She blushed, and sat down next to Asher. After a moment's hesitation, she moved closer until their thighs were pressed against each other. "I thought maybe you knew me from work or something."
"Absolutely not. I make it a point to never get involved with people I work with." He raised a hand to call a waiter.
"Really?" She relaxed and leaned against his arm. "And do you always use cake to pick up girls?"
"I thought maybe you must have already had so many gentlemen buying you drinks tonight."
She giggled. "True."
"So I thought you might like a cake instead."
"I do, yes." She snuggled even closer. "My name's Danielle."
"Wow." Her green eyes lit up. "The Asher Darcy?"
"You've heard of me, then?"
She nodded. "Wow, you look so much hotter than in the photos on the Forbes website. Oh god," she said, and covered her mouth with her hands. "I can't believe I just said that."
"It's all right." He smiled. "What else do you know about me, Danielle?"
"So," Lizzy said, setting down her drink. "What's the big news you wanted to tell us? Mom already filled me in about your new reality show."
"Oh my god, Liz," Lucy said. "You won't believe it, but I may be starring in my first film this year."
"Sweetie, that's great," Mrs. Bennet said, putting down her fork. She and Lucy stood up to hug. "I knew this would be the year you'd finally make it."
"I know, right?" Lucy said. She turned to hug her sister. "Oh, Liz! I'm finally making a movie."
"I am so proud of you," Lizzy said, patting her sister's back. She felt relieved. All throughout dinner, she worried what fresh new hair-brained idea her twin sister may have cooked up as a publicity stunt for her new show. One that may or may not involve her.
They were having dinner at Lucy's new apartment. It was a lot bigger than her last one, and apparently this was so there was enough room for a camera crew.
"Of course, it's all because of my new show," Lucy said as they sat back down. "The buzz around it is just through the roof. Hannah promised me they'd go all out on the publicity and she totally came through for me."
"Hannah is so talented, I swear," Mrs. Bennet said. "I'm so glad she's taking care of you, sweetheart. But tell us more about this movie."
"Well," Lucy said. She paused to take a drink of wine. "It's a feature film, by this tiny indie company. But the director is just so talented, I have a really good feeling about this."
Mrs. Bennet clasped her hands together. "I'd really like to meet him," she said. "Maybe he could have dinner with us next week?"
"Oh no, sorry." Lucy took another drink of wine. "He'll be in New York all week, and he has this fancy costume party to go to on Saturday."
As Lizzy watched her finish off her glass of merlot, she couldn't help worrying about the fact that it was her sister's fifth glass that evening. She cleared her throat. "Does anyone want dessert?" she said, standing up. "I brought cobbler. Let me just get it."
"No, thanks, Liz," Lucy said. "No gluten for me."
"You know," Lizzy called out from the kitchen, "that gluten-free diet is only necessary for people who are allergic to wheat. Or some other really rare disease which I'm pretty sure you don't have."
"Well excuse me for wanting to eat healthier," Lucy said. "I'm in front of cameras all the time, Lizzy. You don't understand the pressure I'm on to look good."
"You always look great, honey," Mrs. Bennet assured her. "That new shade of blonde really brings out your eyes."
"It does, doesn't it?" She smiled and shook her short, silver blonde bob. "What do you think, Liz?"
Lizzy set down two small plates containing slices of the peach cobbler on the table. "It's very pretty," she said. She felt a small pang of jealously as she looked at her sister. They were not identical twins, and it was obvious. Lucy had lovely hazel eyes, while she had to settle for brown, like her hair.
"You should really think about going blonde sometime," Lucy said. "You'll look really sexy, I think."
"I don't think so."
"No, really! It lights up your face. You'll look great on TV."
"Lucy, for the last time, I'm not doing your reality show. I didn't agree to do it the last time, I won't do it now."
Lucy gave a mock frown, her perfect red lips in a pout. "Spoilsport."
"So my boss is really old, but he's really nice to me so I adore him," Danielle said. "Everyone told me I was too young for the job and that he'd never hire me, but he totally did."
Asher nodded, looking at her intently. It was typical of Paul Schuller to hire an inexperienced twenty-three-year-old as a member of his staff, even if her skills were entirely different from what the job required. He wondered if Schuller had fucked Danielle yet.
"You must have impressed him," he said. "I've only met him a few times, but word is he's quite the perfectionist."
"Like, oh my god, totally." She waved her hands. "He once made his secretary redo meeting notes five times. Poor Katherine. If only I'd done a better job with those notes, she wouldn't have had to fix it. Sometimes," she added, looking thoughtful, "I think maybe he kind of likes me. Mr. Schuller, I mean." She smiled shyly. "But that's crazy, right? He's, like, old."
"You don't like older men?" From the way she had kept touching his hand and pressing her chest against his arm during the last fifteen minutes, Asher was assured that she, at least, liked men.
Danielle frowned. "Yeah, like... my Dad?" She laughed. "Paul — I mean, Mr. Schuller is older than my dad, I think."
"You think I'm old?"
"Oh god no." She moved her hand down his wrist. "You're, like ... the perfect age." She frowned. "Sorry, am I talking too much?"
He moved his fingers slowly to clasp her fingers, and he heard her catch her breath when he started to caress her hand. "I like watching your lips move," he said.
She swallowed. "I, uhm, do you wanna ask me out or something?"
Asher looked at her quietly for a moment. "Actually, I thought I'd take you home."
"My home?" Danielle's cheeks colored, and she cast her eyes down shyly. "Or do you want to take me home to yours?"
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Thanks to everyone who liked this chapter! I'll post a new update next week.
If you'd like to read advance chapters, go here: http://anselacorsino.com/control
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Billionaire Asher Darcy has a reputation as a devious businessman and shameless rake. Prickly liberal feminist writer Lizzy Bennet hates him on sight, and the feeling seems to be mutual. He's manipulative. She's a control freak. They have to work to...