Black Ties and White Lies: Chapter 2

Margo

“It’s been awhile, Margo,” Beck drawls, his scowl making me squirm. I forgot how sexy his voice is, especially with my name on his lips.

“Beck…” I say in disbelief. My ex-boyfriend, Carter, had told me that his brother was successful. But then, the whole Sinclair family was wealthy. I’d been so swept up in Carter I hadn’t really paid too much attention to it. Quite frankly, I’d tried to forget Beckham ever existed. But now, with Carter out of the picture, and Beckham “Beck” Sinclair standing in front of me, it’s hard not to be hit in the face with just how successful he is.

The shiny cufflink he fiddles with probably costs more than my rent. The suit, probably more expensive than the fuel-efficient car I share with Emma. When I’d met Beck, he hadn’t looked like this. It’d been during a weekend trip to one of their many vacation homes in The Hamptons. He was dressed incredibly casual compared to the way he stands in front of me right now.

Beck smiles but the gesture doesn’t make me feel any more comfortable. In fact, it has quite the opposite effect. I almost wish Darla had followed me in; maybe it’d alleviate some of the tension radiating between us. My insides are jumbled, and I feel completely disarmed by the way he’s looking at me.

He stares at me with unwavering attention. Reaching out, he points to the incredibly oversized table in front of us. “Have a seat, Margo.” His tone leaves no room for discussion. Like a child, I follow his command immediately. I pull out the large leather office chair from in front of me, wincing as one of the wheels squeaks loudly as I attempt to pull it out.

Unlike me, he takes his seat with grace. I, on the other hand, had to struggle with the stuck wheel and embarrassed myself with loud grunts as I tried to get the chair far enough away from the table to take a seat.

His blond eyebrows stay raised as he stares at me with what looks like amusement. Eventually, I manage to plop my ass in the chair. My cheeks are on fire, making any attempt to mask the embarrassment futile. There’s no way he doesn’t see the red hue of my face as I comb through any potential reason for his arrival.

I scoot the chair up to the table, finding the nerve to look him in the eye as I fold my hands in my lap. “You’re the boss? What are you doing here?”

Beck drinks me in, his eyes raking over me slowly.

I’m right here, Violet.

The words catapult into my mind, flinging me back to last summer. It was a little over a year ago, only weeks before I’d found out that Carter had been cheating on me during the entirety of our relationship. It was something Beck had said to me late one night when he’d caught me doing something I shouldn’t have. At the time, I hadn’t said anything about him having my name wrong. At the time, I’d hated that I didn’t quite hate the way it sounded coming from his lips. The way it rolled off his tongue did funny things to me.

I stare back at him, the moment we had during the summer combined with how stunningly handsome he is now only makes this encounter more awkward.

“Beck?” I ask, unsure. My voice shakes, betraying me. One deep stare from him and I’m at a loss for words.

His fingers steeple underneath his chin, his shiny watch catching a beam of light. “You’ve been ignoring my calls.”

I pick at my cuticles underneath the table, a nervous habit my mom has chastised me about for years. No matter how hard I try not to, it’s no use fighting the urge. I’m disarmed under his deep, indigo gaze.

“I didn’t have anything to say to you—or Carter,” I snap. It’s crazy that Beck and Carter are brothers. They’re complete opposites. Carter is tall, but the tone to his muscles weren’t super defined like Beck’s. He preferred running over lifting weights. Most of all, he preferred to golf eighteen holes with his elitist friends. Or fuck anyone that wasn’t his actual girlfriend. He was probably getting a decent workout judging by the amount of people he was screwing a week that were not me.

Did Beck know Carter wasn’t faithful?

It doesn’t matter. Carter and I are done. I thought by never seeing Carter again I’d never see his brother, either. I’d certainly never expected to have to call him boss.

Carter is tall, but Beck is taller. Where Carter has muscles from his rigid diet and obsession with cardio, Beck has more defined muscles everywhere. Underneath the sleeves of his tailored suit there are biceps that I’d dreamt to sketch one day. During that weekend with his family, I caught a glimpse of what he hides underneath his button-up shirt. His abs are the wet dream of any artist. Painter, sketch artist, sculptor—anyone would love to be front and center with his six-pack. Or is it an eight?

He clears his throat. When I pull my gaze from the delicious veins of his hands, I find him smirking at me. “Are you done?” He’s blunt, even if there is a tinge of amusement laced in his voice. I’ve been alone in this conference room with him only for a few moments, and the tension between us could already be cut with a knife.

“Done with what?”

“Eye fucking me.”

I almost fall out of my chair at the boldness of his words.

“I wasn’t—”

A corner of his full lip twitches. “You totally were, Violet. Don’t pretend like you weren’t.”

My jaw snaps open and shut. Why is he using that name again? Why do I still love it? I have no freaking clue how to respond to him.

Again, he’s my new boss. Or at least I think he is. That’s what Emma called him. Darla seemed to be under the same impression. I need to know how long he’s been in charge.

And why is he here?

Most importantly, why is he staring at me like he wants to have his way with me?

“My name’s not Violet.’

He runs his thumb over his plump bottom lip. “I know.”

Shaking my head, I wonder if maybe I had more wine last night than I remember. Am I dreaming? This entire scenario can’t be real.

“I’m sorry,” I begin, taking a deep breath. “I’m just wondering why you’re here? I’m a little confused on what’s happening…”

Sighing, he pushes the chair far enough from the table that he can cross one leg over the other. His ankle rests on the opposite knee, his perfectly shined shoes catching the light from the windows.

“You were ignoring my calls,” he explains, seemingly annoyed that he’s having to repeat himself.

“Yes. We just talked about this. I didn’t want to talk about your brother.”

“No, we didn’t talk about this. We started the conversation, but then you decided instead of listening, you were going to undress me with those large eyes of yours.” A loud vibrating sound halts his words. His straight eyebrows pull in as he reaches into a pocket inside his suit jacket. His eyes quickly scan the name on the screen before he silences the call. Tossing his phone onto the black wood table, he focuses on me once again. “If you’d been listening the first time, and not eye fucking me, you’d know I was telling you that me calling you had absolutely nothing to do with brother dearest.”

I bite my tongue, wanting to ask why he’s referencing Carter with such disgust. There’s clearly more to his feelings toward his brother than I’m aware of. Carter never seemed like the biggest fan of Beck, but he didn’t speak like he totally hated him. I can’t say the same from the tone of Beck’s voice just now.

“It didn’t?”

“Fuck no,” he spits. For a moment, there’s angry fire in his eyes. I’ve always been told I’m too curious for my own good, and I feel it in this moment. Everything in me is yearning to ask why he looks so angry when speaking of Carter, but I keep my lips sealed. I’m far more interested about why he’s here. “You’re better off without him. I’d never try and convince you otherwise.”

“I didn’t know that. I figured you were calling for him. I’d blocked his number after he called forty-six times in one night.”

“Pathetic,” he growls under his breath.

He straightens, both feet on the ground once again. Beck leans over the table, getting as close as possible to me. “Well, you ignoring me caused me to have to resort to other options.”

“Like what?”

He shows off his large wingspan as he widens his arms, gesturing to the dingy room around us. He looks out of place here, the fading paint on the walls and the fraying, stained carpet not fit for someone as regal looking as him. “Like buying this company.”

He did what? Surely I’m not understanding this correctly.

“What does buying this company have to do with me ignoring your calls?”

“Stop asking questions before you’ve even thought about it,” he fires back. “Isn’t it obvious? I bought the company so you had no choice but to talk to me. I am your boss now, after all.”

Excuse my French, but what the actual fuck? People don’t buy companies just to talk to someone. They call, or show up at their house, or I don’t know…send a fucking email. Not buy companies.

“No you didn’t.”

Beck shakes his head at me. The movement shakes one of his perfectly gelled locks of hair out of place. One strand rebels and hangs in front of his eyes until he finally pushes it out of the way. “I can assure you, Margo, I most certainly did.”

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