before lucky-Page 3

“Hey, come here.” I called out to Emily urgently. “Let me make it up to you.” My voice sounded unfamiliar to me, it was warm and wanting. Emily looked up at me hopefully, with her bra in her hands. “Come here.” I commanded her this time. She grinned at me and ran over, dropping her bra on the floor.

“I knew you couldn’t say no, not to me.” She pushed her br**sts into my chest, and I felt nothing. I made myself smile into her cold and calculating blue eyes.

“Of course, I couldn’t say no.” I leaned forward to kiss her. This is what I knew. Sex, for the sake of sex. My lips crushed down on hers, and I slipped my tongue into her mouth. Her lips remained motionless underneath mine, and her breath tasted foul. I tried not to recoil from her and ran my hands down her na**d back. She moved in closer to me and ran her hands down my chest and to the front of my pants. She started to unbuckle my belt, and all I could see was Lucky’s face in my mind. I moved away from her slowly and rubbed my forehead. “I’m sorry,” I shook my head. “I, I, just can’t do this right now.”

She looked at me in shock and tried to reach her hand down my pants.

“No,” I pushed her hand away. “I’m not interested Emily, sorry.”

“You just told me you wanted to have sex.”

“I’m sorry, I thought I could do this, but I just can’t.” My voice was pained, as much for her, as for myself. I didn’t understand it. I just knew that I physically could not have sex with her, the kiss alone had been torturous. The feel of her body against mine did nothing for me. If I was honest with myself, I knew that I didn’t like her and didn’t care if I never saw her again. Braydon or not. I sighed and felt like slapping myself, but I knew there were other women. I’d get what I needed from one of them. “Are you okay?” I walked over to Emily as she threw her clothes on.

“Just take me home.” She growled at me, sounding very much like a male bear. I was taken aback as I stared at her and stifled a laugh. I guess her true colors were coming out.

“How about I call you a cab?”

“Whatever.” She flung her hair.

“Let me call you a cab.” I walked into the kitchen quickly and pulled out a number. “Hey, it’s me, can you send someone over right away? Thanks.” I hung up and walked back to where Emily was. She stood by the door and stared at me provocatively, I was pretty sure she was trying to look alluring, but she looked more like a rat that had nearly drowned.

“The cab will be here in a few minutes.” I nodded at her and averted my gaze, feeling somewhat sorry for her.

“Don’t bother calling me again.” She gave me the death stare and I pretended to look disappointed.

“I’m sorry. The night didn’t go as I intended.”

“I thought you had more class, but I should have known when you took me to the grease spoon that you were…”

“I think we should both stop before we get any angrier.” I interrupted her and stared into her eyes. “I don’t think we want to end the evening on an argument.” I knew that if she tried to disparage Lucky again, I wouldn’t be able to keep my mouth shut.

“You’re scum, Zane Beaumont.” She spat at me and opened the door. “I’ll be outside.”

“I’ll come out with you.” I sighed, not wanting to join her, but not wanting to leave her outside by herself. I may be an asshole, but I wasn’t going to let a woman stand on the street by herself.

We stood there for a few minutes silently before I saw the car come down the road. I said a silent prayer that the car arrived so quickly and whispered to the driver when he stopped.

“Don’t worry about the cost, I got it.” I smiled at Emily and she glared at me without answering, as she got into the back of the car. “Thanks for coming, I had a fun night.” I shouted out before she slammed the door, and I laughed to myself.

I walked back to the house and closed the door. I looked around the room and stared at the marble floor that sparkled so brightly, thanks to the light from the chandelier. The house was so quiet and I walked slowly, turning off all the lights. I thought back to the first time Noah and I had seen this place. He had known right away that this was the house he wanted us to get.

“Can you imagine the parties we could have here, bro?” He had punched me on the shoulder lightly, his eyes sparkling. “Look at the pool, right in the middle! This place is perfect.”

I hadn’t really agreed—the place was too ostentatious for me, but Noah had loved it. I felt my throat constrict as I thought about Noah. I didn’t want to think about him or about anything anymore. All I wanted to concentrate on as bringing Braydon down. He was responsible for Noah’s death. He had to pay. I walked up to my room and pulled out my phone. I needed to talk to someone. I didn’t want to go to bed yet; I didn’t want to face my dreams. I dialed the number of the only person I knew I could talk to.

“Special Agent Waldron.” He answered the phone on the first ring, and I was glad that he was always available. Ever since the day I had decided to call him, he had always been here for me. Even if sometimes he was so vague that I didn’t really understand what he was saying.

“It’s Zane.” I paused. “I just got back from my date with Emily.”

“The model that dated Braydon six months ago?”

“Yeah,” I paused. “She didn’t know anything.”

“I didn’t think she would have much information.” I heard some papers shuffling. “I’m not sure many of them will have access to the info we need.”

“You never know,” My voice was urgent. “I have to try.”

“Yes, it doesn’t hurt. Have you been in contact with Evan?”

“Yeah, we’re going to hang out soon.”

“Good. Once you get in with that crowd, you should be able to figure out who is closest to Braydon. And hopefully, figure out how many people are involved.”

“Yeah.” I sighed. “I have a date planned for next week with Brigetta.”

“The swimsuit model?”

“Yeah.”

“She’s hot.”

“They’re all hot.” I was nonchalant. Hot didn’t mean anything to me anymore. They were all the same to me; a means to an end.

“Lucky bastard.” Special Agent Waldron laughed and I closed my eyes as I sat on the bed.

“I don’t care if they’re hot. I just want them to have info.”

“Yeah.” His voice was monotone again. “Well, don’t forget to let me know if you get any.”

“Yeah,” I scratched my head. “I took Emily to a diner tonight.”

“Oh?” I knew that he was surprised. I wasn’t the sort of guy to do diners.

“Yeah, Lou’s Burger Joint. It was different, but kinda cool.” I thought back to the beginning of the evening and watching Lucky dancing. I smiled thinking about the concentration on her face, as she tried to get the steps down, and the embarrassed smile she had given me when she realized I had been watching her.

“I see.”

“I figure maybe I’ll go back next week.” I paused. “Unless you think it’s a bad idea.”

“I don’t think it’s a bad idea unless you get made.”

“Yeah, I wasn’t sure if it was smart to go again. I mean, I have no real reason to go back, but the food was pretty good.” My voice trailed off. I wasn’t sure why I was going on about the diner. Or why I wanted to tell him about Lucky. I felt a strong urge to say her name and talk about her, as if that would make me closer to her.

“Okay. Was there anything else, Zane?”

“No, I just wanted to report back about Emily.”

“Let me know what happens next week, and stay safe.” And with that, he hung up. I put the phone down on the mattress and stared up at the ceiling. I didn’t normally mind being alone, but for some reason I felt antsy. I reached over for the remote control and turned on the TV. I stared at the screen and flicked through the channels until I came to Friends. It wasn’t a show that I loved, but it was a show I was comfortable with. Watching Friends made me feel comforted, and I laughed easily as Joey made some stupid joke. I laid back in the bed and watched the screen. Within seconds, my mind had drifted back to Lou’s Burger Joint and Lucky. I laughed as I remembered her dancing again. I couldn’t seem to get the image out of my mind. She had been concentrating so hard as she followed her friend. Watching her move had sparked something in me, and I could still feel the spark that had run through me as she had looked up into my eyes. I closed my eyes and allowed myself to think about her and the way I had felt when we had spoken. I wondered if she had left work already, or if she had to work all night. I sat up, panicked and worried: what if she had to work until 3 a.m. and had to walk to her car by herself? Was that safe? I grabbed my phone and looked up the phone number to the restaurant and called the number without thinking.

“We’re having a great night at Lou’s Burger Joint, can I help you?” A lightly accented lady picked up the phone, and I assumed it was the other waitress, Maria.

“Hi, I, uh, was just wondering if Lucky was there.” My breath caught in my throat and I wondered what I was doing, acting like a stalker.

“Oh, sorry, mi amor, Lucky just left with her friend.”

“Oh? Her friend?” What friend? Did she have a boyfriend? Was I crazy? I was definitely crazy. I was just about to hang up when Maria spoke again.

“Her roommate Leeza. You should call her cell.”

“Oh okay, thanks. I’ll do that.” I hung up quickly, grinning to myself. She hadn’t left with a guy, she had left with her roommate, a girl. I shook my head at how happy I felt. “You don’t even know if she has a boyfriend. Cool it, Zane.” I mumbled to myself, but I didn’t care. All I knew was that she was safe and with her roommate. It wasn’t that I cared about her, I just wanted to make sure she was okay, because she seemed like a nice girl. And I didn’t want to see anything bad happen to her, or any nice girl. If Maria had been my waitress, I would have made sure she was okay as well. I closed my eyes to stop my thoughts, but all I could think about was Lucky and her giant smile. The smile that had awakened something in me. It scared the shit out of me, but I knew that I couldn’t wait for my date the following Friday, so that I could go to Lou’s Burger Joint and see Lucky again. And maybe next time, she could teach me a few dance moves as well.

Chapter 3

“I think you’ll like this place,” my heart raced as I smiled at Brigetta as we walked to Lou’s Burger Joint. Brigetta was surprisingly nice for a swimsuit model. A little bit of an airhead maybe, but she seemed like a sweet gal.

“Oh, I like all sorts of restaurants.” She smiled at me sweetly.

“I hope you like burgers.”

“I love burgers.” She laughed and rubbed her stomach.

“Beef burgers or veggie burgers?” I chortled, but I wasn’t paying attention to her answer as we walked into the diner. I looked around quickly, anxious to see if Lucky was working tonight. I felt my stomach drop as I only saw Maria and another waitress. She wasn’t working. The disappointment that coursed through me was strong and I wanted to know where she was. Why would she take a Friday night off? Did she have a date? Weren’t Friday nights the best nights for tips? Didn’t she care that I was going to be in tonight? How would she know, Zane? The voice whispered in my head, and I frowned. I was losing it.

“Have a seat,” the waitress I didn’t know shouted across the diner to us. “I’m Shayla, and I’ll be with you in a few minutes. Choose any vacant booth.”

“Thanks,” I nodded and walked over to the same booth I sat in last time.

“This place is cute.” Brigetta giggled, and I looked up at her in confusion. I rubbed my eyes and took a deep breath. My head was not in the game at all. I had forgotten she was with me.

“Yes, it is.” I smiled at her weakly. “So, do you like beef burgers or veggie burgers?”

“Huh?” She looked at me in surprise. “I just told you, I prefer bison burgers, their meat is leaner.”

“Oh, yeah, yeah. Sorry.” I gave her a dazzling smile, trying to ensure she didn’t get upset at me. There was plenty of time for that later.

“Do you want to share fries?”

“You eat fries?” I knew that my shock showed in my voice and face and she burst out laughing.

“You think because I’m a Sports Illustrated model I don’t eat fries?” She laughed out loud. “I’m from Nebraska, we eat everything.”

“I don’t think I’ve met a model quite like you before.”

“That’s what I like to hear.” She winked at me, and I reached over and grabbed her hand and squeezed it.

“I’m so glad you were able to fit me into your schedule.” I looked into her eyes. Time to turn on the charm. “I wasn’t sure if I had lost my chance, after I heard you were going out with Braydon.”

“I’m glad you didn’t lose your chance as well.” Lucky’s voice was smooth and sweet, and I looked up with wide eyes, devouring her presence. Our eyes met, and there was a devious sparkle in hers as she grinned at me. “Welcome to Lou’s Burger Joint, my name’s Lucky and I’ll be your server today.”

“Nice to see you again, Lucky.” I spoke calmly, as if I hadn’t been having dreams of her all week long. “I wasn’t sure if you were working tonight. I didn’t see you earlier.” But if my heartbeat is any indication, I’m more than overjoyed to see you.