Authors: Blue Saffire
© 2016 by Blue Saffire.
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: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. Locales and public names are sometimes used for atmospheric purposes. Any resemblance to actual people, living or dead, or to businesses, companies, events, institutions, or locales is completely coincidental.
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: Losing My Innocence/ Blue Saffire. -- 1st ed.
I have to find me before I can find you. Otherwise we will both be lost.
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Other books by Blue Saffire
Legally Bound 3: His Law
Yours 2 July 24th 2016
Yours 3 July 31st 2016
Ballers 2: Nico
Brothers Black 2: Noah
Legally Bound 5.5: Legally Unbound
into the mirror in yet another cold hotel suite Nick wondered why life hated him so much. Sure, to the outside world he looked like he had it all – that is if they didn’t bother to dig out the truth. He’d paid a pretty penny to keep his secrets just that… secrets, but the heavy price was nothing compared to the weight of the secrets themselves.
“Luke, at twenty-six I think I’m bored already,” Nick murmured, not sure why he was saying this out loud, but knowing his best friend would be the right one to say it to.
Nick had become best friends with Luke in boarding school and he trusted him more than anyone else in his life, which for Nicholas Lincoln was saying a lot. The people he could trust were few and far between, much like the people he actually loved.
With a sigh, Nick straightened his teal tie in the mirror and winked at his stern green-eyed reflection, only to release another heavy sigh. Who was he kidding? The charcoal grey suit, the crisp white shirt and the expensive black shoes only made people see what they wanted to see. The money was what attracted everyone to him, not the man. Agitated by the wayward thoughts of this evening, Nick ran a hand through his golden brown hair.
Relax Lincoln, you’ve done a million of these, today is no different.
“Nick,” Luke laughed, “you’re about to walk into a room full of stuff shirts to give a speech and handout scholarships. Honorable, yes; fun, not so much. That my friend, is why I have planned an awesome night with two of the most beautiful women you’ve ever seen.” Luke slapped his friend on the back as he gave him a mischievous grin.
“Oh, not this shit again,” Nick almost growled. “I told you I’m not interested.”
“Come on Nick, you never date. This will never get easier if you don’t try. You can’t hide in your playground forever you know. Live a little, man.”
Luke thought about his choice of words a little too late and realized he may have gone too far this time. He meant no harm, he just knew how hard the last four years had been on Nick. The muscle twitching in Nick’s jaw told Luke it was time to change the subject and fast. “Listen,” he started. “That came out wrong. Let’s just get through one thing at a time okay? Sephora and my family really appreciate what you’re doing for her. With the divorce and everything going on with my dad…well, I don’t have to tell you how much this means.”
“I wish I could do more buddy,” Nick sighed. “I hear you talk about your sisters and I want to protect them as much as you do. You’re the only family I have. Besides, Sephora deserves every dime. I was very impressed with her transcripts and essay. I’ll be following her progress at the University. I think she will be a great asset to my firm when she graduates.”
Luke smiled at his friend. Just like that, he was all business, a controlled man, just like himself. Luke had grown to love Nick, not just as a best friend, but as a brother. Luke cleared his throat and straightened to stand up taller next to his six-foot-three friend.
“Hold on a minute,” Luke said, with a grin. “She is my family after all. I was thinking she would be able to use all that tech knowledge to help me whip the family funds back in shape.”
“We’ll just have to see my friend. We both know I don’t make idle investments.” As the tension leaves the room Luke relaxed, it was clear now that his friend was back. The worry from moments ago was long forgotten as were the worries that started the conversation.
“Very true my friend, very true, but once you meet Sephora, you will see, she is not meant for your stern hand in business. I have no doubt you will lose interest quickly.”
With that, the two friends started for the door of the hotel suite, where Nicholas had been keeping residence in for the past week. Tomorrow he would return home to the dreaded routine, expected of Nicholas Lincoln, but tonight he would take some time to be Nick and enjoy time with his best friend.
* * *
I think I’m going to be sick. I am so grateful to Lucian and his friend Nicholas. I love my father, despite him being a hard man, but what he is taking my family through right now makes me question if he ever really loved us. I thought all was lost when I got that stupid letter from him saying because of my mother being unreasonable he wouldn’t pay for my schooling.
I already thought what he was doing with the family business and assets was too much to bare, but the refusal to pay for my schooling was just way too much. Like always though, Lucian is the best, he has taken care of everything. You would think I could do my little part and give a speech right? No… because out of three children I’m the one that was born with some birth defect that my mother won’t own up to.
Lucian Emilsson is handsome, smart and a problem solver. Ettie Emilsson is beautiful in a supermodel kind of way, boys have always wanted to wait on her hand and foot. Then there came me, I think all the beautiful genes were used up when my parents got to me. It really should be a crime to be Sephora Emilsson – awkward as they come, socially and physically challenged.
Instead of admitting that she and my father had a mishap with me, my mother insists that I am just a late bloomer. So today this late bloomer stands before this hotel bathroom mirror ready to hyperventilate as she stares into large honey-colored eyes brushing back too long, too thick brown hair. Well, brown, if that’s what you want to call it. My hair is so dark it is almost black.
I’m eighteen for crying out loud. Oh My God! Why is my outfit screaming sixth grader?
Nicholas Lincoln is going to take one look at me and he is going to give my scholarship away to someone who looks like they can handle college without getting run over the first year. This sucks! I blow an errant piece of hair out of my face and turn off the faucet that did not help at all with drowning out my own thoughts. Not that I expect it to.
Well, there is one plus to tonight. My mother was too busy drowning in her own drama to notice that I would be honored with a scholarship tonight. Despite her precious ‘Lukie’ reminding her consistently for the past week or more. So I will be the only one making my short comings known to me, unless Nicholas Lincoln really does take my scholarship back. Ettie called several times today to wish me luck, she would be here tonight if it were not for her demanding job.
If it weren’t for her beauty I would hate to be Ettie. She works as one of Papa’s PR representatives for the company and my parents have tried to put her in the middle of their divorce as much as they have Lucian and myself, maybe ten times more. Ettie knew about Bianca way before the rest of us.
Ettie also knew the price of betraying my father. Yeah, not a fan of Ettie’s shoes in the least. I’ll take my chances with the crowd in the ballroom of this fancy hotel and the disappointment on Nicholas Lincoln’s face in….Oh shit, I have done it again. Looking down at my watch, I know, as always, I am late. I was supposed to have cocktails with Lucian, Nicholas, and the other honorees thirty minutes ago. Luke is going to kill me.
I rush from the restroom only to find Luke scowling and pacing in front of the large ballroom doors. I groan inwardly because I know he is going to fuss at me. I rush over as he is in mid pace.
“Finally,” Lucian sighs out as he meets me with a look of impatience and a kiss on the forehead. Just like Luke he is upset with me, but he knows how nervous I am. My safety and happiness will always come first. “You missed the cocktail hour and they had to reorganize the speeches when we couldn’t find you. By the way, why are we bothering to pay your cell phone bill when you never answer it or know where it is?”
“I know where it is. I just shut it off,” I murmur.
“Sophi,” Luke sighs again, “we’ll discuss that later. Right now we need to get inside. Nick is giving his speech now; you are up next. He really wanted to meet you before everything gets crazy. Just stick to me tonight, okay?”
“Yes,” I relented. At this point it makes no sense in questioning him.
I followed him to the doors as I smooth the skirt of my black dress that really does look like something I pulled from my closet from when I was 11. At least it puffs out at the bottom to hide the fat genes I must have gotten from my real parents. Faraz and Liam could not possibly be my parents. With a sigh, I step into the ballroom behind Luke with my head down as I watch his shoes lead the way to our table.
lease don’t be in the front. Please don’t be in the front.
Crap the table right in the front of the stage, great. Lucian pulls my chair as I try not to look at the faces around the table. Charm school has not provided me with much in the way of natural grace, so I sit with the grace only Sephora could manage, as my mother would say.
I can feel the blush taking over my face as it seems the whole room is watching me. That is when I look up. In that moment, the rest of the room might very well be staring at me, but none of their eyes matter. It is only the eyes of the six foot something God standing on the stage that has my attention.
Boys were never my thing. I didn’t think they would think twice about me in the first place so there was no need for me to work up a sweat about them. I can’t tell how many times I have been told I am pretty for a dark skin girl or that if lost some weight I could be attractive. Mind you, this has come from my mother more times than I have heard it from outsiders. So I have steered clear of the harsh reality of boys.
However, right at this moment I wish, oh boy do I wish, I listened to my mother and Ettie, I could have done something with my hair. Oh God, my uni-brow. I reach for the center of my brow with my fingertips in horror. Oh and of all days to decide to wear my glasses. I can feel myself shrinking in my seat while his gaze burns into me.
Never once did he stop his speech, but from the serious look on his face I feel like I am going to be asked to the principal’s office.
Oh, if he is the principal and I get to lean over the desk.
Whoa, where did that come from?
Get a grip Sophi.
I have never in my life seen a man so breathtaking. I’ve seen pictures of him and Luke from school, but I never really took notice. He defines the word supermodel, yet standing there in his business suit, I have no doubt he runs his company with an iron fist. So much power is rolling off of him in waves.
I have to finally tear my eyes away from him before he finds my soul with the look he is giving me. I am equally sorry and relieved that I missed the cocktail hour. If this is Nicholas Lincoln and he is this intense from on the stage behind a podium, what would I have done with him standing before me with a glass in his hand.
I wring my hands in my lap trying to focus. Nicholas Lincoln would never consider me as more than Luke’s baby sister that needs some help going to school. The god standing before me has no reason to look at a helpless thing like me when half the women in this room would offer themselves up to him and there are some lovely women in the room.
I suddenly feel even smaller and underdressed. I start to tug at my pink cardigan and fidget with the white pearls around my neck. I hear Luke clear his throat and I look up. He is looking at me pointedly, I realize the room is clapping and looking at me expectantly. I look up at the stage once again and Nicholas has his hand reaching out toward me to welcome me onto the stage.
I missed my queue. I take a deep breath and stand from my seat. I can feel my palms becoming sweaty and my throat getting dry. Oh, this is going to be worse than I thought. P
lease save me. Sephora, for the love of all that is holy DO. NOT. FALL.
I groan inwardly as I make it to the steps. As long as I keep my head down I will be fine. One step at a time I can do this.
I clear the stairs and then I make the mistake of looking up through my lashes to peek at the man that has become my first secret crush. No sooner than I peek and lock eyes with Nicholas do I trip and go tumbling. I just know I am going to face plant right here in front of hundreds of people.
Just as I hold my breath to brace myself for the most embarrassing fall of my life, I feel a strong hand grab my forearm and a muscular arm wrap around my waist.
Oh my, this feels like home.
It is the first thing to come to mind as the arms pull me flush up against a hard chest. I can feel every muscle beneath his pristine suit. Oh, and he smells awesome. Is that cologne, body wash or just Nicholas? Whatever it is I want to have a lifetime supply of it.
“Are you alright,” his deep voice vibrates through my whole body awaking things I did not know were in me.
“Oh, umm, yes,” I reply refusing to look him in the eyes as I pull away quickly before I embarrass myself anymore. I have five minutes’ worth of speech time reserved just for that and I want this over with.
“Very nice way to meet you Sephora,” he murmurs by my ear as he chuckles and runs his fingers down my arm, then turns to leave the stage.
Oh great, how am I supposed to remember a word of my speech now? I am going to kill Lucian for making me memorize my speech just to impress his friend. Ugh, this is not my life.
Breathe Sophi, breathe.