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The Rebel and the Rich Girl Emma Daniels









The Rebel and the Rich Girl











Emma Daniels








© 2012



By Emma Daniels






“This cocktail party is just another excuse for women to make fashion statements and for men to consume large quantities of alcohol,” Nicole remarked, as she stood watching her mother rummage through her walk-in-wardrobe.
Gail Cameron was searching for an outfit Nicole could wear to the event celebrating the upcoming Sydney to Hobart yacht race, an occasion Nicole had no desire whatsoever in attending.
Nicole was still angry with her father for asking a complete stranger to crew his yacht instead of his own daughter. She knew the real reason was because she was a woman. His reasoning that she didn’t possess the strength or stamina to survive the gruelling sail south was merely an excuse. Nicole had proven to him time and again what a good sailor she was. Reminding him that two thirds of the yachts in the race would have women on board hadn’t swayed him either. His insistence she come to the cocktail party had been the final straw.
The only problem was, Nicole had asked her friend Trisha Trueman to accompany her weeks ago, which meant she really did have to go, since they were picking the other woman up on the way.
“If this is going to turn into another one of your feminist raves, I swear I’m going to throttle you,” Gail admonished, pulling a red chiffon gown with pencil straps from the wardrobe.
“No it isn’t, because I know I’d be banging my head a against a brick wall,” Nicole retorted, eying with distain the revealing outfit her mother laid across the bed. Gail had bought it for her last year to wear to some dance. Nicole had managed to get out of wearing it then, and was equally as determined not to wear it tonight.
“I knew you doing that social work degree was a mistake. All that alternative socialist stuff has gone to your head. At least your brother has the good sense to choose a career with prospects.”
“A career with the potential to make bucket-loads of money you mean,” Nicole derided, picking the gown up off the bed. She headed back to the wardrobe with it. Her younger brother, Robert, had just completed his Higher School Certificate and was hoping to get into computer science at university. He, of course, despite his inexperience, had been chosen to crew their father’s yacht.
“What are you doing, Nicole?”
“What’s it look like? Putting this silly dress back. I’m not wearing something that’s designed to reveal more than it conceals. I don’t want to look like I’m there to snare a man.”
“It’s your attitude I’m worried about. Sure, you had a weight problem as a teenager, but that’s no reason to keep pretending you’re better than the entire male population simply because you won’t make yourself presentable.”
“You’ve misinterpreted everything, Mum,” Nicole snapped. “I’m not pretending I’m better than anyone. I just want people, and that includes men, to appreciate me for what I am, not what I wear or look like.” Or who my parents’ are she almost added, but managed to keep that part to herself.
As usual Gail chose to dismiss her opinion. “I don’t want you to embarrass your father or me tonight, so please put on the dress and keep your bohemian attitude to yourself?”
Nicole glanced back down at the soft filmy outfit she held against her chest, a small frown creasing her brow. Perhaps she should give in and wear it. The other women would be wearing similar ones, Trisha included.
The two women had become close friends during their four years of study at university, yet they couldn’t have been more different. Trisha lived with her mentally ill mother in a small three bedroom ground floor unit in a run-down building in Randwick close to the university. Nicole lived in a mansion at Vaucluse overlooking Sydney Harbour. Trish was tall and blonde with model good looks, Nicole short and petite with riotous red curls. Trisha was outgoing and vivacious, Nicole reserved and contemplative. She could go on and on with the comparisons. And yet, they seemed to get on, better than Nicole got on with members of her own family.
Nicole’s father, Peter, had given her the option of touring Tasmania with a friend of her choice so he didn’t miss out on his family being there to greet him at the end of the race, so she’d asked Trisha to accompany her. Trisha had jumped at the opportunity, never having travelled any further than the south coast to take her mother to visit their family during the uni holidays.
Trisha’s mother suffered from schizophrenia, and even though she could look after herself most of the time, her heavy doses of medication often left her sleepy and confused. Trisha’s older brother couldn’t cope with their mother’s mental illness, so it fell on her to ensure she took her medicine and looked after herself. Left to her own devices the poor woman didn’t eat properly and self harmed.
All this had led Trisha to enrol in social work at twenty-five as a mature age student. Nicole admired all these things about her. Trisha’s only weakness was her attraction to bad men. She’d had a string of disastrous relationships in the four years Nicole had known her.
Another thought occurred to Nicole as she held the gown against herself in front of the full length mirror, an idle curiosity about the man her father had chosen instead of her. At the time she hadn’t even wanted to know his name, but Robert had been flaunting his seemingly endless brilliant qualities ever since he’d joined the crew.
It was Philip said this. Philip did that. The infernal man had even come up with the name of her father’s new toy, so the yacht was now called Nicole had to prove to herself that Philip Pelayo was the macho male chauvinist Robert’s description had conjured up. He was a lawyer who drove a gold convertible Porsche for goodness sake. She’d seen it from her bedroom window one afternoon when he’d dropped her brother off, just before she’d been subjected to another rave about the perfect yachtsman.
Gail Warning.
Gail came to stand behind her. Glancing from her own reflection to her mother’s, Nicole noticed how alike they looked. Although both women had riotous russet curls, Gail always kept hers stylishly trimmed, whereas Nicole’s cascaded over her shoulders in thick ringlets. Their features were small but in proportion to their heart-shaped faces. Like her mother, Nicole was slim with dainty hands and feet, but unlike her mother had to constantly watch what she ate. It still hurt to be reminded of her past weight problem.
During those uncertain teenage years, Nicole had felt the rejection of boys her own age with acute wretchedness. She’d stopped going to school dances altogether because her friends were asked to dance and she never was. So she had piled on the kilos, comforting herself with food, making herself even more of an outsider.
Only once at University, and away from the situation which had fuelled her pain, had she been able to shed the kilos. As so few men studied social work, and she went out so rarely, Nicole was able to let go enough to forget about the dates she’d missed out on.
Through her studies Nicole had come to understand the psychology behind her teenage need to comfort herself with food. She hadn’t received the right kind of support form her parents. Showing affection and talking about one’s feelings simply wasn’t done in the Cameron household.
“All right, Mum. I’ll wear the darn dress. Happy now?” she finally relented.
“You might even enjoy yourself if you make the effort,” Gail replied with a smile.
Nicole sincerely doubted it, but slipped out of her baggy blue T-shirt. Once she was wearing the clinging gown that only flared out after reaching her hips, she doubted any man would bother looking at her twice in it anyway. If she stayed beside Trisha all night they wouldn’t. Compared to her friend’s stunning good looks, Nicole considered herself only slightly above average. Well, if it means attracting the kind of men Trisha seems to like dating, I’d rather remain invisible, she thought.
It didn’t take long for the Cameron family to reach Trisha’s building. As expected she looked stunning in a short form-fitting black sheath, wearing huge gold hoop earrings and at least twenty gold bangles clinking around her wrists. Her long blonde hair was piled up on top of her head in an elaborate twist, and her make up immaculate. Nicole had to elbow Robert to get him to move over, as he sat there gaping like a guppy at the beautiful woman sashaying towards the car.
Fifteen minutes later they pulled into the Cruising Yacht Club’s car-park at Rushcutters Bay. Knowing Trisha hadn’t been there before, and in an attempt to delay their entrance into the crowded bar area, Nicole urged Robert to show her friend their father’s yacht. He was more than happy to oblige, as sailing interested him almost as much as computers. As they made their way along the marina, he pointed out vessels, describing their capabilities and handicaps, probably boring Trisha to tears, but to her credit, she smiled and nodded as though every word he uttered was absolutely fascinating.
They finally reached
Gail Warning
, The fifty foot yacht looked tidy and ship-shape, with coloured racing flag flapping in the balmy evening breeze. She had a navy blue hull with white trimmings. Her mainsail cover was the same shade, as were the men’s sailing uniforms. Gail had ordered sets of navy blue shorts and white t-shirts with the yacht’s name embossed on the pockets. She had purchased extras for Nicole and herself, to be worn when they saw the men off and met them again at Constitution Dock in Hobart.
“Great isn’t she?” Robert remarked proudly.
“Sure is,” Trisha agreed. “I still can’t get over the name though. Didn’t you mother object?”
“No, she was stoked. It’s a classic, isn’t it?” the blonde eighteen year old grinned back at her. Robert had taken after their father in looks and was now half an inch taller than the older man. It meant he now towered over Nicole, along with every other member of her family.
“Whoever thought of it?” Trisha asked.
“I did,” a deep masculine voice answered from behind them.
All three of them turned to face the newcomer; a tall, olive skinned man with shoulder-length black hair falling rakishly across one dark eyebrow.
So this is the mysterious Philip Pelayo, Nicole thought as she glanced up at him. He was older than them, thirty at least. The lines of experience around his eyes and mouth gave him an aloof, almost cynical air.
Like Robert, he was wearing an impeccable black dinner suit, but her slender brother seemed dwarfed by this well-built man. No wonder her father had chosen him in preference to her. He had shoulders any football player would be proud of.
Nicole, like Trisha, couldn’t take her eyes off him, but for entirely different reasons, she was sure. Trisha was no doubt taking in his striking features and those unusual eyes. They were brown as was expected from a man of ethnic origin, but the flecks of gold were amazing. They could have been warm eyes, had their depths not been so full of dark secrets. His mouth was hard and uncompromising, and his cheekbones looked like they’d been carved from stone. A strong aggressive chin completed the picture of austere detachment. He was handsome, but so cold, making Nicole wonder how her amiable brother could ever have warmed to him.
As for the long hair, she couldn’t fathom how he managed to get away with that in his chosen profession, but she was already pretty certain this man always did exactly as he pleased.
“Oh hi, Phil,” Robert greeted him. “Just came to show my sister’s friend our yacht. She’s never seen it. Patricia Trueman. This is Philip Pelayo, one of our crew members for the race.”
“Pleased to meet you, but call me Trisha,” she replied, smiling up at him.
Robert appeared to have forgotten Nicole hadn’t met him either, but Philip Pelayo didn’t seem to notice her as he caught hold of Trisha’s hand. Nothing unusual about that, Nicole thought, well aware that at a function like this being invisible had its advantages.
To both women’s amazement he brought Trisha’s hand to his mouth and kissed it. Nicole could tell he liked what he saw as a sexy little smile softened the hard lines of his mouth.
“The pleasure is all mine,” he said, slowly releasing Trisha’s fingers. He even has a sexy voice, like honey dripping over gravel. It was the sort of voice most women would love to hear whisper sweet nothings into their ear.
Then he fixed his gaze on Nicole. An involuntary shiver scurried down her spine as his eyes slowly raked over her slender frame with a boldness that made her grit her teeth in consternation. How dare he look at her as though he was sizing her up as a potential lay, which made her wonder why he was bothering to look at her at all. Most men normally dismissed her the moment they saw her, unless of course, they knew her father was the founder and owner of the popular Aztec Furniture Chain. Then dollar signs flashed in their eyes instead of desire.
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