Chapter 1: Annabelle
"I'm confused, Roy." Annabelle furrowed her eyebrows together. "Mancos?" Sitting in the office chair across from her boss, who was also CEO of TimeStruck Enterprise; her bright blue eyes widen in disbelief.
Fiddling with the hem of her navy pencil skirt, she glances back up to lock eyes with her 40 year old boss. "I recommended you for the position in Colorado because I thought it would be a great way for you to branch out as an individual, instead of constantly dealing with backlash from our team."
Roy states enthusiastically; his brown eyes narrow slightly as he plasters on a warm smile. For a 40 year old man, Roy didn't look a day over 39.
Lines were starting to settle into his face, most likely from the chronic stress of trying to maintain his image as being the owner of one of the most popular development firms for designing hotels. His hair was beginning to resemble salt and pepper, and not in a sexy domineering way.
"But I love my position here and I love my team!" Her voice stresses. "I've worked so hard to earn a spot here and make a name for myself."
"Anna", he says soothingly. "This isn't a bad thing at all. In fact, think of it as a promotion. There is no one at this firm that I trust more than you. You turn havoc into beauty. I need a trusted pair of eyes to design this hotel. These folks in Mancos are very territorial of their town,
and my proposal will not be accepted if I cannot present a design that maintains this companies image and keeps the people of Mancos happy." Annabelle groans. She loved living in Manhattan. She loved the city, the people, the food, the clothes, the romance. There was a new person to meet everywhere she turned.
"What about Jennifer?" She exclaims. "She's completely capable!" He chuckles deeply. Roy knew Annabelle was a fighter; she did not give up easily and he knew it, but he also knew she played it safe.
Her love life didn't exist because she feared getting her heart broken. She pushed herself hard at work, but not too hard; that way she wouldn't be too disappointed in rejection. Roy knew Annabelle had potential, and he also knew he had to push her.
"3 months, Annabelle. That's all I'm asking. Please, I beg of you!" He jokingly pleads. Annabelle rolls her eyes, and bites back a smirk. Roy was like a fatherly figure to her in an odd way considering he wasn't old enough. Technically, if he had gotten a lady a pregnant at 13, then maybe he could have been?
But she trusted him with everything, and even though at 40 years old, he was wise beyond his years. "Where will I stay?" She says, sighing in defeat. "The Chatwin Manor." He states slowly, cautiously.
"You want me to stay in the only motel in Mancos? Better yet, the motel that we are planning to demolish and rebuild?" She rolls her eyes sarcastically. "Yes, that's exactly right." He smirks. Annabelle stares at him in disbelief.
'Was he serious?' She exclaims to herself. "Flight leaves at 8PM. Sharp." Roy says. "And Anna?" Annabelle stands up and straightens out her black blazer and navy skirt; barely bringing her eyes back to meet her bosses. "No excuses."
The flight was dreadful. Annabelle had a snoring old man, and a young child who's mother sat directly behind them on her flight. The young child, Erik, wanted to play 20 questions; yet that somehow turned in 2010 questions. Honestly, to say she was mentally drained was an understatement.
She had to pack up her life in a suitcase and leave at the drop of a hat, but in all honestly, it wasn't as hard as she thought. She had no close friends or family in Manhattan. She didn't have a boyfriend or a dog to attend to daily. Was her life really so lame that she could actually move to a completely different state in a matter of 4 hours?
'No. Not lame.' She thought to herself. Changing her mindset was important for her. In her business, it was easy for the competition of the industry to destroy people's optimism. She was lucky. Lucky she could move whenever she desired. Lucky she was independent.
Arriving at Chatwin Manor wasn't all that bad. It had an exquisite charm that seemed to fit well with the whole "country" theme that Mancos was giving out. Although the inside of Annabelles motel room wasn't as charming as she'd hoped.
The water pressure was quite low, and the bedding appeared quite old, yet it still managed to suit the Manor's rustic charm. 'Screw you Roy', she said to herself as she made her way into the bed. The sheets made her itch in places she never knew was possible. By the time she checked in, it was way past 10pm, which was late considering she was a 630am gal.
If she was going to spend 3 months in this room, she was going to have to make it much more comfortable. Tomorrow was the day she would roam the town; mostly looking for a better comforter. Stepping out of her comfort zone was a major change for Annabelle. Everyone who was close to her, mostly Roy, knew that. Well, time to prove them wrong.
Chapter 2: Sterling
"Can we just head down to the pub already?" Sterlings best friend and partner in crime, Jason, whined. "You sound like a little bitch, Jase. Jesus christ, when did such a manly man turn into the town wimp?" Sterling laughed deeply at his friend, especially when his best friend since childhood became instantly defensive.
"Ever since I broke things off with Caroline, I haven't got laid. My dick is my own worst enemy. I got all this build up testosterone and no one to release it in." Jason sighs, scratching the back of his head hastily. "I'm surprised testosterone is the only thing that's built up." Sterling states.
"What are you tryna get at, Ster?" Jason asks quizzically. Sterling couldn't hide his smirk if his life depended on it. "You're tryna tell me that you haven't been collecting STD's all these years?" Jason playfully pushes Sterling; trying to egg him on. Just as brothers would do.
"Well you're no saint either, partner." Jason winks. "At least I have one chick I screw whenever I want instead of fucking the whole town." Sterling says, as he slips on his shoes.
"Come on, let's get you out of here before you start tryna fuck my goddamn pillow." Sterling motions for the door, as Jason frantically ushers them both out of Sterlings log cabin.
"You know bro, when are you going to upgrade this junk?" Jason says while tapping the 2006 GMC Sierra's dashboard. Sterling grunts. His truck wasn't a charmer, but it got the job done.
It was the most reliable thing in his life besides Jason, and even then, Jason would leave him in an instant if it meant Jason could get some "good pussy", according to Jason himself. "When this thing blows up, until then, I'll ride it out till it dies." "Kinky." Jason smirks jokingly.
After 20 minutes of driving, Sterling and Jason finally arrive into town. Although it is only 3PM, it was also Saturday which meant cheap beer and cheap wings at Sami's Bar. "The usual, Sugar?" Stacy winks at Sterling. Her blonde hair was straight and sat just below her shoulders.
Sterling swears she purposely cuts her hair that way, considering it trails your eyes directly to her double D breasts that she never tries to cover up. But who was he to shame a women for having great breasts? After all, he was a man and he enjoyed a beautiful view; even if he didn't act on his urges, he still could use his imagination.
"Please." Sterling says, nodding towards Jason. "Make that two orders." "Coming right up, sweet thing." Stacy winks as she turns on her heel and types in the order.
"God, she's so hot. I'd tap that." Jason pipes in, taking a sip of his beer. "You did. 11th grade." Sterling says as he wraps his hand around his beer and chugs back a sip. "I'd remember those tits if I did." Jason says; his eyes directly on Stacys tit's across the bar.
"Well for starters, she had brown hair in grade 11." If it wasn't obvious enough that Stacy clearly bleached the heck out of her hair. "And second, she only got those tits when she got knocked up by Greg Jetsky at 20." "She has a kid?" Jason gawks. "2: Timothy and Jessie." Sterling says, taking another sip of his beer.
"Well I'll be damned." Jason chuckles, "I'd still tap that." "We're 33 years old and you still want to fuck anything that walks, so I'm not surprised." Sterling laughs at his friend beside him. As Stacy approaches the boys, she hands them 4 lbs of salt and pepper wings and refills their pints.
Stacy was the kind of girl that would die in the same town she grew up in. She loved this town. She met Greg, got married, had kids, got divorced, and now she has fun considering her kids are much older now. Most women were envious of her. It was normal to get married at a young age in this town. Normal to have a family of your own. The thought of marriage made Sterling nauseous. Always did.
"Ah, there's that new girl that the towns gossiping about." Stacy says, bending over the bar table so her breasts rest heavily on it. Jason finally peels his eyes away from Stacy, who is clearly loving the attention. "The one who looks like she's struggling to hold onto a blanket set?" Jason asks confused.
"That's the one!" Stacy chuckles. Sterling finally moves his eyes away from the 2lbs of wings in front of him, to be met with a beautiful young woman who looks increasingly out of her element as the seconds drag on.
Her long fluffy cardigan was a beige colour, yet it seemed to bring out her skin tone even more than usual. She wasn't very pale, but she was much more pale than the people in this town; that was a given. Yet, she was illuminating. Her long, brown, wavy hair was blowing ferociously in the wind, and her plump lips were pursed in a straight line, clearly realizing she bit off more than she could chew.
Now, that was a woman who could spark Sterlings interest.
Chapter 3: Annabelle
'This is all your fault, Roy.' Annabelle whispers under her breathe. She wasn't expecting the walk back to the Manor to be this traumatic, especially not holding onto her new and expensive duvet. "S'cuse me miss, do you need a hand?" A mans voice calls out.
As she looks behind her, she sees a man, probably in his 30s, walking directly towards her. His hair is light blonde and styled well. His hazel eyes clearly amused from her distraught. "I'm okay, but thank you for the offer." She states, turning back to focus on gripping her duvet properly.
"I'm Jason, and this is my friend. We saw you struggling at the bar and thought it was best to help a damsel in distress". He grins, flashing his pearly whites.
Annabelle glances at the man beside him. She didn't even notice another guy there, and how could she not? He stood well over 6 feet. His white crisp long sleeve shirt, morphed into his sculpted muscles. His black hair was tussled ruggedly. Once she realized she was clearly oogling over this "friend", she brought her eyes up to his. Grey. She hadn't expected that; not at all.
"Well Jason, I appreciate the offer, but I really have to get going." She states matter-of-factly. "And where are you going exactly? Maybe we can help you?" Jason asks.
"I'm visiting for 3 months and I'm staying at the Chatwin Manor." Annabelle huffs out, while still struggling to hold onto her last bit of dignity as she grips her duvet for dear life. "3 months?" Jason pipes in curiously.
"Correct." Annabelle states. "What brings you here?Business or pleasure?" Jason jokes. "What if I said business?" Annabelle questions back. "Then I'd have to say that you should be careful. This town doesn't like change much." Jason smirks.
"And if I said pleasure?" Annabelle scoffs back. "Then I'd say; when can I be of service?" Jason winks.
Annabelle freezes in her tracks. Jeez, did that take her off guard. Her mouth drops open in disbelief. Yes, this guy was quite attractive, but that ego was extraterrestrial! "I have to get going, pleasure to meet you Jason and friend." She straightens her posture and begins to walk away.
"Let us drive you. Chatwin is still a 20 minute walk and a 5 minute drive. You're clearly struggling and I promise, Jason won't say another inappropriate word the whole drive there." Says a deep, husky voice coming from beside Jason. As she turns around, she meets this "friends" eyes. His eyes dance out of curiosity. Curiosity for her.
"How do I know you guys aren't murderers?" Annabelle manages to squeak out. "This is a small town. I guarantee you, you'll be in safe hands." The friend says firmly.
Something about his voice or the way he looks at her, makes her heart pound loudly in her chest. Annabelle is positive everyone around her can hear it. How could they not? "Sure. Okay. Thank you." She manages to sputter out.
The stranger was correct. Jason didn't blurt out any inappropriate comments for a whole 7 minutes; the 5 minute drive and the 2 minute walk back to the beaten down GMC. "So, what's your name? Where are you from?" Jason chirps.
"Annabelle Brawley. I moved here from Manhattan. My boss thought it was a good idea for me to take a vacation and wind down. Connect with myself outside of the city, I suppose." Annabelle says quietly. Clearly these towns people feel indifferent about outsiders. Maybe playing it safe was the best bet for now? It was a small white lie. What's the harm?
"Annabelle." The friend says, clearly tasting her name on his lips. "Sounds like a southern name, yet you're from Manhattan?" Jason chuckles. "Well, smart man I see." Annabelle says sarcastically. "I am originally from Kentucky, but moved to Manhattan by the age of 5."
"So you pretty much live all over the place then?" Jason says, arching his eyebrow curiously. Annabelle sighs. She really didn't want to discuss her life, especially with two strangers that could still be murderers. "I did. Manhattan is my home though." She states back to him.
"Well, city girl." The friend says amusingly. "Welcome to the country." Annabelles body suddenly tingles. This mans voice made her body ache in places that felt as though they haven't been touched in years. That was a lie of course. She wasn't a virgin; she still managed to have fun here and there. It wasn't her fault that those men just didn't work out.
"Well, thank you for the ride, Jason and erm.." Annabelle mutters while opening the trucks door to exit. "Sterling. Sterling Tanner." He nods, barely looking at her. "I see." She says, disappointment evident in her voice. "Well, thank you. Glad to see chivalry isn't dead after all."
Chapter 4: Sterling
There was something about Annabelle that Sterling couldn't figure out. Maybe it was the way she held herself, as though trying to be independent when she clearly desperately needed a helping a hand. Maybe it was the fact that she was new, and although new, she was gorgeous and exciting. Different. Or maybe it was the fact that she was only temporary; in Mancos for 3 months only.
2 Days had passed since his last encounter with her, yet she was on his mind more than he wanted to admit. He was used to being alone. Sterling wasn't one for showing attachment to people; if you don't believe me, then ask the women that he's been faithfully fucking for 3 years but hasn't even asked out on a proper date.
The problem with Sterling was that when he got attached; it became his obsession, his weakness. Allowing another person that kind of control over his life was not in his rule book. After all, his mother had her heart broken one too many times, especially by his father who was the town player. Yet, his mother was trapped. So trapped in fact, that the only way out of her misery was death.
But Sterling was a man after all. He practically raised himself since the age of 7. He worked hard for what he had, and what he did have; he was damn proud of it. He didn't rely on anyone, and even though that was his biggest attribute according to him; it was also his biggest flaw.
"Hey man, I think I'm going to stop by the Manor and visit Annabelle. Check out the place, see if she needs a helping hand." Jason speaks up beside him. Sterling completely forgot that his best friend had been right beside him. "See if she needs a helping hand, huh?" He says jokingly, but he couldn't deny the tinge of jealousy that sparked inside him.
"Yeah, you know. With like .. errands or something." Jason chuckles nervously. "Wait." Sterling says in disbelief. "Does this lady make you nervous or something?" "Well yeah. Doesn't she make you nervous?" Jason retorts back.
Sterling knew the answer, but like usual, he denied the truth from himself. "She's just a new girl who's staying in town for a few months. Don't get your panties twisted, Jase." Jason scratched his head briefly, which was always a tell-tale sign that he was deep in thought.
"Maybe I can make her stay?" Jason tests his words out-loud. "Man, you can't be serious." Sterling laughs at his friend. Jason was always a playboy. With his good looks and charm, it was hard for the single girls in this town to resist him considering most of the women in Mancos thought that they could tame the untameable.
"Yeah, well, maybe you're right." Jason sighs in defeat. "We both know I'm not relationship material, but maybe it'll be worth my while to get to know her." Sterling looks at his friend. Really looks at him for the first time in god-knows how long.
"Maybe you should visit her." Sterling finds himself saying. "I'm sure it must be lonely without any friends in this already super-small town." Jason smiles; a genuine smile. "Yeah. You're right. Would you care to join?" Jason says; standing up and gathering his belongings.
Sterling shakes his head. "I got some work to catch up on. Maybe some other time." He says dully, escorting his friend out of his house. "Still helping that neighbour of yours redo his bathroom?" "You know it." Sterling laughs back.
"Well, in that case, you're a damn good neighbour." "Hopefully a better friend." "You know it." Jason smacks him on the shoulder lightly, copying Sterlings own words. "Anyways, I'm going to head out now, but I'll let Annabelle know you said 'hi'." "See ya." Was all Sterling replied.
Sterling knew what he felt wasn't normal. He felt anger, jealousy, hurt, fear. All feelings that were not normal for a 33 year old man stuck in his ways; especially when those feelings were because of one single girl. But Sterling also didn't want a repeat from high school. The last thing he needed was another women to interfere with his friendship with his one and only true, best friend.
Chapter 5: Annabelle
In a matter of 2 days, Annabelle was able to embrace the truth beauty of the Chatwin Manor. She created multiple designs, but nothing that deemed fit for this small town. A knock at her door startled her from her thoughts. Walking over to the door, she grabs the knob and slowly turns it; unsure of who would be stopping by.
"Oh, Jason. Hey, how are you?" She says, staring at the attractive man in front of her. Jason was what she'd call a pretty boy. Well, whatever form of pretty boy a country town could manage at least. He still had a boyish charm about him that was admirable.
"I just wanted to stop by and see how you were settling in." Jason says, scratching his head quickly once again. "I also wanted to apologize for how I acted the other day. It was completely inappropriate." Annabelle laughs; a true laugh. "Well thank you, that means the world coming from you." She says sarcastically; a slight tone of playfulness hidden throughout.
Annabelle opens the door as an invitation for Jason to come in. "Thanks." He says shyly; finding a spot to sit near the small kitchenette. "Anyways, I was wondering if there was anything on your agenda today that you needed help with?" Jason says, locking eyes with Annabelle.
"I think I was going to explore the town a little bit today." Annabelle says, sitting across the room on the couch. "Well, let me be your tour guide!" Jason says a little too enthusiastically; to which he tries to cover up by a lame cough. "I mean, I have a vehicle and we can also explore the backroads which shows you the true beauty of the town as well."
"Sure, Jason. That would be awesome." Annabelle smiles, showing her perfectly straight teeth that only 10 grand in dental care could create. "Can you just give me a minute to change?" She says, gesturing to her oversized pyjamas. "Of course." He says back.
Changing into a pair of jeans and an oversized hoodie, Annabelle puts her hair in a high ponytail. "Ready whenever you are." She says as she steps out of the bedroom and into the main room. "Perfect, my cars just out front. We can start with the backroads and make out way through the town." He smiles down at her.
"Sounds fun." She says back. Seeing a different side of Jason was nice, pleasant even. He was in-fact charming, but he also appeared genuinely nice. Someone she could see herself being friends with.
Jason wasn't lying; Colorado was absolutely breathtaking. Manhattan was filled with people and tall buildings, but Mancos was quiet, peaceful. "Sterling and I used to come up here almost every weekend after school. We'd bring our guns and do some target practice." Jason pipes up.
The simple mention of Sterlings name peaked her interest. "Almost every weekend, huh." Annabelle repeats back. "Yeah." Jason sighs heavily. "Sterling had it rough as a kid. His mom passed when he was young and he was stuck with his loser father." "That must have been tough." Annabelle says weakly.
Jason nods. "It was, but it made him stronger than ever. He's the strongest man I know. Doesn't let anything penetrate through that thick skin of his. Hell, he hasn't even had a girlfriend in almost 20 years." Annabelles bright, blue eyes widen. 20 years? Is that even normal?
I mean, Annabelle's love life wasn't successful either, but at least she actually tried. "20 years is a long time." She finally manages to spit out. "Yeah, he dated this girl Miranda in high school for a bit, but she ended up moving to a completely different state." He says hurtfully.
Annabelle could sense the tension in his words. Although curious, she didn't want to push her luck too hard. "You cared for her, didn't you?" She finds herself saying to Jason. "I did. I even fucked her when she was dating my best friend." Jason admits.
"Oh." Is all Annabelle can say. "It turned into this big ordeal. I thought I loved her and my best friend had her. He didn't love her of course; Sterling has never loved a woman before." "How is that possible?" She says in response. "He deals with his own demons in whichever way he deems fit, I guess." He chuckles.
Annabelle made a choice to pry at that very moment. "So he wasn't upset that you screwed his girlfriend?" Jason rubs his jawline thoughtfully. "Not really, or at least he didn't show it." He says. "But I've held a lot of guilt since that day." "Why?" She croaks out.
"Well, I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I've had some fairly good luck in the ladies department." Jason laughs at himself. "Sterling could get any woman he wants, but he doesn't want anyone enough to commit." He frowns at his own words.
"If I had known that Miranda would have been Ster's only girlfriend in 35 years, then I would have pushed my feelings aside and never touched Miranda." He finishes saying.
"Well, isn't that considerate of you." Annabelle says jokingly, slightly bumping into Jason trying to tease him. "Yeah, well. The past is the past. We can only change our future, right?" Jason says, boring his hazel eyes into hers. "Right." She smirks. "You know, you're oddly wise for a man who plays the town playboy."
"Maybe I don't want people in this town thinking I'm a softie." "Well, you are a softie." She states. "And I really think you should let more people see this side of you; the true side of you. It really is .. illuminating." "Illuminating?" They laughed at Annabelle's choice of words in sync with one another.
"Yes. In fact, I think you'll come to realize that you're a very special person and I really hope more people get to experience this side of you." All Jason does is smile; keeping his eyes straight ahead on the natural beauty of Mancos. "Common, we still have the town to see." She says, nudging him back towards his SUV.
Chapter 6: Sterling
"Crap." Sterling mutters to himself while trying to fix his leaky sink pipe. As he makes proper measurements for the clamps he needs, he decides to leave his stained grey shirt on and hops into his trusty GMC.
Since Sterlings dad was pretty well-known as being the towns loser; Jason's dad stepped up to the plate during Sterlings teenage years. Jason's dad, Tim, was as close to a fatherly figure that Sterling had; luckily, Jason didn't mind sharing him.
While Tim taught Jason how to work in the rigs cause that was how people in this town were able to make good money; he also taught Sterling everything he knew about fixing and building almost anything imaginable. That was until Tim died when Sterling and Jason were 25, due to an accident at work.
But Jason didn't take it as hard as Sterling did when he lost his parents. Maybe because Jason actually had a healthy, loving, and supportive family life.
20 minutes of driving into town, never really did feel like 20 minutes to Sterling. Sometimes he hated this town, but more than not, he loved the natural untouched design of it. Walking into Patsy's Hardware, he picks out his measured clamps and makes his way to the clerk.
"Hi, Jen. Fancy seeing you here today." Sterling smiles at the 50 year old women in front of him. Jen was one of the kindest women he'd known. She was soft spoken, generous, and almost like a motherly figure towards Sterling. She took care of the people in this town whenever she could, for as long as she could.
"Had to pick up some extra shifts unfortunately, works been slowly down lately." She says, still managing a smile through her slight frown.
"If there is anything I can do to help, don't be afraid to reach out." He says apologetically. "Thanks, darlin'. I think I'll be able to manage just fine for a bit. I'm just exhausted and wish I could take a mid-day nap." Jen chuckles light-heartedly. "I know how you feel." Sterling laughs back; making a gesture to his dirty and rugged clothing choice.
"Hey, did you still need help fixing the side deck of yours?" Jen's eyes lit up; thankful that Sterling remembered, but she also clearly forgot that was a project that she was supposed to get fixed before it worsened. "I do, but I don't got the money to pay for the supplies right now, hun." She said.
Jen was never embarrassed when she lacked in the money department. Things sometimes got rough for some people in this town, but wasn't that what a community was for? To help one another? "I have some spare 2X4's in my shed. I'll come by when I have some time and see what I can fix."
"Oh Sterling," Jen said, "I don't want you wasting your supplies and time on an old lady like me." "You're not just an old lady," He smirked, "you're the towns favourite old lady. Don't worry about my time or the cost. Just make me some fresh lemonade and I'll be a happy man."
"You're the sweetest, dear, thank you." She said cheerfully. Even though Sterling hated people seeing his 'nice' side sometimes, it was hard to see some of the best people he'd known in life, suffer.
As Sterling makes his way out of Patsy's, he managed to bump into something hard. "Ow!" The small voice exclaims. Looking down, he realizes it was the one and only Annabelle, and beside her was his one and only best friend.
"Patsy's huh." Jason smiles at his friend. "Finally fixing that good ol' sink of yours?" He questions. Sterling nods considering that's all he really could do.
Jason and Annabelle looked good together .. real good. And the worst part was, was that they looked genuinely happy in each others company. "I best be goin'. Pipe won't fix itself." He huffs out, pointing to the clamps he was holding in his hand.
"Are you sure you have to go home right away? I was just showing Annabelle the town. Care to join?" Jason proclaims. Sterling shakes his head no, again. "Can't. Pretty behind on my project." "What project is that?" The beautiful Annabelle says softly; her eyes dancing in the sunlight.
Was there flecks of green her eyes? Gold? God, why was her eyes so damn captivating.
"Ster here fixes absolutely anything; starting with his own house." Jason says matter-of-factly. "He's the best damn builder I ever did see." Annabelle smiles that oh-so-famous heart-stopping smile of hers. "That's amazing." She agrees.
Sterling lets out an embarrassed grunt. He can feel his loose jeans suddenly feeling tighter and tighter. 'What the?' He thinks to himself. 'Fuck.' He repeats mentally; realizing he's getting a semi-hard on just by staring at Annabelle; her lips looking extra plump today, probably from being chapped with the colder weather.
"I gotta go. See ya." He huffs out, marching back to his truck. *** Arriving home, Sterling can't even focus on fixing his sink pipe. Instead, he's stuck thinking about Annabelle. Her soft, plump pink lips, her natural silky hair that she throws back messily, the way her eyes sparkle with so much passion and light.
He hops into the shower to calm down; still rock hard; imaging Annabelles eyes hooded with pleasure. 'Fuck, she feel so good.' He finds himself saying as he images those perky breasts of hers stuffed in his mouth. But before he can go too far into his fantasy, he stops himself.
He can't be thinking of this girl that way, can he? Why is he fantasizing over someone he doesn't even know? He doesn't even fantasize over Laura, the girl he's been screwing for 3 years. He's never yearned to feel someone as badly as he wanted Annabelle. And that was new for Sterling. But it wasn't exciting for him; in fact, it was the scariest thought of all.
Stepping out of the shower, he grabs his phone. Searching through his contacts, he finds Laura's name. Clicking the call button, he hears that familiar silky voice; always filled with lust for him on the other line. "Meet me at Boston's at 6 tonight?" Laura says flirtatiously.
Chapter 7: Annabelle
Touring around town with Jason gave Annabelle a better understanding of what the town of Mancos had to offer. Love, is what the town had to offer.
For such a small community, everyone showed love. They supported one another in a way that Annabelle only saw in films and took take of each other like a family which proved that blood wasn't thicker than water after all.
Sketching up some of her idea's, she realized that she had to use warm tones throughout the design of the hotel. She had to keep the original architecture in tact; it's importance to the town was significant, even if they didn't realize it themselves. Could they manage to add on to the original design? Would the building structure even be able to hold itself up properly?
Soaking herself in the bath after a long day of adventuring, she envisions what little design patterns she could add to showcase that kind of love. Of course she'd have to keep the original wood structuring. Would adding marble flooring be too elegant for a town like this? Should she add wall lamps to give the rooms a dim, romantic glow?
Stepping out of the bath, she securely wraps a towel around her body; letting her hair fall freely from the tight bun she previously put it in. Hearing a knock at her door for the second time today, her eyes bore into the door quizzically before opening it. 'It's 9pm, who could possibly be over at this time?' She thinks to herself.
In front of her stood a beautifully dark, handsome Sterling. His grey eyes suddenly darkened as his eyes glanced town to the towel wrapped around her small, curvy frame. His hair was disheveled and she noticed the first few top buttons of his shirt were left undone.
"Hi, Sterling. Sorry, I was just in the bath. Can I help you with something?" She says as professionally as possible. Her throat visibly bobbling as she swallows hard. Sterling didn't reply instantly; instead he just stared at her for a few seconds longer than he should have.
"Jason mentioned something about your water pressure being low. Figured I'd stop by on my way back home." He says; eyes finally making their way back up to meet hers. "Oh." She sputtered out. 'Why was he in town this late?' She couldn't help but to think to herself.
"Sure, come in." She opens the door wider, clutching onto her towel harder than usual. Her body instantly felt hot, especially in places that haven't been touched in awhile. Well, 6 months to be exact.
As Sterling steps inside, she realized he must be around 6'4, but he felt much taller than her and in turn, she felt so much smaller around him. Maybe it was his broad shoulders and his muscular, long legs that made her feel small.
Maybe it was his dark demeanour that followed him wherever he went that made her feel small. This was the first time he looked at her, truly looked at her, and it was because she was basically naked. Wasn't it? "I'm just going to go change, the bathroom is around the corner." Annabelle says surely.
Sterling nods and makes his way to the bathroom quietly. Entering her small bedroom, which she slowly designed to meet her own needs, she bends over to open her dresser drawers. Pulling out a large t-shirt that she unintentionally saved from her last boyfriend, she pulls it over head head; leaving her hair loosely tucked in the shirt.
She places warm fuzzy socks on considering the heat source in the Manor wasn't very good at all, and makes her way to check on the man that makes her senses lose control. "How is it coming along?" She says, noticing the shower head is completely off. "Good." He says back, but this time, not looking at her.
"I forgot to say, thank you for doing this. It was completely unexpected." She states gently, realizing that she was being oddly rude by not even saying thank you to this mysterious stranger. Sterling, once again, nods. He fiddles with the shower-head hose a little more before attaching the shower-head back to its original spot.
"This should do it." He says, as he turned the water knob on full blast. Not realizing that the shower head was turned towards the wide-spray setting, the pressure sputtered out and lightly sprayed Annabelle's light grey t-shirt; leaving a small enough water mark to show how erect her tight, small nipples were.
Sterlings head glances at her. His eyes darkly roaming over the wet imprint of her breasts. When suddenly he picks Annabelle up and slams her onto the bathroom sink. "What are you -" She starts to say, breathlessly. Yet Sterling still doesn't say anything; instead, his warm, hot mouth finds its way over her pretty pink nipples.
He sucks them through her wet shirt, using his tongue to slowly graze around the outskirts of them. Ever so lightly, his teeth bite into them, leaving Annabelle to whimper out of pleasure. She didn't know what she was doing, but fuck, it felt so good. Heat rose to her cheeks as she began to become increasingly aroused. She suddenly felt herself becoming more wet than she already was; literally.
But before she even had time to think about if this was right or wrong, Sterling made up his mind for her. He stepped back and stood up straight. His brows furrowed together tightly. 'Did he regret it?' She found herself wondering.
I mean, technically, she did nothing wrong. It was a few seconds of pleasure that she had no control over; she was literally taken aback and barely had time to react herself. Except she couldn't deny the way her body instantly reacted to his touch, could she?
"Water pressure seems good now." Sterling said in a monotone voice which was clearly unreadable to Annabelle. "Thanks." She panted out as she tried to catch her breath. She glanced down towards Sterlings pants, where she noticed a thick bulge had formed.
God, even the outline of his cock made her throb in places she didn't know was possible. "What were you doing in town tonight?" She found herself saying as she hopped off the sink and straightened out that long, large t-shirt she damned herself for wearing.
"Well, aren't you nosy." He chuckled back huskily. Lust strained through his voice heavily. "Curiosity killed the cat." She joked back as she followed him to the front and only door. "I had a date." He said sharply.
'Ah', Annabelle thought to herself, 'a date.' The unbuttoned shirt; the messy hair. "Didn't get what you wanted from her?" She said bravely, clearly gesturing to the sexual incident they just shared together.
"No." Sterling stated bluntly; his eyes glaring deeply into hers. "I did." "Goodnight." Was what he said last before turning on his heal and heading back to his truck. Closely the door softly behind her, she sank against the door. Her hands made her way back to the breasts that were sucked on only minutes go.
She thought she had more decency than to let a man she barely knew into her "home", and touch her without her permission. Of course she's had hook ups before, mostly when she was drunk in her earlier 20's, but that wasn't her thing anymore. She was career orientated and had no time to waste on men playing boyish games.
But something about him made her heart flutter in an odd way. A way she didn't even feel about Brandon; her ex. She was only here for a little less than 3 months after all, so what's the harm in having a little fun? But the fact that Sterling went for a date right before, didn't sit well with Annabelle that night.
She was strong. She was independent. Why should she let a man waltz in her motel room and fondle her when he clearly wasn't the serious type? 'Well,' she thought to herself, 'she wouldn't'. But Annabelle knew she was only lying to herself.
Chapter 8: Sterling.
Sterling scolded himself the whole drive home. He craved Annabelle. He had no idea how he wound up at her door at 9pm after he just finished having an unsuccessful date with the woman he's been screwing for 3 damn years.
Actually, that was a lie. He knew the reason, but as usual, he still managed to deny himself the truth. 'Fuck, fuck, fuck.' He said over and over, clutching the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white. How could he do that to Jason?
Jason had a visible crush on Annabelle. Honestly, as much as Jason was a playboy, he could be very loyal when he wanted to be. Sterling knew Jason would be a better fit for Annabelle than himself. He knew he couldn't offer her what most girls wanted. Sterling was hardened from life. Jason was not.
Sterling managed to get home, realizing his cock was still rock hard and uncomfortably throbbing in his pants. So, he tried to think about Laura bouncing on-top of him; a typical position that allowed Sterling to do much less work and Laura to get herself off instantly. But, of course, that didn't work. Instead, his thoughts drifted to a sexy Annabelle with a wet t-shirt on.
Her long brown hair was messily scattered on the mirror behind her. Her toned legs spread apart so his tall, wide frame could lean between them. He knew she was wet for him. He could feel the heat between her legs through his thin button-down shirt.
His mind drifted to the way her long natural lashes fluttered shut in pure pleasure. He thought about how her perfect lips parted ever so slightly as she let out a moan that he caused when he placed her perfect breasts in his mouth.
She felt perfect. She was perfect. But Sterling knew to never reach for something that seemed just out of his reach. After all, that sets you up for failure, doesn't it?
Chapter 9: Annabelle
As the weeks went by, Annabelle's ideas finally came together. Jason and her became quite close, but it was a nice and comfortable kind of closeness. He really showed her his true colours, and she meant that in the best way possible. Jason was sweet, kind and caring.
But in all honesty, anywhere she went with him; a girl would jump out and say "Hi, Jason", super flirtatiously while swirling their hair around their fingers. Of course, Jason admitted that every girl who ended up doing that was someone he's slept with before.
The one thing she truly admired about Jason was his brutal honesty. No matter what, no matter when; he proves he was an honest person, even when it didn't show himself in the best light.
I guess Annabelle and Jason became friends, even though Annabelle was in slight denial. She knew she was leaving in 2 months. And what about Sterling? Well, she barely saw him since that day in her bathroom. If he was avoiding her, he did a hell of a job doing it.
"So, Jason." Annabelle starts, taking a sip of her latte and she follows Jason down the street. "Why have you never told me what you do for work?" Jason laughs. He's been doing that a lot more lately; laughing, smiling. "I work at the rigs." He shrugs nonchalantly.
"Do you leave town for that often?" She says back casually. "I do." A slight frown is visible on his face. "I actually leave next week for a month, then I'll be back for awhile." "At least I'll get to see you before I leave town!" She exclaims; positivity radiating from her.
"Yes, little Anna. I will be able to give you the biggest bear hug that will be impossible to forget." He jokes, ruffling her hair gently. She nudges him playfully with her elbow. Yes, Jason called her Anna. Only people close to her had the pleasure of calling her that, and I guess Jason happened to be one of them.
"Sterlings having a 'going away party' for me on Friday, if you'd like to come?" He says hopefully. "Oh?" She questions back. "It's not going to be crazy or anything. Maybe 20 of the locals. I swear the people in this town don't actually care if I leave, they just want an excuse to get a little wild." He chuckles.
The thought of Sterling made Annabelle's nipples instantly hard. Of course though, she shamed the wind for her visible arousal. "That would be awesome, Jason." She nervously smiled at him. ***
As Annabelle walked through the little stores with Jason, she decided that she needed to buy some new clothes. She truly underestimated the weather in this town, and she really wasn't expecting to party while she was "working". Dragging Jason into a little boutique, she says "Help me find something to wear on Friday!"
"Copy that, Captain." Jason salutes. Jason found his way to the left side of the store, while Annabelle worked her way to the right. Flipping through the clothes, she found a few little pieces that sparked her interest. This place was nothing like Manhattan, that's for sure.
"May I help you find something?" Speaks a female voice. Starling Annabelle a little bit, she turns around to lock eyes with a beautiful, natural red haired woman with deep green eyes. This woman didn't look much older than Annabelle; 30 .. maybe?
She was tall and lean, with fair skin. "I'm just looking for something to wear out to a gathering. Nothing too crazy, but nothing too casual either." Annabelle smiles warmly. The lady looks her up and down warily, before nodding in agreement with Annabelle.
"Well," the red-haired lady starts, "I have some clothing styles in the back that I haven't had the time to hang yet. Let me go grab them for you." "Thank you." Annabelle says graciously. While waiting for the lady to return, Jason makes his way over to her. "Can't find anything that will suit your needs, ma'am." He jokes truthfully.
"A woman who works here is actually bringing me something to try on from the back." She replies to him while rolling her eyes. Smirking at Jason, she can't help but realize how much fun she has with him. "Here we are." The woman says as she returns with 4 articles of clothing to try on.
Jason glances up at the woman. "Oh hey, Laura." He says in a monotone voice. No smile or smirk visible. Odd. "Hello, Jason." She says back professionally.
"Well, the change room is around the corner. Let me know if you need any more help." Laura says before making her back to the front desk. Was Laura one of Jason's ex-lovers? They sure had some tension between them.
"Another one of your conquests?" Annabelle jokes. "Nah, not mine." Jason smirks at her. "Well come on, I'm dying to see what purple looks like on you." Annabelle laughs. Jason was very admirable, even she couldn't deny that.
Annabelle tried on the first piece of clothing. A bell-bottoms style jumper. Apparently Jason didn't like it because he gave her a big thumbs down. Who knew horizontal striped clothes made her ass look that wide?
The next clothing choice was a very tight, shimmery silver dress. Jason loved it. He cat-called her as soon as she walked out of the change room. Annabelle knew that meant it wasn't the right dress for her if it got Jason all worked up like that. In all honestly, it made Annabelle feel like she was freshly 21 at the club for the first time.
The next clothing choice was really not something that intrigued her at all, so she didn't bother wasting her time. So, she made her way to the last dress. It was a beautiful light pink colour; almost looked white, it was that light. It was surprisingly comfortable, but of course it would be. It was silk.
As she slid the dress over herself, she couldn't help but fall in love with it instantly. The dress gracefully enhanced her curves, while still having a slightly loose fit as it grazed midway down her thigh. Stepping out of the dressing room, she locked eyes with Jason whose mouth was slightly open in shock.
"Mind doing me up?" She says playfully. Jasons cheeks turned a light pink as he stood up and slowly pulled up the zipper. His hands lingered on her a little longer than necessary, but she didn't fully mind. She locked eyes with Jason in the mirror and gave him a thankful smile.
"Well I'll be damned," he breathed out. "You look gorgeous, Anna." She knew Jason was telling the truth. For the last month, she came to understand that Jason never lied. "Well, I think this is the one." She huffs out dreamily.
"Yeah." Was all he managed to say; his eyes still locked on hers. *** That Friday night, Annabelle dressed herself up in the pretty pink dress she bought. She styled her hair in long, loose curls and applied some mascara and sheer lipgloss for a simple look.
After all, this was a small town and she was a guest. Jason picked her up not long after, considering she still managed to get around town without a vehicle. She was beginning to love this new life she was forced into.
Chapter 10: Sterling
If anyone knew how to throw a party, it would be Sterling. Just kidding. The last party Sterling remembered attending that wasn't his was in college when there was half naked chicks running around, begging to do a keg stand. So, that's what the rest of Sterlings parties always resembled.
Laura was wrapped around him since the beginning of the party. Desperation seethed from her in every obvious way. Laura wore a lace body suit with a mini skirt, just like what she'd wear in high school. She wore her 'fuck-me' heels, and bright red lipstick that made her lips somewhat resemble a clown.
The thought made Sterling chuckle to himself. He never doubted Laura's good looks, so why was he starting to now?
As the party went on, there was still no sign of the guest star, AKA Jason. So, Sterling walked around and grabbed another drink. A bottle of bud for himself and a glass of wine for his fuck-buddy. But that's when he saw her and his heart started thumping in a very odd rhythm that made him believe he was having a heart attack.
There she was, Annabelle. Pretty in pink. She'd be even prettier in blue though. "Hey, bro! Finally made it." Jason yelled from across the room. "Glad you could show, and glad you brought a date." Sterling felt himself saying coldly.
He didn't mean to say it in the way he did, but he couldn't control it. He blamed his reaction on the booze, because that's what Sterling did; just like his father would. Annabelle laughed nervously. "Not a date, just a plus one." She said, eyeing Sterling cautiously as if to see his reaction.
But once again, Sterling didn't have a reaction. He was good at masking his emotions and keeping his face free from being read by others. "Well, try to have a good time before you head back to the rig." Sterling finally said to Jason, half-heartedly.
"I've been waiting for the beer kegs for a week now." Jason says, "Of course I'll have a good time." As soon as Sterling was going to sneak away from the woman that continues to give him minor heart-attacks, Laura snakes her arm through his possessively.
"That dress looks lovely on you." She says to Annabelle. Yet Sterling knew it wasn't a compliment coming from Laura, but more like a warning. A warning to stay away from Sterling.
"Thank you." Annabelle says cautiously. Testing her own strength. Realization of who Laura was, was evident on her face now. "Is this my glass of wine, babe?" Laura says, making eye contact with the drink in Sterlings hand. "Mhm." He grunts back; annoyed.
Jason makes his way to the keg stands, clearly trying to beat his record time. That was a ritual Jason had with only himself for the past 10 years, but as he aged, he clearly couldn't handle the booze like he used to in his 20's. Yet, that never stopped him for trying.
Laura on the other hand, made her way to the kitchen muttering something about 'he gave me the wrong type of wine' blah-blah-blah. Laura wanted the life of one of those women you'd imagine on those Real Housewives shows, but for some reason she never got what she wanted. Maybe because she was a complete and utter bitch 9 times out of 10.
As the night went on, Jason drank more and more until he was basically passed out on the sofa downstairs. Laura was feeling 30 and flirty, making her rounds with all the single dudes in town. Sterling made his way upstairs to have some peace for once this night, but instead he found Annabelle; she was standing in Sterlings room just looking around casually.
As if she felt his presence without him even saying a word, he heard her say "Interesting decor choice." He could sense the smile behind her words without even looking at her. He walked up beside Annabelle, and stared at the picture she was invested in.
It was a collage of photo's of a bluebell during its bloom. It was a photo Sterling picked out for himself a little shy of a month ago as it seemed to remind him of a special someone. "It's beautiful." She says, glancing towards Sterling with her big baby-blues.
He smirked. "Yeah," he agreed, "it is". They sat there in comfortable silence for what seemed to be forever. "Why do I feel like you're constantly avoiding me?" She said bravely.
Sterling seemed just as shocked as Annabelle was when those words left her mouth. "Cause I am." He says quietly, finally revealing some truth.
"Why?" She questions back. Sterling doesn't answer right away. He doesn't know how. "Well, can you try to not avoid me as much?" She says, realizing she wasn't going to get an answer from Sterling. "When Jason leaves," she continues, "I won't have many friends."
'Jason. Friends. Right.' He mentally reminds himself. "I'll try." He repeats back to her. She smirks in response. "Thank you." She says kindly, as if hearing those words made the biggest difference for her.
Looking back at the photo in front of him, he feels her wrap her arms around him, embracing him in an unexpected hug.
Her warmth felt indescribable. It made his heart beat harder and the air catch in his throat. He didn't know what he was doing. One second he thought he made amends and the next, his hands were roaming further and further down the small of her back.
Her breathing was hot, heavy. She nestled her head against his chest and trailed her hands over his muscular pecs lightly. "Fuck." He growled lowly, hoping she wouldn't hear him. But she did, and in return, her hands were replaced by her lips as she gave long, soft kisses along his chest.
"Annabelle," he warned. He wanted her. God, how he wanted her so badly. He knew he would have a hard time stopping once he started. But she didn't stop, so why should he? Her hands made their way towards the belt on his jeans and he felt her stiffen once she noticed how hard he was for her, and her only.
Her eyes finally looked up towards him, gleaming with longing. And so, his lips forcefully made their way on hers. Once she finally caved and kissed him back, his tongue outlined her lower lip, begging for access.
As soon as she granted him access, he wasted no time exploring. There tongues moved in sync with every kiss. His hands roamed freely over her plump, perky breasts. As soon as he grazed her erect nipples, he felt her moan against his lips; leaving his cock to throb and ache for her.
His hands slowly and cautiously made their way between her thighs, where he lifted up her dress. He stopped, as if asking if he should continue without using words. So, Annabelle kissed him harder, more roughly; weaving her fingers through his thick, dark hair.
God, she was so wet. Wet and ready for him. His head nestled into the crook of her neck as he shoved one finger inside of her, testing her boundaries. Tight. Oh god, she was so fucking tight.
Sterling huskily moaned into her neck at the thought of feeling her tight pussy wrapped around his cock. So he tested his luck, slowly putting a second finger deep inside her when he felt she was ready.
She hissed out from slight pain, but mostly pleasure. Biting into his shoulder a little harder than she should have. But it turned Sterling on like nothing he's ever felt before.
In return, he moved faster and fast, harder and harder; burying his fingers deep inside of her. He felt her pussy clench against his fingers as she was close to coming for him, and only him. "So .. close." She moaned into him.
Sterling picked Annabelle up by her ass, and threw her on the bed hungrily. "Open your legs for me. Wide." He demanded. She listened.
He bent down, and trailed kisses up her thigh before making his way to her wetness. Fuck, she tasted so good. He tongue made soft circles around her clit, before he buried his tongue deep inside her. She let out an eager moan; grabbing his hair and forcing his head deeper into her.
This just made Sterling all-the-more eager to please. And so, he followed her orders. Tongue fucking her deep, hard, fast. Pulling out here and there to suck her clit and put her into a brief moment of utter blissful shock. "I need you." She panted out.
"Fuck me. Please." She cries out in pure desire. Within an instant, his undoes his pants, pulling them down and thrusts himself deep inside her. Fucking her harder and harder until he realizes that deep down, he wants this moment to last forever. So he slows his pace; still having her take him in long, deep strides.
Kissing his way down her neck until his lips land on those perfect nipples he remembered oh-so-well. As soon as he gently grazes one with his teeth, he feels her tense around his cock. "Oh fuck." She yells out; coming all over him. "You're so goddamn beautiful."
He whispers in her ear, but not before picking up his speed again so he can come with her. 1 2 3 more hard, fast pumps, and he fills her up. Normally, he wouldn't be that quick. But something about this girl could set him off in a second.
"Fuck." He said out loud. Seemed to be Sterlings favourite word lately. He laid on top of Annabelle for a moment, catching his breath. His forehead rested lightly on hers. "That was unexpected." She struggled to get out between heavy breaths.
Sterling didn't say anything. Once again. He wasn't the best at describing his feelings. Hell, he didn't even know what he was feeling. He couldn't resist her. He wanted to, but he couldn't. But he still knew deep down, he didn't deserve her in any way. She would be the death of him.
Chapter 11: Annabelle
2 Weeks had passed since that night at the party. Jason left the following Monday, and would be back in town within a few weeks. What happened between herself and Sterling wasn't talked about, but Sterling kept his promise by not avoiding her.
As Sterling helped Annabelle unload his truck with all of her groceries; she couldn't help but lick her lips while she watched his biceps flex with every move he made. "Hmph", he grunted out. She had to admit, watching Sterling try to carry 10 grocery bags at once was certainly a sight for sore eyes.
"So, how's Laura?" She found herself saying slyly. "Fine." He laughed back. Annabelle later realized that Laura wasn't his girlfriend, but it was the closest thing he'd most likely have to a girlfriend for the rest of his life. "Good. Good." She repeated cooly.
As Sterling made his way inside, he dropped the bags off on the kitchenette counter-top. "What's this?" He says questionably. Annabelle looked at what was in his hands. Her outline for the new hotel. "Nothing." She said, trying to snatch the paper from his hands.
"You're part of TimeStruck Enterprise, huh?" "You've heard of them?" She laughs out nervously. "Uh-huh." Is all he says, slowly nodding and staring intently on the design.
"So, I guess you're here on business then?" Sterling says, implying the first conversation he ever had with her and Jason. That made her break into a slight smile. Jeez, that felt like ages ago when in reality it was only a month and a half ago.
"It started off as business, but somewhere along the jaded line, it turned into pleasure." She stated, hinting towards Sterling. "Best it stays business then." He said back coldly.
"Listen," she starts. "I know people in this town don't like change, but unfortunately in order to keep my job, I have to hand in a report." She tries to make eye contact with Sterling, but his eyes remained glued to the design plan.
"I was wondering if you'd like to be a part of this design?" She finishes. That got Sterlings attention alright. His eyes snapped back to hers instantly.
"I figured with you in construction and all, you could help with the architecture of it. Maybe help me figure out how to captivate the town in the design plan-" "Sure." He interrupts her blabbering.
"Sure?" She questions back. "Yeah." Is all he says. His voice, strong and steady. "Care to get started?" She says hopefully. "Yeah, let me just stop at the liquor store quick and I'll come back. Can I get you something?" He asks her.
Annabelle look's at him like he's a ghost. He's actually interested in helping her? Her out of all people? Odd. "I have some wine left here that I should finish soon, so I should be good. Thank you though." She manages to say, despite her confusion.
"Okay, I'll be right back." He says before giving her a quick kiss on her forehead and heading out the door. What. The. Fuck? How can someone be so hot and cold within a split second? Maybe he was a psychotic murderer after all. That would actually explain a lot.
As she puts away the last of her groceries, Sterling appears at the doorway again with a fresh bottle of her favourite wine for her, and a bottle of scotch for himself. 'He remembered.' She thought to herself. She laughs at his oddness; although considerate, it was weird to picture them as being friends.
She slides a small glass towards him with a few cubes of ice in it and pours herself a glass of wine before making herself comfortable beside him. "So, what kind of theme are you thinking?" He says; taking a small sip of his scotch.
"Honestly, I wanted it to look like your house a little." She admits sheepishly. Sterlings eyes meet hers once again, yet she still can't read what his eyes are trying to tell her. "Like a log cabin?" He smirks. "Kind of, yeah." She admits.
"I was thinking about adding a ton of wood in it for the country feel, just like the original layout of the Chatwin Manor." She starts, "maybe adding some large windows in the bathrooms, which face towards the empty lot behind us. That way people can soak in a deep bath with actual water pressure and enjoy the natural beauty that us city folk seem to forget about."
That seemed to get Sterlings attention even more. "Interesting." His voice barely a whisper. "Well in order to add on, I think you'll need some large beams holding the structure up. Even though it may seem like a nuisance, I think if done right, could give this place more of a fancy lodge kinda feel."
"Maybe we could add wood burning fireplaces in the luxury suits. It's a cheap source of heat, and considering how often you wear your fuzzy socks in this house, I'm guessing a good heat source is mandatory." She had to give him some credit where it was due. He really did pay attention to her.
"I like it." She agrees, trying to imagine how it would turn out; smiling brightly. Bringing her train of thought back to the design, she says, "Maybe marble counter tops in the kitchens and bathrooms?"
"Why marble?" He responds. "It's part of TimeStruck Enterprises signature." She grunts back embarrassed. "I guess, but if you're going to add marble, then might as well add marble railings for the staircase." He jokes back.
But it was actually a brilliant idea. "That's perfect!" She squeals in delight. *** Three hours went by of bouncing ideas off each other. For once, she wasn't distracted by his manly sex appeal. She was distracted by his mind.
God, what a beautiful mind this man had. "I should probably head out soon." He said while grabbing his jacket which was hanging over the back of his chair. "Right." She says back; slightly disappointed that their night was coming to an end. "Well, thank you."
"Anytime, Belle." Annabelle was shocked at the nickname Sterling had gave her at that very moment. "Belle?" She whispered back curiously. "Yeah. You're like a bluebell blossoming on a beautiful day. Those eyes really do wonders." He said nonchalantly.
As if it wasn't the sweetest damned thing anyone has ever said to her. "Belle." She said more matter-of-factly. Testing that name on her very own lips. "I love it." She smiles warmly.
"Actually, come outside for a second. I almost forgot, there was something I wanted to show you. Consider it some inspiration." He says. "Okay?" She clearly questions him, but follows. As he leads Annabelle outside, he goes to his truck bed and lays out a blanket and some pillows in the box of the truck.
"What are you doing?" She says, but this time, her voice is laced with excitement. "You ever star gazed before?" She thinks about it for a second. Really thinks hard about it.
"No." She finally says. "I actually haven't. "Well tonight, you're going to cross that off your non-existent bucket list." "That sounds like the best damn thing I've ever heard." Sterling smiles at her as they make their way on top of the blankets.
Naturally, his arms went under her and naturally, her face rested on his chest. "I'm sorry." Sterling says randomly; quietly. "For what?" "For being selfish with you."
Annabelle let out a sigh; she didn't even realize she was holding her breath. What he said was right, in so many more levels than one. Sterling was selfish in so many ways, but also not selfish enough in others.
He was selfish when it came to what he thought he wanted, but in reality, he didn't have a damn clue what he wanted. He wasn't selfish when his best friend slept with his only girlfriend. He wasn't selfish when he touched Annabelle, leaving her breathless; but always waiting for a signal before continuing.
He wasn't selfish and it showed in the way he cared for the towns people. He cared. He cared more than he should wanted. More than he was willing to show. Did he feel as though he had to prove himself to someone by not caring?
"Tell me about your mom." She whispered; feeling his breathing become uneven. "She was beautiful. The brightest star on the darkest night, and I don't mean that figuratively." He says, clearly in a daze by reliving a memory from long, long ago. "She saw the good in everyone, even when she shouldn't have.
But eventually, that star finally burnt out and ever since then, the stars never seemed bright enough .. Until I met you." Annabelle moved her head, bringing her lips just millimetres away from his. How could this man feel so much pain after all these years?
Her lips barely grazed over his, when she decided to give him a soft, long kiss. Holding her lips against his for a few seconds. Those few seconds held more passion than she'd ever known. She rested her head back on his chest and closed her eyes.
But when she opened them, she was in her bed. All tucked in. No Sterling in sight. Sometimes, she wondered if Sterling was real or if he was just a dream.
Chapter 12: Sterling
Jason finally arrives back into town today. Been the best damn month without him, in all honesty. He began to loosen up around Annabelle for once; even letting his guard down slightly. And for Sterling, that was a major step towards .. well .. something.
But fuck, if Sterling wasn't stressed about Jason's arrival. He'd have to confront his friend about his feelings towards a woman they both secretly desired. But Annabelle would be gone in a month and be nothing but a faint memory if he didn't say anything.
Later that day, Sterling made his way back to Sami's Bar. It was more-so a ritual for himself and Jason to meet there for a few beers once Jason got back into town. "The usual?" Stacy says, big tit's bouncing as she makes her way towards him.
"Just 2 bottles of bud, please." He says, avoiding all contact with her big breasts. Well, that was new. Avoiding women's breasts? Hm.
"Hey, man." He hears Jason's voice not too far away from him. "Hope you don't mind, but I brought a plus one." Sterling glances behind him to see Annabelle; dressed in simple tights, a tank top, and a cardigan.
"No problem at all." He replies as friendly as possible. Of course it was weird; his best friend and the woman he can't stop thinking about .. together .. all the time. "Hey!" Annabelle pipes up enthusiastically. "Annabelle."
There was a slight formation of disappointed that spread across her face before being replaced with her jaw-dropping smile. "What have my two favourite people been doing while I've been gone?" Jason eyes Sterling cautiously; almost insinuating he has an inkling of the sexual tension that has been happening between himself and Annabelle.
"Actually," Annabelle speaks first, "Sterling has been helping me with work." "Oh, really?" Jason lifts his eyebrow quizzically. "Yup. Sterling has been a major help. He's really opened my eyes towards the specialities of this town." "I see." Jason appears almost hurt by what she spoke.
"Of course I couldn't see the true beauty this town had to offer without the best tour guide in the world." She playfully nudges Jason, chuckling slightly. Jason smiled back. A genuine smile. Fuck. He knew that smile. The same smile he always gave Miranda.
Stacy came back with two more beers. "Can I get you something, darlin'?" She gestures towards Annabelle. "Actually," Sterling jumps in, "I think I gotta head out. You can have mine." He pushes her beer towards Annabelle. "But we just got here!" Jason whines.
"Yeah, got some projects I've been putting off that I really gotta finish." "Like what?" Jason challenges. "Well first of all, that's not your business friend." Sterling says playfully yet honestly. "And second, I was supposed to finish Old Man Jetting's barn 2 weeks ago."
"Totally forgot about that, man. My bad." Jason responds. "All good, I'll see you soon though. Promise." He nods to both Jason and Annabelle. Jason nods casually while Annabelle smiles softly. He knew he shouldn't make promises he couldn't keep.
Maybe that was proof that Sterling couldn't change after all.
Chapter 13: Annabelle
The next week, Annabelle hasn't heard from Sterling, but Jason tried keeping her as informed as he could. Jason and her went for morning walks together to grab coffee, they went shopping together; they even watched the whole series of Friends together.
"Hey Anna, something came in the mail for you." Jason yelled at her from the doorway. "Give me a second!" She yelled back, trying to pack up some of the little trinkets she collected as the months went by.
Making her way to the door, she saw a photo. No note. Not wrapped. Just a photo. It was a collage of bluebells blossoming. Sterling.
"You bought a picture to bring back with you to Manhattan?" Jason questions. "Something like that." She couldn't help but smile, remembering the night in Sterlings room. "Okay, well, common, we gotta hurry up! We were supposed to go to the pool hall 20 minutes ago." He whines impatiently.
Playing pool with Jason became a twice a week ritual. It kept him out of trouble and kept Annabelle occupied. Jason's carefree spirit taught Annabelle to loosen up a little bit. When he was with her, he was always so adventurous. Trying to get her to see the beauty in every day living.
"Ya, ya. Let's go then, champ." She said back to him. Champ. His new nickname considering he always whooped her ass playing pool. "Thank the lord." He whistled out thankfully.
Making their way to the pool hall; having deep conversations was something that always occurred between them. "So tell me, what do you desire most in life?" Annabelle starts. "Honest?" He asks. "Honest." She confirms.
"I guess I actually want a marriage, children, that white picket fence bullcrap that everyone preaches about." "When did that change?" She asks in astonishment. She never thought she'd hear that the towns playboy wanted to settle down. Yet here he was.
"Annabelle, you changed by life without me even realizing it needed to be changed." He smiles slightly. "Thank you." Was all she could say. Damn, Jason could be really sweet when he wanted to be. "How long have you been in love with Sterling?" Jason asks his question.
There he goes; ruining that moment of sweetness. "What?" Her brows furrow together. Love? "You heard me." He joked. "I wouldn't say it's love, Jase." She scoffed.
"I beg to differ." He challenges. "Well, you're wrong. But there was something there though. I can't even deny it." As Jason realizes the playfulness from her voice has drifted away, he gives her some reassurance by saying,
"For what it's worth, Sterling is the best man I know. But from what I've learned; if someone doesn't put in the effort to show how much you mean to them, then what's the point? I hate to say this because he's my best friend, but right now, you deserve better. Maybe down the road, things will be different. But please, don't waste your time on him when he doesn't deserve you right now."
Jason was right. Jason was always right. Right now, Sterling didn't deserve her.
Chapter 14: Annabelle
It was Annabelle's going away party. Well, it wasn't really a party but more so just Jason. As the weeks flew went by, Sterling apparently had to leave town for awhile according to Jason. Jason was great though. Very supportive, kind, considerate. He was always dependable. A true friend, even though she knew he wanted more.
"Anna, do you really have to leave?" Jason says sadly; chewing his bottom lip nervously. "I do, it's my job." "But you can get a job here can't you?" "Maybe, but Manhattan is my home." She said back.
"I know." Jason sighs, "Just like how Mancos is my home." "But you'll always be my favourite person." She reassured him. It was the honest truth. "Really?" His eyes beamed bright, almost like a little kid on Christmas.
"Really." She confirmed. "You've been there for me like no one else has in my life. You've been nothing but supportive and considerate towards me, and I'll never be able to thank you enough." Jason wraps his arms around Annabelle and embraces her in the biggest bear hug she ever experienced.
Jeez, he was literally squeezing the living shit out of her. "I love you, you know." He finally said; mouth pressed softly against her hair. "I know." She said back.
"Maybe we aren't meant to be together." Jason says, pulling back slightly to make eye contact with her. "But I really think you're my twin flame." "Twin flame?" Annabelle smirks, looking for more clarification.
"You know," he says, resting his forehead against hers. "Like when you meet someone who changes your life for the better. They're your soul mate in a spiritual way or something like that. Doesn't have to be romantic." And there it was. The perfect description for her and Jason. Twin flames.
She did love Jason, just not romantically. She knew Jason loved her though in whichever way he did, but even so, it just felt right. But he was right. He did change her life and she changed his. The love they had for each other was deeper than any love felt romantically.
She began to see the pain in others, and beauty in the most simplest ways. Jason learned to open himself up for once; express himself, and most importantly, learned to love without borders.
Together, they grew into two wonderful individuals. "I love you." She finally said back, but not in the romantic kind of way. But she already knew Jason understood that. "I know." He smiled back.
As the hours dragged on, it was time for Annabelle to go. "Can you give this to Sterling for me?" She said to Jason, as she passed him a sealed envelope that had "Hotel" written across it. "Anything for you." Jason joked.
It was a tough goodbye in all honesty. In 3 months, Annabelle felt feelings she's never truly felt before. First, whatever she felt towards Sterling was something completely new to her; Annabelle was an adult though and she knew when it was time to push past the feelings and move on.
Even if she didn't want to. And second, Jason. Her newly proclaimed twin flame. He just fit perfectly in her life. Someone that appeared without any warning, when she didn't even realized she needed him the most.
He was someone that she knew would be there for her in the long run. No matter what. Deep down, she really didn't know if she loved Jason romantically or not and that made her slightly uneasy. Mostly because she knew that their love for one another was so profound after only 3 months.
Maybe, just maybe, some of the greatest loves that we were meant to experience weren't meant to be our soulmates. Maybe, those types of love that were quick, fierce, forever life changing; where meant to do just that. Change your life. Forever.
'Twin flame.' She thought to herself again.
"Be safe and call me when you land please. From how you acted the first day meeting you, I'll assume Manhattan isn't the safest place." He says, interrupting her thoughts; trying to joke his way through an awkward goodbye. "Thank you. For everything. And I will. Promise." She said back, embracing him in a tight hug.
Annabelle kept her promises. Just like Jason didn't lie. But someone who didn't keep their promise was Sterling. The man who said he'd see them soon and never did. The man who left her life just as quickly as he entered it.
Chapter 15: Sterling
Once Sterling arrived back home a week after Annabelle left, he found a note on his bedside table that Jason said he'd left for him. Hotel. That was all that was scribbled across it. He brushed his fingers around the seal of the envelope.
The last thing that Annabelle slid her tongue over. God, how he wished he could have just faced her. But he couldn't. Sterling always thought of himself as a man up until he left Annabelle without saying goodbye.
He wasn't a man though. He was his dad. Constantly running away from his own bullshit.
As he opened the envelope, he sat on the bed unfolding the paper. "Sterling", it read first. "I want you to know how special you truly are.
As a person, as a friend, as a .. lover. You are the blue sky on the brightest day; the smell of freshly bloomed flowers at the start of spring. You're the reason the sun rises every day in so many peoples lives. Please see how special you truly are. So many people see it. Why can't you?"
Sterling flips the next page, looking at some form of document. "On this page," the note continues, "You'll find all the documentation that shows that you were the heart behind this hotel. You were the reason the design truly shined.
Here, on this document, you are listed as the sole architect that myself and TimeStruck Enterprise hired. It may not seem like much, but hopefully you'll finally realize how exceptional you truly are when you finally get some recognition for your work. Take care. Love always, Annabelle. "
At the bottom of the document in big, bold writing, there it was. The name of the Hotel. 'The Brightest Star.' Named after his mother. She remembered.
Note: This can be read as a standalone. I plan on continuing this into a second book called, "Where the Sun doesn't Shine" which follows Annabelle, Sterling and Jason a few years later. This novel was the prequel to introducing the characters chemistry and backgrounds. Thank you