Twisted Perfection
Author:Abbi Glines

Woods

 

 

 

I was going to take her home with me tonight. I needed more of this. I wanted to taste her again and spend hours rolling those candy red nipples against my tongue. She was like crack. It had taken all my willpower to walk out on her the last time we’d done this. Now I needed to get her out of my system or at least die trying.

 

She snuggled deeper into my arms and her soft satisfied sigh only made me hard again. Damn, she was all kinds of sweet. I shouldn’t be doing this with her but my body had other ideas.

 

I slowly pulled out of her before I got completely hard again. If that happened I’d end up fucking her just like this again and I needed to change my condom.

 

“Woods Kerrington I’m going to kick your ass if you’re doing what I think you’re doing! You need to get out here. Angelina just showed up.” Bethy’s angry snarl wasn’t missed as she pounded on the door.

 

Hell! I didn’t want to deal with Angelina right now. I wanted to change my damn condom and sink myself back inside Della.

 

Della leaned back from my embrace and she frowned up at me. “Who’s Angelina?”

 

Who was Angelina? Did I lie to her? No. I couldn’t. But telling her the truth meant that I wouldn’t get to do this again. I needed to find a way to explain it so that I didn’t end this… this thing we had going.

 

“Please answer me, Woods,” she said as she dropped her legs to the floor and stepped away from me. I felt cold without her. I jerked my pants back up. Her arms crossed over her chest protectively. It only made me want to pull them away so that she wasn’t blocking my view.

 

“Woods?” She was waiting.

 

I couldn’t do it. I could not lie to her just to get her to keep fucking me. DAMMIT! Why did I have to be so honorable?

 

“She’s my soon to be fiancée.” The words physically hurt coming out of my mouth. The idea of marrying Angelina and never knowing this again almost made me throw all this shit with my dad out the door and say screw it. But I couldn’t. It was my future and Della would leave soon. I couldn’t throw my future away for a few weeks of the hottest fuck of my life.

 

“Soon to be?” she asked, reaching for her bra. I wanted to help her put it on but I knew she wouldn’t want me to. Not after I clarified this.

 

“I’m going to ask her to marry me tomorrow night during the Delamar Benefit at the club.”

 

Della’s eyes went wide and she began clumsily trying to put her bra back on as she put more distance between us. “Ohmygod,” she whispered and jerked her shirt over her head. I watched helplessly as she pulled her skirt down and adjusted it. “Ohmygod, I did it again,” she murmured and shook her head in disbelief. When she started for the door I panicked. This couldn’t be it.

 

“Della, wait. Let me explain,” I begged and she shook her head.

 

“No, don’t. I get it. I’m an easy lay. You’re about to tie yourself to a girl for the rest of your life so you used me. One more last night of fun.” She let out a hard laugh. “I’m an easy target. I know that. Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials. I hope she says yes.”

 

I couldn’t find words to make this right when she jerked the door open and came face to face with a very angry Bethy.

 

“Are you okay? No, you’re not. Come with me,” she said to Della in a soothing tone. Then she shot me a glare. “I can’t believe you,” she snapped.

 

I watched them both walk away from me. I zipped my jeans, grabbed my shirt, and slipped it on. The pink scrap of fabric I’d jerked off her in my insanity to be in her lay forgotten on the floor. She was walking around in that short skirt with no panties. Damn. I picked up the last memory I’d have of knowing just how good Della Sloane felt and tucked it into my pocket.

 

 

 

Grant met me in the hallway. I owed him an apology too. Not that I was in the mood to give him one. He’d probably be the next one to find out just how amazing Della felt. My blood heated up as images of Grant touching Della flashed in my head.

 

“What the hell are you doing? I thought you were gonna ask Angelina to marry you tomorrow night. Jace said you have the ring already.”

 

I let out a frustrated sigh. “I am. It’s a little deeper than the way it looks. I hooked up with Della about four months ago when she was passing through town. She’s memorable.” I wasn’t about to tell him just how good she was because I had no doubt he’d try her out himself and I knew his heart was too abused to ever love again.

 

“So you needed one more taste? She know that was what was up? If she did then that’s cool. But if she didn’t then you’re a sorry ass motherfucker.” The last part came out in a soft voice laced with an angry threat.

 

“I’m the motherfucker,” I replied and shoved past him as Angelina made her way toward me. I had her to deal with now.

 

“I’ve been looking everywhere for you. Where have you been?” she asked. I started to lie when I decided she didn’t need to think this was a fairytale. She needed the truth.

 

“Having really hot wild sex. If I’m asking you to marry me tomorrow at the benefit then I needed to have one more fond memory.”

 

Most girls would have flinched but I’d known Angelina wouldn’t. This was a business transaction for her too.

 

“I hope it was a good one because I won’t allow it once I’m wearing that ring,” she hissed.

 

“It was incredible,” I replied and headed for the front door. “Let’s go.”

     

 

 

Della

 

 

 

I didn’t want to go back out to the balcony with Bethy. I saw Grant walking toward us and I just wanted out. This time it hurt. With Jeffery I’d just been disgusted. But with Woods… it was painful. He had been different. Or at least, I’d thought he was different. The way he touched me and wanted me had given me hope. I was silly to think hot sex was the answer to my problems. It had all been selfish. Woods wasn’t giving me pure affection. My heart still hurt. I’d wanted that so much.

 

I felt the edges of my vision starting to blur and I knew I needed to be alone. This wasn’t something anyone needed to see. I didn’t want these people to think I was a freak too.

 

“I just want to be alone if you don’t mind,” I told Bethy and forced an apologetic smile her way before heading outside into the cool night air. I didn’t look back and I didn’t try to find my car. I wasn’t in any condition to drive. I needed somewhere dark and quiet. Somewhere safe. I needed somewhere safe. The words “safe” kept up a chant in my head as my vision became more and more blurry. I managed to find a house that looked empty and sat down on the backside of it facing away from the road. I pulled my knees up and tucked my head between them. I could get through this. It was just a symptom of my trauma. Or at least that’s what the doctors kept telling me.

 

 

 

Don’t go outside, Della. It’s dangerous. Your daddy is dead because he went outside. Stay here where it’s safe. With me. We’ll be safe together. Just the two of us.

 

 

 

I felt tears fill my eyes as my mother’s words began tumbling through my head. I tried so hard to repress the memories. But when I was emotionally spent they came back. They didn’t just hide away in my dreams.

 

 

 

Shhh, Della dear. I know you want to ride a bike but so many bad things can get you outside. You’re only safe in here. Remember that. We can’t leave or bad things will happen. Let’s sing a song, okay? One that is happy. One that is safe.

 

 

 

“No, no, no momma. You aren’t going to do this to me. I’m stronger than you. I can beat this,” I said as I pushed the memories back. I wasn’t my mother. I wanted to live life. I wanted to face danger and I wanted to know all the emotions that went along with it.

 

I sat there a long time and stared up at the moon. It was something I used to long to see. I knew at night that I could get away from the safety of my house and see Braden. I could ride her bike down the dark streets and I could breathe in the fresh air. The night sky had become my friend.

 

Finally, I wiped my face with the backs of my hands and stood up. I was okay. I’d made it through this alone. Braden hadn’t been here to tell me to breathe and make me laugh while she kept her arm wrapped around my shoulders. This time it had just been me. I was proud of myself.

 

 

 

I had lain awake last night thinking about packing up and leaving but in the end I decided that I was done with running. I couldn’t run every time I came in contact with pain or a problem was placed in my path. It was time I reacted like the rest of the world and faced it head on. However, I might need to find another job. My boss might not want me working for him anymore. I’d just ask him. I would walk right up to him, be very professional, and ask him if I still had a job or if he needed me to look elsewhere for one. That would be easy enough.

 

If I could keep from remembering how his face looked when he got off. Dangit. That was going to be a problem. Thinking about Woods in a sexual way had to stop. He was my boss. Nothing more.

 

 

 

I walked in the back entrance of the clubhouse and headed for his office. Might as well address this right away. Get it over with so I wouldn’t waste anymore time thinking about it.

 

I knocked on his door and waited. No answer. Crap. Turning, I headed back down the hall toward the kitchen entrance when Woods walked into the building. His eyes locked on me and I stopped. Just seeing him again was hard. I had let our sex become more than it was. I’d let myself think I needed it. I mentally shook my head to clear it.

 

“Hello, Mr. Kerrington. I was looking for you. I need to make sure I still have a job or if you’d prefer I resign and go find one elsewhere.” That sounded very cool and no-nonsense. I was impressed.

 

Something I wasn’t sure I understood flashed in Woods’ eyes. He took a step closer to me and stopped. “You have a job here as long as you want one,” he replied.

 

“Thank you. I appreciate it.” I didn’t wait for an answer. Instead, I headed for the kitchen entrance and never looked back.

 

When the swinging doors closed behind me, I let out the breath I’d been holding. I’d done it. We’d had our closure. No more words needed. I could ignore him and he could ignore me.

 

“Oh good I get to work with you instead of Jimmy today. He drives me nuts in the mornings.” A girl I’d only seen once before, my first day, smiled at me as she walked into the kitchen tying her apron around her waist.

 

“Della, right?” she asked and pulled her long brown hair up into a ponytail.

 

“Yes and you’re...” I glanced down at her nametag, “Violet,” I replied.

 

She laughed, “Caught you cheating. But that’s okay we just met once before. I’ll take the right side tables seven through fourteen. You take left side tables one through six. The right side is a harder morning crowd. A lot of regulars. Don’t want to throw you to the dogs just yet.”

 

“Thanks,” I replied.

 

“No problem. I want you to stick around. We can’t keep good help.”

 

 

 

I managed to only forget only one thing and it was the apple butter for table three’s toast. Luckily, they had been good with the slip up and still tipped me twenty percent. Not bad. In Dallas you rarely saw twenty percent tips from men over sixty. I was about to cash out and end my shift when Violet came in smiling.

 

“You got a hot table. Three of the fab four are sitting at their regular table, number two. Woods isn’t with them so they’ll flirt and Grant’s there today so enjoy. They are so yummy to look at. I gotta run. My tables are clear and Jimmy will be here for the lunch shift.”

 

She bounded out the door and I was stuck there looking out toward the dining room. I wasn’t ready to face Grant or any of them just yet. Last night was still too fresh.

 

I wanted to run again. I had to stop this. I grabbed my tray and pitcher of ice water and made my way out to them. Thad, Grant, and Jace were all talking and not paying any attention to me approaching Good.

 

Grant’s eyes lifted to meet my gaze and he smiled that slow sexy smirk thing he had going on. “I’m real glad to see you here this morning,” he replied.

 

He knew. Crap. Did they all know?

 

“It’s my job,” I replied. “What can I get y’all to drink?”

 

“You sure make that uniform look good,” Thad replied leaning forward with his gaze on my chest and not my face.

 

“Shut up,” Grant said and shot him a disgusted look. “I want some coffee, black.”

 

“Coffee for me too but I need two creams and a sugar,” Jace replied.

 

“A tall glass of milk,” Thad said.

 

“Put it in a damn bottle because he’s acting like he needs one,” Jace said, rolling his eyes.

 

“I’ll be a baby if she wants me to, a big ‘ol titty baby,” Thad replied with a wink.

 

“You’re an ass.” Jace shook his head.

 

I didn’t wait for any more comments. I headed back to the kitchen to fix their drinks. I was positive that Thad was not someone I wanted to mess around with. He was cute but I had a feeling he could get annoying.

 

When I got back out to their table Woods had joined them. I kept my smile polite and served the other guys their drinks.

 

“Mr. Kerrington, what can I get for you sir?”

 

I managed to look at him as I asked but I didn’t miss Grant’s eyebrows shooting up.

 

“Coffee black, please.” He barely glanced at me as he said it and went back to talking to Jace.

 

“Are the rest of you ready to order?”

 

Grant leaned forward and I was thankful to have someone to focus my eyes on. I felt silly trying not to look in Woods’ direction.

 

“I don’t know about them but I’m starving,” he replied. “Bring me a burger; medium, loaded, and have Juan put that special sauce on it.”

 

“Same thing for me,” Thad piped up.

 

I forced my attention in the direction of Jace and Woods. Jace looked at me. “Bethy made me a late breakfast so I’m good with the coffee.”

 

The thought of looking at Woods made my stomach hurt. I hated feeling awkward around him now. But he was my boss. So, I held my fake smile and looked his way. “And for you?”

 

Woods finally met my gaze but only briefly. “Nothing thanks, I have a lunch date.”

 

With his fiancée, no doubt. I nodded and headed for the kitchen.

 

“I so want to tap that,” Thad said as I walked away.

 

“Shut up,” Grant snapped.

 

When I brought Woods coffee I managed to get away without any more interaction with him.

 

Jimmy sauntered in and I breathed a sigh of relief.

 

“Jimmy, I will give you half my tips today if you change sections with me right now.”

 

Jimmy cocked one of his perfectly plucked eyebrows and stared at me like I was crazy. “Girl, I’m not taking half your tips. What’s wrong with the section you’re in?”

 

I didn’t want to tell him about Woods. I thought about it a second then said, “Those guys make me nervous and I don’t like waiting on Mr. Kerrington. Please,” I finished with a final plea.

 

He rolled his eyes and tied on his apron. “Fine. We can change sides but I got one through seven. You get eight through fourteen. You’re still new and need to earn more tables.”

 

I nodded. “Of course, thank you.”

 

“I think I’m gonna like you. About time Woods hired another server I like working with.”

 

His praise was nice. I liked feeling as if I fit in.

     

 

 

Woods

 

 

 

I stood at my office window and watched as Della’s red car drove away. I could lie to myself and say it was a coincidence that I came to look out the window the same time she was leaving. But I knew her schedule. I knew her shift was over and pathetically I came here to watch her get in her car and leave. I had gotten very little sleep worrying that she would leave without a word after last night.

 

When I had walked into the clubhouse today and she’d come walking up to me calling me Mr. Kerrington and making sure she still had a job I was so damn relieved I hadn’t been able to properly apologize to her before she was walking off.

 

Then I’d decided it was for the best. No need for us to keep pretending there could be more to this. She was cutting me out and I needed to let her do it. For both our sakes. It was the best way to keep me from caving and begging her for something I couldn’t have.

 

The door opened behind me without a knock and I didn’t have to look to see who it was. Only one person would walk into my office without a knock first.

 

“Hello, Dad,” I said without turning around to look at him. I’d idolized him from the time I was a kid. Now, a part of me hated him.

 

“Woods. I came to make sure plans were still firmly in place for tonight. Howard and Samantha will be here tonight. They’re planning on this announcement. Letting Howard Greystone down isn’t something I intend to do.”

 

He knew I didn’t want this but here he was still reasserting the importance of it.

 

“Nothing’s changed.” Those two words went much deeper than I knew he took them. Nothing had changed. He was still controlling things. I still couldn’t stand the idea of being married to Angelina and he still didn’t give a shit.

 

“Good. Your mother is already planning the wedding with Samantha. They’ve been planning this wedding since the two of you were young. This isn’t just securing our future and the success of what your grandfather built; it is also making your mother very happy. She loves Angelina. This will all work out for the best. You’ll see. Left up to your own devices you would have never gotten married.” The amusement in his voice was lost on me. There was nothing humorous about the fact that both my parents expected me to sacrifice my happiness for theirs.

 

“At least someone is happy,” I said without emotion.

 

“When you’re married and sitting in your new office looking out over the eighteenth hole with the title of Vice President on your door, you’ll be happy too. Right now you’re just sulking like a child who isn’t getting his way. I know what you need to be successful and Angelina Greystone is your answer.”

 

I couldn’t look at him. The rage burning a hole in my gut would no doubt be flashing in my eyes. My father’s footsteps moved away from me and the door closed behind him. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to forgive him for this. Or maybe it was me I would never be able to forgive. What man let another control his life? His future?

 

***

 

Angelina had almost circled the entire ballroom showing off the ring I’d placed on her finger in front of everyone over an hour ago. She was gushing with excitement and the entire room was buying it. You would think we were madly in love. I wasn’t that good of an actor. I preferred to stand over by the bar and drink shots of whiskey.

 

“She’s a looker. If you’re gonna get hitched at least you picked beauty and money. Surely that’s something. You look ready to murder anyone who gets close to you,” Jace said as he took up the spot beside me at the bar.

 

Angelina was beautiful in a cold classical way. She was elegant and refined and manipulative.

 

“Can’t be happy that I’ve become my dad’s fucking puppet,” I replied and heard the slur in my words. Maybe I’d had too much to drink.

 

“There’s that,” he agreed and picked up my whiskey and finished it off before I could. “Probably need to cut yourself off.”

 

“Probably, but then I’d have to endure this sober.”

 

Jace let out a sigh. “I wasn’t going to bring this up but what happened last night with Della?”

 

I picked up my empty glass and shook it at the bartender. “Nothing,” I lied.

 

Jace smirked. “That’s not what Bethy said. Apparently your shirt was off and your pants were undone.”

 

Hell. Figures Bethy had to tell him the details. “I met Della four months ago. We had a night- a really, really fantastic night. Then she walked back into my life and I lost my damn mind. That’s what happened.”

 

Jace let out a low whistle. “Shit.”

 

He had no idea. This was all shit- the marriage, my father, the job that should be mine without fucking strings. My life was shit. Then there was Della. Sweet, sexy fun Della and I couldn’t touch her. She was off limits to me now. “I don’t think I’m gonna ever forget the taste of her.” My drunken tongue was loose. It was a good thing Jace was the only one standing around to hear me.

 

“The job with your dad is worth all this?” Jace asked. I knew he was thinking I was a weak sonuvabitch. I wasn’t strong enough to break free.

 

“I’m not Tripp. I can’t just leave it all behind. Unlike him I want this life. I want that job. It’s mine, dammit.”

 

Jace nodded and reached out to take the whiskey I’d just been served and was about to down. “I said I was cutting you off. Let’s get you out of here for a few minutes. The cool night air might sober you up enough to go speak to guests and actually act like you want this job you’re willing to let control your life.”

 

I started to follow him. Getting out of here sounded great. “Where’s Bethy?” I asked, looking around for his other half.

 

“She’s with Della in the kitchen working. She didn’t want to come to this tonight and asked if I minded if she worked instead.”

 

Della was in the kitchen? I paused outside the ballroom and looked down the hall toward the door that led to the kitchen. Della was in there. I needed to apologize. Explain. Something.

 

“I need to go find Della. She needs to understand,” I said, turning to head for the kitchen.

 

Jace’s hand clamped down on my shoulder. “No man. That’s a real bad idea. You’re engaged and Della is your employee. Draw a line and stay behind it.”

 

 

 

“I already drew the damn line when I put that ring on Angelina’s finger. I just want to explain it to her. She doesn’t understand.” I’d fucked her then I’d told her I was getting engaged and she’d run off. I couldn’t keep picturing the look on her face. It was killing me.

 

“Do you think it’s gonna do any good? What will it accomplish? Leave the girl alone.”

 

He didn’t understand. I shook my head and walked to the kitchen.

 

“I think Tripp likes her. I think she’ll be the reason he comes home. He might not have thought it through when he sent her here but he had other reasons. He’s never let anyone live in his condo before. She’s different.”

 

I stopped. My chest ached and my stomach felt as if it were being twisted. Tripp liked Della? He was free to travel the world with her. He didn’t have responsibilities or goals in life. He just wanted to be. Just like Della.

 

I leaned against the wall and stared at the kitchen doors. What good would explaining this bullshit do? Nothing. It was still the same. I wasn’t the man she was looking for. We wanted two different things out of life and amazing sex didn’t last forever.

 

The doors to the kitchen swung open and my event coordinator, Macy Kemp, came walking out with her hand firmly clasped around Della’s wrist pulling her as she stalked toward me. I opened my mouth to tell her to let Della go but Macy was already talking.

 

“The lead singer is allergic to shellfish. No one told me this, Woods. No one. I would have warned him off the dips and salads if I’d known.” She shook her head and cursed. “He’s just left in an ambulance but the idiot will be fine. I’ve fixed it; so we should be good.” She began walking again and dragged Della behind her. The panicked look on Della’s face snapped me out of my confused tipsy state. I didn’t like seeing Della upset and why the hell was Macy pulling on her like that?

 

“What are you doing with Della?” I demanded.

 

Macy looked at Della and then smiled at me. “We needed a new lead singer. Band can’t play without one. I was in complete disaster mode when I walked in on this one singing in the bathroom while she was washing her hands. The girl can blow.”

 

Not a good choice of words. My slacks suddenly became tighter and Della’s face flushed. I couldn’t look away from her. “You’re singing?” I asked.

 

She shrugged.

 

“Yes, she’s singing. What part of I heard her singing and I need a lead singer didn’t you understand? First, I’ve got to get her changed into something more appropriate. No time. Let your father know the band will start up in ten minutes.” Macy continued on her way and Della followed quickly behind her.

 

“She’s singing at what is basically your engagement party,” Jace said from behind me. I’d forgotten he was standing there.

 

“It’s not my engagement party,” I growled.

 

“You just got engaged and the whole room is talking about your upcoming wedding. So it’s pretty damn close.”

 

 

 

“Shut up, Jace.”