Black Ties and White Lies: Chapter 12

Beck

Regret.

It lingers all around me as I watch Margo dart across the kitchen.

There’s the regret of allowing myself to almost kiss her, to discover what she tastes like.

And then the regret of knowing she would’ve let me kiss her and I didn’t.

Her words from that dingy conference room still ring in my head. I don’t know if she wants it. I don’t want her backing out of the deal before it’s barely even begun. So I stopped myself, even when every fiber of my being wanted to lift her onto the countertop and have my way with her.

“Margo.” I sigh, missing the warmth of her hands against me a little too much. Now, with my shirt open, it feels too cold without her touch.

She doesn’t bother to look at me. I can’t say I blame her. For a few seconds, she allowed herself to be vulnerable and gave me a glimpse of the lust in her eyes. Instead of waving a white flag and fueling the simmering fire between us, I threw a bucket of cold water on us and doused the flames. She’s embarrassed. I don’t have to look at her face to know it.

“Look,” I begin.

Her spine straightens as she grabs the handle of her suitcase. She talks to the windows, not my face, when she speaks up. “Could you point me to where I’ll be sleeping?” she asks. She tries hard to mask the shakiness in her words, but I catch it.

My palms run down my pants. I take a step toward her. “Sure. Let me walk you there and grab your bags.”

When she looks over her shoulder, the embarrassment is masked with anger. “No. Just tell me where I’m sleeping, and I’ll find it.”

I clear my throat, pointing toward the lofted upstairs. It wasn’t my intention to piss her off. Or maybe it was. Fuck, I really don’t know when it comes to her. “No.” When I reach her, I pry her fingers from the handle. She aims a dirty look my way but I don’t pay it any attention.

“I’ll do it,” she hisses. “Just tell me where I’m sleeping.”

Ignoring her, I head toward the staircase. As soon as I reach the bottom step, I lift her bags and begin to take the stairs two at a time. When I make it to the top, I look down to find her staring up at me from the bottom. Her hands are on her hips in an annoyed position, her lips pursed.

“You can come up here and choose which room you want, or I can choose for you. Make me wait too long and I’ll choose the worst one.”

Whatever she mutters under her breath, I don’t catch it. Even though she’s clearly annoyed, she does come up the stairs. Stopping in front of me, her eyes roam over the landing. Through the glass banister, you can see down to the lower floor. There’s a sitting area up here. I couldn’t begin to remember the last time someone actually sat there, but it looks nice.

She yanks her suitcase from my grasp, almost falling backward from the exertion. Looking me in the eye with an angry gleam in her own, she blows hair from her face. “This has to be one of the most expensive penthouses in Manhattan”—she rolls her eyes—“even the worst room here is a luxury compared to what us common people are used to.”

Done with the conversation, or probably more likely done with me, Margo rolls her suitcase down the corridor, leaving me watching behind her.

She’s not wrong, none of the rooms are bad. Whichever one she chooses, she’ll be comfortable.

But none of them are the same room I sleep in. And for some reason I can’t put my finger on, I’m a little bitter that we’ll be sleeping on two different floors.

It seems too far.

Before I can think too deeply into what the hell she’s doing to me, I leave her to pick out a room. I head back downstairs, leaving my shirt hanging open as I look through the refrigerator to find something to eat.

Nothing says I’m sorry I almost kissed you like a homemade meal.

I just have to decide if I’m sorry for almost kissing her, or if I’m sorry about not kissing her.


It takes me an hour to make a roasted chicken and vegetables. I plate it over a bed of rice and a special sauce that has impressed every person I’ve ever made it for.

Too bad Margo doesn’t make another appearance.

After cooking for an hour, I figured she’d make her way downstairs. She said she had brunch with her friends, and she ate on the plane, but she has to be hungry. I figured she’d at least want something small to eat. Apparently, she wants to avoid me more than I’d expected because after waiting at the table for forty minutes, I come to terms with the fact she isn’t coming back down.

The nice thing would be to drop something off by her door, to apologize for whatever happened earlier. But I’m not nice. It’s never been an adjective someone’s used to describe me. So, I eat without her. I package up the leftovers and leave them in the fridge.

And then I work late into the night. I stay up much later than I’d intended, my mind too muddled with the thought of her sleeping upstairs to sleep peacefully.

Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Options

not work with dark mode
Reset