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Be My First: A Billionaire and Virgin Romance by Lauren Wood (1)

 

Claire

 

“So what about that guy?”

I looked to where Amy was pointing and I shook my head. “Come on, you know that I am not really looking.”

“You are single, have been for months. It is time that you start looking again. You are too picky Claire and you are going to end up an old spinster if you don’t start opening your horizons.”

I chuckled at her and took a sip of my drink. She was right of course. I would never tell her that, but she was right after all. I already had a cat. I was just three cats away from being the crazy cat lady on my block.

“I am looking, sort of. I just know what I want. That isn’t being picky.”

She wasn’t buying it and her brown eyes gave me this look that I knew too well. “What about you?”

“Scott and I are doing okay. I think we should see other people though, you know, keep the options open.”

“Then what is the point of being together?”

“He keeps me from doing stupid things.”

I giggled, “Like Justin?”

“Yes like Justin. That is worth it, right?”

I nodded my head in agreement, but I still wasn’t sure what I was supposed to say. This was a normal thing for us. We went out every Friday night and Amy always tried to talk me into dancing with all these different men. She had found the love of her life in a bar, even if they did split up. I knew I wouldn’t find my husband here. I didn’t know where I would find him, but it wouldn’t be at a place like this.

“That guy is over there staring you down Claire, go say hi.”

I looked where she was looking and I had to admit that she finally found a guy that was easy on the eyes. I certainly liked the look of him and I turned back to Amy when he met my gaze. The man was not what I was looking for, but there was something in his eyes that made me look again.

“Go over there.”

I debated it for a minute and had decided that I didn’t want to go, but that didn’t matter. The guy that was looking our way started to walk over and I fixed a smile on my face.

“Hey ladies.”

Smiling up at the guy, as he got closer, I could tell how handsome he was.

“Hello guy.”

“Tony.”

“Hi Tony.”

“Can I buy you a drink?”

I picked up the glass that I was drinking from. He was a little too late on that one.

“Fair enough, let me take you for a dance.”

He was persistent and with Amy half pushing me out of the bar stool, I didn’t really have a choice but to go dance with him. One dance I told myself. I only have time for one dance and then I was going to go home and work on some resumes.

“You are beautiful, what is your name?”

I smiled at the compliment and told him that my name was Claire.

“I think I have seen you before Claire.”

I shook my head and told him that I doubted it. The man wasn’t listening though. His hands were all over me and I felt his palms tightening up on my ass. What the hell did this guy think he was doing?

I pushed back from him. ‘”Come on, I know where I saw you from Claire. It took me a minute, but I have watched you dance many times before.”

“No, I think you have the wrong girl.” He was not letting go of me and I was getting aggravated to no end. I wanted his hands off of me, right now.

I pushed away and he told me that I was being a tease. This was why I hated coming here, but I came for Amy.

“Don’t think that I don’t know who you are. Do you need a few dollars?”

My face fell and for a moment I was mad at someone else, more than I was this man. But then I had to wonder how I could deal with this every day. When Tony started to pull some money out of his pocket, I turned around and hoped that I didn’t feel his hands on my arm to stop me. I was humiliated and I walked right back to the table where Amy was.

“What just happened?”

“He thought I was someone else and thought he would get liberal with his touching.”

“Oh, ewww, sorry.”

We were both quiet for a while. I wanted to leave right now, but Amy wanted to finish her drink. She at least had the decency to not say anything about Amber. I didn’t want to talk about it and it was nights like this that I hated sharing a face with someone else, that someone who is my twin, someone so different than me, yet close enough to the same that I had encounters like this a couple of times a week since I came to Atlanta.

“Don’t worry about it Claire, that was one guy.”

It was one guy, all the time it felt like. How was I ever supposed to date here if that was how it turned out? “I think we need to try somewhere new. This place isn’t working for me.”

“It’s not so bad. Some of the guys are really nice. I just like the atmosphere.”

The atmosphere was dark and bright all at the same time. Colored strobe lights moved throughout the place. It felt like more of a light show than anything else. The music was loud enough to vibrate my rib cage and I could barely hear without the person doing a sort of shout talk that was only okay in a club.

“I think I have had enough of this atmosphere for the night.” My attention was to Tony who was staring me down from the bar. I didn’t know if he was going to be a problem or not, but he made himself being there uncomfortable.

Amy saw the exchange and agreed that it was time to go. “If he gets up when we do, we need to talk to the bouncer.”

She was getting the same feeling I was and I agreed one hundred percent with her plan. Tony didn’t get up though. He stayed in his stool, eying us as we left. I got a shiver down my spine with the way he was looking at me. I was going to have to warn Amber about him. That guy seemed a little too forceful and I didn’t want her to run into him as well.

I took Amy home and even though she offered to finish the night at her house, I have had enough.

“Come on Claire, it’s not like you have class or work in the morning. You might as well get some of the benefits of being unemployed, think of all of the off time that you get.”

“I would rather have a job.”

“I could always get you a job at the diner.”

She had offered before and I had refused several times. I wasn’t quite to that level yet. I would be soon if I didn’t find something in my field before my savings ran out. I had projected up to nine months to find a good job. I moved to Atlanta for better job prospects, but I was finding it hard to bust into the market. I hadn’t given up, but I was getting discouraged.

“Maybe in another week or two. I am going to go online and see if I can find anything. I haven’t done too much of that yet. I took too much time off after college because I thought finding something would be a breeze.”

“Well I am here if you want to do something. I can’t sleep. I might call Justin over.”

I told her that it was a bad idea. He was an ex-boyfriend for her and most of the time a person was an ex for a reason. Justin was like her kryptonite and I didn’t want to see her get hurt again. Amy was an absolute mess last time she broke up with Justin.

“Don’t call him over Amy. You will regret it when he is asking you for gas money in the morning.”

“I know, but he is good at some things.”

I rolled my eyes and shook my head. I would never get how some people could put up with so much because of sex. That was the real reason, I knew that, but I didn’t understand why.  I was still waiting for the right one. I wasn’t going to waste my time with the Justins of the world. I was looking for the real thing. “You will regret it in the morning Amy.”

“I know, but what else is youth for but regrets?”

There was no arguing with her and I wasn’t even going to try. “I will see you in the morning. Are we still on for lunch?”

“Yeah, I will see you then. You sure you don’t want to stay over?”

I declined again and wondered if she was that worried about calling Justin. Why did she act like an addict when it came to him? Would I ever find that? I wasn’t sure if I wanted to. It didn’t seem to be that fun.

Driving home, I thought of Amber and what she was doing right now. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of days, but after meeting Tony, I thought I would give her a call. She didn’t answer, that was usual and I left a voicemail for her to call me back when she got it. It would most likely be three or four in the morning when she got off of work, but I was used to her late hours.

I got home to Rosco and fed him for the second time today. It was like a peace offering because I had been gone so much today. He purred after I sat down at the computer and started to weave his way around my feet. I had this cat since college and he cheered me up about as much as he cleaned me out of tuna.

“Not now Rosco. I need to find a job.”

He looked at me disinterested and lay on my feet, purring like a small motor on the tops of them. I ignored the weight on my feet, settling for that instead of him lying on my keyboard and went to the job board in Atlanta. I was looking for a few different key words and for once there was more than a few new ones. It was two in the morning when I started to apply to a couple jobs around the city. I didn’t want to go to work at the diner, but I knew it was going to happen soon if I didn’t get something that would use this degree I was going to be paying back for the next decade or two.

I wasn’t too hopeful that I would get a call back. When I first starting looking I was sure that it would be an easy thing. Now I knew different and I felt like I was just plugging along, hoping that something would change, even though I had a fear that it wouldn’t.

Turning the computer off, I sighed to myself and checked my phone to see if Amber had called. I would talk to her later and went to lie down. I didn’t want to wait up for her, but I knew she would wake me up one way or another.

My thoughts raced when I lay down as they did most nights, uncertainty at the core. I thought of Amy and Justin. I didn’t get why she kept going back, but I had to wonder what the draw was. I knew the basics, but the emotions and feelings I didn’t get at all. Why in the world would someone put themselves through that over and over again, for a guy? It just didn’t make sense to me.

Amber and her line of work didn’t make sense to me either. Why would she choose to be around men like Tony?

The phone rang around four in the morning and I answered, not even needing to look at who it was. I already knew.

“Hey sis, long night?”

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