As the first light of dawn crept through the window, Sheila shifted, and her hand met a searing chest. Blinking her eyes open, she saw a strikingly handsome face.
"Hey! Who are you? Why are you in my bed? What happened?"
Confirming she wasn't stuck in some weird dream, Sheila realized she was naked under the covers and let out a shriek.
Leaning against the headboard, Shane White looked her up and down, taking in the red marks dotting her skin.
"I think the question is, what did you do to me?" said Shane, his voice a sultry growl. "The moment I stepped out of that elevator last night, you were all over me. Anyone would think you were the desperate one there."
Sheila felt a cocktail of shame and rage. Did this arrogant guy just compare her to a sex worker?
She started to lift her hand for a good old-fashioned slap. But as her hand went up, the sheet slid down, leaving her completely exposed.
Pulling up the sheet, Sheila gave him a stern warning. "Look, what happened last night stays in this room. Once we're outside, we're strangers. If you even hint at this to anyone, you're going to wish you hadn't."
Having laid down the law, Sheila gathered her strewn clothes from the floor and dressed.
The idea that she'd lost her virginity to some random guy made her eyes well up.
Swiping away her tears with a quick, angry motion, she refused to let her softer emotions show.
Sensing her struggle, Shane toned down his voice. "Last night wasn't planned, obviously. But if you're open to it, I could make an honest woman out of you."
"You mean to marry you?" Sheila couldn't contain her disbelief and indignation. Eyes blazing, she snapped, "You think one night together makes it okay to keep this going, but just with a ring on my finger?"
The audacity! It was like a twisted comedy sketch.
Shane hadn't seen that coming.
Women had practically lined up for a chance to be with him over the years, but he'd never felt the need to commit. Now that he offered, she didn't want it?
Finishing his own morning dress ritual, Shane reached for a gold-embossed business card from his pocket and set it on the nightstand.
"This has my number. If you change your mind, you know how to reach me."
Once he was gone, Sheila sank into the bathtub, scrubbing away the marks on her skin as if she could wash away the entire episode. The world seemed a little darker than before.
The night before, she'd been at a family party where her half-sister, Rita Jones, had handed her a glass of wine. She didn't remember anything after finishing that drink.
While she knew she wasn't a heavyweight when it came to alcohol, one glass of wine shouldn't have had that kind of effect.
It had to be Rita messing with that wine!
Six months earlier, Niko Evans, the man Sheila had been with for two years, got into an accident. When he came to consciousness, he didn't remember her. Worse still, he'd fallen head over heels for her sister Rita.
Sheila had tried everything to get him to remember their time together, but nothing worked.
Now, she was left with nothing, as Rita seemed to have stolen both her love and her family from her.
That was it. She couldn't let it slide any longer.
After her bath, Sheila caught a cab back to the Jones family's home.
The Jones' household was eerily quiet that early morning.
Just as she was about to walk into the living room, she picked up the sound of her stepmother and half-sister talking.
"Mom, we missed a golden opportunity last night! The guy didn't film Sheila while they were, you know, together. Imagine if he had! We could've shown that video to Niko, and he'd be done with her for sure."
Then another voice, tinged with a sneer, joined the conversation. "Don't sweat it. Video or not, Sheila won't be a problem between you and Niko anymore."
Rita was clearly confused.
Her mother, Paula, snickered quietly. "Remember Timothy, who was at the party last night?"
"Timothy Green? That unsettling older guy? I heard he's gone through six wives, and none of them are alive to tell the tale. Now he's in the market for unlucky number seven."