If going to this party made both his father and his girlfriend happy, then Joseph wouldn’t say no. They were going to be in the area anyway to see Sylvia’s family. Why not go?
Oh. Because drama. One thing Joseph had never been a big fan of. Most of the women in his life couldn’t get enough of it. Hell, guys at work were prone to start it? Joseph? Too down to earth and more inclined to keep the peace than disrupt it. The only peace he liked to disrupt was a peacefully made bed when his girlfriend was around.
“Drama, huh? Don’t mind me if I keep to myself, then. I’ll let the east coast drama be your department.”
“Even if I told you it hard to do with a woman who once paid me to sleep with her?”
Joseph’s tea mug thumped against the table. Another person in the café glanced over at them. A woman. Joseph couldn’t say he minded. “Now that’s something else. That’s the kind of info you divulge to the man you’re living with. In great detail.” Why had Sylvia kept this piece of wonderful news from her boyfriend? She had let slip that there were women of means who had paid for her services, but Sylvia had always been adamant that it was purely for the work and she didn’t consider herself anything but heterosexual. Hence, no details.
Sylvia didn’t drop anything too scandalous, since they were technically in public, but she let slip a name Joseph was unfortunately familiar with.
His eyes widened. Sylvia’s did too, but only because his did first.
“Oh my God.” Why did his girlfriend have to be so observant? “You know her?”
“Uh.” Now here was an incredible predicament. How much of the truth should he tell her? Well, knowing Sylvia, who could suss out her boyfriend’s dating bullshit within two seconds, he should tell her the whole truth. Right now. “Maybe… carnally?”
Sylvia gaped at him in disbelief.
It was not an easy explanation to give. When Cassandra moved to the PNW not so long ago, one of her first stops after settling into her Seattle penthouse was Portland. Both sides of Joseph’s family had connections to the Welshes, granting him an invite to a small party Cassandra threw as an olive branch offering for intruding on others’ stomping grounds.
Her arrival came right after Joseph broke up with his ex-girlfriend Angelica due to their inability to successfully carry a child to term. In his brash, lustful state, he slept with Cassandra – but only once, it should be minded – and then promptly never thought of her again. Until now.
Sylvia sat on her side of the table with only mild amusement in her eyes. That was… not a good sign. Surely, she wasn’t jealous? Perhaps simply in a state of disbelief?
“Wow.” Sylvia finished her tea. “Amazing. We screwed the same pregnant hussy.”
“Pregnant?” Joseph sat back in his seat. The barista behind her counter looked on with little interest. Even so, Joseph kept his voice down. “She wasn’t pregnant when I met her.”
“She might not have been showing yet. She was really early on last time I saw her. I mean, there were miscarriage rumors…” Sylvia bit her tongue. Not the thing to say in front of her boyfriend who had lost two children already to miscarriage.
“No, I mean… we had sex, Sylv. I would’ve noticed if she was pregnant.” The look in his eye suggested he knew what it was like to have sex with pregnant women.
She shook her head. “Not always. It’s different between women.” Either that or Cassandra wasn’t pregnant by the time she moved out to the PNW. Which would’ve only happened if… was the miscarriage the truth after all? Because Cassandra had explicitly said “I’m pregnant and I don’t know what to do,” to Sylvia.
“It doesn’t matter.” Like hell it didn’t! “But that’s going to be the drama going on at the gala. Everyone’s going to wonder if she’s there to speak with the father.” That made more sense when Sylvia thought she knew that Cassandra was pregnant. Now…
Sylvia looked back up at her boyfriend. Joseph looked poignantly out the window and toward the rain falling to the street. “What?”
“Do you think our friend Nala knows about Cassandra? Because if you want to start baby rumors…”
Sylvia sat in silence for a few bitter seconds. “Go on.”
“Let’s just say I’m not the only man in this town she got her hands on. But, according to a very interesting drinking session I had with a certain friend of ours, the timing is good enough that someone may have planted some seeds on the other side of the country a while ago.”
Sylvia poured herself the last of the tea from the pot and settled into her seat. “No, seriously. Go on.”
She needed to know exactly how to address her call to Nala.
Nala hopped into the private jet as if it were her personal playground. It certainly was warm enough to rip off her winter coat and prance around the spacious cabin in nothing but ripped denim shorts, a black tank top, and a blue plaid shirt that made her look so ridiculously “Portland” that it was a wonder her boyfriend Vincent could keep up in the style department.
But men had it easy. When he walked on board wearing his most comfortable Levi’s and a baggy gray sweatshirt covered in quirky emoticons, there was no doubt that they were both from the land of covered heads and soggy shoes.
“Told you that you’d like it,” he said, slumping across the big leather sofa along the right side of the plane. Nala was still nosing around, poking into overhead bins, counting the amount of fire extinguishers and first aid kits, loving the huge shower complete with detachable showerhead, and hooting at the sight of the king-sized bed that looked like it came straight out of a hotel room. “I thought of you the whole time I was checking planes out. When I realized this was the one you’d flip for the most, I knew it was the one.”
Nala bounded back into the main cabin, boots mussing up the carpet. “I still can’t believe you finally bought a plane.” How long had she been waiting for her boyfriend the tech billionaire to cough up the dough for his own private plane? It didn’t have to be huge. In fact, Nala had been content to look through catalogs of plans that only had the nice bathroom and nicer cabin, no bedrooms or other private corners to entertain and rest. Maybe a big TV. Definitely in-air WiFi and TV reception. Nala was content with pretty simple things.
So for her boyfriend to buy a plane as swank as this? Even if it was “small” in the private airplane world? Damn!
“Finally, an airbus to call our own.” Nala flopped down next to him on the couch. Even though he dressed like a college student with decent hygiene habits, he smelled and felt so wonderfully older. (He better. He was thirty, for fuck’s sake.) But Nala had college boys on the brain because she had just finished her first winter term at Portland Community College and was ready to relax through Christmas. Relaxing, of course, meant plenty of video games and sex with the boyfriend. So far she had managed to completely own his incompetent ass at the former and be completely owned by him during the latter. But there was always room for further improvement. “Can’t believe it took you this damn long.”
“I never traveled as much as before, let alone those kinds of distances.” Once Vincent was renting a plane once, twice a month to go to places like South Korea and Germany, he realized he was losing more money in the long run compared to outright owning his own plane. “What can I say? As fun as it was to fuck you in all those rental planes, there’s something to be said for having one’s own bed to do with as they please.”
Nala wouldn’t argue with that. She really fancied the whole plane sex thing. She was one of the lucky few who got so aroused and so off that she and Vincent were the luckiest people flying through the atmosphere every time they traveled. (Except for that one time she drank too much beforehand and spent a three-hour flight vomiting. That was not fun.)
“Mr. Lane,” said the male flight attendant from the doorway. “We will be taking off soon if it’s fine with you.” He nodded to Nala. “Ms. Nazarov.”
“Yes, let’s get going.” Vincent squeezed his girlfriend’s naked knee. They both always joked about the plane rising through the pot-cloud haze and into the clear blue sky. People whined that Portland was so rainy? Well, where there was the scent of skunk…
“In that case, I have to ask that all parties buckle up for takeoff.”
Vincent nudged his girlfriend. “Hear that? Buckle up.”
The man could make anything sound like innuendo. Nobody but him understood what he was trying to get at there, but bless him for putting the thoughts into Nala’s head.
Twenty minutes later they were up in the air, Nala’s ears popping no matter how many times she opened her jaw, and Vincent’s inability to properly yawn almost making him phone the captain to ask what the fuck was going on up there. Neither of them wanted to spend their five hour flight to New England like this!
The only reason Vincent accepted an invitation from some business friends to attend a huge Christmas gala back east was because he could pencil in two crucial meetings in the process. Plus, he wanted to take his girlfriend someplace nice for Christmas… that wasn’t his childhood home back in Fresno. Oh, they would be going there too, eventually, but Vincent’s mother was still having a hard time grasping her son’s relationship to some older college student when there were perfectly good well-bred girls lining up to take his money and suck his dick. Mrs. Lane would never speak in those terms, but she and Nala were such polar personality opposites that Vincent knew he needed to do something fun with his girlfriend before subjecting her to that on Christmas.