Men from every corner of high society sipped on their drinks, smiling up at the scantily clad dancers. The lingerie of course provided by Tom’s business. Smoke danced from corner to corner, the music had left behind the trend of the time and had taken on a more raw sound, the kind he had heard back in America. The bar was busy, the women pleased and the money flowed in. It was something else Jared had touched that had turned to gold.
The only one who sat without enjoyment was his Farrah. She sat beside him, insulted by having been made to attend tonight’s grand opening. She was done up in lace finery and her beautiful face was nearly entirely shaded by the expensive hat she wore. Her face was the very depiction of sadness. Sadness he had brought on. Sadness that made him happy.
Jared lifted his drink and sipped at the silky alcohol that danced down his throat and settled with warmth inside of him. He lifted his arm and wrapped it around Farrah’s small shoulders. He looked over at Lucas who sat stiffly at their own table. He looked uncomfortable and Jared wondered if it was because Farrah had joined them. What would the young man be doing had he been on his own tonight?
“Farrah darling, are you not having a good evening?” Jared asked into her ear.
She looked at him before turning away sharply again. “Can I not go home?” She demanded, her eyes starting to glisten with tears. She was humiliated. No lady of her class would ever dare come to such a thing as this.
“Would you truly spoil my evening and not stay at my side?” Jared scoffed and took his arm away from her shoulders.
“Mr. Leto, I would not mind escorting the lady home if she is tired or unwell.” Lucas spoke up, offering his assistance so freely.
“Of course you would not mind.” Jared replied with a shake of his head as he fell back against the seat he sat on. He lifted his drink again and finished what was left before he gestured for it to be refilled.
“If you drink anymore you will be drunk.” Farrah warned.
“Does my fair lady worry about me on her pillow at night, I wonder. Does she care if I am ill while I drink?” He smiled wickedly at her but she did not return his gaze. “Or does she worry of someone else? Someone who knows her so much better than I do.”
That was when she looked at him, her eyes appalled by his insinuations. “Did you bring me out tonight to torment me?”
“Perhaps I did.” Jared smiled at the thought before he set his drink before his lips again.
All at once the glass slipped from his hand as a hard sting struck the side of his face. His hand rose to touch to it before he sharpened his glare down at Farrah. Her eyes widened, fear mixing with her her disbelief that she had actually done it. He moved towards her but Lucas was there between them so quickly.
“Mr. Leto, please she doesn’t know what she was doing. Look at her, she’s tired, ill even. Let me take her home so that you might enjoy the rest of your night.” He was looking Jared directly in his eyes, pleading with him it seemed. His youthful beliefs that things could be so easily smoothed over with words.
Jared looked at her and then again at Lucas before he lowered his hand to the table again. Immediately his drink was refilled. “I suppose that’s fine by me. As long as I get to enjoy my evening.” He muttered, trying to stifle the anger that filled him.
“Of course. Come Miss Farrah, let me take you home.”
She allowed Lucas to escort her out of the place leaving Jared to his thoughts and anger.
Jared released his tightened grip on the glass he held in fear that he would crush it to shards.
“Boss looks like he could use a bit of comfort.” One of the dancers slinked up behind him, her whisper heated against the skin of his neck.
He looked up at her and smiled a little. “I’d rather you make me a ton of money.” He said, brushing his fingers up the back of her hair and bringing her down for a kiss.
She smiled and then rushed away when he let her go. He wiped at the rouge left on his lips before he sipped again on his drink. He felt the slap Farrah had left continuously, each time it entered his head anger filled him. She still thought she could do what she wanted simply because she had lived in this world her entire life. As if that gave her an advantage. As if that saved her from being put into her place by someone like him. Just because his name wasn’t gold gilded and he didn’t have a silver fork cutting out the pages of his life he was going to get what he wanted. He was going to rise above all of them and take hold of the life he was meant for.
His wide blue eyes searched the room, studying the abandon these men allowed within these walls. They left society at the door, Jared was sure he would be able to bring in colored men and still find the atmosphere the same. He enjoyed that idea of having these high standing men with their walls down in his place.
Tom came into his view, spiffily dressed for the evening. Jared rose to greet him, handing him a drink when he did.
“So sorry I’m late! I almost thought I wouldn’t make it.” Tom was grinning widely as he spoke. He lifted the drink to his lips and took a drink.
“Why is that?” Jared asked, a smile making its way onto his own face. He supposed it was about time he forget what had happened with Farrah for just a moment.
“Because of this little tigress here.” He declared, looking down at the woman on his arm
Jared took notice of the woman he hadn’t even seen at first. She was smiling up at him, her eyes a devilish green. There was a look about her that wasn’t at all English, her lips were curled in a rouged smile and her hair was all tendrils and curls.
“And who might she be?”
“This here is Jacqueline Cosette, daughter of the lingerie king in France. It helps to be in the business.” Tom said with a laugh.
“It’s a pleasure meeting you, Miss Cosette…My name is-“
“Jared, I know. Tom has told me. And please, call me Jacqueline. Because everything is a pleasure except for formalities.” She said, her voice all silk and velvet. She held her gloved hand out to him, setting it in his and waiting for it to be kissed.
He smiled at her from beneath his brows before he whispered a kiss to the silk material. She was smiling when he looked back to her, her eyes blazing with all the passion he knew she possessed.
“I;m going to get you a drink. Jared will show you to his table, I’m sure.”
Tom disappeared then allowing them to sit at Jared’s table.
“What brings you to England?” Jared asked, trying hard not to make his attraction to her noticeable. She was with Tom it seemed.
“I’m always in Englad. I bore of France, it’s always the same thing and I tire of everyone there as well.” She said with a laugh. She knew just how privileged she was and she cared little if anyone was offended by the way she flaunted it.
“Sounds like how I feel about this place.”
“But now you have Nightingale. Quite a risque’ venture, I’d say. You did not even care that there is a church a few blocks from here.”
“All these gentleman attend that church, I’m sure. Looks like they don’t care much about that either.” He laughed at his own words which provoked a laugh from her as well. “How long have you known Tom?”
“Did you really take me to sit to talk about Tom?” She questioned, her fingers touching to the diamonds at her ears.
“I suppose I did not.”
“Of course you didn’t.” She reached her hand over and lightly touched them to the embroidered lapels of his coat. “We must find a time where we can talk about you…you and me.”
“And what of Tom?” He asked, parting his lips to breathe so as not to look too pathetic.But how did he hide her affect on him?
“What is the saying? What one doesn’t know, it will not hurt them?” She nearly shouted out a laugh then, her eyes dancing the dim lights surrounding them.
He smiled as well just as Tom came back with new drinks. None of it mattered though when he found himself lost in this new woman. If he was to endure a tiresome marriage with a ridiculous girl like Farrah he figured it was only his right to get himself some kind of plaything to keep his interest.