I know I don't know you
But I want you… so bad
Everyone has a secret
Oh can they keep it
Oh no they can't
Pulling to a stop in front of the Chicago Hilton my mind is still picking over the details of the conversation I had with Jane Volturi earlier today. It was strange how she called out of the blue, it’s something I would have never expected.
She had called Siobhan earlier this morning in an attempt to make contact with me. She was vague with her explanation when Si questioned her about the nature of her call. So when Si called and interrupted my goodbye with Isabella this morning with really nothing to tell me other than Jane wanted to speak to me I was irritated, but still slightly curious.
After seeing Isabella off to work I got started on some work that I needed to get done. I looked over a few of the files I had brought home with me from the office then sent off a quick text to Demetri to meet me at the Pub at 1p.m.
Si gets back to me a little while later and still doesn’t have much more to tell me. She suggests I just return Jane’s call myself because it must be something very important for her to want to speak with me.
When I finally get Jane on the phone it’s a battle of wills. She won’t really get into what she wants to talk to me about over the phone which I can somewhat understand, but still don’t like. She asks me to meet her at the Chicago Hilton and that she’ll be waiting for me at the bar. Curious as fucking hell, I agree. I have no idea what I’m walking into so I call D and tell him about the change of plan and to bring Brady along.
I’m curious not stupid.
“So, what do you think this is about?” Demetri asks from my right.
“Don’t know. Considering how things are right now I’m surprised she would want to talk at all.”
We make our way inside where I spot Jane sitting at the bar. I gesture for D and Brady to give me some space to talk with her privately and move towards the bar.
She looks up giving me a smile. I knew right away the smile and pleasant air she was putting on was just a front. Jane and I go way back . She tries to come off as harmless. It blinds people that don’t know any better that they’re in the presence of a coldblooded killer.
“So proper, Jas. One would think we were way past being so formal.”
I give nothing away sitting down beside her. I know she’s trying to get a rise out of me—throw me off.
Truth is, Jane and I had a little fling or whatever you want to call it back in the day. We were kids. I was a typical horny teenage guy wanting to get his dick wet and she was willing.
End of story.
I bet Felix would lose his shit if he knew I fucked his wife and his sister—and they loved it.
Wanting to cut to the chase, I turn to her. “What’s this about?” I motion my hand between us.
She sighs. “Let’s find a place more private to talk.” She eyes the bartender.
I nod and follow her over to a table farther back, giving us a bit more privacy.
We sit and Jane wastes no time. “Do you want to squash all this bad blood between our families Jasper?”
I shrug. “I don’t know what you mean.”
She purses her lips. “Okay I see how it’s gonna be. I’ll let you play dumb, but you know just as well as I do that this thing is going to get a whole lot worse if somebody doesn’t step up.”
I lean in to the table. “Step up? What is it that you think needs to happen?” I ask because she’s dancing around what she really wants to say.
“Look, after what happened to my uncle you have to know that Aro won’t let that go.”
I push down the anger that’s stirring in my gut at her remark. If Caius hadn’t tried to rip Mick off in the first place there would be no beef. At least not on our end.
I shrug. “I don’t know what Caius’ death has to do with me or my business, and as far as Aro goes he’s a big boy. If he wants to pick a fight….” I shrug again leaning back in my chair.
She shakes her head. “That’s exactly what he wants. You ready for that? You want all that unnecessary bloodshed on your hands?”
“Get the fuck out of here with that bullshit!” I snarl. “Since when do you give a fuck about unnecessary bloodshed. The way I see it you have just as much blood on your hands as I do, so stop jerking me around and tell me what you want from me. That’s why we’re here right?”
She has an agenda. I don’t know where I fit in, but I know one thing, I won’t be a pawn in one of her games.
She folds her hands in her lap and gives me a hard look. “I don’t want anything from you per se, but I do think that if heaven forbid something were to happen to my brother, that you and I could work very well together.”
I frown. “So what are you saying?” My eyes make a quick scan of the room then back to her. “You want to off your brother?”
She shakes her head. “I didn’t say anything like that. All I said was that you and I could work well together—make a lot of money, if my brother wasn’t around to fuck it all up. Any problems we might have had with one another could be squashed. We could have a clean slate. Doesn’t that sound much better than the possibility of months or maybe even years of going back and forth?”
I smile because I can’t help it, this whole thing is ridiculous. “Jane, I don’t know what the fuck is going on over in your camp. What I do know is I want no part of it. You ask me here and hint around about getting rid of your brother? “ I shake my head. Done with this whole conversation I rise from my seat.
“This whole thing…” I wave my hand between us” has been a huge waste of my time. Unless you have something good to tell me, don’t contact me again.”
I turn to leave when she speaks up.
“Jasper.” I turn back to her no longer bothering to hide my irritation.
“I know I shouldn’t have to say it, but this conversation, it never happened.”
I don’t offer a reply.
I turn back and head over to where D and Brady are waiting. I know that this won’t be the last I hear from Jane. If anything the whole point of this meeting was to feel me out—see where my head is. Had the tables been turned and it was Aro who had to make the decision to bite or pass, I know what he would have done without a doubt. And there lies the difference between he and I.
“Let’s head over to the Pub, I need a drink.”
“And this is where we keep our overstock. If we run out of anything on the shelves look back here first before you place an order.” I nod taking notes on my note pad.
Charlotte had been extremely helpful. She had spent the last hour showing me what my new job entailed. Basically I would be in charge of making appointments for clients that called or were checking out, stocking shelves, and helping any customers that came in to buy products. It sounded easy enough and I was pretty sure I would have plenty of down time with not much to do.
By 11a.m. I figured out how wrong I had been.
There was a constant flow of customers coming and going and I was running back and forth doing my best to make sure all of their needs were met.
By 12 I was finally able to sit down. Mary comes to sit next to me with a smile on her face. She had been just as nice as the first time we met at Si’s bachelorette party.
“So, how are you doing?”
I lean back in my chair and give her a smile in return. “Good, I think. It’s more than I thought it would be that’s for sure.”
She nods. “Yeah it can get really busy, but don’t worry it’s not like this every day.”
“It’s no big deal, I’m sure I can handle it.”
“Well, I’m happy to hear it. I hope you’re with us for a while. We’ve gone through quite a few receptionists in the past year.”
Now I’m curious and to be honest I have no problem listening to whatever gossip she wants to tell me.
“Really, why is that?” I ask scooting closer.
She grins. “Well let’s just say that there’s never a shortage of drama around here, just don’t get caught up in it. If you manage to stay out of the constant soap opera—the whole who’s sleeping with who, and the this one stole that one’s customer and just the general jealousy, you should be fine.”
I look at her with wide eyes. “Thanks for the heads up.”
She nods. “No problem.”
I lean back in my seat, flexing my toes a bit. My feet are starting to throb. Heels were without a doubt a poor choice, I’d definitely be in flats tomorrow.
“Oh shit, it looks like you might just get to see some of that drama I was talking about.”
I follow Mary’s gaze to the couple entering the salon. It’s Peter and woman I’ve never seen before. She’s very exotic looking, with caramel colored skin and long dark hair. She’s beautiful.
“Who’s that with Peter?” I ask.
“That’s Claire,” Mary whispers.
I watch as Peter walks Claire to one of the stations where she sits her purse down. Mary and I watch with rapt attention as everything seems to go in slow motion.
Claire bounces up to Peter and wraps her arms around him just as Charlotte comes out of her office. Peter then places a wet one on Claire that’s beyond scandalous, but I can’t look away.
As Mary and I watch Peter grope Claire I can’t keep quiet. “So I’m guessing that Charlotte didn’t know about this.”
Mary shakes her head. “Nope, but she does now.”
Charlotte moves quickly in the direction of the couple who are just now coming up for air. When she reaches them she wastes no time making her presence known.
The music streaming through the salon isn’t too loud, but from where we’re sitting we can’t hear what she’s saying to them, but Eric—who’s station is right next to where they’re standing seems to be getting an ear full. He’s turned his chair all the way around not even bothering to pretend he’s not listening.
I can tell from the way Charlotte has gotten in Peter’s face that this has the potential to get really ugly.
“I don’t understand why she’s so upset. Char and Peter—they’re not together, right?” I ask.
“No, they’re not. But everyone knows not to fuck with Peter, and if they do, make sure Char never finds out about it,” Mary replies.
I squirm a bit at her words. Even though it had been nearly a year ago I had to make sure Char never found out about Peter and I. I didn’t want something that happened before I even met her to affect us becoming friends.
I shake my head. “I still don’t get it. Did Claire know he was off limits?”
She laughs. “No, she didn’t. She’s new just like you—just started working here a little over a week ago.”
I frown. I don’t know anything about Claire, but I hope that once Charlotte calms down and thinks about this that she won’t blame her. If there is anyone to blame in all of this its Peter. He knows how she feels about him and it seems like he could give less than two shits about her feelings. And the fact that he would come to her workplace and rub his relationship or whatever it is in her face is just unacceptable.
Now I’m getting upset.
Mary touches my arm and I look at her. “Remember what I said, Bella. Stay out of the drama.”
I nod reluctantly. “I will.”
I guess Peter decided that he had caused enough trouble for the day because he turns to leave not giving either of the two ladies a backwards glance. Char then escorts a visibly shaken Claire to her office thereby ending our little show.
Mary leaves me to get set up for her next appointment and I sit for a few more minutes until the next round of customers come in.
The rest of the day passes by thankfully with no more drama. I have about an hour left of my shift and try to keep busy until it’s time to go home. The flow of customers has slowed, although there are several clients still getting services done.
I’m sitting at my desk rummaging through my purse when I hear a voice to my left.
“Hello pretty lady, are you new?”
I look up from what I’m doing to find a tall smartly dressed man standing there smiling down at me. He has neatly trimmed blond hair and bright green eyes. He’s attractive that’s for sure, but he’s no Jasper.
I hesitate, a little unnerved by his piercing eyes. His smile widens at my reaction to him. I finally find my voice not really understanding why I was so easily thrown off kilter.“Yes, today’s my first day.”
He nods his smile still firmly in place. “And how do you like it so far?”
I give him a look. “I like it just fine. Did you need help with something?”
He leans on the counter getting closer than I’m comfortable with.
“Yes, I do. But I’d like to know who it is I’m speaking with first. What’s your name, pretty lady?”
I blow out a breath. “Isabella.”
He continues to grin. “Well, Isabella. I need to schedule another appointment with Mary for a haircut.” He looks over to Mary’s station,” should we do two weeks from today?” he asks her.
She gives him a nod and continues to sweep up the hair around her station.
I sit my purse on the desk and turn to the computer pulling up the screen I need.
I look back to him.“First and last name.”
I enter his name and pull up his information. I quickly schedule him for two weeks from today. He hands over his ticket so I can ring up his services. It’s folded in half and when I open it there’s a card inside with all of his contact information.
I look up at him. “What’s this?”
“It’s my card. I was thinking maybe we could talk again in a different setting—maybe grab a bite to eat.”
I shake my head. “I don’t think that would be a good idea. I’m flattered, but I can’t. I have a boyfriend.”
He cocks his head to the side and smiles. “Well, keep it anyway. You never know, situations can change in the blink of an eye. “
“No I really can’t.” I slide the card on the counter then began ringing up his ticket.
He’s quiet after that although I can still feel his eyes on me. He gives me his charge card, I swipe it and give it back to him not meeting his eyes. I give him his receipt and pray that he’ll go without pushing any further.
“I’ll see you soon, Isabella.”
I look up to see him heading towards the door. I let out a sigh of relief and grab my purse from the desk. Unable to remember what I was looking for before James interrupted me, I dump all the miscellaneous items I had taken out back inside and sit it on the floor next to me.
When my shift is over, Donnie is waiting for me outside. I hurry to the car where he opens the door for me. I slide in looking forward to getting home and seeing Jasper, I just hope he’s home when I get there.
With that thought I realize that I don’t know what time he’s suppose to get home tonight.
I go to pull my cell out of my purse when it starts to ring. I pull it out and see that my supposed friend has finally broken her silence.
I answer with my guard up not knowing what kind of shit she’s about to spew.