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One Night

At the lowest point in her life, Blair meets a handsome stranger. They only share one wild night together before they go their separate ways. But what will happen when they meet again under very different circumstances? Will the spark still be there?

Age Rating: 18+

 

One Night by Sapir Englard is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.

 


 

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1

Summary

At the lowest point in her life, Blair meets a handsome stranger. They only share one wild night together before they go their separate ways. But what will happen when they meet again under very different circumstances? Will the spark still be there?

Age Rating: 18+

Original Author: Sapir Englard

The pub was small and quiet as I slid onto the stool, putting my fancy Gucci purse on the bar’s wooden surface.

I looked much too posh for a place like this in my current attire of a Prada cocktail dress, matching black high heels and my hair pulled elegantly into a ponytail, gliding softly in waist-long gold locks.

The only thing that ruined the stupidly rich look for me was my face.

I had panda eyes, the mascara and eyeliner smeared all around them. That wasn’t the worst of it; my plump cherry-red lipstick was smeared and mixed with dry blood from a recently-given bruise on my upper lip.

My cheek was still stinging from the slap that bitch landed on me, sporting an unnatural shade of pink.

A mess. I looked like a mess. And when the barman came over and took one look at my face, he blanched. “Are you okay, Miss?” he asked, eyes wide.

“Peachy,” I said dryly, my voice raspy. “I just need a glass of whiskey.”

The barman, who seemed like he only recently turned twenty-one, was still a little pale as he nodded and attempted a smile. “Coming right up.”

Boys, I thought in irritation as he hurried to fetch me my much-deserved liquor, don’t need to grow up to be men.

Because when they are just boys, they are innocent enough to be forgiven. The moment they become full-fledged men, they turn into slimy assholes.

Tonight had been a blow to remind me of this fact, which I’d so easily forgotten. Well, not anymore.

My whiskey came and I ignored the barman as I drowned it all in almost one shot and asked for a refill.

The boy asked if I wanted to open a tab, I said yes—it had been a long night and I deserved to break free for a few hours with my true beloved: alcohol—and so I spent the next hour drinking so much whiskey.

I began feeling funny. But I was still a long way from oblivion, and stopping was not acceptable.

Dimly, as I got my fifteenth glass or something (I lost count after six), I was dimly aware of someone slipping into the stool next to me.

Whether it was a man or woman, I didn’t care. I wasn’t here to get hit on or make friends. I was here because the alternative made my skin crawl.

The barman came over and his eyes turned shimmery, and not with tears. The boy was looking at the person who was sitting next to me with such an awestruck expression, I was curious despite myself.

As the boy tried to quickly collect himself (and did a poor job at that, I daresay) he asked with a slight hitch in his voice, “What can I bring you, M-Mr Knight?”

A low male voice replied, “The usual, Tyler. Please.”

The boy, Tyler, flushed with what could only be pride. What could he proud of? That whoever was sitting next to me remembered his name?

I scowled at my whiskey glass. Correction of my state of mind: All male population, no matter what age, were irrevocably, inherently stupid.

As Tyler scattered off to get “the usual” for my stool neighbor, that very same neighbor said, “Hey there.”

That was a wrong thing to say to me in that specific moment for my specific state. My scowl deepened and I was ready to bite his head off when I turned to give him a glare and got an actual look at him.

He was good looking. Very good looking. Extremely good looking. Short dark hair, gray eyes, and a hunky figure which, from what I could see, was tall, toned, sturdy and strong.

Then there were his broad shoulders and that enviable natural tan that made me feel like my skin wasn’t just pale but alabaster—and not in a good, shiny way. He also had a handsome, masculine face that was now sporting a small grin and a devil-may-care glint in his eyes.

Men who looked like this were the worst of the lot. They were usually cocky, know-it-all, aware of their good looks and using it for all kinds of stupid things.

Like being assholes to so-called ugly women who even dared to look at them, or acting all aloof and unreachable so they would be desired more.

Men like this one pulled stunts and played games like these all the freaking time. I knew it because I didn’t just grow up with someone like that, but I also dated one. Until tonight.

The guy was looking at my face, now that I was staring, or rather glaring, back at him. I saw his idiotically mischievous eyes taking notes of my cut lip, panda eyes, and red cheek, but he said nothing.

Instead he returned his vivid eyes back to my still glaring ones and waited for my move.

Unfortunately for him, he came to the wrong prey. Because I was done being the prey. “Not interested,” I told him through gritted teeth, stopping myself shortly from snapping.

Despite this guy being a man, and a hot one at that, which probably meant he was the worst kind of man, I didn’t know him, so taking out all of my pent-up rage on him, while tempting, would be wrong.

However, If he didn’t get the message…

As I turned back to the whiskey and took a deep sip, the man spoke again, and my short trigger felt close to snapping.

“I must admit,” he said, voice a low murmur that would’ve been sexy if I wasn’t so mad right now, “ever since I got my new job, women of all kinds and ages don’t reject me. At least not as flatly as you just did.”

I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at that. Why did men who looked good—and knew it—felt the need to say shit like that to women who rejected them?

That wouldn’t make me reconsider. It would just make them look even more like assholes. Because every good asshole loved a challenge, since they were “intrigued.”

Fuck men and fuck this one specifically for grating on my nerves.

So, to put an end to this stupid conversation, I turned fully to him and gave him the best glower in my arsenal. To his credit, he didn’t cower in fear, but his eyes did widen a notch.

“I’m not interested in talking to you. So stop talking to me and both of us will be much happier.”

The slight grin he had on his face faded and was replaced by a surprisingly serious look. I tensed in reaction to an unknown threat.

“You don’t look happy,” he said. Our eyes met, his boring into mine. “I thought I could perhaps help a girl who’s just been through a tough night.”

I narrowed my eyes, my warning flags rising up. “So you’re just playing the Good Samaritan? Is that what you’re saying?”

He shrugged, and I just noticed how bulky his arms were. He had some major biceps. “Maybe I am. Is that so hard to believe?”

My finger tapped on the bar. It tended to do so when I felt out of place, venturing cautiously into unfamiliar waters.

“Guys who look like you aren’t Mama Teresa in my book. Guys who look like you are players, grabbing whatever nice ass they see, banging it, then leaving a broken heart behind.

“Of course, you could be one of those extremely straightforward ones who do tell the girls you’re only into sex, which will make you believe you’re a good, honest guy, when in the end you’ll still leave and they still will be heartbroken.”

He cocked his head. “You’re judging me because I’m good-looking? Two can play this game.”

He gave me a lazy once-over, light eyes roaming slowly down my body, draped in that damn cocktail dress, and up again, lingering on my open neck.

“You’re a beautiful woman with trust issues, and you probably jingle with men’s feelings while thinking they’re the ones who don’t open up to you.

“Then you find out they cheated on you, and not because you’re not enough for them, but because you never let any of them in and they needed to find someone else who opened up to them while keeping you close, because they can’t get enough of you and will never get everything.”

I stared at this complete stranger in shock. “So you’re saying men cheat on me because I don’t open up?” I asked, my voice rising with anger. That was just too close to home in regards to what happened earlier tonight.

He sighed and grabbed a sip from his drink, which had arrived earlier by the faithful barman.

“Typical woman,” he murmured, “I call you beautiful, say you’re the kind of girl men would kill for, and all you hear is the cheating part.”

“That’s because you shouldn’t have said that!” I yelled, and then flushed when I saw I grabbed looks from all across the pub.

Pursing my lips, I grabbed my purse, grabbed my wallet, and fished for cash. “I’m done with this nonsense,” I said as I pulled a few dollars out.

The man grabbed my wrist, halting me. “Wait,” he said, and when I raised my eyes, which were now misty because of everything that happened tonight and kept going downhill, his face softened.

“Let me help. I promise I’m not a serial killer. I genuinely just want to make your night better. No flirting or sex involved,” he added the last part in a rush when I glared at him.

Everything in me wanted to go back to my apartment, crawl into bed, and cry all the shit out of my system. Instead, I found myself studying him.

He did look like he had no ulterior motives, but after the night I’d just had, I have begun doubting my observation skills. Maybe he was a rapist, or a psycho? Or maybe he was just your average wacko stalker?

I couldn’t know that. He could turn this night into an even more catastrophic one and I would walk right into that as well.

“Give me one good reason why I should trust some stranger in a pub,” I said, and from the slight narrowing of his eyes I saw he heard the challenge. It was money time. He wanted to help so bad, he might as well earn it.

After he gave me a long look, he finally left my wrist and hailed the barman, Tyler. He put a fifty and smiled at him. “For both of us. Keep the change.”

The boy gave him a huge hero-worship smile and said, “T-Thank you so much!”

When the boy left, I looked at him. “I could’ve paid for that, you know.”

He glanced at me and I saw him noting the contemplation in my eyes. I hadn’t said that just because I was a “typical woman” like he claimed me to be.

I actually didn’t care when people paid for stuff I should’ve paid for. But I wanted to hear his response. The challenge was still on.

Giving me a serious look again, he said, “I can only prove to you what you want me to prove is if you let me take you somewhere. Will you allow me that?” He held his hand up for me after he jumped off the stool.

When I looked at the hand, then at his face, then back at his hand, I realized that I’d already made my decision. I had kept talking to him even though I asked him not to.

I was no longer as angry or depressed as I was before he appeared out of nowhere. Somehow, this cliché of a guy managed to get me far away from my dark mood.

I was a hardheaded woman, a tough one to handle. I knew that about myself, accepted it too; I was who I was after all. It took everyone a lot to move past my suspicion and walls, and not all of them succeeded.

I was a tough nut to crack, and even tougher when I was in a bad mood. There had never been a person who had managed to break through my icy barrier when I was in that specific mood.

Tonight’s mood had been worse than usual. And this guy, whoever the fuck he was, managed to sneak under that shield. Because when I said to someone I didn’t want to talk to them, I usually stood behind that with all of my might.

When he talked to me, however, I talked back. I didn’t ignore him snottily like I was known for doing.

My gaze found his as I contemplated all that, and I assessed his face again. He kept an open, accepting, welcoming expression and despite myself I was drawn to that.

Guys usually kept themselves on guard around me, cautious. This one didn’t. Whether he was brave or stupid, I didn’t know.

No longer glaring, I looked back at his hand. After tonight, I knew I needed a change.

That’s why I went to a pub instead of right home; I knew that I needed to be somewhere, anywhere with people, because if I didn’t, I would’ve broken down. And I was not the type of woman to break down.

No one had made me stoop so low as to cry over them. No one. And tonight had almost changed that.

Because tonight, I’d felt humiliated. Everything I’d done, everything I’d achieved, it had all been erased when that bitch came from nowhere and told me everything I didn’t want to know.

I needed a change, to return back to the confident woman I was. And this hand, this hand held up for me to take, by a man who managed to break through my dark mood…Maybe he was the one to make that change happen.

Looking back up, this time with determination, I took his hand.

 

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2

The taxi drive to wherever the man wanted to take me to was silent. It occurred to me only then that I had no idea what his name was.

When I pondered it, however, I realized it was for the best if I didn’t know. Besides, I wasn’t as curious about him as he was about me.

When the driver stopped near what seemed like an abandoned beach, the man paid him and we left the taxi. It was warm outside, the night spreading wide above us as he led me toward the water.

There was a couch there that was so out of place, laughter bubbled in my throat. But I didn’t laugh. Nothing about tonight was funny.

The couch was full of sand, but it didn’t bother him as he plopped one of its cushions up, uncovered a blanket, and spread it on top of the surface.

The blanket was sand-free enough for me to feel somewhat comfortable sitting on it. My heels were already in my hands because of the sand, so I left them on the ground and sat cross-legged on the couch.

He plopped himself next to me and, like magic, he pulled a plastic bag from underneath the couch, in which two Corona bottles awaited with an opener too.

I looked at him in disbelief and supreme suspicion as he uncorked one Corona and handed it to me.

Confounded, I took it and before I sipped, I said, “Do I want to know how the hell you got everything so handy in this godforsaken beach?”

He flashed me an attractive grin that made me scowl. He was unperturbed as he shrugged and said, “This beach is mine. I bought it. I own it. The rest shall remain a mystery.”

He bought a beach. Of course he bought a beach. I always forgot about this fact regarding good-looking men; they were almost always wealthy and successful.

For all I knew he probably had a private butler or something who dragged this couch all the way to this place and ran the much-needed errand of arranging two Corona bottles.

Looking at him pissed me off a little, and after he’d done such a good job at penetrating my dark mood (and it irked me to admit so, believe me) it only added to my ire.

So I looked at the sea, pulled my knees to my chest, and drank my Corona.

As though he truly owned the place, he let his legs sprawl ahead of him while one arm lingered on the back of the couch and the other held the Corona loosely.

“So,” he said, and I refused to face him, instead focusing on the waves and their sound, “did I pass the test? Isn’t this place great?”

My lips pursed. “The test is still in session. The beach is just a beach, even if you bought it and you feel like this is your domain or bullshit like that.”

“Damn,” he chuckled, and despite myself I glanced at him. He really was a hot one, dammit, so much so that even when he laughed he looked so at ease with the world. “You’re a tough one to please.”

You’re the one who cajoled me into this,” I reminded him dryly, and it was the truth; he was the one who insisted on helping me. He might as well suffer the consequences.

“I’m not complaining.” He gave me a half grin that made my stomach flop. I hated this feeling. I’d felt it until not long ago and I was not ready to feel it again.

My positive side, however, was a little hopeful though. As long as I was still attracted to other men, it meant that asshole hadn’t fucked me up completely.

There was silence after that, and I was watching the sea again when he said, “Why won’t you tell me why you look like you do?”

Glancing sharply at him, I inquired archly, “Are you a therapist now? Is that the occupation you talked about that girls cannot resist?”

He barked out a short laugh before the amusement died out. “Are you always this aggressively defensive, or is it just because of whatever happened to you tonight?” he asked.

When his eyes met mine, they held them with dominant authority I didn’t expect from him. He’d struck me as such an easy-going guy, but looking at him now, he was anything but.

He managed to make me go with a complete stranger to some deserted place. I was not one to trust people lightly, especially not strangers, hot guys in particular, but he did it.

It spoke volumes about his personality in my opinion.

He was the kind of guy most women sought and feared, full of big smiles, charm, and unbidden flirtatiousness which were all just hiding his true intense, stubborn, unforgiving nature.

It seemed like an awful lot of psychoanalyzing after I’d known this guy for a total of an hour, but looking into his eyes, I knew this was him.

The intensity in his gray eyes gone silver made my defensiveness rise a notch.

The calm, authoritative, safe vibes he sent me also set me off, making me tense. I didn’t think he was a bad guy, not at all. But such a dominating attitude tended to make me rebel.

I’d never been the compliant type. I was not going to start now.

Giving him a saccharine smile, I leveled a dark gaze upon him. “You’d better get your nose out of my business, or else this late-night escapade would turn out even bloodier than my lip.”

His eyes flashed, flicking momentarily to my lip before raising back to my eyes. The air turned charged, and my body was almost as still as a stone.

Goosebumps rose on my bare skin, my nape prickled, and I could hear my heart beating in my ears.

It was the first time I felt like that, and I had no idea what caused it. Was this just the intensity of his probable alpha-male persona? Or was it something else?

Then he broke it, whatever it was, when he turned his gaze to the sea, lips twitching. “Stubborn,” he murmured, seemingly to himself. “I like it.”

It seemed I wasn’t the only one sniffing out the other’s true nature. Grimacing, I put my head into my hands and groaned silently. What was I thinking, coming here with him? What did I achieve by that?

I shouldn’t be here, trying to figure out some hot guy after what happened tonight. I should be home, crying with a spoonful of Ben & Jerry’s, which was what most women did after break-ups.

What I never knew I would end up doing.

Just thinking about it, I blurted out, “I was so blind.”

His posture did not change, but I knew he was listening. After he sipped from his Corona, he asked, “Why?”

And because I realized just how much I actually did want to talk about it, I answered, “Because I thought that him loving me was enough.”

I could tell he didn’t expect this when he glanced at me. He didn’t say anything, though. He seemed intent to let me talk.

I didn’t even bother thinking about what he could possibly gain from listening to me. Didn’t hot guys like him have better things to do at this time on a Saturday night?

Still. He was here. He was listening. Maybe talking to a stranger would be easier than talking to my deadbeat family and fake friends.

“We’ve been together for four years,” I told him, watching the new moon up above.

“I met him when I was nearing my high-school graduation and he was in college. After a couple of months, I knew there was no chance I would ever fall for him. He was too kind, too nice, too warm, too smiley.”

I scowled at that last word.

“He was too much positive about everything. I hated it.”

He said nothing. When I glanced at him, I saw his eyes, like mine, were on the sky, and from the tightening of his lips, I knew that, somehow, he understood what I was saying.

“But he claimed to love me. He claimed that he fell for my dark, broody ass.

“My family also encouraged this relationship, claiming him to be the perfect fit for me and so that, with him loving me, convinced me that maybe it was just my lack of experience telling me I wouldn’t love him, ever.”

I felt numb talking about it. No sadness. No regret. It was what it was. “We were together for four years. He was my first in everything: first boyfriend, first kiss, first sex.

“Our relationship wasn’t passionate or lustful, like the books make romance sound like. It was sterile, practical, almost meticulous in nature.

“It was like both of us were sociopaths who didn’t grasp the concept of love and attempted to feel it to no avail.

“When we first started dating, we went to see a horror movie. It was supposed to make me turn all clingy on him and he should’ve offered comfort, or something absurd like that.

“Instead we watched the movie, and by the end of it, neither of us had anything to say about it. It wasn’t scary. It was nothing in particular. We felt nothing.”

Taking a deep breath, I continued. I couldn’t seem to stop myself now that I’d started. “For four years, this phrase described us. We felt nothing.

“He claimed to love me, but I’m pretty sure he just wanted to love someone and I was in the right place at the right time for him.

“He never truly knew me too. He couldn’t have loved the real me if I have showed to a stranger more of me than I had shown to him in the four years we were together.”

I sent my faithful companion a pointed glare.

He glanced back, but returned his inscrutable eyes to the sky.

“But I believed him. I tried to make it work. I even thought that maybe even I loved him and I just didn’t understand that the numbness inside me was what love truly was about.” A snort escaped me at that.

“I was delusional and stupid. The horrible truth is, I was comfortable. My life was comfortable as it was, and I didn’t want to change it.

“I had an allegedly caring boyfriend, I was studying my favorite subject, and everything was fine. Comfortable.

“In retrospect, I can now see how unhappy I was. But the unhappiness was buried under false comfort, and so I was content in leaving it at that.”

I paused there before saying in a quiet voice, “I thought this would be my life forever. I thought he and I were forever, and not in the good, mushy way women talk about forever.

“No.” I shook my head.

“I thought that my life was going to be comfortable forever. He would be my husband, I would be his faithful wife, we would have three children tops.

“I would work, he would work, and that would be it. No excitement. No real me. Just suffocating comfort.

“Until tonight.”

Finally, he spoke. His voice was low, soft. “What happened tonight?”

I stared at nothing as I said, “He took me to a gala event his rich family hosted. Dressed me in designer clothes, had his mother’s hair-stylist and make-up artist do me up as well, like his own personal China doll.

“The event was boring. I wanted to go home. But I stayed because, well, he was my boyfriend and that was part of my duties as a girlfriend, I guess.

“As we were talking to some mighty, powerful businessmen, who were praising him about the good job he was doing, following his father’s formidable footsteps, into the room stormed a woman, dressed casually in jeans and tee.”

I remembered the expression on her face: possessive, bordering on murderous. She was like me with no class, no sense, and much more psychotic.

“She zeroed in on him and me, and half-walked, half-ran toward us. People actually scooted away from her, she looked insane.”

A ripple in the water draw my eyes as I continue, my voice losing its edge.

“She slapped me across the face so hard, I saw pretty stars like the ones above us right now. Her nails also scratched into me after that slap, efficiently cutting my lip.

“She screamed that she was sick of me, that she abhorred me, and then grabbed my boyfriend and kissed him. For my shock, he kissed her back.”

This time, I couldn’t hold back the laughter that burst out of me. It was dry, but not as humorless as I thought it would be. This had been a truly funny scenario, after all.

“I just stood there as they were smooching each other, as though the world was about to end, and when his parents came, yelling about the entire drama, only then did they part and my boyfriend remembered I was there.

“He looked at me, at my tragically bleeding lip, and paled. He didn’t seem to know what to say. Fortunately, the bitch found the right words for that.”

Now I looked back at him, and saw his silvery eyes, their color matching the stars above, piercing into mine stormily. I gave him my blankest look as I proceeded to the climax of my little tale.

“‘We’ve been going out behind your back since day one,’ she said. ‘You were just an excuse to get his parents off his back because he knew that since I’m from an average family, I would never be the girlfriend, the wife, his parents would choose for him. So better have someone else filling that spot, some dry ice who’s bad at bed but her father’s rich. Basically, you. But four years are enough. I’m taking him back. He’s mine. Mine!’”

I looked away from him again.

“At that moment, I was still in shock. Not because I was heartbroken or dismayed, but because my fake comfort was disrupted, shattered. Normalcy—gone. The true me I’d buried for so long came roaring back up and I felt the sting of humiliation that came with it.

“Instead of letting the bitch get the satisfaction of seeing me rage, all I did was look at my ex and tell him to go fuck himself in the most conversational tone I could manage.

“Then I went the fuck out of there, and here I am. End of story.”

He didn’t say anything for a few long minutes, during which we both drank the last drops of our Corona. Then he straightened and turned fully to me.

“The one thing you truly want after tonight is to have yourself back. That’s why you stand up to me so easily.

“That’s why you’re being defensive, aggressive, hardheaded and strong. You need to be yourself again, even if it means to exaggerate your true traits.”

I glowered at him. “I didn’t ask for you to analyze my psychical state of mind, did I?”

He arched an eyebrow, as though I’d just proved his point. That made me narrow my eyes.

“What I meant,” he said slowly, “is that I think I can help you with that. I can help you gain control over your true nature again.

“I can help you hold the reins, not feel so lost, not feel like you just found yourself again and you have no idea what to do with yourself now.”

I folded my arms, another defensive gesture that just emphasized his point but I didn’t care. It made me feel better. “And what is this brilliant idea, dare I ask?”

His gaze was completely serious and businesslike when he said, “Have sex with me.”

 

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