Hi Guys! So I cannot believe it's been like...three years since I've updated this story. That is insane and I hate myself for doing that. I wanted to post this short update just so you guys know I'm working on it again. I PROMISE the next chapter will be much longer and more enjoyable. Consider this a sneak peek for what's to come. Please enjoy and thank you all so much for your kind words and patience. I really love this story and I think it's safe to say it has my full attention again, at least for a while!

Mortified by the sudden intrusion into our privacy, I shakenly straightened my appearance by smoothing my hair and clothes, as though that would help alleviate the fear over what just occurred. I suddenly had a nightmare vision in my head of what I must have looked like in that out-of-nowhere photo and warmth flooded my body from intense nerves. The tabloids! The papers! Who would see it? Everyone!

"Christ," I heard Jareth say, as he shoved both hands through his hair. "They can never just leave me be, can they?"

I watched him adjust himself as well and it was then that I noticed I had dropped my purse to the ground. Must have happened when that jerk took our photo. When I crouched down to grab it, Jareth lowered with me.

He caught my chin, forcing me to look at him. "Hey," he said softly. "Are you alright?"

My throat burned. I was feeling all kinds of things at that moment – aroused from our kiss, angered, disappointed, and thoroughly embarrassed. Embarrassed that he was caught on camera kissing me: a young, broke, unappealing nobody. At least, that's what I imagined the papers and magazines would say when the news broke out tomorrow.

I jerked my chin away, perhaps more forcibly than I intended to. "I'm fine."

Clutching the strap of my purse, I stood on shaky legs. I needed to get away from him, from this scene. I needed to be alone so I could come up with a million ways to disappear should the need arise.

Jareth stood with me. "I'm so sorry that happened, Sarah. I'm an idiot. I should have been more cautious and prepared for the possibility of something like this happening at this hour. I didn't…I didn't think the paparazzi would be around at this time."

I refused to make eye contact with him. I was still too unnerved after being violated by a complete stranger. How Jareth dealt with this on an every day basis dumbfounded me.

"It's okay," I said softly, turning away to walk the remainder of the way home.

I heard him speak behind me. "Please turn around, Sarah."

My eyes closed against the bizarre surge of arousal I felt at his polite yet authoritative tone. The uncontrollable response to do as he said was intensified by my lingering frustration with not only the blimp who took our picture, but my aggravation with Jareth as well, even if it was unfair to hold him accountable in any way.

When I turned around as he'd asked, his face was hard, his gaze narrowed and distressed. I shivered, not necessarily from the cold, and swallowed.

He stood calmly, his gaze searingly intense and I wanted to run and hide in my room, but I felt frozen into place as his powerful frame radiated heat, spurring my continued and newfound desire for him, despite what had just happened.

It took him only a couple of strides before he reached me again. The strength and demand of his will exuded an almost tangible force field. When he stepped close enough, it surrounded me, closing me in with him. Everything outside that bubble suddenly ceased to exist, while inside it my entire body strained toward his. That he had such a profound, visceral effect on me even in our circumstances irritated me to no end. How could I feel so conflicted right now?

"What can I do?" he then asked hoarsely, stirring me out of my longing thoughts. "I can't have you leave knowing you're upset."

I chuckled nervously. "Think you can flag down that jerk and get his camera?"

Jareth sighed and I looked down at my feet, nodding in defeat. "Didn't think so."

"Sarah," he said. "Tell me this won't change anything between us."

Biting my lip, I felt my body sag. I had no idea what would happen between us now. Once the news broke out that Jareth was seen with me, surely Irene and the girls would see it and then my whole life would be over as I know it. There was no way I was going to be able to swing the Christmas party with him now. The idea depressed me to no end.

"Look, Jareth," I began. "Can we just…" I paused and sighed. "I think we both need to cool off. Take a couple of days to think." And by we, I meant myself.

He didn't press the issue and simply bobbed his head up and down gently. "I understand. We'll revisit and revise."

So business oriented. Cut-and-dried.

"Tomorrow," he added.

My spine stiffened. Tomorrow wasn't exactly far away, but I wasn't sure I'd win a battle of wills with Jareth Kingsman. Instead of arguing, I smiled softly and let him walk me the rest of the short way way home. Just before I reached the first step of the apartment building, he grabbed my arm, my movements pausing. I turned to face him once more. It might be the last time I'd see him for all I knew.

"Good night, Sarah Williams," he said, kissing my hand like the proper gentlemen. "I'll see you soon."

I should have been happy about the confidence in those words. But I was hesitant about everything now.

I gently smiled, pushing a lock of hair behind my ear and watched him go. He gave me one more glance before finally disappearing back towards his car. That's when I hurriedly rushed into the apartment, not wanting to be further caught by whoever else may have lurked outside. I exhaled, feeling grateful to be home after that horrible experience. So horrible that I'd practically danced through the apartment's front door. That's saying a lot, considering I hate being home.

The house was dark and quiet, as I suspected. It was after midnight after all. Where did the time go? I was grateful Irene hadn't somehow interrupted my evening and that I managed to even make it out this long without her interference. That would have almost been better than the interruption that did occur in its place, though.

I exhaled, taking in the darkness that surrounded me. Figures no one would leave a light on for me. As my eyes tried adjusting, I took my heels off and walked quietly to my room, falling face first onto my bed as I approached it. I wanted to rid my mind of the events that just took place.

I laid there, wishing I could have been lost in happy thoughts of my amazing seven-hour date with Jareth and the wonderful kiss that we'd shared, but instead my mind was conjuring up all kinds of negative prospects about what would happen tomorrow once that picture broke the internet.

Would Irene and the girls see it? Of course they would.

What would they say? Would I be kicked out? Probably. Unfairly.

Would Jareth be embarrassed?

Ugh. I needed to phone Anthony and give him a heads up – he was probably waiting for my call. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. My mind wasn't focused and was too erratic for a telephone conversation right now. I would have to wait until tomorrow.

Tomorrow. What would come of tomorrow?

I moaned, my entire arm covering my face.

Oh, vey.

I awoke the next morning to the sound of screaming. Why was there always so much screaming in this house?

Sitting up in bed groggily, I grumbled, dreading what the cause of so much commotion was. I had hardly slept at all, as one can imagine. The thought of everything made my stomach quiver all over again and I fell forward on the bed, groaning into my mattress.

While I was consumed in my own suffering, the continued loud noises emanating from the living room forced me to sit upright once more. Glancing at the clock, I saw it was only six forty-five in the morning. I frowned, wondering why anyone other than me would be up this early. I was the one who had work soon.

I begrudgingly got out of bed to seek out who was having a meltdown at this time and over what. I walked slowly towards the living room, not wanting to give myself away and stood in the hallway, eavesdropping. Another scream was let loose.

"Jesus, Sophie what are you freaking out about!" I heard Isabella yell. "It's too early for that crap. Let me have my coffee first before you read whatever the paper has you bugged about. And since when do you read the paper anyway?"

"Jareth Kingsman seen with brunette mystery woman?!" Sophia screamed back, ignoring the comment about reading the paper. "I thought he was single!"

FUCK. Panic set in and my eyes widened. I couldn't move from where I stood and found myself in a painful situation that I told myself I could have avoided had I simply ignored my desires last night. I shut my eyes and braced myself, waiting for the moment to come when Sophia recognized me in the photo that I assumed she was looking at.

Only, that didn't happen. Instead, I was granted with minor reprieve and the continuation of both hers and Isabella's obnoxious voices.

"Wait, what?!" Isabella shrieked.

"The thirty-six-year-old bachelor and New York financier was seen canoodling and kissing a brunette woman in the upper east side late last night," Sophia read. "Word has it that Kingsman had earlier been at Le Labyrinthine, one of Manhattan's most posh seafood restaurants. Kingsman frequents the restaurant and is a regular…"

"Boring," Isabella then interrupted. "Skip to the stuff about the girl! Who is she?"

I waited intently for Sophia to resume reading, presuming she was trying to pick up on anything about the woman in the picture. I mean…me.

Speaking of me. Why haven't they said my name? Did they not know it was me in the photo?

"No word yet on who the woman is, given the nature of the photo," Sophia continued, answering my question. "A close source says 'Not to worry. Jareth, as we all know, is a perpetual playboy and is not looking for anything serious right now. Give it a week and you'll be seeing him with someone else.' While other sources insist that Jareth is definitely still single, the passion seen here between the two has raised eyebrows about the actual status of this possible new relationship. Reps for Kingsman haven't commented."

Huh. My index finger and thumb rubbed my bottom lip as I continued to stand in the hallway, waiting for more words to come. That's when I heard Irene chime in. I hadn't realized she was with them.

"Girls," she said calmly. "There's nothing to be concerned about. I'm sure it's nothing. Don't let this get in your head before meeting him tomorrow night. As far as we're concerned, Jareth Kingsman is still available. With our stylists arriving soon, he won't be able to resist at least one of you."

That would explain why the lot was up early: they were already starting their preparations for tomorrow. Typical.

"Hey," I then heard Isabella say warily, disregarding her mother's comments. "Doesn't that street look familiar? It looks kind of like ours…"

Uh oh. They were clearly still checking out the photo.

"All streets in New York look the same, you idiot," Sophia retorted.

I could only imagine Sophia doing her typical rolling of the eyes, as though her sister's comment was so farfetched and silly to even give it a second thought, when in reality Isabella was quite perceptive to even notice such a thing. I don't give her enough credit…

"The better question to ask is who is she," Sophia then stated haughtily. "Whoever the photographer is sucks. You can't even see her face."

"She must be beautiful, whoever she is," Isabella responded kindly. "Jareth Kingsman would never date someone average."

Sophia chuckled. "Guess that means you don't stand a chance."

I furrowed my eyebrows, waiting for Isabella to say something back. I only heard a scoff, followed by loud footsteps that began to stomp in my direction. I had to believe it was Isabella and that Sophia's nasty comment had warranted her to leave.

Shit! I quietly yet quickly retreated back to my room to avoid running into my step-sister, only to logon to my computer and open Internet Explorer. Hastily, I typed Yahoo into the browser and on the front page, found a digest for Jareth's name. More than thirty mentions, in just one day. Hours, really. I couldn't help but freak out a little at the numerous "mystery woman" headlines. I click on the first link I saw and found myself landing on a gossip blog.

There, in living color, was a photo of Jareth kissing me senseless on the sidewalk outside my apartment building. After seeing it for myself, an instant wash of relief spread over me like wildfire, for my face really wasn't visible like Sophia mentioned; my hair was covering my profile and Jareth's hand that rested on my face helped block whatever else could have identified me. I composed myself and showed gratitude for whatever otherworldly force might have existed in that moment.

I continued to scroll down to the accompanying article, which was short and didn't read much different than what I heard Sophia reading moments ago.

'We imagine hearts are breaking across New York this morning,' the last sentence read.

I quickly clicked through other links in the digest to find the same picture with similar captions and articles. Alarmed, I sat back and thought about what this meant. If one kiss was headlining news, what chance would Jareth and I have to ever make a relationship work?

Whoa, there girl. Slow down. Relationship?

My hands weren't quite steady as I closed the browser, the term 'relationship' floating in my mind.

"Hell," I breathed, wondering what Jareth's reaction to this would be. I cringed inwardly recalling my reaction to last night and now that I knew the photo was nothing to truly worry about, I couldn't help but think I mildly overreacted. But how was I to know the photo would come out looking the way it did? For all I knew, my face could have been completely discernable, and I'd be kicked out of my house by now. I reminded myself to thank the man for his shitty photographer skills if I ever did see him again. Not that I remembered what he even looked like.

My phone suddenly went off, disrupting my thoughts. Looking at the caller ID, I saw that it was Anthony and answered it.

"Sarah," I heard him say on the other end when I picked up. "You never called me."

"I know, I…"

He cut me off and got to the point. "It's all over the place."

I nodded, knowing what he was referring to. "Yeah…about that…"

"That's some kiss," he said proudly. "Have the wicked witches of the east seen it…?"

I looked to my door to ensure it was closed. "Yes," I replied in a hushed voice. "But they don't know it's me obviously."

"Thank fucking Christ for that," he laughed.

"No kidding."

"You have to tell me everything," he begged. "Like now. I can't wait until I see you later at the coffee shop."

My paranoia that someone was listening from the other side of my door was beginning to take over me, but when I took the phone away from my ear, I heard loud voices arising from the living room and I knew the stylists had arrived. I had some time to fill him in before my shift started in a couple of hours.

I readied myself and told him quite literally everything that transpired between Jareth and I in the last twelve hours, from him picking me up, our whereabouts for dinner, our conversations, Jareth's concerns about my father's will, to our kiss before it got ruined…and how I left things between us.

"Oh, baby girl," Anthony said softly when I finished telling him how I panicked and abruptly ended mine and Jareth's evening. "I can understand why you'd want to run out of there because of that dickhead taking your guys' picture, but I hope you didn't blame Jareth for what happened."

"Well," I murmured, looking at my ceiling. "Looking back, I might have a little…"

Anthony knew how my mind worked. "If you think he's going to cut and run, I think you're wrong. He probably feels horrible. Don't analyze this to death, Sarah."

"You have no idea the panic I felt last night thinking the worst of that photo," I protested. "I honestly don't even know how my face isn't showing in it."

"Because Jareth was snogging the shit out of it," Anthony laughed.

The thought should have made me smile, but I scowled. "I doubt he ever will again."

"Sarah, stop. Nothing bad actually came of this, thank god, so calm down. Jareth is totally into you and I'm sure he completely understands why you were put off last night. It isn't every day us peasants get their photo taken by the paps."

Sitting back in my chair, I absorbed everything he was saying. "Anthony. You're hardly a peasant."

"You know what I mean."

"I guess."

I knew he was grinning on the other side. "My advice, for what its worth? Call him. Explain your concerns calmly. Just… try to have fun with the situation. Him."

"You're right," I agreed. "I'll…try and do that."

"You better. Look, I gotta get ready for our shift so I'll see you soon and we can talk more about this later."


Just I was about to say my goodbyes and that I'd see him soon, he said something else. "Oh, and Sarah?"

"Yeah?" I asked.

"Don't think I forgot about that little tidbit about your father's will. When the opportunity presents itself…we're looking for it. When I see you at the shop, we're coming up with a game plan."

I gulped, completely neglecting that extremely important detail I'd mentioned to Anthony minutes ago. Now that my photo-gate concerns could subside a bit, I had something else to worry about concerning Irene.

The will.

OOOOH, that damn will. What ever 'will' happen?