The neighborhood has never been this quiet. Georgia didn’t spot the kind elderly woman walking her schnauzer, nor did she catch sight of the young mother two blocks over rounding up her two preschoolers and loading them into the Crossover. The occasional random car rolls by, but once it passes, sound is limited to chirping birds and insects.
It’s brisk at the start of a late-spring morning, which is typical for Michigan. What is out of the ordinary, is how particularly inactive this suburban street is at this moment. Georgia usually starts her run at about eight. She ended up leaving the house almost an hour later. Although she’s behind schedule, it isn’t beyond the time that she’d still be out jogging. However, the activity instantaneously picks up once Georgia crosses into the old downtown area of her little township.
It is still quite early for certain small businesses to be open, and those who work at office buildings are already tucked away in their cubicles. Georgia runs past the random stray or two trekking mindlessly to their respective destinations. She eventually makes the loop around city hall at mile five and heads back in the direction of her neighborhood. With so much going on in her head and not enough happening downtown to distract her, Georgia picks up her stride. She manages to keep that pace until she’s nearly four blocks away from home.
Panting from exhaustion, she is now regretting her decision to run faster. Her body is accustomed to running a mile in eleven minutes. She’s a regular marathoner but not a sprinter. She vows never to do that again. For the first time since forever, Georgia doesn’t jog all the way home. Instead, she walks the last couple of blocks. Eventually, she reaches her cross street; she lives just four houses from the corner.
It may be a chilly morning, but Georgia is drenched in sweat. A nice long, hot shower is the only thing on her mind at the moment. When she contemplates showering, her mind ventures to shampoo; it reminds her that she needs to touch up her roots. She never asks how these random thoughts come to mind; she only accepts them.
As she sets her sight on her modest, brick, ranch-style home, she breathes a sigh of relief. In a rare interruption of total silence, a random car moves slowly behind her. Once the auto passes, instead of keeping momentum as the others before, it appears to be braking. The car unanticipatedly swings over to her side of the road just ahead, parking awkwardly by facing in the direction of oncoming traffic. Georgia stares at it in a daze wondering who in the hell is so bold and so lazy to park the wrong way.
But also, she’s astonished by this vehicle, which she’s never seen any place else. It’s sleek and unique. Washed and waxed to perfection, the pewter-gray two-seater sportscar doesn’t look like anything off the production line. It appears to be custom made. In fact, it looks like a Molina that nobody on earth could ever own or afford. The tinted windows coupled with the blinding sunlight on the driver’s side view mirror make it difficult to see who’s inside. Georgia thinks that whoever’s behind the wheel is definitely lost. Granted, there’s plenty of new money around these parts. McMansions galore populate the next block over; the boat-in-the-driveway types. But this is Wayne County, Michigan. And as she continues to steal glances of the fancy ride, she’s picking up major old money vibes.
Georgia stares at the car for so long she doesn’t realize that it has stopped directly in front of her house. The hairs on her arms stand straight up. She’s mindful not to approach the vehicle. Instead, she focuses on going inside her house and peering out of the nearest window to see how long the car sits there.
She takes one last glance at the car parked to her right before veering left to walk the pathway to her front steps. However, the mechanical sound of a window rolling down stops her dead in her tracks. Turning back to face the car, she creeps ahead in order to get a better look. She eventually catches an eyeful of the male figure inside. Georgia draws a complete blank until her mind registers exactly who the driver is.
Holy shit. Blake Ferguson?
The Blake Ferguson?!
If it is Blake Ferguson, that’s definitely a custom designed Molina he’s driving. It’s a perk fit only for a vice president of the luxury car maker. This is the same man who’s essentially being groomed by executive leadership and the board of directors to take over the corporation once the aging president and CEO retires.
He’s an international persona so large, yet currently compacted in a small space and parked in front of Georgia’s house. She is dazed. It’s the first time she’s seeing one of the world’s most powerful men in the flesh. Back when she contracted at Molina for eighteen months, she never would’ve even caught a single glimpse of the man or his boss outside of internal newsletters or the local news media. Georgia worked at a different building on campus, while Ferguson, if he wasn’t traveling the globe, would be tucked away in the executive suite of the glass epicenter known as WHQ, or world headquarters. It’s all water under the bridge, of course, since Ferguson wasn’t even in the state at the time Georgia worked for the company.
What astounds Georgia even more than Blake being in her little ol’ neighborhood is how insanely gorgeous he is in person. Granted, he’s The Motor City’s answer to Musk and Jobs with the charisma and good looks of McConaughey, Cooper, and Gosling all rolled up into one hunk of a man. Georgia and her friends would often swoon over the single playboy’s photographs online or playfully lust after him during his interviews on television. But it is apparent to her that neither camera nor film can even begin to translate how attractive Blake Ferguson is live and in person.
The man is beyond unreal. Even while sitting in his car, Georgia picks up from his posture that he’s significantly fit and tall. But the pièce de résistance is his satiny dark hair that shimmers and his sultry jade eyes that can melt the vaginas of many. It’s not until Ferguson blinks and then smirks that Georgia realizes she’s been staring at him the whole time with her mouth and eyes wide open. She snaps out of it.
“Uh…hi. Are you lost?” she asks as she inches towards the vehicle. The closer she gets, the harder her heart pounds inside her chest. No, it isn’t from running earlier. In fact, this is from a brand-new urge to run. His mere presence evokes something deep inside of her that cannot be explained to anyone, much less to herself.
“No,” he croons. “I’m definitely at the right place.”
Georgia’s eyes round out once more. Confused more than ever, she turns around to take in her house before turning back to him. She can’t imagine for the life of her why this powerful man would be here at her house, of all places. A few possibilities begin to traverse her mind in a matter of milliseconds.
“Are you looking for Colin?” she asks, unsure of anything and everything right now. It’s the only plausible explanation she can come up with for him being here.
The moment her name escapes his lips and reaches her ears, something effervesces inside of her gut. She is now like a doe in headlights.
“I can’t stop thinking about you. I need you to get in,” he pleads sincerely.
Holy fucking shit.
He knows me?
He wants me to leave with him?
“How do you know me?” Georgia gasps.
He winces as if he’s stunned but maintains his upbeat expression. “So…you don’t know me now, huh?” he smirks. Georgia is stumped, thrown off. It’s as if she’d gotten lost in an alternate universe. Everything seems completely off this morning. She’d woken up later than usual. The air in the neighborhood was different. She ran instead of jogged. And now, she could potentially be hallucinating about a world-renowned billionaire heartthrob urging her to hop into his fancy sports car.
She narrows her gaze. “Um, yeah. Who doesn’t know who you are? But how do you know me?”
“Georgia Lynn Fawn Peterson.”
He sings her entire birth name like something from a spiritual hymnal. All of the air leaves her body. She’s mortified.
“I’d never, ever forget such a beautiful name,” he breathes. “It belongs to an even more beautiful woman.”
Any blush induced by his praise is choked out by pure fear. Although he’s hot and wealthy, he is beyond influential. Georgia trembles in his midst. She’s afraid that she could be in imminent danger just by speaking to this man out in public, in front of her house. She resolves to firmly draw the line in the sand between them.
“Georgia Holt,” she corrects him.
“That last name doesn’t suit you,” he says with jade eyes that radiate indescribable assurance.
Georgia winces. “Well, it’s my name,” she responds curtly.
She starts to turn around and walk towards her house, but Blake calls out to her. “Georgia, get in the car. Stop playing games. I don’t want to play them anymore.”
Georgia’s internal alarm sounds off louder than ever. An anxiety that she’s never known overtakes her. She instinctively unzips her spandex jacket pocket and takes out her phone.
“I’m going to call the cops if you don’t leave,” she warns through gritted teeth.
“Stop this,” Blake pleads. “You really don’t want to do that. Just put the phone down and come with me.”
Georgia is past the point of frustration as Blake is becoming equally annoyed. In a flash, his face begins to soften as if he’d remembered something.
“Look, since you have your phone out, why don’t you take a look at your photos from last night. Maybe that will remind you of what we are.”
Georgia thinks that this man is impossible to deal with, but to get him to shut up and leave, she awakens her phone and taps on the ‘Photos’ icon. What she sees makes her jaw nearly fall out of her skin.
Oh my God.
Her chest starts to cave in as all the air expels her body. With terror emanating from her eyes, she gapes at her phone and then looks back at the man. One last double-take of disbelief at her phone transpires before she looks up again and shares her humiliated reaction with Blake.
Oh my God!
I don’t remember doing any of that!
How did this happen?!
Her skin turns pure white.
What have I done?
Oh my God!
“Come with me and I’ll explain everything,” he says softly to her.
He witnesses the sheer dread in her eyes, and it cuts him to the bone.
“I would never hurt you, Georgia. You know that,” he beseeches. “Please…you have to trust me. Come with me.” I don’t know what to believe anymore, she thinks. In just one photograph, her world has been turned upside down.
She closes her eyes and bows her head in dismay.
Now, the question weighing heavily on her is: What in the hell does he want with me? For a second, she contemplates going with him. However, she immediately fears disappearing off the face of the earth and no one would ever know where he hid her. The man is just that powerful.
Yet there is a drumming in her soul unlike anything she’s ever felt. Something inside of her genuinely believes that he would never hurt her in a million years. Whatever this emotion is, it pulls at her heart like a magnet. Georgia flinches as if she’d been burned.
What the hell am I doing? Who is this man?
I’m a married woman for crying out loud!
But without saying another word, Georgia approaches the car anyway. Blake springs out to hurriedly open the door on the passenger’s side before she changes her mind. After a brief hesitation, she gets in.
Copyright © 2019 by TK Cherry
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