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C5 Five


I delivered the cup of coffee to Louis as promised. I placed it on his desk; he was busy scanning through the pile of binders on his table. He paused as he lifted the cup.

“Hmm... thanks,” he mumbled as he took a few more sips. He looked up at me. “About what I was going to say, are you free tonight?”

“Oh, tonight?”

“Yes, are you busy?” He placed the cup on his desk.

I pressed my lips together. “I have a few things to do until seven.”

“Then I’ll wait for you. I know an excellent restaurant. Join me for dinner.”

Oh God, of course! I would love to. “Are you sure it’s okay?” I asked in a casual tone.

“Yeah. I’ll be in my office until then.”

I bit my lip. There was a part of me that didn’t want to tell Damon, but he clearly asked me to tell him everything. Of course, I should tell him. I could ask him what his brother would like to talk about.

Louis chuckled huskily. “Are you worried about Damon?” he asked randomly.

My mouth parted, but I couldn’t answer.

“Don’t worry. You have to go out sometimes,” he urged. “It’s my treat! Since, you know, you worked so hard for Damon.”

I grinned so widely that my cheeks hurt. “Yes! Thank you. Well, I should leave then so I can finish work before seven.”

He smiled back. “Sure.”

Gee, he’s so good-looking! I still couldn't believe he asked me to go out for dinner. Maybe he was interested in me after all, but I should do this right. I waited for this for so long.

I hurried into Damon's office but stopped at the door when I heard him shout.

“Are you sure? Oh, please, Howard, don’t give me that—” he paused with an exasperated breath. “I gave you a simple job, and you can’t fucking do it right! How about Donovan? I asked him to tell the architects that I need the blueprint tomorrow … What?! … Don’t call me until you can give me an actual result!” He slammed the telephone down and then he slumped in his chair. He scowled at his computer screen.

Okay. He was furious. I knew to escape at times like this, or he would vent his rage at me. I was about to go out of his office when I heard him call out to me.


I spun around. “Yes, Mr. Cavendish?”

“What do you want?”

“You’re busy. I’ll just come back later,” I said, wanting to just scurry out.

“I’m always busy. Spit it out.”

I stepped into his room and stopped in front of his desk. “Louis asked me out for dinner,” I said in a low voice.

He looked up at me, still scowling. “When?”

“When what? When did he ask me or when is our dinner?”

He cleared his throat, shifted his legs, and straightened his back. “When is your dinner?”


“Tonight?” His voice raised again. “How about the contracts I want you to review?”

“I’ll finish it tonight,” I promised.

He snorted. “Then, why are you telling me this?”

“You told me to inform you, and I need to ask you something.”

“What?” His voice remained flat.

I sat on the chair in front of him, glancing at the door cautiously before managing to speak.

“I need to know what he likes to eat, his favorite drink, or maybe the topics he’s interested in. Something along those lines. Can you tell me?”

His brows furrowed. “Are you going to cook for him?”

“No, no. He said he knows a restaurant—”

“Then why are you asking me these questions?” he said grimly that seemed annoyed. Maybe this was terrible timing.

“I just want to know so that I would know what to eat. I want to know—”

“Wait,” he snapped. “This is ridiculous. I told you to be yourself.” He sighed. “Alright. He likes meat—mostly everything, but he doesn’t like seafood. He’s allergic to that. He prefers white wine, sometimes he wants something strong, like whiskey.”

“Too bad, I like seafood. What does he want to talk about?”

“Don’t ask him anything about his past. You can talk about anything except that.”

Whoa, that’s tough. I wanted to know him better. I guess I’ll save it for some other time then.

“Anyway, does he kiss on his first date?”

Damon gritted his teeth. “Am I supposed to know that? It’s not like I chauffeur him around while he dates. Come on, Nikki. Give me an actual question.”

“I have no more questions.” I bit my lip. “Thank you.”

His jaw tightened. “Are you really going?”

“Of course. I wanted this, and I already said yes.”

He nodded. “Be careful. One more bit of advice... Don’t let him take you anywhere but the restaurant on the first date.”


“He’s a ditch prince. Louis doesn’t cling to girls after a one-night stand.”

My jaw dropped. “Who said I’m going to have—” I cleared my throat. “Never mind. I’ll keep that in mind. Anything else?” And I always thought Damon was the ditch prince. Anyway, I should trust him.

“It’s just a dinner, Nikki. It’s not like you’re going on a trip with him.”

Louis takes a girl for a trip? That’s very romantic of him. That was something I want to look forward to.

“Fine.” I sighed in relief. “Be myself, he doesn’t like seafood, don’t talk about his past,” I repeated.

“Be perceptive, Nikki. I’m serious.”

“Thank you for this.”

Maybe asking him wasn’t a bad idea after all.


I WAS almost finished when Louis came to my desk to remind me of our dinner date. He said he was going to wait in front of the building.

At precisely twelve minutes before seven, I was able to get everything done. I stretched my arms in the air, then I pressed the pressure points of my shoulder with my fingertips. I groaned as I actually felt the pain. I was sore everywhere, especially my lower back. I was exhausted and starving. I decided I needed to advise Damon I was leaving.

I went to Damon’s office and was about to come in when I heard him laughed over the phone. Sometimes I don’t understand his mood. He was swearing at someone earlier, and now he was like watching a comedy high on sugar. To avoid seeing him play monster, I sent him a text saying I was leaving.

When I came out of the building, Louis was already there as promised. He was leaning on his white convertible Audi, but he wasn’t alone; he was talking to a blonde woman. I decided not to approach him, but he had already seen me.

“Nikki,” he called out. The blonde turned.

I smiled a little. “Hi,” I greeted back, but I couldn’t stop staring at the woman.

“Oh, is this her?” she asked, referring to me. Her smile grew wide, and it was genuine.

“Yes. This is Nikki, Demi. Damon’s executive assistant,” he introduced, then he looked at me. “Nikki, Demi’s our childhood friend.”

Our? Did he mean Damon and him?

Demi was beautiful. She had a heart-shaped face, sapphire eyes, a small nose, full pink lips, long straight blonde hair, and was curvy. Her skin was a glowing honey shade as if a goddess came down from the heavens and gave birth to her. I didn’t want to be jealous, but seeing her beside Louis made me realize how unmatched I was for him. She and Louis would make a better couple. My heart sank in insecurity.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Nikki.” She extended a hand to me. I accepted it with my sweaty palms. I almost shrank when I touched her soft hands.

Oh, she was perfect everywhere, alright! And she smelled sweet, like vanilla.

“It’s my pleasure.” I forced a smile.

“Louis told me about you just now. I didn't know you would be so pretty. I like your hair,” she complimented. I wasn’t sure if she was being serious, but I was sure she knew she was a million times more gorgeous than me. And it would be easy for me if she was a snob, but she wasn’t. She was genuinely lovely, and so was her smile.

Damn. She was definitely the supermodel type.

“Thank you. You too,” I sounded flat and fake, I almost wanted to choke. I hoped Louis didn’t notice.

He laughed softly. “I'm sorry I didn't introduce you formally. I didn't know you'll be visiting here. Nikki is the one I told you that I like.”

What? That wasn’t how I wanted to hear that. But, was he for real?

The next 10 minutes, Demi and Louis spoke about their childhood memories and dreams as if I wasn’t there. All I could do was listen. I heard Louis once wanted to become a pilot, but he was afraid of heights. Demi shared that she wanted to be a mermaid, so the three of them played in a swimming pool wearing costumes. She laughed as she described Damon’s ridiculous yellow merman outfit.

I groaned soundlessly. I didn’t want to watch them anymore. They obviously belonged to the same world. A world that wasn’t meant for someone like me. Demi was born with elegance. She didn’t need a makeover, unlike me.

“Oh, I won't be bothering you anymore tonight, I'll go to Damon,” she finally announced.

“He's still in his office,” I joined in.

She grinned sweetly. “Yeah. He knows I’m coming,” she said. “I've been talking to him the whole day.” She giggled. “I already miss him! So yeah... enjoy your date.”

So she was the person Damon was talking to? I hardly even see my boss laughing his heart out until this stunning supermodel turned up out of the blue. Demi excused herself then she briefly embraced Louis. She hugged me as well then left a gentle squeeze. Louis and I watched her as she moved away. How could her butt sway so sexily while she walked?

She's just a friend. A beautiful friend.

“Demi is beautiful,” I whispered in a rasped voice, “Can you whack me once? I haven't seen someone as beautiful as her.”

Louis beamed. “Yes, she is. She's kind and charming, but I won't hurt you for that.” He held the door open. “Ladies first.”

I stepped into the car. My mind was still filled with the walking Barbie doll. I couldn’t believe I missed all the details. She was Damon’s exact definition of a perfect woman. She was Damon and Louis’s type.

“Put your seatbelt on,” Louis said as he was setting his. He stared at me while I was gazing in an empty space.

“Oh, God! Why didn’t I see that?” I muttered under my breath.


“She's blonde and beautiful and supermodel type,” I rambled.

“What are you talking about?” Louis asked with a frown.

“Demi was Damon's first love.”

Louis nodded. “Yes, what about it?”

“And yours…”

She was the woman they had shared. I wasn’t sure, but I was hoping I guessed it wrong. But Demi didn’t look like she was that kind of woman. Was she?

After a few moments of silence, Louis spoke.

“Not anymore, Nikki.” He forced out a smile. I realized I shouldn’t have brought up the subject. I watched him as he buckled his seat belt.

“There’s another reason I came back, and Demi is not a part of it.” His tone turned serious. The tension swirled in the atmosphere in an unwanted deadly silence.

“It’s fine. Why are you telling me this?”

“I wanted to see you.”

I held my breath, unsure of what to feel. The air gave me incessant goosebumps. I didn’t know how to react, but I’m happy with what he said. I remained silent.

“After that night at the gala... I couldn’t forget about you. You’re different from any woman I’ve ever known. You captured me.”

Louis was thinking about me?

Then, Damon was wrong. Louis liked me, and he didn’t care about blondes anymore. It was the not very tall, pale, short-haired brunette woman he met at the party, and that was me. My heart lifted in bliss, but a part of me still ached.


I kept pondering of him. I got what I wanted. Louis confessed his feelings for me. But why was I letting his brother confuse me?

I smiled at Louis. “I’ve been thinking about you since that night, too.”

How would I able to forget a beautiful soul like his? He was amazing. But I knew my limits. I had always considered it was impossible to date my boss’ brother. Who would have thought he would be here? With me.

Louis beamed, showing his perfect white teeth. But, the more I looked at him, the more I saw Damon. I must be crazy.

He revved the car engine to life. “Shall we?”

I smiled.

Louis brought me to Le Noir—a formal dining restaurant five blocks away from the office. I smelled the crisp scent of cinnamon and cheese at the entrance, making me hungrier than ever.

The door attendant, in a red and black vest, greeted us warmly and spoke what I thought was French.

“Bonsoir, monsieur. Une table pour deux?” the attendant said.

“Oui, et j'aimerais avoir le steak spécial du chef Doinel, s'il vous plaît. Je vous remercie,” Louis responded, and the attendant called for a waiter and then ushered us to a reserved table.

“You speak French,” I said as we strolled into the restaurant. He chuckled sweetly.

“The perk of living in Paris for years.”

We stopped on a table close to the instrumentalists who were playing a Debussy piece. I perched on the chair and gazed at Louis who’s already watching me.

“This is nice.” I grinned.

“I thought you wouldn’t go out with me.”

“Why not?”

“I’m your boss’ brother.”

“He knows.” I looked down as I felt the warmth rushing to my cheeks. His expression brightened, amused.

“How did he know?”

“I told him.” Yet, I felt guilty for what I did with Damon.

Louis let out a soft laugh. “I should have told him first. I’m sorry. What did he say?”

“Just this. And I need his consent.” It was half true. I thought letting my boss know could somehow lessen uneasiness. It was a half-lie because I didn’t really tell him. He found it out himself and made a fuss about it.

“You don’t need his consent.” His voice was flat. “This is your personal life—” he paused. The server arrived with our dinner. He set two plates of Chateaubriand steak and a bottle of Viognier wine. I watched him as he expertly poured two glasses. I swallowed the dryness of my throat.

The server stepped aside then beamed politely. “We will serve the dessert after the meal right away, Mr. Cavendish. Is there anything else you need, sir?” he asked in his soft voice.

“Oh, none at the moment, thank you, Jamie,” Louis answered.

“Bon appetit, sir,” he saluted “and miss.” He curtly bowed and then turned away.

“I’m sure Damon won’t disagree,” Louis continued, but my gaze stuck on the delightful looking meal.


“I disagree.”

Demi shook her head as she poured whiskey in my glass. “You can’t let his happen again, Damon. You are very aware of our history.” She sat on the barstool next to me at a cautious distance. “Back then, I felt so helpless. Imagine when you look at the clock and it’s been hours in just a blink of an eye. Sometimes I wake up finding myself in another location or talking to a person I didn’t know and without having an idea what I’ve been up to. But I am thankful you and Louis didn’t give up on me.”

“It’s not your fault, Demi.” I took a gulp of my whiskey. “You can’t help it.”

“And for that, I won’t stop thanking you and Louis for the rest of my life.”

“Don’t mention it. We didn’t even do anything.”

In the past, when she spoke about her dissociative identity disorder, it’s almost painful to listen. I witnessed how she suffered, and I couldn’t do anything for her. But she was a fighter, and I admired her for that. And when she realized getting away from us would help her get better, we decided to let her go.

“But your doctor did a good job helping you.”

Demi gazed at her glass of wine. “I’m still fighting my battles, but he’s always there for me and that’s also why I married him. It’s weird, right?”

“We don’t always choose the person.”

“That’s true, and he knows our past. He’s very understanding. Coming back here isn’t easy, but my father needs me now that he has lost my mother… It’s a long story.” She sighed.

“Send your father my condolences.”

“I will.” She touched my shoulder. “So, what are you going to do now? Your brother likes her.”

“Louis told you?” I queried, confused.

“Yes, he didn’t tell you?”

“Nikki knows the company policy.” I drank the last drop of my wine.

She laughed. “You can’t possibly talk about the code of conduct right now, Damon. That can’t be your reason.”

“What could be the other reason?” I gripped my glass. “Nikki is my assistant, and I know Louis.”

“I thought you wanted to help them?”

“Yes, so she would know him better, and she’ll eventually realize that I was right. I know Louis’s type. And it’s not Nikki.”

Demi shook her head. “But that is not how I see things. Louis was looking forward to seeing her again. He told me he wants to know her a little better.”

“I can’t let them. I just can’t.” I took another shot of whiskey.

“Oh,” Demi’s eyes grew wide. She was speechless for a moment. “You like her!”

I clenched my fist. I wasn’t sure of myself anymore. “She’s my assistant, Demi.”

“Then, why did you kiss her?”

I couldn’t answer. Unfortunately, that kiss surpassed every kiss of women I screwed in the past, and I was craving for more. I wanted Nikki’s mouth on mine again.

“I know you better than anyone. We’ve been together since we were a little,” Demi said. “You can’t deny it. You like her.”

I exhaled sharply. “God, I don’t know what to do.” I wiped my face, forehead to chin. I didn’t want to ask her opinion, but I didn’t know how I would stop myself from thinking about it. It was infuriating.

“There’s nothing you can do. They like each other. You can’t change that.”

“I’m not sure if I like her. I’m just bothered.”

Demi gently patted my back. “Damon, what you can do right now is to go home and rest. Stop overthinking about it. Anyway, I have a friend in this area. I need to go, but I’ll come by again. I need to call my husband too.”

“Where are you staying? I can drop you on the way.”

“I’m fine, Damon. Really.”

“Then, maybe I’ll stay for a few more minutes. Take care, Demi.”

Demi leaned then pressed a quick kiss to my temple. “Goodnight, Damon.”


I watched Demi as she exited the door. She was right. I couldn’t get them out of my mind. I couldn’t picture my brother holding my dear assistant. I ran a finger over my lip. I could still remember how Nikki’s mouth tasted when I explored it.

This is crazy. She was driving me crazy. I was on the edge of losing my sanity over one woman.

Nikki, what have you done to me?

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