Authors: Cordelia Baxter
Blind Date with the Billionaire 3: Back to You (Billionaire BBW Erotic Romance)
All Rights Reserved
"Monica...Earth to Monica..."
Monica's head snapped up at the sound of her name.
"Oh sorry, Claudette," Monica replied with a shake of her head. "I didn't hear you."
"I'll bet you didn't," Claudette said. "You looked a million miles away. What's wrong, girl?"
"Oh nothing," Monica lied.
"You sure?" Claudette asked.
"Yeah, just tired. I haven't gotten much sleep lately," Monica answered.
"Mmm hmm," Claudette replied knowingly.
"Uh...yeah...just been pretty hectic around here, with the layoffs and everything." Monica was becoming uncomfortable under Claudette's scrutiny.
"You've been wearing that sad look on your face for 3 weeks. Now something happened to you. You don't have to tell me what it is, if you don't want to, but I think it would help to get it out. And I'm here for you if you need someone to listen," Claudette said.
She eyed Monica with concern. They had worked at Edison Electric together for eight years. Though they were friendly, they weren't particularly close. Monica was surprised Claudette cared enough to offer her a friendly ear. She never really had any close girlfriends. The same insecurities that kept her from forming lasting meaningful relationships with men also kept her from forming friendships with women as well. Monica really did want to talk to someone about her problems. It would make it seem more real rather than just a fantasy she made up in her mind.
She had broken up with her boyfriend, Gabe Stark
almost a month ago. They were only together for one week, but she had enjoyed that blissful time in the arms and bed of a dashing, handsome billionaire. Gabe had made her feel beautiful, desirable and loved. Even though it was such a short time, she seriously thought he was "the one".
to envision her future with him--marriage, kids, the whole nine yards, but it had all been snatched away in an instant. She caught him in the arms of his gorgeous ex-wife at a charity ball.
The truth of the matter was Monica didn't even know if she and Gabe were officially broken up. Things had been le
t up in the air, unresol
ved. After she stormed off on him, he hadn't bothered to contact her, and s
he assumed it was over.
All Gabe's friends seemed to think it was a foregone conclusion that
and his ex would reconcile. They said he was just using Monica as a hook-up. Not quite a booty call, but definitely not girlfriend material either.
And why would he
Monica thought bitterly. She had nothing to offer any guy, especially someone like Gabe. He could have his pick of women, and she was just plain old Monica.
felt like a fool. Her days stretched before her, endless
, without any glimmer of hope.
"Thank you, Claudette," Monica
. "I really appreciate it. The truth is, I just
...well...I met someone, and...i
t's kind of complicated."
Monica was interrupted by a phone call before she could continue her story.
"I'm sorry," Monica mouthed, while on the phone. "I have to take this."
"Listen, how about we go out to dinner after work. You can tell me all about it then," Claudette whispered.
Monica nodded her head and
up in agreement, feeling
a small glimmer of cheer.
"So tell me what happened," Claudette began once they had found seats and placed their orders with the waiter. They had gone to Monica's favorite restaurant after work. It was only a few blocks from the office, so they made it before the dinner rush, and were able to get a quiet table by the back of the restaurant.
"I don't even know where to start," Monica said. "It's pretty crazy."
"Well, start at the beginning," Claudette said as she smiled sympathetically.
Monica took a deep breath and dove in.
"About a month or so ago, I met a guy online," Monica began. "We went on a date and really hit it off. It was like we'd known each other for years instead of having just met. He was the sweetest guy, so thoughtful and so generous. He always knew what to say to make me feel...special."
"Sounds perfect," Claudette commented.
"Oh he was...or at least I thought he was," Monica said. "Turns out I got played."
"What happened?" Claudette asked.
"I caught him kissing his ex-wife."
Claudette's eyebrows shot up, and she waited for Monica to continue.
"Yeah, I know," Monica said. "I couldn't believe it either. We'd spent the previous week practically glued at the hip. He told me how wonderful I was, and how I was so different from all the other women he'd met before. He really had me believing we had something special."
"What did you do when you caught him?" Claudette asked.
"I just stood there and stared. I was so shocked," Monica answered. "But then I came to my senses and left."
"Did he see you?"
"Yeah. He came after me once he saw me."
"What happened next? What did he say?" Claudette asked.
"Oh he just tried to make excuses, like it wasn't what it seemed. That she kissed him, and how he didn't want to do it.
As if I'm that stupid," Monica scoffed.
"You didn't believe him?" Claudette asked.
Monica was surprised by the question. It didn't occur to her that Gabe could be telling her the truth. While he did look sincerely miserable after she left, she disregarded it. After everything she heard about Gabe and his ex at the ball, she was certain all the rumors were true--that Gabe never got over his ex-wife and was just using Monica as a way to make her jealous.
"No. I mean, it didn't make any sense," Monica explained. "I'd heard from countless people how Gabe was pining for his ex-wife Carla ever since she walked out on him. When I saw them kissing, it just confirm
ed everything I was hearing
"And you think he set everything up? Meeting with you, spending all that time with you, all the kind words--you think that was all an act to win his ex back?"
Claudette asked, incredulously
Now that Claudette had put it like that, the seeds of doubt were planted and Monica was starting to regret jumping to conclusions so quickly.
"Uh...yeah, that's what it looked like," Monica answered uncertainly.
"Did he say anything else? Offer any other kind of explanation?" Claudette questioned.
"No, I didn't really let him. I was so angry and upset, I just wanted to get out of there," Monica explained. "I didn't give him a chance to hear his side of it."
"Sounds like there's more to this story than you think," Claudette said. "Have you thought about calling him?"
"Oh no way!" Monica blurted. "I'm sure he's moved on by now anyways."
"Now why would you say that?" Claudette asked.
"Cause he's Gabe Stark," Monica stated, as if that explained everything. Claudette stared at her blankly, waiting for her to continue.
"You know the billionaire Gabe Stark. He's the one who's investing in that solar project at work," Monica explained.
"Ohhh," Claudette said, once she had registered the name. "You were dating
Gabe Stark?" she added incredulously.
"I know," Monica replied. "It's hard to believe, but it's true."
"Oh honey, I hope you're not offended by my reaction. It's not that I don't believe you, it's just surprising to hear about anyone I know dating Gabe Stark. He's like one of the most eligible bachelors in the country," Claudette
"It's all right. I don't mind really. I can't believe it myself sometimes," she said. "It's just so crazy that someone like him was into someone like me. I mean when you compare his ex-wife to me, I almost can't blame him for wanting to get back with her. She's so gorgeous."
’ve got to
stop that," Claudette admonished. "Y
ou're just as gorgeous and kind;
you shouldn't be so
Monica knew Claudette was right, and she should have a little more self
. It was something Gabe was always telling her too; it was just a hard pattern to break. All her life, she'd been told how undesirable she was, and how much better she'd look if she lost some weight.
She started to believe it for herself. It was hard to change her thought pattern.
"Besides," Claudette continued, "I'm sure Gabe saw something special in you too. I really think you should call him."
"Oh I couldn't do that," Monica said.
"And why not? You
at least hear what he has to say for himself."
"Cause it's been over 3 weeks and I haven't heard a peep from him. He hasn't called, texted, or messaged me. I don't think he wants to hear from me after all this time. Like I said he's probably moved on," Monica answered glumly.
"The way you described him earlier makes that hard to believe. He sounded like he was really into you. Maybe he's waiting for you to contact him? Maybe he thinks you don't want anything to do with him, and that's why he's keeping his distance," Claudette suggested.
"You really think so?" Monica asked, cheered by the thought.
He did look miserable when she left. Maybe she did act to
hastily walking out on Gabe, and she should give him a call to hear his side of things. She did owe him that much, she reasoned.
"I do," Claudette answered. "Besides it never hurts to try. That way you'll know for sure, instead of wondering if you've made a mistake."
Monica was grateful to Claudette for her advice and friendly ear. She was starting to feel the first inkling of optimism in three long weeks.
"Thank you so much for listening to my problems," Monica said to Claudette as they were finishing their meals. "I can't tell yo
u how much better I feel just to talk about it
"Don't worry about it," Claudette said. "I'm here anytime you need someone to talk to."
As they were calling for the check, Monica turned toward an approaching waiter and her eyes were arrested by the sight of Gabe Stark standing 20 feet away from her. He was walking behind a waiter towards an open table and Monica continued to follow him with her eyes. She had forgotten how handsome he was
Her memories did not do him justice.
She drank in the sight of him and admired the way his
suit fit his tall muscular form like a glove. His thick hair was styled back from his face, and he wore that familiar grin that Monica loved so well. It showed off the dimples in his cheeks and gave him a young carefree appearance. It ached just to look at him.
Once he reached the table, Gabe pulled out a chair and that's when Monica noticed he was with a woman.
and blonde, and Monica hated her guts. The woman smiled up at Gabe as she took the seat he pulled out for her. She must've said something funny because Monica heard Gabe's deep laughter across the restaurant. Monica's heart sank at the scene.
He's obviously on a date
, she thought sadly.
"Are you all right, Monica?" Claudette asked, eyeing her with concern.
"I'm fine," Monica replied, pasting
a shaky smile. "Let's get out of here, shall we?"
"Sure. Are you sure you're all right? I could swear you look like you've seen a ghost," Claudette added.
"Yeah, I'm fine. It's been a long day," Monica lied. Even though Claudette was the closest thing to a girlfriend she had, she wasn't ready to be that vulnerable in front of her just yet. She wanted to run away and go home where she c
ould cry her heart out in peace
They got up from the table and Monica
squared her shoulders
, looking straight ahead
, though she couldn’t disguise the pain and longing in her eyes
. She didn't want to look in Gabe's direction, but at the last minute, her resolve faltered, and she turned around. Her eyes met Gabe's startled face staring right back at her. He looked shocked to see her and was halfway out of his seat when she turned back around and walked out the door.
"You should really give him a call," Claudette said, squeezing Monica's hand sympathetically once they were both outside.