It's a Business Doing Pleasure With You
He was looking for a way for his parents to stop bugging him about a wife. She was looking for a way to pay for her college and buy off the coffee shop going out of business. She hated the way he acted. He hated the way she seemed to be. She hated his aristocratic air. He hated her enigmatic persona. They were on the opposite ends of the spectrum and yet with one common need, they agreed to a marriage. In name only. But with such split personalities, they united under a white flag, or so they thought...
Chapter One –
There is a time and place for everything;
3 October 2009
Noelle Brooks smiled at the elderly gentleman who gave her his order of a tall, straight black coffee. Her brown rebellious curls drifted over her shoulder as she turned to go place is order. Working in a local coffee shop, she was well adverse in meeting new people. Even on her most miserable of days, she had a smile to greet the customers, half of which she had known since her first time working there at the tender age of fifteen, eight years ago if the math added up well. Her green eyes hinted the mischief that lurked behind their depths as she came up to the owner of the coffee shop, a beautifully aged woman that had taken her in at fifteen. "Hey Leslie," she greeted cheerily to her boss.
"Hey Noelle," she returned with a cracked smile. "How's the business going today?"
"Mm, pretty good. Rush hour passed nicely, no spills!" Noelle laughed before moving behind the counter to start helping with making the caffeinated drinks. "Hey just checking if you are going to need me this weekend?"
"No, no, honey. I already told you, you have it off. Spend time with your friend and stop worrying about this place!" Leslie chided with a laugh as she moved around Noelle to start working on the iced drinks.
"Just making sure," she smiled in return. "Off to work I go!" She began humming to Dancing Queen by Abba from the Mamma Mia movie as she moved around the small shop to drop off their drinks, leaving a smile and a "is there anything else I can get you?" with them. She stopped at the elderly gentleman's table and placed his hot coffee before him, though he didn't notice at first because he was reading the newspaper. "Oh," he startled. "Thank you, miss."
"You're welcome sir," she smiled at his manners. "Is there anything else you need? Anything else I can get for you?"
"No, no. I'm good thank you."
"You're welcome. If you need anything later, just stop me while I'm racing about." She then turned and began her usual round of placing orders and cleaning up tables.
* * * * *
"Bye Leslie! Have a good weekend," Noelle called to the back as she finished zipping her leather jacket up. She looked outside, pouting at the weather; she was going to have to walk home in the rain later that night. She knew there was a reason she needed to buy an umbrella soon.
"Bye 'Elle! You have fun with your friend and I'll see you Monday morning!" Leslie replied from her closet in the back where she was stocking up. Noelle pushed open the door to meet a cold breeze. Instead of turning left to go home, she turned right to start her way toward the local college. She had begun to take classes their last fall when she had enough money. She had been saving up for what few classes she could take since the end of high school. Currently, she was working on her last year of college. She was hoping to graduate with a major in Egyptian History and a minor in Greek History. She loved history almost as much as she loved her movies. Tonight was her night for taking Greek Mythology. She took a class or two every night of the weekdays.
* * * * *
She brushed away the frustrated tears that raced town her face, stinging as the wind pushed at her face. College was so expensive, she thought miserably. There is no way I can afford the rest of the semester if that is the cost. Scuffing her foot across the pavement of the sidewalk as she began her long walk home, she knew there was no way she could tell Connor. Connor would freak out and offer money again and if there was, one thing she hated the most was owing someone. She had lived her life where there was no one to take care of her, she had to take what she could and give back the same.
Noelle pushed through her small, cracked apartment door to the smell of chicken. While her apartment wasn't the nicest, it was home. She loved how homey it was and the little touches she had added to it over the years made it that more special to her. It was the first thing that she had done as soon as she could afford anything. "Connor?" she called as she began to peel her wet jacket off in the small entryway. Hanging them on the door, she walked the few spacious steps to the kitchen. There is where she found her friend rocking out to the Beauty & the Beast soundtrack Noelle kept around the apartment. Her long blonde hair floated around her as she moved about the kitchen in a quick fashion. Whereas Noelle stood at a measly 5'7", Connor stood at a tall 5'11". "Connor!" She called again to catch her attention. Connor turned with rapid speed, her blue eyes shining over at her friend.
"'Elle! You're not supposed to be home for another hour!" Connor gaped in surprise before forming a pout. "I was trying to surprise you…" Noelle laughed as she came up to hug her friend.
"You did surprise me silly!" She announced as she hugged her tightly. "I haven't had a good meal in a while."
"I know, I know. I swear, without me around you live off frozen food and ice cream." Connor pulled away from her to frown. "You really should take care of yourself better, 'Elle. I'd hate to get a call from the hospital that my friend has turned anorexic or died from too much ice cream."
Noelle rolled her eyes. "Like that could happen," she scoffed, turning around to jump up on the counter. She started swinging her legs as she watched Connor get back to work. "Besides, it's not my fault that I can't cook all the time. You know it's been busy… not that I will be any longer."
Connor looked over her shoulder and took a good look at her best friend. She had been crying, she knew because of the redness around her eyes. "What's wrong, 'Elle?"
"Just had a rough day," she grinned until her jaw hurt. "No worries, babe."
"Uh huh," Connor said with conviction in her voice as her left brow rose. "If you think I believe that then I must be an Egyptian pharaoh. And that's not possible because Pharaoh's are men!"
"Actually, there have been a few women because their sons were not able to take the thrown because they were too young." Noelle remarked offhandedly, trying to prove her point. Connor just turned and glared at the chicken mumbling. "I love you, honey."
"You are such a brat." Connor huffed as she began to stir some weird concoction of noodles. Noelle had to laugh at herself, Connor was the one cooking all the time and she was rarely even in town. Yet, Noelle the one who is home more often than not, cannot even seem to make a simple noodle casserole or whatever they call them. "Come on brat, let's get the beast fed." Noelle smiled happily.
"This is why I love you. You feed me!" She skipped happily over to the small table in the corner of the living room, near the entrance to the kitchen.
"Glad to know I'm only here for my cooking skills," Connor huffed in mock indignation.
"Mhmm," she ignored the annoyed blonde-haired woman as she dug into the plate in front of her.
* * * * *
Kole Harper. The second son of the infamous Carson Harper and the son who decided to assume his father's role. Harper Industries was a construction company that had been started by Carson Harper, thirty some odd years ago. Kole could not keep track, though his father would remind him every other day or so. Kole Harper looked more like his birth mother than that of his father. His eyes, the piercing blue of a yogo sapphire found in the hills of Montana, were that of his father but the wavy black hair and tanned skin was his mother. His mother was a gypsy soul and had looked the part.
Pushing through his office door early that Friday morning, he could not help but grimace at the paperwork lying upon his desk. Although he loved his job, working at the construction sites, talking to people, restoring historic sites, he had to admit to hating the paperwork that came along with the job. Running a hand through his wavy hair, he went and took a seat in his office chair.
* * * * *
Most of his day consisted of signing paper, making phone calls, and talking to some of the staff. By the time, four o'clock rolled around, he was swiftly making his way out to the employee garage in an attempt to bypass his father. This, oddly enough, worked because soon enough he was in his black little sports car and making his way out onto the highway toward his bachelor's pad.
Pushing the top floor button in the elevator, he stood back to lean against the wall and closed his eyes. Only waiting a few short moments, he heard the soft sing that announced his arrival. Stepping from the elevator, he slowly made his way toward his condominium. Unlocking the door, he slid inside his dwellings and felt the tension from the day slide off his shoulders. Dropping his keys in the bowl next to the door, he peeled off his jacket and hung it. The living room soon lit up as he flipped the switch and went to relax on the television. Not two minutes into watching the television the doorbell rang, interrupting his peace and quiet. "Now who would bother interrupting me," he mumbled to himself, pushing himself up from his couch and going to the door. Opening the door, he glared.
"Kade? You made me get up to let your sorry butt in. You have a key for a reason!" Kole groaned, turning around he went back to his spot on the couch.
"Oh gee, what a nice greeting for your older brother. Who would have thought my little brother had a stick up his-"
"Careful," Kole warned, casting a hot glare toward the taller of the two. Whereas Kole was an inch shorter of his brother and had the lean build, Kade had the bigger build, the build of a football player. "You would hate for dad to find out about where you disappeared to last year at the Christmas party."
Kade glared at his brother, brushing a hand through his own brown wavy locks, "You really are a jerk sometimes, and you know that?"
"Yeah," he nodded, turning his attention toward his brother. "So what brings you to my humble abode?"
"A party tomorrow night."
"You know I don't do parties, Kade," he shook his head; disagreeing with the idea that Kade was starting to form in his mind.
"It's a farewell to the excavation crew that is leaving Monday. Some friends are hosting it and I want to go but I don't want to go as a lone wolf. And you know there are bound to be some very pretty ladies there begging for your attention little brother," Kade grinned, a resemblance to their father's own grin. Kade was a cheery, flirtatious sort of a man. An archaeologist with the habit of making lots of people laugh, flirting with every pretty girl, though that wasn't far off from his brother, and he often had his serious moments where he was so involved with his work that he forgot about reality.
"Fine. I'll go, but you owe me big time. You hear me, big bro?" Kole groaned, knowing he would be regretting his words even as he said them.
* * * * *
"So 'Elle, you love me right?" Connor spoke up during the middle of The Mummy, breaking up the moment where the mummy is about to be unleashed.
"Mhmm, what do you want?" Noelle responded although her eyes remained glued to the television in front of her. She was cuddled up on one side of the couch with a blanket wrapped around her with Connor sitting on the other side sipping at her tea.
"Why do you always assume I want something? Couldn't I just be trying to double check?" Connor huffed, dejectedly. Noelle grabbed the remote and pressed pause so to not miss anything before turning to her best friend with a very quizzical look on her face.
"Babe, I doubt you even bother worrying over that stuff because you know you are my favorite person in the world. Besides, you have that guilty look on your face. So either; one you did something and are afraid to tell me, or two you want something from me knowing I'm not going to like it very much." Noelle reasoned, thrumming her fingers against the back of the couch.
"I hate that you know me so well," she grumbled as she pulled her legs under her. "Alright, fine, you're right. I do want something…"
"I want you to go to a party with me tomorrow night," she whispered, trying to get it over with like peeling a band-aid from the skin.
"A party?" Noelle's brow furrowed as she tried to assess the sanity left in her friend. "A party?"
"Yes! I just said that!"
"But it's a party… And you know I don't do parties…"
"But it's a farewell slash good luck party for the excavation crew and I want you to meet some of the crew. Please, 'Elle! I'll love you forever and ever and ever!" Connor begged, pulling Noelle's hands into her own. Noelle continued to stare at her, not sure, if she wanted to agree to this task. "It'd mean a lot to me, 'Elle." Connor began to pout, her blue eyes shining dangerously.
"Aw, Con, you know that's playing dirty. Fine, damn it, I'll go. But on one condition," she hissed pulling her hands away and batting at her.
"Anything. Name it."
"I can leave after an hour if I wish to do so."
Connor paused, thinking it over, "Deal."
* * * * *
A/N: And this is my Nanowrimo project :)
I have made it to 50,000 words but it's not yet finished. I have a few sordid details to work out in the end. :) But I am finally updating after a month of horribly late nights, gallons of hot chocolate and cursing over the characters with their own minds.
I hope you enjoy.
I would love to hear what you have to say... Even though this chapter is a bit slow and kind of just building up.
I hope everyone had happy holidays!