Once we reached Robin’s art studio, which was buzzing with people, we were greeted by Robin and Jemi, I hugged my friend and whispered ,” looking good together,” and we both giggled, getting a confused look from our man. Robin thanked us for coming and since they were both busy entertaining other guest, I told them we will catch up with them once we were done inspecting all the paintings.
The theme of Robin’s exhibition was about the street life he encountered from his extensive year long travel around the world. I learned from Jemi that Robin was actually from a very wealthy family, but he was not interested in the family business and lucky for him his older brother was taking care of the family company, the Cooper Enterprise a real estate company. Giving him full him freedom to pursue his dream of being a painter.
I was so impressed by his work and even Dominic was too. In fact he told me, three paintings caught his interest and would be purchasing them, and told me to choose too if I want any, but told him I am fine just admiring it here in the studio. We were in our last painting when his phone rang.
Checking his phone ,” babe I am sorry, I have to take this call, it’s my Executive Engineer calling me from Kratos, will you be okay, I’ll just be back.”
“Go ahead Dominic, I’ll be fine.” I assured him.
" okay,” Kissing my left temple he walked out to take the call.
The last painting was quite intriguing to me, it was a man standing straight in attention position, with people passing by to and fro behind him in a hazy format. His face divided into two expressions, the left side had a happy expression and the right side had a sad expression and not only that his whole body was divided into two colors, the left side was all colorful with that happy expression on the left side of his face and the right was painted all black with that sad expression on the right side of his face. He was holding a sign stock that read “which expression wants to tell your life story.” This was from Moscow.
“Pretty intriguing huh?” commented a strong male voice beside me on the left.
“Yes,” Came my prompt reply but I didn’t bother to look beside me. I was still so caught up with the painting.
Sensing that he was not talking about the painting, I turned to face him. I knew what he said, I had taken Spanish in high school and I still remember it. He was tall, broad-shouldered with a mop of dark hair and heavy solemn brows. He was wearing an expensive well fitted dark suit, he was a good looking man.
Before I could excuse myself from him and find Dominic, he extended his right hand towards me,” may I know your name, mi senora?” He smiled. But something about his smile and his gaze on me gave me chills.
“Fancy seeing you here Nicholas,” Came Dominic’s answer from behind making me feel relieved and relaxed. He circled his hand around my waist and pulled me closer towards him possessively.
“I should say the same to you, Dominic,“he replied raising his left brow and diverted his attention on me, staring at me intensely . And I could literally feel Dominic’s hand tighten around my waist.
“Mi senora, you didn’t tell me your name,” he said, ignoring Dominic’s presence and staring at me with his intense dark eyes, making me feel uncomfortable.
“Well Nicholas, why so interested in knowing my girlfriend’s name,” Dominic’s tone was so cold and distanced, I shivered.
“Since when did you do girlfriend?” Came Nicholas’ question laced in a mocking tone.
“Since the moment I laid my eyes on this beautiful woman beside me,” returned Dominic with so much pride in his voice, but I was not at all pleased because clearly this was a male egocentric conversation and they were exchanging words as if I was not present there. And I have a strong feeling they were not friends.
“Yes indeed she is beautiful,” his dark eyes fixed on me.
I felt very uncomfortable, so I decided to end this unpleasant episode,” Dominic shall we leave?“, I asked glancing up at him.
“Of course sweetheart,” he smiled down at me and then turned to face Nicholas,” I’ll see you around Nicholas.” Dominic returned flatly.
“Sure,” came his swift reply but his eyes were fixed on me.
Dominic lead me towards where Jemi and Robin were, we congratulated Robin on his wonderful work and Dominic paid for his paintings as well, which was to be delivered tomorrow to his pent house. Somehow during all the conversations, I noticed the change in Dominic’s mood, his facial expressions seemed very hard and his smiles were forced and it was bothering me so much. I offered Jemi and Robin to join us for dinner , but they told me they had plans already so we said our goodbyes and we were on our way home.
The car ride home was so uncomfortable, the silence in the car was just getting so detestable for my liking, so to break the silence, I glanced at Dominic warily,” Robin is a brilliant artist huh?”
“Yes,” that’s all he replied and we were back to being in the silent atmosphere again. He just continued to look straight and drove on and feeling helpless I looked out the window forcing to engage myself in the passing lifeless concrete buildings.
Once we let ourselves inside the house, I took out my shoes and left it near the door. He was still silent and I do not have a clue why he was acting that way. He completely shut me out, he appeared detached and I really din’t know how to approach him, this was a side of him I am seeing for the first time.
Going to the kitchen I put on my apron to start cooking, tonight for dinner I decided to prepare sea food Gumbo. After putting all the ingredients in the pot which I had already prepared in advance, I put the pot on the burning stove and turned to face him. He was still brooding, seating on the sofa mindlessly checking his phone. Okay I thought, enough is enough, I walked towards him and sat beside him on the sofa and mastered the courage to ask him.
“Dominic is everything alright?”
“Yes sweetheart. Why, something is wrong?” He returned flatly.
" No , I mean, why are you acting all cold and moody. Did something happened in Kratos?” I asked.
He heaved a deep sigh,” Arabella why did you talk to Nicholas?” His tone reaching the tip of coldness.
" Huh! what are you talking about Dominic, I did not talk to him, he was the one who approached me,” I kneaded my brows frowning. Now I know the reason for his sudden change of mood, I thought.
“Well I don’t like you talking to him or any other man for that matter,” he retorted.
I was taken aback by this sudden burst of anger from him and his silly revelations. ” I am not a child Dominic, you cannot tell me with whom I can and cannot talk.”
Since he just sat there in silence staring at me with blank expression, I continued with my ranting,” And besides for your kind information, I didn’t talked to him, I ignored him and I was going to come looking for you. And as for me not talking to any man, well guess what, what if I had a male client, do you want me to decline my help towards him? because you don’t like me talking to another man?” I lashed out eyeing him squarely.
“Well if he is a client then that’s fine but if he shows any interest towards you, I will destroy him,” He said coldly, his icy tone which he uses when something displeases him, the tone which I am beginning to dislike so much.
“Unbelievable! you know what I am not having this conversation anymore,” I was appalled by his unreasonable statement. I stood up to get away from him, but he pulled me down and wrapped his arms around my waist.
" Let me go Dominic, right now I am not liking you at all,” I deadpan trying my best to break free from his grip, but he was too strong for me.
“I am sorry baby,” he apologized his voice softening.
“Don’t baby me Dominic, first you shut me out without any explanations and now you are accusing me of talking to Nicholas and demanding that I should not talk to any man. That shows you don’t trust me at all.” I threw my words at him without holding back. I was so upset.
" Of course I trust you Arabella, it’s the guys I don’t trust. I don’t know why I acted that way, I’m never like this, all these things are so new to me. When it comes to you I have this mad possessive flame burning inside me. I am sorry please forgive me?” he turned me to face him and cupped my face with his hands.
I looked away,” I don’t know Dominic.”
" I’ll try my best to be better for you okay, I am sorry, please smile for me,” he pleaded and started kissing me all over my face and lips and saying sorry in between.
I couldn’t help but smile at his antics,” okay fine I forgive you, you can stop kissing me now.”
“Like hell I would,” he kissed me on my lips devouring every inch of my mouth.
Stopping the kiss by pushing his chest lightly with my hands,” next time if something is bothering you, I want you to open up and talk to me okay and not shut me out like you did earlier.”
“I will sweetheart and I am sorry once again,” He lean towards me and gave a peck on my lips.
" If we don’t communicate openly, our relationship will never work, it will just fall apart.” I returned placing my palm on his cheek and caressing it with my thumb.
" Relationship? Oh so we are in a relationship huh?” he teased. I glared at him and he quickly took my palm from his face and kissed it,” I will do my best sweetheart, I promise.”
“Thank you. Oh! I almost forgot, let me go and check whether the Gumbo is done.” I stood up and walked towards the stove.
“Gumbo? I love it, its one of my favorite dish,” he stated following behind me and wrapped his hands around my waist hugging me from behind as I stir the Gumbo, which was already done so I put off the stove.
“Good thing I prepared it then, shall we eat?” I asked.
“Sure,” he said kissing my right cheek.
We ate the Gumbo with the simple French bread I baked this morning and the bottle of wine which Dominic brought. It was a perfect combination, the uneasy atmosphere between us was no longer there, we shared a pleasant conversation and enjoyed the meal.
Once the dinner was done, I suggested Dominic we go for a stroll to the park which was just ten minutes away from my place, to which he agreed. We were just strolling by the park hand in hand and I noticed a band setting up their music equipment, it was a usual thing here at the park on Sundays. I dragged Dominic towards the musicians, there were people already gathered some standing, some sitting. The male vocalist of the band started singing the song, " I don’t want to miss a thing”, by Aerosmith.
I could stay awake just to hear you breathing
Watch you smile while you are sleeping
While you’re far away dreaming
I could spend my life in this sweet surrender
I could stay lost in this moment forever
Every moment spent with you is a moment I treasure .......
“Dance with me.” He asked.
" What? no one is dancing, it will be awkward Dominic.” I let out a soft laugh looking around us.
" I don’t care,” he said and pulled me towards him, putting my hands around his neck and circled his hands around my waist, pulling me closer and started moving slowly with the music and despite my hesitation, I found my self following his lead.
Glancing up at him and smiling,” ever the crazy man huh.”
" Only for you Arabella,” He smiled holding my gaze.
I noticed some couples have started dancing too.
“I had a good time today Dominic, I even enjoyed our little fight especially your mad raging jealousy.” I laughed.
" You don’t say,“he smiled dipping his head down and gave me a searing kiss. The world suddenly stopped around us, it was just us and the music.
“I love you Arabella,” He whispered resting his forehead on mine.
My heart skipped a beat and it started beating wildly. This was so unexpected.
“wha....what?” I stuttered pushing myself away from him completely taken aback from this confession, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
He circled his hands around my waist, bringing me closer to him,” I do. I am in love with you sweetheart. I know you might think it is too early or doubt it. But I mean what I say, I love you, I’M in love with you and that is it. I have no doubt about it.” Grey-blue eyes bored into me reflecting so much love and truth, that try as much as I want to be cynical and doubt his intentions. I will never find falseness in his confessions; never.
Although this is such a turning point in our relationship and it was the right time to say something back but I seemed to have gone numb, that I stood there speechless just staring at him. I know I have strong feelings for him, but was it love? I don’t know. I once said that word to the wrong person and it was crumbled like a piece of unwanted paper. So I don’t want to rush into it, I want to take my time, learn to trust him fully and then allow my self to fall in love with him without any reservations.
“Come on sweetheart please say something. You are making me nervous by your silence.” He let out a nervous laugh.
“I don’t know what to say Dominic. I admit I do have strong feelings for you, but.” I paused unable to form the right words. Words that would make him understand that even if I can’t say the things he wanted to hear now, it doesn’t mean I don’t want him in my life or me being part of his life. I just needed time, a lot of time to be honest.
As if he understood what was on my mind he nodded in understanding giving me a reassuring smile, “Its okay sweetheart, take your time, like I said we will be taking this at your pace. I just wanted to let you know how I feel that’s all. For now my love for you is enough for both of us.” He sealed his words by kissing me passionately. If at all there were ways in convincing people that they meant every word they say, I think this kiss will be it.
We seemed to have forgotten that we were in public as none of us made a move in breaking the kiss. Only the teasing and whistling by by-passers made us break our kiss embarrassed we started laughing me burying my face on his chest as he hugged me.
I gazed at the man before me, the person whom I tried to avoid so much and I even ran away from him. But every time I tried pushing him away, he fought that much harder for me, bending his rules for me, showering his full attention towards me, treating me like I am the most precious jewel in the world. And now he declares his LOVE for me, the toe curling, heart flattering, the eight letter word, without expecting me to say it back to him, telling me his love for me is enough for both of us, I hope it is. Because despite my reservations and my insecurities I want to be Irrevocably His.