I know you all are interested in Charles and Tunie’s story – I appreciate all of the positive feedback so keep it coming – but don’t forget about Margot and Nori. In this unedited snippet, things between our hero and heroine are really starting to heat up, both inside and outside of their relationship. Names you might not know: Aro – Nori’s father, and Lado – Nori’s best friend, who will be getting his own story. I think you know Tommy, Margot’s friend, who will also be getting her own story. My lil’ brain is moving and grovin’. Enjoy! Let me know what you think…
…Then the rumors started flying. Gutter press flooded the internet with old and fake stories about Margot Temper-tantrums. Photos appeared of first her with strange men – one a handsome business lunch date – and then him laughing with a tall, voluptuous red head – one of his employees wives come to visit the office for the day.
Neither believed the other had betrayed their trust, so the barbs bounced off, as harmless as child safety scissors.
At a house party for Margot’s friend Reiko, she sat perched on his lap when she wasn’t dancing seductively – her eyes finding his often to let him know exactly who she was dancing for.
But the next day paparazzi were camped outside her house. A story had appeared in the RedEye cleverly suggested that her temper tantrums had affected profits for the Ineffable chain, that his father was considering ousting him from the CEO position.
No fool, Aro called immediately to deny having had anything to do with the story. He insisted it was no more than clever yellow journalism. But then the story about her first husband broke. Apparently George had finally emerged from the drunken stupor he typically operated in from parts unknown in Indiana and realized his ex was making quite a name for herself.
Like all no good, lazy degenerates, he decided she owed him some of her success, and he began selling stories to whoever would buy them. He happily leaked salaciously exaggerated details about Margot from their brief time together, conveniently forgetting anything about the abuse he’d inflicted. And soon, having acquired a taste for the easy money he earned from selling secrets, attempted to shake Margot down for some more.
Being Margot she laughed into the phone, and told his “low-lifed, black ass to do your worst ‘cuz you ain’t getting’ a slug from me.”
“I’ll die and go straight to hell before I give that bitch a motherfuckin’ dime!” she fumed, pacing back and forth in her living room.
“He’s not going to stop,” Nori said.
“I know that,” she snapped, then softened, coming over to whisper her apology into his neck as she curled up on his lap on the couch. “I’m sorry, baby. I’m just frustrated. I just can’t believe all this shit! What the fuck is going on? If it ain’t one thing it’s another. Why is everybody so negative and in my mix all of a sudden?”
Nori stroked her back and nuzzled the soft scented skin behind her ear. “I bet you won’t quibble about the positive press Tommy’s generated.”
She’d appeared in most of the fashion bibles for the past few months, on numerous websites and a few radio and TV shows. Everyone, said Tommy, was clamoring for this new collection with Ineffable. And that was the way she – and Margot – liked it.
Margot laughed. “Okay? Sometimes I think she’s pissed I’ve already been in all the heavy hitters. I told her she’s too efficient.”
“You can never be too efficient.”
“Says the CEO,” Margot teased.
“Why don’t you leave your wayward ex husband to me, hmmm?”
She looked at him suspiciously. “Why? What are you going to do?”
“Me? Nothing. What do you think, I’m going to travel to Indiana to beat him up?” he laughed.
Not at all. He would be getting a visit, however, from Nori’s lawyer, also known as Lado, who would arrive all official like, full of information on how statutes of limitation for domestic battery did not run out. And that the threat of jail time for battery thanks to the photographs and doctor’s reports Margot’s parents had insisted on, were a very real and serious thing. All trumped up nonsense of course, but it likely would do the trick.
“Well, do your thing,” she said, shrugging. “I really don’t give a shit what happens to that loser.”
“I’m surprised you’re letting me interfere.”
She leaned back and met his eyes. “So am I,” she admitted. “I don’t usually lean on people or trust people like that. But –”
“But?” he prompted when she stopped.
She dropped her head back to his shoulder, breaking eye contact. For a moment he didn’t think she was going to answer. And he wanted her to. He wanted her to say that she trusted him, that she needed him to take care of her. That she would always need him to take care of her.
God, he was really losing his shit. Lado would laugh his head off if he knew, and his father, good grief. He barely held back a contemptuous snort. Aro would probably try and have him committed, after year’s fiscal end, of course. Even love sick and crazy, Nori was still turning a hell of a profit.
Then she whispered, “You’re different.”
His heart jumped a little, and he smiled as he squeezed her close. It wasn’t the declaration he craved, but it was close enough for now. “Yes, my girl. I am.”
She broke away to look up at him again. Their eyes held, and hers softened as he smiled slightly and blinked lazily at her. it was a trick he used when he wanted to make love. It always worked.
“Let’s go to bed,” she whispered.
“Let’s.” He rose with her in his arms, and pulled her laughing down the hall.
She yanked free. “Strip,” she ordered. “I’m about to shut the house down for the night.”
He pretended to growl at her, but complied. He was nude in less than 60 seconds. Another 90 seconds had his face and hands cleaned and his teeth quickly brushed and half-heartedly flossed. It only took three seconds to turn back the sheets and throw himself down on top of them. What was keeping her?
He scowled, hand stroking his erection consolingly as he waited.
“Margot,” he called, impatience audible.
“Margot! I’m going to start without you,” he warned.
Thoroughly irritated, he rose and stomped from the room naked, intent on dragging her away from whatever piece of jewelry had captured her attention. Really, the woman gave new meaning to the word workaholic, which was something coming from him. Before he met her he’d rarely left his desk before 6 or 7 in the evening. He was still working the long hours, but now he worked them from Margot’s couch.
“Margot! What the hell are you –” He stopped dead.
The front door was open and there was a strange man standing, rather unsteadily, in the living room. Nori looked around, scowling. Where the hell was – “Margot!” She was lying on the floor by the door. He hadn’t seen her right away because the couch blocked his view. He rushed forward, completely forgetting that he was naked until the man began to laugh.
“That bitch’ll be a’ight. But you might need to get dressed. ‘Cuz I don’t get down like that, partner.”
Nori didn’t even think, he just swung. Later he’d admit he hadn’t even looked to see where George landed, he’d been so intent on getting to Margot.
“Baby,” he whispered, kneeling to touch her carefully. Her lip was cut. That bastard must have hit her.
She moaned softly as he was examining her head and neck for visible injuries. He exhaled roughly in relief when her eye lids fluttered and opened.
“Nori,” she began confused, then her eyes cleared and narrowed. “That bitch George hit me! Where is that mother fucker?” she began to struggle to her feet.
“Take it easy, baby,” he said, laughing in relief. “That must have been some punch he gave you; you were unconscious.”
“Shit,” she touched her lip. “Yeah, well, a sucker punch’ll do that to you. That bastard. Where is he?”
They both heard George groan at the same time.
Nori looked sheepish. “I got him back for you. But we should get you to the hospital.”
“Baby, put some clothes on, ‘cuz I’m about to call the police and have that bitch arrested…”