The Guy Next Door
"Where is he?" I mumbled to myself as I glanced down at my wrist watch.
My mother and Stacy were going to arrive in any minute and the escort hasn't even arrived. Pacing into the kitchen I checked on the chicken Alfredo in the oven and grinned as the cheese bubbled on top before shutting the oven door. The dish was a quick fix seeing how I had come home later then expected when Henry had called me asking if I could meet a potential client. Of course I said yes because well he's my boss I can't tell him no. Besides this dish was the fattest meal I could think of making. With whole cream rather than skim, three different cheeses and to top it off I had some garlic bread toasting in the oven.
Try fitting in your wedding dress after tonight, I thought darkly as I silently thanked the cooking show I got the recipe from for the tasty dish that was now being used for evil.
As I placed the oven mitts down there was a knock on the door. He's here!
Skipping to the door I paused and smoothed out the black red laced cocktail dress that I loved. The fabric was breathable but clung to my body and the dip between my breasts was enough to grab any man's attention and a pair of killer stilettos. My makeup mild except for the red lipstick that added more attention to my pale complexion, my hair was pulled back on one side by a ruby red clip leaving one side of my neck bare and adding attention to my cleavage. This wasn't my usually style but I had to make sure this guy kept his eyes on me tonight if I'm going to pull this off.
Opening the door I began to greet the man when my gaze landed on a face I hadn't expected. What the hell is he doing here? My eyes widened as I ran them over his too sexy stance, is he the escort?! A wolf whistle snapped me from my disturbing thoughts and back to Wes who stepped back allowing his grey eyes to take in every inch of me.
"Wow look at you looking sexy, kitty cat." he said with a flirtatious wink
"Please tell me your not who the agency sent over." I blurted as I took in his rugged image.
He had on a pair of grey jeans on matched with a black v neck T-shirt and his hair was sticking out in different directions no doubt from whatever girl he had sunk his dirty claws into earlier but it gave him a sexy as sin aura that couldn't be ignored and the jerk knew it.
"What? No. I came over to ask if I could borrow your parking lot card seeing how I misplaced mine and my ride is downstairs."
"Sure." I answered and quickly turned away before he saw the dark flush of my face.
Speeding into my bedroom I searched through my purse pulling out the green striped card that unlocked the door towards the parking lot of the apartment. Releasing a lung full of air I shook my head at my stupid out burst when I saw Wes. For a second I thought he was actually the guy the agency sent over which wasn't what I ordered at all.
I told Tess's cousin that the man had to be mature, no piercings or tattoos and had to dress properly which I continued on to explain that any guy who was a 'free spirit' was not my type nor those men who partied everyday. This man had to be a mature, well dressed, well mannered man that meant the opposite of Wes. It took longer than usual but Tess's cousin had found me a match .
Stepping out of my room I noticed Wes talking to someone by the door. No! Running as quick as I could in the thin heels I had on I grabbed Wes's arm and tugged him back when I saw an old man staring at me as if I had two heads. Sighing I released my grip on Wes's arm relieved that he wasn't talking to my mom and Stacy.
Recomposing myself I smiled at the elderly man who looked about sixty. He looked like you're common grandfather with the brown striped vest he had on and those round glasses that he probably couldn't see without.
"Can I help you?" I asked sweetly
"Yes, I'm looking for Khloe Sparks." the man replied his voice raspy and low.
The old man grinned revealing a missed tooth towards the side of his mouth causing every wrinkle on his face to become visible. "I'm Frank, the agency sent me over for your dinner party."
My eyes widened to an abnormal size as my smile dropped at the elder man's words. No it can't be, this has to be some sick joke. Darting my eyes over the old man I shook my head hoping he'd laugh and move out of the way revealing the real escort.
"There must be a mistake I asked for a man who is mature yet charming not my grandfather." I said
"Well not many young fellows fit your list so Melvin picked me." the man replied.
Shaking my head I looked over the man's appearance horrified. In any minute my mom and Stacy will be arriving to meet my so called boyfriend and this is what I'll give them?! A balding old man who resembles my great uncle Ralph.
"I can't introduce you to my family." I said with another shake of my head
"Why not?" the man asked his smile dropping.
"You're three times my age!" I exclaimed gesturing to him as if he didn't know how old he was.
"With age comes experience." he replied with a wag of his hairy eyebrows that were long enough to braid.
"No I...no." I settled for the two lettered word as I pushed the man out into the hallway and shut the door.
Leaning against the door I placed my fingers at either side of my temple as I tried breathing slowly which seemed difficult since I am freaking out! They sent an old man over, an old man! What if my mom or Stacy came up and saw him; I can just hear Stacy laughing as she tells everyone the story about how her lonely sister had to hire a man to pretend to date her and not just any man, a man old enough to be my grandfather's best friend. I can just hear people whispering about how pathetic I am. The mocking would start all over again.
A roar of laughter startled me as I realized I wasn't alone. Lifting my head I saw Wes clutching his midsection as he howled in laughter. Humiliated beyond words that he had witnessed what he did I pushed past him purposely hitting his shoulder.
"You hired an escort?!" he chuckled.
"That's non of your business." I said pointing my nose up.
Grabbing the oven mitts I pulled out the chicken and placed it on the counter to cool as I racked my brain for a plan. In merely minutes my sister and mother will be here asking to meet a man who doesn't exist. Maybe I can cancel?
"And I actually thought you had a hot date planned when you told me to keep it down tonight." Wes teased.
Narrowing my eyes I placed my hands on my hips. "I'm having dinner with my mother and sister and I didn't want them to listen to you robbing a virgin of her innocences."
"I don't do virgins." he stated somberly.
"How noble." I replied, sarcasm dripping from each word.
"And renting a man is?" he countered with a knowing smirk.
"Well... Well you're a man whore." I snapped back unable to think of a witty comeback.
His throaty laugh filled the empty apartment once again and had my stomach knotting nervously at the deep sound that had me squirming behind the island. Khloe Sparks is not a squirmer, I reminded myself and squared my shoulders; and certainly not in front of Wes. Snapping my eyes up to his gray eyes that shimmered with mirth.
Slapping the parking lot keycard on the tiled counter I slid the thin card towards him.
"Here now get out." I said coldly.
"Why? You have another geezer coming over?" he teased.
Pressing my lips firmly together I stormed around the island to where he stood smugly poking fun at the humiliating ordeal; grabbing his arm I pulled him to the door which would have been difficult had he not been cooperating.
"I've never had a girl eager to show me the door." he chuckled his breath hating my exposed neck.
Suppressing a shiver I yanked the door open and shoved him out "There's a first time for everything."
Grabbing the door knob I started to shut the door when his large hand wrapped around the side and with a push successfully reopened it. Stumbling backwards I sent him my darkest glare which he didn't seem to be effected by or at least didn't show any signs. The balls on this man who just wouldn't leave, is it not enough that he knows I called for an escort or that he teased me for having dinner with my mom and sister? Who could be arriving any minute and I have no man to present to them.
"Can't you see I have enough problems to deal with without having to deal with you." I seethed angrily.
Nodding his head lazily he completely ignored the venom in my tone. "Yeah, but you didn't give me the keycard."
Grinding my teeth together I stomped-yes stomped to the island irritated beyond words by the situation I have somehow put myself in. I knew this escort thing wouldn't work but no I ignored my gut and allowed Tess to convince me to call and I didn't even meet the man. Releasing a defeated breath I felt my shoulders drop at the match they sent over.
An old man. Is that really the only kind of man I can get, a man twice my age and too old and tired to have any expectations of me that no doubt I would let him down anyway. Greg had said I was a tease. A tease that wasn't all that good and although I had no feelings for the two timing asshole it still hurt to be told I was as warm as a block of ice. A frigid woman who would be lucky to ever experience any sort of relationship with a man. He had taken a battle-ax to my self-esteem that day when he confessed to only be using me to get higher in the political world.
Sure I had been using him to get my mom off my back but that didn't lessen the pain of being told I am unable to have a real relationship, that I'm unable to have genuine feelings for a person who would return those feelings. And it wasn't the first time a man has uttered those heart wrenching insults to me either.
Shaking my head of the bitter past I willed the tears that had stung my eyes away; reaching for the keycard I turned around just as a too high pitched voice sounded.
"Hi, I'm Stacy Khloe's older sister."
No, no!! My eyes widened when my mother reached her pale hand out to greet Wes introducing herself with her too perfect smile. Wes shook her hand as a tempting half smirk spread along his mouth when he brought his mouth down to her hand and kissed the slightly wrinkled skin. My mom blushed, a dark red and turned her face away like a teenager would.
"I'm Wes, Khloe's neighbor." he replied his voice laced with that charm that all women fell for.
Crap, crap, crap! Jogging forward I forced a smile on my face as I placed the keycard in Wes's hand which had not gone unnoticed by my mother who awed. From her position it seemed as if I am holding his hand but in reality I was digging my fingers into his palm as a silent sign for him to get the hell out.
"So, this is him?" Stacy asked with one thinly shaped brow raised in disbelief and shock.
"He's so handsome." my mom added with another pearly grin.
"Mom Wes is.." I began but stopped short when it hit me that I had no man here.
The escort was a utter disaster and my mom and sister are here expecting to see my 'boyfriend'. Plan A failed miserably and I hadn't planned a back up since Tess was so confident in her cousin's ability to find a match for me. I could make up an excuse that he got caught up at work but knowing Stacy she'd sniff out the truth during dinner and I'd be left to admit my embarrassing secret and suffer as I am gossiped about all over again. Judging eyes, sympathetic glances and the people who had the balls to approach me and ask what went wrong.
Gulping at the alternative I glanced up to see my mom and Stacy awaiting my response. Maybe I should tell the truth. I mean surely Stacy wouldn't embarrass me any further; I still am her younger sister.
"Wes is my boyfriend." I blurted out with a shaky smile before I could even process what I had said it was already out there.
Crap on a cracker, I've just made things worse.
"I'm your what now?" Wes muttered looking down at me with his dark brows bent in confusion.
Digging my nails into his skin I felt the smile on my face tremble as my mom's forehead creased as she glanced up at Wes before dropping her honeysuckle eyes down to me as if asking what was going on. Stacy on the other hand couldn't hide the dark grin slowly creeping onto her face as she shifted onto her other foot.
Camouflaging the panic that had my fingers shaking at the possibility of all of this blowing up in my face I released a soft breath. It wouldn't come as a complete surprise since this whole situation was ridiculous in the first place but my pride was at stake.
"It's okay, babe." I laughed softly forcing the endearment out "I told them about us."
"Us." Wes chuckled at the two lettered word as if it were a joke.
Throwing my head back I laughed softly and placed my free hand on the small of his back in an attempt to hid my trembling hands knowing my mom would pick up on my nervous habit if she saw them. Racking my brain for some sort of distraction I glanced down to see Stacy holding a bottle of wine in her arms while her narrowed eyes took in every inch of Wes as if she were analyzing him which probably was the case and I couldn't really blame her. Standing side by side Wes and I looked like polar opposites, while he had that sex appeal and laid back aura I screamed prim and proper in which I was raised to be.
"Well, come in." I said, stepping out of the way to allow them in with my hand still in Wes's larger one.
Grabbing the wine from Stacy's arms I motioned for them to sit down while I open the wine.
"Can you help me in the kitchen..babe?" I said through gritted teeth hating the word I had to force out.
Not bothering to wait for I reply I shut the front door and dragged a still confused Wes into the kitchen while my mom ohhed about the jade sculptures on the mahogany table that cost a fortune. When I spotted them in the store I knew my mom would love them and that was enough for me to slap down my credit card.
Safely hidden in the kitchen with a wall separating us and my mom's voice floating from the other room about the apartment and Stacy's whiny squeak of disapproval I placed the wine on the counter. Whipping around to face Wes I thought of how to approach this situation in a mannered, mature way that would neither freak him out or make him think I was desperate. Which I was, but he didn't need to know that.
Straightening my stance I placed my hands in front of me in a professional manner because that's what this is.
"I understand this may have shocked you especially since it was literally thrown at you with no warning but I need you to err.."
"To be your boyfriend." he finished for me with a devilish grin.
"Yes, if there was another way I wouldn't be asking this of you but considering the circumstances I don't have much of a choice."
He shoved one large tan hand through his disheveled hair causing his short T-shirt to outline the taunt muscles that were now in display, his muscles flexed by the small movement and what a sight it was. Mentally shaking my head of the stray thought I forced my attention back to his face.
"Sorry, I can't." he finally said.
Disappointment washed over me at his answer but what did I expect that he'd jump to the idea? Mentally snorting at the thought I knew that would be a long shot. Why exactly would a guy like Wes agree to such an absurd plan with someone like me?
"I'll pay you." I whispered ,stepping closer so no one over heard us.
"What am I a prostitute?" he questioned his brows pulling together angrily.
I shook my head. "I can't explain it to you in detail at the moment but I told my mom she would meet my boyfriend tonight and you saw the escort they sent over."
He chuckled lowering his head as his features softened which I took as a good sign.
"The point is I really need you to do this Wes." I added
He shook his head just as my mom called for us to come out so she can 'get to know my boyfriend'.
"Sorry, kitty but I'm not going to do this." he said with another shake of his head.
Twice. He has said no twice already even when I offered him money. Am I really that cold and unapproachable that no man no matter how much I beg will be with me? Swallowing the growing lump that lodged itself in my throat I pushed the painful rejection away refusing to deal with this in front of Wes. He took a step to the side meaning to leave, mimicking his step I reached my arms out and grabbed his forearms.
"I know this is strange and I bet you have better things to do but I really need your help."
Digging my fingers into his skin to stop him from rejecting me a third time, I've had enough rejections to last me a lifetime. Raising my eyes up to meet his I felt nervous as I stared up into his grey eyes. If he doesn't agree to this than I'll be forced to admit everything and take the humiliation that came with confessing about my unthought out lie. Yet again I would be a laughing stock amongst my family as the girl who can't get a man.
"Please, Wes I'll do anything you want. Please." I pleaded swallowing my pride.
His muscles tensed beneath my fingers causing me to drop my gaze in shame. This is what I have resorted to, begging my man-whore of a neighbor to pretend to be my boyfriend after being given an old man as a match. How did I drop this far? These were suppose to be my fun years, my twenties full of friends, parties and even some one night stands that I'll regret forever instead here I am. Sure it sounded as awful when I phrased it that way but it was true.
Realizing he hasn't responded I dropped my hands from his arms mortified by my actions, stepping backwards I turned my back to him unable to meet his gaze. Pressing my palms against the kitchen counter I straightened my haunched position. A Spark never begs no matter what the situation. I'll just have to suck it up and deal the the consequences of my mistake head on. No matter how mortifying it'll be.
"I apologize that was inappropriate of me, you can go now." I said in a cool collected tone.
A sigh caused me to stiffen as the sound of footsteps sounded behind me. He's leaving. A small part of me wished he wouldnt, wished that maybe he'd consider the idea.
Dismissing the thought I pressed my lips together and counted the seconds. One. Two. Three. Four. The steps stopped too close behind me for my liking, releasing a slow breath from my lips I saw his shadow looming over mine.
"What do I have to do?" he sighed.
My body froze at the defeated tone in his voice but the shock wore off as his words sunk in. The corners of my lips twitched upwards into a smile, wiping the small sign of emotion I pushed my excitement aside refusing to get my hopes up so soon. Turning on my heels I cleared my throat and fixed my eyes on to his chin, unable to meet his gaze after begging him seconds ago.
"What your saying is?"
A string of curses being mumbled caused me to drag my eyes up to his and I found him staring over my head.
"I'll do it." he repeated meeting my gaze at last.
My lips twitched nearly curving upwards but I quickly righted my expression and settled for a half smile that barely qualified as one at all. Wes's brows pulled together at my awful attempt at showing some gratitude, great he probably thinks I can't even smile like a normal person.
Clearing my throat first I spoke "Thank you for agreeing to do this-"
"Hold on there sweet-cheeks don't thank me just yet." he interrupted.
"I'm confused, didn't you just say that you would do it?" I asked folding my arms over my chest.
He nodded leaning his side against the counter and crossed one lean leg over the over as a mischievous smile grazed his slightly full pink lips.
"What?" I shout whispered my arms slacking to my sides at his outrageous demand.
"Beg me to help you, on your knees." he repeated his voice laced with humor.
"You're crazy if you think I'm going to beg you-" I stopped mid sentence when my mom called out for us to join them.
Wes wiggled a brow at me, that same mischievous smirk playing on his lips as if to tell me I had no other choice. The wiser part of me told me to just do it and get over the whole ordeal but another part of me, the stubborn part screamed for me to smash the bottle of wine over his head and tell him to go suck a lemon. And oh how my fingers itched to do just that.
It only took a few seconds for me to realize I had to beg him if I didn't want my sad secret out. If that meant suffering through a brief moment of embarrassment than I'd endure it, it was better than suffering for weeks on end with tabloids mocking my desperation not to mention the family gatherings. I just had to swallow my pride for a few seconds.
Lowering myself onto my knees I pulled the dress down from the back where it had ridden up. Glaring up at Wes I nearly stood up when I saw the amusing glint in his eyes.
"Please help me Wes." I muttered despite the screaming voice in my head that told me to get up.
Standing up properly he took a step forward so I was literally at his feet.
"You can do better than that, come on compliment me." he said with another evil grin.
Compliment him! The nerve of this arrogant asshole. If my mother weren't in the other room I'd strangle him. Grinding my teeth together I took a deep breath and reminded myself why I was doing this. With another lung full of air I forced myself to speak.
"Oh, Wes you're so handsome, please help me." I said in one breath but still it was torture.
"More." he said with a wave of his hand.
"You're-this is so stupid I'm not doing this." I huffed ready to stand up.
"Come on, I'll help you." he said placing his hand on my shoulder.
Nodding, I tried my best not to twist his arm and snap it like I had learned in my selfdefense class.
"Repeat after me, Wes you're so irresistible no other man will do please, please help me you hot piece of man meat." he said his eyes twinkling with amusement.
Magazines all over the world will be mocking Khloe Sparks for her pitiful attempt to fool everyone she has moved on. Articles prying into your private life, Stacy teasing you till the day you die of the embarrassment. Those were the thoughts that gave me the push I needed to get threw this.
"Wes.." I hissed his name "You're so...irresistible no other man will do please,..." I paused and sent him a dark glare "..please help me you hot piece-"
"Almost there, sugar plum." he teased.
"Of man meat." I added the last part just as he let out a low chuckle that added to the humiliation.
Releasing a growl of frustration I stood up with no help from the arrogant jerk not that I excepted him to assist me that would mean he was a gentlemen and Wes was no gentlemen.
Brushing my knees I glared up at him "Now get in there be charming and in ten minutes come up with an excuse to leave."
His laughter stopped as he glanced up all humor from earlier gone "Why?"
Pulling out four wine glasses I placed them on a tray along with the wine and the opener.
"Because we need to discuss what our story is before my mom pries further into this..thing." I said having trouble saying the actual word.
Lifting the tray up to my chest I motioned for him to follow me but he stood in place unmoving.
"Alright, but you need to hold your end of the deal."
Stopping by the door frame where my mom and Stacy could see us, I glanced over my shoulder at him "Huh?"
One side of his mouth lifted, strolling lazily up to me he lowered his head to my ear, his hot breath fanning my bare neck. Repressing a shiver I held my shoulders back refusing to show any sign of the uncomfortable position I was in.
"You said you'd do anything and my little kitty cat I plan to use that to my advantage." he whispered before pulling back.
My eyes widened in a brief state of shock before I recovered forcing another smile on to my face. Whatever he has planned I'll deal with it so as long as this worked. I wouldn't be able to handle another humiliating ordeal. My sister marrying my ex who cheated on me with said sister was enough but now I had to be apart of their wedding. This had to work otherwise I'll be the pitiful ex/desperate sister at the wedding.
Shaking the possible scenario from my mind I reminded myself to stay strong. I just had to keep this charade going until after the wedding and then everything can go back to normal. Starting forward I opened my mouth to speak when a hand slapped down on my butt.
Gasping I turned to see Wes stroll ahead of me a wolfish grin on his face.
What have I gotten myself into?