Diamond in the Rough - 6 (UNEDITED DRAFT)
She pressed her palm to her stomach to calm her fluttering guts.
He was a black hole and she was loose floating debris caught in his goddamn gravitational pull. She grabbed a glass of champagne off a passing server’s tray.
He was dressed like the king of thieves talking to Lexington Law who too was dressed in a similar fashion.
She never thought she’d use the word friendly in the same thought as Steven Black. Neither would she think the man capable of unwinding her to the point of confusion. She still could hardly keep her thoughts on tasks that she needed to complete. She needed to be acting like a Princess unimpressed by the thieving rogue that sought to win her heart. Well, not her heart, but the heart of the princess because she was pretending and he was pretending-- She let the thought end tired of the mental rat race.
She sipped the champagne and forced herself to look away. Her arms were crossed over her mid section which was exposed in the blue princess jasmine costume she was wearing. She scratched under the heavy wig wondering when she would be able to take it off. Her curls were sweating it out under there.
His purple vest was open revealing light abs and a trim waist.
She growled and looked away again.
“Well, this is nice.” One of her coworkers who she was fond up approached sipping something stronger than champagne. She grunted. “Lexington Law. If I could get close enough to lick that man, I’d do it.”
Gem almost spit out her drink. She choked it down instead. “That’s vivid.”
“Premeditated. Isn’t he just a dream?” The woman sighed and hearts burst from her eyes. Well, maybe not hearts, probably something closer to the red kissy lips.
She nodded trying not to look at Black. “He’s handsome.” Law was handsome, charming, sensible, intelligent. A prize of a conquest for any woman with the right stuff to even enter the man’s circle. It’s be hard. There was a lot of competition. Black on the other hand wore his assery on his sleeve with very little remorse. So how the hell did she get caught up in it? Because he did foolery like at dance practice a couple days before. She tried to write it off on the magic of New Orleans a place that held her heart and made her believe the mystical was real. How did the man’s hold carry over the Las Vegas. A place that was glaringly and unapologetic-ally a show?
“Ugh! You’ve adapted the whole wholesome thing I can’t stand you. Handsome are for boy scouts not half naked gods.”
“Oh please.” Gem’s reaction for more toward the wholesome comment. If the woman knew what was going on in her head she’d retract that comment quick. “Surely you’re giving the man more credit than he deserves. It’s not that serious.”
“Oh yes, it’s that serious--”
“Excuse me. Gem,” It was one of the co producers. “We need you and Steven to come to our magic carpet display to get final footage for the evening.”
“Guess that’s my cue to go be wholesome.”
“Mhm,” the woman’s attention was still on Steven’s gregarious friend.
She placed a hand on the woman’s shoulder. “Here’s a wild idea, go say hi to him.” She smiled when the woman’s wide eyes met her own. She walked back to the location outside of the party on a raised platform to get a shot of the rather perfect star-speckled sky.
She paced while they set up things for the shoot. Her thoughts drifted back to the dance practice. There was something there that wasn’t there to begin with. A moment, a spark that happened that she saw a change in him. It was almost like he cared like some glacial wall of ice was melting inside him.
She closed her eyes and let the butterflies to their thing inside her stomach. The way he looked at her, touched her, but they hadn’t even spoken two words since that moment. They'd done their activities, meetcutes for the Aladdin themed portion of the journey, but he was quiet. Not his cold, terse silence, but something else--
She started from her thoughts when a hand snaked around her middle and a solid form pressed against her back. “Sorry for keeping my princess waiting.”
She gasped when he insides rolled like lava in an active volcano. She looked over her shoulder to find Steven dressed his is prince attire now. The dark liner was still hugging the outline of his eyes making him look ever the rogue he was.
He pulled a few wild curls away from her face that escaped the puff of hair she released from under the wig. Felt good the breeze through her strands. They held each other’s gaze for a period of time before he cleared his throat.
“I never got to properly apologize for the other morning.”
She smiled finding her feet. Her face filled with heat at his improper apology.
She came without resisting when he pulled her to him. “I got a call notifying me of my sister’s reading of the will.”
A heavy weight pressed against her chest.
That’s what she felt like for being a petty princess. “I-I’m sorry.”
He shook his head. “No, I--” He released her and wandered off obviously in some sort of inner turmoil.
She knew the basics but only what was in his profile. She understood loss better than most. She followed him her heart pulling her to comfort him. She lost a sister, a mother, a father, but the bond between twins was special. A unique connection that she would never quite understand.
She rested a hand on his shoulder. He turned around and took her hand bringing her closer to him. She placed her palms on his chest and leaned into him.
“The funeral was surreal. I was there but it felt like I was watching it from above or something like I wasn’t apart of it.” He swallowed. “I’ve never said that to anyone.”
“You don’t have to.”
“I want to.” He took a deep breath. “This, dividing up her belongings like dogs fighting over a piece of meat.”
“You can’t look at it like that. It’s a chance for her to share with each of those she loved apart of her material treasures.”
“Is that, is that how you thought about your sister’s reading of the will?”
“Oh, great! You two are together. Okay. We’re ready for you now.” The co producer grabbed Steven and brought him over to the place she wanted him. “I’m going to want our Aladdin to kneel on the carpet here. It’s going to feel strange, but we’re going to put her right in front of you. Jasmine come here please.”
She took her place in front of Steven, but his last question was drifting past her brain. His confession his sadness. Her breath caught when his hand planted at her waist. She leaned back at him looking back at his dark beauty.
“That’s perfect, hold that pose.”
She didn’t see the cameras flashing away capturing the moment. He was looking down at her and she up at him and there is was again, that pesky magic that made the rest of the chaos fade to whispers.
The man was tortured in so many ways. He wondered what he was like before the loss of his sibling. Wondered what he would be like when he was around her. Wondered many things that didn’t matter because they were figments of reality. Truth was loss was apart of the reality he lived, she lived, the sick girls she was working so hard to help.
Working so hard when she couldn’t help her own sister. Unlike Steven she still had a chance.
Small but not immeasurable.
She call the hospital first thing in the morning to agree to the surgery once the money was raised.
Hope was easy, contagious.
The only thing she was missing was faith.
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