Bride By Design 3: Manchala Nights

By: Alicia Roberts

It was an unknown number.

"Hello, this is Lisa."

I glanced at Colin. He'd pushed himself up and was sitting on the sand, his shirt half-unbuttoned. I realized my own dress had been pushed down and I pulled it up, adjusting the straps.

"Lisa," a clipped voice rang in my ear, "This is Margaret from Brian Brito Designs. You interviewed with us for an Assistant Designer position last week?"

"Yes?" I held my breath, wondering where this was going.

"Are you still interested in working for us?"

"Yes, absolutely." I wondered why I said that, but right now nothing was making sense and my brain was too confused to think.

"That's great. Can you come into the office tomorrow to do the paperwork?"

"Umm, I'm kind of out-of-state on a job right now. But I can come in on Monday, will that work?"

"Hmm. Well, I suppose it will. You'll have to start from Tuesday, then."

"Great, thank you so much! I really look forward to working with you."

Margaret hung up with a click, and I looked at my phone, bemused. I wondered what I'd tell them on Monday - why had I accepted a new job when I already had one? And why was I getting this job offer now, when all my life I'd wanted this kind of job but couldn't get one? I shrugged mentally - when it rains, it pours. It seemed like an alien concept to turn down a job offer.

Colin had joined me and was looking at me quizzically. I told him briefly what she'd said, and he smiled. "You'll just have to call them on Monday and say you've got a better job. Why be an errand-girl for a small company when you can be a real designer for Anderson Developments?"

"You're right." I nodded, wondering if Roger's tale about Colin was scaring me into accepting an inferior job. "You treat your employees well, right?"

"You'll have a great contract, and I'd leave you alone to do your own thing."

I nodded, spying Diane out of the corner of my eye.

I smiled and waved to her and Colin turned around. We walked back and joined the others, as if nothing had happened between us.

Chapter Four

After we drove back to the Great House and had lunch, we found ourselves in a competitive game of Taboo. I'm a sucker for board games and I tried my best to win, without looking like a geek, until it was time for the sun to set.

Watching the sun go down was an amazing experience - the sky and ocean changed colors slowly, and then finally it was dark and time for dinner under the stars.

After dinner, just before Colin and I retired to our bedroom, a slightly tipsy Roger grabbed my arm and whispered, "Remember what I told you. This guy's used to screwing people over, make sure he doesn't get you to agree to something stupid."

I nodded and walked away, wondering if he had a point.

Colin and I got dressed for bed, and this time I had the brilliant idea of wearing a dressing gown over the flimsy negligee.

Colin looked at me disapprovingly, but didn't say anything. He was sitting on the bed checking emails on his tablet and I put my cell phone on the nightstand.

"I saw Roger talking to you again."

We looked at each other. It was slightly chillier tonight and Colin was wearing a t-shirt and pajamas. His hair fell across his forehead, and his green eyes were smooth and relaxed. He didn't look like a killer to me.

"You can tell me what Roger said - I'd really like to know what that scumbag is saying behind my back."

I went and sat beside him. I didn't know where to start, or even if I should say anything.

"He said something about your parents," I said softly, "He said he hired a private detective to find out about you."

"I thought he might've. What did he say he found out?"

"I… he said your birth mother was a prostitute and that you killed your foster parents."

Colin's green eyes became icy. "And you believed him?"

"I don't see why I should. But I… he said you sold their land and started your business with that money."

I felt the chill emanating from Colin.

"I don't think Roger's right," I continued nervously, "But I know you're very private and I didn't want to pry."

Colin sighed and reached out to hold my hands in his. I watched as his eyes turned from icy to sorrowful.

"Colin, you don't have to tell me what happened. You've been kind to me and I've got no reason not to trust you."

"Lisa, there are very few people who know this, but I want to tell you what happened. I think you should know, we're spending a lot of time together and I trust you."

I tried to say something, but Colin waved away my protests.

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