Black Ties and White Lies: Chapter 38

Margo

Beck stands in front of the hotel room phone with a towel precariously wrapped around his waist. With one small tug I’d be met with the sight of every perfect inch of him. I smile at the thought, knowing how easy it would be to strip him completely and let him have his way with me all over again.

“Stop staring at me like that,” he warns, the phone pressed to his ear.

I bite my lip, shaking my head at him. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

He grunts, gesturing to the bed in the middle of the room. “You’re eye fucking the hell out of me. If you aren’t careful, I’ll end this call right now and fuck you on top of the sheets I’m trying to replace.”

I open my mouth to respond, but he holds up a finger. “Oh hi,” he begins, clearing his throat. “Uh yes, we do need new sheets.”

My eyes bug as I realize whoever is on the other line with him definitely heard the threat he just gave me. I know I should be embarrassed, but instead I find it hilarious that Beck is clearly uncomfortable talking to whoever answered. His pale cheeks fill with color, something I haven’t seen before.

I have to stifle a giggle as he places the phone back on its station. When he looks at me with a menacing grin, I know I’m in trouble.

“You find that funny?” he taunts, taking a step closer to me. I take a step backwards, trying to escape the wrath in his eyes. The plush hotel robe is way too long on me, causing me to almost trip over my feet with the backwards movement.

I shake my head at him, hating that my lips betray me by curing up in a smile. “Nope,” I answer, popping the P for dramatics.

He raises his eyebrows, adjusting the towel on his waist. “You’re lying,” he drawls.

My calves hit the back of a chaise lounge, giving me no place else to go. He knows I’m cornered by the Cheshire cat grin on his face. “Do you find it amusing that a poor old woman just heard me threaten to fuck you?”

“I mean, she probably would have gathered anyway when you asked for new sheets.”

He hums, closing the distance between us and pulling me toward him by the lapels of my robe. “You have a point there, Miss Moretti.”

Standing on my tiptoes, I loop my arms around his neck. He smells delicious. The vanilla and sage soap the hotel provided is a scent I’ve become obsessed with. “Soon to be Mrs. Sinclair,” the words fall from my mouth before I can think better of them. The moment they’re out, I wonder if I’ve said too much. “You know, with our agreement and everything. I didn’t know if it was now time for that,” I add last minute, internally wishing I would’ve just kept my mouth shut.

Now that we’ve slept together, I don’t know what it means for our arrangement. I’d imagine it’s still on, but things do seem more…complicated now.

“I’m the one who mentioned it to begin with. Tell me when and where and we’ll make it official.”

My heart flutters in my chest, something it shouldn’t be doing. While we may be intimate now, it doesn’t change the fact that our engagement will be a lie. When he says, “make it official,” it isn’t in a romantic way. At the end of the day, it’s a business arrangement for him, and I need to keep reminding my heart of that fact.

I run my fingers over the hard planes of his muscles. For the time being, all of this is mine. We’d also come to that agreement. We’d have each other and nobody else for the year while we pretended to be in love. It’ll undoubtedly hurt at the end of this when we stop pretending, but it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy him for as long as I have him.

Any amount of time I can have Beck looking at me the way he is right now will have to be enough for me. Women would kill to have one night with him. I get an entire year.

“You did say people would believe us after a month of me working for you…”

His hands drift underneath my robe, running over my ass. “Are you saying you’ll be my fiancée?”

“I’m saying whenever you decide to ask, I’ll say yes. Don’t forget I want a big ass ring Mr. Sinclair. It has to be believable, of course.”

He kisses the tip of my nose. The gesture makes me feel warm all over. He’s so commanding and scary at work, when he does soft things like kiss the tip of my nose or run his thumb along the top of my hand, I can almost convince myself that this isn’t all just for show. That we did develop feelings while working with each other, and that none of this is pretend. That everything between us is raw and real.

“Noted.” The tone of his voice makes me wonder if there’s more he wants to say, but I don’t push it. I’ve already tested my luck by bringing up the impending fake engagement.

A knock sounds at our door, bringing a halt to our conversation. I miss the warmth of his body the moment he pulls away. Taking long strides to the door, he peeks out the hole, standing there and watching whatever he can see on the other side. He waits there for a few moments before opening it.

He grabs a paper bag identical to the ones we got in the gift shop from the ground. Smirking, he shuts the door. “Looks like our new sheets came.”

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to look that nice woman in the face again tomorrow morning.” She seemed so sweet, like my grandmother. The fact she knows that Beck and I clearly put the honeymoon suite to good use—even after admitting we work together—mortifies me. I’m fairly confident my grandmother still thinks I’ve never kissed anyone. She’d probably faint if she knew all the filthy things my boss just did to me here.

Beck sets the bag on the top of the bed. Walking over to our stuff from earlier, he pulls out the clothes we bought at the gift shop and throws them over to me. “Put these on before I strip you of that robe and sink inside you again.”

“That doesn’t sound so terrible.”

His returning look is heated. “As much as I want to do that, you need rest. You need to eat. So put some god damn clothes on so I can think straight.”

Teasing him, I slip my arms out of the sleeves of the robe. It’s so oversized that it slips to the ground now that my arms and shoulders no longer keep it secure on my body.

I don’t think I could ever get used to the way Beck looks at my naked body. I’ve never had anyone look at every part of me with such primal need. When he looks at me, I don’t think of the flaws of mine he could notice. No. Under his stare, I feel like the most beautiful woman in the world.

He licks his lips, letting his towel fall to the ground. “Two can play that game, baby.”

He’s rock hard, his cock standing at attention. I know if I closed the distance between us and touched him, that he’d forget about his insistence on giving me a break. At least I think he would. I resist the urge to test my theory, because he’s right. I’m starving and my muscles are already sore despite the warm bath.

It doesn’t mean I can’t have a little fun with him, however. I turn around, giving him a perfect view of my ass as I bend to the ground to pick up the clothes he’d thrown at me earlier. I stay bent over a little longer than necessary, arching my back in hopes of driving him wild.

“One day I’m going to put a perfect handprint on that ass.”

“What for?” I slide one foot and then the other into the pant legs of the pants he bought.

“For all the times you’ve been a pain in my ass.”

“Me?” I mock. “Never.

He lets out a deep, rumbly laugh. “Being a pain in my ass is like a personality trait for you, Margo.”

I slide my arms through the sleeves of the oversized hoodie he’d picked out for me in the store. It’s warm in here, I could’ve totally picked out something else so he could have the hoodie. But I don’t say anything. When I turn around, I much prefer the view of him in a pair of pajama pants and no shirt at all.

“Name one time I’ve been a pain in your ass.” The both of us are now dressed. Well, me all the way and him partly. He begins to strip the sheets off the bed, throwing them into an empty corner of the room.

“I could name way more than one.”

“Then do it,” I challenge, stepping up to the opposite side of the bed as him. When he tosses the fitted sheet on top of the bed, I do my best at laying it out and hooking one of the corners of the mattress.

We work in unison putting the fitted sheet on followed by the rest of the sheets. They smell nice and fresh. Part of me hopes we’ll dirty them all over again tonight.

“Well for starters, you were a pain in the ass from the moment I met you. I’d been on an important business call when I walked in the door of the beach house and found you standing in the kitchen in nothing but a string bikini.”

My eyes go wide in shock, remembering the exact moment. “That doesn’t count, I didn’t even do anything,” I argue.

“Doesn’t matter. You were a pain in my ass because you had the nerve to be so fucking sexy while also dating my brother.”

“Name another time,” I counter.

“When you wouldn’t answer your damn phone when I was trying to reach out about the agreement.”

“Again, not my fault. I thought you were calling about Carter.”

“The fact you thought I’d be calling you to try and convince you to get back with him only furthers my point of you being a pain in my ass.”

My eyes narrow. No matter how hard I try, I don’t think I’ll win this argument with him. I understand how he gets whatever he wants at work. He’s relentless. An expert at twisting things until he’s right.

“Name something else.”

An aggravated growl passes through his lips. “What about the time I had to beg you just to take one bite of my homemade chicken alfredo?”

My nose scrunches. “Listen. No alfredo could ever come close to the one I grew up eating in my grandmother’s kitchen. I was just trying to do you a favor.”

His lips twitch as he fights a smile. “If I remember correctly, you said it wasn’t half bad.”

I scoff. “Because you didn’t add cream. People here don’t know authentic alfredo. It’s never the same as my grandma who was born and raised in Italy makes it..”

“My point still stands. It took thirty minutes of convincing just for you to taste one noodle.”

“We’ll have to agree to disagree,” I get out.

He hits the bed softly with his hand. “Sit.”

“Why?”

“Do you always have a question for everything?”

Proving him wrong, I take a seat while sealing my lips shut. I back up until my back hits the soft pillows against the headboard. I hold my lips together, fighting the urge to ask him why again.

He walks and grabs the bag of snacks I’d picked out. I guess that answers my question. Turning the bag over, he dumps out all of the food, his eyes running over my decisions. He picks up the bag of Twizzlers, holding them with a confused look on his face. “Out of all the candy you could choose from, you picked these?”

I gasp. Reaching across the bed, I swipe the candy from his grasp and hold it protectively against my chest. “These are the supreme candy, thank you very much.”

His nose wrinkles in disgust. “They taste artificial as fuck.”

I rip the bag open, sticking one end of the candy vines between my teeth and taking a bite. “I don’t care what you say. They’re my favorite and you being a Twizzler hater won’t change my mind.”

He shakes his head at me, opening the bag of beef jerky and taking a bite. We settle in comfortable conversation the rest of the night. When he turns off the lights and climbs into bed next to me, I wonder what to do next.

Should we cuddle?

Do I stuff a pillow between us and tell him to stay on his side?

Before I can worry too much about what the etiquette is for sharing a bed in this situation, he makes the decision for me. Reaching across the bed, he loops his arm around my middle and pulls me against his chest. Beck tucks his chin between my neck and shoulder, our bodies connected from that point all the way down to our feet.

It takes no time for me to fall asleep, feeling more peaceful in his arms than I ever have before.

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