Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Hard Heat: A Chronicles of Cashmere Series- Don't Let Go!
In case you haven't been caught up with Harlow and Christaphor, you can here and here
1- Page Six
Harlow Johns didn't know if the slight depression was causing her to be extra paranoid, but she felt as if people were watching her. Though she hadn't left her apartment all weekend, she made sure that she looked halfway human coming into work today. People were definitely staring at her though. She even saw a couple of nods...along with a few eye rolls. She shrugged it off though because getting through this day, this week, this month with no Christaphor was going to be tough enough.
She entered her office and closed the door behind her, leaning on it for a bit. Thankfully Michael had a few meetings this morning so she wouldn't have to deal with him for a few hours. Her phone rings which causes her to jump and almost spill her coffee on her. The coffee that was like a lifeboat to her. She sighs deeply and decides against answering the phone. Then she felt her phone vibrate and did her silent prayer that it was Christaphor. It wasn't.
It was her friend Jillian Jacks. Harlow taps ignore. She makes her way to her chair and slides down into it. Her phone vibrates again and it is Jillian...again. Okay, she probably should pick this up because unlike her mother, Jillian wouldn't do a 'double back call' that her mother was notorious for. She taps accept.
"Don't sound so glum you little secretive slut!" Jillian sounded too alive for Harlow right now.
"To what do I owe this early morning call..." She sips her coffee and leans her head back closing her eyes.
"So I guess you haven't read the blind item in PageSix, eh? You should, there's an interesting little snippet about the amazingly sexy Christaphor Halo having what sounded like amazing sex in a La Pristine bathroom with someone...."
Harlow felt herself slide off her chair. Jillian continues, "I am calling you because this source waited to see who would come out after Christaphor and there is a nice pixelated pic of you-looking fabulous I might add! Go girl...now please tell me all about it! Don't leave out one detail-"
"Jillian, please shut the fuck up. I am under my desk right now. I am going to hang up and when I speak to you next I still won't give you any details." Harlow hangs up. She seriously contemplates how she can spend the day under her desk. When suddenly she remembers: Christaphor!
She wondered why he hadn't called her- oh because in this he comes out looking like the sex god he is and she looks like a hapless slut who slept her way to the top.
Calling Christaphor would have to be her next move. Again, she sighed deeply and tapped his name. He picks up on the first ring.
"Harlow..." He said her name breathlessly and in a way that still made her tingle all over. "I am sorry I haven't called you...I just didn't know if I should..." He sounded almost as hurt as she was.
"I just found out. I walked through my building and office...wondering if I just looked like hell...but that wasn't it."
"You never look bad- why do you sound like you're in a cave?"
"I am under my desk."
"Harlow, I am so sorry-"
"Why? This just adds to your intrigue. Have you put out a statement or anything?"
"No. What the fuck do I look like 'yeah I fucked her in the bathroom, who wants to high-five?'... it's nobodies business, but I get how this makes you come off. I have an idea..."
Harlow tried not to hug her phone, no matter how jumbled her thoughts and feelings were, she loved and missed this man. "Okay...what's your idea?"
"I can have an article put out about how being a passionate couple doesn't always cause you to make the best decisions and that we have been together for a few years-since before I started at Forte. We'll say it's been on and off at times if they mention seeing me with other woman. This won't work with your whole 'breaking up with me' thing, but we can play a couple in love for a couple of weeks until this dies down and then we can be 'off'' again. How does that sound?"
"Wow, you're good. It sounds good- everyone likes a good secret relationship. Lowly graphic designer, stud mogul- the only thing is, this will blast me into your stratosphere of attention which I will never want-"
"I never want it either. I just want you."
Harlow gulped down more of her coffee. "People will be so interested as to how I landed you? They will dig and pry and insult me..."
"I will be there to protect you and I honestly don't give a fuck about anyone questioning who I love. They take this statement and that will be that. Are you okay with this scenario?"
"It wouldn't be pretending.....I do love you." Harlow was glad she let those words slip out much unlike the 'let's breakup' words which may have ruined her chance with someone like Christaphor Halo.
Christaphor Halo who seemed to be quiet for a long while. "Yes, I am okay with the scenario Christaphor." She says to break the long silence.
"Good." He says finally, "I will pick you up from work today. Try to come from under your desk at some point, Harlow."
"I'll think about it." They both hang up. Harlow couldn't believe how easily they fell back into their rhythm but then of course she says something to break it and make it awkward...and Christaphor goes back to his 'two sentence minimum'. She gave herself another half hour under desk and then she would face the day...and anticipate seeing Christaphor again. She smiles.
Christphor stared at his computer screen not believing what he was seeing, another article about he and Harlow only this time it mentioned how Harlow may now be dating her new boss Michael Dean. He scoffs. Then he remembers how touchy-feely Michael seemed with her-he shakes his head, no, Michael was just barking up the wrong tree. He would deal with him once he made sure Harlow was okay.
Being a celebrity was never something that Christaphor Halo thought he was or is, but with his success and good looks...and the fact he is extremely private has raised antennas. It is all very unfortunate.
So he had to make some 'fortune' work for him, putting out a little gossip to get the woman he loved back seemed harmless in the grand scale of things. Yet, here he sat a mix of emotions- happy, sad, and mostly guilty. Harlow didn't deserve this. Being a man who thought about everything till the end game, he blamed love for once again clouding his judgement. He was never sloppy, he was never passionate and never felt the need to have someone so intense that he didn't care where he was, what he did...
He approves a final draft of a statement that is being sent to media outlets. He smiles, something he hasn't done in the two days he has been away from Harlow. Just the anticipation of seeing her made him feel better...even if she broke up with him. That didn't change how he felt...or how she did, 'it wouldn't be pretending. I do love you', he remembers. His smile broadens. This has to be worth it all.
He decides to email her to let her know about the new article and to not say anything to the media. They'll let the statement he is putting out speak for them.
I have sent out the statement to the media. It was just in time because a follow-up article has come up about you and Michael Dean. If anyone contacts you about this just say 'no comment'. We will stand behind my statement-it's all they deserve because it isn't really any one's business.
This will all blow over soon. I'll see you promptly at 5.
After hitting send, he hears two knocks at his office door. "Come in." He says, usually his visitor's are announced by Maribel his assistant so he wondered who this was- it was Jennifer Haynes. He always went with initial instincts with people and felt that business-wise Jennifer was the perfect replacement for Harlow. Something nagged at it him initially though and it wasn't until Harlow ludicrously asked if she was going to be replaced in every way that he realized what it was- Jennifer Haynes wanted him and she was persistent. He knew the gossip of she being the female version of him and that they were a match made in heaven, but the one thing Jennifer lacked was that she was not Harlow.
"Hey Chris, just wanted to poke my head in- Maribel stepped away from her desk. Have I interrupted anything?" She steps into his office and saunters over to one of the chairs in front of his desk.
"I am always busy. What do you need?" He would cut this conversation short as he sees that Harlow has written him back...twice.
"Well this whole bathroom mess-"
"If this is not work related, then I really have to get back to what I am doing..." He opens Harlow's first email in preparation for Jennifer leaving.
"I just wanted to say that if anything were to happen between us, I would be more discreet." She arches an eyebrow, a smirk forms on her red lipsticked lips.
"That is highly inappropriate, Ms. Haynes. I will let it slide as I can see all of this drama has affected your thinking. Harlow Johns and I have been in a long term relationship...so nothing will ever happen between you and I." He goes back to looking at his computer and is relieved when Jennifer stands and exits the office.
It'll suck when the pictures come out with me 'blowing over' Michael...
Christaphor rolls his eyes and clicks on the second email.
Have to have a sense a humor- it is the only thing keeping me sane. How do you deal with this stuff?
No one is mentioning it around here and thanks to your statement Michael has learned the meaning of personal space. This doesn't change the fact that I want to move to Italy and just paint coast lines...didn't you say you've been, where do you recommend?
Christaphor smiles as he types...
We will start in Amalfi and work our way around.
I am glad Michael is keeping his distance, we wouldn't want him to disappear or anything.
There was so much more that Christaphor wanted to say, but he would do so face-to-face, for now he would look up possible dates for a trip to Italy.
2- No Halo
Harlow's heartbeat sped up as the elevator passed each floor heading to the lobby of her office building. Soon she would see Christaphor and she would hug and kiss him...and try not to leap into his arms and hump him. The elevator doors open. Christaphor is standing just outside of the turnstiles, arms crossed over his broad chest. The slim suit perfectly cut to his body, and then the coppery eyes which have found her grey ones. He smiles before he stops himself and replaces it with his usual aloof mask.
She walks through the turnstiles and they hug. She kisses a spot on his neck that he loves and he squeezes her arms and then whispers, "There are paps outside. Just take my hand and we'll go to my car."
If she thought just dealing with falling in love with Christaphor Halo was hard because of her own issues, that was only the tip of the iceberg.
He leans towards her again, "I am so sorry." He kisses her ear with his impossibly soft lips. He then takes her hand and leads her out of the building. Flashes and various things are being screamed at them, while she and Christaphor seemed to almost float through everyone and before she knew it, they were in the back of his grey Maybach. Once the door was closed, his driver Glenn took off.
"Takes us to the Hudson Valley house. Thank you, Glenn." Christaphor says as he presses a button that separates the front area of the car from the back area. He takes off his suit jacket and makes his way to Harlow so that he is on his knees in between her legs. Though this position made him appear submissive to her, Harlow knew better, the power in his eyes and hands told a different story. He caresses her shapely legs as he slowly spreads them. He leans forward to kiss her, and Harlow, unable to contain herself, grabs his face holding it to her own. Slowly, Christaphor pulls away. His hands still making their way up her thighs.
"Say it again, that part about not pretending." He whispers.
Harlow thanked the heavens she had the good sense to wear a dress today, she gasps as Christaphor began to slide her panties down her legs. "I wouldn't be pretending and I love you." He smiles at her and licks his lips.
He begins to kiss her inner thighs, "Then why did you break up with me, Harlow?" The 'L' in her name was drawn out with a slow circle of his tongue on a thigh.
"I have never been in love before-I have never had to deal real emotions for someone and it's making me crazy..." She says breathlessly.
"Much like I am going to do you now, Harlow." This time the slow circle with his tongue was closer to where couldn't wait for his mouth to be. "We can agree that you were suffering from temporary insanity and that we are no longer broken up?" He stops kissing and looks up at her, his thumb was circling her very sensitive nub. This caused Harlow to arch her back a little.
"Yes...Christaphor, you are mine." She moans as she pulls his head towards hers and begins kissing him. One thing their time apart taught her was that they were going to be together no matter what obstacle she threw...or said. She stops kissing him, "Oh and I really hate that Jennifer Haynes person."
"She is a non-factor. You don't have to hate her or like her, she does not matter when it comes to you and me." He kisses her lips and then lowers his head. He moans as he tastes just how aroused Harlow is. Feeling suddenly ravenous, he lifts Harlow's legs placing them on his shoulders, then burying his face in her warm slick depths.
Harlow whispers his name with a mix of pleasure and agony. He smiles, this was definitely worth all of it.
Once they arrived at Christaphor's Hudson Valley house, they continued making love- this time in his large four post bed. A bed that Harlow appeared to be alone in at the moment, she felt around just to be sure though she knew that Christaphor never lay too far away from her. Something woke her up from her deep sleep though and it wasn't the lack of body heat. She was exhausted, and finally able to sleep because Christaphor always knew the perfect...'lullaby' to soothe her. She smiles and then realizes it is a buzzing phone that is the culprit. She finds two phones on the nightstand by the bed. One was hers and the buzzing one was Christaphor's. She picks his up to find a way to end the buzzing. Some how she opens his iMessage- how does a man like Christaphor Halo not have a lock on his phone?
Harlow didn't want to read the now open messages, but they were right there-including a few from someone named DPageS and Jennifer Haynes. She opens the Jennifer Haynes messages first...
I am sorry about earlier, but you have to know we would be spectacular together. Harlow's a great pet project for now, but you and I both know you will tire of her and require someone more your speed. I will respect your wishes...for now and resume our professional relationship.- J
Harlow didn't know why the screen was shaking until she realized that it was her hands that were shaking. In trying to calm herself she got out of the Jennifer Haynes message and in trying to get to another screen opened DPageS, she was about to throw the phone when something caught her eye. Her name again.
You should really do your own publicity more often. Gave me the perfect piece of gossip and then the perfect clean-up...
Why did that story about Michael Dean come out? We had an agreement.
That couldn't be helped. Who knew your girlfriend had a track record-listen, we killed that story. You're a friend.
Harlow does not have a track record. That story is bullshit. She doesn't deserve this.
I told you there could be consequences, but you have your reasons. Hope you got what you wanted from it.
At this point Harlow was able to compose herself and placed Christaphor's phone on the nightstand. Just as she did that her phone rang. It was her mother.
"Mom..." She commended herself at being able to sound somewhat normal.
"Harlow-Gibson's been in an accident...you have to come back to Vermont."
"Just come out here...he's been arrested as well."
Harlow was now out of the comfortable bed...a bed she wanted to kick. If she could pick up the bed and throw it out the window-she would've. "Okay. I'll be there ASAP."
"Be careful. Have Christaphor bring you on his helicopter-"
"I will train it or something. Mom, I'll see you soon and I love you." They say a few more goodbyes and then Harlow heads to the shower. She would deal with the Gibson situation first before she even tried to comprehend the Christaphor situation. The only problem was that the Christaphor situation was somewhere in this massive house probably putting together a master plot to keep her here forever- she should have known he would have just been broken up with. No, not Christaphor Halo. Not the man whose sole purpose besides being great at his job, was pursuing Harlow.
After her long unsettling shower, she dressed and made her way downstairs- maybe she would be able to sneak out and take one of his cars. She didn't know how to drive, but how hard could it be? Once down the massive staircase she hears jazz and smells some amazing food being cooked. At least the kitchen was pretty far from the front door so she would have a running start.
"Harlow?" Christaphor appeared suddenly. Shirtless and wearing silk pajama bottoms. He was barefoot and his hair was even perfectly ruffled. Harlow lost her train of thought for a few moments.
"I...I...have to go...my bro- Gibson, he has been in another accident in Vermont and has been arrested." She leans on the wall at the bottom of the stairs and tries to look away from Christaphor, but he comes closer to her.
"It looks like you were about to sneak out....I can pack our soup for the road and we can head to Vermont."
"No. Please, just let me go alone. Can I have Glenn take me to the train station?..." His arms are around her now and Harlow didn't know how long she could resist kissing him or letting him have his way. Luckily, she was also freaked out by him and she would hold on to that.
"What's wrong besides the situation with your brother?" Christaphor didn't like the look in her eyes, he felt her pulling away from him and he couldn't understand why.
"I can't deal with this now I have to get to my family. I want to go alone. Please do not make this more difficult."
"It is difficult for me to let you do that because I want to be there for you and take care of you. We are going to Vermont together. Do I need to drag you up to the bathroom so I can watch you as I shower to make sure you don't sneak off?"
Normally Harlow would have leapt at the chance, but for now she figured it would be best to have Christaphor with her because even though he was kind of insane in his need and wanting of her, she did love him and he would take care of her.
"Fine. I'll go eat soup." She stomps off towards the kitchen.
As Christaphor made his way to his master suite, he wracked his brain trying to figure out Harlow's sudden disdain for him. He left her sleeping and before that she seemed rather pleased with him. He enjoyed her many moods and the challenging woman she was, but this seemed too much for her. Perhaps it was just that her brother is back in the hospital again. He shakes his head and resolved to just let her be and soon enough she would fill in the missing pieces.
3- No Pressure
During the drive to Christaphor's helipad Harlow was silent. As they settled themselves in the back of the helicopter, she was still silent. During the flight she did hold Christaphor's hand because her fear of flying would always win out over her anger with him. She feels him lift her hand up and kiss it. She looks at him...
"I know what you did." She look into his beautiful coppery eyes and watches as disbelief and then realization settles in.
"How?" He asks. Harlow respected that he didn't bother to deny it- showed he wasn't a total liar and master manipulator.
"You need to lock your phone or at least take it with you while you're cooking. You know, especially when you're selling gossip and getting into fights with your coworkers and future lovers." She tries to let go of his hand, but he won't let her hand go.
"I told you Jennifer is not a factor. As for what I did...it was in poor taste and a bad decision, but I did it because-"
"You love me and you did not want to break up. Instead of being normal though, you didn't call me or email me or show up at my apartment at all times of the day...like a normal smitten guy, no you throw me to the wolves and make yourself my savior-" He lets go of her hand in order to put his head in his hands.
"I have never felt like this. Like you, I am new to this love thing. I have never done anything like this...never have I been so...psychotic. I am so sorry, Harlow." He looks over at her, she is looking out of the helicopter window. Everything was in her hands and whatever she wanted to do now, he would have to go with it. He would have to let her go if she wanted.
Harlow found peace in the twinkling light below her. She didn't want Christaphor to see the silent tears running down her cheek. The tears started when she heard the defeat in his voice, a man like Christaphor Halo sounding defeated-it hurt her deep. She quickly wipes her cheeks and turns back to his beautiful face.
"I can't do this and think about my brother at the same time...can you just be here, no pressure?" He takes her hand and smiles weakly.
"I will." He is pleasantly surprised when she scoots closer to him and lays her head on his shoulder. For once in his life Christaphor Halo was scared, but again he hoped his risks would work for him in the end.
The End...for now. Next up Calliente Rain!