Axel was once again back to his robotic-self at the office and Samantha was fine with that. She did not mix personal and professional life. The distance was necessary.
Hell, she was not okay with this. She almost pulled her hair at his change of demeanor. She thought about the future, what if they liked each other and got closer? Will he act the same or will he act differently?
Axel was busy the entire day and didn’t have lunch. Though she felt bad, she let him be. He was just getting into another relationship and she gave him some space to work out things on his own.
As the new General Manager of the company, she had an office space of her own, which was next to Axel’s and comfortable. Samantha loved the view of the New York City through the huge windows. From here, she could watch the beautiful skyscrapers kissing the clouds.
If one thing she loved about New York, it was always busy. It lived up to the famous quote, the city that never sleeps. The streets were always busy with people. She could just pass the time by looking at them.
She had finished her lunch and was admiring the view of the city when Axel entered her office with a knock.
“Hi,” she greeted with a professional smile.
“Hey, I hope you liked your new office,” he smiled, running a hand through his short hair.
“Yes. It’s perfect, thank you.”
“Um… I was wondering if you had a dress to wear tonight. It slipped my mind,” he said as he searched his wallet for his card. “Here, take this. Buy something you are comfortable with,” he offered.
“Oh, no. That won’t be necessary. I have enough dresses to choose from.”
“Oh… Are you sure, you don’t want a new one?” He asked. Alicia would’ve jumped at the opportunity. Not that it mattered now.
“Okay then. When do you want me to pick you up?”
“The party starts at eight p.m. I’ll be ready by seven.”
“All right then. You can leave early today so you will have enough time to get ready. Message me your address.”
“Axel, it will be better if I come to your home and then we can go together to the party. My dresses are in my parent’s home and ah…” She bit her lip wondering how to tell him. If he came home, then her family would put him through their awful interrogation as they call it, to see if he was the right man for her.
“Oh, I get it.”
Samantha felt alarmed when his expression fell. “No, I didn’t mean it that way. My family is protective of me, and they kind of know you. I don’t want to put you through their drilling session this early,” she explained.
“Understandable.” Axel smiled again. She was right, he asked her out today and the party will be their first official outing as a couple. Meeting her parents was too early.
He opened his mouth to ask her something when a call from a new client distracted him. Samantha smiled when he left her office with an apologetic smile. He never did that before, he was changing. She could feel that.
The evening was still young when Eric stopped his car in front of Axel’s driveway. When she had told about the party tonight, Amelia and Sasha insisted on dressing her up considering it was the first time she was going out with Axel. When she reached home, the girls had brought out her entire closet. For the next two hours, she changed from one dress to the other while the girls decided which one looked better.
Her mother rejected the dresses that showed too much skin or cleavage. At last, they settled on a burgundy gown, with a decent neckline which showed no cleavage. The Mermaid style evening dress was off-shoulder with long lace sleeves, engraved with beaded applique giving it a rich look.
Her dad bought that gown for her last birthday and she never wore it because it accentuated her broad hips. Though she felt conscious, she decided that it was time for her to face her insecurities.
Samantha wondered how Axel would react to seeing her in a dress, a small part of her worried that he might rebuke her.
“Axel is a goner. He would never look away once he set his eyes on you today,” Amelia chirped, making Samantha blush. They claimed she looked stunning, and she was convinced by their sincere expressions.
Eric chuckled beside her as he shook her, bringing her out of her thoughts. “Come one, sis. You look gorgeous. Have fun,” he encouraged.
Samantha gave him a small smile. He offered to drive her to Axel’s place when he discovered that she was heading for a party. She was glad to have a family that supported her in every aspect. She didn’t know what she would have done without them. At times, she felt she too depended on them. But, she didn’t care.
Taking a deep breath, she got out of the car and waited until Eric drove off before turning towards the door. Now she stood outside the door, her knees trembled and she cursed herself for being so nervous. Finally, when she rang the doorbell, it opened wide, revealing a beaming Sara.
Samantha swore that she never saw the woman this happy before. Henry invited her with a huge grin as he took in her appearance. The old couple seemed to communicate between themselves using their eyes and Samantha could tell they were happy for their son.
Samantha’s breath caught in her throat when Axel came down from his room wearing a black tuxedo. It was as if his handsomeness just increased a few folds.
Axel halted when he noticed Samantha. He forgot to breathe momentarily. She looked breathtaking in her mermaid evening gown. The burgundy color complimented her skin tone. When their eyes locked on each other, the background faded, leaving the two in a different world.
A distant clearing of the throat broke them from their trance and Samantha blushed, realizing that she was shamelessly checking out Axel in front of his parents. Henry ushered the couple out of the door and soon they were in Axel’s car, driving towards the Four Seasons.
The party hall was crowded by the time Axel and Samantha got there. A soft music played in the background as the business magnets chatted with each other with beverages in hands. Axel spotted Jenson and his wife Hanshia with some business associates. Jenson was smiling at something the other men said. Axel could already smell the new deals being finalized as the men shook their hands.
Jenson had a knack for business and he was glad he had a partner like him. Over the years, Axel had learned a lot of things from Jenson. He’d been patient with Axel in the early years. Samantha took Axel’s right elbow out of habit as they ambled their way towards Jenson’s group. She always had the habit of walking hand in hand with her siblings or parents when she went out. Axel didn’t seem to mind as he placed his left hand on top of hers and smiled down at her.
The small yet huge change in their behavior didn’t go unnoticed by Jenson. He had years of experience and he knew it was only a matter of time before Axel acted on his impulse. He has always noticed the way Axel’s eyes softened at the sight of Samantha and Axel was becoming more talkative during the meetings after her arrival. She was bringing the real Axel out and he was changing for good.
“Congratulations, Axel. I thought it would take you forever to ask Ms. Sinclair out.” Jenson grinned and clapped on Axel’s shoulder.
Axel looked confused when Jenson mentioned Samantha’s surname. He smiled in response as he realized he never even asked for her last name. He knew nothing about her. Axel knew something about her considering he’d been working with her for a year now, but for her personal life, he knew little.
Two hours later, they still met and greeted the businessmen around. Axel was talking to them animatedly as Samantha clung to his arms like a third wheel.
She was bored out of her mind with the usual introductions and all the business talk. It was a Friday night, and she should lounge on her comfortable couch having a movie marathon while eating all sorts’ junkies to her heart’s content.
Her eyes glanced at the wall clock above the door with a longing. She couldn’t wait to get out this place. The sooner the better. Her six-inch heel was hurting her toes, and she ached to just remove them and place her foot on the cold marble floor.
Excusing herself from the men, she found a quiet table in the corner and went to sit down on the chair. She sighed in relief and her eyes almost rolled back in her head when she removed her wretched party heels and placed her foot on the floor, just the way she wanted.
The dress was suffocating her as the time passed, and she couldn’t wait to get out of them. She took a cup of orange juice from the passing waiter and sipped it. The food didn’t seem to please her today. Samantha couldn’t concentrate on food with the entire crowd around. She preferred to eat in a calm environment.
“I see you, nailed one of the most wanted and mysterious bachelors of the town.” A venomous tone brought Samantha out of her reverie.
She turned around to see a breathtakingly gorgeous yet poisonous Kenley standing behind her. Kenley Brynn was the gossip queen among the socialites, and she was there in every party held in New York. Rumors have it she also leaked the gossips to media to earn a few extra bucks.
Samantha ignored her and continued to sip the drink. She was not a fool to engage herself with a stray bitch. She knew it was wrong for her to disrespect a fellow woman like that. However, women like Kenley held no respect in Samantha’s world.
That woman would do anything for money and she was eyeing Axel like a bag of meat from the moment they entered the party. She was a fool if she thought Samantha didn’t know her or notice the way she ogled her date. Eric had said enough tales of this woman so she knew well to steer clear of her.
“I wonder what was that he saw in you enough to fall for you. I know about beautiful women who tried and failed. Oh, I mean it literally,” Kenley baited.
Samantha kept her mouth shut controlling the burning rage slowly building. What was with the people and their attitude? Should there be always one?
“Playing the silent game, are we?” Kenley chuckled, not giving up. “I know your kind well Samantha. You crawl your way up the social ladder by charming, rich men like Axel.” Kenley spat venomously as she twirled the dark amber liquid in her glass.
So the bitch didn’t know who she was, better.
“Of all women, you were the only one he kept for over a year and it makes me wonder, what is so special about you? Where did you borrow that dress, anyway?” Kenley had stepped towards Samantha and took the liberty to probe at her clothes. “Holy fuck! That’s worth over two grand,” she exclaimed.
“Oh, my! That’s an antique solitaire diamond necklace. Where did you get it?” Kenley’s eyes were bulging out of her socket. Not everyone could afford the set Samantha sported. She wondered if Axel was that rich.
Samantha smirked and turned to face her. “I am way beyond your league, Kenley. Don’t poke your nose around and I won’t feel sorry to break it.”
“Oh, if you are wondering about my dress or jewelry, that’s none of your concern. I don’t owe you an explanation. So, if you may excuse, I need to get to my date.”
Kenley stood dumbfounded at Samantha’s response. She didn’t expect the innocent-looking girl to retort. Not in that way. Kenley stared holes on Samantha’s back. Oh, I will make you pay bitch, she sneered.
Though he was conversing with men, Axel could feel Samantha’s boredom, and he kept an eye on her the entire time. He perked up at the sight of the infamous Kenley and his insides churned wanting to have a go at the woman.
When Samantha didn’t react to whatever Kenley said he was curious to see how it unfolded. In the end, he almost laughed out loud to see Kenley stood there with her mouth ajar as a smirking Samantha made her way towards him sporting a victorious grin.
“What was that all about?” He asked when she got closer.
“Oh, it’s nothing. She wanted to know how I succeeded in my attempt to make you fall for me.” Samantha shrugged and placed her hands on his arms, noticing how tense, and his jaws were, his soft expression changed deadlier as he glared daggers at the woman over her shoulders.
“I’m done, Sam. By the looks of it, you didn’t enjoy this either,” he said taking her hand in his.
Samantha sighed in content at the thought of home. “Finally,” she mumbled, following his league. They shared a quick goodbye to Jenson and exited the hotel.