Perfect Illusion

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Chapter 48: I Almost Love You

“So, thanksgiving dinner sucked.” I mutter as I close the door behind me. Somehow, Daniel had already thrown himself unto my bed and he presses his face against my pillows.

“Now I know your mom really hates me.” He groans.

I sigh as fall unto the bed as well. “That’s nothing. A lot of girls hate you.”

“But I really wanted to impress your mom.” He sighs. I reach over and kiss his shoulder blades, pressing half my body against his. He reluctantly takes his face away from the pillow and looks at me.

I offer him a sympathetic smile. “I’m sorry my mom hates you. Give her some time. She’ll cool off and she’ll soon realize that your kind of awesome.”

He brushes his fingers against my cheek, and I lean at his touch. “How do you know that?”

“Because,” I pause for a while, “I used to think I hate you. And now, I think I may just love you.”

Daniel grins. “Really?”

“Yes.” I nod. “I’m not sure how to feel, but I think I almost love you.”

“Well...” He flips me so I fall on the bed and he hovers on top of me, a mischievous grin playing on his lips. “In that case, I almost love you too.” And then he leans down to kiss me.

He presses his lips against mine with a delicate sweetness, raw and consuming. The warmth of his lips travels all the way down to my toes, causing me to come alive. His hand travels from my arm down to my thigh, and my legs part open, hiking my dress up to a very indecent height. I mold my lips to his, wanting to be devoured by him.

He finally notices that my dress isn’t covering much of my legs, and he chuckles. A part of me wants him to touch my exposed skin.

As if he heard my thoughts, he shakes his head.

“Not tonight, sweetheart.” He murmurs and pulls the fabric down. I whimper in protest. I want him so badly, but I know it isn’t right. Not when my parents are downstairs.

He seals me with another soft kiss, one that leaves me yearning for more. “Sorry, Alex.” He mutters, “I want this too. But... We can’t.” “You’re right.” I nod my head.

“I should go. Before your parents come barging in on the both of us like this.” The edges of his lips curve into a crooked smile. “Not that I mind, but... I don’t want your mom to hate me even more.”

“Alright.” I sigh.

“Good night, sweetheart.” He kisses my cheek quickly and walk over to the door.

“Good night, Kerrington.” I smile at him.

He smiles back before closing the door. The room now feels empty without him.

And a little part of me tells me to get used to the feeling.


The next morning, Daniel and I pack our stuff so we can head back to the penthouse. My mom calls us down for breakfast, and we eat quickly, trying to avoid that awkward tension between my mom, Daniel and I. Dad somehow knew this was going to happen and decided to eat upstairs instead.

Daniel quickly eats his scrambled eggs and washes his plate in the sink. When he’s done, he says. “I’m going to go get the bags okay?” “Okay.” I nod.

When he leaves the room, I notice my mom’s posture relaxes. She takes a sip of her tea, and lock her eyes with mine.

I hold her gaze. “You want to say something, mother?”

She tenses, waiting a few moments to pass before answering me. “No.”

“Good.” I say as I stand up, taking my empty plate with me. “Because I have nothing to say to you too.”

As I head over to the sink, I hear my mother say, “Wait.”

I whirl around and face her, challenging her with my gaze. I think she wants to talk about what happened yesterday. I’m ready to talk about it. If she ever attacks Daniel that way again, I will never forgive her.

I will defend him until forever. He has done it for me for a long time now, and its time I pay back the favor.

She stares at me, her lips parted, ready to speak but somehow the words get lodged in her throat. “Alex.” She says, with more emotion. Like she’s about to cry. “I’m sorry I acted that way last night- the stress of... has been getting to me and I shouldn’t have put you in that position.”

“What stress?” I ask, crossing my arms over my chest, “I know you’ve been doing less work now that Kerrington’s loans pour into the company. It’s definitely not about the company. So, what do you have to be stressed for?”

She casts me a broken smile, and a tear leaks down her eye. “I don’t know how to tell you this- I never should have kept this for so long but something has happened to your-”

Before she can say anything else, Daniel materializes from the staircase, carrying our things. I glance back at my mother, waiting for her to continue what she was about to tell me.

All the emotion leaves her face as quickly as it came. She presses her hand on her cheek and look away.

“Mom?” I prod. “What were you going to tell me?”

Her lips press into a grim line. “Nothing. Just... nothing. Forget I said anything.”

“Mom?”

“Hey, you ready to go?” Daniel asks from behind me. He eyes my mother and I, noticing the sudden change in the air, and then quickly backs away. “Am I interrupting something?”

“No.” My mother says flatly. “You can go, Alex.”

“But mom-”

“I’ll tell you the next time I see you.” She wipes the tears from her eyes and forces a smile on her face. Then, she walks over and hugs me. For once, I let myself forget that she has done me so much wrong in the past twenty-four hours. I just let myself fall into her embrace.

“I love you, Alex. Even if you think I don’t.” She kisses my forehead quickly before letting go of me. Then, she proceeds to Daniel.

Daniel looks at her with caution.

“I’m sorry about what I said last night,” She apologizes to him, “I truly am. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think you’re going to break my little girl’s heart.”

“You don’t have to worry, Mrs. Woods.” He says, “that’s never going to happen. I care for her too deeply.”

My heart melts at his very words.

She doesn’t seem fazed by what he said. She just clears her throat and sticks her hand out. “We’ll see.”

Daniel hesitates when he shakes it.

Just then, my dad comes barging down the steps, a huge smile on his face. The minute he sees the three of us, the smile dissappears. “The both of you are going now?”

I frown. “I’m afraid we have to, dad. I got tons of work to do before tomorrow. I need to be back home early if I want to have a head start.”

My dad reclaims back the smile. “That’s okay. I’m glad to hear that you’re taking your studies seriously.” He walks over and wraps his huge hands around me. “I love you, Alexandria. Thank you for giving your mom and I another chance.” My gaze flickers to my mom briefly. She looks away.

“I love you too, dad.” I hug him tightly. “If I have the time, I’ll try to visit next week.”

He shakes his head. “It’s okay. You don’t have to make time to see us. We know you’re a busy woman.”

My mom blinks. “John, don’t you think that we need to tell her-”

My dad quickly intercepts. “Hush, Margaret.”

“You okay, dad?” I narrow my eyes. There’s something my parents are keeping from me, and I have a feeling it’s something huge.

“Terrific.” He says. “I’ve never been happier.”

“You...sure?”

“Don’t worry about us, Alexandria.” he pats me on the back. “We’ll be fine. I’ll be fine.”

I eye him warily. “Okay.”

My dad walks over to my boyfriend and chuckles. “You be good to her okay, Daniel?”

“Always.” He grins.

Pleased with his response, my dad embraces him as well. “I do hope to see more of you soon. You’re a fine young man. Good for Alex.”

He laughs. “I certainly hope so.”

I glance at the car waiting for us outside. “Okay, so we better get going.”

After another round of goodbyes, Daniel and I finally manage to get in the car and make our way back to the penthouse. By the time we get back, it’s already in the late afternoon, and I’m starting to get a little bit tired. I throw all my used clothes from my bag into the laundry basket and I fall unto my bed, replaying my conversation with my parents.

What are they keeping from me? I thought they would be done with keeping secrets from me after what happened with the whole fake engagement thing.

My mom looks like she wants to tell me but I think my dad doesn’t want her to. Which means, it may just be his secret.

But the question is, what is he hiding?

Wanting to diminish all my thoughts for the day, I strip off all my clothes and turn the faucet in the shower on. I wait for the heater to kick in, and every minute, I test the temperature of the water impatiently, wanting to get into the shower as fast as possible.

As soon as I see the steam rise, I know it’s time to step in. Just as I am about to, I hear a knock from the bathroom door.

“Alex?” Daniel asks, his voice muffled by the heavy thudding of water.

I wrap a towel around myself and go to retrieve the door. “Yeah?”

He stands in front of me, in all his naked glory except for the towel wrapped lowly around his hips, a slight flush on his cheeks. “Are you about to shower?”

“Mmmhmmm.” I nod. Then, a small silence passes over us. “Unless... you want to join me?”

I wait for his response. A slow small slowly creeps on his face.

“I’d thought you never ask.” He grins and steps into the bathroom, then closing the door behind us. I wear a grin on my face, waiting for what he’s going to do next.

I take a few steps back, wanting to admire the view of his beautiful face, his crystal blue eyes, curved lips, chiseled jaw, all the way down to his perfect chest and the rest of his body hiding underneath that towel of his.

He grins amusingly and drops the towel.

I take in a sharp breath.

He notices this and crosses the bathroom, placing his hands on my cheek. “Your turn.” He says.

I untie the knot of my towel and let it fall to the ground. His gaze burns through me, taking in my body. All of me.

His hands trail from my cheeks down to my chest all the way to my hips. He wraps his hands around my waist and pulls me into the shower with him, the water pelting down on the both of us. I gasp when he closes the distance between us and kisses me rough and hard, one hand gripping the back of my head to guide me closer to him.

I slide my hands around his neck, one of them slowly making its way to touch his chest. He watches me with hardened eyes as my touch falters past his navel.

I pull him back to him and press kisses on his lips, then to his jaw then his shoulder. He groans at my touches, and I love the way he sounds.

He backs away from me slowly, and chuckles. “No.”

“What?!” I almost shriek. Did he just... refuse me?

“Just shower.” He says, playing a seductive smile.

I run my hands down his face, making sure to make him feel every brush of my skin against his. “Okay.” I say. If he’s going to play this game, then I’m in.

So in.

“Just shower.” I agree.

We didn’t end up showering.

At all.

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