Rough Petals may not be distributed in any way, including posting to FictionPress and all other websites without Penelope P.'s written permission. Thank you.
Hi, thanks for being somewhat interested in this story. Just to let you know this is a sequel... sort of. So if you haven't read "Sleeping With The Enemy" you don't really have to. Of course it would complete the story more if you did. But it's not a big deal. And if you have read "Sleeping With The Enemy" then I hope you enjoy this.
By: Penelope P.
1. Like coleslaw?
His bed was warm. I would have liked to stay there if I didn't loath him.
I felt his arm tighten around my waist as I tried to soundlessly move from his bed. I didn't want him to wake up. I just wanted to go home and go to sleep.
Vincent buried his head in the crook of my neck and let out a sigh. Maybe I didn't loathe him. I didn't know. Sure Vincent was nice, maybe even sweet when he really wanted to be. But what we had was nothing but sex. No strings attached. He didn't send me flowers or call me just to hear my voice, not that I would want any of that.
I turned my head away and saw the wad of cash sitting on the nightstand. In twenty years I was sure I'd find the entire affair hilarious. Being paid for sex… how did I end up in that situation?
This all started when Vincent assumed. My mother says… said… the worst comes from assumptions. She was right. Vincent assumed I was a prostitute and now I am one, for him. God, I didn't even tell him my real name.
Shows how much self respect I have, doesn't it?
Somehow I managed to wiggle free from him. I picked my clothes from the ground and dressed myself as quietly as I could. I glanced out the window of his penthouse suite. New York was beautiful at night.
Picking up my heels I looked down at the money. Every time, every damn time I debated whether or not I should take the money. I did. Always.
Shaking my head I grabbed the cash and took a long look at Vincent, sprawled out, tangled sheets. He groped for me and when he realized the bed was empty he opened his eyes.
"Rose?" His voice was heavy with sleep.
"Yes?" I asked leaning over the bed.
"Stay." He said grabbing my hand.
"I never do, Vince." I let him hold my hand.
He blinked his dark eyes and nodded. "All right."
When he let go of my hand I straightened and left the room then the apartment. I stuffed the money into my pocket as I rode the elevator down.
At the bottom I smiled to Mr. Palm who worked the night shifts as the doorman. He was always so sweet, even if he knew why I visited Vincent late at night.
"I'll get you a cab." He said with a warm smile.
I shook my head. "No thank you. I think I'll walk."
"It's very late, Miss, and very cold."
"I like the cold. Maybe it will snow." I said wrapping my arms around me. "How's your wife?"
He smiled again. "Very well, thank you for asking."
I patted his arm. "Have a nice night, Mr. Palm."
"You too, Rose. Go straight home."
"I will." I said over my shoulder as I walked away.
The air was getting colder. It nipped at my face and hands. Maybe I should have let Mr. Palm get me a cab. I stuffed my hands into my pockets and felt the heavy roll of money. Four thousand bucks. That right there was enough for two months rent. I thought about all the things I could buy, but I knew I wouldn't. I would just save it as usual, pay the bills and my debts.
I often thought about giving Vincent his money back. I didn't know if that was crazy or not. I wondered if he'd laugh when I told him. It was all just a little misunderstanding, sorry. No, that wouldn't work.
So what if he paid me? Was it really that big of a deal? I didn't ask for money, he just gave it. I shook my head knowing I was wrong. I should have said something the first time when he murmured in my ear, "the money is on the nightstand". I didn't even know what that meant until I saw the money actually sitting there. Yes, it was wrong to take it, but I needed it. Now I didn't have an excuse.
A loud grunting sound made my mind snap forward. A smack then a moan followed. I turned around to find the source of the sound. It was coming from the ally way. Now I know better than to enter dark alleyways at night, but there beside a cheap looking bar were two men going at it. One was huge, he had to be triple my size. The other was tall-ish, lean, but had tough wide shoulders. He rammed them into larger man's stomach as they both went flying into the dirty gutter.
Their fists flew wildly without thought. It was almost funny to watch two drunken men trying to beat the shit out of each other. I put my money on the smaller one. He looked quick even if the alcohol was making him a little wobbly.
Wham! The big guy took a punch to the jaw. He spit up blood and made me wince. Ouch. The smaller guy was thrown against the hard brick wall and collapsed against it. The large man staggered towards his crumpled body then hoisted him up by the collar of his shirt. I heard the wind fly from the smaller guy's lungs as he got a hard punch to the gut. Before he could catch his breath he the threw him against the ground and straddled his hips. Bam, another punch to the face, then another, and another.
He was really hurting him. Smack, smack smack! He just kept punching. The sound of flesh against flesh was sickening. When the man's arms fell limply against his side I rushed over.
Just plain stupid.
"Stop!" I shouted at the hulk as he continued to punch his unconscious body. "You're going to kill him."
The man didn't seem to hear me. I rushed forward and yelled for him to stop again but still nothing. Feeling brave and just a little idiotic I jumped onto the man's shoulders and wrapped my arms around his thick neck. Shocked, the man leapt backwards and ripped me from his back. I shouldn't have gotten involved. He shoved me against the dirty brick wall and closed his massive hand around my neck. My eyes widened in horror as he squeezed. "Who the fuck are you?" He slurred. His eyes were droopy and unfocused.
I couldn't breath. My heart was pounding in my ears. "I'll give you four thousand bucks to go away." I gasped as I fished around my pocket for the money.
The man blinked rapidly at me and continued to stare at my horrified expression. I should have kept walking. When I showed him the money he grabbed it immediately. Instead of letting me go he continued to squeeze my neck. Panicking, I grabbed his wrist as my breath came out in small gasps.
This is it, I kept thinking. I was just going to die in this nasty little alley four blocks from my apartment.
Of course that would be horribly boring if that really happened. Just as my vision was beginning to blur the smaller guy rammed his body into him and sent us both flying. The second I was able to breath I scrambled out of the way. The man who suddenly came to my rescue had the upper hand. His fists flew and fought before the larger man knew what hit him. Then his heavy body collapsed against the cold ground. He was out cold.
I waited, stunned, and still a little freaked out. I could have been home by now. Nope, instead my neck was sore and my dress was ripped. Not to mention I think there was a little bit of blood on it. When I got to my feet I stood and waited until I caught my breath.
"Are you okay?" A hoarse voice asked.
I looked up and saw the smaller man standing in front of me. Actually he wasn't small at all; he just looked it next to the larger man. He was actually very tall even though he was hunched over in pain. I couldn't see his face because of all the hair falling in front of his eyes. Blood was matted in his hair, stained on his face and clothes.
"Are you okay?" I asked back.
He turned his head and spit blood. "Yeah, fine." He mumbled and walked past me.
"Wait, I'm going to call an ambulance." I shouted to him as I fished around for my cell.
"Don't worry, he'll be fine." He said talking about the unconscious man.
I looked over at him and rolled my eyes. "No, I meant for you."
"I'm fine." He coughed again, and then disappeared around the corner.
I hurried after him and nearly tripped when I caught up. "You might have a concussion. Are you seeing double? Maybe your lung has collapsed, can you breath properly?"
"Lady, you talk too much." He mumbled and winced a little.
"I'm trying to help." I told him.
"I don't want your help. I'm slightly drunk and I have a headache. I can't see out of my left eye, and I'm hoping my ribs aren't broken. What I really want right now is for you to go away." He turned his head to look at me. "From what I can tell you're a good looking girl, maybe you shouldn't be wandering alleys at night."
I narrowed my eyes. "I can obviously take better care of myself than you."
"I can tell, especially when that guy had his hand wrapped around your skinny neck."
Fine, he didn't want my help so I wasn't going to push. "Jerk." I said under my breath and spun on my heel. That was the last time I was going to be nice to a stranger, that's for sure.
We went our separate ways, but I only got a few feet before I heard him fall. Turning I saw him face down on the sidewalk with the dim lights of the bar glowing green and blue across him. Honestly, I thought about leaving him there. I didn't have a place in my heart for mangled drunk men. Chewing the inside of my cheek I let out an annoyed sigh. Nobody wants to wake up broken on the sidewalk.
Walking back to him I slowly helped him up. He let out a groan and tried to push away from me. "God, you're pathetic." I said pulling his arm over my shoulder and letting him put his weight on me. I heard him mumble something I couldn't hear. I don't think it was appropriate.
It wasn't until much later that I remembered my money. Rolling my eyes I thought about the surprise that man was going to find in his pocket when he woke up.
I looked down at his snoring body with a travel mug of coffee in my hand. I'd gotten a total of three hours of sleep, and now I had to go to work. And he was still sleeping.
The plan was to check his wallet, get a cab and send him home. Of course the only things in his wallet were a few bills, a gift card to Starbucks, and a condom. His cell phone, which I found in his pocket, was dead. So, the only thing I new about Mr. Nobody was that he was drunk. A drunk nobody. Perfect.
I cleaned him up only because I didn't want him to get blood on my couch. His eye was nearly swollen shut and close to the color of plums. He had a nasty bruise across his jawbone and a split lip. I wrapped his raw knuckles with some gauze, and even washed his clothes. I didn't know I was such a nice person. So what if I checked him out while I undressed him. Who wouldn't? Yes, he did have a nice body, but that was not the point at all.
"Wake up." I said kicking the couch. He continued to snore. I kicked the couch again. "Get up!" When I pulled the pillow from under his head he let out a grunt and blinked his only good eye.
"Huh?" He asked dazed and completely hung over.
"Get up." I said again and threw his clothes at him.
"Who the hell are you?" He asked and yawned.
Who the hell was I? "I'm the person whose house you're in."
He sat up and stretched as much as his sore body would allow him. Finally he noticed he was only in his boxers. "Did we have sex?"
Rolling my eyes I sighed. "No."
I saw his eyes flicker up to mine. "Too bad."
I had enough. My soft spot for drunks was gone. "I have to get to work." Tapping my hand on my hip I made it very obvious that I was annoyed and out of time.
He held his clothes at arms length. "My clothes smell like lemons."
"It's better than the smell of liquor."
He pulled on his shirt and ran his hands over his chest. "Soft." He mumbled. "So, are you sure there was no sex, I'm a little sore."
"If by sex you mean getting that crap beaten out of you by a big drunk guy, then yes."
He nodded. "Ahh, it's all coming back. What do you do?"
"You said you had to get to work." He said wincing as he stood up.
"I own a shop." I mumbled and waited for him to do up his pants.
"What kind of shop?"
"Does it matter?"
"I own a flower shop."
He nodded and looked around the room. "Cool. I like flowers."
Get out of my apartment. "Yeah…" I watched him study my apartment from where he stood. His hair was very dark brown and seemed to be confused on which way it was growing. Despite his horrible hair he had a strong profile even if it was half swollen. His eyes were green, maybe, I wasn't sure. His lips seemed to always be smirking, very subtle, but still there in the corner of his mouth. Even with his shirt on I could still make out the powerful lines of his shoulder muscles.
When he realized I was watching him he smirked. "How bad is my face?"
I felt the blood rush to my cheeks but quickly recover. "Have you seen The Goonies?"
He caught my drift and his smirk widened. "That's mean."
"You asked." I shrugged.
There was a pause for a moment then he asked, "What's your name?"
Picking up his jacket from the armrest I handed it to him. "That's not really important."
"I'm Cole." He held out his hand and waited for me to shake.
"No, my name is Cole."
His eyebrow rose. "Yeah like coleslaw." I slipped my hand in his and shook.
"Great, now you have to leave."
At the front door I handed him his jacket and took my own from the hook. "Hold this." I handed him my coffee as I rummaged through my bag for all the things I would need for the day.
"Do women really need that much crap?" He asked.
"It's better to have all this crap then find yourself with only a Starbucks gift card, and a condom."
His eye flashed. "Should I be concerned you went though my wallet?"
"Yeah, I was really temped to take your six bucks."
"I'm more concerned about the condom."
I tried not to smile. I really did, but he was kind of funny in a not so obvious way. Without saying anything I took back my coffee and opened the door for him.
He followed me, waited while I got my mail, and then stopped when we got outside. "Broadway is that way." I said pointing down the street as I put on my sunglasses and zipped up my coat. "Have a nice life." I turned and took a few good steps before he stopped me.
"Hey, wait." He called. I turned and waited. "You're really not going to tell me your name?" He asked and dug his hands into his pocket.
"It'll give you something to wonder about."
"Do me a favor?" He asked.
"You've used up your free favors."
"Be my model."
I raised an eyebrow. "Your model?"
"What do you paint?"
I laughed. "I don't think so."
He shrugged. "Worth a try. Thanks for…" He gestured to himself "…you know."
When he turned and walked away I was ashamed to find myself wondering about him. I shook it off and looked down at my mail, mostly junk and bills, except for one.
Upstate Correctional Facility.
I stopped and stared hard at the letter. It had been forwarded twice to my current address. My fingers were ready to rip it open, but I forced myself to slip it into my purse and worry about it later. If I read it then it'd be the only thing I would think about it all day. Who was I kidding; there was no way I was going to get it out of my mind now.
Shaking my head I pulled it out of my purse and tore the top open.
So here's the new story. Not much in the first chapter, but at least I actually have a plot for this story. And I even know the ending. Shocker... I'm actually really excited to write this. I'm adding a few new characters and keeping some of the old ones.
Um... there were a lot of questions from the last story and I'm trying to remember them but I got nothing. If you really want a question answered it's better to PM me. That way I'll get back to you no matter what. Or just wait until they get answered in the story.
So I couldn't get ahold of my Beta. Maybe my email is being weird, I don't know. :( Well, thanks to Jessica for the emergency betaing. I really appreciated it.
There's a lot I forgot to put in this author's note but I'm brain dead.
Thanks for reading,