Chapter Three

-

The first morning in our new apartment was amazing. One whole wall of my room was covered with windows that showed the whole of downtown. It filled me with an amazement to see the city in this whole new light. The sun seeped into my room as I rose from the bed. I stepped over to the window and looked out and down the street. It was still kind of early, that much I was sure of but when I looked at my alarm I saw that it was just shy of seven.

Yawning I grabbed my silk robe and wandered into the washroom that I share with Haze. I washed my face and freshened up with a laziness I hadn't been able to indulge in, in a long time. With a contentedness I never thought I'd feel I walked into the kitchen to find Haze in her own flannel robe sipping on a large cup of coffee. "Share please." I took a sip from her cup and sighed as the warm liquid slid down my throat.

"Hey that's mine you get your own," Haze sneered at me as she snatched her cup back and took a greedy gulp.

"So what's going on with you today?"

Haze looked at me with a defeated sigh. "I have to go in to the office for the whole day I think I'm going to die there," she said. I laughed only because she was falling back into old habits, habits that would hopefully take Blake out of the picture.

"Well while you're doing that think of me for I will be stuck in the gym with Freddie god only knows what he has plans with me today. Then I have a photo shoot with some steamy man model." I pictured a hot man in nothing but briefs and couldn't help but salivating

"Oh stop rubbing it in! Why can't I be stuck with two extremely hot men for the whole day?" I laughed at that not of humour but of sarcasm.

"Stop fantasizing, you know how much pain and sweat I go through with Freddie and the pain of sitting in the same positions when I go into a photo shoot," I said popping her bubble of my perfect life that she always likes to tell me about.

"Why can't you let me dream, it saves me from seeing how shitty my job is."

"Oh shut up, we just moved into an amazing apartment so you have no reason to be moody, now let's get some breakfast before we head out." Haze agreed and pulled out the food from the kitchen that was barely stocked. She pulled out eggs and some bread. It seemed like it was a perfect way to start a day.

Once we finished all our breakfast we went to get ready for our day. I went into my room and pulled out my yoga pants and sports bra. Freddie was no doubt hot but he was a committed man, but we always like to tease each other and this was just one more way for me to do it. I tossed on a jacket and walked into our spacey living room and found Haze going through her purse. "What cha looking for?" She looked up at me with sad eyes. "Haze what's wrong?"

She pulled out this ratty old doll from her purse. It was fairly old and it brought tears to her eyes. "B-blake gave this to me, when we were kids," she sniffled as a single tear fell down her face.

"Oh sweetie, come here," I took her into a hug and let her cry it out. "You need to get rid of that. You know what tonight we're going to have a girls night out, go to a club find some hot men and do a little flirting. No worries and definitely no Blake."

"No I think I want to sit on the couch in my sweats and eat a tub of ice cream."

"No way in hell I'm letting you do that," I said. "We're going out and I want you to be dressed by the time I get home. Something hot okay but let's get going." I took her hand in mine and walked her out the door. I made sure to leave that ratty doll in my room so that she wouldn't see it when she got home. Even though Hazel broke up with Blake she still missed him and I want to sympathize but I don't know how it feels. I've never had a strong relationship. The longest I've gone out with a guy was maybe a week. His name was Michael and he was a cool guy but not really all that interesting. I heard that he just got married last year, seeing as he was five years older than me.

When we split, I never felt that heart wrenching ache that Hazel was going through. After seeing the hurt that Blake caused her I realized at that moment that I don't want to have a boyfriend not for a while yet.

-

"Okay Freddie can I take a break? I'm pretty sure that the amount of sweat that you made me exert could fill buckets, which is actually really nasty." I was at the gym now for the best part of two hours. I did my weights and was just finishing my cardio. It was quite a rigorous training schedule but it helped me keep in shape because I wasn't always a small girl, I had to work at my body to tone it down and get back into shape.

"No can do sweetheart you torment me with your outfit and I torment you with my training. Have I mentioned you look hot when you're sweaty?"

I laughed at that, I'm sure my appearance was the furthest thing from hot. I could see my hair was dampening and turning curly which just made me feel dirty. I could feel the perspiration running down my back but damn did it feel good to work out. "Gee thanks that just makes me want to continue but I think if I do then I'll just collapse and then you'll have to explain to my agency why you worked me to the point of exhaustion and made me miss my very important photo shoot with a very important and might I add hot man model."

"Well first of all you're the one who told me that you want me to work you hard every day and second when the hell did male models become man models?" Freddie looked at me like I was crazy.

"My new term, gives the men the idea of an item rather than a person. Just like a chew toy for a dog. I don't know that's just what I think when I think of the hot steamy men I get to work with."

Freddie just shook his head his head of dark blond hair shined in the fluorescent lighting while his foggy grey eyes danced with amusement. "You know if I didn't have Lynn I'd have taken you into my arms right now and told you that you're never to think of the men you work with as hot and steamy, but unfortunately that won't be happening since I'm a devoted man to my woman."

"And that's the way it should be buster, now how much longer I think my legs turned to jelly."

"Okay five more minutes on the elliptical and then you can go shower."

"My hero," I said and gave him a hug with my sweaty arms and then turned back to my last five minutes.

Once I finished my work out I took a shower in the change room, scrubbing the sweat off my body. It always felt good after working out the kinks from my muscles. Once I was done I changed and put my hair up in a bun before walking out into the main lobby. Freddie was there waiting for his next person of the day.

"Bye Freddie."

"Bye sweetheart and remember what we talked about. No hot and steamy." I laughed again and walked over to him and gave him a friendly kiss on the lips.

"Don't worry I'll only think of you like that. You're the only one for me."

"Yeah I know, one day I'll make you the luckiest girl but until then I'll be in your dreams," he gave me a smirk and I knew he watched me walk out the door.

-

True to my word I didn't think of the man model as hot and steamy. He was actually a friend of mine so it was fun to work with him again. His name was Troy Brown and was a male model since he was sixteen. His parents were from the west side and he grew up as the pretty boy with striking good looks. His once dark brown hair was now highlighted with blond streaks that you'd think would look ugly but really it suited him. He had a straight nose and a gorgeous jaw line. He was such a pleasure to look at.

"So Val want to go out tonight hit the clubs?" I looked at him as I was pulling my sweater over my head. Since my hair was done for the photo shoot I decided that I'd just leave it the way it was for tonight. And my make-up looked amazing so I was ready to go.

"Well I'm actually already going out tonight but you wanna join me? I'm trying to cheer up my friend she just broke up with her boyfriend and well let's just say that she's not over him yet."

"A girl's night out?" he asked as he buttoned up his shirt.

"I guess you could say that. You wanna tag along maybe you might like her." He smirked then and walked over to me.

"That won't be happening since I already have my sights set on a certain dark haired model," he put his hands on my waist which was still clad with just the bikini bottoms that I was wearing.

"Oh and do I know who this girl is?"

"Oh you know her quite well. She's gorgeous, smart and totally clueless to it all." When he finished saying that he leaned down and pressed his lips to mine. I almost forgot how amazing it was to be kissed by a guy. His lips were so warm and inviting. I snaked my arms around his waist and then up his back. When I let myself go he took it deeper searching my depths and making me go weak in the process. I leaned onto him trying to support myself.

When he pulled back he was grinning at me and kissed me once more quickly. "I'm not clueless you jerk," I said once my head cleared.

"You think you're not but you are. You don't even realize that you're wearing bikini bottoms and exposing all that leg to me just drives me wild."

"Well that's not clueless that's doing my job," I said as I pushed away from him.

"Yeah well I like the way you do your job, now how about I be your date for tonight?"

"Sorry I don't date and tonight is all about Hazel so you either come in the hopes of hooking up with my friend or you bring someone who would like her but unless you do I won't be going anywhere with you," I said with a smirk knowing that he would find someone to come out tonight to spend time with me.

"Well then I guess I'll have to see what I can do," he said with a grin as he kissed me again for good measure before walking away. I smiled and pressed my finger to my lips. I wish I was ready to get involved with a guy like him but after Hazel's unprepared break up there wasn't much that I was looking forward to not with the opposite sex.

-

When I walked into the apartment I saw Hazel sitting on the couch. I couldn't see if she was dressed or not so I walked over to her and saw that she was wearing a long grey sweater and black leggings. It looked good, don't get me wrong but it wasn't exuding sexy how I wanted her to exude it. "Haze I said something hot, not casual dinner wear."

Haze looked up at me and I saw her eyes were clouded over. Her mind was obviously wandering. "I don't have anything that looks hot on me."

"Oh please you're closet if full of hot clothing so don't even go there, come on I need to change too but that'll take to seconds, let's find you something more appropriate." I walked into her closet and rummaged through her dresses. I pulled out a silk dress. It was a tube dress with the option of straps. The bust was in solid red and from there down it was black with a bohemian pattern of a cream and gold blend. It clung to the body leaving nothing to the imagination. It was perfect. "Here why didn't you wear this?"

"Because Blake bought that for me, how can I wear that?"

"Honey you are definitely wearing this and you are going to find some hottie and that's the perfect way to snub Blake by using his gifts to find a better guy who'll treat you right now you get changed while I find something to wear."

I left her in her room and went into mine. I pulled open my own closet and rummaged through my clothes. I pulled out an off the shoulder top that was in a plain black. I got out my silver leggings—trust me they aren't as bad as they sound more grey than silver—and a matching silver belt. Putting my ensemble together I checked my hair. It was still in its blown away look and my make up matched. I was happy with my look so I went back to Haze and saw her dressed in the dress and it showed all her curves and accented her nicely.

"Doesn't that feel more liberating?"

"Sure but why the hell aren't you wearing something like that?" she asked me.

"Tonight's all about you sweetheart, and this isn't what it looks like. I'm wearing my white bra underneath so at the club it'll show, hooch enough for you now?"

"Sounds perfect but I still would rather sit here in my sweats with the tub of ice cream."

"Haze didn't we say that if either of us ever get into a slump we wouldn't let each other fall into it?"

"Yeah I guess but that was before I realized how crappy I felt," she said which saddened me.

"Okay well I promise by tonight you'll feel like a million bucks now let's get going."

"Yeah sure, so where are we going?"

"Not sure but we'll find somewhere, since we really don't have to drive being that we're downtown now."

"True. Okay now I'm getting excited let's get going," she said and I was happy to see that she was more up to it.

-

We walked into the closest club which was one of the best one in Vancouver. Shiver was known to host some of the greatest bands of our time. Many celebs who partied up in Vancouver would go there. When we walked inside the music blasted to us from all sides. I looked around and saw a stair case going up to what I assumed was a lounge. I was heading that way when Hazel headed straight for the bar.

"Haze I didn't think you'd want to drink."

She looked at me and smiled. "Yeah I didn't think I wanted to either but I'm feeling like a drink would ease my nerves some."

"Okay then let's go get something to drink," I said as we walked over to the bar. The bartender was a hottie and I saw the way he was eyeing Hazel. Perfect, this would be easy. "Hey there would give my friend a sex on the beach?" He smiled and nodded.

"Sure thing sweetheart anything for you?" I pondered but wasn't sure.

"How about a long island iced tea?"

"Sounds good." He made the drinks and handed them to us. "This one's on the house, you need anything you come to me, the name's Tommy." He looked half Chinese half white and had a gorgeous smile.

"Well I hope you take care of us tonight Tommy. This is Hazel and my name is Valerie."

"It's nice to meet you both." Hazel just smiled and sipped her drink.

"Haze you're going to have to socialize tonight. And if you didn't notice Tommy was definitely checking you out."

"Really? I didn't even notice…" she didn't say anything else and just looked down at her drink. "Val I don't think I'm ready to get back out here. I've only went out with Blake and it wasn't like we dated like you did with Michael we just kinda clicked when we realized that we liked each other. I don't know how to do this."

"Honey what Michael and I had was just a weird hang out week and yeah you haven't dated but neither have I so how about we both go out there and find a guy?"

"I don't know I don't approach guys," she said which got me grinning.

"Haze you don't have to approach guys all you have to do is find a guy who is looking at you and smile that's all the invitation they need and he's hooked, trust me on this, that's how Crystal got Liam."

"Okay fine but can we go to the lounge?"

"Yeah that was where I was planning on going," I said as we went up the stairs to the lounge. We both sat down and then I pulled out my cell. Might as well call Troy who knows he might bring one of his hot buddies and I know he had a few. He picked up the phone in one ring.

"I knew you couldn't live without me sweetheart," he said into the phone.

"Oh shut up I just wanted to let you know that we're at Shiver if you wanted to come out," I said.

"Well that's perfect I have a buddy of mine who was intrigued and we'll be there as soon as we can get in," he said and then hung up.

"Who was that?" Hazel asked.

"Huh? Oh that, that was Troy the steamy hot man model, I told him about our girls night out at work and he wanted to come by, hope that's okay." She just smiled and said that it was fine. Now I just hoped that Troy's buddy liked Hazel.

We sat around for a little while longer before we headed to the dance floor. Haze was starting to loosen up after the sex on the beach and then the party started. Ten minutes later I felt a hand go around my waist I was about to turn around and smack the person when his head rest on my shoulder and he whispered into my ear. "You look hotter than you did in that bikini."

I smiled and turned around. Troy looked even hotter too. He was wearing baggy jeans and a white buttoned up shirt with an intricate design going across the left side and up the shoulder. I pushed him off me. "Yeah thanks you don't look so bad yourself but what did I tell you earlier?"

"Don't worry he's right here. Chase is an old friend of mine. He just moved back here after living in New York for the good part of three years. He writes books, you ever heard of Deception?" I gawked when I heard that, he was friends with Chase Kingstown the newest author in the best sellers. I read his book and man was it intense. There were so many twists and turns, I couldn't put it down. It was that good.

"You're friends with Chase Kingstown?!" He grinned then but I didn't care this was one of the best new authors, even said to be one of the best of the best.

"Yeah we grew up together." Troy motioned to Chase who had been talking to Hazel. "Yo Chase I want you to meet Val, Valerie Bram my girl to be."

I ignored Troy's comment and smiled. "I've read your book. It was the best one I read and trust me I read everything I can get my hand on," I said which I think threw him off. I get that a lot because people think that a girl who has looks doesn't have the brain capacity to read a real book. Oh magazines sure but a full novel with more than a hundred pages was beyond comprehension.

"Well I'm honoured, I've heard a lot about you from Troy. Just to let you in since you seem smarter than him, he has it in his head that tonight is the night he's going to be taking you home," he said as he leaned down to whisper it in my ear so that Troy wouldn't hear it. I just grinned and looked at the hunky man who had designs on me.

"Well he'll be disappointed since I have no intentions of that, now have you met my friend Hazel?"

"Yes I have and she's absolutely breathtaking, and in saying so I'll be going to get to know her now, if you'll excuse me," said Chase as he turned away from me and held out his hand to Hazel and she took it with what I could tell was a blush on her cheek. Chase, with his amazing talent also looked like a man with a cross between a GQ model and a warrior from the seventeenth century. His tumbled brown hair was in messy waves, it suited him perfectly. He had green eyes really foggy green eyes that compelled you to look in them and when he smiled there was a hint of dimples.

"If you're done checking out my buddy, would you like to dance?" I turned around and my eyes fell on a pair of smoky grey eyes. I grinned if Hazel was preoccupied there wasn't any harm in me flirting a little.

"Sounds good to me, and don't be jealous. I'm a healthy woman if I see a gorgeous man I can look, like I'm doing right now," I said with a smirk and I saw his smoky eyes go cloudy with a look of male content.

"First off honey I was not jealous and I like the idea that a woman is comfortable enough to check out guys that way, now you come here," as he said it he pulled me into his arms. I relished the feeling because it was nothing like when Michael held me during that awkward week that we hung out. With Michael I felt as if I was just being used even though I've never done anything past a kiss with him.

I rested my head on his shoulder as we rocked to the music and then he lowered his head an inch to that his mouth was centimetres from my ear. I could feel the heat of him mouth and it sent a satisfying shiver down to the pit of my stomach. "You're perfect, this is perfect."

I smiled I've always thought he was gorgeous but I never knew that he thought the same about me. It made me feel special. "Well I seem to like it too," I said with a smile as I looked up at him. He grinned back and then he covered his mouth over mine. It was slow and tender with just enough heat to show that he was serious. I melted into it with no qualms no worries. It was everything I wanted but this wasn't supposed to be happening not to me, not now. This was Hazel's night not mine, how could I forget that.

When my mind finally cleared enough for me to make some sense I pulled away from him. He had a lazy smile on his face a totally satisfied look which made my resolve only strengthen. "Troy told you that this was not for me, no dating no nothing, it's about Hazel tonight no one but her so—"

"I thought you said that if I brought someone who was interested in her then it was okay and from the looks of things, it looks like Chase really does like her, so where's the problem?" I couldn't argue with that but it still felt wrong.

"I guess I can't argue with that but still, Troy I don't think I could handle all that she went through I just don't…" I don't know what was wrong with me because tears started forming in my eyes. I think I was scared but I just couldn't understand why.

"Val you're entitled to someone being interested in you too. You can't let Hazel be the main character in your life, seriously," he said as he cradled my head in his hands as his thumbs rubbed away my tears.

"Yeah I guess… sorry I don't mean to blubber like this, you definitely didn't come out here for this, I'll be right back," I said as I walked away from him off the dance floor and found the washroom. I went up to the sink and was tempted really badly to splash my face with water but that would ruin my make-up so I took a paper towel and dabbed it at my eye to get rid of the tears.

"What the hell is wrong with me!" I hissed as I looked at my reflection in the mirror. My eyes were turning red now and that wasn't how I wanted to look especially in front of Troy. So I pulled out my visine that was always in my purse and applied the drops to my eyes. After blinking a few times my eyes cleared and I looked back to normal. I reapplied my lipstick that had been partially removed thanks to Troy's lips.

Once I felt presentable I went back out into the loud unorganized crowd. When I realized that I didn't see my friend anywhere or Troy I wished I didn't walk away like that. I wandered around the club and then I saw him standing at the bar. He looked like Troy from behind and well in the dark setting it was hard to tell if it was or not so I went up behind him, beyond my better judgement, and wrapped my arms around him.

He turned around and his eyes had turned green and his hair was all brown. Blinking back my astonishment I quickly retracted my arms from the man who still looked so familiar though I couldn't place him. "Uh I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to… uh I was just… sorry I thought you were someone else," I said realizing how stupid I sounded.

"It's all right, everyone makes a mistake every now and then," he said with a melodic voice that stumped me. I really did know this person; I'm sure of it, but from where I didn't have a foggiest clue.

"Yeah, uh have we met before?" I asked as I scanned his face again. He had a compelling scar just above his right brow, it was faint but it was very distinguishing. His brown hair fell over his head in a mess of waves just like Chase's did. It was bordering on long but suited his face. His face was of all contrasting angles, with a kind of angelic face but a hard strong jaw line. If I was an artist I think I would have asked him to model for me because I know that it would be a delight to paint or draw or whatever artist use.

"I don't know, but you do seem familiar," he said with a smile.

"Yeah well I should go find my friends before they get worried," I said feeling awkward and nervous, the way he was looking at me made my heart rattle. I never felt this way, as if I was being laughed at and coddled at the same time. It was really weird.

"Okay well it was nice meeting you," he yelled at me since I kinda ran away from him and the bar. I looked back once and saw that he was looking at me still. I turned back around and held a hand up to my heart as a smile spread across my face.

I walked back up to the lounge and found Hazel cuddled against Chase as they talked. Hazel's eyes looked kind of misty as if she was in another world. She was smiling as Chase talked. He must be telling her a story of some sort. I didn't want to interrupt her so I turned around and was going to find Troy and tell him that I was going to go home. It was only a block away and I think I needed that tub of ice cream now. I found him sitting at the bar that the stranger who I knew from somewhere was still sitting but on the other side of the bar.

"Hey," I said as I took the stool beside him and turned to face him. He looked at me with worried eyes and brought up his hand to touch my face.

"Are you okay?" he asked, he ignored the drink that was being poured for him and gave his full attention to me. I smiled he was really sweet when he wanted to be.

"Yeah I'm fine I was thinking of heading out. I just live a block away and well I would have told Haze but she's kind of preoccupied with your friend right now. Could you make sure she gets home safely? I didn't want to disturb them." He just looked at me like I was crazy.

"And who is going to see that you get home safely? I can tell Chase to take her home but you're not going home alone," he said to me like I was a child and he had all the control over me.

"And who gives you the right to tell me how I go home? It'll take me less than five minutes to get to my apartment building. So where is the problem in me going home alone?"

"Val it's past midnight now there are things that happen out there things that could harm you. I'd feel a lot better if you let me walk you home, to know that you're safe at home, please?" The sincerity in his eyes made me falter and I let out a sigh.

"Okay fine but only to the building, you're not coming up. Okay?" he smiled then and raised a brow.

"What would give you that idea?" he asked grinning.

"Oh let's just say a little birdie told me now I'm going with or without you." He slapped down money for the drink he didn't get to drink and left them both on the counter. Then he slipped his arm around me and walked along side me. He pulled out his cell and called Chase. I heard him tell Chase to bring Hazel home because we were leaving and he didn't mention that he was just dropping me off so I could only imagine what Troy had spun into Chase's mind. "You had to make it seem like you were coming in the apartment with me didn't you?" I asked and he just grinned.

"Sweetheart I do have an ego to coddle now let's get going, this way I'll find out where you live and can bug you at home now!" He got his desired reaction out of me when I started laughing.

"You're crazy, but thanks." I leaned into him as we left the club and wandered down the street towards the apartment building. I sighed it felt so right but I didn't know if it was right; either way only time could tell.

-

A/N: Well what did you think? Anyone like this one at least? I kinda liked it but anyways I hope you at least enjoyed reading it, thanks for taking time out for it!