The Billionaire's Ball: BBW Billionaire Boss Erotic Romance (Vivian's Desire) (2 page)

 

It was harder to go to bed now. She had changed into silky pajamas and begged the sea to sing her back sleep. The key glittered on her nightstand reassuringly.

 

 

The Captain joined them for brunch the next day. She’d slept in a little late and agreed to meet Alex in one of the dining rooms. By the time she’d walked in, she could already see his blonde head bobbing up and down in laughter beside a handsome dark skinned man in an impressive white uniform. She threw her hair over her shoulder and fixed her blouse before striding over to their table.

 

“Good morning,” she told them. The Captain turned to her with a warm smile. She could see the beginning lines of a life spent at sea on his face, which made him seem even more endearing. She smiled back as Alex clapped a hand on his back.

 

“Vivian! I was just telling him about you,” he informed her. “This is Captain Witherow, a great friend of mine.”

 

She held out her hand politely. “Nice to meet you, Captain.”

 

“You can call me Robert,” he said with an enthusiastic shake of her hand. “I couldn’t believe that I was actually going to meet the woman who’s tamed young Benjamin.”

 

She accepted the chair he quickly pulled out for her and laughed. “I will definitely need a drink before we talk about any of that.”

 

“Three mimosas, please,” he told the waitress as she passed by. Vivian laughed. The Captain was quite charming. She could practically see Alex and him back at school. They actually look liked schoolboys now, huddled close to each other with relaxed shoulders and lazy grins. She noted that Robert straightened his back whenever a crewmember passed by, but immediately relaxed at their departure.

 

“I’m entirely sure all of my stories would bore you,” she told Robert. “I’d love to hear about your life. The ship is beautiful! I’ve never been on anything quite like it.”

 

He hit a hand over his chest, as if wounded. “Vivian, you truly make my heart swell with pride!”

 

Alex accepted the three glasses as the waitress arrived and distributed them around the table. “He’s really quite a bore.”

 

Robert shot him a look. “You’re just jealous. You always told me how you secretly wanted to be a pirate, Alex.” Vivian raised an eyebrow at her boss.

 

“A pirate, really?”

 

Alex blushed. “I thought the rum and high seas sounded nice for the better part of my teenage years.”

 

“He would’ve been terrible at it,” Robert said barely in a whisper, “He tried to join the sailing team. It was a
disaster
.”

 

“We should discuss Ben!” her boss piped up suddenly after a swig of his drink. He winked at Vivian playfully. She shot a sympathetic glance at him. He was never one to be under pressure.

 

I’ll kindly take the spotlight
, she thought and leaned toward Robert. “It was actually pretty scandalous.”

 

“Do tell!” he leaned closer to her.

 

“He was my substitute boss. Well, he’s still my boss sometimes.”

 

“Dramatic,” he breathed.

 

“Yes. I thought Alex would kill me! I mean, he
trusted
me.”

 

His eyes widened. “Go on.”

 

“Well, I’d tell you the rest, “she said smoothly and drank from her glass,  “But then I’d have to kill you, Captain.”

 

He let out a near girlish squeal. “Damn! He always was a lucky bastard. Do you know he stole my first girlfriend from me?”

 

“Like that was hard,” came a reply and snort form Alex. Robert shot him a withering glare.

 

“She was my first love.”

 

“She was everyone’s first lay,” Alex whispered not so subtly.

 

Vivian raised an eyebrow. “Ben stole your girlfriend?”

 

“Yes, the cad!” Robert replied with a woeful throw of his hand against his forehead. He laughed deeply. “It’s not big deal now of course. I mean, I’d still like to punch him in the face. I haven’t seen him since high school.”

 

“We haven’t seen each other in two years!” Alex added.

 

“Since the Christmas party,” said the Captain with a nod. He turned back to her. “Did you know I introduced Alex to his wife at school?”

 

She grinned. “I knew he couldn’t have been so lucky on his own.”

 

“She had her head in law books even then. A gorgeous woman who paid no attention to men, but we were family friends. I hooked them up,” Robert said proudly and Alex nodded with a small smile.

 

“It’s true.”

 

“And now you’re married to her. You owe him,” she mused and her boss nodded.

 

“Yes, I was not as good with the ladies as Ben.”

 

The last comment struck a soft wounded chord in her heart. The two men went on chuckling, now bringing up stories about their time on the lacrosse field. She watched them over her chilled drink.

 

Sometimes she felt so close to Ben and then, at moments like this, it was like she didn’t know him at all. It was funny how you could lie in bed next to someone night after night, but at the mention of a past filled with adventures you weren’t privy to… she played with the napkin in her lap.

 

What was he doing now? She hadn’t received a message from him all day. She even sent him one earlier this morning while she was getting ready.

 

My service must be bad on water
, she hoped and took a swig of her drink. The men in front of her looked like two teenage boys. She smiled softly behind her hand.

 

She knew Ben loved her. Perhaps it was enough to see a glimpse into his world. She’d once visited a Buddhist temple with a friend during college, where the monk softly repeated over and over:  “Do not focus on the past.”

 

Could she help it though? She truly wondered. It wasn’t so much the past that was her focus, but the future…

 

Where would she and Ben be in a few years? Would they be married? She felt her cheeks flush. She hadn’t truly thought about that. Maybe a few times when they laid together, glowing with sweat and naked after an exhausting love making session, but they were girlish dreams as far as she was concerned.

 

This hasn’t been the brunch for my self-esteem
, she thought a bit sourly. Robert suddenly turned to her and she perked up with a plastered smile.

 

“Are you excited for the masquerade tonight?”

 

“Oh, yes! I’ve packed some beautiful masks,” she replied. It was true. She had gone a bit overboard in preparations for the masquerade. She’d bought a fine evening gown of emerald green and an assortment of black masks with corresponding fine costume jewelry to match. She couldn’t help it though. The desire to dress up had never really left her from her days as a young girl.

 

“Oh, Adriana packed a mask for me,” Alex suddenly mused. She smiled and nodded innocently. Yes, Adriana had packed a mask for him since Vivian told her immediately upon reading about it.

 

“I’ll dig something out from the family closet,” the new mother had told her. It made Vivian a bit jealous to hear remarks like that. Even a closet could represent a door she seemingly could never open. Would she ever be a part of the family?

 

Alex called over the waiter to ask for another round of drinks. Robert began to regal her with tales of his glory days on the field and in the classroom. She felt the sting of the alienation from the past fade, as the two men seemed to bring her into the warm circle of the present moment.

 

And yet, she still desperately felt a hollow space as Ben’s face fluttered through her mind every now and then for the remainder of brunch.

 

 

 

The full moon glowed above them.

 

“Did you miss me?”

 

That voice. How unmistakable it was to her ears. It was music to her. The moonlight glittered across the dark water behind his impressive towering back. She pressed a hand against her fast beating heart. It swelled in warmth, beating right along the sound of the waves as they struck against the bottom of the ship.

 

She could make out the strong lines of his jaw even underneath the mask. They seemed sharper than before as he coolly leaned against the railing as if they were discussing the weather. His lips, those beautiful stupid lips, were arching upward into his trademark smirk.

 

“You are such a bastard,” she said. As if he needed a reminder. His grin was instant. She crossed her arms as a breeze rolled over them, fluttering the silky edges of her dress and the feathers of her mask. He raised a black-gloved hand to cover his rising bout of laughter.

 

“Vivian, you’re a gem.”

 

“I know,” in her mind, a voice whispered:
his gem.
That was perfectly all right with her.

 

The night seemed to wrap around them in sweet solitude. The deck was devoid of any other person. Soft rises and falls of the waltzing music inside drifted through the walls behind them.

 

“So,” his tongue ran over his top lip and she shivered. “Did you miss me?”

 

This
son of a bitch
! He was a whirlwind of surprises. She hadn’t expected him in the least. He had been dodging her messages. She replayed the moments of the day like a movie in her mind to try and make sense of it all.

 

It had been a quarter to eight. She had just finished placing her mask on a face of perfectly applied makeup for the ball. Her emerald evening gown hugged her soft curves. The lotion she had bought before the trip wafted into her nostrils like a teasing whisper. She spritzed her favorite fragrance on the heated space of her neck and adjusted the neckline of her dress. It perfectly propped up her ample bosom and created one of the best presentations of cleavage she’d ever gotten with a dress.

 

She’d checked the clock again. It would be just a few minutes before she needed to meet Alex in the lobby. He would be dressed in one of his tuxedos that Adriana had picked out and a handsome understated white mask she was sure. She slipped on a piece of exquisite and nearly real looking costume necklace around her neck. The stone rested just above the dip of her cleavage.

 

The simple hanging diamonds in her ears were real; a gift from Ben. She’d fingered them lovingly and glanced at her phone. It had been depressingly silent for the whole day except for a message from her mother urging her to enjoy her trip. Not even a massage from the spa earlier in the day could soothe the knot in her stomach.

 

“You’re a sexy, powerful woman,” she told herself in the mirror and then felt woefully foolish for doing so. She picked up her lipstick and reapplied the mauve berry color once more before finally deciding the process was finished. “I look great.”

This time she said it a bit more confidently. If she couldn’t feel it authentically, she would fake it until she made it.

 

She quickly glanced in the mirror, adjusting the plunging collar once more to allow for the sexiest fit, and then whisked herself out of the room.

 

Alex was waiting, just as she’d pictured him. He smiled charmingly at her. “You look lovely! Ben would be furious to see you on my arm tonight.”

 

She half-smiled. “Perhaps,” and then deciding she definitely didn’t want her boss probing her about her depressed answer, grabbed his arm. “To the ball!”

 

He nodded and they followed an elegantly dressed group down the massive main hallway. The ballroom was the crown jewel of the ship, but she hadn’t imagined it to be quite as magnificent as it was. It was a scene out of the
Titanic
, but on a grander scale. The sparkling floors, the luxurious ice sculptures, and a tremendous hanging chandelier hovering over the center of the main area. She let out a little gasp of awe.

 

“Beautiful!”

 

Alex nodded in agreement. “Absolutely beautiful.”

 

“I hope you’re talking about your date,” Robert’s voice sounded from behind them. “Vivian, you look ravishing.” He took her hand gently with a flourish and placed a kiss on it. She blushed.

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