Home > My Creative Billionaire 2

My Creative Billionaire 2
Author: Ali Parker


Chapter 1

Matt

 

 

There should have been peace, sitting outside on the patio of my dad's house, working on the sketch of Erica, but there was none to be found. Everything inside of me screamed for me to call her, but fear held me at bay. No, it locked me up, tied me down, forced me into a place of numbness. Where logically I could point to all of it being a bullshit scheme to keep myself from getting hurt, I hated it. Hated myself.

Erica belonged to me, and yet she would become someone else's if I let my fears over not being enough 'man' for her stop me from moving forward, and fast. She was my brother, Damon, in female form. Perfect. Smart and strong, educated and successful. She was everything anyone could want and beyond anything I expected to have, but I was fucking it up completely.

I reached down and brushed my thumb along the sketch, catching the side of her face and smearing the line a little to soften her.

"Much better," I whispered softly as the sun warmed my chilled skin. The weather in late October in Texas was always anybody's guess. We were lucky that year with the coolness having rushed in before the holiday season started.

My eyes moved slowly across the sketch, pausing when I reached the feminine curve of her breast, the steep swell of her hip, her long legs, her perfect ass. My body hardened and I glanced up, sucking in a tight breath.

Get up and save whatever you can with her.

I exhaled loudly, trying hard to keep myself from diving into one of my many fantasies where she was concerned. Not all of them have her naked and spread across a bed or laid prostrate on a table, but those were my favorite. They were more carnal and left my heart alone. The ones where she walked toward me in a white gown fitted just for her, or a little boy with blond hair and bright blue eyes bouncing around my feet hurt too much. It was almost as if the entire universe were trying to bring me to my knees.

"Matt?" Karen's voice sounded right behind me.

I glanced over my shoulder and gave my new stepmother a smile. "Hey there. Hope you don't mind me borrowing your patio."

"It's yours too. You know that." She walked out and sat down in the lawn chair beside me, stretching out her legs and closing her eyes. "I love this time of the year so much."

"Me too." I slipped my pencil back in the case and picked up my sketch pad. "I'm going to have to buy a large canvas for this thing, but I'm still not sure if I should work on it here or in Seattle."

"So you really did decide to go?" She glanced over and extended her hand. Her brown hair hit just above her shoulders, and her eyes were filled with a kindness that settled me. I could see why my father married her. She would be capable of unwinding the hurt that he suffered losing my mother to cancer. He'd worshiped her when my brother, Damon, and I were younger.

He was the reason I was scared to move forward with Erica. His relationship with my mother was a lie, and left me questioning love altogether. There was nothing my mother didn't have, and yet she chose to sneak around behind my father's back in search of something else, but what? And would a woman like Erica love me to my face and spend her afternoons seeking true passion from another man?

No. I couldn't allow that. And Erica wasn't that kind of woman, but my mother didn’t start out that way either. I dismissed the thought, forcing myself to stay in the present where it felt safe.

"To Seattle?" I handed her the tablet and leaned back. "Yeah. I'm going to keep my apartment here, but I'll get one there too until I assess what's best for me."

"And what about working for your father? Have you figured that out yet?"

I glanced over at her and smirked. "Did he put you up to this?"

She laughed. "No, but I would have done it if he had. He loves you. He talks about you all the time."

"I know he does." I ran my hand over my chest and turned my face toward the sun. "I love him too. I want to make him proud, but I'm not sure what that looks like anymore. Is it weird at twenty-eight to still want to impress your father?"

"No, not at all." She turned to face me and handed me the pad back. "I love this, Matt. It's Erica, isn't it?"

"Yeah." I glanced down at it and closed the book. "She's exquisite."

"And in love with you." Karen's tone softened a little as if she knew when best to tread lightly.

"I'm in love with her too." I leaned over to put the pad and my pencils on the table beside me. "But love is a scary thing."

"Don't I know?" She wrapped her arms around herself, and I started to offer her a blanket, but she spoke up again. "I thought Bethany's father and I had a good thing going, but I was so wrong. I loved him with all of my heart, and he left us in the middle of the night. Who does that? He had men coming after him, Matt. Men who wanted money or blood. And he left me and Beth there to deal with them."

"Shit." I got up and moved over to her chair, making her scoot over as I wrapped my arms around her. "You're with us now. I can't imagine how horrible that must have been, but you're so insanely strong to make it through that, and now look at the blessings you have."

She sniffled and wiped at her eyes. "I keep thinking I'll wake up one day and be able to forgive him, you know?"

"Yeah. That's my mom." I pressed my cheek to the side of her head and closed my eyes.

"What about your mom?"

"She cheated on Dad a lot. I think him and Damon talked about it a few days ago." I squeezed her and got up, almost busting my ass in the process.

"Why do people do things like that?" She glanced up at me, and it was almost comforting to see that she thought of me as a man. So many days I still felt like a wayward child, trying to navigate through life - alone.

"No clue. Selfish?" I ran my fingers through my hair and let my eyes run across the burnt oranges and dark reds of the trees littering leaves all over my dad's backyard.

"Agreed." She sat up and pulled her knees towards her, wrapping her arms around them. "I'm glad Damon and Bethany worked everything out."

"Me too." I slipped my hands into my pockets. "I'm looking forward to the wedding. I'm just not sure if I'm expected to be the best man or the bridesmaid."

She laughed and shook her head. "Not sure your father would agree to you wearing one of those slinky blue dresses that Bethany is looking at."

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