Distorted (Laura Dunaway) - By Laura Dunaway

“Therefore, ladies and gentleman, I humbly ask you for your donation, any amount you see fit. This is our biggest project and with your help, it can be our most successful. The residents of the Glendale neighborhood need our help and we are here tonight to give them just that. Let’s band together and help give them a fresh start, a chance at a better life. Thank you so much for being here for helping Pierce Homes give back to communities in need. We couldn’t do it without you.”

He stepped back from the podium, his emerald eyes excited at hearing the cheers from his audience. Paul Pierce just gave the speech of his career and nailed it. He ran a hand through his chocolate brown waves, messing them up and looking even sexier, then stared out at the audience smiling. I could tell he was feeling the energy and knew he’d done it. He’d secured the funds we needed to finish building the new homes for the Glendale project. The residents would soon have safe places to live and second chances at better lives. He shrugged his broad shoulders, looking off stage for someone, then smiled when he found her. My heart lurched because I knew whom he saw, and again, I wished it were me.

I stood there watching him as he bent down and said something to the man next to him. The charisma he possessed never ceased to amaze me. The man oozed sex appeal and seemed to know it. Having watched him say the speech I helped him write, I was drawn to his chiseled face again. The man was beautiful and I loved him. Unfortunately, he didn’t love me. My heart still held out hope that his feelings for me would change, but then I caught sight of her in the wings backstage. Reality bit me in the ass, again.

I sighed and forced myself to bask in the success of the evening. He had charmed the audience and I knew by the end of the night he’d succeed in securing the donations he was asking for. Paul Pierce was a man of his word, and without a doubt he’d come through with his promises. He would never let them down.

Paul was the son of Richard Pierce, founder of Pierce Construction. He took over for his dad when Richard became too ill to continue running his company a few years ago. Richard eventually recovered, but realized he didn’t want to go back to running a company again. Instead, he decided to enjoy his golden years a few years early and he handed the responsibilities over to Paul. Paul was ready as he had been groomed his whole life for the job.

When Pierce Construction hit a net worth of ten million dollars back in the 1960s, Richard decided it was time to finally start the side of the business he had been dreaming of for so long. Pierce Homes was born and was a huge success. Each year, Richard would raise money for rundown neighborhoods to strip them down and start building from scratch, making them a safer and better place to live. More and more rundown neighborhoods were being brought to Richards’s attention, so he continued to raise more and more money. Eventually Richard realized his heart was with building these homes and decided to make that Pierce Construction’s sole focus. He dropped construction from the company name and it was officially known as Pierce Homes.

By the time Paul took charge, the company had a net worth of five hundred million and was growing strong. The homes that Pierce Homes had built through the years had a fantastic reputation and the charismatic Paul Pierce only helped that more. He was born to do this and it showed. Even though he was raised with wealth, he never let it get to his head and always wanted to do more for families in need. He worked tirelessly, going over the plans for these new homes and checking over and over to make sure they were being built to the highest standard. He wanted these neighborhoods to be the best they could be and wouldn’t think of doing it any other way, no matter how long it took.

I took off my headphones and set them down on the chair next to me. I stood up and started to head for the door so I could find the man of the hour and congratulate him. I hesitated as I ran a hand