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Black Ties and White Lies: Chapter 45


“Maybe this isn’t the best idea,” I say in a rush, my words coming out jumbled.

Beck stops in the middle of the sidewalk. His hand tightens around mine as he pulls me through the crowd of people walking, stopping us in a secure nook between two shops. His eyebrows knit together in a frown. “Why are you saying this?”

I take a deep breath, wondering if the outfit I’d picked out was a good idea. I’d opted for a jumper I’d got from the shopping spree I’d had with Beck. It’s a plaid pattern with black and emerald green details. Underneath, I wear a sheer black bodysuit with a high neckline and have it paired it with a long camel colored trench coat to stay warm in the brisk night air. To cover my legs, I chose a pair of sheer black stockings and a pair of kitten heels. I adore everything about the outfit, so had Emma and Winnie when I’d spoken to them on FaceTime and asked if it was worthy for meeting the parents. It’s just now that I’m moments away from coming face to face to my ex’s parents only to tell them I’m now engaged to their other son, it seems weird. How the hell does one dress for that occasion?

“I’m just worried that the outfit screams Catholic school girl and not billionaire’s wife,” I explain, running my hands down the front.

Beck literally laughs out loud, apparently finding my inner turmoil hilarious.

“Beck,” I whine, adjusting the headband in my hair. “It’s not funny. I just want to look good when meeting the parents of my fiancé to announce to them that we’re engaged.”

His eyes soften as his face becomes serious again. He wraps his arms around me, pulling me against his warm body. Of course he never has the problem of looking too naive or silly in an outfit. Anything he puts on he looks like a model straight from a catalog. Tonight is no different in a suit that isn’t as formal as the ones he wears to work, but one he looks delicious in either way.

“If we’re being technical, this isn’t you meeting them for the first time. So you don’t have to worry about first impressions at all. Which even if you did, you’d kill it because you look absolutely breathtakingly beautiful tonight, Violet. Have I not told you that enough?”

I sigh, playing with the zipper of his coat. He had told me I looked beautiful countless times from the time I slipped the outfit on until the moment we stepped out of the car. I’m just so full of nerves I keep wondering if it’s something he’s just saying to make me feel better.

My nose scrunches. “I think the first impression comment makes me feel even worse.” I crane my neck to look up at him. He’s so handsome it makes my chest hurt. Every single one of his features are perfect, all things I’ve been obsessed with sketching as of late.

“Trust me. It won’t be weird. They’ll be excited. Our story seems natural. You worked for me, we were together a lot and then we fell in love. They know my personality. I always go all in when I want something. It won’t seem too far off that we got engaged quickly.”

His fingers brush against my temple tenderly. When he does simple things like this, it makes my heart long for things it shouldn’t. Things like I wish this was actually real, that he wasn’t known to be so closed off and that we weren’t just pretending.

Well at least that he wasn’t pretending, I often wonder if I’ve reached the point where I no longer have to fake it.

I think I’ve caught feelings for Beckham Sinclair. Terrifying, massive, powerful feelings. The kind that have overtaken my every thought, every feeling, my entire being. I’m afraid I’ve done the one thing I told him I couldn’t do, allow myself to blur the line. I need to reign myself in some, to have a reality check. Tonight won’t be the night, however, because I need to play the lovesick fiancée to Beck to make it believable. It won’t be that hard, considering it’s not really faking it when it feels so incredibly real.

His indigo eyes search my face. He seems worried. Not about seeing his parents, but maybe it’s the caution in my eyes making him look more apprehensive than normal.

“You’re not embarrassed to be telling them you’re engaged to me? I hear you could’ve had the pick of an oil or jewelry heiress, not a girl born to a preschool teacher and an electrician.”

He cradles my face in his hands, the leather of his gloves soft against my cheeks. “I’ve never been more proud.”

My stupid, pathetic heart cartwheels at his words. It clearly has no idea that his words don’t mean what we hope. They couldn’t…

But what if they did?

His stare is so intent, his gaze so deep that not for the first time, I wonder if somehow Beck is falling like I’m falling. Have things changed for him like they have me? A girl can dream.

“Beck,” I start, needing to tell him that I think I might be falling for him.

He leans down, pressing his lips to my forehead. He does it so often I’ve become used to it. I’ve grown so accustomed to it; it makes me ache to think of the day I won’t feel the press of his full lips above my eyebrow. “Shhh,” he says against my skin. “I know, Violet.”

You know what? I want to ask.

I’m about to do just that when he slides his phone from his pocket, looking down at the name on the screen. I look too, finding his dad’s name glowing on the front. One hand stays on my cheek, his thumb absentmindedly brushing over my cheekbone as he answers the call.

“Hey, Dad.”

There’s a few silent seconds as he listens to whatever his dad says on the other line. “Yeah, we’ll be there in a few minutes. We’re just down the block.”

He hangs up the phone, tucking it back in his pocket before giving me a wide smile.

“I’m nervous,” I admit, the words tumbling from my mouth.

Beck intertwines our fingers once again continuing down our path from earlier. We get so many looks, mostly from women. They watch us with curious envy, like they’re trying to figure out how I managed to get a man like him to walk down the busy sidewalk with me hand in hand.

“You have no reason to be.” He comes to a halt, stopping behind a crowd of people as we wait for the light to tell us we can cross the street.

“I have every reason to be, Beck. I wasn’t bred to marry into money like every other woman you’ve brought home to your family. And I certainly don’t think those girls have also met your family when dating your brother.”

“That’s the thing. I’ve never brought a woman to meet my parents.”

I almost trip over my feet as the group of people cross the crosswalk. The only thing that keeps me up is Beck’s strong grip on my hand. Once we’re safely back on a sidewalk, my face thankfully not against the concrete, I look at him with a stunned expression. “Never?”

We come to a stop in front of the restaurant. He turns to face me, shielding my view from the rest of the world. All I see is him. “Never. Until you. Until now.”

“Yeah?” I ask hopefully.

He nods his head confidently. He stares at me like he’s just waiting for me to ask the countless questions running through my head. I hold them back, knowing we don’t have the time.

But later, I might feel confident enough to ask him—to hope—that maybe this has transpired into something more.

“I’ll give you something even better,” he says hoarsely. “I’m excited to tell them about us, Margo. So the next time you find that you’re comparing yourself to other women, don’t. There’s never been anyone else. Just you.”

He doesn’t give me room for further questioning. He pulls me into the restaurant, giving my hand a reassuring squeeze as he leads us to the host stand.

“We’re here for the Sinclair reservation,” he announces smoothly. The hostess looks him up and down with appreciation. I get it. He’s hot. But she could put her tongue back in her mouth before she drools all over the menus. It’d be the polite thing to do.

“I’ll lead you there.”

Beck thanks her politely, keeping a hold of my hand as we’re escorted to the back of the dining area.

I notice Beck’s parents before they notice us. There’s just one minor issue. It’s not just Beck’s mom and dad at the table. We won’t be announcing our engagement face to face with only his parents.

We’ll also be announcing it to Carter—my ex-boyfriend and Beck’s brother.

Oh shit.


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