Read Her Charming Secret Online
Authors: Sam Ayers
“Ah! Aiden?” Adele turned around in shock and mock-punched his shoulder lightly. “Don’t do that again,” she scolded and hugged him. He hugged her back, wondering why she wasn’t at work.
“Hey Ady, sorry but I just couldn’t resist,” Aiden grinned.
“What are you doing here? It’s the middle of the day. Why aren’t you at work?” She asked him.
“I can ask you the same question . . . And dad sent me home.” Aiden sighed. “According to him, I was distracted at the board meeting and I had to leave,” he sighed.
“Oh! That’s bad. Are you feeling alright? Maybe you should see a doctor,” she said as they took their seats.
“You know what? You are the third person today who has told me to visit the doctor,” he moaned.
“It’s because we care for you, Aid. We love you and we want you to be alright. Please meet Gabe.” She begged him. “I think this is serious. Even that day at dinner you had a spasm. You can’t hide it from everyone, Aiden. I think you need help.”
Aiden sipped his coffee quietly. The fact that they all thought there was something that was wrong with him that he needed help annoyed him so much, but he wouldn’t tell her that. Annoying as it was, they were family and Adele, his sister whom he loved so much, if he could avoid her ever crying he would gladly jump off a plane for her. He just couldn’t hurt her. To see her face scrunch up with tears that she would definitely try to hide was something he wanted to avoid at all costs.
“What a surprise, the Reid twins are here?” Aiden turned towards the familiar voice coming from behind him.
Oh no! Not him. Please let it not be Gabriel.
Aiden groaned and dropped his head in his hands. Gabe walked towards Adele and kissed her lightly, and sat down next to her.
“Hi, nice to see you too,” Aiden said. Adele was just smiling at him.
“Hey, aren’t you supposed to be at work?” Gabriel asked turning towards Aiden.
“Taking a break,” Aiden said. Gabe raised his eyebrow at the way Aiden was acting and shrugged. He turned towards Adele and they had one of those mind conversations that no one else was allowed into.
Finally Gabe turned towards Aiden and asked, “What’s wrong, Aiden?”
“I’m fine,” Aiden answered and sipped his coffee again.
Gabe frowned. “I have known you long enough to know that’s not true,” he said.
Adele nodded, “Yes, he isn’t . . . he has been having those headaches frequently these days.”
“Thanks,” Aiden muttered, glaring at her.
She stuck out her tongue and replied, “You’re welcome, Twin.”
Aiden just knew from the look on Gabriel’s face that he was going to be listening to a really long lecture about his own safety and so he decided to hightail it out of there while he still had a chance.
“I have to go, guys. Have work to do. See you later,” Aiden called, kissed Adele’s cheek and shook hands with Gabe. He wasn’t going to give them a chance to stop him. Not this time. He literally ran, as fast as possible.
“Bye Aidey,” Adele waved. He waved back and walked away.
After the long drive, Aiden was home at last. He took a shower and heated the pasta that his mom had sent over earlier in the day and hummed in appreciation. His mother was an awesome cook and her dishes could improve the worst of worse moods.
After the dinner, his phone started to ring; he groaned seeing the name that flashed on the caller ID.
Oh! No, by now he would have found out about his headache and would be next in the long list of people that had asked him if he was feeling alright.
“Salut Grandpa,” Aiden said.
“Salut Aiden. Comment ça va?” He spoke in his thick French accent.
“Ça va, merci. How are you? How is Grandma?” Aiden asked.
“I’m gud. And zo iz your Grandmère. Zank You,” he said. “Whatz do ze pople know aboutz ze French. We are ze always gud.”
Aiden was quiet for a minute because he was thinking about the French being ‘always good’ part that Pierre said.
“Aiden, are you zere?” He asked. “I wantz to azk you somethikg.”
“Go ahead, Grandpa. What is it?” Aiden asked him.
“Adelynn zold me zhat you are notz well. Ven willz you be fine? Comez to ze Paris, you willz ze French pople and feel betterz,” Pierre said and by the tone of his voice Aiden could just imagine him puffing out his chest in pride.
“I’m fine, Grandpa. And I don’t need to see the French people to get better,” said Aiden.
“How zare you zay that! Ze French are the anzwerz to all ze problemz,” he said.
“Are you trying to say that the French have answers to all the problems?” Aiden grinned.
“That iz whatz I zaid. Don’tz ze interruptz me whenz I talkz of ze French.”
Knowing that once he started to rant, he could go on forever, Aiden tried to halt the long-winded speech that his grandpa was about to start. “Grandpa, it’s getting late and I had a long day at work. Can I talk to you tomorrow?” Aiden asked. Praying that for once, his grandfather would say yes.
“Hokay. I callz again. And ze French ’re ze best pople. Toujours. Bonne nuit,” Pierre said.
“Bonne nuit, Grandpa,” Aiden said and cut the call.
Looking at the time, Aiden thanked God that the day was finally done. It had been a long and tiring day. He hoped that his grandfather wouldn’t call the next day. Not that he didn’t love his grandfather – he did – but when he started his French talk then he never allowed anyone else to speak. Deeming it far too late to still be up, he slid into bed and closed his eyes hoping for a peaceful dream, but he couldn’t sleep. “Not again,” he groaned. Just as he had given up hope of ever sleeping peacefully his eyes they felt heavy and he felt himself go under a thick blanket of sleep. And for the first time in a long while he didn’t think about the girl from his dreams…
- Chapter 4 -
Jo heard Aiden sigh as he shuffled through the last set of documents he needed to look over today. It had been an extremely long day and now around six in the evening she could see his shoulders sagging from fatigue. If there was one thing that Aiden Reid was, he was both a workaholic and a perfectionist, and while that helped the company profit, he almost had no thoughts for himself. She wondered if she should get him coffee.
Suddenly, he called Jo to come near his desk and she quickly did. When he was this worked up, he usually got a little angry if things didn’t work his way. That was one thing that she had learnt working in the last three weeks, but he was a good boss otherwise.
“Make arrangements for us to fly to Paris at the end of this month.”
Jo nodded before she caught up with what he was saying. “Wait, what? Us?” she asked.
He looked at her like she was stupid for even asking that and before she could tell him what he could do with himself, he said, “Of course, since you have worked with me all these weeks, you know the details well enough that if I need someone to look over the deal along with me, it would be you.” His logic sounded good to her and she couldn’t do anything but nod.
* * *
Just as they were finishing up for the night, Alex walked in without as much as a knock.
“Hey, Aido. Hi, Jo,” he grinned.
“You know, you should learn how to knock. It’s that thing you do with your hand hitting the door lightly,” Aiden scowled at him.
Alex just waved it off. “Whatever . . . Anyhow, I came here to ask if you want to go out for drinks? We haven’t been out in a long time and you’re acting like an old guy, Aido . . . live a little!”
Aiden shook his head. “No, I just want to go home and crash . . . you know better than everyone that it’s been a tough week, Alex,” he sighed.
“Exactly! That’s why you need to relax, at this speed you’re going to combust, Aido.”
Aiden seemed to be searching for reasons to say no, but then he looked at Jo and smirked. She got a sinking feeling in her stomach – her boss was handsome, she would have had to be blind to say otherwise, but when he got that smirk on his face it meant that he was going to do something she wouldn’t like.
“Okay, I’ll go, but only if Jo goes along too.” He smiled.
Jo’s eyes widened before they narrowed. He knew she would say no, so he would leave. Just as she opened her mouth, Alex pulled her hand into his and, looking into her eyes, he said, “Please, Jo dear, do this for me or my workaholic cousin will die working – do you really want to be responsible for his death?”
She looked at Aiden and he gave her an innocent smile; sighing, she cursed, wondering what she was getting into before nodding.
“Alright, but I want to bring a friend along,” she said. While Aiden just nodded, Alex’s grin grew and Jo felt herself grow weary. “What?” She asked him.
“Oh nothing, darling, you call as many of your lovely friends as you want. After all, since you won’t give me the time of the day, maybe I’ll get lucky with one of your little friends.” He grinned wriggling his eyebrows; she just rolled her eyes but couldn’t stop herself from smiling. Alex was like a little kid – only way more perverted.
“Alright, text me the details. I’ll meet you around 8, is that okay?” she asked as they exited the building. He nodded and waved goodbye when they came to where their ways parted. She sighed, wondering what she had got herself into again while wondering if Abigail was free tonight, because otherwise she didn’t know whom to take along with her.
Walking into their apartment, Jo saw Abigail ironing clothes while singing off-key to some song playing on her iPod and jumping all around the place. When Jo cleared her throat, Abby looked around with a grin and pulled her to dance along with her, not in the least bit embarrassed that Jo had caught her grooving in shorts and a camisole. Rolling her eyes, Jo switched off the music and asked, “Hey, are you busy tonight?”
Abigail grinned at Jo, twirled her and asked, “Why? Are you going somewhere? Is it a date, Joey?”
Laughing, Jo shook her head as Abby let her go. “No . . . Aiden and Alex asked me to go out with them and I really don’t want to go with them alone, so will you please come?”
Abigail shrugged. “Sure, why not? But only if you let me dress you up.” Jo groaned.
“Fine!” Jo muttered even as Abby pushed her towards her room.
An hour later, Jo stood looking at the mirror. She was wearing a dark blue top with tight black jeans and black knee-high boots. While Abby had forced her into wearing this outfit, she put her foot down for accessories, going only for a silver chain with a small star that her mother had given her, and a blue wristwatch. Jo had to agree she looked good. The outfit bought out her eyes and she had done her hair in loose curls so it looked more natural. Looking at Abby, Jo couldn’t help but gape. She wore a light brown dress that fell to her knees, gold stilettos, gold bangles, and gold and brown eye shadow that made her eyes look more golden than brown.
“Alright, let’s go. It’s 7:15 already; you did say we have to be there by 8.”
Jo nodded and they walked out pulling their coats on and locking the apartment before calling a cab.
* * *
Alex stood near the bar with Aiden, waiting for Jo and her friend. As he looked at the wristwatch again, he felt Aiden go still and, looking up, felt the wind knocked right out of him. There, walking towards them was Jo. Aiden stood there, staring at the vision walking towards him. Even though she was in jeans, she stood out from girls who wore the smallest outfits possible, just by her attitude. He ran his eyes appreciatively over her, wondering how he had missed seeing her beauty the first time they met.
Alex let out a wolf whistle and grinned at Jo. “My, my! Someone is looking H-A-W-T.” He smirked at Aiden, who was glaring at him. Ignoring his cousin, Alex continued, “So, Jo, I thought you were bringing a friend along.”
“Yeah, she had to take an important call, so she is out.” Jo smiled. She caught Aiden staring at her and blushed, looking down to pull imaginary lint off her top.
Alex looked from Aiden to Jo and back to Aiden, his smile growing into a wolfish grin. “Look who’s getting all shy!” He smirked, staring at Aiden and Jo, who were both blushing lightly. He was about to tease Aiden when his words literally stopped. He watched, speechless, as a stunning lady walked through the door. With innocent brown eyes and the most seductive pair of kissable lips, the girl looked like an amazing living contradiction. Her nose was red from the cold, and for the first time in his life, Alex Reid, the player, found someone who looked beautiful and adorable all at once.
Alex stared as the girl headed towards them. Turning, he saw Aiden and Jo deep in conversation, and was startled when he turned around to find the girl right in front of him.
“Hi!” she said, looking at them. Alex moved closer and smirked. “Well hello, beautiful. What is a pretty lady like you doing here all alone? Can I buy you a drink?”
“Hello to you, too, and sure, but aren’t you here with her?” the girl asked, looking at Jo, who was grinning widely as she stood next to a very confused Aiden.
“Oh, no! That’s my mom and he’s my dad!” Alex grinned. He turned towards Jo and Aiden and nodded sadly. “They had me when they were really young, and I couldn’t just leave them at home, could I? They gave up their lives to raise me, and they deserve to have some fun.”
Aiden mock-punched Alex. “Alexander Reid! Behave yourself!”
Alex grinned and put his arm around Aiden’s shoulder and said, “Look! He’s such a strict dad. Can’t you see the resemblance? The same hair, the same eyes.”
“So she’s your mum?” the girl asked, pointing towards Jo. Alex nodded. “Well, if she’s your mum, then you should call me Aunt Abigail.”
“Right, sonny boy. This is my best friend, Abigail. Your aunt.” Jo burst out laughing and Abigail joined her.
“Abby, this is Alex and Aiden,” Jo introduced. Aiden smiled and shook hands with her. Alex just stood, staring at her with his mouth open.
She smiled at them, and Alex felt his heart stop for a minute as she extended her hand. “Pleasure to meet you,” she said.
Seeing that Aiden was still staring at Jo, Alex gave a nod and, pulling her hand up, placed a chaste kiss over her knuckles.
“The pleasure’s all mine.” He smirked when he saw her blush, but she immediately pulled her hand out of his grip and turned to Jo, completely ignoring him, she said, “Let’s go, shall we?”
Aiden had regained his senses by then, and he nodded, guiding them to a private floor. Seeing the looks Jo and Aiden kept giving each other, Alex asked Abigail to dance. He could see that she was going to decline, so he leaned close to her and tilted his head in their direction. “Look at them, love. They’re just going to avoid each other all night long if we are around, and I’m pretty sure you saw the sparks between them.”
She looked at them and sighed, nodding.
“Hey, guys! We are going to dance,” Alex said, pulling her towards the dance floor. Both Aiden and Jo looked up, surprised, before Aiden narrowed his eyes at him. Before he could say anything else, Alex pulled Abigail onto the dance floor. It seemed she didn’t want to be there, so he leaned down and whispered, “Hey, relax! I don’t bite; well, not unless you want me to.”
She seemed to snap out of it, and turned to smirk at him. “Do try to keep up, player,” she said, pulling him down so their faces were just inches apart. Then she turned and began to move, and he did his best to keep up with her.
It was like they were the only ones there, grooving, moving, flipping, turning, sliding and twirling in perfect sync like they had choreographed and danced this dance for years. Soon, Alex forgot about Aiden and Jo’s matchmaking and lost himself in the flow. At one point, she twirled into him and he pulled her close, hiding her from the world; she looked at him, eyes wide and breath coming out in puffs. He leaned down and she didn’t stop him, so he pulled her closer by the waist and pressed his lips to hers. The enticing taste of honey burst on his lips, causing him to crave more. Sliding a hand up her back and one lower, he let their bodies melt together, the chaste kiss setting his body on fire. He opened hazy eyes to look at her, gulping when he saw the flush on her face. For just a second, he wondered how deep the blush ran over her body, and noticed that she looked dazed as well, as she ran her tongue over her kiss-swollen lips and took a deep breath.
Jo sat there twirling the little umbrella in her mocktail. They were left in silence once Alex and Abby went to the dance floor. She heard Aiden chuckle from where he was standing near the glass looking at the dance floor.
“What?” She asked.
He chuckled, “Come and look.”
Curious, she walked next to him and looked at the dance floor, trying to figure out what he saw. Seeing them, her eyes widened: there on the dance floor were Alex and Abigail moving like they were not two separate people but a single soul; if she jumped, he caught her; if he moved forward, she moved back . . . and it was all so sensual. People had actually stopped dancing to look at them, and even the DJ seemed to be talking about them, but they seemed too lost in their own little paradise. Jo was jolted out of her musings by Aiden’s phone ringing; he pulled it out and a huge grin spread on his face.
“Hey Ady, wassup?” He answered the call.
“Hey Aid, I just wanted to ask if you are free tomorrow. I want to meet the wedding planner and Gabe isn’t going to be there. You said you wanted to meet them about the location, right?”
“Wedding Planner? Tomorrow? Ady, I’m sorry, but I can’t go with you tomorrow,” Aiden sighed.
“Aid, please. Don’t say no,” she groaned.
“I have an important meeting. Sorry, princess. Should I tell Alex to be there?” he asked her.
“Alex? Now how will he help?” She questioned.
“Hey, c’mon! Al will do fine. I promise he will behave,” Aiden assured her, grinning.
“Okay then, do you want me to call him or do you want to tell him yourself?” she asked.
“I’ll let him know, Adele.”
“Alright, Aid. Here, Aubrey wants to say she loves you.” He could hear Aubrey’s voice in the background.
“Hi, Aidey! I love you! Are you going to be back soon?” Aubrey asked.
“Oh! Angel, I love you too. Yes, I’ll see you later tonight, okay? Bye,” he said and cut the call, a grin still plastered on his face.
Jo stood there staring straight out without really seeing it. He was getting married . . . of course she was for a perfect person such as him, why wouldn’t she be? She sounded perfect. And Jo thought that she was stupid for having a crush on her boss. Shaking her head, she looked back at the dance floor in time to see Abby break away from kissing Alex and slapping him hard before moving towards the exit. Jo saw him moving after her, but it looked like she was really upset.
Jo started walking towards the exit before turning to Aiden. “Sorry, I need to leave now.” He looked confused and nodded coming along with her.