Authors: Hallie Swanson
“Yes,” he replies.
“What we did was disrespectful,” I lower my eyes, “but I don’t regret us.”
Snow jerks his head round so that he’s looking directly at me.
“All these years I kept you in my head, put you on a pedestal. That faded picture of you and Hooper, I had it buried in my wallet to remind me just how lovely you were.”
I frown. “
“Yes, Darcy, were. Because now you’re nothing special, no different than the rest of the woman I’ve had.”
I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Has he forgotten the intimacy we shared? I bend forward, sliding my hand over the quilt and down the bed towards him.
“Don’t say that.” I hear my voice begin to crack.
I blink, my eyes stinging with tears.
“All you women are the same, you want a piece of Snow. It’s only a matter of time before you want a piece of the highlife, a piece of my money.”
I smack my hand down on the covers.
“I don’t give a damn about your millions, it means nothing,” I snap. “I knew you before your dad died, before you inherited his businesses.”
My finger brushes the back of his creased shirt, but he stands up.
“No, Darcy, you never knew me, and please don’t touch me again.”
“Snow, what the hell’s wrong with you? You’re acting like a jerk. We made love only a few hours ago.”
“That’s just it, Darc, I’ve crossed the line; it feels like I’ve fucked my little sister.”
I remember back to our first meeting, when he told me he was looking forward to having a little sister of his own, and I guess for those six weeks a sister is how he treated me, but it was bullshit.
“You’ve got to stop this; there’s no blood ties, we’re not related.” My voice rises to a screech as I grab the pillow off my chest and throw it.
He jumps as it hits the wall on the far side of the bedroom.
“Look at me, damn you!” I yell.
Again he turns to face me, and I see his dark eyes move up and down. My heart pumps at twice its normal speed, and the room around me starts to spin. I reach my hand to my brow and start rubbing my eyes.
“Now tell me what you feel.”
My head settles itself, and once again the room stands still. A look of disgust crosses his face and he shakes his head.
“You know what, Darc?” he says nonchalantly. “I feel absolutely nothing.”
Casually he walks towards the dresser, lifts his suit jacket from the back of the chair and flicks it over his shoulder. I watch his hand wander into the breast pocket and pull out a thick brown envelope, which he places on my bedside table.
“The amount of cash in there should take care of everything,” he mutters.
His gesture leaves me feeling sick to my stomach, and like no more than a common prostitute.
That’s the first and last time I’ll have sex with any man. What a bastard!
I can’t help my thoughts, for he doesn’t even have the courtesy to turn and look back at me. He doesn’t even have the courtesy to say goodbye. I sit open-mouthed, watching the bedroom door open and him leave, closing behind him.
walk down the steps of my private jet and am hit by an incredible heat. I squint as the sun bounces into my eyes. Reaching down into my hand luggage, I grab a pair of sunglasses and position them on my face. It feels so good to be on solid ground, and so good to be back in Mexico.
I am greeted by a guard as I enter the arrival lounge. I’m in and out of the country so often that most of the airport staff know me by name, so I breeze through customs; money talks, and it helps when you have plenty of it. A porter wearing a dark-blue uniform follows me with my suitcase and in-flight bag, which he pushes along on a two-tiered trolley. I can hear the screech of the wheels as he tries to keep up with my quickening pace. The door leading out of the airport opens automatically as we approach. My silver Mercedes is parked in its usual spot. Chase, my chauffer, is perched on the edge of the bonnet. Our eyes meet; he jumps up and opens the front passenger door.
“Alright, you rich prick!” he hollers, and lifts his fingers to his brow in a salute.
, I think.
I lift my sunglasses off the bridge of my nose and peer beneath. He’s dressed in white, and I’m almost blinded.
“Couldn’t be better, you ginger prick,” I reply, and laugh at our usual greeting.
“A hundred,” I tell him as I lift my foot off the tarmac road and slip into the cool leather interior of my Mercedes.
Chase nods, then closes the door behind me. With my suitcase and bag in the boot, I see him pass the porter a crisp hundred-dollar bill and the man’s face lights up as he accepts it. I lean back, exhaling slowly through my nose. I can feel the expense of the material as I brush my fingers down the arms of my jacket. It’s so liberating to be in the position I am. Because I have money, I have people eating out of my hands; anything or anyone in this life I want, I can have. Pay well is my motto, and I do just that. People think I’m arrogant, even egotistical, but that’s not me, it’s all in their head; but it has the desired effect and keeps them at arm’s length.
Chase clears his throat. “How was your trip to England?”
Immediately I frown.
“You know, the funeral?” he enquires as he turns the key in the ignition and starts up the engine.
I slouch as Darcy’s face materialises before me. I shake my head, and upon doing so shake her face from my mind.
I push my sunglasses over my forehead, where I leave them to balance. Then, crossing one leg over the other, I start to unwind and relax. His eyes bounce back at me through the rear-view mirror; he’s waiting for me to fill him in. I roll my eyes, and he drops his gaze.
“Just drive, will you?”
I fold my arms, using jet lag as an excuse not to converse. Soothed by the purr of the engine, I must have dropped off, though even in a light sleep thoughts of Darcy prick at my subconscious.
I kick out at the back of Chase’s seat, slamming the heel of my hands down at my side.
“I’m driving, Snow, what the fuck?”
I wave my finger, making sure he sees. I can’t be arsed to answer, my mind elsewhere. The money I left for the funeral, what the fuck must Darcy have thought? I can see her sitting on the bed, and me placing it down on the table; stupidly, I never told her what it was for. I couldn’t face her, I couldn’t turn back and look her in the eyes, because if I had I would have walked back over and joined her on the bed. I’d crossed a line, a line that was not mine to cross. She was someone in the past I should have left well alone. Yet the thought of her is driving me crazy. But why her? A fuck’s a fuck and I’ve had plenty, but maybe being a forbidden fruit is the key she holds.
I can almost smell the floral fragrance of her long dark hair. I squeeze my eyes together and see that face, her unspoilt beauty. It’s like she sits in my head, with a smile on her lips, but why can’t I let her go?
“How’s the family?” Chase probes again.
My thoughts are broken, and Darcy slips away.
“What’s it to you?” I snap, then see the frown he passes me.
“The funeral,” he adds.
“Yeah, alright as funerals go. They were mainly friends…” I roll my eyes. “I didn’t know most of them to be honest, just smiled and made polite conversation. Family wise there was a couple of aunts, Darcy, my older sister and a couple of kids, I presume they were hers.”
“For God’s sake, Snow, you must know your family.”
I pause, and think back to the night of the funeral.
“You know I was fostered, so there were no blood relatives,” I’m quick to add.
Yet look what I’ve just done! She’s not blood, she’s nothing to me.
God, Snow, you fucking moron
, I chastise myself.
Chase knows me well and must be able to sense the change in my tone. He doesn’t question me further, so I close my eyes again and plan to keep them that way until I reach my hotel. Though I appear asleep, my mind is wide awake and thoughts of Darcy keep prodding at me, not allowing me to rest. I was such a bastard; she told me her feelings, she made them more than clear, and all I did was fuck her and fuck off. I am cossetted by the motion of the car, but my stomach feels unsettled; is the guilt creeping in? No, I don’t feel emotion, so again I put it down to jet lag.
I strum my fingers over and over on my thigh. I’m sure going to need my rest with Vanessa paying me a visit later. She’s an ice maiden as cold as me, and pretty much on heat twenty-four hours a day; now that’s what I call a fuck. Not the lame excuse and flowery love-making that Darcy thinks it should be. Yet her name makes itself at home inside my head, and I can’t seem to shake free. I am overwhelmed by a strange tingling, as though her hands are making their way down my spine; then I sense her lips, her soft kisses.
God, Snow, you fucking pussy, pull yourself together.
The car jolts, waking me up, and I sit up straight. I know these speed bumps like the back of my hand; we are heading up the tree-lined driveway towards the marble steps and glass frontage of my hotel. As we near, I gaze up at the bold gold lettering: The Seasons Hotel. This is definitely number one in my growing chain of hotels scattered around the world.
I undo my seatbelt as the engine is switched off. Chase wastes no time in opening my door. I make my way up the marble steps, leaving him to follow me in with my luggage.
I shiver as I walk from hot to cold, blasted by the hotel’s air-con. I look around and shake my head. I can see I’ve been away; holidaymakers’ suitcases are strewn untidily in the lobby. An accident waiting to happen, yet my staff seem oblivious. I click my fingers, and Carlos, my duty manager, runs out from behind the reception desk.
“I want these out of here, now,” I order, shooting a stare towards the cases.
He nods and scurries away.
“Here, sir.” Amparo catches my attention.
A petite Mexican waitress stands holding a silver tray, on which sit an uncorked bottle of champagne and a glass. I don’t acknowledge her or wait for her to pour my drink, but take the bottle by the neck and grab the glass as an afterthought.
“Sir, Rayne wishes to speak to you urgently.”
I swig from the bottle, and feel the cool bubbles fizz between my lips.
I raise my hand, then swallow.
Rayne can go fuck himself.
“Ampa, you haven’t seen me, have you?” I say, slipping a hundred-dollar bill into the pocket of her tunic.
“No, sir,” she says with a slight chuckle, hurrying behind the bar as guests queue to be served.
As I stride across the tiled lobby in the direction of the lift, my eyes shoot towards the back wall of the hotel and its large panes of glass; a perfect picture, and I own it all. Every shade of blue merges before me, from the pastel shade of the sky, to the turquoise sea and the infinity pool. The smile that curves on my face stays there as I see my guests lounging happily, every seat around the outside bar taken, making my smile feel even sweeter. My view is broken by a beautiful brunette momentarily blocking my vision.
“Darcy!” I call after her.
She spins round on the spot, her dark eyes widening.
“Oh sorry, I thought…” I shake my head. “Sorry.”
“Already chatting up the guests?”
I’m startled by a voice from behind. The brunette giggles, briefly looking me up and down, then turns and walks through the double doors towards the outdoor pool.
I can’t miss his hair, its wild, red waves dancing across his forehead. His eyes are the lightest of browns, amber in fact, the colour of the freckles that pattern his full cheeks.
“Chase, you asshole, you made me look like a right dick.”
“Oh well,” he says, raising his hand into the air and proceeding to move it up and down. “Wanker,” he mutters, then sniggering he bypasses me, throwing the strap of my hand luggage over his shoulder and wheeling my suitcase along behind him.
I’ve only been back in the country a couple of hours and the little fucker’s already trying to point score
. I manage a grin; I have many ways of getting him back.
I’m jolted from my thoughts as he stands in the lift, holding the door open. I stride through and the door closes.