The Billionaire Stepbrother (2015)
Chris woke me up. Hours had passed. Thankfully, I hadn’t been dreaming about him this time. I’d retreated to a guest room once he’d disappeared into his own room. His eyes still looked tired, as though he hadn’t rested. “Get ready. We’re leaving.”
I sat up. I was wearing clothes this time. A white hoodie and a pair of gray sweatpants. You didn’t get more dressed than that. I enjoyed sleeping in hoodies. There was something about the hood that made me feel safe and tucked away from the rest of the world. I felt like I was in my own little world inside of a hoodie. A warm little universe with sleeves.
I looked out of the window and saw that the sun was setting. Darkness would take over the sky soon. “Where are we going?”
He started for the door. “Dress ready to impress.”
I pulled back the duvet and followed him out of the room. We were both walking towards his room. As I followed him, I realized that he wasn’t wearing a shirt. I watched the muscles in his back and arms and got the urge to run my hand over his flesh. My stomach flipped. I sighed. It’s an awful thing to be repeatedly presented with what you can’t have. I knew then that I couldn’t stay here. I couldn’t stay in Chris’ house. It was like standing between heaven and hell all day. It was one thing to fantasize about him from a distance, but a completely different thing to see him without a shirt on a daily basis.
Without speaking, we both went into the closet. He gave me the remote and I couldn’t help but smile. I let the clothes turn once or twice before giving any of the clothes a really good look. “You’re the advertisement expert. Tell me, what should I be wearing tonight?”
Chris thought on that for a moment. “It’s gotta be sexy.”
He turned to me, his pale eyes gleaming. “But most of all, it has to not only capture every man’s and woman’s attention, but also creativity.”
I frowned. “What do you mean?”
Chris smiled and then stepped towards the wall of clothing. He grabbed a dress just as it passed. He turned to me so that I could see it. I’d never seen the dress before. “It has to be a dress that inspires the imagination.”
I wasn’t aware that I’d walked up to him and the beautiful piece of cloth until I was touching the white fabric. It looked so delicate and felt softer than anything I’d ever felt before. “Where in the world did you get this?”
“It’s the dress that every woman will be wearing next year, but you will be wearing it tonight.” The dress had a sleeveless top that was done in lace, cut into a deep V that would leave the center of my chest bare. At the waist was a large belt that looked as though it was made of pure gold,. The skirt, done in a completely different material, flowed down like a waterfall to the floor. The skirt looked like a soft cloud and had a long slit that reached up high, stopping only inches from the belt. The first word that came to mind was ‘goddess’.
I couldn’t help the grin that spread across my face. “It’s gorgeous. Where did you get it?”
He shrugged. “Paris, of course.”
I rolled my eyes. “Of, course.” But then I thought. “I feel like I’m too... endowed for the top. Won’t I fall out?”
Chris shook his head. “I made sure the dress would fit you.”
That earned him a look. “You got this dress for me?”
Chris nodded his head. I hadn’t expected a gift. Sure, Chris had brought me things in the past, but nothing this extravagant. Ever. The dress was beautiful and if it was next year’s look, I knew it was expensive. How had Chris made this happen? When? Why? Why get a dress made for me? Chris must have seen the look on my face, because he spoke before I could. “I did it because I knew you’d like it.” He ended the statement with a cocky shrug, before handing me the dress and heading out the door. “You have two hours.” I frowned. He hadn’t answered my question. Not really. It was nice. Sweet even. I didn’t know what to say.
Once I heard the bedroom door close, I ran towards it and put the lock in place. I would be taking my time tonight. I’d start with the bath my body had been denied only hours ago and go from there.
Thirty minutes later, I heard a knock on the door. There were two people. A masseuse and a hair and makeup artist. They were both shorter than me. The masseuse’s name was Jen. She wore her hair in a blonde bob and had one of those professional white masseuse outfits. She looked innocent enough and seemed to be the exact opposite of the other woman. The hair and makeup artist’s name was Tara. She wore her hair electric red cut into a pixie style, and had artfully done her makeup. Her outfit? Black and leather everything. I was both ecstatic and nervous to see them. Ecstatic, because I hadn’t had this kind of treatment since I’d left home. Julie and I would get these kinds of things done before big events, but once I’d left, I hadn’t been able to afford it on my own. Getting the royal treatment tonight was truly a gift, but then I had no idea where we were going. The dress had already made me aware of that fact that wherever we went would be high-class, but all this was truly taking the night to the next level. Where was Chris taking me?
I emerged from the room exactly an hour and thirty minutes later to find Chris sitting on the couch. His head was down, gazing into his phone. I had to clear my throat to get his attention. His eyes looked up before the rest of his body followed. He sat up on the couch and stared at me.
I smiled and gave him a twirl. “How do I look?”
He gave me a faint smile. “You look nice.”
My face fell. I looked more than ‘nice’. I looked amazing. The dress fit me like a glove. I’d feared falling out of the top for nothing. It was as if the dress had been crafted by someone who’d cupped me before. It fit me like a lover. It was as though the dress knew just how to touch my every curve. I loved the dress and looked dazzling in it. My hair had been done in heavy waves, down my back, just the way I liked it; full, with my light brown and gold highlights catching the light. My hair emphasized the whole free goddess look, and the makeup too. It was done in all natural hues, only highlighting what beautiful I already had. Even the lip was a nude color that I’d never tried before. Plus, I not only looked amazing, but felt amazing, thanks to Jen.
I crossed my arms. “Nice?”
Chris stood and walked over to Jen and Tara, thanking them for their service and escorting them out the door. Once they were gone, he turned to me. “Ready to go?”
I placed my hands on my hips. “Not until you tell me how amazing I look.” It was childish, but I didn’t care. Though his opinion shouldn’t have mattered, it did. It mattered more than anyone else’s. It was the curse of love.
Chris didn’t move from the door. He simply tucked his hands behind him, still holding onto the doorknob. I realized then just how amazing he looked himself. I didn’t know where he’d gotten ready, since I’d taken over his bathroom, but Chris looked hot. He was wearing a black tux. The cut emphasized his height, broad shoulders, and utter masculinity. His pure black hair was swept back.
I walked over to him and stopped only a few feet away. “You work in advertisement. Say something that has more creative juice.”
Chris laughed. “How creative?”
“Make me feel beautiful. Show me why you’re the best, Chris Ray.”
Chris slowly sobered, but there was still a flicker of life in his pale eyes. “To look at you, Linda, is to look at the sun. An experience that is both warming as it is dangerous. A heat that touches the soul, yet a curse, for one glimpse of you and obsession sets in. A need grows that could never be sufficed. Yet, one could never truly turn from you, Linda, and no man would want to, because like the sun, you are completely irresistible; a superior being to be both worshiped, adored, and feared. You call and man answers and whatever you give, man will take. To eat from the floors around your table is an honor and to never see you again would be a sentence worse than death. You, in essence, Linda, are light, and we would all die without you.”
I knew I had the stupidest, silliest, grin on my face, but knew I could do nothing about it. I’d asked for creativity and he’d given it in spades. “You’re good.” All I’d wanted for him to say was that I looked beautiful or lovely, but no, Chris had taken his compliment to Shakespearean levels. I almost wanted to cry. How would I ever find a man to top something like that? Was it even possible? Part of me wanted to dig into the pocket of my skirt, pull out my phone, and get him to say it all again on camera. I could see myself playing it over and over again. At least three times a day. I knew he hadn’t really meant it. He’d only been doing what I asked, and yet… a girl could dream.
I loved Chris. I’d probably always love him. But at the moment, I hated him. I hated that he was my brother and not just some guy that I’d met in a bar or coffee shop somewhere. Sure, I never wanted to be one of those women that he seemed to throw away once he was done, but a part of me would give anything just to have one night with him. Just let him touch me. Just to feel a trickle of what his words had implied. To have my body worshipped; give myself to him. Truthfully, Chris already had me; he just didn’t know it. He talked about obsession, but he had no idea what that was like. He didn’t know what needing someone like air and water was like. Chris went through women like Kleenex. But me?
There were moments when I felt like I was a slave to my feelings for him. That was the part I hated about myself. The part of me that bowed to his glory just like everyone else. The people that waited on pins and needles just for a glimpse of him. The people that read anything that was written about him. I hated those people. Those people could say that they loved him, but I would laugh. Love? They knew nothing about love. They didn’t even know Chris. I knew him. I knew him better than most people. We’d shared deep and intimate moments together over the years. Chris had told me things that I knew no one else knew. What we had was real. It was like we were more than just friends… we were… siblings?
I took a breath and put on a smile I wasn’t really feeling. Yeah, that’s what we were. Siblings. Brother and sister for life. So be it. “Thank you, Chris.”
Chris bowed his head and then opened the door. He held his arm out to me and I took it.