another, his heart pounding erratically as it recovered, his breathing becoming shallow. She looked beyond his wildest dreams, beautiful. Wearing a fitted floor length red dress that left little to his imagination and seemed to defy gravity while clinging to her bust and waist. He could barely swallow, taking in every perfect flawless curve up to the face of perfection and that wild hair he just wanted to tangle around his fingers at every opportunity. She looked like a Hollywood star from the fifties, perfection in every way and effortless grace. She stood out from everyone in this room, hell, to him she stood out form every single woman in the world. She always had.
They stood motionless, feet apart. Tension crackling in the air between the and neither seemed to know how to react or what to say. All Jake can think about is what it was like to have her in his arms, to feel her against him and how much he wanted to touch her right about now.
'Oh, my god, Emma!' Leila's excitable voice grabbed her attention as she dived on Emma from the Right of Jake, she had obviously followed him when he headed to the bar. Throwing herself around Emma, who was only inches taller and almost hauling her off her shoes. Jake didn’t move, just continued to watch her, unable to tear his eyes from that face that could stop the world from turning. He didn’t care that the women just to his left were trying to capture his attention subtly.
'Whoa, Leila.' Emma choked, laughter breaking over her delicate face and changing the apprehension to knock out beauty. Jake stiffened, trying to keep his emotions in check and trying to hide any reactions she caused him. Just being this close to her, unable to just be how they used to be was complete agony and his heart had continued some sort of rumba inside his chest.
'I've missed you, millions! Emails are not the same Miss Ems. You look freaking sensational!' Leila spun Emma round and sent her reeling, losing her footing on high shoes, Jake moved swiftly forward and caught her mid tumble. Pulling her against him despite every one of his senses telling him to let her go. The feel of her body against his sent an electric jolt through him, heating his blood and making his stomach lurch with emotion, she smelled better than good and her scent would only keep haunting him even after he left here now that he had the smell of her on his tuxedo.
Jake stood her up carefully, holding her upper arms until she found her footing once more and released her as soon as she was steady. He knew the danger of keeping her close and he just couldn’t handle her proximity with her looking as devastating as she did tonight.
'Careful Leila.' Jake scorned, catching the wicked gleam in her eye of a calculated plot she had brewed up. Jake narrowed his eyes at her and shook his head over the top of Emma. Moving to look away as she turned back to him, incase she saw what was transpiring. She seemed to focus on him for a moment and as much as he wanted to just turn back and dive into those baby blue eyes, he couldn’t bear it.
‘I can't help being so happy to see her Jake, you keep her hidden from me.'