Chapter One :Chapter 1

As Ryan and I stepped into the lavish restaurant, the warm ambiance embraced us, setting the stage for a truly enchanting evening. The soft glow of candlelight danced on the walls, casting a romantic spell. We settled into our seats, our excitement palpable, ready to indulge in a delightful dinner.

Our order is taken and pink bubbly champagne is brought out as we wait.

"Coraline, I wanted to let you know I made some bad investments, trusted the wrong guy.." I look up into his blue eyes and ask him what I can do to help. He shrugs and scoffs under his breath "Who would hire you Cora? The only thing you know how to do is be a wife, and you're not even that!"

His words hurt but he's just angry, Ryan seems to be a bit more glass half empty guy. I drink the rest of my champagne before excusing myself to the ladies room. Not before I take notice of three men sitting in the seats at the end of the hall, two seats back from us. Only one stands out to me though. A seemingly tall man, olive skin, dark hair and big. One of the largest men I've ever seen. They all look rough but fancy, all three men are wearing black suits.

I take a stand and walk past all three tables, passing the last table I feel the ever so lightly brush against my wrist. Not wanting to be a pain I brush it off without a second thought. Making it to the bathroom I do my business and freshen up. Walking back to my table I notice Ryan seems to have shifted his mood, he has a smile on his face. Our food arrives shortly after I sit back down.

Ryan pours another glass for the both of us, after a few bites I look up and notice the mysterious man staring at me. Uncomfortable I look down and continue with a few more bites. Not much is said between Ryan and I, the check comes as I take notice of what Ryan is noticing, a pretty face and a small waist. It never stops hurting, but I ponder on if it would feel any different if he hid his wandering eyes.

I grab my bag waiting for Ryan to take my arm as he usually does, only to my dismay he's already ahead of me, leaving me looking like an ass. Not wanting to make a scene I just follow his lead. On the way home Ryan looks at me and says "Just your luck, Looks like things will work out just fine, I got a promising lead and you won't have to try and work!" I roll my eyes and emptily tell him good luck.

When we arrive home I walk right inside, just wanting to take a hot shower and go to bed. I grab a towel and head to the bathroom to turn the shower on. As the water heats up and the bathroom gets steamy I'm interrupted by Ryan coming in. He kisses my cheek and says he'll be back later and he's gone. I'm so angry I could care less if he even came home tonight, wouldn't be the first time sure won't be the last. But I've learned my lesson as to protest, especially if he's been drinking. That was a long week!

I hurriedly grab my towel and wrap myself tight, going for my oversized tee to throw on I grab my graphics tablet. Might as well finish my latest project, a summer line, hello halter top dresses. I get a few designs finished before I put the tablet up, I take notice of the time 1:38. Of course he's still gone, I fluff my pillow and go to sleep, finally!

The next morning I notice the other side of the bed is unslept in, I make my way to the kitchen to put on some coffee. Thinking Ryan just came home to get ready for work only I make a single cup. Caramel macchiato extra espresso, I check my phone to find a text. "Be home late, love u" Ryan can be so oblivious to reality, but he did save me from my family, if you can call them that.

I spend my day tidying up our house, making dinner, Ryan's favorite my specialty creamy shrimp and chicken linguine I kinda just randomly made one day. Hopefully he'll be happy when he comes home to it. I hear the door open as I finish setting the table, Ryan comes into the kitchen to give me an empty side hug and kiss.

I ask him how work was and he gives me a generic response. I gulp down my red wine, we both eat and make small talk, trying to engage the best he let's me. Our night is back to our normal routine we lay in bed, I don't know why I spend any money on lingerie, he doesn't seem to notice one way or another. I turn to my side and drift off once again, unsatisfied.

A few weeks go by and I'm just a zombie through it all, Ryan has been acting a bit off this last week or so. It's noon and I've finished everything I needed to. I play on my phone for a bit before a text from Ryan comes through "Taking you out tonight, I'll be there at 7 to pick you up, wear something tight!"

What the hell! I'm a bit put off by his message but I get up and go get ready might as well go glam. I head to my closet and dig in the back to find my red, front draped satin bodycon dress, the one with the cute thigh high slit. I get ready with an hour to spare, grabbing my matching heels to put on I check the time.

Ryan finally pulls into the driveway and honks. Annoyed, I make my way out to the car and we take off. He doesn't say where we're going but it takes a good twenty minutes. The building is an old ancient looking one, and the neighboring buildings aren't much better. He opens the door and grabs my hand to help me out as we make our way in a big door with a tall beefy man standing guard.

We are let in, the music is loud but not to where I can't hear. Ryan brings me to a booth in the back, my wrist in his hand almost a drag, I take notice of unfamiliar familiar eyes. The man... I see his eyes go up and down my body, completely ignoring the women accompanying him and his partner. I get a shiver from his glare and he takes notice, he smirks and leans back. We're in the booth right next to him.

A bucket with a foreign liquor bottle inside is brought along with two glasses, the half naked woman gets the bucket set up as her and Ryan play kissy face. Annoyed I grab the bottle and fill my glass up completely, with both of them glaring at me. I get about half of the glass down before Ryan gets a serious demeanor on his face. He smacks the waitress on the ass as she walks away.

He turns to me and says "Coraline, I brought you here tonight because I've come into some luck, and I'm tired of caring you, of pretending you're worth something. It's grown boring, and I found someone who makes me feel happy and alive again. And Emma over there, she's just a better woman than you, I'm sorry but I'm not sorry! I'll give you a week to get your affairs in order and get out of the house"

I gulp down the rest of my drink, pour another one and down that as well. I grab the bottle, stand up and walk to his side, raising my arm to pour the bottle onto his lap my wrist is stopped by a large swarthy hand. "That wouldn't be lady like Miss. Delacroix!" I hear the mysterious man say before he stands up to grab the bottle and places it back on the table. Towering over me I quiver, Ryan gets up quickly to greet the man. "Sorry sir, This woman is leaving now" Ryan sys trying to shoo me away.

I snatch my wrist away from the man and look Ryan in the eyes and tell him "I'll be out in a week, and you can go to hell and fuck yourself"

The man follows me with Ryan paying no mind, the waitress is sitting on his lap before I'm halfway across the room. Trying to make myself through the waves of bodies dancing to music I get a few more steps before my wrist is grabbed again. "Miss. Delacroix, I'd like to see you in my office, if you will!" The deep strange voice says as he stops me in my tracks.

"No you creep, I'm not going into a room with a stranger!" I yell in protest. He spins me around before I can stop him and I'm pressed against his large firm chest. Inhaling his masculine yet sweet scent I'm stuck. "Follow me, Please!" The man says. Feeling like I have no choice I follow the beautiful stranger through the crowd and into a door that leads into who knows what. He opens the door and leads you into a dimly lit room with a chill lounge vibe more than an office like he claimed. I hear the door shut behind me as the clank sound is made I tense...

"Please have a seat, I have a proposition I'd like to discuss with you!"

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