”Eliana? Here. ”
Eliana looked up at the invitation card. ”What is it for? ”
”You know the restaurant I work for? They have been hired to cater for this event. ”
Eliana straightened from the plates she had been washing. ”So? If they are hiring your restaurant, then they have to be filthy rich. ” She tried hard to hide the pang of jealousy she felt.
”Exactly, Eliana. But…I really won be able to make it today. So can you fill in for me? I will tell the boss that you are my trusted friend. He won refuse since we can afford to lose a staff. Please. You can keep the payment. ”
Eliana looked down at it. She needed money, that is not a lie. She always felt a little too inferior especially with her long time boyfriend Cole, and now, that it seemed like they could get married any time soon, she felt the need to try to level up.
”I will do it. Thanks, Eve. ”
Eve rolled her eyes. ”Whatever. I still don like your boyfriend. ”
She laughed and walked away, as Eliana flipped the invitation card in her hand. It was a good opportunity, and she took it.
But standing here, two bodyguards holding her, her fiance and long time boyfriend holding on to another woman…it was not what she had expected at all.
”Is that what you were doing with that? ”
She turned to the man who had spoken, her tear stricken eyes blurring his face.
”Sir Julian, just let the girl be. ”
He laughed, then turned to Caroline. ”Should we let her go on your request alone, Lucas? Of course no. This is my party. It may be for your son, but I decide who stays. ”
Lucas sighed. ”You do not know what you are doing. You do not know what kind of girl this woman here is. She will be running after you by the end because she knows you are loaded. ”
Julian smiled at Eliana, who was now on her feet, her eyes fixed on Cole. ”Damn me if I do not want just that. ” He looked at the bodyguards. ”You are excused. ”
They nodded and left.
Eliana stayed glued where she was, even as Julian slowly approached her.
”Tell me your name, ” He said, his hands clasped behind him.
That was the first time she actually looked at him.
”Eliana. ” She said, feeling a little nervous. Rather that being struck by awe the way she imagined most women would feel, she felt anxious. Nervous. Very unsettled.
”I am going to offer you a deal, Eliana. A deal far greater than all the splendour you see here. ”
She looked at him, then at Cole. ”Does it have anything to do with him? ”
Julian turned, taking a second to study Coles confused expression, then turned back to her with a smile. ”And far greater than your former lover. ”
”He is not my ex. ”
”From the look of things, ” He said simply.
Eliana pursed her lips together. ”What is it you want me to do? ”
Caroline immediately came behind him.
”My deal is for you to stay here for the next fifty days. In those days, not just climb the social ladder, if you want to burn it down, I will help you. ”
Eliana swallowed. ”Why are you doing this? ”
”Mostly because I can. And partly because I want to. Before you agree, have a dance with me. ” Julian said, the same unnerving smile plastered on his face like he had taken an oath to keep it there.
He gave her his hand, and Cole watched, his eyes wide.
”Eliana. ” Cole whispered, against his own wishes.
Julians smile grew wider as he drew closer, and returned his hand to its former position. ”Are you the kind of woman who would pass a good opportunity for a spineless man? ” He turned slightly, so their eyes met.
There was resistance in her eyes. More resistance in her heart and even more in her head.
This man felt like a bad omen. Like bad news. He felt like someone who would get what he wants when he wants it. He was a man she should stay away from.
She turned to Cole again, his hand was still protectively around his other woman and she swallowed, then blinked her tears back.
”Fifty days? Why fifty? ”
Julian smiled. ”Because on the fiftieth night…that is when the stars will align. It will be one beautiful sight, you see. ”
Eliana took in another deep breath. ”And then? What if I live with you? What happens after that? ”
”That is…completely for you to decide. ” He leaned away from her, raising his head. ”Whatever you want. ”
Caroline studied him. She knew how much he had waited and it was crazy how it had come right to him. Wearing a maids uniform and a very weak resolve.
”I accept. ” She said. Maybe Lucas was right about her. She wanted everything this man was offering. To climb the ladders Coles father has climbed and burn it to the ground. The respect this mans words accorded him. She wanted it all.
Maybe she always had this gold digger inside her. Maybe both Lucas and Julian were just not blind to it.
It had been different with Cole for sure, but as she reached a decision, she knew it was the selfish part of her deciding.
She slowly nodded. ”I accept. Both your offer…and the dance. ”
Julian was not surprised. He saw it in her. No one with that piece would be completely pure, and he hadn expected her to be.
He slowly gave her his hand again, and she turned to Cole. With her eyes fixed on him, she gave her hand, slowly to Julian.
It felt like a change of blood when Julian held her hand, and Caroline did not miss how much darker his hair got.
She had watched him go from having dark brown hair to jet black, and she wondered if he could get any stronger.
”You made the right choice, Eliana. You can look forward to the next fifty days. ”
She bit down on her lip, then looked up at him. ”I intend to. ”
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