The sheen of the sun bounced off the tall black building and cast shadows around it instead, giving it a dark, yet powerful aura. It stood dominant in the heart of Albany, New York, and everyone knew exactly who the formidable building belonged to. Its owner was just as formidable as the building.
Julian Donovan. Owner of Donovan group of companies.
Today, however, rather than the steely silence that naturally accompanied the grand medieval style castle, there was hustle bustle of cars and reporters, dignitaries and A-list superstars.
The sun was setting as they came in troops, each car, each dress, each diamond studded jewellery looking to overhsadow the other.
The spotlight followed their trails on the large black carpet set out for the guests.
It was an exclusive event, one that required an invitation too. But Julian Donovan was not even the type of person who anyone would want to visit without proper procedures and even with the massive, beautiful party, it stayed that way.
The inside of the mansion was even more elegant. Halfeti black roses graced the spiral stairs, and the placard of the couple occupied the largest wall.
The buffet table carried every variety, and the most expensive sorts of caviar and beer. There were softer, non alcoholic drinks, but of course, it would not be popular with guests like these.
Among the crowd was a tall, elegant woman whose beautiful deep red gown stood out amongst the crowd. The gown curved and dipped along with her body and held on to her perfect hourglass shape, and fell short of a sleeve, therefore exposing her beautiful fair neck, shoulders and the top of her chest just enough. The slit of the gown extended mid thigh, and instead of keeping it boring, embroideries of gold covered the edge.
She stood, draped on the wall like a prize for the most able man. But every man there knew who she belonged to. And who would take her home. It was Julian Donovan himself.
He didn need an introduction as he made his way through the long balcony, letting the crowd feast on his appearance. Elegant black suit that matched the black colour of his eyes and hair, gold cufflinks that perfected his sophisticated, gentleman look and a smile that spoke less in the language of humor and more in the unadulterated language of evil. Pure, unapologetic evil. He was beautiful. He was deliciously evil.
”Welcome all. ” The music went down as his voice resonated effortlessly. He already had the audiences attention, so it did not take much for him to address them.
”Tonight, you are all my gift to my old time friend and business partner, Cole Duncan. ” He came down the stairs just as Cole, the groom, walked with his rather plain looking bride, Cynthia towards the foot of the stairs.
”You look good as always, Julian. ”
Julian nodded, as he took a wine glass from the server and directed them to do the same. ”I know. ”
He turned to the crowd and raised his glass a little to his eye level. ”To their marriage, here is a toast. ”
The audience did the same, as Cole clinked his glass with Julian, then with Cynthia.
Caroline, the sultry looking woman on red dress clasped her arm around Julians and gave him a small smile.
He had a little smile of his own as the music struck up again, and the lights went dim, letting the spotlight fall on Cole.
With a bright smile, he accepted Cynthias hand and started to dance to the slow melody, their rhythm falling in to sync.
”Would you like to dance, too? ” Caroline asked in a small voice as she suggestively winked.
”No. ” Julian answered simply, then made himself comfortable on the bar stool, his fingers playing with the rim of his wine glass.
The spotlight gradually gaded along with the music as the lights came back on.
Cole, who had been walking to Julian to express his gratitude stopped and turned. From the aghast expression, it was obvious he already knew who it was.
The woman was dressed as a server, her eyes small and puffy apparently from crying, her fingers trembling as she walked to him. She looked at Cynthia, then back to him and her eyes filled again.
”When I saw that placard outside…I thought it wasn real. But it is actually you. ”
Caroline leaned on the table right next to Julian, and she traced a finger on his neck. It was a gesture that would have had men behaving like animals around her, but he seemed almost distracted. ”Do you know what is happening? ”
He didn answer, and she knew it was a no. His focus was on the woman, from the first strand of her hair to her toe, the tears that stood in her eyes and the hurt she tried to clench in her fists.
”Eliana, we can talk outside. ” He grabbed her arm a little roughly, but she pulled it just as roughly out of his grip, then graced his face with a slap.
By now, the entire audience had their eyes on them, and the party seemed to have come to a stand still.
”How dare you do this to me, Cole? How can you do this when you know how I felt towards you? How can you do this when you promised me marriage and dated me for seven years? I was a compromising girlfriend and you know it was all because I loved you! ” Her voice cracked towards the end, but her eyes stayed wide and loving with anger.
”Because of love? ” A new voice said, and they all turned to him. All except Julian. He already knew who it was. Lucas, Coles obnoxious father who believed everything was at his feet because of the meagre amount in his bank account. To Julian, his sight was not worth him taking his eyes off this mysterious woman that felt like she was bringing him everything he has ever wanted on a platter of gold.
”Sir.. ” Eliana started to say, then swallowed. ”Sir, I love… ”
”Stop lying, you cheap whore. We all know why you seduced him. It was to get money, some quick change in your pocket. We know girls like you a little too wnell. ”
She shook her head. ”Sir. You have the wrong idea of me. I didn even chase your son. He chased after me. How can he do this after all of that? ”
”You do have some guts. ” Lucas retaliated, as Julian took another cup of wine.
He felt a little uncomfortable. It felt close, too close.
”What is wrong? ” Caroline asked.
”I can almost feel it. It feels like it is in my hands. ”
”Do you perhaps mean…the piece? ”
”Yes. My piece is close and damn me if I do not know where to find it. ” His british accent was even deeper now that his voice was was mere growl.
Caroline raised a brow and turned to the scene. ”Is it her? ”
He gave a small one sided smile. ”I will find out soon enough. ”
Caroline nodded as they both turned to the scene, like it wasn their party that was being crashed.
”Who is she? ” Cynthia asked, holding Coles arm protectively. She was no match for the fierily beautiful Eliana, and it was understandable why she was so insecure.
”No one. ” He answered, enraging Eliana.
”I am no one? It is me, Eliana. Just a week ago, I was dreamgirl, sweetheart and a lot of other things and now I am no one? ” She asked, as bodyguards started to troop in.
”You have always been no one, young woman. Find someone of your caliber to date and marry. Look at this party. Do you think you deserve such an elegant gathering? ”
Eliana felt it like a pang on her chest. ”Is this all because I am poor? ” She asked, as the bodyguards held her from both sides. She was looking straight at Cole, her disappointment written in her bright blue eyes.
”Exactly. In another life, make money instead of running after wealthy boys to mooch off of. ” Lucas said finally and waved the bodyguards away, as Cynthia wrapped her arms around Cole.
”Enough, ” Came Julians steely cold voice.
The bodyguards stopped and Lucas and Cole turned to him. His face was the same nonchalant yet crazily attractive mask as he turned to Eliana.
”Is that what you were doing with that? ”
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