A Million Times

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5.0 | K A I R O S

Thinking of you is the poison I drink often.
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F A C A D E. I couldn’t quite catch Xavier even after crossing each other's paths several times. I was staring at him so hard and was almost on the verge of following him but didn’t. I don’t want people to think that I’m infatuated with him or something.

He moved around the room with grace wearing a black tuxedo. He looked handsome tonight and all eyes were on him. Every woman old or young in the room was following his every move with their eyes like hawks. I couldn’t help but feel a little helpless and jealous.

I want to tell everyone that he’s mine. But is he?

My stepfather was preparing a speech all evening before he came here. We walked over to the man standing beside Xavier. He was a much older version of Xavier. His eyes although grey but sharp just like him. His jaw was almost identical to Xavier and I wondered how he will look when he is this old.

“Introduce yourself, dear.”
My stepfather’s voice brought me back from my wandering thoughts. I gave the intimidating man a practiced smile and introduced myself telling him my name, school and about my future plans which was to go to Harvard to study business according to my parents and it didn’t look like he gave a damn about what I do or don’t but that didn’t stop my mother from forcing me to blurt out my future plans to a complete stranger.

My opinions are completely different and when the right time will come I will have the talk with them or I’ll just run away.

I turned my attention to Xavier as he stood there like a pillar listening to us and giving back no reactions. The man seemed impressed or amused by my answers and resumed talking to my father.

“Dane, let’s cut to the point. I know you want that investment and we can talk about it during dinner tomorrow at my house since you can’t stop calling my office.”
He shook his steady hand with my father’s slightly shaking ones and with utmost grace walked away. The man baritone voice was something I was already expecting, a lot deeper than his son.

My stepfather followed behind and started talking to him about the business collaboration he’s been waiting to have with him for years but he just ignored him.

“Please excuse me.”
I quietly left my parents and moved towards the ladies' washroom. The place was huge and my heels were rubbing against my feet probably leaving bruises behind. I brushed down my blue off-shoulder-rib-dress and took some deep breaths.

“You should have left those heels at home.”
I almost jumped and skipped a step before making myself stable. I turned around and there he was looking nonchalant as ever. I couldn’t find anyone else around us. I turned and resumed walking forward without acknowledging him just like he did with me.

“Don’t walk away from me, Natasha. I told you to never ignore me.”
His voice held a threat which I did not appreciate.

“Oh. So now you know me. I’m getting whiplash when I’m with you because a second ago I thought you didn’t even know me.”
He caught my wrist and dragged me to a more secluded area.

“I was shocked and I couldn’t acknowledge you in front of my father. You’ll thank me one day for not doing the honor of introducing you as mine because he likes claiming what is not his.”
His voice was slightly panicked and I saw a new face of him.

He was scared.

Xavier was scared of his father but why? That’s the question I need an answer to.

+

S H O C K E D. The panic in his voice, the slight tremble in his hands and the fear in his eyes disappeared as soon as it came. If I hadn’t looked at him so closely I would have missed it. His face shredded every emotion and only cold passiveness remained.

“Now, don’t even look at me again. Let’s stay as far away from each other as we can. I’m telling you to ignore me now. Do you understand?”

He softly pressed his lips against mine and left me pressed against the wall.

I underestimated Xavier Knox, he is not an average teenage boy. He is something dangerous mixed with the mystery which maybe I’m not ready to deal with. My heart was breaking at the point of never meeting him again but my brain shouted at me to run far away from a man who feels things all at once and then suddenly nothing. Nothing at all.

I’m too young to get caught in the crossfire of these confusing emotions because one thing is sure that I will not be left unburnt.

I walk back to the party and sit down beside my mother who was talking to the mayor’s wife. She held my arm and introduced me to the mayor’s wife who already knew who I am because we meet at parties like these all the time.

“Can I have a dance with you, my beautiful lady?”

Theodore Collins, the mayor’s twenty-seven-year-old son appeared out of the thin air and grasped my free hand in his. When I started to refuse him my mother squeezed my arm tightly, digging her nails into my soft flesh.

“Of course.”

I said softly shrugging out my mother’s hold and following Theodore to the dance floor. A pair of eyes were trained on my every move but I couldn’t look at him and break our promise.

Theodore was a good looking man but he has been hitting on me at every party. He took full advantage of the situation and snaked his arms around my waist and clasped his hand in mine. I tried to maintain a distance between us while dancing a little awkwardly but he kept bringing me back to his body.

“You look beautiful, Natasha. Let’s go out on that date you’ve been postponing for years. I am a patient man but I cannot wait forever for you. I will become a Mayor one day and you can have everything that you ever wanted. You can look at my mother, she lives like a queen. So, here’s the thing you can either give me what I want already or I will take it from you anyway. Stop being a bloody tease.”

His words were disgusting and I’m sure it showed on my face. His hands drifted over my ass and I pushed him away from me. I for one don’t care if he is a son of the mayor because I don’t tolerate disrespect like that.

My mother smiled at the Mayor’s wife and then walked over to me tugging me away at a corner of the hall.

“Why don’t you ever do as you are told for once? Can you not dance with that man for a few minutes? Your dad is doing everything in his power to maintain good relations with all the important people in this town and you just have to ruin it.”

My mother’s once soft green eyes which used to look at me like I was her world were now granite with accuse and insults for me.

“He is not my father and will never be.”

I walked away from her while containing the tears threatening to fill my eyes. I looked around and saw that Xavier was nowhere to be seen.

After a few hours of circulating, talking and shaking hands, we were back in the car on our way to the house when Dane’s, my stepfather’s phone rang.

“What? Yes, we will meet the mayor first thing in the morning. This is such a sad time for everyone.”

He listened to what the person was saying on the phone before hanging up.

“What happened?”

My mother asked resting her hand on his tensed arms.

“The mayor’s son, Theodore Collins was found murdered in the hotel bathroom a few minutes ago. He is dead.”


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