Authors: Lauren Branford
First Edition, February 2015
Copyright ©2015 Lauren Branford
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Book I of II
Table of Contents
CHAPTER ONE – Brea
CHAPTER TWO – Arianna
CHAPTER THREE – Arianna (continued)
CHAPTER FOUR – Brea
CHAPTER FIVE – Arianna
CHAPTER SIX - Arianna (continued)
CHAPTER SEVEN - Brea
CHAPTER EIGHT - Brea (continued)
CHAPTER NINE – Arianna
CHAPTER TEN – Brea
It was a Wednesday in the middle of April, and I found myself in the midst of a quaint, five-star restaurant. The place was called Alexandria's Wharf, and it overlooked the ocean at the end of a magnificent pier. Because the place was small, and the cuisine was world famous, a reservation meant waiting in the back of a ten-month list– unless you are Angora Park’s famous billionaire bachelor, Gavin Buchanan.
I don’t know how I landed a date with Gavin, but I was sitting in a small corner of the restaurant, gazing into his sparkling blue eyes that matched the ocean outside of our private window. He was the guy that every girl noticed when he entered a room. Tall, muscular, and always tailored in a fine suit, Gavin looked like a star football player during a television interview. Often, I would watch him as he combed his light brown hair in the mirror before heading to meet with a client. I imagined myself kissing his full lips and running my fingers through his evenly parted hair.
I, on the other hand, felt like the geeky replacement for his typical modelesque dates. I was just over five feet with dull, brown eyes and a pale complexion. My saving grace seemed to be my natural auburn hair and angular face. Though I always thought my nose was a bit mousy, throughout my life I had received compliments on my petite shape.
"Tell me something interesting about you, Brea," Gavin said before he forked another piece of salad into his mouth.
“I don’t know what to say,” I smiled, shyly. Though it was our third date, Gavin was still making me blush. It seemed that no matter how much time I spent with him, I couldn’t get used to his ravishing good looks.
Six months ago, when I moved to Angora Park, I started working for Gavin’s father as his secretary. Most of my job was busy work, however, it kept me on my toes. Especially when the clock neared noon, and my heart would flutter with anticipation of seeing Gavin. He strolled into the office with a cup of coffee, ready to start his day. He didn’t work a long shift like the rest of us– and he didn’t have to. Gavin had clients begging him to work on their case. He only had to make a casual appearance in court for an hour or so, and then his town car would whisk him back to his penthouse.
I felt that my crush on Gavin was typical of any recent college graduate, desperate for a job. He was the boss’s sexy son who was as mysterious as he was good looking. When he asked me on a date two weeks prior, I thought that my chest was going to explode from the pressure.
“Just anything,” he said with a grin. His smile was like a tractor beam, pulling me into his terrifying, yet handsome void. Everything about Gavin was perfect; even his smile lines were symmetrical.
"Well, I've always wanted to eat here," I said. It was the worst answer. The combination of Gavin's inescapable charm and calm demeanor were heart racing on their own. However, mix that with my shy personality, and I'm reduced to lame responses.
"Of course," he said as he sat back in his chair. "Everyone in this town wants to eat here. Why else do you think that I picked this place?" His navy button down shirt is tight fitting around his meaty body. Even his exposed collarbone seems to ripple with muscle.
"So you want to hear something even crazier?" I asked.
"Sure," Gavin responded with a glimmer off of his ice blue eyes. "Tell me something
." He moved to the edge of his seat, further pulling me into gaze. I knew what was unique about my life; I just didn’t want to talk about her. The truth was, the reactions were always the same when I mentioned Arianna. Everyone wanted to see photos to compare us. Then the weird questions would start, like asking if we had a telepathic connection. I kindly reminded the questioners that our lives split some time ago, and ever since then, I was nothing like my sister. Unfortunately, it was the only card I had left in my hand.
"I have an identical twin," I said calmly before taking in a large sip of red wine.
"A twin?" Gavin asked as he leaned back from the table. This seemed to spark his interest more that the luxurious restaurant setting. "What's her name?"
"Arianna," I said.
"Brea and Arianna," he grinned while looking into the corner of the room. "How was it growing up with a twin?" The questions had begun.
"Very difficult," I sighed. "I'm taking care of my sister right now after some... unfortunate things happened to her."
“Like what?” Gavin asked, plainly.
“Personal things,” I said while brushing my hair behind my ear.
"But you girls get along?" he asked.
"Not really," I admitted. "In fact, I think that she hates me."
you?" Gavin asked before taking a sip of his wine. I was starting to feel like my story was the true opera he had been waiting to see.
"Arianna is an interesting girl. She's trendy, particular, and very aggressive. So, as you can tell, my complete opposite."
"I see," Gavin said. "Is she married with kids?"
“My sister?” I laughed while nearly spitting my wine onto the pristine, white tablecloth. “No way.”
“Then maybe you girls aren’t so different.”
“Trust me, hell will have literally frozen over the day that Arianna gets married. She always seems to have a guy around– or two.”
“And how do you like them? Good guys? Make a lot of money?”
“No,” I said shaking my head. I could feel my blood boiling over the conversation. Thoughts of my sister always did that to me. “I’ll admit that some of them are slightly attractive in that
sort of way. But Arianna enjoys the danger and these wild, muscular guys do it for her."
"You're not into guys with muscles?" Gavin asked with his eyebrows raised. I looked at his brawny biceps protruding from his designer shirt. Then I rested my hand on his forearm.
"I didn't mean it that way," I said, suddenly shocked that I was touching Gavin. It had been three dates, and this was our first time touching. "You are exactly my type."
"Good," he said while putting his hand over mine. I felt his thumb brushing against mine in an even rhythm. "To be honest, I find you very attractive."
"You do?" I asked. It felt very surprising that this handsome and wealthy man would have sought a bookish girl like me. If I didn't work for his father's company, chances are that our social circles would never have collided. Suddenly, someone was standing over my shoulder.
"The lobster ravioli," said the waiter as he placed the plate in front of me. "And the beef bolognese... Anything else that I can do for you? Pepper? Parmesan?"
"That's all for us," said Gavin as he nodded to the waiter. "Thank you."
"How do you like working for your father?" I asked Gavin.
"That old man?" he joked. "Well, you know how demanding he can be. But that's boring stuff, tell me more about you and your twin."
"There's nothing more to say really." This wasn’t the truth. I could have gone on all night griping about Arianna. However, I didn’t want her to ruin another evening.
"How long has she been living with you?"
"Six months. When I moved to Angora Hills, I offered to have her come stay with me. She was getting on my mother’s nerves, and it was best that all of us left the nest."
"So if you don't get along with her, then why do you let her stay with you?"
"At first, she stayed inside of her room. Then Arianna started going out to parties and talking down to me. The girl doesn't have a job, and I swear that she expects me to pay for everything that she does."
"Yet, you still do?"
"Guilty," I said while slowing pressing my fork into the ravioli. "I guess that I have a soft spot for her."
"She must be your weakness," he said. "Maybe one day I can meet this evil twin sister of yours."
"You don't want to meet Arianna," I said with my hands on both sides of my face.
"Why not?" he laughed. "It might trip me out to see the two of you next to each other."
"We look the same, but we're nothing alike."
"All the more reason that it would be fun," Gavin grinned. Then he dug his fork into his bolognese and shoved a huge mouthful between his straight, white teeth.
On the way out of the restaurant, Gavin called his driver to meet at the curb. He held my hand on the way down the old wooden path. I still hadn't made up my mind about him. However, I couldn't deny how nice it felt to touch his large, firm hand.
"Thank you so much for dinner," I said.
"It was nothing," Gavin said as he gripped me a little more.
"I've always wanted to go there," I said. "I just couldn't afford something like that."
"It was my pleasure," he smiled. "I’ll give you a ride back home."
"I live a ways from here," I said as the black town car pulled next to the sidewalk. "Are you sure that you want to drive me that far inland? Don't you live just a few blocks from here?"
"What are you supposed to do?" Gavin scoffed. "Walk home?"
"I was thinking more of taking a cab," I said as I looked at the yellow cars whizzing by on the street.
"Those dirty things?" he laughed. "That's a good one."
“I appreciate the ride,” I said. Then he opened the door for me, and I slid into the warm leather interior. Gavin slowly shut the door and walked around to the opposite side.
"Settled in, sir?" asked the driver.
"Just one moment," Gavin said before turning to me. "Maybe we could try something different tonight."
"Like what?" I asked feeling full from the delicious meal. When I glanced back to Gavin's face, he looked at me with a confused expression.
"Like my place," Gavin said. “I can get you a cup of coffee."
"Uh," I started. Truthfully, I wanted to join him, but I was too scared to be left alone in a nonpublic setting with Gavin. “I think that I should head home and check on my sister." Why did I say that? Being with him was a dream and my sister would only make my night worse. Once again, I had chickened out of my true desires.
"Alright," he said through clenched teeth. "Let's take Ms. Rhodes back to her apartment on the east side of town so that I can hurry home." Gavin's enthusiasm seemed to fade into the black interior of the car. For the entirety of the ride to my place, he pecked at the keyboard on his phone. I turned away from him and gazed out of the window to see the ocean fading into the background.
"Here you are, miss," said the driver as he stopped the car. I expected Gavin to climb out of the car and open the door for me. Instead, he gave me a half smile and patted my knee with his hand.
"It was good seeing you," he said, and I could tell that I had disappointed him.
"Thanks again for dinner," I said as I went to rest my hand on his. However, he was already looking back down at the floor.
"Good night," he said.
"Night," I replied slowly, as I climbed from the vehicle. The driver nodded to me as I stepped up the stairs to my apartment, feeling stupid for walking away from a perfect evening.