Authors: Kendra King
The Billionaire's Lies
Published by SINdulgence Books Publishing
© 2015 Kendra King
All Rights Reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locations is purely coincidental. The characters are all productions of the author's imagination.
Please note that this work is intended only for adults over the age of 18 and all characters represented as 18 or over.
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Vanessa yelled while stepping into my office. "If you buy any more useless crap, I'm going to send you to that hoarding show. You do
need another fax machine." She sat on my desk. "What's going on?"
Vanessa and I have been friends since kindergarten and co-workers for the past five years. I like to call her my personal Oprah. She was always full of advice and knew how to shoot it to me straight.
So, it was no surprise that when she saw the mess that my office was in, she was going to say something about it. She looked around at all the boxes, shook her head, and pulled out her mirror. She applied yet another coat of lip gloss to her full lips and played with her bangs, adjusting them so they looked just right.
I couldn't help but laugh and shake my head while I watched her--she was always primping herself. Vanessa was a gorgeous, full-figured Latina. She knew her beautiful body and face had men eating out of the palm of her hand, thanks in no small part to the fact that she was constantly at the gym. She worked out, ate well, and even made regular visits to the salons. Sometimes, I wished I had the energy--or the time.
After I had turned 28, I gave up on all that. It was like one day I looked into the mirror and told myself enough was enough. I couldn't keep up with all of the new trends anyway. Ladies went well beyond simple hair and beauty tricks, now they added hair and nails. Some were dying their hair, wearing super high heels, adding fake eyelashes, and they were even doing plastic surgery. Looking through the magazines, it wasn't about spotting the celebrities, but more like recognizing who they were.
I'm done with all that. Just a bit blush for my fair skin and maybe some dirty blonde highlights, if I was feeling wild.
Now, Vanessa was looking at me again expectantly, and it took me a minute to remember why she was even in my office.
"They aren't for me!" I finally responded playfully. Then I added, "I'm shipping them out of here first thing Monday morning."
I turned to go over the invoices, which were becoming a hefty pile on my desk.
I have so much to do,
I thought miserably as I rubbed my temples.
A vacation. I need one stat.
"Damn, well you can at least place it neatly in the corner."
"I told them to do it," I responded, waving my hand behind my back as if the delivery men were still standing there.
"Chrissy, I've told you a million times, you have to put your foot down--especially when it comes to the workers."
"Vanessa, I told them." I reiterated as if that would settle it. I should have known better. There was a lecture coming this way, the shift in the air told me so.
"But did they listen? Why are you so content with people walking all over you?"
The nagging wasn't helping the throb in my temples, and I slammed my pen down a little more loudly than I'd intended. "Please, can we just skip the speech? I don't need another-"
The computer's ringing interrupted me. It was Blake calling, we'd been online friends for nearly ten years. We "met" in a chat room when I was bored one day. He sent me a message and we have been talking ever since then.
It was such a natural chemistry. It started off with instant messages online every day and then grew to phone calls every night. We'd laugh for hours.
Relief washed over me as the ringing continued, this was exactly what I needed to soothe my nerves. With Blake, I could forget about my day. He was like hot cocoa and a cozy book next to a fire wrapped up in an enigmatic man with a deep voice.
"Let me guess who it is," Vanessa started, mock-tapping her chin as if deep in thought. She then rolled her eyes as she slid off my desk and pressed the spacebar on my keyboard without waiting for me to respond. "Hi, Blake!" She beamed.
"How are you, Vanessa?" Blake responded, sounding as bored as ever. I smiled a little on the inside, knowing that he was probably the one person in the world that Vanessa didn't have an effect on.
"I'm great, thank you for asking. So, when are you coming to sweep Chrissy off of her feet?" She shot me a mischievous smile. She'd been teasing me about Blake ever since I finally admitted to her that we'd never met; she was convinced that he was tricking me, a 'catfish', she called it. It's resulted in her taking the opportunity to make a joke about him sweeping me off my feet every chance she got.
It was getting tiring.
I pushed her out of my office before she attempted another sly comment.
"Don't mind her," I said, glaring at the door, but nervous flutters began building in my chest. "Just Vanessa being herself."
I was trying to sound breezy, but I was sure he could hear me freaking out a bit. Blake could read me like a book.
"It's not a big deal. Has your day been going alright so far?"
"I am so buried in work that it's not even funny. If I have to fill out another invoice, I'm going to scream my head off."
"Wow." He tried to sound enthusiastic, but it just came out impassive. It wasn't intentional, he just always sounded like that even though he attempted to sound 'normal'.
Sometimes, I wondered if he permanently had a stony expression on his face, or if anything ever impressed him. Personally, I found it charming. Sometimes, when he said something seriously or tried to make a joke, I couldn't help but crack up. I knew what he was trying to get at--after ten years, it came with the territory--but it was still a little cute. I think that's why we ended up being such good friends, I wondered if I was the only person to really 'get' his nonchalant, formal nature.
"How are things on your end?" I pressed.
"Not as stressful as yours."
"Certainly. I just closed another deal, so I have the rest of the evening for myself."
"Really? You work harder than I do! How is it that you manage to have free time?"
"You know I always make free time, Chrissy. I've told you repeatedly, you need to stop working yourself to death."
"Vanessa tells me that all the time," I groaned. It wasn't that I wanted to work constantly, but the invoices weren't going to pay themselves.
"Because it's so apparent." There was a short silence. "What are you doing tonight?"
Throughout the years, Blake has occasionally asked me out. At first, I was so busy with just finishing college and looking for steady work that I didn't even have the time. But now that the years have gone by, I realize that I'm afraid.
Although we've been talking for almost ten years, we've never met. He's seen pictures of me, but I've never seen any of him. With all this talk of catfish, I'm more than skeptical. No thanks to Vanessa. But every time I've turned him down, I'd regretted it immensely, not knowing if or when he'd ask me again.
"I don't know..." I began my brush-off speech.
"You know what tonight is, don't you?"
I frowned, looking at my calendar. I knew it wasn't his birthday or any major holiday, so I wasn't sure what he was getting at.
"Today marks ten years since we started speaking to each other."
My breath caught in my throat. "You've kept track?" My heart began speeding up, and I tried to push aside the worries that we wouldn't hit it off or that he was some sort of ogre. Looks weren't everything, after all, and the rare times Blake showed sensitivity like now made me regret that we hadn't met sooner. "But-"
"Stop over-analyzing everything," he cut me off. "If you don't want to meet me, that's fine, but this will be the final time I ask you. Allow me to take you out tonight. I promise you the night of your life."
My pulse sped up; I wasn't sure if he was serious, though I'd never known Blake to go back on his word on anything from the little I knew about his real life. Would I be able to live with myself knowing that I could have met him and never gave it a chance because of my own insecurities?
I looked over at my desk. The pile of papers was now in a neat stack, but there was still a ton of work to do. I saw all of the boxes in my office and I could feel my headache roaring back. I really could use a night of fun. And if Blake turned out to be a killer, so be it. I guess I will get that vacation after all.
"Fine," I sighed.
"Try to not sound too excited," he attempted to joke.
"No, I am!" I assured him. "It's just that work-"
"Nope. No more talk about work. You can get back to that once I get off of the phone. Any strong preferences for the night?"
"I don't know. Dinner and a movie?"
"Nothing more than that?"
"I don't know." I shrugged my shoulders. "Just surprise me. I just need to have a night of fun," I sunk deeper into my office chair, trying to disappear into the cushions. My hands we clammy as the reality of the situation weighed down on me: I was finally going to meet Blake.
"Consider it done."
The rest of the work day seemed to fly by. Usually, it would drag slower than molasses but everything was skating along. I not only finished my invoices, but I managed to neatly put the boxes to the side. I had this pep in my step that was long overdue. I was moving with such joy that when Vanessa came to peep in on me, she had to do a double-take.
I was trying to push thoughts of my date with Blake to the side, because if I had to think about it now I wasn't sure I could handle it. It wasn't that I didn't want to meet him, I wanted to--more than anything. It was just that for all of the madness in my life, he was the one thing that had been stable throughout all of these years. I wasn't sure if I would be able to live with shattering the fantasy I had of him.
But I wouldn't be able to live with not trying, either.