Chapter twenty three
I think this is the most uncomfortable situation I have ever found myself in my entire existence.
All I wanted was to spend some quality time with her, but now I don’t think I will be having that anytime soon. All because of that stupid article about me.
I never thought those mindless affairs with many countless women would come back and make things complicated for me. It was what I wanted at that time and I never regretted except for now.
I am very apprehensive as to what little progress I have with her will go down to drain just because of my wild past.
Words just fail to form in my mouth, as she sat there beside me facing me, annoyance lacing her beautiful face. Squeezing her hand that was placed on the table,“Sweetheart I did date many women. Honestly how many I have been with that I don’t remember. But I just wanted you to know it was never exclusive, I never wanted it to be that way. I didn’t like commitment, as cliche as it may sound but things changed after I met you.”
As I waited for her response she glances down at our hands on the table and then looked up to meet my eyes, her emerald green eyes seemed darker with apprehension,” I understand I am being unreasonable by asking you how many women you slept with. But reading that article about you is making me feel so uneasy.”
Saying that she pulled her hand away from my grasped and tugged her hair nervously on her right ear,” You said yourself you never wanted commitment but that changed after you met me. How can you be so sure, what so different about us, about me? I am not like the women you dated. I am not some rich heiress or some stunning model. How do I know you won’t change your mind. You said you Love me but are you truly ready for commitment?”
Am I ready for commitment?
I have asked myself that question a lot since the moment I met her in Santorini up until I said I love her. And the answer was always the same.
Not only do I not want to, but I cannot move ahead with my life without her. I want her to be part of my life always. I love her so much.
Not liking the slight distance between us I pulled her and made her sit on my lap. Her eyes were cast down, fingers carelessly playing with the hem of her dress.
“Sweetheart, please look at me.” I pleaded.
Heaving a huge sigh she gazes at me. Her brows kneaded together, lips almost mirroring a scowl.
I hated seeing her this way. I dipped my head down and kissed her kneaded brows, hoping that would relax her a bit.
" I won’t be sitting here with you right now if I was not ready for commitment. Arabella, I don’t care whether you are an heiress or a model, you need not have to ever concern yourself with those thoughts. I love you for who you are. I am happy with you just as you told me last night that you are happy with me. Please trust me, I am not that man anymore who runs away from commitment.”
I paused waiting if she would say anything, but since she just kept quiet looking at me. I cupped her face with my hands, eyes locked into those alluring eyes. I almost whispered the words hoping against all odds she would believe me,” You are it for me, Arabella. Please believe me. Do you believe me?” I urged.
She nodded and circled her hands around my neck and mumbled,” I believe you, Dominic.”
I felt so relieved hearing her say that. I couldn’t help but smile.
Releasing her hold on my neck and placing her right palm on my chest,” I am sorry Dominic for making you go through this. But I just needed to clear my doubts. To be honest, I am really scared to commit, everything I had with Richard was a lie. I was being cheated on but I never came to know of it. I just trusted him. I am trying my best not to let those past events affect our relationship. But I just tend to worry about the possibilities of the negative what-ifs. I trust you and I really do like you so much and i..if I do fall in love I want it to be with you. So I’m sorry if me raising this issues has made you uncomfortable. I just had to do it.”
I just smiled at her heartfelt confession. I felt like my heart was about to explode hearing her say all those words. This woman always manages to blow me away. And I find myself falling deeper and deeper in love with her.
I am bound to her forever and if ever in life she wants to move away from me. It would be impossible for her because I would keep finding her and wrap her in my arms and love her so much. She would have no choice but to stay with me.
I didn’t answer her immediately. I cupped her face and attached my lips to hers and kissed her passionately.
Once releasing her,” Sweetheart you don’t have to ask sorry to me for anything. In fact, I am glad that you opened up and shared what was in your heart and what was troubling you. Now I know you are at least giving us a chance. And also that you are comfortable with me. I want you to always tell me anything that troubles you whether big or small.”
She smiled at me as I said that. I pulled her closer to me and hugged her, kissing the top of her head,” So we are fine right, Arabella.”
Are we fine?
Of course, we are. Especially after hearing his honest heartfelt confession.
“We are fine Dominic,” I said against his lips as I lend in to give a peck on his lips. He smiled and pulled me closer to him and kissed me passionately. His lips trail down on my jaw and went down further to kiss the hollow of my neck. I moaned softly as he bit softly into the flesh of my collarbone. My whole body was on fire, I ragged my fingers on his hair and pulled him to meet my lips. We kissed each other hungrily with great need.
Finally satisfied we released each other. He still had that smile on his face, his grey-blue eyes looking lovingly at me.
“I love you, sweetheart.”
I just smiled at him as he said that. Since I had no answer to that right now. I instead said,” I’ll miss you.”
“I’ll miss you too. Any chance of me changing your mind about coming with me to Sydney?” He asked eagerly.
“I am tempted but I have already made my plans to spend the weekend with the old man so. And besides, he’ll take out his shotgun and hunt you down if he knew you made me change my plans the last moment.” I laughed just thinking about my grandpa’s levied face. He hates it when people bail out on him, especially when he is all excited about it.
Dominic poorly faked a terrified expression,” In that case, I’ll step aside then. Don’t want to make a bad impression before I even meet him.”
“Yes, you do that.” I grinned, kissing his cheek.
He smiled and looked at me with an odd way.
“What. Why are you looking at me that way.” I asked raising an eyebrow.
“I was thinking if its okay with you. I...” He cleared his throat, his shoulder tensed, his hold on my waist grew a little tighter. There was a slight hesitation on his part to speak further.
“Tell me,” I encouraged. I was curious.
" I want to introduce you to my parents. I was thinking maybe once I’m back from Sydney, we can go to my parent’s place. I would love for them to get acquainted with the woman I love.”
Meet his parents??? Isn’t it too fast. Or what’s worst what if they don’t like me. I know how it goes on, on their side of the world. Having a first-hand experience with Richard’s mother Claire Spencer. The class system is deeply rooted in their social circle. I don’t think I can handle another snickering and cold treatment and the disgusted look just because I am not from their social circle.
But they might be different, not everyone is like Claire Spencer. My positive subconscious mind whispered to me. But I choose to ignore it and let the negativity drown me. So many negative thoughts were flying through my mind, and I felt that familiar pain in my heart that I hadn’t felt in a long time. I frowned at those memories.
“I pushed it too far right. I am sorry Sweetheart.” He pleaded.
“Huh,” I glanced at him. I was so caught up in my own thoughts that for a minute I totally zoned out.
“I said I have pushed too far right? Forget I came up with it okay. We can meet my parents only when you are comfortable.”
I wanted to share all my worried thoughts to him. But I hesitated instead I just nodded and hugged him. And whispered,” I’m sorry. I am just not ready to take that step as yet.”
“I understand.” He replied, his voice a little strained.
To lighten the mood. I lifted my head from his shoulder and tapped my right index finger on the tip of his nose,” You better behave in Sydney.”
He chuckled,” Yes ma’am. And what else. Anything else that worries you?” He asked twitching his lips to the right, suppressing a smile.
“Hmm let’s see,” I pretended to think hard by rubbing my chin.
To which he let out a rich laugh.
“That’s all for now. But I do hope in the future we don’t run into all the women from your past.” I raised an eyebrow.
“Will for my sake I hope not. Don’t want to face your wrath.” Faking a horrified expression. We both laughed as he did that. Gone was the apprehension I had earlier about his intentions about us, his past. And as for meeting his parents, I am not ready to open that chapter as yet. For now, I just want to enjoy myself being in the company of this wonderful man.
We were so engrossed with each other that we didn’t hear the bedroom door of my best friend open.
" Good morning Lovebirds,” said Jemi in a sing-song voice.
Both of us turned at once together towards Jemi. She just gave me a sly smile and walked towards the kitchen.
I felt a tight knot in my stomach out of embarrassment. I can feel my cheeks flush. I tried to wiggle out of Dominic’s lap. But he just tightens his grip on my waist which earned him a glare from me.
I whispered,” Release me this instant.”
He just smirked at me and diverted his attention towards the kitchen. Jemi was pouring herself a cup of black coffee from the coffeemaker.
“Good morning Jemi. How are you,” enquired Dominic. His voice casual and despite me sitting rigidly on his lap and glaring at him with a scowl on my face, he seemed not to be bothered by it.
Turning towards us and leaning on the kitchen counter.“I’m good. And I don’t have to ask you whether all is well with you. Judging by my best friend well rested on your lap, you seemed contended.” She smirked and gave me that sly smile again.
Dominic laughed and I just rolled my eyes and sensing his hands loosen on me I scoot down from his lap. He grunted in disapproval but I just ignored him and sat down on the chair beside him.
“Do you want me to make some pancakes for you. There is still some patter left.” I offered Jemi.
“Nah don’t trouble yourself.” Saying that she walked towards us and picked up my plate with the barely eaten pancakes and said pressing her lips together trying to suppress a smile.” I’ll just have yours if you don’t mind. As it is you won’t be needing it. I’ll leave you two lovebirds to get back to what you were doing.”
Ignoring my flushed cheek and the eye roll I gave her. She turned towards Dominic.” It was nice seeing you again Dominic.”
“Likewise Jemi.” Replied Dominic.
She smiled at him and walked towards her bedroom. Not before mouthing at me behind Dominic,” ENJOY.” This time I smiled shaking my head as she closed her bedroom door behind her.
“What was that about.” I scolded Dominic about his earlier antics in front of Jemi.
“What about.” He faked ignorance. He cut the pancake and lifted the fork with the pancake towards my lips,” here let’s share mine.”
“Thanks,” I muttered as I opened my mouth and let him feed me. Once we were done with breakfast, we went to my bedroom.
“What time is your flight,” he asked as he got off the phone with Arthur.
“It’s at 3 o’clock,” I said as I put on my contact lenses facing the mirror.
Walking towards me,” I’ll send someone to drop you off the airport. And is anyone picking you up from there?” He asked circling his hands around my waist hugging from the back.
Keeping back the contact lens solution in its place. I turned to face him,” thanks, babe. But I can always call a cab for that and as for anyone picking me up from there. Grandpa will be coming to pick me up.”
“Good. And no Arabella, I won’t allow you to call a cab. You should be happy I’m allowing you to fly commercial. Let me take care of you sweetheart. Don’t deny me this please.”
“I have been taking care of myself for a long time Dominic. And I happen to have a liking for public transport. You should try it sometimes.” I teased him and kiss him on his lips. He smiled as I said that,” what time is Arthur coming to pick you up.” No sooner I asked him that the doorbell rang.
“That’s him I guess.” Said Dominic glancing towards the door.
As I opened the door. It was Arthur, standing outside with his serious face.
“Good morning Miss Dickens.” he gave a small smile.
“Good morning Arthur. Please come in.” I opened the door wider to let him through.
No sooner I closed the door behind him. Dominic walked out of my bedroom with his overnight bag and his black suit bag.
“Here let me take it, Sir.” Arthur walked towards Dominic taking the bags from him.
“Thanks, Arthur. Wait for me in the car.” Dominic said pushing his hands into his pants pockets.
Arthur nodded saying a good day to me and walked outside.
As I closed the door behind him.
Dominic gave me a hug and kissed the side of my left temple,” I’m going to miss you so much.”
“I’ll miss you too,” I whispered. And lifted my lips to him. Without a second of hesitation, he kissed me passionately.
Releasing me,” I love you, sweetheart. Let me know if you need anything okay.”
I nodded and gave a peck on his lips.
“Now go you will be late.” I smiled.
“Too eager to send me away aren’t you.” He chuckled.
“Indeed I am. My secret lover would be here any moment.” I joked. But his facial expression darken.
Holding me tighter.” Don’t say that sweetheart. You know how jealous I get.”
“I was just joking babe.” I scoffed at his possessiveness.
“Joke or not. I don’t like the thought of you with another man.” He deadpan.
Rolling my eyes,” okay okay. Sorry.” I tiptoed circling my hands around his neck and kissed him.That relaxed him.
" love you. Call me when you land okay.” He said.
“I will. You have a safe trip.”
He muttered thanks against my lips and gave a last long lingering kiss and walked out towards the elevator.
I closed the door behind him and decided to go to Jemi’s room and catch up with her since she started dating Robin she hasn’t been around the house. We have lots to catch up on and I still have a lot of time before I get ready to leave for the airport.
Leaning on the headboard of the bed. Jemi listened attentively to all the information I was feeding her.
“So many things happened and you are updating me now only?” She accused.
“Oh please, missy. You were MIA for too long. Seemed like you have settled into Robin’s place.” I deadpan folding my arms against my chest.
“Right. Like you can’t text me or call me.” Giving me a duh look.
“That is there but I wanted to tell you all in person only.”
“So how do you feel about him being in love with you” She enquired smiling at me.
I smiled,” I feel overwhelmed and happy but at the same time scared too. Don’t you think it is too fast for him to say that.”
“I understand your apprehensions Ell. But you can’t help who you love and it’s not like there is some certain timing fixed for someone to fall in love. It is good that he is upfront about his feelings for you. And also willing to let you take your time.”
“Ya, I guess.”
“Take your time Ell, and stop worrying too much about the things that might not happen or will happen. Just go with the flow, take it slow.”
“I will Jemi. I don’t know about love, but I do like him so much.” I gushed.
“I am so happy to see you finally move on Ell. It is so nice to see you guys together.” She beamed.” And as for that guy, Nicholas just be wary of him. I’m not getting a good vibe from him. I’ll try to dig up about him from Robin. Wonder how he came to be acquainted with such a man.” She said those last words more to herself than me.
“I will Jemi. Hopefully, he will just leave me alone for good. By the way, how are things with you and Robin.”
“We are fine. We’ve decided to be exclusive.” She wiggled her eyebrows.
“Oh, yea. That’s so good. I hope you guys fall madly in love with each other.” I gushed excitedly clapping my hands softly.
Jemi sat up straight making a stop sign with her right palm towards me.“Woah, hold on there. What’s with the love talk. Don’t scare me, being exclusive to him is also a huge step for me.” She said dramatically.
“I know, but you know I always wanted that for you. And I will never stop telling you to give love a chance.” I finished sounding very determined.
“Will see.” She just muttered. And quickly changed the topic before I could lecture her more,” By the way, I met Linda the other day at a bar and she told me she knows someone who is willing to testify against that pig Stewart. Seemed she went through the same thing as Linda four years ago. And couldn’t do anything about it because that Pig threatened her and her family if they involve the law he would make their life miserable. Out of concern for their safety, her parents told her to keep quiet about it.”
“That’s really good news. But then again why is she willing to testify against Leonard Stewart after all these years.”
“Linda said she would explain us in detail at our meeting next week. She is brave to go up against him, it seems he has threatened her too many times. He is even well acquainted with the local mafia. That pervert.” Jemi called out rather disgustingly.
“Being Sued for sexual harassment is not a light matter. It would ruin his reputation and his company too. So he would do his best to put all out on the table. We have to work hard and stay two steps ahead of him.” I said thinking deeply.
“I agree. Can’t wait to let that pervert rot in the cell for good.” Said Jemi with passion.
Behind bars, he will be. Sexual harassment of women at workplaces has been on the rise around the world. And this must be at all angle be fought vehemently and put those responsible behind bars. Women are not some piece of meat, we are as much as part of this world as men are and have every right to go to work or just live without fear of being harassed or downgraded wherever we go. We have the right to seek equality wherever we go. It is not a question of whether we deserve it or not, it should just come naturally.
Finally after much-needed discussion and catching up. I parted with Jemi for the airport. Dominic’s other driver dropped me from the airport.
After traveling for one and half hour I reached my destination.
I called up Jemi and Dominic and informed them that I have landed while I wait to claim my bag.
Pushing the trolley I walked out and as I was scanning the crowd for my grandpa. A soft male voice called me to my left. As I turned to my left, a black-rimmed spectacle guy was holding a large bouquet of pink Peonies. My stomach turned in an uncomfortable way.
Gesturing the bouquet towards me,” Miss Arabella Dickens. I was told to deliver this to you.”
I knew who it was from before he even told me,” I’m not interested. Tell him I don’t want it.” I snapped and pushed the trolley forward.
“I am sorry. There will be consequences for me if I don’t deliver this to you.” Saying that he just put the flowers on top of my travel bag and quickly walked away before I could protest or even ask him how he recognized me.
Fuming I pushed the trolley and walked straight towards a trash can. I lifted the flowers and read the note he wrote. It was written as.
Enjoy your weekend Carino. Nicholas.R
Putting the flowers and the note in the trash can I walked out of the airport. My mood soured but it was quickly lifted as I saw that familiar jolly face of my grandpa. Standing tall and smiling widely.