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“Oh wow, I can’t believe I fell asleep.” Ella yawned. “It’s all that studying I tell ya. It makes a girl tired.”

“Sure, that’s it.” Sophie rolled her eyeballs and laughed. Ella never studied. She was one of those people who was naturally smart and who did well without spending hours studying.

The girls grabbed their bags and walked off the train. They had arrived to Winterside in a little over 4 hours and the train station was as sleepy as ever. Sophie looked around her and smiled. It was as picturesque as she remembered it to be. Mitch, the trainmaster sat on a table inside and beamed at the girls as they walked through the small station. He was listening to Christmas carols on the radio and the Christmas tree was sparkling with at least 10 different bulbs of lights wrapped around it.

“Good Afternoon Ms. Van Harkel and Ms. Bloomwood.” Mitch stood up as they passed. “Great to see you both back home for the holidays. Mr. Van Harkel is sitting outside waiting for you both.”

“Thanks Mitch.” The girls chorused in unison. They ran outside and up to the big Range Rover that was parked outside the station. Sophie’s breath caught as she spied Maxwell standing next to the driver’s door talking on the phone to someone. Their eyes met and he beamed at the girls, quickly hanging up the phone.

“Max.” Ella dropped her bag and went running up to her brother. “I thought Dad was going to meet us.” She hugged her brother tightly and stood back and observed him. “You are looking way too handsome for a hard working man. It’s not fair. Why did I not get your gorgeous thick hair?” She teased her brother and he rubbed her head.

Sophie walked up to them slowly and stopped shy a few feet away from them. “Hi Max.” She spoke shyly, trying not to gaze at him with adoration. He looked as handsome and perfect as ever. Being 6 foot tall, he towered over Sophie, but his sparkling blue eyes always made her feel comforted and at ease. He had jet-black hair, with a slight curl and an always-tanned skin tone.

“Sophie.” He stared at her and smiled. “Don’t I get a hug?” He reached over to her and held her in his arms. She felt her breasts crush against his chest and a warm feeling ran through her body. He held her for a few extra seconds and she felt his lips on her cheek, soft and firm at the same time. She wondered if she turned her mouth towards his, if she could pretend it was a mistake. That way she could feel his lips on hers and she would have something to savor for the whole holiday.

“Come on guys.” Ella interrupted them. “It’s only been a year since you’ve seen each other, not a decade.”

Sophie reluctantly stepped back from Maxwell’s arms and smiled up at him. She noticed him staring at her and frowning.

“Well, it seems like a lot can happen in a year.” Maxwell’s voice was gruff and Sophie could feel his eyes on her. “Sophie, you will have to fill me in on everything you have done in the last year.”

“She’s not going to tell you who she slept with bro.” Ella punched him in the arm.

“I said everything she has done, not who she has done, sis.” Maxwell grimaced at her. “I can see that I don’t want to ask you about your love life.”

“Don’t be a hypocrite Max. You must sleep with a woman a week. I can have some fun too.” Ella teased him.

“I’m 30 Ella and you are 22. Big difference.” Maxwell’s voice was gruff. “And I don’t want to hear about my little sister having sex.”

“Oh Max.” Ella laughed and got into the front seat. “Shotgun.” She smiled back at Sophie. “You can get shotgun next time.”

“That’s fine Ella.” Sophie jumped into the backseat, hoping that Maxwell would talk some more about his love life. She was curious as to whether he had a girlfriend or not.

Sophie sat back and allowed herself to be mesmerized by the beautiful familiar sites on their drive to the Van Harkel manor. There was something about the lush greenness of the countryside that always delighted her. She smiled as she saw the cows munching away on the grass. She always wondered what cows thought about all day. It couldn’t possibly be about how delicious the grass tasted. She laughed to herself at the thought and looked up to see Maxwell watching her through the rearview mirror.

“What are you laughing about Sophie?” He smiled at her curiously.

“I was just thinking about the time Ella and I decided to feast on grass to figure out why cow’s enjoyed eating it soo much.” She laughed. “And then we spent the whole night throwing up green stuff and we pretended we were monsters.”

“I remember that. And Max stayed up the whole night with us, making fun of us.” Ella laughed.

“I called you both the Gobble-Geeks and I was the master Gobble-Gook.” Max grinned. “And I got you both to do my chores for the next few days.”

“Grr. You really took advantage of us.” Ella hit him in the arm. “You made me sit on my hands and knees chanting, “I am your servant master Gobble-Gook.” You should be ashamed of yourself for making fun of a little kid.”

“Oh I am sis. I am.” Maxwell grinned and then winked at Sophie. “I’ll never make fun of your snotty nose again.”

“Max.” Ella stuck her tongue out at him and looked back at Sophie. “I’m so glad you came home with me Soph. This way there will be two of us to gang up on Maxwell.”

“I’m sure he’ll be too busy for us.” Sophie smiled weakly. She didn’t want Max to think of her as pukey gooble-geek Sophie but more as beautiful siren Sophia.

“Oh yeah. I forgot he’s helping dad run a multi-billion dollar company. Best not lose my fortune big bro.” Ella smiled and Sophie noticed that Maxwell’s shoulders tensed a little bit.

“Maybe you will join us when you graduate and actually help earn the dollars you spend.” Maxwell smiled at his sister but Sophie could hear the seriousness in his tone.

“Yeah, sure. One day.” Ella paused. “Oh, but if you have any positions going Sophie’s looking for a job.”

Sophie groaned under her breath and tried to stop the flush from creeping up in her face as Maxwell looked at her with interest. “Are you really Sophie?”

She nodded slowly, not sure if she could stand working around the man she loved.

“We do have an internship program starting in January, that leads to a job starting this summer, if you are interested.”

“Well, I guess so. When would my application have to be in?” She asked hesitantly, knowing that all the top corporations had stopped accepting new interns to their programs a long time ago.

“I guess that’s a perk of knowing the boss. No application needed.” Maxwell parked the car and they got out of the Range Rover. Ella went running into the house to greet her parents and Sophie stood next to Max as he locked the car doors. “I’m serious Sophie. Come and talk to me after dinner if you want to start.” He looked deep into her eyes and Sophie was worried that he could see her true feelings for him radiating out of her.

“Thanks Max. That would be great.” She fiddled with her skirt and put her backpack on. It ruffled against her tee shirt and pulled it up a bit, exposing her stomach. She pulled the tee shirt down quickly and looked back up again. Maxwell was staring at her intently and he had a dark smile on his face.

“It’s good to see you Sophie. You have definitely grown into a beautiful young woman.” He licked his lips and walked away from her and Sophie counted to ten before she followed him into the house. The man was sex on legs and Sophie had wanted to feel his tongue on her lips as he had licked his. She sighed. It was going to be a long two weeks if she lusted every little thing that Maxwell did.

Chapter 2

Beautiful young woman. Beautiful young woman. Sophie couldn’t stop smiling to herself as she replayed Maxwell’s comments in her mind. He thought she was beautiful. She studied herself in the mirror and thought about how she could make herself look sexier. She felt that she had a boring look: long dark brown wavy hair, green eyes and a spattering of freckles across her cheeks and nose. She was 5 foot 6, an average height, and she weighed about 145lbs. While she knew she wasn’t fat, she also knew she would never qualify to be a model. She enjoyed food and didn’t say no to deserts. As she looked at herself, she thought glumly that while she was not a plain Jane, she would never be a striking beauty either. Not like Ella.

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