Bought: Highest Bidder(6)

By: Lauren Landish

“Coffee black, with one sugar,” I reply, and as I order I hear my sister’s squeal and the loud clicks of her heels on the pavement.

She looks like she belongs here. Happy and dressed in the latest fashion, she fits right in with the people you'd expect to see in this part of town. She runs up to me and wraps her arms around my shoulders, making the waitress take a step back. She’s the only person I let touch me. I just don’t fucking like to be touched. But Anna can. She never hesitates to do what she feels like doing. I admire her for that.

She pulls back and takes me in; her cherry red lips make her brilliant smile look even whiter.

“Lucian,” she says sweetly before turning to her left and finally taking notice of the waitress.

“Oh! Sorry!” she apologizes, her shoulders scrunching as she backs up and practically falls into her seat.

“No problem,” the waitress says and laughs it off. “Can I get you anything else, sir?”

My eyes lift to the waitress. Ever since I got that invitation, it’s been more and more apparent how many people call me sir.

I shake my head and give her a tight smile. She’s a petite blonde, with a cute button nose and angelic face, but she’s not my type. Not that it was on the table… but I’m sure it could be, if I wanted.

The waitress turns to Anna and before she can even ask, Anna orders while taking off her cream leather jacket, “Can I have a salted caramel latte with cream and four Splenda and an extra shot of espresso?”

She does not need that extra shot, but I keep my lips closed. I've learned not to give my sister advice, since she’s going to do what she wants to do anyway. And me keeping my mouth shut makes her happy.

She sighs comfortably as the waitress leaves with a nod.

“How are you?” I ask her easily. She smiles brightly, pushing her hair over her shoulders and leaning forward.

“Everything is going so well.” Her eyes soften as she says, “Thank you for paying my tuition.” Her voice is subdued, but sweet. “It really means so much to me, Lucian. I know-”

I stop her. I know she’s grateful, but she doesn’t have to keep telling me. “Of course, I’m glad you're enjoying your classes.”

I was honestly worried. My sister is naive, and I wasn’t sure she’d enjoy college at all. She’s never been much of a book person, or the studying type. But if she wants to go, I’m happy to help her so long as she takes it seriously.

She leans back, silencing her thanks and looks at the paper. “Are you in it today?” she asks. Her eyes are wide with curiosity.

I shake my head as I say, “No.”

“Bummer,” she says as she slumps back into her seat and I chuckle at her expression. I’m never happy to be in the paper. I didn’t start this business to be a public figure.

And up until the last few years, whenever I was in the paper, it wasn’t good public relations. They say any publicity is good publicity, but they’re dead fucking wrong.

The tabloids were not a fan of my playboy lifestyle. And neither were the stockholders. It didn’t take long for me to change the business over to a privately owned company, but still, my company suffered because of my childish antics. I had to tone it down. No more fucking every pretty little thing who begged for my cock. I thought getting married would solve that problem--fuck, I thought I was in love.

I was a fucking fool, and I have the alimony checks to prove it.

If my name is never mentioned in the papers again, I’ll die a happy man.

I started this company when I was Anna’s age, back when I was only nineteen years old. It’s odd to think that, considering how I still see my sister as young.

That was the year I split from my family. Realistically, I’d already been on bad terms with my brother. He’s a jealous prick, and I have no intention of ever allowing him to be in my life again. Even back then, things were tense between us at best. At the time, I wasn’t even speaking to him. But at least I still had my parents. Or at least I thought I did. Before I knew what it was like to be stabbed in the back.

I had to drop out of college. I huff a humorless laugh at the thought. My parents didn’t try to help, and I simply couldn’t afford it anymore, so I left.

A friend from one of my classes reached out and said he’d front the money for the business I was always talking about, and all he wanted in return was to be a silent partner. It was almost too good to be true. Zander’s been at my side more times than not, even when my family decided to rip me apart and steal every penny from me that they could.

With Zander’s startup capital, I built the company of my dreams from the ground up. He had the money, and I had the vision. It was perfect. And success came easily and exponentially.