Black Ties and White Lies: Chapter 19

Margo

“I can’t believe this is the view you have from your office.” I marvel at the city below us. “You can see everything. It’s stunning.”

My nose presses to the cold glass as I can’t get enough of the breathtaking view below me. I’ve always been in love with New York. My heart belonged here the moment I first visited for a college tour. One of the saddest days of my life was when I packed up my things and moved to LA. I was meant to be in the hustle and bustle of the city. But at the time, I thought I’d made the right choice.

“The view from here is spectacular,” he agrees, his voice coming from behind me. I hear him take a step in my direction, but I don’t turn around to face him. I’m too busy looking at the only place I ever want to call home.

It’s funny how things worked out. Never could I have imagined that the reason I returned to New York would be because of Beckham Sinclair.

I feel his presence next to me without even looking over. Even from the time we met in The Hamptons, I’ve always been oddly aware of him. It was like we knew, or at least understood, each other—and with barely ever speaking. I think back to the night he’d found me drawing on the beach, using only the moonlight to fuel my sketches.

We hadn’t even exchanged many words that evening. I could smell the alcohol on his breath as he’d leaned over my shoulder, inspecting what I’d been sketching. Somehow under the glint of the moonlight and his smell engulfing me, I hadn’t been embarrassed about what he’d found—who he’d found.

His shoulder brushes against mine. “What are you thinking about?”

I longingly look at the city for a few more moments. I’ll do anything to stay here, to find a way to get Winnie and Emma to move back here and make this our home all over again. LA was kind of like a sellout. And now that I’m back, I’ll do whatever it takes to stay here. To be one of the many calling New York home. Part of me aches to know the stories of the people below. When I was in college and had days where I wasn’t busy, I loved to sit in bustling coffee shops and at outdoor cafes and just sketch the people around me. Sometimes I’d create a whole life for them in my head. Instead of drawing them sipping coffee in a booth, I’d draw them somewhere exotic, somewhere mundane, different scenarios for different people depending on the story I felt was right for them.

“Margo?” Beck’s knuckle brushes over my cheek.

When my eyes find his, I can’t hide the sadness in them. “I never want to leave here again,” I admit. It’s weird how a city you didn’t grow up in, one you only spent a few years living in, can feel like home.

His eyebrows furrow. “Then don’t,” he offers hoarsely, letting his knuckle brush ever so slightly over my bottom lip before he stuffs his hand into his pocket.

Breaking eye contact, I look around at his giant private office. I’m interested to see him here at work, doing his thing. Does he spend a lot of time in here or is he more hands-on? Are most of his minutes spent in meetings in the lavish conference room we walked by on our way in? I have so many questions. So many things I want to find out.

I take a deep breath in, inhaling the scent of him. “It’s not that easy. What if things don’t work out? What if I can’t find a job here after, you know, our…deal? God, it’d be a shame to move back to California after being back.”

“Why?”

“Because being back is just a reminder of how much I belong here.”

“You don’t have to go back if you don’t want to. Even after all this is said and done, you deserve to be wherever makes you happy.”

I study him for a few moments. It’s still surreal that all of this is happening. Not only am I now working for the Beckham Sinclair, but soon I’ll be his fiancée. Everyone but the two of us will think that he’s fallen for me, and I him. It wouldn’t be so bad to pretend forever with him, but there’d always be the hope that it could be more.

It’s why I can’t kiss him ever again. At least not like we did last time. A show for others is acceptable, but when it’s just us two, I can’t handle kissing him and knowing it’s all fake. One big lie.

“That’s the thing,” I begin, holding his eyes. “I want to do anything possible to stay. I want that interview with Camden. I want to show him my art and prove myself. I want it more than anything else. That’s why I don’t want to jeopardize this deal we have by kissing you again.”

He nods slowly, not giving me any inkling of his feelings on the matter. “What does kissing me have to do with Camden, exactly?” If I didn’t know any better, I’d say there was a hint of jealousy in his tone.

“It’s just that when you kissed me today, lines got blurred in my head. It didn’t feel fake. It didn’t feel like it was for show to clean up your image and for me to get the job I’ve always wanted. It felt real even when I knew it wasn’t, and I don’t need that right now.”

Beck clears his throat like he’s about to speak, but I beat him to the punch. “Look, it’s embarrassing to admit this, but your brother really screwed me up. I just don’t know if I can handle knowing when it is and isn’t for show.”

His hand clenches at his side, the veins on the top of it becoming more defined. “You and I were both there earlier this morning, Margo. That wasn’t for show, and I’m offended if that’s what you’ve made it out to be.”

Beck towers over me as he brings himself toe to toe with me. His indigo irises darken with anger, a storm forming in them. I don’t know how to respond to him, or what his answer even means. Is this him admitting that it’s real? He’s already fucked with my head so much, and my first official work day isn’t even until tomorrow.

The look in his eyes makes me wonder if we’ve both messed with each other’s heads. Maybe the fake gig won’t work as well as we once thought.

“Tell me not to kiss you again and I won’t. But don’t make that moment less than what it was. I’ve thought about it all god damn day. It wasn’t a fucking show, and you know damn well it wasn’t.”

He leaves me all alone in his office, but he doesn’t go far. Flicking on the lights of a conference room, he sits down and spends the next hour on a phone call.

Maybe him ignoring me as I take in this office space is him punishing me. Or maybe he knows that I could stare out the window of his office all day if I could, the sight having to be one of the best in the city.

Either way, neither of us speak for the duration of our time out and about. In fact, we don’t even speak when we make it back to the penthouse.

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