“You think this is impressive, wait until you see the inside!" Mandy laughed at me as I took in the outside of the property. Despite living in LA for several years, I'd never been to a house this large before. The only word I could think of was opulent. I
I was not remotely prepared for the inside, though. She opened the front door to reveal a wide, open space. From the front door, I could see to the back of the house.. Beyond that was a private beach with a killer view of the ocean. Part of me was jealous that I couldn't live there myself.
In the living room, Mandy grabbed one of the remotes and pressed a button. Suddenly, shades rolled down from the ceiling to cover the windows. She grabbed another remote and a large, flat television rose up from the floor.
“Believe it or not," she said, “this room was specifically built for this TV."
“The crazy thing is, this is just the living room. Wait 'til you see the home theater."
“This isn't the theater?" I nearly yelled.
“I know, right?" she chuckled. “The man who built this house wanted the ultimate fun house, but he also wanted to give the appearance that he was a full-grown adult. The effect is unique. In addition to the entertainment system in the living room, there's the private theater, a bowling alley, a basketball court, pools, a hot tub, and a sauna. Every room is just as sleek as this one, but they all have insane amenities."
I hummed at her words. My entire high school senior class could live in this house and still have room.
“The kitchen was built custom. The original builder also fancied himself a bit of a chef."
She led me out of the living room and to the right where there was a huge kitchen I hadn't even noticed.
“I think Kelly's client is keen on this house because he's a basketball player," she said. “He'll probably have a lot of people to entertain."
I doubted very much that Michael was a chef. If he could afford a home like this, though, he could probably afford a private chef. Oh, to be a world-famous athlete with millions of dollars at my disposal.
We continued our tour of the house. It truly was a fun house, and I understood why Mandy thought it would be perfect for a young professional athlete. He would have a blast here. Once we were done with our tour, Mandy left me, promising to pick me up as soon as the showing was finished.
Butterflies began forming in my stomach when Michael pulled up in a sleek Lexus sedan.
The first thing I noticed was that he was huge. Duh, Simone. He was a basketball star after all. I couldn't tell exactly, but he had to be at least a foot taller than me, if not more. The second thing I noticed was his mega-watt smile. His teeth were perfectly white and straight. The thought briefly crossed my mind that it was a panty-dropping smile, but I batted it away. I definitely could not be having those thoughts about a client. Especially not my very first billionaire client.
“Michael, what a pleasure to meet you," I said, extending my hand.
He took it carefully in his large one. Seriously, his hand was huge. He was clearly aware of his size, though, and was gentle yet firm. Then, he turned my hand and lifted it to his mouth for a kiss.
“The pleasure is all mine," he said smoothly. Normally, I found this move to be sleazy, but somehow he made it work. His voice was deep and smooth, a rich velvet that perfectly matched the deep tones of his skin. His skin was like melted chocolate that I wanted to pour all over my body.
Stop it, Simone,
“I'm so sorry that Kelly couldn't be here," I said hastily, though I wasn't remotely sorry. In fact, I was sending a cosmic thank you to whichever god had allowed me to meet this gorgeous man today. “My name is Simone, and I'm so excited to show you around this property. I think you'll really love it."
“You've definitely piqued my interest," he said with a c**k of his eyebrow. I could tell by his expression that he wasn't talking about the house. His eyes slowly raked over my body before meeting my own.
I was so flustered that I turned on my heel and started walking into the house. I followed the same route I'd taken with Mandy, trying to remember every nook and cranny she'd shown me. He seemed as impressed as I had been.
He was like a kid in a candy store as I walked him through the bowling alley and home theater. I never would have thought it at first glance, but he was cute. Obviously, he was handsome, but seeing him like this made him less intimidating. He really was just a sweet, earnest athlete who managed to make it big. His excitement was palpable.
Aw we walked, he told me about the family members who would likely crash in each room.
“My cousin Dianetta will definitely want this room," he said of one of the upstairs rooms with a balcony and an ocean view. “She's only ten, but she's obsessed with the ocean. She's sweet, but she'll cut anyone who tries to take this from her," he laughed.
Again, I was taken aback by how unguarded and approachable he was. His face was so open and happy, his brown eyes shone. I was overtaken with the feeling that I wanted to meet these people he was describing, to be part of this group that was so important to him.
Knock it off, Simone! I kept having to clear my head. Being in his presence was intoxicating. He wasn't just gorgeous, he was kind. I'd met a lot of pro ball players over the last few years, and they were all arrogant assholes. He wasn't like that at all. Something about him made me feel warm and safe.
Until we got to the master bedroom, of course. Then, all I felt was hot. Like I wanted to take my clothes off and climb up his body, hot. Not good at all. I could feel my ears buzzing as I tried to focus on the task at hand. I just had to get through this room, then we could go outside and check out the various amenities there. I'd be able to breathe fresh air and clear my head.
But for some reason, I couldn't stop talking about the California King bed. And when we walked into the bathroom and he said what a great tub that would be to soak in, I nearly choked. Images of our skin all soapy and sliding against each other filled my head. It was all I could do not to run out of the room.
I rushed through the outside areas, just wanting this torturous tour to be over with already. I really needed this sale, and if I stayed here much longer, I'd ruin it with my stupid attraction. Still, when we got to the front door, I was dreading the goodbye. Despite this being a house tour, I felt like I'd been on a really fantastic date. Unfortunately, there was no promise of a second date. And if I sold him this house, which was the ultimate goal, I may never see him again.
“Look, I just have to say this, or I'm going to lose my mind," he blurted out suddenly.
I stared at him with wide eyes, wanting to give him every ounce of my attention.
“This is going to sound crazy, but the second I met you, I felt this electricity between us. I can't explain it; I've never felt this with any woman before."
“I'm sure you say that to all the girls," I chuckled humorlessly, trying to diffuse the sudden tension I was feeling. It was a good kind of tension–it was just with the wrong kind of guy. I couldn't date my client; it was wrong on so many levels.
In response, he grabbed my upper arms gently with his huge hands and ducked his head so that it was closer to my own.
“This isn't a line," he said seriously. “I've known you for an hour, and I'm already f*cking crazy about you. It may sound messed up, or like a pickup line, but I'm being sincere here. I can't leave this house until you agree to go on a date with me."
I felt my heart hammering in my chest. The word “yes" was on the tip of my tongue, but there were alarm bells going off in my head.
“Michael, I'm so, so flattered. And under different circumstances, I would say yes in a heartbeat. But you're my client. It would be totally wrong for us to see each other socially."
“Then I won't be your client," he said with a look of determination in his eye.