"Emmeline Grey, you're more beautiful than your reputation describes."
I didn't recognize the deep, soothing voice, but I looked up, intrigued by hearing my full name and the compliment attached to it, especially while sitting in a booth at the club.
"I'm sorry. Have we met?"
I glanced away from the unfamiliar boy towards my new best friend Sara. Since freshman orientation two months earlier, we had been essentially inseparable. She was both very much like me and completely different from me at the same time and therefore, the perfect combination for a best friend.
"Logan!" Sara exclaimed as she jumped up to hug the guy. I stared at him, but I was unable place his face, his blonde hair or the shape of his body. He was completely new to me, but completely gorgeous as well and there was no denying that.
"Em, this is Logan, my brother's best friend from high school. He's just transferred in this semester as a junior."
I nodded, unsure of how to respond to the situation. That explained why he was in the club, but it didn't explain why he knew me by name or why he felt comfortable enough to hit on me. Logan slid into the booth next to me and Sara resumed her seat on my other side.
"It seems you ladies got started on the evening without me." Logan motioned to the empty martini glasses on the table, "Shall we have a few more drinks?"
Sara nodded enthusiastically and Logan motioned to the waitress to provide us with several more rounds of shots. Sara started making toasts to each shot, "to friends," "to shots," "to hot guys," "to Grey Enterprises," "to more shots." After a few quick rounds, Sara left the table subsequent to making eye contact with a brunette guy on the other side of the dance floor, someone I recognized from one of the campus fraternities. I knew Sara was going to join a sorority as soon as she could. The lifestyle simply spoke to her soul.
Logan leaned back in his seat, waiting for me to talk.
"Why do you know me?" I asked as I probed Logan's shoulder with my pointer finger. The drinks made me much braver than I usual.
"I've never met you before."
"Everyone knows you, Miss Grey. Your brother is famous, as are you by association. Sara's brother also speaks highly of you."
Miss Grey? No one called me that aside from my brothers on occasion and the security detail; I wished they would just call me Em, Emma, or even Emmeline if it would make them more comfortable.
I was easily able to recall the weekend when Sara's brother, Max, came to visit us. He spent more time at the bar than he did with us. He was a nice guy, a little girl crazy, but nice, and like Sara, he had the appearance to be crazy in that way. Both of the Hewitt children were stunning with their naturally bronze skin, brown hair and blue eyes. I envied Sara's year-long tan on a regular basis. Wan looked good on no one, especially girls with pale green eyes and blonde hair.
"Psh. Max doesn't even know me," I offered pushing Logan's shoulder while I continued, "We barely talked. He was too busy getting with other girls all weekend."
"Let's have another drink," Logan suggested as he downed the remains of his cup.
I no longer knew how many drinks I had consumed throughout the night. While getting ready for the night at Sara's apartment, I made a personal vow to go easy on the alcohol. At 17, I had only been drunk once before in my life. It happened at home, in the pool house, with my older sister, Mia, and some of her friends. We had talked and danced and giggled until we all passed out. I remembered the feeling I had the next morning when I woke up and didn't want to feel it again. Although I had gotten away with no "real" punishment for underage drinking, I felt punished enough. Mom knew why I was ill the next morning, but as I was with Mia and we did it at home, we had both gotten away with no more punishment than the hangover and a chat with Christian when he found out.
It was easier to get away with in college while living in the city with my brother. Although he kept an even more watchful eye on me than Mom and Dad ever had, he agreed to lessen my security detail as long as I proved I didn't need it. I had succeeded in maintaining that trust thus far. Tonight was the first night that I had been out to a bar with my friends during the semester. I had spent most weekends going to the mall with Sara or at small get-togethers at friend's houses, but Mia's old ID easily gained me access to the club and I was served drinks all night without a single question.
When I stood up to walk to the bathroom, the shots hit me all at once. I stumbled backwards into Logan's lap.
"Have a little too much to drink, Miss Grey?" Logan asked while smirking.
"No, I'm fine. It's the shoes. They're not mine! I'm just not used to them," I protested.
They really weren't mine. I had borrowed them from Ana's closet after she and Christian left for their date, knowing that Ana wouldn't miss them.
Logan raised an eyebrow.
"I'm fine," I insisted.
"Please do be careful. I wouldn't you to fall and let anyone see this," Logan said as he grasped my butt in his hand.
I stood up quickly, shocked by his action, and pulled the dress down, although it still hit very high above the knee. I had borrowed the silver dress from Ana's closet as well. Without responding to Logan, I walked to the bathroom, very slowly and with care not to trip. Logan was right. One wrong step would land me in indecent exposure territory.
Once in the bathroom, I stared at my reflection in the mirror. I was at the point where my understanding of life felt like an out of body experience, like I was looking at someone other than myself in the mirror. My thoughts were separate and different from the movements my body made. My scattered thoughts traveled back to Logan. Did he just grab my ass? He is cute. Oh, those eyes. I wonder how old he is... I was smiling at myself in the mirror with a huge goofy grin. Sara brought home a new boy every weekend. I had never been able to meet a guy due to my usual security detail, but tonight was different. My phone buzzed in my hand.
Sara: I found my fix tonite. He's coming home with me. See you later.
Emma: Hahaha. You are such a slut.
Sara: You're the slut. He wants you badddd.
Emma: Logan? You sure?
Sara: Yesssss. Get it Emmy!
I headed back to the table to find Logan waiting with another set of shots for me.
"Just one more shot, Miss Grey. Cheers to tonight, to new friends, to beautiful girls such as yourself." Logan placed a shot in my hand and took the other for himself.
I downed it, feeling the liquid burn as it traveled down my throat. I recoiled from the horrid taste and on some level, I knew that the shot put me over the edge.
"What was that?" I ask.
"Tequila and Orange Liqueur."
I shuddered. I felt that drink so much more than the others. I was already drunk; I really hadn't needed anything else. I slid into the booth next to Logan, willing myself to feel normal.
"That was disgusting. I want to go home. I'm sleepy."
I stood up and attempted to walk towards the door to find myself a cab.
"No, no, no. You can't go alone. It's not safe."
Logan laughed quietly and stopped me with a hand on my arm.
"You sound like my brother," I responded, giggling because he sounded exactly like a Grey brother,
"I can take care of myself."
Just as the words came out of my mouth I slipped, almost falling to the floor for the second time in less than ten minutes.
"Whoa, whoa, Miss Grey. Please do be careful. And I don't mean to remind you of a brother, far from it."
Logan held my arm, successfully guiding me through the front door.
"You're different, Logan. You're nicer than my brothers. And my brothers don't grab my ass like you did either."
My filter had disintegrated courtesy of the alcohol.
He smirked at me and the smirk reached his eyes. The golden shade was stunning. I was so absorbed in looking at his face; I had never seen anything like his eyes, so beautiful.
"You have such a dirty mouth, Miss Grey."
"And what are you going to do about it?"
I didn't fight as his free hand traveled to the small of my back.
"Let's take you home. Where are we going?"
"Across town. It's my brother's place."
Logan lowered me into the cab and slid in beside me.
"I'm different from your brothers in many ways, Emma," he said going back to our previous conversation.
I tried hard to focus on Logan's voice, but found myself captivated by his golden eyes that were staring into my own. He was so very different from the men I was used to in the way he treated me, yet so similar. The way he wouldn't let me go home alone was strikingly familiar. Logan pulled me closer to him on the seat. With a hand, he pushed my hair from my face. Before college, I had very little interaction with boys my age, thanks to the overbearing protective instincts of my family and thanks to the bad things that happened when I was a kid, but now was different.
"They treat me like a little kid," I offered, "Like I'm still ten years old, but I'm not. I'm almost an adult. I'm in college. I can take care of myself."
"I would think you would enjoy being treated like a woman," he answered.
Logan moved his hand to my face.
"You deserve to be treated like the beautiful young woman that you are."
I leaned in to meet his kiss. I'm not sure why, but I felt it coming. I knew exactly what he wanted to do. His hand traveled up my thigh to the seam of the silver dress.
"Is your brother home?" Logan asked between kisses, his breathing a bit labored.
"No," I replied, "He's out with his girlfriend tonight."
The security placed on Escala didn't cross my mind in my inebriated state. Sure, Christian had let up on my personal security detail; Ryan no longer followed me every time I left the apartment, sitting in on classes with me, watching me when I meet friends for coffee, but the apartment was still well monitored. Even though Taylor wouldn't be home, one of the other members of the security detail would likely be there. These thoughts would have been a big deal to me at any other time, but not tonight. After all, I was college, basically an adult.
"I'm glad I met you tonight, Em," Logan smiled at me as we stepped into the elevator.
I smiled at his use of the nickname as I pushed the code for the top floor.
"Me too," I responded sweetly.
Again, I leaned in to meet his kiss and I didn't move away until we reached the top floor of the building and the entry way to the apartment.
"Wow, nice place." Logan glanced around the room and whistled.
"Shssss," I put my finger to his mouth, "Let's go to my room."
I left the heels in the entry way and ascended the stairs to my bedroom with Logan trailing behind me. Once in the room, I shut the door. Logan turned me towards him with his hands on my waist. He held me still with my back against the door and kissed my neck.
"I want you," he whispered in my ear, "I want you so bad."
I pushed him towards the bed, climbed on his lap and continued to kiss him hard. I couldn't remember the last boy I had been with in this way. High school had been mostly uneventful in the area of boys with the exception of two very short-term boyfriends and a few random make out sessions at parties.
"Birth control?" he asked.
I shook my head, confused why he was asking.
"We'll wait then."
I hadn't been planning on having sex with Logan; I was a virgin, but something inside of me felt disappointed when he said "we'll wait then".
"Don't frown, Miss Grey. We can still have some fun."
He resumed the action, pushing me down beneath him on the bed and holding my arms above my head. Ten minutes later the door handle joggled as he kissed my cleavage.
"Emmeline, open the door."
I froze, but didn't answer the command.
"I know you're in there. I'm unlocking the door right now."
Christian's face held the most livid expression I had ever seen. I immediately distanced myself from Logan and looked away from my brother.
"Who are you?" He stared at Logan, his angry eyes were fixed on Logan, but he showed no fear.
"Who are you?" Logan retorted.
I wished I could put my hand over Logan's mouth and stop him from talking. Christian hated smart asses and Logan couldn't keep his mouth shut.
"The owner of this residence and the guardian of the child whose room you are trespassing in," Christian answered plainly, "Now, would you like to disclose your name or would you like me to call the police?"
"Christian! Stop it!" I felt momentarily brave and spoke up to my brother.
"Be quiet, Emmeline. I assure you that you will have my full, completely undivided attention in just a few min-," Christian's voice was more of a patronizing growl when he directed it at me.
"No. I'm not a ch-!"
Christian did not cut me off with words, but his expression was enough. I was in deep trouble with him and I knew it. Christian directed his glare back to Logan and I resolved to keep quiet.
"I'm Logan Porter, just a friend of your sister's."
"Well, Mr. Porter. Emma is not entertaining any friends tonight or anytime soon for that matter. You'll be leaving the premises now. Taylor, please escort Mr. Porter from the building and thoroughly explain to him how this household works in regards to visitors that have not been confirmed by me."
I looked away from Taylor when he entered my room. Usually, he doesn't judge, but I could feel that he was upset with me. Once alone with Christian, I pulled at the ends of my dress to make it longer, feeling uncomfortable with so little of myself covered in his presence.
"Do you have any idea how much trouble you're in?"
"It's late and I'm going to bed. Please get out of my room, Christian," I answered, trying to remain strong.
I headed towards my bathroom, but he stopped me with his hand on my arm.
"You are lucky that you are drunk right now and that I am going to wait and deal with you in the morning, but don't think that a night of sleep will make anything better for you. You have 5 minutes to get out of that scrap of clothing and into something presentable and get your ass to bed. We will be talking in the morning, until then you are not to leave this room."
I shook my arm out of his grasp and folded my arms across my chest.
"I am not a kid, Christian. You cannot tell me what to do."
"You are a child, a child that lives under my roof, and I can tell you what to do. Get yourself ready for bed or there will be consequences."
Christian dropped my arm and exited the room, closing the door behind him and locking it with the chain from the outside. Christian would never deny me of food or water and the locking was really no threat. It was simply an assertion of his power over me. I was angry, but I climbed into bed regardless. At the moment, I felt more tired than angry and the room was spinning. It wasn't long before I fell asleep.