Chapter One - Emma
I wish I could do something to make her smile. Or to help her get off this bed. Vicky was a mess, and I kind of knew why.
I’d known her since high school. Her and I were the inseparable twins that everyone knew about. Needless to say, I loved her to death. But I also wasn’t blind to all the shit that she put herself through for a man who didn’t deserve her.
That’s what his name was.
The most pretentious, weird sounding name that I’d ever heard. I shouldn’t have been surprised that she’d date someone named Jack Gold. He seemed to be exactly her type. Did I say pretentious? Yes, that. And as emotionally unavailable as anyone could be. At least, that’s what I gathered from all the stories she ever told me about them together.
They would decide to meet for dinner and he’d stand her up without even realizing that he’d stood her up. Being busy because you’re rich and successful is one thing. But being a total dick because you don’t have any time to spare for your special person is another.
“What do you think I should do?” Vicky finally moved her head to look at me. She was a lean and toned woman. I’d always envied her body and the way boys checked her out at pool parties. But right now, all I could see was her double chin while she whined.
“What do you mean?” I said in a soft voice, trying to not come across as too harsh, which was something I was capable of doing. “I don’t even know what’s going on with you. Do you want to talk to me?”
That was a lie. I knew exactly what was up. Jack had either not lived up to one of his empty promises or things were really on the verge of breaking up. When you’re the CEO of one of the biggest consulting firms in New York City, you don’t have the time to play games. Vicky knew that. Jack wasn’t like all the other boys who would break up and then get back together after a few days, realizing that he’d made a mistake. If he ever told her that it was over, it would mean exactly that — It was over.
“It’s over,” she whispered and I widened my eyes. Secretly, I was happy. Okay, not too happy because I was still holding Vicky’s left hand while she disgustingly blew her nose with her right one.
“You mean, you broke up with Jack?” I might have had a slight smile on my face when I asked that question because like I said, I felt like my friend deserved way better than what she had been getting. Vicky was 29 years old. Gorgeous. Talented. Educated. Kind of successful.
And I said “kind of” because she made decent money but never considered it enough. Vicky was high maintenance. She would never be happy shopping at Target and hunting for shoe deals at Payless like me. And since she wasn’t making that kind of money from her teaching job, dating a man who had substantially more money in the bank than she did seemed almost necessary.
“No, I didn’t break up with Jack,” she said, burying her fists into her soft foam mattress and sitting up straight. “He broke up with me, Emma.”
Tears started rolling down her cheeks the second those words left her mouth. “What’s wrong with me? Is something wrong with me? I gave him everything. I literally gave him everything. I worked on his schedule, sacrificed time with family to see him on evenings that were convenient for him. Where did I even go wrong?”
I didn’t have the heart to tell my friend that she was describing exactly where she’d gone wrong. One, I didn’t think she was ever really in love with the man that was Jack. Maybe the idea of him, sure. But then the entire city was in love with the idea of Jack Gold. Every man wanted to be him and every girl wanted to bag his heart. It was understandable. He was a god, and Vicky was desperate.
But I wasn’t going to be mean and tell her that. Not right now, anyway. This was my first day in New York and I was visiting to hang out with my best friend. She’d planned the whole weekend for us and having me meet Jack was part of that plan. Obviously, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything, but I did want to make sure that she at least learned from her the mistake that she’d made.
“Maybe you should make yourself less available for the next guy,” I said, pursing my lips and hoping that she doesn’t attack me for saying that. “You know, you always want what you can’t have and you were just too available for Jack. He knew he could have you no matter what he did or how he treated you. And honestly, I do think that he treated you like crap. Remember when he spent the entire date with you speaking with someone else?”
To my surprise, Vicky covered her mouth with the same right hand that had her nose germs and chucked. “Actually, I lied when I told you that he was on the phone the entire time on that date. He’d actually invited his CFO to our dinner and turned it into a business meeting.”
Her chuckle turned into a full blown laughter and I watched in horror as she grunted and fell to the side with her hand on her belly. “This is so crazy. How did -”
“What?” I shook my head, trying to fathom what in the world was happening to her.
“I should’ve been less available to him,” she managed to say. “You’re right about that. And I feel like I still have a chance to get him back.”
I slapped my forehead and refused to look back at her, so she pulled me by the wrist and forced me to. “No listen. Just hear me out. I’m meeting him tomorrow night to get some of my stuff back from his penthouse and I think I can guilt trip him into spending the evening with us. He knew that you were going to be here for the weekend and I wanted you to meet him. Jack may seem like a dick, but I think he still has a heart. He won’t refuse and I’ll just pretend like I’m no longer in love with him so he falls back in love with me. Get what I’m saying?”
Vicky snapped her fingers and pointed one directly at me while winking like an idiot. “So let me get this straight. First, you’ll convince him to spend the evening with you and come across as totally fucking desperate, and then you’ll pretend like you’re not in love with him so he can take you back? Damn Vick, you’re either dumber than I originally thought or more desperate than I’d ever imagined.”
“Both,” she almost yelled and spread her arms. “Okay? Both. You don’t know Jack. He’s literally the only man who makes me smile and makes me cum. Um, or just cum. If you knew him, you’d understand why he turns me into a desperate little thing.”
“Nothing that I say will make you reconsider your insane plan, huh?”
She filled her lungs and shook her head.
I knew in this moment that my friend needed help. Tomorrow wouldn’t be about helping her get back with her almost ex. It would be about making sure that they actually broke up and stayed broken up, which wouldn’t be so hard considering that I was positive he’d made up his mind already. I needed this leech of a billionaire out of her life and then I needed to get her to a healthy place so she felt like she was able to care for herself without the deep pockets of a man who never really cared about her.
“You know sometimes,” she started, “sometimes… I feel like you’re my mother.”
Oh, boy. I did not want to be Vicky’s mother, or anyone’s mother for that matter.
“Yeah, if you were my child, I’d kill myself.”
That came out harsher than I’d wanted it to, especially because she wasn’t in a good place today but she just laughed it off.
“I hear ya,” she said sniffling. “I can be hard to deal with. Or just, plain stupid. Jack is breaking up with me for a reason.”
“Oh, stop!” I snapped. “Stop it, already. I don’t know about anything else but you’re definitely too pathetic to deal with right now. Let’s just see what happens tomorrow, okay?” She nodded, pulling me toward her side of the bed and sitting next to me. Vicky placed her head on my shoulder as I stared at the white wall infront of us.
I tended to give a lot of myself and my mental space to other people in my life. I couldn’t help it. Having a massive Irish family means having lots of people in your business. But it also means having to support them and letting them support you.
Vicky was like family to me. She was as important to me as my own sister. Having both her and Sophia in my life had made me more patient. I was nothing like either of them, but the two of them were very alike.
“I think you should be best friends with Sophie instead,” I said. “She’d just understand your insanity way more than I would.”
Vicky lifted her head with a jerk. “What? What did you say, Em?”
“Don’t worry about it. Rest. You’ve cried enough today.”
I glanced the room looking for my phone, then slid my hand under my butt when I felt something underneath. Why did I always end up sitting on that damn thing?
If I was going to meet this sucker, I needed to know more about him. Sure, Vicky had already told me plenty, including the size of his massive dick but what she never told me about was the scandals. The tabloid crap. All the girls that he slept with, probably got pregnant, and never saw again. Lawsuits. Everything.
If I wanted going to make sure that my best friend never got back with this jerk, I needed to really know in my heart that I was doing the right thing.