Chapter thirty five
I started tapping my feet impatiently as the elevator took us to his office. I didn’t acknowledge his presence. My gaze fixed on the steel door, it suddenly held an in-depth fascination.
And he. He was leaning near the door arms folded casually against his chest looking at me intensely with a smirk on his face. He was enjoying my irritated mood.
“Stop looking at me.” I snapped and pursed my lips tight to show my displeasure. I don’t get this man, why is he acting so cool in spite of the unsettling situation between us. And seriously why are we here again?
“I can’t. I love looking at you. In fact.” He pauses and pulls himself away from the wall and took a step closer to me making me take a step back.
“Stay there don’t come near me. Remember the reason we are in this situation.” I glared at him. My reminder of his infidelity crisp and sharp.
Unaffected by my words he keeps coming nearer to me and I hit the wall. He rests his palms on both sides caging me. I look away folding my arms against my chest.
He leans in and whispers,” Where was I. Hm,” He presses his lips gently on my ear, hot air fans my ear and goosebumps raising my flesh,” I love to look at you and I will do so standing very close to you like this.” Smooth velvet voice draws out his wants trying to break my resolve.
“You are such an infuriating man. Don’t confuse me, Dominic.” My voice low as I look down. I was feeling agitated.
“I am not confusing you, sweetheart. I am just clearing your doubts.” He leans and kisses my forehead and for once I stop fighting and close my eyes indulging in his touch and basking in the possibility that I jumped to conclusions too fast.
But the image of his lips stained with her lipstick flashes on my mind bringing me back to the reality and I push him away from me stepping aside.
“Don’t hurt me,” I paused looking deeply into his eyes and letting out a quick halting breath,” Don’t keep me in this illusion that I am all that you seek,” I quickly tore my gaze away from his. There was a piercing pain in my heart and I felt a wetness trailing down my cheek which I quickly brushed it off with the tip of my fingers.
He lets out a frustrated sigh and turns abruptly pressing the button to stop the elevator. Facing me he pulls me into his arms holding me tight,” Please don’t cry because of me.” He sounded wounded as he paused and kissed the top of my head,” I assure you in few minutes you will come to know it was just a misunderstanding and nothing else. It is not an illusion sweetheart. It is reality and the reality is you are all I seek and will seek.” His voice calm and determined.
My heart wants to give in and wait for his explanations but my mind had so many questions and I won’t stop it I want to lash out at him,” Why did you kiss her. Who is she to you?” Glassy eyes glanced up to meet his stormy grey-blue eyes. I can’t help the pettiness and the jealousy coming out of my mouth.
There was a short heavy silence between us. He stares at me with pain and then closes his eyes and looks up without breathing. Was it out of guilt?
“You did kiss her right? Would you have kept me in the dark about it?” I lashed out and he just looks on at me without a single word. Which was not helping at all, his silence was pushing me to break my resolve and break down into an endless amount of tears.
Because as much as I had denied my self and not to mention the countless amount of fear and insecurities I have, I was in love with him. There I admit it. I really don’t know how or when it happened but I love him and it is eating me from the inside that this time again I might have been played.
I don’t want to raise my hope and think I have misunderstood only to let my hopes be crushed. I want to protect my heart, my dignity.
“I am not a thing that you men like to toy with. I have feelings too.” I pointed a finger at my chest swallowing the lump in my throat,” If you can’t be true to me just say it. You are not obligated to stay in this relationship just because you said you love me. Just say it and I’ll walk away.”
Grey-Blue eyes stare at me with hurt,“I am not a perfect man Arabella, I have hurt people just for the sake of revenge. Heck, sometimes I wonder how did I get so lucky to have you in my life. You may walk away but I’ll always be behind you so that when you turn to look back you will always find me. That is how much I love you.” He tries to smile but it doesn’t reach his eyes. There is a melancholy sadness in his words which tightens my chest.
He pulls away from me and walks near the door and pushes the button of the elevator. He stays that way without facing me, all I see is his back and the movement of his hand as he unties his necktie and shoves it in his blazer pocket only to rise again which I assume was to unbutton the top buttons of his white shirt.
Roughly about five minutes later the elevator halts and the door swings open. Turning to face me, he held his hand out to me,” Come I’ll take you to my office.” I hesitated for a moment but gave in. He gives me a small smile as I give him my hand which he clasps it tightly as if his life depended on it.
He leads me towards a spacious space we stop right in front of a huge glass reception desk. There were two ladies behind the desk, the younger one with a beautiful mustard color headscarf covering her head and neck was sitting and the older one with the ginger bun with black rimmed spectacle was standing next to her, both of them appear busy in front of a desktop.
“Janis is everything set up in my office?” Came his calm authoritative tone.
Both of them took their eyes immediately from the desktop and shifted their attention to us. The younger one stood up abruptly beside Janis.
“Yes, Mr. King everything has been set up.” She returned and shifted her gaze to me and gave a warm smile,” You must be Arabella. It is a pleasure to finally meet you.”
“Pleasure to meet you too Janis. I heard a lot about you from Dominic.” I returned her smile.
“Only good ones I hope.” She cocked a brow at him in a mock challenging way, which earned a low laugh from me.
“Of course.” I returned.
“Shall we sweetheart.” Dominic held my waist.
“Janis see that all the details of my project are verified again and Miss Amari I don’t want any calls directed to me as of now.” He barked out his orders dismissively.
“Yes Sir.” they both answered in unison. Well trained and efficient secretaries I must say. I was sure that Dominic must always keep them on their toes by the way they appear very alert in front of him especially Miss Amari she seemed rather jumpy.
He leads me towards his office and opens the door. I stepped in and he followed closing the door behind him.
It was a very huge and spacious office. Tall clear glass surrounds the whole room. It was like we were in a glass box. The huge mahogany table and the blush black leather chair behind gives it an executive feel.
“Sweetheart do you want something to drink.” He asked as I take in the surroundings.
I shook my head and turned to face him,” Why are we here Dominic.” My tone softer than earlier. One more minute of suspense, the anxiety coupled with the pain in my heart would knock me out.
“Take a seat sweetheart,” he gestured towards the blush grey and black sofas which were located at the left corner of the room near the clear glass windows.
He settled down next to me with his mac book and played a video for me. The video appeared to be in this very room, that intrigued me.
By the end of the video, I was left speechless, heat burning my entire body with guilt and embarrassment for being very very dramatic about my feelings in the elevator.
Now how do I face him? Although the video had stopped for the past five minutes my gaze was still fixed on the screen.
Arabella, you didn’t think of giving him the benefit of the doubt so missy face the music now chuckled my sub-conscious mind.
I slowly turned to face him,“Dominic um I.” I rubbed my palms on my dress and tugged a hair behind my ear.
He had his fist pressed to his lips as if he were suppressing a laugh.
“Anyone could have misunderstood.” I retorted defensively.
Raising his hands in surrender,” Okay. Did I say anything?” He grinned.
I opened and closed my mouth twice and when nothing substantial seems to come out of my mouth I shut it.
He leans in and kisses the tip of my nose, his lips just hairs breathe away from mine,” I love you my little wildcat.”
“Don’t call me that,” I laughed pushing him away from me.
“But you seemed to behave like one. I thought I won’t make it out alive from the elevator.” He faked a shudder eyes widening.
" I am very sorry about that,” I paused giving him an apologetic look,” My reasoning ability shut down the moment I saw that lipstick stain on your lips.” I gave a peck on his lips. I feel at ease but I can’t seem to take my mind off that woman. That gorgeous woman, do I feel jealous? of course. His past women seem to step right out of a magical place meant only for drop-dead gorgeous women.
But aside that my mind was occupied with a rather bigger question, no make that questions.
Seeing the frown on my face he said,” Sweetheart, please clear all your doubts. You can ask me anything.”
Looking at him thoughtfully I began with my inquisition,” Why did you allow her to come into your office and why would she think there is still something going on between you two.” I gave him a raised brow.
He interlaced our hands and held my gaze,” The answer to your first question is, it was my carelessness. Noted she wouldn’t have left until her demands were fulfilled but I should have known better sweetheart. I assure you I would never entertain her again. And as for your second question, frankly I have no idea why she thinks there is something between us, she is just delusional. I have made my intentions clear to her from the very first.”
“Which is,” I asked.
He clears his throat,” You know nothing exclusive.” He lets out a shaky laugh.
Nothing exclusive! hm oh, I got it. Looking at his flustered look I thought I better stop with my inquisitions. Although I do enjoy looking at how uncomfortable he gets when I dig into his past his hm how should I put it: interesting lifestyle? But I rather not.
“I am glad this misunderstanding is over with,” I smiled and leaned in and kissed him. Which he responded fully and pushed me down gently on the sofa not parting our lips and kissed me passionately.
“I want to make love to you so badly sweetheart,” He rasped, eyes darken in wanting and I pulled him down kissing him urgently letting him know I want it too.
Panting out of breathing my finger tracing his face,” But we can’t do it out here.” I giggled heat spreading my whole body.
“Why not.” He demanded giving me a peck on my lips and bite my lower lip. Firm strong hand caressing my thigh and giving it a gentle squeeze.
“Behave.” I grabbed his hand as it went higher.
He groaned and nuzzled his nose into my throat giving it a long lingering kiss and got off his weight from me and helped me to sit up straight.
“Next time I won’t be behaving Arabella. Just giving you a heads up.” he winked at me as he got up and walked towards the desk with the mac book. I’d be lying if I say it didn’t turn me on. But the thought of his secretaries just outside the office is enough for me to tame my wants.
Rearranging my dress and finger combing my hair, I stood up and walk towards him.
“Shall we go out for dinner? I have hired an excellent Indian chef at one of my Asian themed restaurants. You will love his cooking.” He smiles and shifts his attention to the file in his hand and signs it.
“Sure. Do you have any other engagements after dinner?” I asked as I leaned on the table facing him. I wanted him to stay back with me tonight.
“I forgot to mention it. I am so sorry amongst all the commotions it slipped my mind. I have to leave for L.A for a meeting with my Executive Engineers at Kratos." Saying that he glances at his wristwatch.
“Oh,” I muttered softly looking down. Try I must I couldn’t hide the disappointment from my tone and I was sure my facial expression resembles that of a person who has just bitten into a lemon.
He sighs and circles his hands around my waist pulling me closer to him,” I am sorry okay. But I’ll make it before the dinner tomorrow. I won’t miss it. Forgive me?” He pleaded with great fervor.
I just nodded. Well what can I say to that, he obviously has plans already and I don’t want to appear clingy but God! the disappointment is just too big to swallow. I thought we will be ringing in my birthday together. Okay, I better stop, I am being too petty. And today my pettiness seems to have reached its peak!
“Shall we move out then. I’ll drop you off at your place after dinner and I’ll see you tomorrow. Don’t be upset okay, I’ll call you exactly at 12,” His tone cool and collected.
“yea sure thanks.” I gave him a forced smile and we walked out of his office.
Once dinner was done, which I didn’t enjoy as much as I should have. The sour mood of mine diluted all the aromatic Indian dishes to bluntness. He dropped me at my place and left for L.A for the meeting. Since Jemi was still out, I freshen up and got ready for bed. I watched two or three videos of Mr. Bean and called it a night.
The loud ringing of my cell phone jolted me out of my deep slumber. I forgot to keep it in vibration mode. Stretching my hand towards the bedside table on my right I grabbed the phone and answered it.
“Happy birthday sweetheart,” Came his warm affectionate voice through the other side making me smile.
" Thank you, babe,” I answered with my soft sleep laden voice.
" Sweetheart sorry to trouble you but could you please go down. Janis is waiting for you outside. I have a surprise for you.” Came his measured tone.
Sitting up and putting on my spectacles,” Sure.” I replied smiling and switching on the bedside lamp.
“Thanks. I’ll call you in a while then.” He said and kept the phone.
The moment I stepped out of my apartment building I gasped in shock when I was greeted by him and not Janis.
“Surprise.” He stretched his arms wide open holding a big bouquet of red roses.
Without a second thought, I went into his arms and hugged him tightly. I couldn’t stop smiling.
“Like my surprise.” He said kissing the top of my head. I nodded yes.
Releasing from his embrace he kissed me passionately,” Happy birthday sweetheart.” He whispered against my lips and handed me the red roses.
“Thank you.” I grinned holding the bouquet with both my hands.
" Weren’t you suppose to be in L.A.” I pointed out doubtfully.
“I lied sweetheart, I just wanted to surprise you. Do you think I would just wish you on the phone that too your first birthday after us being together not a chance.” He winked giving a peck on my lips making me go all mushy in my heart that I couldn’t stop grinning.
“Now time for your second surprise but for that I want you to close your eyes and just follow my lead.” He smiles and holds my hand.
“Okay.” I smiled and closed my eyes and followed his lead.
After making a few steps forward we come to a halt and he kisses my cheek,” You can open now.”
As my eyes flew open it makes contact with a shiny silver hatchback car.
“Since you informed me that you wouldn’t be able to use the car I got for you. I thought why not I let my Engineers at King motors design something practical and of course something you can park here and not to mention it can be economically and easily repaired in case you bumped the car thereby avoiding a panic attack.” He filled me in on all the details with a straight face all business-like. I didn’t miss the counter solutions of all the points or excuses I used to avoid accepting that vintage car from him.
It was a non-extra vacant car, it was simple and very practical. Something I would buy.
“What do you think. If you don’t like it I can always get something else or better yet you can tell me if you have any particular car you have set your mind on.” He rumbled on looking at me anxiously.
I eased his anxiety by giving him a peck on his lips,” I love it. It’s perfect. Thank you so much.” I kissed him on his cheek.
His shoulders slumped in relief,” I am glad to hear that sweetheart. Why don’t you take a test drive and later I’ll direct you to the destination where I have another surprise planned for you.” He handed me the key to the car.
“Another surprise?” I couldn’t help but be curious about it. Wasn’t his presence and the car surprise enough.
“More like surprises sweetheart.” He gave me a sheepish look rubbing the back of his neck with his hand.
I just gaped at him wide-eyed.
“Let’s go sweetheart.” He kissed my cheek.
I simply nodded taking the car key from him.
“Arthur,” he called looking behind me.
“Yes, Sir.” Came his monotone alert reply.
“You can wait for us at the place.” Dominic directed him not giving out the name of that certain place where he had planned the surprises for me.
“Okay, Sir.” He returned and cleared his throat and shifted his gaze towards me,” Happy birthday Miss. Dickens.” He gave me a small smile which as usual disappeared the moment it appeared.
" Thank you, Arthur.” I smiled brightly.
“Shall we sweetheart.” Dominic placed palm on my back.
“Okay.” I nodded and unlocked the car.
I drove the car straight towards the Brooklyn bridge enjoying the smooth feel of the car.
And as for my heart, it flatters and takes an erratic beat just extremely happy and irrevocably in love with him. I couldn’t stop smiling.
This was a midnight drive I would never forget for the rest of my life.