Eyes of Violet, The Jinn

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

When the Angel wars were over, God punished the remainder of the Jinn to seventy generations of punishment. Initially trapped inside the ring of Solomon, they were freed, only to find themselves in a new war. With the demons who pursued them for their powers.
Then she was born. Deals were made to ensure her safety, a trial, a promise, and a bond. But at what cost?
Three men would rise up to the challenge. One man, reborn out of vengeance, one from the ashes of his past, and the other from the darkest pits of hell. Each with the same goal: To find and protect the only female Jinn in the history of the world.
When this new war entraps the selfless Dr. Anna Brooks, it transforms her once simple life into a world of chaos and enslavement. But the truth lies in the details of her family's history, and Anna must fight for her life in an epic battle of wits and will. To win, she must embrace the light, even when there is no hope left to do so. Or die at the hands of her enemies.

EYES OF VIOLET THE JINN By Kady Graf

Three men, one reborn out of vengeance, one from the ashes of his past, the other from the darkest pit of hell. Each with the same goal: To find and protect the only female Jinn in the history of the world. But will she even survive?

To rise from the darkness, you must embrace the light and trust it, even when you find no hope to do so. -Apollo

PROLOGUE

The realm of Passion

705 BC

A bond is unbreakable. She hurried her pace as their conversation ran through her mind.

There is no other way. Her husband had said before convincing her to accept it. She was too young, she had argued. Now out of options, this was their last hope.

The town blurred around her as she passed by the bustling shops. A decade before, she had been here, vowing never to return. The last time she had visited the large oceanside community was in the much warmer months, and it was not as crowded. Now here she was, doing the unthinkable

Why did we have to meet here of all places?

Inundated by fear, her body shook as she forced herself to press on. Past the rows of casinos, whorehouses, and clubs lining the busy streets. Past the scantily dressed women who paid her no mind and the hordes of men who flocked to them for comfort. Along the city's sidewalks, the pedestrians went about their day, preoccupied with their own lives and blissfully unaware of the dangers lurking ahead. None would even care about the likes of her. Had they known, perhaps they would have treated her better or dared, even tried to help. Her decisions today could change the fabric of time and space itself.

Change the world.

Protect these people.

Protect their children. Her children. Or doom them all to even a fate she couldn't imagine.

No. She trusted her husband, his decisions. This was the right thing to do.

The nail she had bitten found its way to her mouth while scanning the crowd. The dread in her heart was as heavy as the hidden blade strapped to her thigh. The load she carried on her back dug into her shoulder blades as she walked. She tucked her thumbs underneath the straps, easing the pain. As if she carried the weight of the world itself. Perhaps she did.

The setting sun in the distance told her she needed to hurry. They were running out of time. Soon, her enemies would be upon them. She clenched her brown cloak tight to her body, keeping out the cool breeze coming off the sea. It was the perfect disguise for blending in and hiding the delicate dress she wore underneath. She pushed through the crowd down the stairs toward the boat dock, forcing her way through the array of fishermen loading and unloading their ships. The heels of her boots pounded against the wooden docks, deafening the sound of her thumping chest. The hairs on her arm stood on edge as she came upon the entrance carved into the side of the rocky cliff. A minotaur, colossal in size, standing eight feet tall, blocked the doorway. Her eyes traveled the length of his long legs, to his bulging chest, straight to the horns on his head. They were familiar creatures in the realm of Aphrodite, but they still frightened her. She swallowed. The lump in her throat was still there as she gazed upon the beast and forced herself to give him a weak grin. Her nerves were on the verge of exploding in utter panic. He opened the giant iron door with a wink and a nod, letting her pass. A heavy breath escaped her lungs as the large rusty metal door squeaked, then closed behind her.

The long, dimly lit corridor smelled of musk and sea salt, causing her to wrinkle her nose. At the end of the hall were two large double doors that opened onto a lobby. It resembled nothing of the outside as it was filled with fine furnishings and antiques. Large, red rugs, woven in a mindless spiral pattern, were welcomed as they cushioned her tired feet from the cold, dark stone floors beneath them. A few unscrupulous men eyed her beauty and the large bundle she carried as she closed in on them near the reception desk. The smell of putrid fish invaded her senses as she drew closer, making her face scrunch up and her eyes water. The sconces on the wall gave off a fair amount of lighting, enhancing the engraving of the wood finishes. It was odd to find something so unique in a house of ill repute, she thought, admiring the chiseled craftmanship of the counter. Her fingers traced the edge while she waited for assistance.

When the clerk approached, she whispered to him. He nodded, then handed her a room key and pointed her in the right direction. Her nerves on edge, she exhaled a long breathe and made the long walk to the room marked thirty.

How did she ever let her husband talk her into this? She hated this realm and this kind of place. But she hated what she was about to do even more. As the mother, it was her responsibility. She had to be the one to do it.

Reconsideration was not an option. There was no other way.

She stood outside the door and paced the hall. The key was wet and clammy in her hands as she fumbled with it, dropping it on the floor. She was sweating, the sheer terror overwhelming her. She squatted down to pick it up with careful precision, trying not to jostle what she was carrying. Her hands shook as the key went in the lock and clicked. The door made a slight creak as she pushed it open. The room was an open suite, with a four-poster bed in the middle. The smell of burning wood caught her senses, and she scanned the room to see a fireplace in the corner. But she wasn't here for that. She was here for something else entirely. Movement caught her eye as a man's silhouette stood in the window overlooking the bay. He said nothing as she stood lifeless in the doorway, only turned to acknowledge her presence. Her jaw tightened as she glared at him. Then charged forward, slamming the door behind her. Her heartbeat pulsed through her skin, causing her hands to tremble even more.

She needed to do this.

She had to do this.

She hiked her dress and reached for the blade. The stranger was quick, grabbing her shoulders, forcing her to stop. Her breath caught at the sight of the large man.

Then with a slow methodic pace, he dropped to one knee. He ran his warm hand up her leg with a gentle caress. His touch sent tingles rippling through her bones, and she stifled a moan. He had a soothing quality that she couldn't explain. His long, dark hair covered his face as he worked his way up until, yes, there it is. The knife. He pulled it from its sheath, relinquishing his touch, leaving her to feel vacant without it. Then he stood and took a step closer.

Something was different about this man.

He towered over her human form, yet she was no longer afraid of him. The fine black silks he wore said he was wealthy. His devilishly handsome good looks said he came from excellent breeding. The dark locks cascading down the front to his chest made him appear young and innocent, but his midnight eyes had demon written all over them. The fact they were meeting in a high-class, secretive brothel said he had connections. No one would think twice about a man and a woman meeting here.

She hesitated as he held out his hand to her before she offered up her own. He nodded as she tensed and looked away. Never had the sight of blood agreed with her, especially her own. The moment he touched her skin, a calm sensation overcame her. His movements were swift as the blade pierced her skin. There was no pain until his hand left hers, and she winced. The sting made her cringe. Then the warmth came, followed by the wetness as it pooled in her palm. Her knees buckled, and the stranger was quick to help her to the bed to sit. The blood coated her hand, and she waited for him to do the same. Her eyes went wide as he made a fist around the blade, and in a brisk move, slashed his own hand with a hiss.

The baby, who never stirred while in the confines of its carrier, came awake with a sigh as she tried to remove the heavy straps with one hand. The man helped, laying the babe on the bed with care.

No, he was no ordinary man.

She uncovered the babes head from the blanket draped over, revealing her to the stranger. The man glanced back at the woman as if he were waiting for a reply. She nodded, and he removed the infant from its confines. He held her tiny body close to his chest, careful to cradle her head. The babe yawned as he moved his bloody fist over her mouth, letting his blood drip from his hand. The red, metallic taste didn't faze the infant as she smacked her gums together and then fell back asleep. Still nestling the swaddling in his arms, he took the mother's bloody hand into his own and pressed them together. The stranger tugged on her arm, pulling her towards a small parchment on the nearby table. He released his hold as they planted their palms to the print, signing it in blood.

With a delicate touch, he ran a finger across the babe's cheek, then handed her back to her mother. Once he retrieved the infant carrier, he held it while she placed her baby inside. With his help, she put it back on and covered the babe once more. While she adjusted the straps, he rolled up the parchment and placed it inside his coat pocket. Once she was situated, he pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and wrapped it around her bloody hand, tying it in place with care. She took note of his mannerisms and movements that said he was brought up in a refined household.

He nodded, then touched her arm, and in an instant, she was back at her house, and he… was gone.

Shit! Her mind screamed as the realization hit her. She didn't even read it. What had she done?

The deal... was finished.

 

CHAPTER 1

The Dark Stranger

Seattle, WA

2017 AD

This was the day they would declare John dead.

Rose repeated to herself as she made the final preparations. The tea kettle whistled as she turned off the burner and removed it from the stove. The yeti mugs were then filled with her herbal concoction of tranquility, as she liked to call it, then she placed the pot on one of the opposite burners. Ever since she read the anniversary date on the calendar, she had planned for this day. Rose knew her best friend Anna would struggle as the truth of this day would hit her hard. He really was gone.

A sigh left her as she stared down at her notes. Not sure if the first spell even worked, she had made an alternative one, just in case.

The candles were placed on their designated spots on the floor. Each one, a different color, and fragrance represented an aspect of the spell. Rose removed the yarrow and rose petals from her bag, mixed the needed ingredients, retrieved her spell-book, and held tight to her handwritten notes. She hoped that one of her spells would take root. Trained by the best, she was no longer a trainee; she was a real voodoo priestess, and it was bound to pay off… eventually.

It was eerily quiet as she knelt down on the mat and took her position. The only notable sound was the rhythmic ticking of the clock on the wall.

The large headband she wore lay snug against her blonde curls, keeping them in place and out of her eyes so she could read her notes. When everything was ready, she carefully lit two of the candles. The rich and fruity aroma of black currant, and crisp apple, relaxed her as she began to chant. Her dark brown eyes focused on the ceiling as she called upon her ancestors and some deities for their help in this monumental task. A light summer breeze entered through the screen door, causing the wind chimes to clink on the front porch. One curl fell loose and blew in her face, but she ignored it. The morning sun disappeared behind the clouds, making the room darker. But she didn't waver. The neighbor's dog barked. Then another. The leaves of the trees rustled outside the window, then the wind picked up, swirled around the room, and the candles flickered. She didn't give in. She lit two more candles as the smells of wild hawthorn, minty geranium, and the sweet bouquet of lilies invaded her senses. Rose rocked in place and repeated the phrases. A chill crawled up her spine, causing her hair to stand at attention. It turned into a tingle, moving more like electricity up her tawny skin. She wouldn't cease.

There was a car horn, the screech of tires, then a crash. The powers that be would try to sway her, distract her. The tea kettle whistled behind her, forcing her to cover her ears. Still, she didn't falter. The wind picked up. The shudders banged against the siding. Then the front door slammed shut as the house creaked and moaned around her. Her cat let out a scared meow, ran, and hid under the sofa. That wouldn't break her. She smiled at them for even trying. The yarrow lay in the bowl, then she added the other elements to the mix. The skies grew darker with rage as thunder rumbled overhead. She wouldn't stop. With the last two candles lit, the soft, allure of violets with a touch of vanilla filled the room. She laid the rose petals in the circle, and when the last petal fell, and she uttered the final words, lightning struck the ground outside the window. Rose jumped and let out a shriek. The candles fizzled out, and it was silent once more. Nothing but the ticking clock and the sound of her own fast, beating heart. Alone in the dim morning light, she took a haggard breath and wiped her brow. The sun once more revealed itself as the clouds dispersed. Its light shone through the windows, warming her skin. She prayed that this time it worked.

"Rose!" Out of breath, Anna emerged from the bathroom. Her hair was wet, and dripping on the hardwood floor. "What the hell was all that banging?" Anna asked, glancing around the room, her towel clenched tight to her body.

Rose hid the papers behind her back. "The wind?" She shrugged.

Rose gathered up her items and placed them back on the shelves. Kitty rubbed and purred against her leg. "Cross your paws that it worked," Rose whispered to the white furball. The cat lay at her feet and did just that. "Oh, so, now you're on my side?" Rose eyed the cat and shook her head.

***

Every morning Dr. Jordan Aanisah Brooks would drop Rose off at the office and walk across the street to the coffee shop, where she purchased three breakfast sandwiches and a bottle of water. One for Rose and two for the homeless man around the corner. He graciously accepted whatever she gave him with nothing more than a kind smile. Today was no different when he took the food and water from her hands. Then she walked to the fountain, in the center of the small park, where she would stand, hold a coin tight in her hand, and make a wish. Tossing it in with a small splash. It was the same routine every day, and one could only assume the same wish. Vincenzo imagined what that wish might be as he watched her from his office window that faced the fountain. Fascinated by her, he found himself more intrigued with her now than ever before. He loved these precious few moments where he could admire her beauty undisturbed.

Anna, as she was known around town, was kind, generous, and intelligent. Her long, dark brown hair, wrapped up in a tight bun, made her look more sophisticated than her twenty-five-year-old self. The black pencil skirt she was wearing enhanced her long muscular calves and hourglass figure. The white button-up blouse she was wearing did nothing to hide her large breasts. Breasts that would fit nicely into his hands. His hands stretched and fisted at the thought of even touching them. He removed himself from the window with a groan, picked up the phone, and called Rose. An interruption by his secretary reminded him of his morning meetings, and he let out a distinguished grunt of aggravation toward the woman before shooing her out of his office. Then told Rose precisely what he had planned for this evening. He gazed upon Anna one last time. Yes, how he loved the few minutes he had.

***

Anna retrieved the brown paper bag from her purse, causing her feathered friends to squawk in response. The birds flocked to her feet to anticipate their morning feeding. She sprinkled the seeds to them in small handfuls watching them scavenge. When she turned to feed more, she collided with someone. The seeds exploded from the bag, into the air, and all over the two of them.

"Oh. I am so sorry. I wasn't looking where I was going." Anna apologized as her palm lay flat against a rigid body. She wiped specs of birdseed from the stranger's blue, three-piece suit feeling his firm chest through the expensive fabric.

"It's quite alright." His voice had a deep, soothing texture. "It could have been worse." The stranger spoke with an elegant accent she couldn't quite place, then he let out a slight laugh.

Anna gazed upon his face and sucked in a sharp breath at the delectable stranger before her.

Tall. Check. Perhaps a foot over her head had she not had four-inch heels on. The man was built as if he lived for a good workout.

"How so?" A shy grin crept across her face as she picked seed from the front of his jacket.

"It could have been your coffee." He said with a soft smile that showed off his perfect pearly whites.

A tight, trim beard and mustache dusted his handsome face, which matched his dark brown hair. Smoothed over the top of his head and pulled back in a small ponytail resting at the base of his neck, it appeared silky and rich.

Dark. Check-check. He was delicious.

"Well, it's tea. But lucky for you," Anna shook the cup, "It's empty."

"Lucky indeed." His smile grew. "May I?" He asked, pointing to her hair. His hand moved to the loose strands that hung from her bun and removed a seed. Then he touched her shoulder and swiped away at the seeds sitting there. Anna couldn't think as his fingertips grazed her bare arm.

"Oh. Thank you." It came out in a whisper.

Time slowed down to a crawl as he removed his sunglasses and placed them in his outside pocket. His dark eyes sparkled in the sun as he stared into hers. His gaze only intensifies. Enthralled by it, she couldn't move, couldn't speak, couldn't think, as her mind tried to recall its purpose. There was something sensual about it and had her libido in a frenzy. Never had she ever seen a more decadent man.

Handsome. Check-check-check. His light bronze skin beckoned to be touched.

He moved closer, and with delicate precision, he removed more seed from the other side of her hair. Frozen in her spot, he intrigued her, and her body yearned for his touch even more. A light breeze flowed through the air, sending his scent into her like a wave of ocean spray. She closed her eyes and took in his heavenly smell. Vanilla.

A sudden urge to throw herself at him overcame her as he parted his lips with a wicked grin. She licked her own, but only dryness occupied the space where saliva should have been.

What is wrong with me? Her mind argued with her body. She had never done anything impulsive in her life. Even though every molecule in her wanted this man. Neither of them moved. Anna couldn't breathe. Her eyes focused on his features; she didn't blink.

"Your phone is ringing."

"Hmm."

"Your phone." He said, pointing to her bag.

The trance he held her in snapped. She scrambled in her purse to find her phone. "Sorry." The caller ID said it was her office; she had to take it. "Excuse me," she turned away to take the call. "Dr. Brooks."

Anna ran her fingers across her clothes and then her hair, praying there was no more birdseed on her. Anna tried to listen to her secretary Rose ramble on about her being late and a client waiting, but she was too intrigued with the stranger. When she turned back to speak to him again, the man was gone.

"Dammit." Anna twirled in a circle, hoping to catch a glimpse of where he went, but he had vanished. "Yes, Rose. I'm on my way," she groaned as she hung up the phone. She had finally run into a good-looking man and her phone rang. "Why did I answer it." She huffed out as she made the short walk to her office, looking for the handsome stranger along the way.

***

As soon as Anna arrived, she handed Rose her breakfast and greeted her first client of the day. The first two appointments were regulars and went as expected. It was the eleven o'clock that had her worried. A new patient was given to her by another doctor she was unfamiliar with, and this would be her first contact with the man. After reading all the doctor's notes, she was dreading this meeting. Martin was the worst kind of narcissist. His hatred for women was all over his file. The man had a nasty reputation with countless therapists and psychiatrists and had a recent stay in a mental health facility. As she continued to read the notes, there was a commotion at reception.

"What do you mean, she?" The unknown male voice exclaimed. "Dr. Bolton said I would be seeing some guy named Jordan Brooks."

"Yes, sir, you are correct," replied Rose.

"But you said SHE. That SHE is ready for me."

"Yes. Dr. Brooks is indeed a she."

"Well, I can't. I won't. I need another doctor!"

"I see Martin has arrived," Anna mumbled as she left her desk. This wasn't the first time someone would assume she was a male. That's precisely why she started going by Anna so there would be no more confusion. Anna stepped out into the reception area just as Rose picked up the phone to call her.

"I'll take it from here, Rose," She spoke calmly and gracefully.

"He's all yours." Rose glared at the man. Already on Rose's last nerve, she crossed her arms over her chest.

"Hello, Martin. I am Dr. Brooks." She stuck out her hand to him, but he refused to take it. His grumpy face showed displeasure as he placed his chubby hands in his pockets. She ended the handshake and set down the files on the counter. "I understand your frustration, and I would be happy to see if one of my male colleagues can get you in today."

Martin rubbed the back of his neck. "Um, yeah, OK. That would be great."

"Rose, would you make the arrangements to transfer him, please?" Anna asked before facing Martin. "I'm sorry for the inconvenience. Please make your future doctors aware of your preferences. Have a wonderful day." She stated with a smile, then pushed the file toward Rose and returned to her office.

Anna did not like confrontation and avoided it at all costs. Once inside, she leaned against the door and was happy for a breather. Just that little bit alone was enough to make her want to drink. Now that Martin was gone, she wouldn't have another client until after lunch.

Back at her desk, she pulled out her schedule. The first thing on her to-do list was booking her next adventure. Well, not really an adventure per se, more like a trip to a place where there were people in need. What Anna liked to do most was to help others. She has traveled the world to feed the hungry, assist victims of natural disasters, help exploited women and children, and recently got into animal rescue. Since Rose moved to Seattle and moved in with Anna, they adopted a furry friend. The once raggedy multicolored, blue-eyed stray has become a permanent fixture in her heart and home for the last three years. Afraid of losing her like everyone else in her life, Anna insisted on calling her, Kitty.

Maybe it won't hurt as much when she dies without a real name.

Her eyes went from her laptop and focused on the pictures on her desk. Three photos, one of Rose holding Kitty, one of her deceased parents, and one of her and John. As she touched each one, her fear came bubbling to the surface. Anna was alone. This realization would drive her to tears if she didn't stop. She tried to think of something happy, and her mind drifted back to the brief encounter with the stranger at the fountain. Perhaps he was a professional football player or famous and was upset that she didn't recognize him. Not offered the chance to ask his name before he disappeared. If fortune were on her side, she would run into him again.

I wish.

As the song 'Another one bites the dust' went through her head, she returned her focus to the present and signed into the Feed the Children website. This was her favorite organization for volunteering. Their next big operation was scheduled over the Christmas holiday, just a few months away, in Puerto Rico. They were still in dire straits after their devastating hurricane.

Anna grabbed her phone and texted Rose like she always did. "I'm going to Puerto Rico for Christmas. Do you want to go?"

Rose's reply was almost immediate. "Ugh. Are you going on another crusade to feed the poor?"

"Of course."

"You know that's not my thing."

"And you know I hate going alone."

"Yes, but that doesn't mean I want to spend every holiday being a goodie-goodie for the rest of my life."

"Isn't that what the holiday season is about?" Anna smirked as she sent that last message. "I wish you would reconsider and come with me."

There was a long pause as Anna watched the dots. They appeared, disappeared, and reappeared once more. "I hate you!"

That was a yes. "I love you too."

"Yeah, yeah. You are buying me a new swimsuit, and we are spending the last day at a beach, damn it!"

"You got it." Anna signed them both up, then went to the airlines and paid for the airfare. She didn't mind paying for everything as long as Rose would go with her.

The intercom went off, alerting her to the phone. "Yes, Rose."

"Vincenzo is on line one."

"Thanks," Anna said as she picked up the phone. "Well, hello stranger. How was Barbados?"

"Boring without you." Vincenzo groaned. "Why don't you come with me next time?"

The mysterious Vincenzo Barone was tall, dark, and Italian. Known as new money, he entered her life a year ago, and they developed an instant friendship. She would love to go with him to Barbados or anywhere else, but he wasn't interested in her that way.

Focus woman! Not an easy task with this Adonis on the phone. "Maybe next time."

"You say that every time. Yet, you never come through." He said, then there was an echo as his voice carried in the distance. "Maybe I should tell Ford you are desperate for a vacation." He said as her office door opened, and she smiled at the sight of him.

"Don't you dare say anything to Ford?" She said, hanging up the phone and coming around her desk to give him a hug.

Easily over six-four, he bent down slightly to hug her. It was good to see him, to hug him. He wore his typical designer t-shirt that lay taut against his body. Its v neckline plunged down to what she imagined was a hairless chest. He brushed his hand through his short, jet-black hair as she tried not to stare at his muscles, his chest… his face. His features easily matched those of any supermodel by today's standards.

"So, what are you doing here, Vince? I thought you were gone for another week?" She motioned for him to come in and sit down, then closed the door behind him, giving his ass a quick once over as he passed in front of her. Those tight designer jeans made it look fantastic.

Damn it! What is wrong with me today? She had never had this kind of reaction to him before. With hesitation, she shook it off and took the seat beside him. He had that 'I need a favor' look in those beautiful steely blue eyes. They were fabulous with his olive complexion and his slicked-back hair. Hair that just reached past his ears and looked soft to the touch.

Stop it! He's a friend.

"Well, I need a favor."

I knew it. "Of course. Whatever you need."

"A date." He said, adding a coy smile to it.

She rolled her eyes at him. "A date? To what event is it this time? An opening event, opera, or boring dinner party?" She asked, crossing her arms.

"Look, I know you hate these things, but I need you," Vincenzo explained as he locked eyes with her.

Those beautiful blue eyes. "Why don't you take one of your Victoria's Secret friends?"

"Come on, Anna. Don't be like that." He reached over and touched her arm. "Don't you even want to know what it is?"

"I'm almost afraid to ask." He removed his hand from hers, giving her his sexy smile. "Fine. What is it?"

"Charity event. Right up your alley." he sprung from his seat, walked to the mini-fridge, and retrieved a water bottle.

"Is it a real charity this time?"

"Yes." He smirked. The last one they had attended had been a pyramid scam that she never understood. "This is the biggest one of the season, and there will be plenty of famous people there for you to mingle with."

She waved him off. That wasn't her thing, and he knew that.

Vincenzo studied her as he waited for her to reply. The woman analyzed everything, weighing the pros and cons before deciding. In this light, she was more beautiful than ever. Strands of auburn laced her dark hair like ribbons of silk. As though they were strategically placed, and he longed to filter them through his fingers. Still up in that tight bun, a bun he wanted to lay waste to when he pulled that clip from her hair. Her Persian skin, delicately kissed by the sun, was smooth and flawless. And her large hazel eyes turned slightly upwards, almost deer-like, were always smiling at you. But her lips, they called out to him. Plump and luscious, they were made to be kissed. Angelia Jolie wished her lips looked that good.

On her oversized leather couch, with her legs crossed at the ankles, she was perfection to Vincenzo. She sat near the edge, her back straight, her feet only touching the floor due to the heels she was wearing. A pair of heels he would die to see on his shoulders as he took her petite body as his own.

Oh, what I could do to that body.

"You know I don't care about the rich and famous," Anna grumbled, pulling him from his fantasy. "Hell, I barely tolerate you." She teased him, then winked.

"Oh, you know you love me." How he wished. What he wouldn't do to feel her touch like a lover and not a friend. "Come on. You know you can't resist me." Vincenzo smiled brightly as he moved back to her side. The fact was she couldn't deny anyone when they asked. Anna loved to help, to give, and this was a charity event, after all. Vince, knowing she would give in to his request, begged. "Please, Anna." 

"Fine." She huffed out.

"Yes." He leaned over and kissed her cheek. "I'll pick you up at eight. Rose has all the details."

She shook her head at his antics. "I should have known you had already planned this with Rose behind my back."

***

When her last client had left, Rose handed her a stack of messages, and they headed for the door. Once in the car, Rose couldn't resist. "So, another date with Vincenzo, huh?"

"You know it's not like that."

"Who's to say it can't be. Vince is so dreamy. Just go for it already." Anna rolled her eyes as she drove. She wished she had Rose's self-confidence;

Anna could only dream of it. Her take no prisoners attitude was second to none and the main reason they became fast friends in college.

"He is taking you to some posh shindig. I think he called it a ball." Rose stated in a snobbish tone. "What better time to fall in love."

"He is just a friend, nothing more."

"And why are the two of you just friends again?"

Anna, let out a breath as the memory of that night came back to her. He sprained his ankle after she ran into him while ice skating. They spent the entire night together with a hot chocolate and then a late dinner and have been friends since. Their lifestyles were the opposite of one another; Vincenzo was wealthy, loud, and desired attention. She was quiet, shy, and lived to help the unfortunate, giving the poor most of her money and spare time. He was more about procuring and starting new companies. He had never given her any indication that he wanted more than a friendship. But then again, neither did she.

"We are just too different."

"Opposites attract, you know." Rose raised her eyebrows up and down in a playful manner.

"Stop it." Anna condemned her friend with a soft slap on the arm. "There won't be anything like that going on." She tried to concentrate on the drive. "We are only friends."

"Who's fault is that?" Anna didn't respond. "It's obvious he likes you. I mean, he takes you everywhere with him."

Anna thought back over the last year, and he did indeed take her to all the finest parties, grand events, and banquets to be had. She had met countless celebrities, politicians, athletes, and business tycoons. She even picked up some new clients from it. He asked her to go to Italy, Paris, and most recently, Barbados. All of which she had declined.

They pulled up to the house, and Anna threw the car in park. Rose got out and stood at the open door. "You know, if he really liked me, you would think he would say so after a year. Or at least try to kiss me. But he's never done either." Anna stated the facts as she tapped her fingers on the steering wheel.

"Never say never." Rose winked, closed the door and walked towards the house. Anna emerged from the car and followed. "Oh, wear that short blue dress. The one with all the beads." Rose made a motion to her chest. "It will make those babies stand out even more." She said with a wide smile.

***

On his surveillance screens inside his secret den, Vincenzo watched as the women arrived home and went through their regular routines he had seen a thousand times before. Rose busied herself with the cat, then started dinner. Anna went through her messages, checked her emails and began to pace. She twirled one long strand of hair that hung down around her fingers. A nervous habit she had when she was worried.

To spy was never Vincenzo's favorite pastime. Although it gave him a definite insight into those he surveyed, it was all business for the most part. With Anna, this was different; this was personal. And he could sit for hours and watch her. And he has. The bug in her phone and laptop allowed him to spy on her emails and easily track her whereabouts. There was no room not covered with all the cameras he had mounted in her small bungalow. The bathroom was not excluded. Its only view was of the shower.

When her chores were complete, Anna went into the bathroom, undressed, and stepped into the shower. Vincenzo's eyes never strayed. She had a magnificent body. Although she was on a small scale in height, maybe five-five, she had a swimmer's body that was firm and muscular. Her thick, brown hair was long and hung to her lower back in waves. Hair he wanted to twist around his hand and pull as he made love to her. Anna's body was enough to give any man a stroke. It took all he had to restrain himself as he observed her. Though something about today was different. His desire for Anna had never been like this before. As if he was seeing her for the first time. Truly seeing her. When she emerged from the shower, she started to pace once more. Then picked up the phone. It was good for Vincenzo that Anna preferred the speakerphone.

"Anna." Dr. Ford answered with worry. Ford was one of two colleagues she shared the office with and technically her boss.

"Hey, Sawyer. Sorry to bother you at home. Do you have a minute?"

"Sure. What do you need?" Anna sighed before she explained her newest dilemma. Being her only other male friend, she often asked him for advice.

"We've talked about this. The fastest way to get over one is to get under another." Vincenzo winced as Ford spoke. He hated that expression.

"That's what I told her!" Rose yelled from the living room. Anna let out a sigh.

"It's been years, Anna. I think it's time to let go." Ford said.

"I know, I know." She stumbled through the conversation as Vincenzo listened in. He didn't like the thought of her getting under anyone but himself. That's why he had gotten rid of anyone else who had ever tried. And there were many. The most difficult of her suitors had been that nosy detective after her house was robbed. He kept coming around and took her out for coffee with the false pretense of discussing her case. But Vincenzo wasn't blind. The man was persistent and finally asked her out on an actual date, which she happily obliged. Vincenzo paid a hefty price, which the cop took to relocate to Texas. It was much better than the alternative. Vincenzo didn't want to think about that. Just the thought of Anna with someone else had him piping mad. He slammed his hand on the counter, left the monitors, and headed for the shower.

Thirty minutes later, clean-shaven and dressed, he was back at the screens. Whatever the good doctor told her had worked. Her hair was dried, and she was putting on makeup. Something she really didn't need, and he couldn't wait to mess it all up. For tonight, he had a plan. He was going to kiss Anna for the first time.

Vincenzo rode in silence in the back of black limousine. The drive from Medina to Anna's small home in Seattle was short. The lights of the cabin, showed the concern on his face. He wanted nothing more than to move her across the bay right now and away from this crappy area she lived in. It's not like she didn't make good money. She just kept giving it all away to the poor.

To keep her safe, he moved his office to the empty building across from hers. Thanks to him, her home was secure too. After the break-in, he bought the property from the former owner and installed the security system. Anna was aware and had access to the outside cameras. But only Vincenzo had access to the ones secretly installed inside. 

***

Anna jumped at the sound of the bell. She grabbed her clutch and opened the door. Her mouth fell open at him decked out in his light gray designer suit.

Vincenzo smiled."You look stunning," The dark blue dress showed off her magnificent legs that he longed to have wrapped around his waist. The delicate lace and beads embroidered around her voluptuous breasts beaconed to him.

"Thank you. So do you."

He leaned in to kiss her cheek and took in her fragrant scent. Her hair flowed down her back in various soft curls and she smelled like a Hawaiian beach vacation.

Arm in arm, he led her to the car. Mitchell, his driver, held the door open, as she entered and slid across to let Vincenzo in. They sat in silence for a few minutes as he scrolled through messages and answered emails. Then he reached over and placed his hand on hers, giving it a slight squeeze. "Thanks for coming with me." She nodded in return but said nothing.

Vincenzo was well aware of the news she received today. Her birthday of all days. He heart sank for her. But it was for the best. Anna needed to move on, and he hoped it was with him.

It was a short drive back to Medina and to the front of a large mansion. Many of the countries rich and famous lived here. Gates, Bezos, Simonyi, and Nordstrom all resided in the area. Kevin, Vincenzo's bodyguard, emerged from the front passenger seat and opened the door. All of the guests entering were dressed to the nines, and Anna mentioned she was afraid she was underdressed. She straightened her dress and looped her arm in Vincenzo's.

"Stop fidgeting. You look fine." Vincenzo said as he placed his hand on top of hers. A man approached them before they made it up the steps.

"Welcome, Sir. Mr. Bezos is expecting you."


Submitted: January 28, 2022

© Copyright 2022 Kady Graf. All rights reserved.

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