Black Ties and White Lies: Chapter 3

Beck

She looks entirely out of place in this dark, crummy office space. Margo Moretti shines too bright to be working at 8-bit Security. Her usual black hair looks dull underneath the terrible lighting of the room. Even her eyes, the light green a color I’d never seen before until I’d first met her, don’t hold the same vibrancy that I know them to have.

“Stop messing with me, Beck. That’s ridiculous.”

I shrug, wondering how a woman as beautiful as her ever fell for my brother. “You’re probably right. It is ridiculous. It doesn’t change the fact it’s what I did. I needed to talk to you.”

“What could we possibly have to talk about if it’s not about Carter?”

I wish she’d stop saying his name. He doesn’t deserve it. He never deserved it, but I’m not sure anyone really would deserve having their name fall from her lips. I only had the pleasure of getting to know Margo over the span of a weekend—and it was more observing her than speaking with her—but it was enough time to realize she lives her life like it’s her world—and we’re all just living in it. She was polite just enough to my parents but didn’t fold underneath my father’s pestering questions about what her family did for a living. Margo smiled, joked, enough for me to know that every reaction from her was genuine, but still had to be earned. She spent time with Carter, proving that she’s a loyal girlfriend that enjoyed his presence, but was never clingy. The moral of the story was, I don’t know how someone like Margo ended up dating someone like my brother. By the end of what I have planned, I’m hoping to have the answer.

I clasp and unclasp the Rolex on my wrist. Not daring to look away from her. I don’t think I could if I wanted to. There’s a long pause between us. She squirms in her chair, clearly anxious as she waits for whatever I have to say. Finally, I ease her tension, or maybe I add to it, by speaking up. “You’re getting promoted.”

Her plump, puffy lips separate. There isn’t a hint of makeup on her mouth, yet her lips are the perfect shade of red without going overboard. I fucking despise that my brother knows exactly how her lips taste. “Promoted? Why?” she asks, bewildered.

My fingers tap on the table, my eyes flicking to my vibrating phone next to my hand. She looks down as well. “You can get that if you need to.”

It’s rang a handful of times since she joined me in the room. I’ve ignored every single call, something that is out of character for me. I’m usually on the phone more than not, but right now, I want to give her my full attention, even if she’s taking precious moments of my time by asking dumb questions.

I flip my phone over, putting the screen face down for the time being. “It can wait,” I lie. I’m supposed to be joining a meeting via a phone call in five minutes, but I already know it’s one I’ll be missing. I refuse to talk to anyone else before I have the chance to finish this conversation.

Margo runs her fingers through her hair but eventually grows bored with the action and tosses the long locks over her shoulder. “Look,” she begins, her voice tight. “I don’t know if this is some sick, twisted joke of yours to get payback on me for breaking up with your brother, but I want no part of it.”

My thumb glosses over my bottom lip again as I inspect every one of her movements. I’m puzzled by what Carter has told her that has her thinking I’d ever go to these lengths to get back at one of his ex-girlfriends. Especially knowing that he was unfaithful to said girlfriend over the entirety of their three-year relationship. My brother and I aren’t close. I’ve never meddled with his love life, and I never had the desire to—well, until he met her. We don’t have the kind of relationship where either one of us give a damn about what the other is doing.

The sound of my exhale of annoyance echoes around the otherwise silent room. Leaning forward, I look Margo dead in the eye. Whatever she sees on my face finally makes her stop fidgeting. “I don’t know how many times I need to say this to get it through your head, but listen closely, Margo, because I despise repeating myself.”

“I’m listening,” she whispers. I bask in having her full attention.

“My brother has absolutely nothing to do with the reason I’m here. No part of me thinks you should get back with him. Quite frankly, I’d find it rather pitiful for you to go back to him, considering he wet his cock with half of the NYU population while you were together. So, let’s make it clear from here on out. My motives for being here, for buying this company, have nothing to do with the punk I have to call blood. You got it?”

Her fingers have turned white from gripping the armrests of her seat so tightly. When she pulls her hands from the chair, I wonder if there’ll be half-moon indents from her nails on the stained leather. Margo is silent, apparently stunned by my words because she doesn’t strike me as someone who’s often rendered speechless.

“Words, Margo. I need words to know you understand.”

“I’m trying to understand,” she finally gets out, her eyes still pinned on me. She watches me closely, her eyes slightly narrowing. I can almost see the gears in her brain working overtime as she tries to decipher my intentions for being here. I fight the urge to tell her it’s no use. I still don’t understand what compelled me to take the lengths I did to get to this moment. But for this to work, for me to get what I want, I need her to have some semblance of understanding.

“Let me explain further,” I begin. My shoulders find the back of the chair once again as I lean backward. “I’m now the proud owner of this shithole. I had to fight numerous investors for them to back me with this purchase, but in the end, they couldn’t tell me no. I have the money to fund it with or without them. This company was low on the list of startups I’d care to invest in, but I needed to speak with you, so here we are.”

Margo laughs manically, disbelief in her doe-eyed stare. “Normal people don’t buy companies to talk with their brother’s ex-girlfriends.”

I scoff, shaking my head. “It’s insulting that you think I’m normal. I’m far from normal, Margo. I’ll go to great lengths to get what I want.”

“And what you want is to have a conversation with me?”

My lips press into a thin line. “Not exactly.” What I want is you. At least for the time being.

Margo falls into her chair with a loud sigh. “You’re probably the vaguest person I know.”

My lip twitches. “I’m not vague on purpose. You keep interrupting me with questions, not letting me get to the point.”

“Say no more. I’ll keep my mouth shut until you make this make sense.” Being dramatic, she holds her thumb and index finger in front of her lips, miming zipping her lips and throwing the key over her shoulder.

She looks childish, her cheeks puffed out with her lips sealed shut. There’s a mischievous gleam to her eyes, making me question if this is a good idea or not.

“Like I said earlier, you’re getting promoted.”

She opens her mouth like she’s going to argue, making me raise my eyebrows. Her eyes roll as her mouth snaps shut. I can tell it’s taking everything in her not to interject with what is no doubt another one of her questions. I silently hold eye contact a few seconds longer, waiting to see if she’ll manage to keep her mouth closed or not.

Apparently she can. Good girl.

“Your days of doing graphic design for this place are over. Starting Monday, you’ll be my new assistant.”

Fire erupts in her eyes. “No way. I didn’t graduate with an art degree to become your little errand girl.”

“Stop being dramatic. You didn’t graduate top of your class at one of the best art programs in the country to do graphic design here.” Reaching to the middle of the table, I grab one of the pens that sit in a plastic cup. I hold it up, turning it in my hands. “Your art is better than this, Margo. This logo is terrible, and I know it isn’t because of you.” I keep inspecting the pen as I let the words marinate between us. I squint. “Has no one told Marty this face looks like a cock with balls?”

She chokes on her laugh, her eyes wide as she tries to bring air into her lungs. Eventually, she gains composure. Her fingers come up to wipe at the smudged mascara underneath her eyes, the tears from her laughter making black splotches underneath her eyes. “I think Marty almost fired me when I told him I thought the addition of the smiley face with a nose looked a little…phallic.”

I smirk. “A little? The eyes look like two rounded balls with a small cock in the middle.” Each time I say cock, I swear her cheeks get slightly more red.

Margo attempts to move a stray lock of hair from her face, but the piece is too short to stay behind her ear. She huffs, blowing her bangs away from her face in defeat. “The logo is terrible, I get it. I didn’t have my choice. Marty threatened me if I didn’t create it the way he envisioned it. So I did it, because I’ve got to pay my bills.” She looks me up and down, her eyes halting at the watch on my wrist. “Not all of us were born with money.”

I bite my tongue. Now isn’t the time for us to get into an argument about money—my money. “Do you want to spend the rest of your life doing graphic design for an almost unlivable wage?”

“At least it’s some form of art,” she fires back. “Being your assistant wouldn’t allow me to have any kind of creativity.”

“False. I’ll make sure you have time for your art.”

“And what is my art, Beck? I doubt you know.”

“You like to draw, Violet. You done with your questions now?”

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