Alter a day of kussing, Shawn’s grandfather was declared out of danger by his doctors, who stated that he wouldn’t be able to speak to anyone else until he was out of the ICU. After a day of worrying, he drove Catherine home but was too tired to drive back to the hospital, so he decided to rest at her small apartment,
The next morning.
The last pound on the door jolts Catherine upright. She squinted and shielded her eyes from the beams of light streaking across the room. What the hell?
It’s daylight now. Her mouth was parched, a cold taste thick on her tongue. She didn’t remember falling asleep. On a yawn, she stretched her limbs, feeling the muscles release. Then another sound stops her heart.
Snoring. Besides her in the bed.
The f**k? Shawn Richmond?
Sprawled out on his stomach, her secret husband lies shirtless and in only his boxers.
“Hey! Catherine opens the door! This is my room!” Screamed her brother, Dave.
More knocking. Pounding.
S**t. Dave’s home.
“Get up.” She shakes Shawn. He doesn’t stir. “Dammit! Mr. R-richmond, get up. Shawn! You need to leave.”
What the hell happened? Why was he here on her bed? The last thing she remembered was that he was resting on their shared living room couch.
She didn’t understand how he’s still here or when she fell asleep last night. A quick glance showed she was still dressed in her socks, so why the hell was Shawn practically naked? They were too exhausted last night to even argue, so when she told him he could rest for a while on the couch and she in her brother’s bedrooom, yet she did not expect him to just sleep beside her.
Nothing happened to them last night, right?
“Get the hell out, Richmond. My brother is coming in any minute now, and he is going to start trying to kick the door down.”
“Hmp!” stirred Shawn.
“Come on, get up. She gives Shawn a tough smack to the small of his back, which makes him jump in a bleary confusion
What the hell was that woman?” he mumbled incoherently
you here, you l-fell asleep. My brother’s home and he wanted his room back. This is his room” She whispered urgently. “You need to get dressed, he is coming in Now!”
Shawn falls out of bed He stood a bit unevenly, still mumbling nonsense under his breath Cringing. Catherine unlocked and opened the door, where a furious Dave and Jane stood fuming in the hallway. Behind her, the entire shared living room was awake, loitering in their pajamas and bed hair with mugs of coffee and cold pizza. Chelsea was nowhere to be seen, so she assumed she wound up finding a boyfriend in town and crashing with her boyfriend in the next few days. This apartment had a shared living room and kitchen among three other occupants, but only her and Dave’s rooms were joined and they were only separated by thin walls.
“What the hell, Cath? Why was my door locked? You have your own door. Jesus!”
“Goodmorning, brother dear and oh, Jane? Why are you here so early in the f*****g morning?
“Jesus, Catherine, it’s almost eleven o’clock and yes, I’m here because you promised to accompany me to my eldest recital, remember? And wait? Are you with someone here?” Jane raised her brows
and nudged the door wide open.
She spotted Jane’s cruel smirk among the faces crowding the hall. “I’m sorry, 1–”
Without letting her finish, Dave and Jane shoved open the door and burst inside, allowing
everyone a good look at Shawn shirtless, buttoning his trousers.
“Oh, hell..’ Shawn squeaked. Catherine’s little wrath was repressed almost immediately by the sight of Shawn’s immaculate body.
“Who are you?” Dave yelled, his voice echoing throughout the room, while Jane’s mouth dropped open Catherine couldn’t blame her for gaping. He was elegantly exquisite, with broad shoulders and defined muscles. The perfectly smooth, inviting planes of his chest. She couldn’t believe she slept next to that and doesn’t remember any of it.
“M-morning,” Shawn mumbled with a smirk. He noded to the other ladies on the other side of the room’s peeling door.
“Who the f**k are you?” Daves repeated.
*Dave, stop. He is my… ah… boss.”
“What?! Jane and the girls at the door gaped.
“What the f**k did you sleep with him? I thought you hated his guts?” Dave mumbled and looked at the man, then ignored Mr. Richmond altogether.
Shawn raised his brows, and Catherine closed her eyes in embarrassment. “Id-did not… we did not sleep together. I was so exhausted last night and…”
Jane smiled, “What did you do? Why are you two so exhausted?”
“What?! I’m just asking? You can’t blame an old soul for hoping that her best friend finally had an amazing s*x life.”
“Oh hell… I repeat, we did not sleep together, okay? I was so tired and he was exhausted, ss-o I told him to r-rest on the living room couch, but… I woke up with him in the b-bed and… Jesus, can you all stop l-looking at us? We aren’t f-f*****g each other” Catherine sighed and looked at Shawn, gesturing to him to hurry up.
“I didn’t realize you had company,” Jane said, staring at Shawn as Dave left the doorway and went to his closet to get something.
“My fault,” Shawn said effortlessly, then pulled his shirt over his sculpted chest. He stepped into his shoes. “Sorry about that.” To Catherine, he winked on his way to the door. “I will call you later. Make sure to bring the laptop and the papers, plus my scheduled meeting in the afternoon. Don’t be late. Ladies, goodbye.”
And just as suddenly as they became two unlikely allies, he departed. Every single gaze remained glued to the taut a*s hugged by his pants, until finally, he was out of sight, heavy footsteps thudding down the living room,
Catherine gulped a few times before speaking, “Jane, 1-”
“I didn’t think you had it in you, Catherine.” She looked surprised, of course. But she was also impressed. “Next time you slay a hot boss in Dave’s room, be out before breakfast. OK? Hell it’s almost noon.”
“Sure… s*x goddess of a wife,” she mumbled with relief. She thought the worst had been avoided. She lives to battle better fights. And whether she wooed it or not, whether this snatches another sliver of her dignity from her in favor of her social status, all these girls will live vicariously through her alleged exploits for the time being.
Then there’s Dave.
“Dave? What are you doing?”
“Cathy, you k-know I need to go. Right?”
“But why.. too e-early?” She asked, knowing her brother would leave her alone again in Scotland
for his painting job.
While the others returned to their morning coffee and cereal, Jane lingered at the door, waiting for her. She wanted to push past her, dismiss her, maybe plunge her a little down the steps Instead, like a dumbass, she stood there and met her eyes with a smirk.
“You must be pretty sure of yourself to ignore my silent questions,” Jane muttered, arching one perfectly tweezed brow.
“No, Jane. I am just tired.”
“If you think you proved soinething last night, you’re wrong. Your boss was known to f**k
someone who wore a skirt and would f**k a wet sock if it smiled at him. So don’t think this makes you special, Catherine. You knew him better and…”
“Ew, Jane, but seriously… I told you, I did not f**k him.., B****y no, I called you yesterday. remember? I was stuck at the hospital, waiting for grandfather, I mean, his grandfather… He was out of danger, then Mr. Richmond drove me home. We were both so dead and so sleepy. I thought he would rest for a while then… I lost my keys in my own room, but Dave’s open, so… Come on Jane, you know me better.”
“Hmp!” Jane smirked.
This time she brushed past her. “I wouldn’t dream of it. Jane. The man is a walking s*x-machine. I know my limits.”
“Why is he naked?
“For f**k’s sake, he isn’t naked. He is half-naked… And to answer your stupid silent questions, I don’t know, so sue me.” 1
“He is hot!”
“I know Jane. But no! We didn’t f**k! Now… coffee?”
Ten minutes later, Dave left, her roommates gone. Now sitting at the dining table alone with Jane, Catherine sighed again.
*And he didn’t make a single move?” Chelsea demands on the phone after Jane’s done filling her in about the earlier unexpected exploits, all on a loudspeaker.
Chelsea, unlike Jane, was not teasing her but rather asking her a slew of probing questions. Usually, she was too lazy to answer, but Chelsea was relentless. The two were coerced into asking her more, but she guesses they couldn’t get juicy details from her either, or lack thereof. What else to say? She couldn’t even remember anything. She slept like a dead moth.
“Nope, Chelsea. I told you, we did not f**k. I woke up to find him in the bed, snoring and half naked. That’s all to tell, nothing else.” Catherine confirmed it. “No action whatsoever.” She was not worried about Jane blabbing and teasing. She trusted her implicitly, and there was no way she was going to allow their closest friend to think she h****d up with a notorious billionaire playboy.
“He didn’t try to kiss you?”
“Nope.” Catherine slowly chewed a bite of whole-wheat toast and sipped her coffee, with an omelet and bacon on the side. She always ate the same breakfast every day, and if “calorie counting” was a job option, she’d be richer than Bill Gates.
“I find this shocking,” Chelsea announced. “I mean, his reputation precedes him.”
“Well, he did flirt a bit,” Catherine admitted, reaching for her water glass. “And he pretended he found me s**y without the awful sandal on my feet. Can you believe that? He is just…”
She rolled her eyes
“Cathy, I guarantee you, he wasn’t pretending, the sandal is awful. He is telling you the truth. How many times have I told you to get rid of it? But I think he likes you and your curves. I know you
think men only get hard-ons from skin-to-the-bone women, but trust me, you’re wrong. Curves drive them wild and crazy,” Jane added.
“Yeah, curves. Not rolls and no! My feet are comfortable with the sandals.. So no! I am not throwing it away.”
“You don’t have rolls,” Jane grumbled. “I do, but it’s all about confidence, you know.”
Thankfully, not at the moment. She had been diligent about eating healthy since Christmas Eve, after overindulging during the holidays and putting on nearly seven pounds. In two months, she shed about six of those seven, which she was happy with, but she wished to lose more.
Her ideal body goal was somewhere between Chelsea and Jane; she tended to vary between the two, but if she could get down to Chelsea size, she’d be delighted. She truly believes that all body types are beautiful. It was only when she looked in the mirror that she forgot She has been stressed for two years now since Jason, and her weight has been a source of pressure and insecurity for her entire two-year life, so maintaining it was a priority for her.
She swallowed the last bite of her omelet while pretending not to notice Jane ending the call.” Lucky for you, the recital was canceled… this COVID-19 is a mess really. And I heard we would then have a long, massive lockdown soon.”
“Yup, so whatever fantasy romance you were formulating in your pretty head, you can torget about it I did him a favor last night.” she shrugged, “Nothing more to it than that.”
“Yeah, yeah! Shall we go for Yoga?” Jane winked, and Catherine smiled, knowing full well what she meant.