Samantha processed the information and everything seemed to make more sense now. “How can you even say that?” She still asked. Axel never gave her any hint he liked her. There were a few moments between them, but they were all due to the circumstances.
“We saw your photos. You and him eating lunch in a fine restaurant, somewhere downtown and you both were laughing the entire time,” Sasha waved her iPad before her.
“What’s this?” Samantha wondered as she browsed through the gossip published on an online site. The writer of the news seemed to gush how cute the couple looked together and wondered who the woman, who tamed the arrogant billionaire was.
“We went to grab lunch before meeting our business partner, Jenson. His office was just a block away from the restaurant,” she explained.
“It doesn’t look that way though,” Amelia quipped as the others snickered in agreement.
Narmadha turned to look at her husband with a serious expression. “So, is this the same boy you told me about, darling?”
“Yes. He is also her boss,” Gregory answered with a coy smile.
“Do you think I will allow you to work with someone else without doing proper background checks? The boy has a bad past, but it was during his school days and he has come a long way from then.”
“You know about his past?”
Gregory glanced at Narmadha as if asking her suggestion.
“Tell her. If she likes him, then she needs to know,” Narmadha urged.
Samantha watched as her father sigh and compose himself. One thing about her family was, they always got each other’s back and there were no secrets between them.
“Axel was in love with a girl named Alicia McKenna during his school days. That girl was using him and when they broke up, he tried to commit suicide.”
Samantha gasped as shock coated her features. Though she kind of assumed that a girl was a reason behind his grumpiness, she realized that she didn’t know how painful his past was.
“He took time before he even talked to his parents. His maternal grandfather is a billionaire and Axel started his business using money his grandfather has given him.”
“So that was why he doesn’t date,” Samantha concluded.
Her father nodded in response.
“You know we are not against love, Samantha. If you like him, then we would support you. But be careful because men like him are scared of a commitment and I don’t want my daughter to end up with a broken heart,” Narmadha advised.
“Mom, he is my boss. That’s all. There is nothing between us.”
“Yet,” her younger brother Ryan added with a wink and Sasha nodded.
“Enough making fun Ryan. Don’t plant any ideas in your sister’s mind if she doesn’t have them already,” Narmadha scolded, shutting everyone off.
Samantha thanked her mother for the timely save. She relaxed and concentrated on the desserts in front of her, contemplating if she wanted to go for a second round.
After dinner, she stayed as she didn’t feel like moving her ass. Especially, now she was loaded with food.
She found it hard to even walk.
Reaching her room, she stripped out of her formal attire and changed into a pair of comfortable pajamas–falling into a sleep filled with dreams when her head hit the pillow.
“Bye, dad!” Samantha chirped as she exited her dad’s car.
When she didn’t see an enthusiastic Sara on the driveway, she went in.
“Sara?” She called.
“In here!” Axel’s voice came from the kitchen.
Samantha composed herself and smoothed her knee-length skirt which her sister made her wear before walking towards the kitchen. As expected, once again, Axel greeted her. Shirtless and displaying his perfect torso. He sure did it on.
Why? Does he like her? She trusted her parent’s judgment. Her father was good in judging men.
She swallowed as she greeted him. “Good morning, sir.”
“I told you yesterday, it’s Axel.” He turned, fixing his blue eyes on hers.
“Ah, okay. Where is Sara?” She asked, looking around. It was also an excuse to not look at him.
“She went for a walk with my dad. Sit down, I’ve made us some breakfast.”
“Oh, I already ate breakfast. At my parent’s place,” she offered as if having a breakfast bar in the morning count as breakfast. She woke up late and grabbed a granola on her way out.
Axel tilted his head, “Why do I feel like you are denying because you don’t want to test how my cooking is?”
“Ah... No. Nothing like that.”
“Sit, Samantha. We both know you love food.” He said, pushing a plate filled with mouth-watering food before her.
“I made strawberry pancakes, hash browns and scrambled eggs sunny side up,” he added.
How did he know she liked it? Wait, she remembered talking to Sara on her first day while eating breakfast here. So, he not only has listened, but he also prepared it for her.
Without further argument she sat down and dug in, she didn’t miss to notice the victory grin playing on his lips. He took his time not only eating the food, but also flaunted his toned body while washing the dishes.
Samantha didn’t avert her gaze this time. He was a handsome piece of work and when he flaunted like that, she too got a good pair of eyes.
His actions only proved that her father’s words were true. However, the question was does she like him that way? Samantha didn’t know the answer yet, but she knew she cared for him. She wanted to see him laugh, and she liked talking to him. She wouldn’t mind if he wanted to take it to a serious level. He had a clean record on women and that was something she held on. He would never cheat on her back if they got involved. I’d be a fool to turn him down.
Samantha grinned. She had to keep quiet for a while, just look for the signs and she would act only and only if he likes her.
Until then she will act dumb.
Axel put the dishes aside after finishing his breakfast and went out of the kitchen, much to her dismay. She finished her breakfast and washed the plate when he came back into the kitchen, still shirtless.
“Belated birthday wishes, Sam.” His husky voice had her body shiver. “Sorry, I didn’t get you a present yesterday.”
Well, that’s a first.
“Thank you,” she whispered and their fingers brushed when she took the box from his hand, but he did not pull back.
“Open it,” he suggested.
He was too close and his smooth chest was distracting. The light brown hair on his chest seemed to glisten in the sunlight that streamed through the kitchen window. It was harder to concentrate than she thought.
Samantha willed her mind to concentrate and opened the wrapper slowly, wondering what was inside. Her fingers trembled when she held the square-shaped jewelry box in her hand. Axel likes you, her dad’s voice rang in her mind. Her eyes met his expectant ones before opening the lid to show a pair of beautiful earrings. “They are beautiful,” she whispered in awe.
The platinum earrings had a floral stone on top with many thin chains of various sizes ending with a white crystal in the shape of raindrops.
“I saw this on the display and couldn’t help but think about you. You often opt out for white color clothes and thought it would look good on you,” he admitted, a small smile dancing on his lips the entire time.
Samantha looked up to see he was closer to her than before, only a breath apart and the heat radiated from his bare skin heated her up. She was sure her face was burning red and she could do nothing at the moment.
Axel looked transfixed at her beauty unable to avert his eyes. She wore a dark red formal skirt, which hugged her round hip and a tight fitting blouse highlighting her round breasts.
She bit her lower lip unsure of her actions as he closed the distance between them further, his hand raising up caressing the faint blush that has formed on her cheek. Her body heated further in that simple gesture, her response to his touch scaring her to no extent.
Was he going to kiss her?
Axel swallowed, he wanted nothing more than to close the distance and taste that plump lips of hers. Her intoxicating cologne drew him in. However, the uncertainty in her eyes stopped him. He never felt this way about a woman in a long time.
Controlling his emotions he reached for her pearl stud, removing it from her ears. He took his time, allowing his touch to linger longer than it required. His fingers traced the skin behind her ears, making her shiver and close her eyes. He couldn’t kiss her. Not now.
He took the new earring from the box and put it in her ears, securing the screw as he battled his need to kiss her. He repeated the same process in her other ear. “You look beautiful,” he whispered, his breath fanning her cheeks.
Samantha couldn’t believe what she heard. He called her beautiful. She opened her eyes, his intense gaze seemed to bore down her soul and this time she couldn’t avert her eyes. His gaze darkened as he released her hair from the band, she used to secure it in a ponytail.
“I like it open,” he whispered again, inhaling her scent that drove him insane.
Axel felt confused by his actions. However, he knew he had overstepped the boundaries and there was no going back now. He thought about her the entire night before concluding. He liked her and believed the life had presented him an opportunity to find love again.
When he told his parents this morning, they encouraged him to go for it. He was not planning to get this close to her. He was thinking of several ways to talk to her and ask her out. However, when he saw her in her new attire, his control snapped and before he knew he was caressing her cheek.
“I like you, Samantha,” Axel revealed and watched as her eyes widening for a moment. “My past made me stay away from women. Hell, I couldn’t even bear to stay within half-a-mile radius of any women, until you. You changed it for me. I found that I am comfortable with you.”
“When I beat that bastard for talking ill of you, I realized that you mattered to me. That, I cared for you. I know it was not right for me to approach you like this, but I couldn’t help my actions towards you.”
“No, let me talk.” He stopped her when she tried to speak. “I am having these indecent thoughts about you recently and I can’t seem to control them. Yesterday, I didn’t realize I was running my hands through your hair until it was late. Now, I can’t seem to keep my hands off you.”
“Finally, after all these years I feel like I have a chance for happiness in my life. That, I may find love again. I know I sound selfish, but would you consider my proposal? It’s okay if you don’t like me. I-I will stay away. I-I,” Axel swallowed, unable to continue, his eyes radiated pain.
Here goes her plan to act dumb. She thought he would keep playing this game for a while. Instead, he stopped beating around the bush and confessed that he liked her. What was she supposed to tell him?
She was touched by his confession, but did she like him? She was just getting used to his other side. But he differed from the other men who had pursued her before. She knew him for over a year now and he was always honest with his opinions.
Was it worth it? What’s wrong with trying it?
The forlorn expression forming on his face froze her. Does he think she would reject him?
Just then she remembered what her father said to her about his past. Though he looked so tough on the outside, he was so sensitive he couldn’t handle the breakup with his girlfriend. He took several years to even think of a woman that way.
“I like you too,” she blurted out and when she realized what she said it was too late.
Axel grinned from ear to ear and backed off from her. “That’s... That’s great. I’ll go change before I do something foolish.”
He bounced back to the stairs and Samantha watched him go.
A smile tugged at the corner of her lips, remembering what her parents said. She pulled her phone out and typed a message to her mother. Her mother’s response came almost immediately.
I am happy for you. Always keep your guards up.
Samantha knew what that meant. Her mother didn’t want her to lose her heart to him. Anyhow, she wanted to see if he was worth it and she would take the chance.