The Depths We Go To - Book cover

The Depths We Go To

Niccolite Slater

Chapter 2

XAVIER

The vote was ten to two. Two motherfuckers voted for me to take my father’s seat. Two.

Apparently, I’m not fit to lead the company and that old geezer is okay with continuing to run it. His ideas are outdated and his methods have stopped working.

We’re only making money because I have put my back into every new goddamn system that Knight Industries is now employing.

The new, more comfortable uniforms, the mobile check-ins for our hotels, the 24-7 customer service—I’ve even created jobs. But because I’m the poster~ bad~ boy for our city, I can’t be the face of Knight Industries.

Oddly enough, Brad—my dad—didn’t vote. He can’t be bothered with trivial things such as these although I can see that stupid smirk crawling onto his face every time one of these votes fails.

It’s not going to fail again, though.

I have three months to clean up my image and prove that I’m what’s right for this company. The problem is finding the right way to do it.

Just not going out isn’t really an option. People will absolutely know that I’m trying not to make a scene but it won’t prove that I’m not going to do it the moment I’m handed the keys to the kingdom.

Finding a better set of friends sounds terribly boring because most children from families like mine are always trying to show off. I don’t want that shit. I want to have fun.

One of the guards who doubles as my assistant steps into the boardroom as the last executive leaves, waiting for the door to close.

I look at him, grimacing at the pensive look on his face. I know that Jonah will also tell it to me like it is, even though I’m pretty sure I know what’s going to come out of his face hole.

“I think last night’s binge drinking and the woman you were fucking on the pool table at the lounge was what did it.”

See? Blunt.

To be honest though, Jonah’s right. My outlandish activities are what keep landing me in hot water. No one wants a bachelor running the biggest company in the country and I get that—but it’s the twenty-first century.

Times have changed. People need to lighten up.

And the first thing I’m going to do is get rid of the goddamn geezers in charge of this company. Like, haven’t they heard of a jury made up of peers my age? Sure, we’re not in court. but it sure felt like it a few minutes ago.

“Xavi, what are you going to do? They reconvene in ninety days, right?”

I nod. “Not sure. There’s only so much more I can do and I can’t not go out. I’ll die.”

Thinking about hiding in my room and playing video games for the next three months like my little brother pains me. He’s a goddamn saint and the one that everyone thinks is ultimately taking over. Over my dead body.

“You need something to fix your image. Well, someone.”

“What the fuck does that mean?”

“You’re real rough around the edges. But put an angel next to you? You look like you have a heart. Don’t look at me like that, you know I’m right. What you need is not another tactic. You need a goddamn wife.”

“Fuck that shit,” I spat. There will be no fucking marriages in my lifetime. I already made that decision when I watched my mother walk out of Brad’s life because the spotlight was too much. I’d rather go it alone.

“You don’t have a choice, Xavi. If you have a better idea, I’m all ears, but there are a billion girls out there who would love to be your wife. Just have to find the right one.”

Jonah smiles, the look in his eyes setting me off. “Or reach out to that girl you visit.”

My face blanches because I honestly didn’t think Jonah knew about it.

“You smile every now and then, especially on the nights you visit her. You still don’t know who she is?”

I shake my head. It’s part of the arrangement. We meet up, we fuck, we leave. Lights are dimmed, masks are on, and we don’t talk.

It’s a fucking manic way to live but I love it.

And I don’t have to survive the stupid small talk that all the other girls make me go through…not to mention her fucking tits. I’d die to be able to snuggle up against them and sleep for a night, but that’s not the arrangement.

Meet up. Fuck. Leave.

I’m getting tired of it.

ANGELA

Tired and a little bored as I sprawl out in the middle of my bed, I sing along to the radio on my nightstand, mumbling the lyrics to “Why Can’t We Be Friends.”

I feel like a mess—three missed calls from Dad who is trying to set up another meeting with Riley.

I’ll call him back eventually, but I don’t feel like walking the shoreline with the kid nor spending time over coffee.

It will happen eventually, and Riley will probably be the one who puts a ring on my finger, but I’m going to hold out for as long as I can.

I sigh, again. I’m restless and annoyed and just want that day to come when I can pack my shit up and take off. It’s nowhere in sight but I can dream.

My phone buzzes by my head and I roll over to look at the caller ID.

Unknown.

I know who’s calling but it’s not a number I’ve saved. I’m not supposed to. I pick up, a warm smile spreading across my lips as I hear his deep voice waft through the speaker. “Hey, babe. You up for a night?”

The raspy tone sends shivers down my spine, my core clenching at the heated nights we’ve shared.

I’ve never seen his face, meeting him on some app that allowed for faceless meetups. It spiraled into occasional fucks, ones that I am always looking forward to. I rarely initiate them, but I’ve never said no.

God, the way he holds me? I have yet to feel that anywhere else.

“Yeah, I’m done. Where?”

Our conversations are always short and direct, never more than discussing a location and time. Sometimes, I wish there was more, but he can’t be a prospect and I can’t entertain a relationship when I’m trying to leave.

“Hotel on fifth. 10 p.m.”

I freeze. “The Knight hotel?” Gorgeous as it is, the place is expensive and widely traveled by people I know. If I’m running around inside there, there will be talk. I can’t have that. No one can know about this arrangement.

“No, babe. Too public. Down the street, on the corner with the neon signs.”

I sigh in relief, hand over my heart. “Yeah. I’ll be there.”

I’m still running his delicious voice around in my head until I realize that 10 p.m. is less than twenty minutes away. “Wait—”

“I need you.” He sounds wrecked and not in a I’m currently stroking myself to the sound of your voice kind of way.

Emotion is yet another thing we don’t do and while I know I should decline, I tell him I’m coming once he gives me the room number and I hang up. A quick shower and slipping into a pair of sweats will do the trick.

It’s one of the nice things about this arrangement—the clothes don’t matter because he can’t ever see them and they don’t stay on long. I’ll regret tonight in the morning but right now, I think I need him just as much as he needs me.

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