Black Ties and White Lies: Chapter 53

Margo

It’s not the same sleeping alone. I toss and turn all night, unable to turn off my mind with the questions soaring through it. The night wasn’t supposed to end the way it did. We were supposed to come home happy. I wanted to finish what we’d started in the limo. To make do on the promise of me wearing nothing but the heels for him.

I roll over in bed to grab my phone off the nightstand. I look at all of the missed notifications. It seems like a lot more people than I’d expected saw how off I was after the encounter I had with Carter. A lot of people were reaching out to check in. The only people I respond to are Winnie and Emma in our group chat.

WINNIE

How are you feeling this morning, Margie?

EMMA

I’m feeling hungover. I thought fancy champagne wasn’t supposed to make you feel like shit?

WINNIE

I didn’t ask about you. 😉

EMMA

I was trying to make Margo not feel awkward about leaving. Thanks for blowing my cover, Winnie Boo Boo.

I laugh at the nickname for Winnie. She hates it when we call her that, but neither one of us can help ourselves. She makes it too easy. My heart twinges with disappointment that I didn’t get to spend as much time with them last night as I’d wanted to. I’m a terrible friend for flying them out here and then ditching them.

MARGO

I’m fine! I just let Carter get to me more than he should have. What are you two up to?

EMMA

He’s a dick. It seemed like Papa Sinclair laid into him though. They left with things looking very heated between them.

My eyebrows raise at that bit of information. I’ve always liked Mr. Sinclair. He was always kind to me. It seemed like his boys loved him, even if they didn’t seem to love each other. I wonder what all he knows about Carter. If he knows how off he acted last night.

EMMA

I bet Beck reminded you why he was the better brother last night. 😉

WINNIE

We’re currently eating room service breakfast. Well I’m eating. Emma is complaining that the smell of pancakes is going to make her throw up.

It’s hard not to feel sad reading Emma’s text. It’s an innocent statement. We should’ve had the best time ever last night. Instead, I locked myself in my old room and refused to come out. I need some space from Beck, to think about everything I was told by each brother and decide who I believe. I need to figure out the truth, the problem is it’s buried so deep between both of their lies that I don’t know what the real truth even is.

MARGO

Would you want to grab lunch somewhere?

WINNIE

We’d love that!

EMMA

Obviously, bitch. What time?

Once we plan to get together in a few hours, I feel better. Part of me wants to tell my friends everything that’s happened, to get their advice on it all. But I know I signed an NDA. I don’t want to get in trouble. More so, I don’t want them to think badly of Beck. I’m still protecting him because deep down I want to believe every word he told me last night. I want to know that getting me to agree to be his fake fiancée wasn’t some sick scheme of his to get back at Carter. I much prefer the reason he gave for all of this. That he simply wanted me and he’d do anything to have me.

My heart wants to believe he loves me because I know without a shadow of doubt I’ve fallen in love with him.

Letting out a deep breath, I get up out of bed. I’m tired, my limbs not wanting to move as I make my way toward the bathroom. It feels off to do a morning routine in here. It feels too quiet. I’m too used to listening to Beck take work calls as I get ready or hearing him listen to some boring podcast while I try to distract him in the shower.

It all feels off and I hate how attached I got to him. It all happened so quickly, despite me swearing I wouldn’t let a man become my life again like I had with Carter.

With Beck it hadn’t seemed bad because he was just as obsessed with spending time with me as I was him. It seemed healthy. It seemed perfect. In hindsight, maybe it was too perfect and maybe I should’ve known that all along.

My stomach growls, proving I can’t stay holed up here for much longer. Luckily, because it’s Sunday, I don’t have to go into work with Beck. But we do live together. I’m going to have to face him if I want to eat.

I may have a stash of Twizzlers in one of my bags in my closet. Maybe I could live off that for sustenance.

Groaning, I know I need to get it together. I’m going to have to face him, even if my heart is broken from the betrayals of last night.

I yank open the door, thinking of how wrong of a turn last night went, when I come face to face with Beck.

His smell assaults my senses immediately, wrapping me up in a familiar advance. I never want to smell bergamot and jasmine again. Or maybe that it’s I never want to stop smelling his signature scent again, becoming all too addicted to everything that is him.

“Good morning,” he says gruffly, his eyes scanning my face.

Why does he have to look so good even when he looks so rough? I take in his simple pair of jeans and sweater. He might be dressed nicely, but his eyes are bloodshot and his hair is so disheveled it looks like he’s been constantly running his fingers through it. I’ve never seen him look so worn out.

I look from him to the empty hallway. “What are you doing up here?”

He holds up a coffee cup from our favorite coffee shop in one hand and a paper bag in the other. “I brought you breakfast. And coffee.”

He gives me an apologetic smile and I almost forget every piece of information Carter told me. It’s easy in Beck’s presence, with the remorse dripping from his body. If it wasn’t for the ache still in my chest, it all may have already been forgotten.

Beck hands me the coffee. “I got you your favorite.”

I press the straw to my lips, taking a long sip. It’s exactly right. I hate how he’s memorized it, despite the fact it’s always been me who picked up our coffees. The fact he still remembers my order isn’t lost on me.

“Thank you,” I answer, trying not to let my words come out too harsh. I’m so angry at him for lying to me, for keeping so many secrets. But he’s also become my best friend, my safe place, and I miss him. I miss talking to him, cuddling with him, doing the most mundane things with him, and I hate him for spinning lies to get us to this point in the first place.

“There’s also a few different pastries in the bag. I got you all of your favorites. And if none of these sound good then I can have Ezra stop and grab you something else before taking me to the airport.”

I pause opening the bag, looking up at him in confusion. “You’re leaving?”

He scratches his chin, pinning me with his indigo stare. “Yeah. A last minute thing came up. I’m having to fly to San Jose for three days. I didn’t figure you’d want to make the trip.”

“I’m your assistant. You pay me to go to these things with you.” I turn to step back into the room, but he grabs me, turning me to face him.

He manages to still keep space between us as he looks down at me unsure. “I’m not talking to my assistant right now,” he begins.

“I am your assistant,” I correct, looking down to the spot he’s touching me.

He waits until I look back up at him to speak. “Then you’re fired. Because right now I’m talking to the woman I love, not the one who works for me.”

My heart flip-flops dramatically in my chest. Why does it seem like he always says all the right things to make me melt into a puddle at his feet? It’s like he knows exactly what to say to remind me that I love him. I just don’t know if that’s all part of his act or if it’s genuine. My head is all sorts of fucked up after last night. I don’t know who—or what—to believe. And it’s left me reeling ever since.

“Margo,” he pleads, gently running his fingertip over my cheek. “Please, just listen to me for a moment, okay?”

I nod, having to swallow back emotion. All of a sudden, I can feel tears pricking at my eyes and there’s a lump in my throat. It’s the tone of his voice. It matches mine—filled with sadness and remorse. It has me seconds away from telling him I believe him, or at least I don’t care if it was fake to start with. As long as it’s real now, that’s all I need. I hold myself back from saying any of that because the truth of it is, I need to be confident it’s real now before I promise him anything. And I’m just not there yet. It’s why I couldn’t continue to wear his grandmother’s ring. It doesn’t feel right to wear something with so much sentiment when things between us has gone so wrong.

“I’m going to go on this trip. Alone. I know you need space to think through everything I told you last night, and I want to give you that.”

“This is your house, Beck,” I interject. “I can go somewhere else for space. You don’t have to leave because of me.”

“I hope you think of this as our home, because that’s what it is to me. Well truthfully, I think of you as my home. I meant every word I told you last night, Margo. If you think long and hard about it all, I think you’ll know I didn’t utter a single lie last night. But I need to go on this trip. I hope—I fucking pray—that you’ll be waiting for me when I get back. And that you’ll be ready to put that ring on your finger—where it belongs for the rest of our lives.”

“I’m not going anywhere for now,” I say softly. My voice sounds weak but I can’t seem to care. Even if everything he told me was a lie to begin with, the look in his eyes right now isn’t one I believe is fake. The hurt and longing isn’t something someone could pretend. “I just have to wrap my head around everything you said. I just don’t get—”

“Take the time you need, baby. I’m going to give you three days. But please, when I get back, be mine again. Be confident in how I feel about you—in what we’ve created.” He wraps me in his arms, pulling me into his chest. I breathe in his smell, while it seems like he does the same with his face pressed to my hair. Surely his words are true. This feels too right for it all to be based off some personal vendetta he has against his brother. “I know I’ve lied to you, and I’ll never forgive myself for it. But it still brought us together. I won’t forgive myself for it, but I can’t regret it either. I’ll never regret anything that brought you to me.”

Tears stream down my cheeks all over again. I wrap my arms around him, awkwardly trying to bring him closer while still holding my coffee and food. “It’s just a lot to think about. Everything about us is a lie.”

He jerks his body away from mine, bringing our foreheads close together. “Nothing about us is a lie,” he demands, a commanding tone to his voice. He presses his palm to my heart. “You know deep in here that nothing we feel is a lie.” He then taps my temple. “We just have to get this to realize that, too.”

I look down at the ground sadly. If I look into his eyes any longer, I’ll beg him to stay. As much as I want that to happen, he’s right. We need a little bit of space. I don’t want to rush into anything. I need to feel confident in Beck’s version of the story instead of Carter’s before anything else happens.

“Okay,” I say into his chest. I let my arms fall to my sides as I break the contact, needing to put space between us before I cling to him and never let go.

Beck and I stand in the hallway staring at one another, the two of us completely silent. It’s awkward. I don’t know what else to say to him. I can’t get Carter’s words from my head.

Beck’s eyes drift down the hallway. He looks at it with regret, taking a step away from me he takes a deep breath. “I’m so fucking sorry, Margo. I need you to at least believe me on that.”

I don’t even try to hide the tears that wet my cheeks from him. My chest shakes as I take a breath in, trying to keep the last bit of myself together. “I know,” I answer shakily. “I do believe you.”

He looks at me sadly. “Promise?”

I nod, wiping the tears from my cheeks. “I promise, Beck. We’ll talk when you get back.”

His mouth opens and closes. If he was about to say something, it never passes his lips. With a loud exhale, he turns and retreats down the hallway. I watch him go, already missing him like crazy.

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