Millie loaded the dish washer, it was fast approaching nine o'clock- breakfast time and she had started her shift three hours ago. Her colleague Sam and deputy manager had called at quarter to five and begged her to come in and help her open up the restaurant for the breakfast shift. She wouldn't have minded if it weren't for the late night she had last night as she was really struggling to keep her eyes open, let alone keep the smile pasted across her face. They owed her big time. Another day off down the drain and for what? Colleagues who were obviously burning the candle at both ends again, struggling to get out of bed from an alcohol fueled night. Well, at least they had a life and a reason - when was the last time she kicked back with friends and did that? She couldn't really remember. How sad was that?
"You look like hell," Sam said strolling in through the double doors into the kitchen where Millie was standing. Sam was a beautiful Filipino with long black hair, brown eyes and curves in all the right places, she had a perky personality to boot, God only knew why she was in this place serving people when she could be on the catwalks of Milan doing a far easier job for better money.
"Thanks, I feel it... how are you?" Millie asked, touching her greasy hair she had put up in a ponytail this morning, in her haste to get to work on time.
"I'm great, another day, another dollar... glad to have a job if you know what I mean, I swear this economic climate is not getting any better, seriously people are getting laid off left right and center. Just have to learn to roll with the punches. Have you always wanted to be a waitress or were you meant to do bigger and better things?" Sam could ramble for Britain, but a moment in her company was never dull.
"I was meant to do bigger and better things but it didn't so much as work out... bad timing I guess... but anyway, I gather you didn't wake up one morning and think, 'I want to be a waitress' did you?"
"Hell no, this job is to pay my way through nursing school... long hours both here and at school, I know in the end, it'll all be worth it. I just have to think outside the box, to the bigger picture you know," Sam smiled.
"Why are you so positive?" Millie asked.
"Because I've had too much drama in my life to not be. We make our own destiny and I don't want to live a crappy one, I don't want that and I certainly don't want that for my future kids, I want to be able to accomplish more then I'm capable of, life's too short and if I have to do this for a while, so be it... at least in the future, I know I can afford to live comfortably. Anyway thanks for coming in at such short notice but you're relieved of your duties, you can head off home and have some shuteye. The gang's just arrived, thank God!"
"Yes, home I go," Millie smiled.
"Have a good day then, see you soon, okay?" Sam beamed and loaded the dish washer.
Millie couldn't be bothered to change out of her waitress uniform. She simply grabbed her bag and walked out by the back entrance. It was a fairly cloudy day with the sun trying to break through the clouds. On days like this, she would go for a stroll or a walk in the park, but she felt too tired. Fatigued. She felt like a zombie, that's what she felt like, the walking dead. She walked out onto the road, not noticing the van coming towards her. She tried to keep her eyes open- yet she felt like she was sleep walking with her eyes closed. Somewhere in her dream-like-haze, she thought she could hear someone calling her name and the voice, she instantly recognized. It was Liam's. She opened her eyes and saw the van only meters away from her, she felt like a deer caught in the headlights, trapped, she froze.
She didn't feel the full brunt of someone tugging her away from the road, until she hit the pavement. By then, she was alert, awake and she was staring up into the eyes of a very angry Liam.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" he said clearly shaken but pissed off.
"Get off me will you," she managed to find her voice, shaking him off and attempting to get up.
"I just saved your life! If you had stood there any longer you would have been spam or whatever the fuck is left over when someone is run over, shit!" he almost wanted to scream. He helped her up to her feet but that was a bad idea, her legs were reduced to jelly and she fell straight back into his arms and the involuntary shaking increased, "Crap, you're in shock," he tilted her face to his but noticed her eyes were drifting closed, "Millie, baby, stay with me, you're just in a bit of shock. Millie." He looked about him and shouted for an ambulance. People were vastly gathering, curious at the scene unfolding and some even noticed who he was, but at this very moment, he didn't give a fuck. His only concern was getting to Millie. And getting her some place safe and away from prying eyes.
He had woken up early and had headed to her apartment, his impatience running thin when he realised she wasn't at home- that she had most likely gone to work and he had to high tail it back to central London to the restaurant. It was only when he was on his bike in another lane that he saw her walk straight into oncoming traffic that his heart leapt into his mouth and he was shaking with fear, he tried weaving out of traffic, tried calling out her name as loud as he could and by some miracle she opened her eyes. What the hell had she been doing with her eyes closed in the first place? It was like he was witnessing her suicide. The traffic in his lane was finally moving and he made an illegal turn and noticed her frozen to the spot. From the moment he disposed of his bike and flinging himself in the path of the van to getting her to the safety of the pavement felt like someone had pressed slow motion on the remote. His fear had materialised into anger but he couldn't help it, she brought out things in him that had laid dormant for so long and he was not about to let her go.
Millie opened her eyes and noticed straight away she wasn't in her bed and this wasn't her apartment. The bed she was sleeping in was huge, fit for a king or queen and she could clearly see that the thread count was Egyptian and there were tons of pillows everywhere. She was sleeping in a nest of fluffy pillows. What was even more horrifying was her state of undress. She was wearing cotton white jammies, that were clearly not hers by a long shot. She sat up straight and stared at the clock, it was late on a Thursday morning. She got out of bed, completely unconscious of the way she looked and opened the door and walked out into the lounge area and the realisation hit her fast, she was in a hotel room, not any hotel room but the penthouse suite. She saw Liam sitting on one of the armchairs, his profile told her that he was deep in thought, that he wore black framed glasses and that he was clearly reading a manuscript, or what looked like a manuscript. Since when did Liam wear glasses? As if sensing her presence, he looked up and set it down.
"You're up! How are you feeling?" he said, his concern obvious.
Millie felt awkward, standing in front of him in just shorts and a white tee, "Okay. How long was I out?"
"A couple of hours, the doctor said you needed to rest..." he began but was interrupted.
"Why am I here then? Why aren't I at my flat?"
"Because your flat and every surrounding area is a campsite. It's a media circus at the moment. People are curious to know who the woman I saved is and what my relationship is with you," Liam said, standing up and walking towards her, dumping a couple of papers in front of her with her face on the front cover, "There's your proof."
Words and sentences sprung up from the papers; how did they find out where she worked? Oh yes, her uniform gave that away. They also located her flat and there were several witness reports of Liam diving out from no where to rescue her from the oncoming van. Which reminded her of work, as if sensing her distress, Liam spoke up, "I spoke to Sam at the restaurant and told her you won't be back until things have calmed down...indefinitely,"
"You have no right to do that!" Millie spat out.
"I have every right, you almost got yourself killed! Going back to work would be jeopardising your safety as well as the safety of others. I will not have that on my watch. Now that the media have discovered who you are, where you work and where you take residence, I am not about to disregard your safety for your pride Millie," he expressed.
"How am I meant to pay my rent, my bills. My job is my livelihood!" Millie wanted to scream it out.
"Don't worry, your flat is being taken care of..." he began.
"I don't want your money!" Millie said with gusto.
"And that's fine, but whether you like it or not, you're going to have to stick with me or would you like me to feed you to the wolves?" Liam grinned.
"Stick with you? Isn't that going to drum up even more speculation?" Millie asked
"I don't care Millie, I don't care what garbage they come up with... I'm used to this circus, this frenzy. My only concern is that you're safe and from harm's way," Liam offered.
He cared, he still cared for her. She didn't know how to take that. Sure, it was nice to know Liam Blake still cared for her but it also frightened her, she would rather be fed to the wolves then spend any more time in his company. She was just as much to blame then anything, if only she had looked where she was going, she would be asleep in her own bed, in her own flat and this crazy surreality would be a stupid dream.
"Look, let's not beat around the bush Millie... I can obviously see you're tormented to be in my company, so I'll make this easier for you and I'll tell it to you straight. I want you, I have never wanted a woman as much as I want you now. Now tell me you want me too?" Liam said sitting in front of her.
Millie hesitated, she couldn't afford to put her feelings on the line again, "As far as I'm concerned, what we had together in the past was in the past, let's not waste time rehashing it." And with that, she stood up and headed back into the bedroom where she locked the door behind her.