We finished shopping at around four in the afternoon.
“What time will this gathering start?” I asked.
“Six,” Clark answered in a bored voice.
While walking out of the mall, something caught my eye. I grabbed Clark’s arm to make him stop.
“Wait!” I said. “I wanna buy something.”
Clark raised a brow but didn’t question my request. He was carrying a lot of bags and I felt bad for him but when I offered him help, he just glared at me.
We entered a clothing store which were filled with people looking around, choosing what to buy for themselves or for their loved ones. I immediately went to the mannequin displayed behind the tall glasses, pulling a brown-colored wool scarf. I checked the tag price and smiled that it wasn’t that expensive.
“What’re you doing?” Clark finally asked.
“I wanna buy this,” I said as I walked to the employee to give me a new stock of the scarf.
“Who are you gonna give it to?”
I could sense the danger in Clark’s voice and it scared me a little. Maybe he wanted to go back already and I might be taking a lot of his time.
“A friend,” I mumbled.
And that friend was obviously Clark.
He wasn’t convinced with my answer but instead of pushing me to tell who that friend was, he let it go.
I noticed a cute little key chain displayed at the counter of the store. I took it, thinking that I should give it to Valery.
After I bought my stuff, I got back to Clark who was already waiting outside the store. I smiled apologetically at him.
“Let’s go,” he said.
We got back to the car. The air between Clark and I turned heavy and I wasn’t sure why. I could tell he was irritated for some reason.
I wanted to ask him what was wrong. I suspected it was because of the upcoming gathering with the Mafia. Maybe he didn’t want me there? But he did say that it was a part of my training.
I sat on the seat, contemplating to why Clark was angry.
Clutching the paper bag in my hand, I scowled.
We returned back to my house and as soon as Clark got out of the car, his men greeted him. We were guided to the meeting hall, which was a room that I usually don’t go to because there were a lot of horrible things happened in there. 15 men stood in the room and I was feeling awkward as I was the only one sitting on the chair.
Isaac was beside me. He put a folder on the table, flipping it open to let me see papers with photos attached on it at the top-left side.
“Here’s the people who are gonna come to the gathering. It’s a simple party to celebrate the 18th birthday of Anastasia Maslow, the daughter of the Maslow family. They are a close ally of the Orlov’s. Because the boss, your father, isn’t here to attend the meeting, you’ll be replacing him,” he explained with his usual dead voice.
I made a face.
Ugh, there’s too many files in this folder.
“Do I have to memorize this all?”
Clark, who had been quiet all this time, finally spoke.
“Just familiarize their photos. Leave the memorization to me,” he said.
“I see. So what am I going to do in the party? Just talk to people?” I asked.
I couldn’t hide the sarcasm in my voice and Isaac noticed it, narrowing his eyes at me.
“You have to make sure that you won’t do anything that will sabotage the relationship of the Maslow and the Orlov,” Clark replied.
“As much as I hate you being seen by the enemies, we have to take the risk of you appearing in a Mafia gathering,” Clark added, his eyes sending glares at me. “So you better make sure not to let them see how pathetic you are.”
I pouted at him but never said anything.
The war of the heirs, it’s still on-going. I just defeated one heir, I mean, Clark just defeated one heir but there’s a lot of them out there, getting ready to steal my family’s power.
If I could be honest to myself, I would rather let them take it but then again, letting them take it would mean that we’re going to be killed.
Obviously, I don’t like that.
Clark faced the men in his group and said, “top priority is Turquoise’ safety. Secure the whole vicinity, understand?”
“Yes, boss,” they all answered in unison.
Clark dismissed them to get ready, leaving him, Isaac and I in the room.
Isaac turned to Clark.
“Isn’t this going to be dangerous?” he asked.
Clark shrugged his shoulders.
“We can’t do anything about it. The boss also agreed to let Drew attend the group. He can’t hide forever,” he answered.
Isaac eyed me. I couldn’t explain the expression in his face.
“I’ll go get ready then.”
I watched Isaac leave the room. When he was gone, I stood up and faced Clark.
“Your code name for me is turquoise?”
Clark put his phone inside his pocked and raised a brow at me.
“What’s wrong with it?” he asked, amused.
“Why in the world am I named turquoise?”
I froze when Clark tipped my chin with his fingers, making me look at him.
“I wonder why,” he said, looking straight into my eyes.
Letting go of my face, Clark turned his back and walked away.
I spent the remaining time dressing up. I’m not used in wearing suits and it was annoying the hell out of me. But of course, I couldn’t do anything about it because I needed to attend this dumb party so that I wouldn’t sabotage the relationship with my family and the Maslow’s.
I was having a hard time putting the neck tie that I didn’t even noticed Clark was already inside my room, walking towards me. When I saw him at the corner of my eye, I snapped my head, gasping out loud from surprise.
He raised an amused brow.
“I was knocking,” he informed.
I rubbed the back of my head sheepishly.
“S-sorry, I didn’t hear. This tie is killing me.”
Clark went behind me, leaning down as he snaked his arms around my shoulders. He took the tie and began showing me how to properly put it around my neck. I could feel his breath behind me and it was making me stiff and nervous. His scent was like a drug, engulfing my whole body. He was telling me how to properly tie a necktie but I couldn’t understand a word he was saying. I was focused in his warmth against mine, his breath hitting my ear, his fixed gaze on my neck, his --
“You get it?” he suddenly asked.
When Clark saw my dazed look, he sighed.
“Nevermind, I’ll teach it to you next time. Let’s go.”
Clark got out first and I followed him. We were greeted by Isaac and one other guy who have been waiting outside my room.
“You ready?” Isaac asked me.
I nodded and smiled a little bit.
I kept on staring outside the window as Isaac drive us to the party. It was raining, perfect for my mood.
Clark was sitting beside me and like me, he was also looking out the window. Wearing a black coat and a suit underneath, he was the epitome of a perfect man. I didn’t want to stare at him anymore because he might tease me again so I kept my gaze outside, ignoring the fact that a hot man was sitting beside me.
The party’s going to be held in a private mansion just outside the city. I guess holding it at their own house would be dangerous and stupid so the Maslow rented a mansion just for their daughter’s party. I didn’t know any of them and it was making me nervous. I’m not good in talking to people, especially when they’re in the freaking mob.
“What?” Clark asked, turning to me.
His eyes were transfixed against mine and it made me uncomfortable. It was as if he could see right through me.
“Nothing, I’m just nervous,” I replied.
“You don’t have to be nervous. I’ll do the talking,” he said.
I weakly smiled.
Clark’s more suited to become a Mafia leader.
My phone vibrated inside my pocket and I took it out to check who sent me a message. I read Alyona’s message and it was about the photography contest.
I’m still waiting for your entry, Drew!
Hope you can join the contest.
The smile on my face vanished and it was replaced by a scowl.
Texting her back, I said,
I’ll be entering the contest.
Talk to you later about the details.
I gripped my phone tight, exhaling out loud. I could see Clark eyeing me but he didn’t say anything, just observing me quietly.
I wanted to finish school like a normal student. Like I’ve said before, I’ll do everything normal before I accept my position as the leader of the Orlov group.
And entering this contest will be the last normal thing I could do before I bury myself into a world of darkness.
Shortly after, we arrived at the mansion named Magnolia Estate. I’m don’t know who owned this place but I’m pretty sure it’s from the mob.
As expected, the whole place was filled with people dressed in marvelous suits and bright-colored gowns that’s probably worth a year of my tuition fee. I’m not used to this kind of environment and if ever I make a fool out of myself from tripping over something not visible, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Isaac dropped us off at the porch and a man who I assumed was assigned to welcome the guests opened the car door for us. I smiled at him and thanked him.
Clark and I left Isaac to park the car since Clark didn’t want the valet to drive it to the parking lot. We entered the mansion that was brightly-lit and the moment I entered the place, I was astonished to see everything sparkling. The chandelier, the walls covered in gold paint, the floor with the soft carpet, everything was just fancy and it almost hurt my eyes.
Laughter and chattering echoed the place. I looked around and there were guests lounging in the hall, drinking cocktails and champagne or whatever drink they have in their hands that I’m not familiar with. Clark was walking near me, eyes roaming around as if he’s looking for something.
“Let’s greet Anastasia first,” Clark suggested.
I furrowed my brows at him.
“Do you know her personally?” I asked.
“Yes. I met her a few times before when I came to the Maslow for business,” he answered nonchalantly.
I pursed my lips.
“Is that so,” I silently mumbled.
“There she is,” Clark said.
He put his hand on my back to guide me to where Anastasia Maslow was. When I saw her, I was awed at how beautiful she was. A tall woman with long curly blonde hair wearing an elegant red dress. Pale white skin, gray eyes, red-tinted lips, she’s very pretty. She doesn’t looked like she’s 18 though. There’s a mature aura around her and if I didn’t know, I would have assumed that she’s already in her 20’s.
Anastasia was surrounded with men in tux and she was happily conversing with them. When Clark and I arrived to where she was, her eyes averted away from the people with her, gasping out loud when she saw Clark.
“Ah, Mr. Roman,” she greeted.
I blinked. She had a deep voice and it suits her appearance.
“Good evening,” Clark greeted back, flashing one of his charismatic smile at Anastasia.
I only looked at him in disbelief. He doesn’t even smile that much when he’s with me! So unfair.
Anastasia excused herself from the men who gladly let her go.
“I’m so glad you came,” she said, returning Clark’s smile.
“Wouldn’t miss this for the world.”
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes.
Anastasia then turned to me, blinking in curiosity.
“And this is?” she trailed off.
“I want you to meet the heir of the Orlov group, Drew Orlov,” Clark said, introducing me to the Anastasia.
She looked at me from head to toe and I suddenly felt intimidated. I was expecting she would say something mean but instead, she smiled at me and said, “nice to meet you, Drew. I’m Anastasia Maslow. Our fathers are great friends.”
Anastasia stretched her arm out to shake my hand.
“N-nice to meet you too, Anastasia.”
“Just call me Anya, Drew.”
“Oh, okay. Cool.”
I felt Clark’s heated gaze on me but I ignored it.
A waiter walked past us and Anastasia called him to get the drinks he was serving. Taking a glass for herself, she gave me one too and I was adamant to take it but feeling Clark’s glare, I took it, faking a smile at the waiter.
“I heard your father has been dealing with the Italians,” Anastasia said after she drank a sip of her champagne.
I gripped the glass tight and began to sweat. She’s opening a topic about my dad that I knew nothing about.
“Ah, the Italians, huh? Right, dad’s been…dealing with them.”
Oh my god, I know nothing about the Italians! I only heard Clark say the leader’s name once and I can’t remember it.
“How’s the deal going?” she asked, staring straight into my eyes.
“Oh, the deal? Well, it’s…”
“Yeah. The meeting with Hiro’s taking a while, he’s probably being stubborn, as usual,” Clark said.
I brightly smiled when I suddenly remembered the leader of the Italian mob.
“Well, you know how Hiro is. He’s probably being stubborn as usual.”
Anastasia appeared to be impressed by my answer but what she doesn’t know was that I’m ready to poop my pants.
“I see. After the former leader got replaced by his son, business deals with the Italians got even harder,” she commented. “I heard other foreign groups are having a hard time closing deals with him. Must be a scary man, that Hiro, huh?”
I have no idea who Hiro was but based from what Anastasia was saying, he does seemed like a scary person.
“Yeah, true that,” I added.
We got interrupted when a huge buff man approached us. His hair was mostly white and from the looks of it, he’s the same age as my dad.
“If it isn’t Clark Roman,” the man started, patting Clark’s shoulder. “You know, every time I see you, I always realize how much I want you to work in our group,” he said in a joking manner.
Clark politely smiled at him.
“It’s an honor but unfortunately, I’m taken.”
The man laughed out loud.
“Please, allow me to introduce, this is the heir of the Orlov group,” Clark said and the man looked at me with a scrutinizing gaze.
“So this is the guy you’re working for?” he asked, raising one brow at me.
Anastasia stayed quiet and was just watching us while sipping her drink.
“You’re Timofei’s brat?”
I nervously nodded.
His daunting gaze changed and he was now looking at me with a huge grin on his face.
“I haven’t seen you since you were in your diapers!” he exclaimed, tapping my shoulder with his heavy hand. “Timofei’s really protective of you, aren’t you, Drew?!”
I forced an awkward laugh.
“Y-yeah, that’s my dad.”
“Ahh, too bad Timo’s not here. I miss that old guy.”
I honestly couldn’t remember who this man was but I’m guessing he’s Anastasia’s father, meaning he’s the leader of the Maslow’s.
Which was a really scary thing.
“Tell your old man to drop by for a drink. It’s been too long since we got together,” the man said, sadly smiling at me.
“Of course, I’ll tell my dad, sir.”
“If you’ll excuse me,” he looked at Clark and motioned him to talk privately.
Clark squeezed my shoulder before moving away from me to converse with Anastasia’s dad. I was left with the debutante.
“Too bad we haven’t seen each other when we were kids,” she said.
Her glass was now empty but she doesn’t looked like she’s drunk. I guess I’m only one of the few people who gets drunk with just a few sips of light alcohol.
“Yeah, my dad doesn’t really want me going out of the house,” I mumbled.
Because I’m his only son, dad’s bound to protect me at all cost because without me, the family might crumble and he absolutely doesn’t want that to happen.
“You’re so lucky Clark’s working for you,” Anastasia said.
My ears perked when she mentioned Clark’s name. I’ve been hearing a lot of wonderful things about Clark and how good he was in his job.
“Why?” I asked even though I already knew.
“He’s one of the best in the field. He’s an infamous mercenary before becoming a bodyguard and what he did when he was still a merc, let’s just say it’s enough to make everyone in the Mafia fight for him to have him in their groups,” Anastasia explained, smirking as she looked at Clark who was busy talking to her father.
I gulped nervously.
So Clark was a mercenary before he became a bodyguard. I guess that explained the penthouse and the luxury cars and all.
Anastasia smiled sweetly at me.
“If he’s been working as a merc, I wouldn’t trust him too much. After all, his only weakness is money.”
She ruffled my hair and left me standing in the middle of the hall, contemplating at what she said.
I don’t know anything about Clark and what Anastasia said strike a nerve.
“It’s disappointing that someone like you is the next heir of the Orlov. But I can’t really complain. Your father hired me to be your bodyguard and he paid a lot of money to protect your sorry ass,” Clark said.
I’m such an idiot. Of course he’s only doing this because he’s being paid by my dad with a lot of money.
Being protected by the person I love really sucks.
Countless of hours went by and I was exhausted in talking to people, being introduced by Clark to people working in the Mafia. Ever since I talked with Anastasia, I couldn’t focus at anything anymore. I was like a doll being dragged by Clark. In the end, the party finished at around 2 am in the morning. We bid goodbye to Anastasia and her father who thanked us for coming to an important event.
While going back to the house, I was quiet. I couldn’t even look at Clark and it frustrated the hell out of me. I have no right to feel bad because I’m sure Clark doesn’t even see me as something important. I’m just a job to him, just someone who’s giving him a ton of money.
That really hurts.
I’ve fell deep for him and there’s no escape from this rabbit hole.
I’m such an idiot.
Why am I always falling for the wrong guy?
I should stop this.
Forget about Clark and move on.
“ -- fell asleep again?”
I woke up hearing Clark’s voice but I was too exhausted to open my eyes. The car wasn’t moving so I figured we were already back at the house. I’m aware I was still in the car and was just waiting for either Isaac or Clark to wake me up.
The door opened and I patiently waited for someone to shake me but nothing came. Instead, I heard Isaac and Clark talking near me. I listened closely to their conversation
“Give him a break. It’s his first time doing this.”
Silence followed but I shuddered when I heard Clark growling in anger. I heard Isaac gasped a little and as much as I wanted to see what was happening, I kind of want to eavesdrop.
“I’ll take him to his room.”
A hand pulled my arm, gently getting me out of the car like I’m a child who fell asleep during a long ride. He carried me bridal style and it was getting harder to fake my sleep.
The car door slammed close and I felt Clark holding me tight.
“Call Eva. I want a thorough background check of the Maslow’s.”
“One more thing, Isaac.”
“You better back off, this one’s mine.”
“...I understand, boss.”
Clark put me down on my bed and when he pulled away from me, I heard him chuckle in mockery.
“Stop the acting, Drew. I know you’re awake.”
I stiffened. Finally opening my eyes, I saw Clark sitting on the edge of the bed. He was pulling his tie off.
“What a tiring night, huh?”
“Y-yeah, it is.”
“And you let me carry you all the way back here. So useless,” he said, playfully glaring at me.
I liked it whenever Clark pampers me.
Ugh, there’s really something wrong with me.
“Anyway, you did a good job tonight. Rest tomorrow. At night, we’ll begin another part of your training.”
Clark stood up but before he could get out of my room, I grabbed his hand to stop him.
“What?” he asked, turning his head to look at me.
Why am I always falling for the wrong guy?
I should stop this.
Forget about Clark and move on.
I bit my lip and slyly smiled.
My heart was pounding out of my chest but I couldn’t stop what I was about to say.
“Stay with me tonight.”
Clark eyed me and I shivered in excitement when he smirked.
“Is that an order?”