Twisted Perfection
Author:Abbi Glines

Present Day

 

 

 

I sat in Jeffery Odom, my current boss’, office waiting on him. He’d texted me this morning and asked me to come into work early and meet him here. I wasn’t sure what was wrong. A couple of weeks ago, he had started flirting with me and then we’d moved it to something more. I had worried this would be a problem. I was a waitress in his bar. I was also only here for a short time.

 

On this trip to find myself I was having to stop and get jobs until I had enough for another couple of weeks of traveling the road. I liked Dallas. It was fun. Jeffery was sexy and older. He made me feel special. At least when he was in town.

 

In the beginning he’d only been around once a week but after a few flirty moments between us he started showing up more and more. Mostly at closing time. He would wait in his car and text me to meet him outside. This secret romance was starting to get annoying though. It wasn’t as if I was taking it seriously. I needed another five hundred in tips and I was back on the road. Next stop, Las Vegas.

 

 

 

The door to his office finally opened and the frown on his face alerted me that this wasn’t a fun visit. I might be heading for Vegas sooner than I thought.

 

“I’m sorry I called you in here so early, Della,” he said, walking to the other side of his desk and sitting down. This was all very proper and cold considering I’d been taking a shower with him only three nights ago before finally giving in and having sex with him.

 

I didn’t respond to him. I wasn’t sure what to say.

 

Jeffery ran a hand through his hair. “I think it’s best if you moved on earlier rather than later. This thing with us has gotten too serious and we both know it isn’t going to last.”

 

Okay. So, he got what he wanted and now he wasn’t even going to let me make my last five hundred before I headed out. He knew I was close to leaving. Bastard.

 

“Fine,” I replied and stood up. I didn’t need this. I could stop short of Vegas and get another job.

 

“Della,” he said standing up with me. “I’m sorry.”

 

I just laughed. He was sorry. Not nearly as sorry as I was. I thought we’d become friends.

 

I headed for the door and realized this was another one of those experiences I was on the road to find. I’d been used. I was living life. It wasn’t such a hit to my ego if I thought of it like that.

 

The door swung open before I could reach it and a tall elegant redhead stepped inside with an angry snarl… directed at me.

 

“Is this her? Is this your whore? Figures, she looks like a fucking slut. Did you find this one at one of those disgusting strip joints you go to? She looks like a stripper. God, Jeff, how low could you stoop?”

 

I listened to her words but I wasn’t sure I understood what she was saying. I was confused. The only thing I was positive of was that this woman hated me. Something fierce. I wasn’t sure why but she did.

 

“That’s enough Frances. I’ve fired her like you requested. Let her leave. This is between you and me,” Jeffery said to the angry redhead. He glanced my way and I could see the apology in his eyes.

 

I looked back at her and the temper that was boiling out of control as she glared at him. “You fired her and that makes it okay?” She swung her hateful gaze back to me. “Do you even care that you were fucking the father of my unborn child? Does it bother you at all that he’s not only married but going to be a daddy soon?”

 

Wait… what? Did she just say married?

 

I stared at her and realized that this wasn’t a sick joke. Then I turned my head and looked at Jeffery. The truth was there on his face. He was married. He had made me an adulterer. Oh. Shit.

 

“You’re married?” My question came out as more of a roar than a question.

 

He nodded and his shoulders sagged as if he was defeated.

 

I took a step toward him and stopped. If I got any closer I was going to kill him with my bare hands.

 

“You sorry sonuvabitch! Why would you… how could you… you have a WIFE and she is pregnant! I can’t believe you did this. I’m so stupid. So incredibly stupid! All the sneaking around wasn’t because you didn’t want the other employees to know. It was because of her.” I pointed at his wife. “I hope you burn in hell,” I swore then spun around and headed for the door. Before I could open it and get the hell out of here, I stopped. There was someone else I needed to say something to. I looked back at the redhead. Her anger had faded. Her face was now streaked with tears.

 

“I’m sorry. If I’d known he was married I wouldn’t have gone near him. I swear it.” Then I stormed out of the door and slammed it behind me.

 

When I stepped back into the bar my eyes met Tripp’s. He shook his head and sighed, “I was afraid you’d hooked up with him but I wasn’t sure. I didn’t want to say anything in case I was wrong and ended up offending you. I’m guessing you didn’t know he was married.”

 

I felt dirty and wrong. I walked over and sat down on the stool across from him. “I had no idea. And now I feel awful. I wanted this road trip but now I just want to go home.”

 

Tripp was the Thursday through Sunday bartender. He was tall, lanky, and had short brown hair. He also had a little bit of a privileged look about him. It was hard to explain but something about Tripp didn’t fit in here. He seemed as out of place as I felt. We had spent many late nights talking while shutting down the bar. I didn’t know much about Tripp but he’d become my friend here.

 

“You said you wanted to see the world. To live,” he reminded me of my words.

 

I shrugged. “Not so much anymore.”

 

Tripp glanced back at the door and then reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone. “I tell you what. Don’t go home just yet. Give it some time to heal from this and then hit the road again. Spend some time in a small town and take things slow.”

 

The way he explained it sounded nice but I wasn’t sure I was up for that either.

 

“I’m going to call my cousin. He has some pull in the coastal town I grew up in. It’s small and it’s a really nice place. Nothing like Dallas. My cousin can hook you up with a job and you can decide when you’re ready to hit the road again. He has friends in high places.” Tripp winked.

 

Before I could protest or come up with a reason why this was a bad idea Tripp was dialing his cousin’s number.

 

“Hey, Jace.”

 

“Yeah, I know it’s been awhile. Life gets crazy.”

 

“No, you need to come to Dallas and tear yourself away from the girl your momma said you’re so wrapped up in you can’t see straight.”

 

Tripp laughed and I could see the happiness in his eyes. He loved the cousin he was talking to and it looked like he might miss him too.

 

“Listen. I need a favor. I got a friend. She’s had a hard go of things here and she needs somewhere to escape to.”

 

“No, I know you got a girl. I’m not asking you to take her in, idiot. She can stay at my place there. Someone might as well get some use out of it. Just talk to Kerrington. Have him give her a job. She just needs some down time.”

 

“Yeah. She is.”

 

“I’m positive he’ll be pleased.”

 

“Awesome. Thanks, man. I’ll call you back in a few. I’m gonna get her the info she needs and send her your way.”

 

Tripp grinned as he slipped the phone back in his pocket. “It’s all set up. You’ll have a good paying job and you can stay in my condo there free of charge. I’ve been needing to send someone over to check on it. With you there you can take care of things. It will help me out. Then the best bonus, you’ll be living near one of the most beautiful beaches in the south. Go find yourself while in the sunshine, Della.”

     

 

 

Woods

 

I paced back and forth in front of my desk. Every now and then I glanced down at the diamond ring sitting in the center of it. I knew what it meant. I also knew I wanted to throw it as far out into the damn ocean as I could. This was my dad’s not so subtle hint.

 

I’d gone to him yesterday to ask him when I would get to move on from management to take my place as a vice president of Kerrington Country Clubs. This was his answer. I had to marry Angelina.

 

Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

 

I didn’t want to marry her. She would make me miserable. I’d finally given in last month and had sex with her again. She’d shown up at my house in nothing but a tiny red nightie, dropped to her knees, and sucked my dick. Between getting my cock sucked and the whiskey I’d been chugging I’d fucked her several times that night. Problem was the only way I’d managed to get off was by picturing the pretty blue eyes of Della Sloane’s looking up at me. Angelina’s practiced cries of pleasure turned me off. She was practiced in faking it. She didn’t like sex. She used it.

 

I knew her type well. I wasn’t interested.

 

I wasn’t my father. I couldn’t marry for money and connections and then have a woman on the side. It always made me angry that my parents screwed up marriage didn’t seem to affect them. It completely messed with my head.

 

If I was going to tie myself down to one woman and be faithful to her the rest of my life for the sake of my rightful place in the family business, I wasn’t sure I wanted in. Fuck all this shit. My dad was always controlling me.

 

A knock on my door stopped my endless pacing and silent ranting. I grabbed the ring and shoved it into my pocket. I didn’t need this getting out. And God help me if that was Angelina.

 

“Come in,” I called out and took a seat behind my desk.

 

Jace, my best friend since boarding school, opened the door and stepped into the room. “Hey, I thought you’d join us on the course for a round this morning but you never showed.”

 

I needed to talk to someone about this but I wasn’t sure I was ready. Jace would tell me to leave town and let them figure this shit out on their own. He’d been rebelling against his father’s wishes for years now. “I got busy,” was my only response.

 

Jace nodded. “Yeah, I figured.” He walked over and took a seat across from me. “I need to ask you for a favor.”

 

That got my attention. Jace didn’t ask me for favors often. I leaned back in my seat and waited. This had better not be about getting his girlfriend, Bethy who was also one of my beer cart girls, off work early. We had a rush in the evenings and I needed her.

 

“I got a call from Tripp,” he started. Tripp was his older cousin. He’d graduated a couple years before us but we’d had one awesome year in boarding school together before he left. I hadn’t seen him since he packed up and left town five years ago.

 

“Really? How is he?” I asked curiously. I’d always liked Tripp. He hadn’t wanted to bend to his parents’ demands either so he’d just left. Never looked back.

 

Jace shrugged. “Good, I guess. He sounded happy. He’s in Dallas now. I need to make it out there and see him. He didn’t come to Boston this Christmas with the rest of the family. I don’t expect he’ll be coming around anytime soon. Uncle Robert isn’t happy with him.”

 

I didn’t imagine Robert Newark was happy with his only son. He was supposed to inherit the prestigious Newark and Newark law firm located in the heart of Manhattan one day. His grandfather had built the firm from the ground up. But Tripp hadn’t wanted to be a lawyer. He’d wanted to travel the world.

 

“Anyway, there’s this friend of his. She got mixed up with their boss at the bar and come to find out he was married. She didn’t know and she needs to get out of town and heal and shit. He asked if he could send her here. He said she was an excellent waitress. She was a hard worker and she was never late. He also said she was gorgeous and the men here would tip her well. He’s letting her stay at his place since it sits empty all the time but she needs a job.”

 

I could always use good waitresses. “Of course. Just send her to me when she gets in town. We’ll get her a uniform and put her to work.”

 

Jace looked relieved. “Thanks. I hated to ask but he sounded worried about her. He’s already called me twice today to talk about her and make sure I get everything ready for her arrival. I didn’t want to let him down.”

 

“I understand. I don’t mind. And tell Tripp I said the next time he wants a favor to call me. I’d love to hear from him.”

 

Jace hadn’t been gone long when the door to my office opened and in walked Angelina. She tossed her long blonde hair over her shoulder and smiled at me. It was that practiced seductive smile. It bored me. Her tongue darted out and she licked her lips while sauntering over to my desk.

 

“I’ve missed you. I haven’t seen or heard from you since last week. I thought we’d had fun on the sixteenth hole.”

 

I had agreed to take the last round of the day last week with Angelina. I knew it would get my dad off my case and satisfy her. What I hadn’t expected was for her to rub against me and grope my dick the entire time. The last time she’d slid her hands down the front of my shorts and said she wanted to be fucked I’d bent her over and placed both her hands against a tree then screwed her from behind. That way I didn’t have to see her fake expressions of pleasure. She was doing this to get me to marry her. Her daddy wanted this and she was doing what he wanted. Nothing more.

 

After I’d gotten my release I’d ended the game and dodged her ever since.

 

“I’ve been busy,” I replied coldly.

 

She didn’t take a hint. Instead, she stepped between my legs and leaned over me giving me a direct view down her shirt. She didn’t have much in the way of tits. I wasn’t sure what she was flashing me. If I married her I was getting her a boob job.

 

“Too much work and not enough play,” she cooed, dropping to her knees and rubbing her hand over my uninterested cock.

 

“I can take the edge off,” she promised and went to unfasten my pants. I had felt bad the last time I’d let this go too far. I was using her. Sure, she was using me too but it didn’t mean I had to stoop that low. It was wrong. I didn’t want her. If I did marry her it would be because I was being forced to. There was no reason for me to keep this up. I needed some time to think about all this.

 

“Stop, Angelina. I have work to do. Not now.” I resisted the urge to shove her away. That would be too cold.

 

“You can work and I can make it feel good. Show you what you can have the rest of your life.”

 

We both knew that the moment I said “I Do” sex between us would become a chore. She’d make up reasons why she couldn’t and office break blowjobs would be a thing of the past.

 

“Don’t take me for a fool, Angelina. I’m a smart man. I know what you’re doing and I know why. The minute we’re married this facade you’re putting on will disappear.”

 

Her eyes flashed with resentment. I was just being honest. It was time she was too.

 

“Just because my daddy wants me to marry you doesn’t mean that is the only reason I want to. I’m attracted to you. What woman isn’t? The difference between other women and me is that I’m good enough for you. We complement each other. You can fight this and try like hell to hold onto your playboy ways but I won’t go anywhere. I want that ring I know your daddy bought on my finger and I want your last name. The sex could be incredible for us both if you’d just let it. I won’t always be the whore you fantasize about. You should enjoy that part of it while you can.”

 

She stood up and straightened her skirt. “You know where to find me when you’re ready to admit this is perfect. You and me.”

     

 

 

Della

 

I pulled over at the service station where I’d met Woods only four months ago. It had been the start to my journey. How ironic that the directions Tripp had given me led me right back here. I wasn’t even sure whether Woods lived in this town. He’d taken me a town over to eat and find a hotel. Maybe he’d just been driving through that day too. Or maybe I might see him again.

 

What if he’s married?

 

No, I wasn’t going to think that. I wasn’t going to judge all men by Jeffery. That was unfair. Take Tripp for example. He was nothing like Jeffery. He had given me the keys to his condo to stay in free of charge as long as I kept it clean. He’d also gotten me a job.

 

I glanced down at the paper in my hand. Tripp had given me Jace’s phone number and told me to call him once I was settled in. He’d get me an appointment with Mr. Kerrington.

 

I pulled back out onto the road and followed the last two turns before pulling up to a condo unit that faced the ocean. I glanced down to check the address Tripp had given me. Surely this wasn’t his condo. This town was high end and these condos had to all cost a fortune. How did Tripp own one?

 

The nagging suspicion that Tripp didn’t belong working as a bartender and driving a Harley-Davidson came back to me. He was something more than he was letting people in Dallas know.

 

I pulled my cell phone out of my purse and dialed Tripp’s number. No answer.

 

I then dialed Jace’s number. It rang three times and a girl answered.

 

“Hello,” she drawled.

 

“Um, yes, I’m, uh, Della Sloane. A friend of—”

 

“Tripp’s!” she squealed into the phone. “We’ve been expecting you. I’m so glad you made it safely. Are you settled into Tripp’s apartment yet?”

 

I was pretty sure he had said Jace was a guy.

 

“Um, no, not exactly. I just arrived and this place is really nice. I’m afraid I’m at the wrong condo.”

 

The girl laughed into the phone. “No, you’re at the right place. I’m assuming you don’t know that much about Tripp. Trust me honey, he can afford that place and more. Oh, I’m Bethy by the way. Jace’s girlfriend. He’s outside.”

 

I liked her. She was super friendly.

 

“If you’re sure I’m at the right place I’ll go find his unit and unpack my bags. I need Jace to contact Mr. Kerrington about meeting me.”

 

“Oh there’s no reason to call him. He told Jace to send you to him as soon as you’re ready. He needs some new servers. Do you have a pen and paper handy? You need to jot down these directions.”

 

This was quite possibly the nicest place I’d ever stayed. Tripp made it sound run down like he needed me to come stay here and fix things up. Someone obviously cleaned this place regularly. It was in pristine condition. I unpacked my bags and then went to stand out on the balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. It was beautiful out here. Tripp had been right. This was an experience I needed. I could work and enjoy staying here in his condo. It would be the beach vacation I’d never gotten growing up. I’d always watched television and wondered if the sand was that white and the water was that blue.

 

It was.

 

Smiling, I sank down onto the lounge chair and stretched my legs out in front of me. This was nice. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and dialed Braden’s number.

 

“It’s about time! Where are you? Still in Dallas?” Braden’s chipper voice made me miss home a little. Maybe I just missed her. It wasn’t like I’d left a lot behind there. Except for people who would always whisper about me and wonder.

 

“Nope. Not in Dallas anymore. Turns out Jeffery is married.”

 

I heard her sharp intake of air as she let that sink in. “Oh, no,” she breathed. “Della that’s awful! I’m so sorry. Where are you now? Do you want me to come get you? You’re doing okay, aren’t you? Not having strange thoughts…” Her voice trailed off at the last bit. I knew she hated to ask me that but honestly, if Braden couldn’t check on me that way then who could? She knew it all or most of it. No one knew all of it. I just couldn’t share everything with the world. Some things were meant to be kept a secret.

 

“I’m fine. I’m actually back in Florida staying in a condo that belongs to Tripp, he’s the weekend bartender I told you about. Anyway he hooked me up with a job in his hometown and gave me a place to stay. It’s gulf front. I’m sitting on the balcony looking at the pretty white beach now.”

 

“Ooooooh! That sounds wonderful. Lucky you! I would love to visit the gulf again sometime. And this Tripp guy sounds really nice. Maybe once you’ve gotten the traveling bug again you could head back to Dallas and thank him,” she teased.

 

“Tripp is just a friend. Not happening. I mean I’ll thank him but I’ll be sending a card and some money or something via the mail.”

 

“You’re right. I pushed you to start dating and look what happened. This is your chance to live life. No reason to get attached to one guy. You have the world to explore.”

 

“That’s right. And I intend to do that right after I enjoy the sunshine and sand for a little while.”

 

“What’s the new job like?”

 

“I’m not sure yet. I need to go meet the boss. He’s expecting me. It’s at a country club so that should be a fun experience. Much different from the bar,” I told her.

 

“Very. Go get that job then call me and tell me all about it. I can’t wait.”

 

We said our goodbyes and ended the call. Braden was always my way of touching base. Remembering things. Everything I had been through and everything I had overcome.

 

The night I met Braden had changed my life. The only person I’d ever known was my mom. She wouldn’t let me answer the door to receive packages or our groceries. I’d had to hide in my closet and be quiet until the person at the door was gone. Braden had been as fascinated with me as I was with her. She’d asked me questions that I hadn’t been able to answer for a long time. I couldn’t tell anyone about my mom. Even as a kid I understood that.

 

Shaking away memories I didn’t want to think about right now I stood up and headed for the bedroom I’d claimed as mine. There were two bedrooms but one had a king size canopy bed and a fabulous hot tub. I took that room. I pulled out my newest skirt. A short pink chevron print and a white sleeveless knit top I’d bought to go with it. After brushing my hair and applying some makeup, I slipped into a pair of backless pink heels and headed for the door. I had a job to claim.