"The girl is trouble! She's bad news! She will be the end of me! I really don't know what we'll do with her in the future!"

Oh dad… poor, lovely dad, Nicky thought as she was getting undressed. You were so right. Where there's trouble, I'm bound to be around.

"I hope you're happy with all this, Nic."

Talking to herself was something she would laugh at a year ago. Right now, though, it seemed normal. She wasn't certain about anything anymore and hearing the words, might actually help her accept the facts.

"Then again, I always had a talent in attracting trouble."

'Look at you' she silently commanded herself. 'A woman of 30, yet acting like a teenager. Think of all the hard work you have done and the difficult times you had to go through your life, to reach this point. Most women would die to be in your place and you… You just feel empty and lost… and blue. Unloved. Non-existent…'

'Get a hold of yourself, girl! This is life after all… and life is beautiful.'

"Yeah right!" she murmured as she was walking away from the mirror.

"At least I can still look at myself in there! It's not as if I am a murderer or anything!" she sat on her old rocking chair.

Everybody is entitled to their own mistakes, Samantha had once told her that. Wise old times friend, Sam. How much she wanted to talk to her right now. But no! She couldn't do that. Because she had lied to Sam as well. One more person she loved the most, yet again one more person she had to lie to and eventually end up hurting.

She took her clothes off in a second and stepped into the shower. "I just need some rest. I need to relax and start thinking of what to do next." 'After all, it's not the end of the world. I'm just getting married!' she thought and that thought only, made her shiver. 'I am marrying someone who doesn't love me, obviously doesn't like me and if he had the chance he would gladly strangle me!'

"Aaaah!" she sighed to herself as she was rubbing the soap against her flesh. "Ain't love grand?" she smiled ironically.

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"I swear to God, if she tries anything smart I'll kill her!" his eyes were almost out of their sockets from anger.

"Relax man! She is smart indeed. She knows how to act and certainly is loved by everyone around you guys!"

"I knew she was going to be trouble since the first time I saw her!" he felt his blood climbing up his forehead while he blew the horn of his car frantically.

"Alex, relax for God's sake! I just cannot understand why you hate her so much! After all, this theatrical idea was yours! Don't forget that! She had nothing to do with it. At the end of the day, if you consider everything, you only have to win things from the whole situation and she gets nothing! You put her to that, against her will!"

"No, Steve! You're wrong there! The idea was not mine. I just consented to it. I never ever wanted her in this game and to put things in a whole new perspective, she could always refuse the idea! I still don't know why she accepted." He kept clutching the steering wheel like his life depended on it.

"I've been wondering the same thing and the only answer I could come up with, is because she is nice and kind and thoughtful." His voice lower now.

'Moreover, she is desperately in love with you, but that's something totally different and we shouldn't discuss it now' Steve thought to himself.

"Why don't you take her then?" Alex's reply was dripping with sarcasm.

"Ha! I only wish! If you take a closer look at her, she is so…" Steve smiled knowing that he was pushing his friend to his limits. But, Alex deserved that. He was really nasty with Nicky this morning.

"Hey! Watch it! You are talking about my future wife!" clearly Alex was on the verge of a stroke by now.

"Hahaha… My friend you are a total loony! You don't even like her and you are suddenly protecting her?" his hand patted his friend's shoulder in a supporting way. 'God knows they will both need the support' he thought.

"I am not protecting her. I don't like her, but she is going to take my name and be my wife, even for a little while. Noone is taking advantage of my wife. Even her!" his words were true, they both knew that. Nicky might seem to infuriate Alex most of the time, but at the end of the day, she was his fiancé and a true asset if anyone asked Steve and everyone else around the couple.

"That's nice to hear! For a change…" Steven was glad Alex felt this way. Even for a little while.

The car stopped by the pavement and the two men exited it, heading towards the house that was standing at the top of the hill.

((()))

((()))

"Seriously now, Nic! Have you ever seen a more perfect body than his?" The two women were staring at the man in the suit eating his lunch at the restaurant opposite the park. Having lunch at the park whenever they had some free time was something almost sacred. Like a ritual. They couldn't see each other very often, so times like these, were precious for the two of them.

"Seriously? Naaaah! He is perfect in any way! Don't you agree?" Nic was trying to eat her giant choco donut and speak at the same time. She was a master at eating and talking at the same time.

"Mmmm" Sam agreed while trying not to miss even a tiny piece of the truffle spread over her donut. "He is a God! How does he do that?"

"He is perfect and he knows that!" Nic could only agree.

"He is a master indeed! Full of pride, in a good way of course, and a womanizer! Seriously, I bet he has slept with the country's half female population!" she made a mock frown.

"I don't know Sam. I think that he has slept with the country's whole female population!" Nic was laughing hard.

"He deserves that, I guess. He is mature, gorgeous, and a powerful businessman! After all, he's the perfect bachelor! It's expected that he would change his women like his shirts!" she hit Nic's shoulder with hers, trying to distract her from her sweet.

"And how much we would like to be one of his shirts right?" Nic was smiling mischievously at Sam. They always thought this way about him, although they knew that he probably wasn't at all like that. It's not an easy thing being THAT man, they used to say to each other whenever they had that kind of discussion about him.

"I'm just curious to see who he's going out with now."

"I'll tell you who he ISN'T going out with and that would be… me." Nicky pointed her thumbs towards herself, snickering.

"What can mother nature create when she feels good! At high school, he wasn't all that hot as you may already know. He was ok I guess. Of course, his family name was enough to give him all the attention, but he was very reserved, quiet almost." Sam explained.

"I would have never guessed. I mean, I knew of Alex the heartthrob, but since I was a freshman, all the info I got to know from your year and the people in it, was all the usual gossip going around… he's rich, handsome, popular blah, blah, blah…" she silenced abruptly as she was trying to remember him back then.

She was the usual nerdy and loner freshman and her only friends were Sam, of course, and the few guys from the math club, the chess club and the astronomy club.

'God, I was a nerd back then' she thought to herself and smiled inwardly.

"Not at all!" Sam exclaimed! "You must have been in a different school, girl! He was calm and composed and a man of few words… reserved… of course he did have his crowd, but he wasn't an ass, as many would think."

"I don't know Sam… I only met him a couple of times over the years in that hell hole and I wasn't even crushing on him like I do now" she flushed a bit, biting her lower lip. "If you say he was cool, then I have to take your word for it…"

"Yes. He was just another guy. No jock, no nerd, no playboy. His older brother was an ass though. Very annoying and totally opposite to Alex. I think he used to make Alex's life difficult." she wrinkled her nose.

"Yes, yes… His brother, I remember…" 'All too well' she thought…

She was hurrying to get to PE one day and the klutz she was, she didn't notice anyone coming from the other side of the corner, and she collided with Jack Gordon. Of course, she knew who he was and hurried into getting up and apologizing profusely to him. The ass he was, he called her a geek and told her that she had made him fall and dust his shoes, so she had to kneel down and dust them off… preferably with her shirt. As if, was her answer and he started pushing her around and calling her names.

Until, Alex showed up and told his brother to take it easy. Jack glared at Alex and started saying something along the lines of shut-up-you-little-punk-I'll-take-care-of-you-later. Alex helped Nicky get up and before his brother started messing with him; he turned to her and told her to go.

And that, was her first encounter with Alex Gordon. For days later, she was trying to find out if he was at school or if he was hurt. After all, he did help her and she had to thank him. She couldn't find him anywhere and she knew that it wouldn't be wise to start asking questions about him around. The incident was not seen or heard by anyone else, but the three of them, so she chose to keep it that way.

Two months later, she saw him at an art exhibition she was forced to attend with her parents. He was there with his family. She saw him and felt the need to go and talk and finally thank him. She excused herself from her company and started walking briskly towards him. He noticed her coming and he didn't move to leave… Good omen she thought. As she was nearing him, smiling her best smile, she noticed Jack appearing from behind Alex. She stopped smiling and of course, a few steps away from Alex, she turned around and walked away. Good Nicky! Very good!

And that, was her second and last encounter with him. If it can, even, be called an encounter. After that, high school was pretty much hell for her and she must have been one of the few that thought she was so glad it was over! She never saw or heard him since then. Except, of course, from the press articles now and then and the city gossip about him and his family.

"Hmm… that explains his lifestyle today… although we really don't know his lifestyle, right?"

"Mmm… maybe." Sam was staring ahead. "I haven't seen him or talked to him since high school, but I'm guessing he's different, but not that different. He just blossomed into this gorgeous man!"

"I think he's easily the most handsome man I've ever seen!" Nicky sighed.

"Come on miss love-struck, let's head back. It's getting colder out here."

((()))

((()))

Those were the days! Nic thought to herself. Every minute spent with Sam was a joyous one. Friends and neighbors since childhood, they were more like sisters. It was like one was completing the other. They spent hours on talking about boys and other girly stuff. They went through high school together, although never actually together due to Sam being a bit older, still, they shared their disappointment when they had their first crushes and later at university, they just couldn't stop sharing the same agony if they will ever find THE ONE. Sam found her one and only some years after graduation. She was happily married now and expecting her first child. Nicky had two long-term relationships in her life but they both failed badly.

'Oh Sam, how much I miss you!' Nic was about to cry as the phone rang.

"Hello?" she tried to steady her voice. Whoever was on the other line didn't need to witness her whining.

"Hi darling!" the voice was calm and soft. A voice she would recognize everywhere and all the time.

"Hi Mary! How are you? Is everything alright?" she started playing nervously with her dark brown hair, fidgeting and afraid that the woman on the other line could actually see her somehow.

"Yes, all is right. I just called to invite you for dinner tonight. Can you make it?" she sounded like she wasn't really expecting the young woman to say no.

"Ummm. Sure." She was still playing with her hair.

"Are you sure? You don't sound certain."

'You have no idea' Nicky thought.

"Yes… umm… no… I mean, yes I am sure I can come for dinner, and no everything is alright." She decided that it really wasn't Mary's fault, her son was an ass to her this morning. She couldn't let her take the blame.

"I'm glad to hear that! I don't want my daughter in law to be sad about anything. Especially now with the marriage is coming up! See you tonight honey!"

"Bye Mary!"

'I want to die! Why do I always get in situations like this one? She is so nice to me, and I am lying to her. Every single minute, of every single hour, of every single day. I am horrible!' Nic was hysterical now.

'I have to learn to say NO, for God's sake!' she threw her arms in the air.

'Okies. I will wear my biggest smile and bring in dessert tonight. It won't be that hard! She will make the night beautiful and easy… and if God loves me, he will not be there. Cause he might have another date with that awful, cold-blooded bitch from hell!'

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Hey guys! This is my first story, so please be gentle. :)

The texts in italics are refering to situations happened in the past and the symbol ((())) will be at the beginning and end of them.

Please, tell me what you think of it... Good? Bad? Should I continue?