Thank you so much for the feedback and encouragement. It's very appreciated. Beta Reader - Bryan and Linda
'I like to do something different with every show. I didn't mind showing a few pieces from the new line since it was for a good cause. Yes the outfits worn by Lia and Nick are the show stoppers for my fall line. I decided to have Alex, Corey and Nick walk the runway for me because they are close friends of mine. I've wanted to get them onstage for awhile now and this felt like the perfect time to do so.’
That was the statement given by Joshua after the show. Pictures of the onstage action will be released after Joshua’s collection’s official debut on Friday.
Annaliese flung the paper down in annoyance causing it to rattle her coffee cup. Monique who was eating her breakfast looked at her daughter with a frown.
“Something the matter dear?” she asked coolly.
“Nickolas!” Annaliese hissed before lowering her voice a little. “Every paper has mentioned last night’s event and all are full of praise for Corey and Nickolas.”
Before Monique could reply Robert walked into the room.
“Good morning,” he said in his usual good natured manner. Taking a seat at the table he poured himself a cup of coffee.
"Good morning darling," Monique said with a smile before continuing with her breakfast.
Annaliese smiled brightly at Robert. "Good morning Robert."
Robert smiled at her and sipped his coffee.
"Robert, you know the apartment in the Sanctuary building? Can Trisha stay there for about a month while her apartment is being repainted? She'll pay rent of course," Annaliese said while looking at Robert.
Robert lowered his cup and shook his head regretfully. “I’m sorry Annaliese but that apartment is in use. Trisha is welcome to stay here,” he said with a smile.
Annaliese tried not to let her disappointment show, “Thanks Robert.”
Monique frowned, “Why can’t Trisha stay there darling? She’s a trustworthy young lady and Annaliese’s best friend. Just because the apartment is in Nick’s name doesn’t mean that you can’t let Trisha stay there.”
Robert looked at Monique in surprise, “Nick is living there.” He frowned, “I’m surprised you didn’t know about it. He’s been captured entering and leaving the building numerous times by the paparazzi.”
“Nickolas is living at Sanctuary?” Annaliese asked in shock.
Robert looked at her, “Didn’t you wonder where he was living my dear?”
Robert shook his head and stood up while Annaliese flushed in embarrassment. Wishing them a good day he left the room.
Annaliese looked angrily at Monique, “How did you not know he’s living there?”
Monique looked at her daughter in annoyance, “It’s not like it’s easy to keep track of his movement’s honey.”
“But mom,” Annaliese whined, “Nickolas could be doing anything now that he’s living there and no one will be able to find out anything!”
Both remembered how the apartments for sale in the building were snapped up before construction was even halfway through. And the people that purchased it after it was complete ended up paying a few million more than the people who’d bought it earlier. It was advertised with the tag line that it provides ultimate privacy for people who want and need it.
Annaliese stood up abruptly. “I need to go talk to Trish,” she said and stomped out of the room.
Nick ran his fingers through his damp hair and spiked it up. Standing near the full length window he took in the view while thinking about the past.
Three years ago when his father had asked him if he was interested in purchasing his own apartment Nick had been all for it. When he’d heard about the perks Sanctuary had to offer he’d almost been sold on it. The price quoted for the place had been the only thing that had held him back. He’d discussed it with his godfather who’d told him that he had to think of it as an investment he was making. After thinking about it for a few days he’d decided to go ahead and buy the place. He hadn’t regretted his decision.
Tugging a shirt on he buttoned it up before picking up his phone. He checked his messages and then hit #3 on his speed dial.
“Hey you called?” Nick asked.
“Just wanted to check that you’re up. Matt will
be here soon.”
“I’m heading over right now Core,” Nick said with a smile.
Nick stepped out of his apartment and smiled when he saw Matt getting out of the elevator.
“Morning Nickolas,” Matt said with a smile.
Matt stopped Nick as he was entering Corey’s apartment causing Nick to quirk his eyebrow questioningly.
“Nice love bite,” Matt said softly.
Nick’s eyes widened in surprise. He moved to the mirror that rested on the wall between both apartments and stared at his neck. Matt stood behind Nick and pushed his shirt collar back into place which effectively covered the small but dark mark.
When their eyes met in the mirror it struck Matt that Nick looked uncharacteristically young. He smiled reassuringly and rubbed Nick’s arm.
“Are you being safe?” he asked softly.
Nick blushed and whispered, “Yes.”
Matt nodded and gently guided Nick into Corey’s apartment.
Several hours later…
Nick sighed as arms slid around his waist and jerked him back against a warm body.
“Hey,” Nick replied.
“Didn’t expect to see you today. Is everything ok?”
Nick nodded, “Yeah. Just wanted you to know that Matt knows I was with someone last night.”
“Does that bother you?”
Nick shook his head. “It doesn’t bother me that he knows. What bothers me is that one more person knows before my best friend does. I need to tell Corey and I can’t wait any longer.” He smiled slightly, “I hope you understand.”
“I do darling. Tell him. Would you like me to be there when you do so?”
Nick sighed and shook his head, “No. This is something that I should do alone.”
Robert laughed and shook his head, “It’s so good to hear that you’re enjoying yourself. Saw the pictures you sent. You both look like you’re having a wonderful time.”
Jerald Richardson smiled, “Oh we are Rob, we are. I wish you could’ve joined us but it’s probably better than you’ve been handling most of Kevin’s transition into the company. How’s Nicky?”
“Kevin’s handling things very well, just as I’d expected. Nick’s good, busy but enjoying himself.”
“And the preparations for Corey’s wedding? Is everything moving smoothly?” Jerald asked.
Robert nodded, “Everything’s progressing along as planned. He’s a bit stressed out but that’s to be expected.”
“Good,” Jerald sighed, “that’s good. And what about Kevin and Nicky?”
Robert sighed, “They seem to get along well whenever they meet. You should know that Annaliese has been showing a lot of interest in Kevin. Under the circumstances I haven’t felt comfortable talking to Kevin or Nicky about what we’d discussed.”
Jerald echoed Robert’s sigh. “That does complicate things. Cara would kick both our asses if we interfered if Annaliese likes Kevin. Does Kevin like her?”
“I don’t really know Jerry. He’s cordial. I don’t ask him about his personal life.”
“Let’s talk to them together when I’m back. We’ll just be up front and tell them what we think and let them take it from there,” Jerald suggested.
Robert nodded, “That sounds good.”
Corey let himself into Nick’s apartment and walked into the living room. He smiled at the picture that was hanging on one of the walls. It had been taken on Corey’s 19th birthday. Corey was sitting in front of a huge chocolate cake with Nick and AJ on either side of him with pieces of cake in their hands ready to smash on his face. He chuckled and shook his head.
His phone vibrating in his pocket caught his attention. Corey pulled it out and checked the caller id, smiling when he saw his wedding planner’s name on the screen.
“Hello Corey. Free to talk?”
“Yup, just waiting for Nick to get home,” Corey said. “Do I need The Book?” he asked referring to his planner.
Kyle made a negative sound, “No no. I just wanted to ask you something. Your mothers sent us a new… suggestion.” Corey sighed asked him to continue when he hesitated. “Well they suggested that you wear a black suit with a gold shirt for the vows.”
Corey frowned, “Yuck! No thank you, with my skin tone I’ll look like a moron. I’m fine with the white one. And my second option is ready too.”
Kyle nodded, “That’s what I figured. Is the suit that JC’s working on for you ready?”
Corey smiled, “Almost. He’s saving the final alternations for a day before the wedding.”
“Corey please eat! And eat properly! The skinny look so does not suit you hun,” Kyle said.
Corey grinned, “Don’t worry, I’m eating properly. Thanks Kyle. You’ve made all of this so much easier to handle.”
Kyle chuckled, “My pleasure Corey. I’ll talk to you later. Have a good evening.”
“Thanks Kyle. You too. Say hi to tall and sexy for me,” Corey said with a laugh and hung up before Kyle could yell at him for teasing him.
He stood up and stretched before going over to the bar. Shaking his head he went towards the kitchen, ‘Gotta remind Nick to stock the bar.’
Opening the refrigerator Corey frowned when he saw the green and blue bottles.
Nick shut his apartment door and leaned against it for a moment before walking into the living room. Leaving his bag on the couch he walked into the kitchen and stopped short when he saw Corey standing in front of the open refrigerator.
When Corey turned around Nick gulped upon seeing the bottles in Corey’s hands.
“Since when do you drink Perrier?”
Corey’s eyes widened at the way Nick paled before flushing.
Shutting the refrigerator door Corey set the bottles of water on the counter between them and looked at Nick. “So best friend mine, is there something you’d like to tell me?”