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Broken Glass Part 1 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by RHunt   
Adrienne yawned as she finished writing down the notes that the professor had put up on the chalkboard. The room always smelled of cleaning agents and gym bags, two smells that were nearly complete opposites, yet every classroom in the school managed to pull it off.

The old professor stood in front of the classroom with a thick gray beard as he watched everyone write the notes down. When everyone had stopped writing and returned to him, he erased the board and wrote something else up for them to write down. It was mostly what their final exam would include so that they could study properly. She loved when professors did that for her, but today was a special day and she couldn’t wait to get out of class.

Her eyes had jumped to the clock that hung over the doorway of the classroom since she had entered. She and her friends had planned an afternoon of baseball after class and she couldn’t wait to see them all together again. She had seen the four of them together throughout the year, but they hadn’t made any solid plans for the group of them to get together.

Only five more minutes were left and then she would be dismissed from class. It was college and she could leave at anytime that she chose to, but she was trying out self-restraint. Besides, she knew that the guys wouldn’t skip their last class either.

If it hadn’t been for the four of them pushing her, she would have never made it into the same college as them. The five of them had been friends throughout childhood and the thought of leaving them to go to another school was heartbreaking. They had all worked with her day and night the last year of high school to get her straight A’s. She barely got into this school, but it was worth missing all the fun things that most high school students did.

Jumping from her seat, the moment the professor dismissed them, she ran out toward the quad. They were going to meet at a park that was walking distance from her apartment, but she would have to take the bus there. It didn’t bother her considering she had to ride the bus home from school anyway.

“Bleu!” Someone called out to her as she headed toward the bus stop outside of the campus.

She turned to smile at Lucien as he ran up to meet her. If she could claim anyone was her best friend, it would be Lucien. She chuckled as he tripped for no particular reason. Lucien had always had the girls crawling all over him when they were growing up. She had stopped befriending girls when the majority of them ended up using her to get to him.

She couldn’t deny that he was an attractive man. He had sandy blonde hair that was normally a mess, tanned skin, and the facial features of a movie stair. Lucien was an offensive tackle on the school’s football team and preferred spending his time reading than dealing with the girls. All except her, of course.

They had lived next door to each other their entire lives, which had prompted their eternal friendship. Of course, when Lucien made guy friends, she would take them on as her own friends as well.

“You looked dressed to play ball. Did you wear this to class?” He asked when his muscular form stopped in front of her.

Adrienne looked down at her attire. Jeans that were ripped in one knee, but there was a black patch underneath it. She also wore a black tank top and some dirty shoes that she normally ran in, but they had been retired. Her light auburn hair was pulled into a ponytail.

Lucien knew that this was what she normally wore, but he liked to tease her about it. He preferred to dress nice whenever he wasn’t working out or playing sports. If it wasn’t a casual suit look, then it was at least slacks and a button up shirt.

When she frowned at him, he laughed and placed his hands around her shoulder. “Wade’s car is working today, so we are going to drive to the park.”

“Were you waiting for me long?” She asked as they began to walk toward the other side of the quad.

“About an hour, but you were the dumb ass that scheduled such a late class.”

They began to walk through the crowded quad, but Lucien kept his hand around her shoulder. His tall and muscular frame prevented people from even attempting to knock them over.

The quad had always been her favorite place. It was set directly in the center of the university, even though there were other buildings that weren’t attached to it. Four buildings surrounded all four sides, except at the corners where people could pass through. A coy pond was set in the middle of it and benches were scattered around the zen-like gardens that also made up the setting. It was peaceful and if it hadn’t been so busy all the time, it would have been the perfect place to study.

“About time, Bleu.” The usually playful voice of Bastian barked, but when she looked up at him, she could see the playfulness in his eyes.

Sebastian was on the football team with Lucien, but played wide receiver. Due to his friend’s popularity with the women, he was known for being more of a playboy. Sebastian didn’t have the greatest of looks when it compared to the others, but he wasn’t ugly by any means.

“I was in class.” She informed him.

“Skip it, stupid.”

“Excuse me for caring about my higher education, unlike someone I could mention but I won’t. Bastian.” She frowned in a jesting manner.

“Ok, enough you two.” Lucien stepped in knowing that the two could go on forever. In any other situation he would have let them as the entire group enjoyed watching them trade barbs with each other. It was practically a spectator sport for them, but they had the others waiting.

“Look at that, Lucien to your rescue as per usual.” He grinned and folded his arms.

“I believe it was your rescue that he came to.”

Lucien chuckled as the other students that passed them looked at the bickering duo. “Where are the others?”

“In the parking lot, let’s go.” Bastian told him and they began to walk out of the school’s crowd.
---***---

In an office building that was a few miles away from the school sat a tall, thin, but toned man. His large office that held a conference table to the right of the room, two couches and a coffee table near the door, and his own desk and filing cabinets at the back near the windows still seemed almost empty. This was the way that he liked it though. Everything had to be open and simplistic.

Vaughn rubbed his temples as he looked over the latest reports. His black straight hair was long enough that it could get into his eyes if he didn’t style it back. His face was strong and masculine though it always looked like he was angry. He was as universally handsome as he was hated. Rich, power, and the chief strategy officer for his father’s company, he could have any woman that he wanted despite his obvious downfalls.

To him any relationship was worthless and he preferred to spend his time alone or working. There were few people that could come into contact with him and get away still intact, and even most of them were weary. He severely distrusted anyone who came into his presence, as he had dealt with enough gold diggers in his life.

Vaughn had previously been the chief financial officer, but was promoted the year before. Now his job consisted of creating strategies that brought immediate results to the company. He never minded having to make the hard decisions. Everyone in the company knew that one day he would take his father’s place as the CEO. Not even the board of directors wanted to anger him.

His slender blonde assistant stood in front of his desk as he looked over the report. The girl had made the mistake of attempting to flirt with him once, and it had almost cost her the job. Most of his assistants quit within six months, and he didn’t do well with most other employees that had prolonged exposure to him. The only people he treated well were members of the board and those he was certain were not kissing his ass.

Rubbing his chin, he thought over the words he was going to say. “We are going to have to close down a few plants and lay off some employees.” He was thinking out loud and from the tone of his voice, Kristin had learned not to say anything in return. She stood waiting for him to give her directions.

She was beginning to feel nervous as she normally did when she was in his presence this long. Moving back and forth on her feet, she attempted to relieve the pent up anxiety.

“If you move one more time, you won’t have a job tomorrow.” He told her.

Kristin stopped when most of her wait was on her left foot. She didn’t know if he would even allow her to shift back onto both feet. “May I sit down?” She barely spoke the question.

Light blue eyes flashed toward her, “You don’t need to sit down.” He informed her and turned his eyes back to the computer screen as he leaned back in his chair and folded his hands together.

The clock on his desk informed her that she had been standing there for over fifty minutes now. Worst yet, her body weight was mostly on her left foot. Could she shift over to the other foot? Would it result in her losing her job? She had heard some horror stories about the humiliation that he had put people through when firing them.

Her heart raced as she watched him place his hand on the computer mouse and scroll down the page. This was too much. Over the past four months she had been subjected to things that she knew had to warrant a lawsuit, but there had been others before her. None of them had done anything and it had always made her curious as well as more afraid of what the ramifications were.

As she stood there and tried to slowly apply more pressure to her right foot, she told herself that she couldn’t take much more of this. The man was pure evil. He didn’t care about anyone but himself. She had brought her niece in to work one day and her devil boss had made the little girl cry when she had tried to play with his glass chess set.

Every day that ticked by, she told herself that she was going to quit, but could never get up the courage to hand in the two week notice. The letter sat in her desk for a month now and taunted her every time she opened the drawer.

The floor under her made a creaking noise that forced her heart rate to sky rocket. Would he turn to her and know that she had been moving? Would he even care? He was so unpredictable. Some days he wasn’t anything close to friendly, but he was tolerable while other days anything could set him off.

Vaughn’s eyes turned to her, when she slammed the notepad and folders onto his desk.

“I can’t take this! I quit!” She yelled and ran out of the office as fast as she could with heels on.

The handsome man who sat behind his desk raised an eyebrow and wondered what had prompted that. This was one of the many reasons that he never wanted to deal with a woman; they were nuts.

With an angry grunt, he picked up his phone and pushed in a couple numbers. “My assistant just quit.” He told the person on the other line. “I don’t know, find me a new one.”

---***---
They made quick time to the parking lot and barked insults at each other before Wade’s beat up blue beetle was in view. The car had been given to him as a gift from his father who was a hobby mechanic. It was a running joke that the car had a mind of it’s own, and would only run when it wanted to.

Wade smiled as the three of them approached. He was the cowboy of the group. No one really knew why he liked to dress like one, but he had always done so. Even when they were children and trying to re-enact Star Wars, he would be there in his cowboy hat and boots. It didn’t help things that his parents had given him probably the biggest cowboy name that they could think of.

“Hey, long time no see.” Wade hugged her.

To Adrienne this man was her older brother. She remembered him getting into a huge fight that got him suspended from school when a bully tried to pick on her. It was an ongoing joke even among their parents that she and Wade would one day get married. She had the biggest crush on him when they were in middle school, and they both had experienced their first kiss with each other. However, time did what it always did and soon she was feeling more sisterly to him than anything. She knew that Wade felt the same way and there was never any words spoken to each other to explain it.

“I missed you. It’s been like six weeks, hasn’t it?” She hugged the black haired cowboy.

“About that, yeah.” He nodded.

Wade didn’t play sports and had gotten into college by his academic merits and nothing more. All the other guys received a sports scholarship.

Bastian always seemed jealous of the comfortable relationship between her and Wade, but it was mostly due to the fact that Wade and he were very close. Wade and Bastian were the other Adrienne and Lucien of the group. The two lived across the street from each other and spent almost every waking moment together when the others weren’t around.

There were a couple years in middle school when Bastian and she didn’t get along very well. It was one of the many things that occurred that prompted any romantic feelings between her and Wade to disappear. Hard feelings were quickly set aside though Bastian’s more vengeful humor was always left for her.

“Hey!” A hand smacked her on the back of the head before the owner walked by her and handed Wade a Snicker’s bar.

She shoved him when she realized who it was. Darnell was the basketball player of the group. He towered in height over her and had always enjoyed bullying her. It was never mean spirited though as Wade’s teasing could sometimes be and she had gotten used to that being their relationship.

He used to walk her home on days that Lucien had practice because he only lived two blocks away from them. When it was just her and Darnell things were different between them. They would lay out on a blanket in her yard and talk to each other about anything that came to mind.

Her fondest memory was when he had corn rows in his hair and had tried to show her how to make them, but now he had shaved his head bald. His black hair appeared to have never even existed on his chocolate colored scalp now, but she still remembered screwing with it to the point that he had to have his mother redo it that night.

“I come bearing gifts.” Darnell announced, “Slim Jim for Bastian. Skittles for Lucien.” He said as he leaned against the hood of his car.

The guys laughed when he didn’t offer anything to Adrienne. “Let’s get going.” Bastian practically ordered and they all began to climb into the little car.

As she attempted to walk around the car, a packet of honey roasted peanuts was held up in front of her. Adrienne looked over at Darnell, who winked at her, before she snatched it away from him and crinkled her nose at him in disgust.

“Adrienne should sit in the middle in the back.” Wade told them.

“We know!” The group yelled back playfully.

They had all ridden in the car numerous times before, and it had always been the same thing. Lucien, Darnell, and Adrienne in the back and Wade and Bastian in the front. Lucien and Darnell were the largest of the group, and one should have sat up front but Bastian was too stubborn to let them have it.

“Anyone hungry? Should we stop off somewhere before we head to the park?” Wade asked, once everyone was in the car.

He was very much the organizer and one could even say the mother of the group. He always looked out for everyone, reminded people of birthdays, and gave helpful advice. Every so often though, it annoyed the hell out of everyone else.

“There are hot dog stands there! Let’s go!” Darnell barked and everyone chimed in with agreement.

With a chuckle that told them that Wade knew he was getting on their nerves, he turned around to start the car. The engine didn’t even try to turn over it was just silent.

Moans echoed throughout the car as everyone but Wade filed out. “Take the bus, I guess.” Adrienne said, she wanted to get there as soon as possible.

“I can get it to start.” Wade protested.

“Forget it, man. We want to get there before nightfall. Let’s go. Bastian and I will come back and help later.” Darnell said before ruffling Adrienne’s hair and heading toward the bus stop.

Darnell could be considered the silent leader of the group. Lucien normally kept everything in order, but sometimes people would argue with him. When it came to Darnell, people just did as they were told. It wasn’t that they were scared of him, but that he just oozed leadership.

With a heavy sigh, Wade climbed out of his car and began to follow the group. He caught up to them and pulled some peanuts from the small bag that Adrienne was eating. She looked up at him with a smile when he offered her a bite of his candy bar in return.
---***---

Annoyed that his business for the day had to be ended early because he had no assistant, Vaughn packed up his briefcase to leave. He mumbled an explicative under his breath, before he headed toward the door.

“Mister Weiss?” A woman knocked on the door and nearly jumped out of her skin when she cracked it to find him standing right in front of her.

“What?” Vaughn hissed the question.

“Your assistant wasn’t answering the phone, so your father asked me to call you up to his office.”

The intensity in his face lessened when he realized that the middle aged woman was his father’s personal assistant. He most certainly didn’t want to upset her. “Very well, I’ll be up shortly.”

When the woman shut the door, annoyance flashed over his face. He absolutely hated going to his father’s office. While he enjoyed being alone and leaving all women out of his life, his father enjoyed being surrounded by them. He wasn’t going to accuse his father of placing attractive women in the positions around him, but he most certainly was surrounded by quite a few, capable or not.

Stepping into the elevator, he noticed a young woman that he recognized from accounting. She had been one of the new hires that occurred once he had left his old position. The girl was tall and lean with auburn hair and a short skirt with matching high heels.

She smiled at him, when he looked over at her out of the corner of his eye. It wasn’t to check her out, but instead to find out if she was acting as most women did. The power and money hungry look in their eyes which was normally followed by some sort of body swaying, and then finally the talking.

“Mister Weiss, I’m Janette…”

“You don’t work directly under me, so I have no need to know who you are.” He informed her and continued to stand straight as the elevator continued to the designated floors.

“Oh.” She giggled.

He felt like he was imprisoned in a large metal coffin with this woman, as he knew that would not be the end of it.

“I went to the same university as you.” She began to tell him. “There is a big picture of you and your father in the…”

“I know. I was there when they revealed it.” He grumbled.

“Oh, I always…”

Vaughn turned the face the woman, “Janette, was it?”

“Yes.” She said somewhat excited that he had even heard when she mentioned her name.

“Listen, Janette. I don’t care what school you went to. I don’t care if you saw my face every day when you were in the library. I don’t care how I may or may not have affected your life. I wouldn’t even care if the moment I stepped out of the elevator if it plunged to the bottom and killed you.” His briefcase was held behind his back as he spoke. “Correction, I would care that the elevator is now out of order. You see, Janette. I am going to walk away from you the moment those doors open and I will forget you forever before they even close. Understand?”

She swallowed, “Yes.”

He turned back around to stare at the doors. It was a long ride for the woman standing beside him, but for Vaughn it was the quietness that he had wanted all along. When the ding that she had been praying for finally occurred, he stepped toward the front of the elevator.

“Forgetting, forgetting.” He repeated as the doors opened, as soon as his foot touched the carpet outside the elevator, he announced. “Gone!”

He grinned to himself as he walked away from the elevator and headed toward his father’s office. Several workers passed him on the way, most knew not to make eye contact with him. Others would offer a brief greeting in hope that he would still become their friends. The closer he got to his father’s office the more attractive the women got, and most of them would offer him smiles.

The assistant motioned him in as he walked up, and he opened the office door to find his father sitting behind a desk. It was eerily how closely their offices resembled each other, except that his dad had a bit more color.

“Oh good, you are here.” His father waved him in. “I need your help. Do you have an hour?”

---***---
The park was beautiful as was usual for that time of year. The scents of spring filled the air and the warm weather was perfect for the sport that they had come to play. People had come out of everywhere to play at the park, as it was the perfect opportunity to enjoy nature. Immediately upon arriving, the smell of fresh cut grass had hit their noses and they had taken off for the baseball diamond.

It seemed however that many others had had the same idea as they had. The idea was passed around to join one of the other groups, but it was vetoed. The group of five had always been more interested in playing with each other than others even now in their third year of college.

Instead they had gone to the man-made pond in the center of the park and tossed the ball back and forth. Occasionally they would try to hit a soft swing with a bat, but after having to hunt down the ball three or four times they called it quits.

No one was really bothered that they didn’t play baseball as they had hoped. The real reason for seeing each other was to get together. They had been friends for almost all of their lives and the past three years had been difficult. It seemed like more of a chore to get the group together. The first two years while they were working on their associate degrees hadn’t been as difficult, but the bachelor’s degree was proving more elusive.

School and past differences were left aside as the group talked about their plans for the future, and jested with each other. No one seemed to care that four hours passed and for the most part all they had done was make fun of each other’s hopes and dreams.

Finally, it was decided that they needed to eat so Adrienne and Darnell went to find a hotdog stand. Bastian took the time to flirt with some nearby girls that were playing Frisbee with their dogs.

Lucien sat on the bench and watched as Adrienne disappeared into the distance with his other friend. Wade sat down on the bench beside him and placed his hands behind his head. “Looking into the future?”

Lucien turned to him, “Darnell and Bleu? No way.” He laughed.

“I meant watching Bleu with another man.” Wade grinned because he knew his friend had known what he meant. “You haven’t told her yet?”

“What makes you think I haven’t?”

A flash of surprise came over Wade’s hardened features. “You did? She rejected you?”

He shook his head, “I didn’t. Every time I get the nerve up to say something, she walks into view and I chicken out.”

“Hard to imagine little Bleu striking fear into the heart of a man that tackles men larger than him as a hobby.” Wade jested, “Damn women.”

“I tell myself that she’s nothing to be afraid of. I mean it is Bleu we are talking about here. Even if she did reject me, it would be nicely and the next day it would be like it never happened. I just… I… I don’t know.”

“You don’t want to be rejected.” Wade finished the thought for him. “I don’t remember it being this hard for me.”

“First of all, you were eleven. Second of all, that was hardly a relationship. The two of you held hands a couple times and shared the same sucker. Completely different scenario here.”

He laughed as he sat forward and placed his elbows on his knees, “You looking for advice, a person to listen, or a kick in the ass?”

“All of the above, please.” Lucien’s green eyes turned to him.

Pressing his lips together, Wade cleared his throat. “You need to seriously sit down and ask yourself some questions, but before I get into that let me tell you that there are other guys interested in our Bleu. You aren’t the only one wagging your tail when she walks by. So, your questions are: Can I sit by and watch Bleu with someone else? Is my friendship with her more important? Am I serious about this?”

“I’m serious!” Lucien snapped.

“For how long?” Wade had known about Lucien’s feelings since the end of high school. He felt for the guy as it wasn’t easy to take a lifetime friendship and make it a lifetime partnership. Bleu, although mostly unkempt, was a beautiful girl and if she didn’t turn heads with her looks, she certainly did with her personality.

“What if I have been firmly established in the brother zone?”

“Then disestablish yourself or get used to it.” Wade barked, but it wasn’t meant angrily just to drive home his point. “Now are you going to tell her or not? Because I don’t think I can hold back a few of my friends much longer.”

“Fine, I’ll tell her tonight when I walk her home.”

“Are you really going to?” He asked with disbelief in his voice and pulled down his sunglasses so he could look Lucien in the eyes.

“I will!”

“Luke?”

“I will, god damn it!” Lucien laughed when Wade pushed his glasses back up almost robotically and leaned back on the bench.

“You god damn well better or else; I will unleash the flood.” He teased.

“Shut up.”
---***---

“How many is that in the last year?” Vera threw back some black hair that had fallen over her shoulder as she picked up her glass of wine.

“Just three.” Vaughn told his sister.

“Just three!” She repeated back with laughter before she took a sip of her red wine.

Vera still lived with their father in the family mansion, though Vaughn had rented himself a nice apartment. He had always hated all the help wandering around all the time and going through his things. When he turned sixteen, he had convinced his father that he was mature enough to live on his own.

They sat in the well lit television room that came complete with a bar and home theater system. Vera had redecorated the room not long ago to more earth tone colors of light browns and greens, plus she used dark woods lightly. His sister had started her own business for interior design years ago, but it didn’t do well and she had returned to working for their father’s company taking his old job of chief financial officer.

Vaughn loved his sister and she was probably the only woman that he could stand. Not that males did much better in his presence either. Everyone seemed to have something to gain when they realized who he was. He hated dealing with people. He was a loner who did his job and enjoyed living in solitude. There were few people that he cared about and that was the way that he enjoyed life. No mourning or wishing that more people liked him. His father had always told him some people were just meant to enjoy solitude and if he did, he shouldn’t apologize for it.

“You are thirty one years old, Vaughn. You need to start acting like it.” Vera told him as she set the wine glass down on the dark wooden surface of the coffee table. She pulled her feet up on the couch and pushed her cold toes under his bottom.

“And how am I not acting like it? Last I checked I wasn’t living with my father still.”

She smirked, “You always jump right to that, don’t you? Being a grown up doesn’t just mean living alone. What I meant was that you should start treating people with respect. I mean look at me. Once I took over finances, there were less errors and complications. People aren’t afraid of me so they don’t feel pressured. Stressed people make mistakes because they are afraid that they will.”

Vaughn snorted in disgust at her suggestion.

“And the last girlfriend you had…” She tapped her finger against her chin, “Who was your last girlfriend?”

“Alicia.”

“Get out!” She pulled her foot from under him and kicked his thigh, “Alicia, the girl that I hired as the assistant interior designer? That one.”

“Yes, that one!” Vaughn snapped and grabbed his sister’s wine glass and downed the entire glass. If he was going to listen to her bitch about him then he wasn’t going to be sober.

“Vaughn, that was…” She began to count on her fingers. “That was almost five years ago and as I recall you terrified her so much that she got a restraining order. Did I beg you to date her?”

He grinded his teeth together as he sat back on the couch and placed his feet on the coffee table. “I didn’t like her anyway. Women in general are trouble, all of them are money grubbing whores. I prefer not to associate myself with them.”

“That’s a nice attitude. I’m glad Saul doesn’t think that way.”

“Saul is the male version of that, you just don’t see it!”

Vera kicked her older brother again, “Don’t talk about my boyfriend and your best friend that way or do I need to remind you that he is one of the few people that you can’t scare away?”

Saul also worked at their father’s company and had been his friend since Vera was nothing more than an annoying sister. Vaughn could still remember Saul helping him toss Vera out into the hallway when she was eight and wanted to listen to music with them. Now, he was planning on getting engaged to that annoying pest that was also his new best friend. It was funny how time turned a sibling from enemy to friend.

“He knows what I think about him.”

She shook her head in disbelief, but after a few moments began to giggle.

“What?” Vaughn stared at her.

“Maybe if you got a girlfriend and… ahem… relieved your pent up…”

“Vera!” Vaughn shouted surprised that his sister would even attempt to talk about sex with him, but his shock soon passed as he smirked. “I said I didn’t have a girlfriend. I never said that I didn’t have a use for girls.”

“You aren’t picking up random girls and taking them home, are you?” She dropped her feet to the ground and stared at him. “Vaughn, in this day and age of disease, you can’t…”

“Hmm.” He stood up and looked down at her with a grin. “Matter of fact, I think I am going to try the lottery again tonight. I might get an STD, I might not. Want to place a wager?”

She slapped his knee, “Don’t sleep around. That’s gross.”

Grabbing a pillow off the couch, he leapt toward his sister and thrust her backward as he shoved the pillow over her face. She wailed around a bit, and when he finally let her up she threw the pillow at him.

“Jerk! I am not twelve! You can’t do that to me anymore!” She screamed as he began to walk out of the room.

“I just did.” He told her as he left.

Vera found as she stared at the door her brother had just walked out of. She hadn’t heard him laugh or seen him smile in years. There was no real reason for it as nothing traumatic happened to him, and their father had told her that some people are just that way. Even if it was still Vaughn’s way she missed seeing him happy. Smiles were just a motion on the outside and never really told the truth of what was on the inside, as she knew her brother was happy with his life, but she still missed seeing the proof.

---***---
Adrienne giggled as she and Lucien walked down the sidewalk toward her apartment building. He was trying to balance the baseball on the back of his hand but was failing miserably. The two talked as most friends did about random topics including movies and sports.

The others had gone back to the school to help Wade with his car. Lucien had chosen to walk her home, which wasn’t unusual. Adrienne always felt like the little sister of the group as the boys always ensured that someone walked her home and basically held her hand throughout life. She had several boyfriends in her past and if they didn’t pass inspection with the guys then they were history. Not that she dumped them, but admittedly it was intimidating to be around the four when they disliked a person.

“I hear that some guys are after you.” Lucien asked as he walked up ahead of her and tossed the ball to her to play a light game of catch.

The area they were in now was more ritzy than the neighborhood that she lived in, and she didn’t feel comfortable tossing the ball around all the nice cars. She was certain that any cars that were parked on the street were just visitors, as the apartments had their own parking garages. Trees were planted every few feet to give the entire street a more nature like feel and privacy hedges filled up what the fences missed.

She enjoyed walking through the area and imagining that one day after college, she would live in a beautiful area like this. One day, she would be the one driving the BMW and yelling at kids playing with a baseball too close to her car.

She tossed the ball back to Lucien as gently as she could. “There are?” She asked as she watched him head out into the middle of the street, so they could toss the ball more freely.

“That’s what Wade said.” He told her as she came out into the street with him. There was hardly any traffic there, so it was relatively safe to toss the ball back and forth.

“Then he knows something that I don’t.” She caught the return ball with her bare hand and felt the sting immediately. “You threw it too hard!”

Lucien smiled and put his catcher’s glove on. “I didn’t realize you were that much of a wimp. I’m sorry, should I throw it underhand next time?”

Pressing her lips together, she pulled on her glove and tossed it back at him as hard as she could. They began to play a game that was common to their friendship where they would see whose hand would hurt worst and would stop. The ball was passed between them for a good minute and Adrienne’s hand was beginning to feel numb. She always lost this battle, but played with him anyway in hopes that one day she would win.

She wanted to win this time, so she mustered up as much power as she could and threw the ball. Unfortunately, it was all power and no direction as the ball soared over Lucien’s hand. He wouldn’t have been able to jump to catch it had he wanted to.

“Shit!” Lucien yelled as it flew past him and a few moments later they both cringed as the sound of glass shattered echoed down the street.

“Was it a car?” Adrienne asked as she ran up the street to stand beside him.

“No, it was that window over there.” He pointed to the second story of the building that was to his left.

“How the hell did it get up there?” She ran to the sidewalk next to the apartment complex.

“I think it bounced off the tree over there and into the window. You threw it too high, stupid.” Lucien gently smacked her on the back of the head.

She sucked on her bottom lip, “I should go leave my name and number so I can pay for it.”

“I started this, I’ll pay for it.”

Adrienne mouth slightly dropped open, “No way in hell! I will let you take the blame for this. You’ll make me pay you off for years!”

“I…”

“No!” She began to trot toward the fence gate to find the apartment entrance.

Lucien appeared behind her when she got to the door, but they were locked and only operable by either contacting the apartment building with the intercom or using what looked to be some sort of security card.

She didn’t know which apartment that she had thrown the ball through, so using the intercom was out of order. There was a button that went to the doorman that was sitting at the front desk just inside the extravagant looking lounge. It was hard to see the details through the tinted glass, and since there was a button she doubted beating on the door to get the guy’s attention was proper etiquette.

Pressing the button, she waited for him to respond. The older sounding gentleman began to speak, “Yes, how can I help you?”

“Hi, my name is Bleu Collier. I was out on the street and I accidentally threw a ball through one of your tenant’s windows. I was wondering if you could get your manager so that I could offer to pay for it.” She continued to hold down the button as per the instruction on the sign next to the system.

“Apartments are privately owned, any damage done is the responsibility of the owner.” The doorman told her.

“Can you help me figure out who it is, so I can give them my number for repairs?”

“I can not give out information on who lives in which apartment, but you can leave your name and number with me and I’ll ensure that they get the information.”

“Oh, ok.” She pulled her backpack off to find a piece of paper, and began to write down her cell phone number. When she was done, she pressed the button again. “I have the number, do you want to come and get it?”

“There is a letter drop next to the intercom button, it says front desk over it. Drop it in there, please.”

She began to look around, “Ok, thank you.”

Lucien pointed out the mailbox to her, and she slid the piece of paper inside. When she was done she turned to him with a smile, “You want to get ice cream together at that shop near my place?” She asked as she pulled her backpack on.

“Actually, why don’t I take you out to dinner? Those hotdogs weren’t enough for me.”

She gave a nod, “Sounds good, let’s hit a bar afterwards.”
---***---

Vaughn looked at his watch as he got out of his black Lexus convertible and walked around to the other side of the car to let his ‘date’ out. The slender, long legged blonde stepped out of the car and offered him a smile with her bright red lips. They began to walk toward his apartment building as she seemed to be inspecting it.

He knew what she was thinking. This woman was trying to get a feel for how rich he was, because outside the business world his name wasn’t known. Had he informed her of the name of his family’s company, she would have known right away and been all over him. However, he wasn’t looking for a week long girlfriend as he did at times. Tonight, he was just interested in one thing and as soon as it was over the girl was going to find herself on the outside of the building she was inspecting so hard.

Passing his card through the electronic device, the doors made a clicking noise to notify him that it was open. He pulled the door open to allow her to enter first. A young looking doorman, who normally arrived for the night shift around eight, smiled at them as they entered. The kid had been around long enough to know what Vaughn expected. He was to hand him his mail and send him on his way, and that was exactly what he had done.

As he and his date got onto the elevator, he heard the doorman call out to him as if he had forgotten to say or give him something, but Vaughn didn’t care at the time.

“This is a nice place.” The sultry blonde said as she leaned against the back of the elevator.

She was a little more trashy than he liked, but that was what he got for being so picky that evening. He had already forgotten her name, it was useless information. Besides with a girl like this, he could call her anything he wanted and she would be too blinded by the dollar signs in her eyes to notice.

“What is it that you said you do?” She was trying to figure out how far up the ladder he was.

“I didn’t say, but I’m a strategy officer for a local business.” He was understating his duties, but the last thing he needed was for this woman to think she caught the big one.

“Oh, sounds boring.”

“It is.”

She giggled, “Must make you a lot of money.”

The elevator doors opened and they stepped off. Vaughn had chosen not to ask her the last question. He called this type of girl a trash bag as he was meant to toss his waste inside and then throw her out. She didn’t need to know anything about him, nor did she need to feel that he cared about anything she said.

Getting to his apartment door, he unlocked it with the same card and allowed her to enter in first. As he shut the door behind him, he turned on the lights and watched as she began to check over his apartment.

Vaughn was very proud of his apartment, not only for how gorgeous it was, but for the deal that he got on it. Vaulted ceilings added to the open area feel, granite kitchen tops, and a large balcony complete with a garden that someone else took care of were just a few of his favorite things. The building had it’s own maid service that came up twice a week, but always seemed to mess with his things to the point that he had to scold them.

He kept all the furnishings in mostly white and beige, but his sister had come along and thrown in a few pieces of color. His bedroom was about the same size as the large living room that had more space than he knew what to do with. Everything about his apartment was well loved.

“What happened in here?” The woman asked as she stepped into his living room.

Vaughn, curious as to what she was talking about, walked up behind her. His large picture frame window that looked over the street was shattered and glass shards covered the floor. The glass coffee table also have a severe crack in it, but what nearly made his heart stop was the statue that once sat in it’s middle. The little Mayan statue was destroyed and shattered to more pieces than his window. In the center of the living room chaos was a baseball.

The ball had broken through the window causing a blanket of glass to cover his couch and then crashed into the coffee table, most likely hitting the statue first as there was a large splintering effect on the coffee table where the statue had once been.

With his face turning red, Vaughn marched out of the apartment and found his way to the elevator. As soon as the doors opened, the doorman came running around the counter with a piece of paper in his hand.

“Mister Weiss, I wanted to tell you. Someone broke your window and they left their number.” He held out the ripped piece of binder paper.

Vaughn snatched it away from him and looked at the name and number. “Get someone up there now to clean that mess up and put plastic over the window.”

“Uh, that was another item that I was supposed to give you.” He offered him the envelope in his other hand.

It was a letter addressed to Vaughn Weiss from the management. He tore open the letter to read about the multiple complaints and abusing reported of their staff. It was deemed that he would no longer receive maid service in his apartment. Without a word spoken to the doorman, he charged back into the elevator and into his apartment.

“Hey, sweetie, everything alright?” The woman asked him, she was still standing where he had left her.

Grabbing her arm, Vaughn yanked the now screaming woman toward the door and tossed her into the hallway.

“What the fuck?” She snapped as the door was slammed in her face.

---***---
Adrienne walked side by side with Lucien as they headed down the sidewalk to her apartment. After they had enjoyed a meal together and went to the local bar, they had decided to call it a night.

“Are you sure you can make it home tonight? You can crash on my couch.” She offered him.

Lucien shook his head as he didn’t want to take that offer and then have her reject him in the next moment. He had been thinking about how he was going to explain himself to her the entire evening. It had been Adrienne that decided they needed to leave and go home, otherwise he would have continued to buy himself time. “I need to have on clean clothes for school tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow is Saturday, no school.” She informed him as they continued to walk, “You drank quite a bit, I don’t think it would be good for you to go home on your own. The buses are down, so you would have to call a cab anyway.”

He pressed his lips together, “We will see when we get there.” He just wanted to stop her from continuously asking him. Once she got an idea in her head it seemed that she wouldn’t lay it to rest until she got her way.

“Ok, we are here.” She said as she stopped in front of the fence that gated the small complex. There was no reason for the fence as there were no gates to close them off, just wide open spaces for cars to pull in and out of. The building itself looked alright from a distance, but once one was close enough rust on the windows and a bad paint job was more than obvious. “So, what is your answer?”

His heart raced as he tried to find the words to tell her. After promising Wade that he would say something tonight, he knew he couldn’t back down. Once Wade heard that he chickened out, he would tell the other guys and they would make him suffer some sort of humiliation. Broken promises had never been permitted in their friendships and punishment was severe or at least very humorous.

“We’ve been friends all our lives, haven’t we?” He finally started.

“Ever since you moved next door to me, but since we were three when it happened then all our lives sounds right.” She chuckled. “Are you afraid to be in my apartment alone? I’m not going to paint a mustache on you or anything. Geeze, you would think you could trust me.”

Lucien chuckled and looked at the woman in front of him who leaned against the black iron fence with a dead bush behind her. “Bleu, I think we should talk about… about our friendship.”

“Did I do something wrong?” She stood up straight.

“No, nothing like that. It’s just…” He stopped speaking when the theme from Indiana Jones began to play.

“One second.” Adrienne pulled her cell phone from her pocket. “Hello?”

“Is this Bleu Collier?” An angry male voice asked. Though on the other end of the line, Vaughn was surprised to hear a woman’s voice. He had expected a young boy.

“Yes, this is Bleu. Who is this?” She looked at Lucien, who seemed to be impatiently waiting.

“Vaughn Weiss, you threw a baseball through my window.” He was getting annoyed by the fact that she didn’t seem to be expecting his call. It never crossed his mind that it was nearing midnight.

“Oh! I am so sorry about that. I’ll pay for the window’s damages.”

“You…” He stopped himself from getting angry as the girl had just nonchalantly shrugged off what she had done. “There are more damages then just the window. You broke my coffee table and an expensive antique as well.”

A lump caught in her throat, “I see. How much is that going to cost to repair?”

“The antique is shattered to pieces, it can’t be repaired. I would estimate damages to around ten thousand dollars.”

She began to cough on the other end, which brought a smile to Vaughn’s face. He wanted this little bitch to suffer for the inconveniences that she had caused him and so carelessly shrugged away.

“Ten thousand dollars?” Adrienne was able to say.

Lucien raised an eyebrow as he suspected that he knew what was going on, but couldn’t be certain.

“When should I expect the payment?” Vaughn asked.

“Mister Weiss, was it?” She began to nervously play with her face, which told Lucien that she was becoming stressed.

“Yes.”

“I… I don’t have that kind of money. Don’t you have insurance for that kind of thing? I mean if the statue is that valuable, you should have gotten it insured, right?”

“I don’t need a lecture on insurance from you. You broke it and you get to pay the price. Now you can pay up or I can see you in court!”

Adrienne’s heart throbbed, “I am so sorry, Mister Weiss. I really don’t have that kind of money and I have no way of coming up with it. Can we meet tomorrow and talk this through?”

“I am in an apartment with glass shattered all over my living room and an open window! I want to know that this is settled!”

“I’ll clean it all up tomorrow for you!” She began to beg as Lucien crossed his arms and watched her.

“My window is broken! Who is going to take care of that this late at night?” Vaughn yelled.

“How about I come over now and clean it up? I know a place that sells some plastic sheets along the way, it won’t take me long to get there. What apartment number are you in?”

A grin crept over Vaughn face when he realized that he had succeeded in getting what he wanted. “Two Twelve. I want to go to bed soon, so get here quickly!”

“I’m on my way!” She hung up the phone and looked at Lucien. “I am in so much trouble.” She cried. “The baseball broke a statue and he says that I owe him ten thousand dollars.”

“Make sure you get proof of that. He could just be trying to get money out of you.” Lucien warned.

She nodded her head, “I have to go over there and clean up the glass. I…”

“I’ll come with.”

“No. This is my fault, I’ll take care of it. Here.” She pulled her apartment key off her key ring. “I’ll be back soon.” With that she took off down the street.

Lucien’s body lost all of his tenseness and he kicked the ground beneath him, before he headed up to her apartment.
---***---
Vaughn put down his coffee cup and the business file that he was reading on the kitchen table and grinned when he heard the intercom beep. It had taken her twenty minutes to get there, but it was worth it if he didn’t have to pick up the broken shards. He could have hired a maid service from elsewhere to come in, but this girl had cost him an enjoyable evening with a bar slut. Anyone who made him lose his temper was free game for punishment.

“What?” He asked as he pressed the intercom button. There was a video camera where he could see the person, but he found it to be too much work to turn it on.

“This is Bleu.”

“It’s been twenty minutes!” He snapped.

“I had to stop off and buy some plastic plus I didn‘t know if you had a hammer and nails so I bought those too, but then I realized that I should probably buy thumbtacks instead. I had to go back into the store to get...”

“Shut up, just come up.” He pressed the button next to the intercom that would unlock the doors downstairs, then unlocked his own door and left it open a crack to suggest to her that she should enter.

Walking back into the kitchen, he sat down at the table and picked up the file to start looking over it. After a couple minutes, he heard the door slowly open.

“Hello?” She called out. “It’s Bleu Collier. I just talked to you on…”

“Just get to work!” Vaughn snapped.

Walking into the large hallway, Adrienne was surprised to see how large the apartment actually was. She knew the building was huge, but her apartment alone was the living room. “Wow.” She said to herself in amazement as she walked down the hall and toward the voice. She dropped her backpack next to the wall that entered into the living room.

The kitchen was connected to the living room through a small breakfast bar and she could see a man sitting at the far end of the kitchen with his back to her. She couldn’t tell much about him except that he had black hair and was more slender than her guy friends.

“Any pieces of the Mayan statue that you find should go into the plastic bag I left on the counter.” Vaughn told her.

She jumped a little when he spoke, “How will I know what is statue and what is glass?”

“The statue is brown and white, glass is clear.” He spoke condescendingly.

Picking up the baggy from the breakfast bar, she turned around to face the window. “Where is your broom and vacuum?”

“In the hallway closet.” He pointed with his thumb behind him.

She didn’t know if there was a hallway in the kitchen that lead elsewhere, or if he meant the hall she had come from. She shook off the first thought, because then the hallway would have lead to the other side of the building, where she knew another apartment was. There were only two apartments per floor and the kitchen wall touched with the outside hallway.

Making her way back down the hall, she opened one door to find a bathroom. The tub actually went into the ground and there was only a small lip. The large room reminded her more of ancient Rome then a modern day bathroom. Of course, the toilet gave away what the real era was.

She shut the door and tried the next door and this time found the closet. It was a walk in closet and she could see the broom and the vacuum in the back. Shelves held towels and there was even a window in the back of the closet to let in light for who ever was doing laundry, as the washer and dryer were against that particular wall.

Grabbing the broom, dust pan, and vacuum, she headed back out into the living room. When she looked into the kitchen, the man was gone. She decided that he wasn’t interested in interacting with her and went to work on cleaning up the small pieces of glass that the window had shattered into.

Vaughn was in his bedroom and smiled when he heard glass pieces being moved around. This was just his luck, whenever a mess in his life happened he always convinced someone else to clean it up for him. Grabbing the laptop from his desk, he went back into the kitchen. He didn’t know this girl and he wasn’t going to leave her alone with his things.

When he walked through the living room by means of the hallway that was on the opposite side of the entry hall, he looked at the girl that was leaned over the couch with the vacuum hose in hand. He couldn’t see anything from her jean covered behind and shook his head at her.

Stepping into the kitchen he sat back down and began to work. He normally didn’t bother with work at home, but he needed something to make himself look busy so that he didn’t have to mess with this woman. He had hoped that Bleu would be a man, but that was what he got for hoping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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