Could This Be Love? (05)

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A Story by Deborah Benson

Bad For Business

I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words how wonderful life is, now you’re in the world.

Mark had been quick to drag Kimberly and John away from the theater to the pool inside the resort. His childlike excitement was far to charming for Kim to turn him down and she doubted that Mark would have allowed John to leave them anyway. The boyish grin on John’s face at the sight of the empty pool, however, made Kim doubt he was any less excited than Mark.

It took the two a grand total of two minutes before they were in the pool, their shirts and shoes and anything that couldn’t get wet sat beside Kim on one of the lounge chairs. Kim kept herself dry, lying across a lounge chair to watch them happily.

“Come on chubby, you can’t keep up?” Mark teased John, getting himself chased across the pool only to be shoved under the water.

Kim laughed, knowing very well John was anything but fat. She couldn’t be sure why that was a sensitive spot for him, but judging from the clearly defined muscles on his chest he had no cause to be embarrassed.

It was only when John turned back to look over to Kim that she realized she had been staring. Quickly changing her focus from John’s chest to the now water logged Mark wiping the water out of his eyes.

“You alright over there?” she asked, trying to keep from getting caught.

“Oh I’m fine! He does this stuff all the time,” Mark said, shooting a smirk in John’s direction. “He eats so much he’s paranoid he’ll wake up one day weighing twice what he does now.”

“If you don’t shut up I will drown you,” John warned, a pink tint coming over his cheeks.

“No you wont, Kim would save me before you could drown me,” Mark said matter-of-factly, swimming back to the edge of the pool near Kim. ” ‘Course you’d have to come in the water for that.”

“If she doesn’t want to come in that’s fine, Mark.” John’s gaze barely managed to hide his disappointment. “Stop bothering her.”

Kim smiled, walking over to dip her feet into the pool, looking down to Mark easily. “I can’t just whip off my shirt and jump in like the two of you. I don’t live here remember? I’d rather not take a cab home dripping wet.”

With an innocent smile Mark rested his chin on the edge of the pool, his hands inching over to her wrists. “It’s fine, we can dry off your clothes back at our place. You can wear one of those fluffy resort robes if you don’t have extra clothes in your bag.”

The invitation was enticing and from the feel of the water on her feet alone Kim knew she’d enjoy a swim. The idea of walking around wherever Mark and John stayed wasn’t her favorite option, but it’d have to do.

With a small nod Kim was about to accept the invitation but before she could get a single word out Mark’s hands grasped her wrists, pulling her into the pool quickly. It wasn’t very deep so she popped back up easily, Mark’s laughter ringing in her ears as she tried to push her wet hair off her face. However, the tight ringlets sticking to her forehead with the weight of the water seemed to have other plans.

Glaring at Mark from underneath her mop of hair Kim splashed as much water as she could in his direction, eliciting laughter from behind the two of them. Turning around slowly Kim caught John laughing near the entrance to the pools hidden grotto. The way his eyes lit up when he smiled made Kim’s stomach jump, but he still wouldn’t be allowed to get away with laughing at her.

“You think this is funny?” she asked, starting to swim towards him.

John tried to stop himself, but the laughter never left his eyes even when he started shaking his head. Kim swam close enough to get ready to splash John, unable to keep from smiling herself at his annoying infectious laughter. The laughter quickly died as his eyes grew wide, staring past Kim long enough to make her turn around.

“What are you—”

Kim’s question was cut off at the sight of Mark standing beside the statue lighting up the pool. A devilish grin on his face threatening to jump into  the pool to splash both her and Joh causing them both to duck under the water to avoid him.

Once underwater Kim felt a small tug on her hand, opening her eyes to see a blurry John motioning for her to follow him to the grotto.

Quickly the two swam through a short tunnel away from Mark, popping up in a private pool large enough for only a handful of people.

Their laughter filled the small space, as the two couldn’t get the look on Mark:s face out of their heads. They were so preoccupied by their own thoughts that they barely realized just how close to each other they were.

It wasn’t until John helped Kim get the hair out of her face that the laughter stopped. Their eyes locked onto each other’s with a longing that made Kim’s heart skip a beat. All it would take would be a small tilt of the head and they would have shared their first kiss then and there. John’s blue eyes had darkened as he looked down to her, telling her she had realized the same thing she had.

Despite herself Kimberly cleared her throat, pulling them both back to reality.

“We should go back, before Mark thinks we’ve drowned.” She could practically hear the longing in her voice before quickly going back through the tunnel, hoping the water would help clear her head.

“Twenty-thousand…Twenty-five…You keep going down and I’m not sure if you noticed but that’s not getting you anywhere.”

Dakota and her booker had been dancing around price points for over an hour now. Other bidders calling in, allowing her to push the price up as the primary investor tried to keep from spending too much money. Dakota was used to these tricks however, and every time he went down she only went up.

She could tell it infuriated her booker but that only made her want to go higher.

“Chris, if your man even wants to spend time with her it’s going to cost him. Remind him she’s brand new, she could be a virgin for all we know.” Dakota smirked as the man on the other end of the phone went quiet. She knew the chances of hiring a virgin were slim to none, but just mentioning the word was enough to get the bidding back up.

” He wants exclusivity, ” the man’s voice said. ” Only him, no other clients. “

Quietly Dakota glanced over to her computer, seeing the other investors jump up their prices to keep from loosing. At this rate Kimberly would sell just as if not better than Serena did when she joined.

“I don’t like doing exclusivity, Chris. We risk a lot giving her only one client. So I’m sure you’d understand that changes things quiet a bit, he’ll have to beat out all the other offers.” ” How much? “

Dakota thought for a moment, binding Kimberly would give them a constant income, but it would all be dependant on whether or not the investor liked what they saw. For all intensive purposes having an exclusive client was the closest to marriage Dakota would be allowing her to get.

“Fifty-thousand for the initial purchase, thirty- thousand for additional nights.” Dakota could practically hear her booker’s heart stop. She hadn’t even sold Serena for that much money, but Serena’s investor wasn’t asking for exclusivity.

The line was silent while he relayed the message to the investor. The offers on her computer stopped as the men scrambled to try and find a means of beating her price. It was only when Chris returned to the phone defeated that Dakota bothered to send the other bidders away.

” He’ll take it. He’ll pay after he’s gotten a chance to meet her, ” Chris said, barely able to hide his disappointment.

“Good. I’ll be having a little party soon to introduce her to company. Bring your man along and I’ll get the two together.” Dakota smiled, making arrangements to have Kim moved into the resort as soon as possible. “And don’t worry, she wont have the slightest idea who he is. He can introduce himself on his own time.”

It had taken a decent amount of time for the trio to run up to the penthouse without getting caught dripping all over the marble floors, and the fact Mark had slipped twice on their way to the elevator didn’t help either. Miraculously they had managed to make it back without being seen by anyone who could recognize them.

Convincing Kimberly that she didn’t have to worry about ruining anything inside the penthouse on the other hand seemed to take even more time. John doubted she had expected the flat to be as extravagant as it was and as she left with Mark to toss her clothes in the wash he began to wonder if her own apartment was even as large as the penthouse.

Sitting beside full windowJohn waited patiently for Kim to return, having washed the chlorine off and changed into something more comfortable as soon as she had walked off with Mark. Staring out the window onto the city lights he tried his hardest to keep his mind from wandering back to seeing Kim in front of him in the secret grotto.

Her big brown eyes staring back at him expectantly before something pulled them both back to earth. He could have kissed her then, he wanted to kiss her then. Everything that had been running through his head seemed to be going too fast for him to make sense of it and before he knew it she was gone.

All he wanted was to think clearly enough to understand why every time they were close he felt like he could barely breath without wanting to say her name. It was intoxicating and he knew Mark had caught onto him. He could only wonder how long it would take Kimberly to find out.

“You mind if I sit down?” The soft voice pulled John out of his thoughts.

Smiling down to him was a freshly showered Kim. Her dark hair braided back to keep from dripping water all over the hard wood floor. Her arms wrapped tight around her body, keeping the soft white bathrobe from moving around too much. Despite her undone lookJohn found it near impossible to look away.

“Of course,” he said, moving over to make room for her on the window seat.

Kim sat beside him, her gaze quickly shifting from him to the cityscape outside the window. Her eyes scanning over everything as if she was afraid it would disappear the second she looked away.

“I’ve never been up this high before, you can see everything from up here,” she said in awe.

“You get used to it after a while. I’ve seen more of the city from here than in person.” John watched Kim continue to scan over everything, her entire body fighting to stay awake long enough to take everything in. “It’s not as impressive in the morning but you can see farther. The first night we stayed here Mark woke me up to watch the damn sunrise while we were still jet lagged,” he chuckled.

“I bet it was worth it,” Kim said, a yawn escaping despite her best efforts. “I’d stay up all night to just watch everything from up here.

John couldn’t help but yawn after her, smiling softly as she rested her head on his shoulder. “If you can stay up that long I’ll try to keep you company.”

Kim chuckled, leaning back against his chest without thinking much of it. John could feel his cheeks heating up at the feeling of her body against his. Carefully he placed an arm around her waist to keep her from slipping off the window seat as she watched the city below them.

“Good,” she muttered, her exhaustion from the day finally starting to set in. “I’ll call a cab once my clothes are done.”

John listened as her voice trailed off, her eyes fighting to stay open to watch the city lights twinkle. Carefully he pulled her closer, letting her head rest against his chest as he placed his chin on top of her head. He still wanted to kiss her badly but the last thing he wanted was to break her trust. With a small sigh he leaned back against the wall, holding her close, letting her relax against him as they both looked down through the window.

Bleep The clothes had taken longer than Mark told Kim they would. He had expected only a few minutes to be necessary  but the machine conveniently seemed to have problems with the dance fabric.

With the now clean clothes in hand Mark walked back out into the living room, spotting both Kimberly and John fast asleep beside the window. A small smirk crossing Mark’s lips as he placed the clothes on a coffee table, grabbing a throw blanket from the couch to drape over the two before he returned to his room. It’s about time.

…to be continued

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