HER body was trembling after she read Ann Margaret’s statement on social media.
She was playing a victim. What made her furious even more was that Ann Margaret used their publishing’s social media account to tell her drama to everyone. The audacity! But Amara and her co-writers don’t buy everything she says.
“I don’t believe that all the money was gone just because she used that to pay his father’s hospital expenses,” said Yasha. “She must have been lying to us from the start.”
“I agree with you, Yasha.” It was Stella. “If we think about it, she had been flaunting everything on social media as if she was some sort of a rich kid who only eats breakfast at Starbucks.”
“And her alibi that her bag got snatched when she was about to pay the downpayment doesn’t sound realistic to me. There was a hint of a lie in every word that she said,” Yasha added.
“And we can’t trust her anymore. She made us look like a fool!” Stella retorted. “Right, Louise?”
“Hmm? Ah, yeah…” She shook her head.
“Are you with us?” Yasha asked.
“O-of course, it’s just that…” Amara heaved a deep sigh. “My heart feels so heavy. I couldn’t tell my family what happened. I hate myself that I got fooled by Ann Margaret. And we still need money to continue the book production, shipping and pay the refund. I don’t know where to get more money.”
She had pawned her jewelry, sold what can be sold. Her business partners also helped by sending whatever amount they can. But they still need more. Amara tried to ask some closest friends for help, but no one lends her money. She felt devastated most especially when those whom she had help back in the days turned their backs on her. She had lost several friends because of that. She was in the pit of depression.
“I thought we’ve done the right thing…” she said. “But why is it like this? They keep blaming us for the crime. That’s not even our fault. We got scammed too!”
People were cursing them, blaming them, and threatening them that they’ll get sued. Amara and the other two faced all of that because they were all hoping to save what was left. And the worst part is that… some of their writers backed out.
“I… I don’t know what to do anymore.” She buried her face on her palms and cried.
AMARA went to a bar that night. She wanted to get drunk and forget about her problems even for one night. She was brave enough to go there alone. She did not bother to invite her friends because she was afraid to be rejected again. Maybe her friends wouldn’t like to go with her, fearing the fact that she needed money.
She sauntered to the bar counter and sat on a stool.
“Hey!” Amara waved her hand to get the bartender’s attention. “Vodka, please.”
The male bartender grabbed a bottle of vodka and poured it into a glass that he handed her. Amara immediately drank her vodka and asked for another serving. Another one, until she told the bartender to give her the bottle. She poured it by herself.
Amara was almost finished with her bottle of vodka when two strangers approached her. One sat on her right, the other one on her left.
The man on the right put his arm around her shoulders and pulled her close to him. She could smell the scent of alcohol mixed with his sweat and perfume and the suffocating smell of smoke from a cigarette. It was disgusting, she wanna throw up.
“Are you alone, baby girl?” the man whispered near her ear.
Amara cringed. His voice does not even sound pleasant to hear, he stinks, and by his choice of words, she could sense that he was filthy. Eww!
She shoved his arm away from her.
“Get off me,” she said through gritted teeth.
“Oh, we got a lioness here,” said the man on her left. “Isn’t it charming? You’re the one we are looking for.”
She suddenly felt her blood went up to her head. Her head was heavy due to alcohol, but it doesn’t mean that she was out of her mind.
“Fuck off, assholes.” She jumped off of the stool.
Amara almost fell if she did not manage to hold on the edge of the bar counter.
“Shit,” she cursed.
The two men left the stool too.
“Come with us, we’ll take care of you.”
“No. Leave me alone, okay?” she said irritably.
“Come on, baby girl… We’ll just play.” He grabbed her by the arm.
She tried to free her arm, but no matter how much effort she exerts, the man won’t release her.
Damn it. She regrets going to the bar alone. Now she was in trouble. Amara should have bought a bottle of liquor to the convenience store and get wasted at home.
“She said no,” said a baritone voice from behind.
She turned to her back to see who was the owner of the voice. It was so familiar her heart almost somersault. But he was standing on the dark side so she could not see his face clearly.
“Back off, or I’ll flip your necks,” he threatened them.
“Who do you think you are?” the one holding her asked.
“That girl is mine,” he said.
There was something in his voice that made her dizzy even more. Amara shut her eyes when she felt her head throbbed. The next thing she knew, strong arms were wrapped around her body, and her face was pressed against a sturdy chest.
She raised her head to see who her Prince Charming was. To her shock, Rowen’s face greeted her. His chinky eyes narrowed even more as he stared at her with his furrowed brows.
“R-Rowen…” Damn it, saying his name made her stutter just like that. She grasped his arms. “Take me away from here… please.”
Rowen did not hesitate to grant her request. He lifted her and carried her outside of the bar.
“You shouldn’t have come to a place like this on your own. Haven’t I told you to take care of yourself because there are filthy creatures everywhere,” Rowen preached.
Amara buried her face underneath his coat and smelled his fresh and masculine scent. Surprisingly, it calmed her.
“Shut up, Rowen,” she said. “You sounds like my father.”