Driving through out the city with the pounding bass from rock songs filling the escalades interior, Rainie glanced askew at Draven. He already returned to his aloofness manners. His mouth tightly closed and the sensuous droop of his lower lips had been jacked up into a straight line, while she on the other hand was definitely out of sort and edgy again.
She had no idea why, he was so quiet and callous whilst less than forty minutes earlier he had laughed with her. She was fairly certain when she had called him sexy would have done a trick and the awkwardness between them would have totally vanished. Okay, that was not exactly true. She was pretty sure she knew why she had told him either unconsciously or not. It was because simply he looked too scrumptious to resist.
She had found him irresistible since the day she had let him helping her. He was everything she should deplore in a man. Autocratic, elitist and rich. He was an enigma and she would never be able to let go of a puzzle she could not solve.
Whenever he strode into a room, every sense she possessed went on alert. She could have focused talking to others, yet the second Draven Knight had entered, she knew, she had sensed his presence. Her reaction to him, so unlike any she had experienced to anyone else. It was something she could not help but wanted to explore more.
Rainie leaned back against the supple leather seat and although she kept trying not to look at him, so far her effort failed miserably.
Her mind kept on thinking about him and she admitted that Draven was not shallow and also somehow she felt that his exterior, like he was displaying now, as hard and impenetrable as it seemed to be was little more than a façade, one that hid behind it was a different creature from the face he presented to the world. She witnessed it one or two times. Her conversations with him, full though they were of his creed and opinions, were always animated. He was not self-centered and he listened. He cared about her and what she said. And even when he disagreed with what she said, he still showed respect for her opinion.
Oh… Draven, what are you doing to me?
He was an intriguing mix of contradictions, first snob then sweet. At once antagonistic and acceptable. Both chauvinist and conversationalist. Full of himself and yet at the same time supportive. Callous and heedful. As a result, he was the most irresistible kind of a man for a woman to find. One who moved her to the next level that she did not even know exist.
She wanted just like she hadwanted earlier…She wanted more of him…Wanted to explore more about him and most of all, she wanted him to unmask completely to her.
What a wishful thinking! You couldn’t handle Jason, what makes you think you can handle Draven?
Even so, it did not stop her to wonder what was to have his full attention focus on her? What would it take to engage his interest only to her?
Another mile went by. Another song played. Rainie compelled to avert her eyes gazing out the window. And now for the past one hour wrapped in silence journey, she could not find a common interest to start conversation.
Rainie then thrust the agitated fingernails to her handbag. Her mind resumed to the withheld sizzling thoughts. Gradually she felt the atmosphere within the car was warm. A little too warm as she could not help to think something she should avoid but inevitable to ignore.
Something naughty and churlishly improper…
For example if she suddenly stripped naked and tossed her clothes out of window before demanded him to pull the car out of the main road.
Good, that’s a good start…
“If you want listening something different, you can just chance the music.” Draven told her suddenly, glancing at her before she had a chance to turn away her gaze. He smiled, rather smugly when he caught her ogling him.
“Thanks.” She managed to speak. “But this music is fine.”
He nodded. “Okay, suit yourself.”
“Don’t worry about me.” Rainie grinned. “I’ll change the music if I want to.”
Draven did not reply also did not show any sign to prolong their brief exchange words.
Rainie fidgeted a little more. She did not understand him and apparently herself for nagging of his attention. His ignorance irritated her. And she felt her shoulders muscles began tighten up, her neck stiffened with the effort of keeping her mouth shut.
She took a quick scan at him. He was concentrating his eyes on the road and had apparently forgotten she was next to him!
She gave up.
If he wanted her to button up her mouth, she would do follow the example he was displaying.
Rainie subdued another sighs and turned to look out the window. There was nothing much to see. Unless, she counted how many birds in the sky or guessed the names of trees along the road.
“Why are you so quiet?” Draven observed coolly. “Are you having a toothache or something?”
How dared he! Was he the one who mad did not have the mood to talk? And was he the one who made her think to do dirty stuffs with him?
“No, I’m fine.” She snapped crossly more to herself. “Thank you.”
“Then what’s the problem?”
You. And your deadpan but alluring charming face.
“Nothing.” She gritted, keeping her eyes focusing on the road as if she looked at him would be a terrible mistake. She would start to visualize inappropriate things every time she stared at him.
Really, Draven should stamp in his forehead: Warning! Staring To This Man Can Seriously Damage Your Piece Of Mind.
“Then why are you so quiet?” He asked, not looking at her. Thanked God for that.
“I was just…” The confusion of being caught off guard lingered. However auspiciously the gibbering ‘ums’ remained locked up inside her head. Telling him, she was thinking when would be their next rendevous would be out of question, so she lied. “I was just thinking about this car.”
“What about it?”
“It’s…” She halted then after a moment of thoughts she carried on while running her hand along the edge of her leather seat. “It’s a very nice car. It’s more comfortable than our sofa at home.”
Draven shrugged languidly. “It comes with the package.”
“It must be nice to have this kind of package.” She commented.
His eyebrow went up slightly and a glimmer of amusement lit his whiskey brown eyes for a split second. “Well, sometimes when you pay more, you gain something more.”
“It’s nice to have money to burn.” She said, comprehending somewhat belatedly that haranguing her savior about his spending attitude was probably not an entirely wise move.
Well, at least he didn’t look offended. In fact the admission earned another of those smiles, the real ones. Just like before at her apartment. So that was okay.
“Well sure, but you won’t get it without hard work.”
“Hard work?” She asked. “I mean don’t get me wrong but was the company given with the silver plate to you?”
He did not answer immediately. The grip on the steering wheel tightened as if dredging deep for what he was going to tell her.
“It isn’t that easy even the company belongs to me now.” He began. “There are many people including my parents who have a great expectation on me. Sometimes it’s tough to please everyone and have to sacrifice your dream. I want something different but it doesn’t mean I can do it anytime as I please. I put on hold of what I want to do…Roughly, all the time.”
“Of course I’ve dreams. Don’t you have at least one?” He eyed her momentarily before refocused on the windscreen.
“Dreams?” She risked a look at him. “Why did you ask?”
He lifted his shoulders, let them fall in shrug that was in the way casual. “Don’t you have one?”
“I did. But not anymore.” She replied almost inaudibly.
“Any particular reason?”
“No.” She shook her head. “No reason at all per se.” She added with acquiescence.
“That’s odd.” He said tenderly, his eyes were still on the road. “I thought everybody keeps their dreams alive.”
She took a sharp intake of breath and gave a tentative smile. “I guess I’m not like anybody. I was taught dreaming makes you not to see reality. Besides I didn’t have time to dream juggling my life from one foster house to another.”
He looked across with a smile. It was perfect. Warm but not pitying. It was like a shot of champagne. Supremely comforting.
“Luckily I’ve the best parents in the whole world now.” She continued hurriedly looking away. “At least they can handle my nonsense.”
Rainie heard his smile rather than saw it. It was in his voice. “I didn’t know you have nonsense.”
“Of course I do.” She prompted. “I’m just like anybody else, have my own nonsense.”
“You said, you’re not like anybody else.” Draven conjectured seriously.
“Yes…No! Well…I don’t know…Hm…Perhaps sometimes I can be like anybody else.”
He chuckled a low, wonderfully masculine sound that seemed to meander indolently through her entire body. Finally he laughed. “Can’t make up your mind?” He marginally raised a single brow.
“Of course I can! I’m used to make up my mind since I was a kid.”
Draven nodded his understanding, however she was not sure for what reason. “Anyway…” She began. “We’re talking about the car just now. How many car do you have?”
“Three.” He answered nonchalantly as if it were the most natural thing in the world that people should have five cars.
“Three?” She gasped, failing to hide her amazement. “What do you do with three cars? Do you spin the wheels with different cars almost everyday?”
“Hmm…” His glanced flicked over. “Not really. I just pick whatever it’s necessary to drive.”
“Why do you need three cars for yourself?” She marveled. Really, she did not get him or any other rich people in the universe. They seemed to exaggerate everything they had. She did not have the clue with their lives. She and Draven lived in completely different galaxies, light years away from each other. How on earth could she understand his life-style? “Isn’t it to boost up your ego? A male ego?” She added. The words were out before she could stop them.
His brows raised a fraction.
Great. Just great Rainie! Be careful of what you wish. You certainly get his attention now…
“Do you think I’m that kind of person?”
What had she been thinking? Huh! No prizes for getting that right. She had not been thinking at all. The only thing that had been working from the moment he had come into her life had been her mouth.
“I…” She stammered. “I don’t know.” She brittle felt like an idiot t bring this ego-stuff-matter on the conversation. Just how stupid one woman could be, eh?
“You don’t know?” He didn’t need to face her to make her worse that already had. “I thought you are good in judging people, especially man.”
Okay…Can somebody please kill me now! She groaned silently.
“I…I just speak generally.” The words tumbled from her mouth and she felt horrible for having said them. There was nothing general about him.
“So you think people who has money often to shows off and doesn’t care about others’ feeling?”
“I didn’t say that.” She encountered. “I’m just speaking of experience.”
Draven raised and dropped his wide shoulders briefly. They drove on a good few miles before he said very softly. “Is it the experience or is it me that you judge actually?”
“What?” She turned her head to look at him so quickly her neck cricked.
“Or is it me that you’ve experienced?” He revised persistently. “Because I know that you don’t like me. You didn’t like me since the first time we met, did you Rain?”
Her mind whirled. She tried to dredge up a reply. But how could she answer such a question?
He turned for a moment, his eyes were meeting hers and then looked back to the road. The car sped on, eating up the miles with consummate ease.
She told herself to say nothing, to just ignore the question and moved on to another subject. The subject that would be something harmless and bland that would not become for debate like religion, politic, women’s right, male ego, and the last one regarding how wrong his opinion about her and her disliked upon him.
What should she say? Damn…Double damn…
A hole in the ground, opening up to swallow her whole, would be welcomed right now, she decided as left with no place to hide.
She shook her head finally.
“So you don’t like me?”
Rainie squirmed in her seat before finally she smiled. “Hey, I told you that you’re sexy.”
The corner on his mouth turned into a cocky grin. “Ah, yes…That changes everything.”
“Of course it does.” She replied candidly, glad that she rebuked with proper answer.
“Alright, I won’t ask you anything about that again.” He tilted his head to her side briefly and continued to look straight on the road. “What about you? Have you driven any car? Do you ever have one to keep?”
“Yes. BMW.” She excitedly replied, grabbing for the impersonal conversation.
“Really?” he met her eyes with much interest for a split second.
“Yes.” She replied mischievously. “Impressed?”
“Very.” He agreed.
“Do you know what BMW stands for?”
“Care to explain?” He asked.
“Bus, Metro and Walk.”
The lines at the side of his eyes crinkled.
“Although my BMW it’s not as sweet as this one.” She added candidly. “You know with the scraped of brakes, bodies crunches or late timing. But it gets me there somehow.”
“Hmm…yeah I know how it feel.” He prompted.
“Sure you did.” The comment was rhetorical. Ironic.
“I’m serious.” A tiny smile lifted the corners of his mouth. “Sometimes I took a train…MRT actually to my campus in Jurong.”
“Where is that?”
“Why did you take the train to your campus? No car for your back and call?” She asked skeptically.
“Why did you always think negatively about me?” He demanded almost harshly. “Do you think that having money, you can just snap your fingers and everything would be done for you?”
His words brought a lump to her throat, not to mention guilt.
“Sorry.” Regret washed over her. “I shouldn’t have said that. It’s totally foolish to mention that.”
He did not answer and it made really her just like being hit by a truck. Disaster….That was a word. When would she ever learn to think first, speak sparingly?
“Don’t be sorry.” Suddenly he replied after almost made the torment getting worse. “A lot of people think like you, frankly speaking.”
That did no” help at all. She expected him to be angry, not to show understanding.
“So when did this happen?” She started again. “I mean your adventure taking MRT?”
“It happened when I was a student at NUS almost twelve years ago.”
“National University of Singapore.”
“I know what NUS is.” Her smile bloomed, gentling any possible offense. “What I meant was did you travel from your place to your campus by MRT?”
All she had in answer was a grin that let down an oddly boyish smile. “Do you want to know a secret?” The dark eyes glinted with conspiracy.
“Sure.” Good, they were at least sharing something. But she doubted he would share his favorite spots to be kissed. “Promise to zip my lips.” She added, double entrendre of what she meant.
He turned his head to face her as their car came to halt in the quiet traffic light. It gave her an opportunity to see the genuine wicked grin there. The rugged feature alighted with a self-disparaging humor that was beguiling. “I broke the car that my dad provided for me.”
“Okay, so it wasn’t something unusual.”
The grin was getting wider. “I knew that, but it was the reason why the car was broken.”
“So what was the reason?”
“I joined cars racing from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur.”
“You’re a little bit daredevil, weren’t you?” She commented.
“Yeah.” He consented mischievously. “But I didn’t want him to find out, so I had it repaired for almost two weeks and during that time I had no car.”
“Why didn’t you just tell him the truth?” She wondered. “It wasn’t a big deal for him right? He could just have given you another car to use. It wasn’t that hard.”
“It wasn’t that easy.” He said although it sounded lazy, there was nothing indolence in there. “Like I said before, most people have great expectations to me and sometimes I’m overwhelmed.”
Draven Knight overwhelmed? Perhaps when he was a toddler standing next to wild animal.
“So was it hard for you to handle?”
“Oh, I get used to along the way.” He responded and a moment later the traffic light changed into green, he turned his head, broke the hold and the powerful car leapt forward.
“How about now? Do you still have that overwhelming feeling now?”
Draven scanned her face swiftly. “Yeah, I do sometimes.”
“About what?” She asked. “You have everything. What possibility makes you overwhelm? I mean you have money, friends and family to support and girlfriends to date.” She added pointedly.
“Girlfriends?” He repeated, clearly surprised and a bit scandalized by her charge. “As in plural? Isn’t little bit too ambitious?”
Rainie scrunched up her shoulders. “I don’t know. Isn’t it? I mean I saw your dates before and…”
“What?” He asked when she cut herself off.
“Nothing.” She answered quickly, wondering what had possessed her to say such a thing to begin with. “It’s not important.”
Draven saw her difficulty nevertheless then he had seen almost everything. It did not need an Einstein’s brain what she meant.
“So…” she said keeping the conversation on the right track. “What makes you overwhelm?”
Draven kept on silence, instead he was driving for another few miles. She did not know if he would reply or not.
However eventually he voiced out his answer. “The situation I can’t handle.”
She laughed. “Such as what? Taming a lion?” Honestly his answer to her question surprised her. With his background, so supremely confident, fearsomely clever, naturally handsome and enormously caring, she had never expect that he was afraid of something or someone or having the situation he could not handle.
Draven smiled. Three tiny lines fanning out at the edges of his eyes. “Yes, something likes that.”
She watched, fascinated. “And this lion is a female?” She guessed.
The glint in his dark eyes intensified. “Oh yeah.” He replied, drawing the words out.
“Oh I see…”
“What do you see?”
“You and the lioness.” She kept her voice light. “So who’s she?” she asked, too fast, too eager and too late to realize that digging about his love affair was probably not an entirely wise move.
Draven still a man who played the dating game as though it was indeed a game. Regardless he could or could not handle the situation just like he’d mentioned.
He gave a cursor glance quickly, his eyebrow arched beautifully. “Why do you care who she is?”
Oh, good grief…
“Why do you want to know about her?” He repeated his question.
She shrugged as nonchalantly as she could. “I was just wondering.” She said, as she breathed in the delicious warmth of the smell of him. The resistance was imperative. “I mean this girl must be so special that you’re overwhelmed.”
“Yes she is.” He told her steadily. “Indeed she’s so special. She’s smart, beautiful, funny, sexy.” He added seamlessly. “And it’s quite intimidating for me.”
“Smart…Funny…Sexy…” she flinched at each word, could not quite bring herself to say beautiful.
“Yes.” He nodded satisfied. “All those of them.”
“So what are you doing this to me?” She suddenly snapped. “Don’t you worry, you’re going to miss your change to be with her?” God she hated that she was angry. She hated him for helping her. Hating herself to be swept away with his seductive word…His kisses…
After all what she was to him? She was not smart, pretty, sexy or funny just like his dream girl. All mouth and no brain, that she was. There was absolutely no way they could have a personal connection between them other than some brief meaningless dalliance fling.
He was a president director in one of major company in the country. She was a plain secretary. He was far out her orbit that he might as well as he be on mars. There was a possibility that he might find the same species would be more than welcome.
“Why are you angry?” He asked calmly, before he turned the car into a deserted space at a very nice country restaurant.
“What are we doing here?” She looked around the place for while and forgot his question.
“Don’t you think that we need some refreshment?” He brought the car to a halt.
“Aren’t you tired sitting for almost two hours?” He shot her a fleeting look. “I need some drink and perhaps eat so we won’t be hungry by the time we reach the cottage.”
“We still have the food from our breakfast.”
“Well, we can eat later on.” He stated.
“Okay let’s go inside.” She agreed, did not know if she was relieved or not. Although it would be good to remove herself from the intimacy with him, talking non stop about his love interest.
Draven released his seatbelt then turned in his seat to face her. “Not so fast.” He reached out, placed a hand over hers preventing her to get out from the car.
Rainie was so stunned by the suddenness of the movement that for a moment she sat acquiescent in her seat. The feeling of his warm firm flesh was causing her heart to bump along like a plane facing an air pocket. “What…What is it?”
“The question about why I’m doing with you? About if I’m going to miss my chance to be with her?” Draven reminded her.
“I just thought…” She made an effort to say, to deny but he raised his other hand, demanding for her to listen.
“Are you jealous?” He asked. The fathomless eyes did not waver.
“What?!” Utterly taken back, she stared at him.
“Are you jealous?” He recurred.
“No!” she yelped, shaking her head vehemently. “Of course not! What makes you think I’m jealous?” The words poured out unstoppable. “I don’t care who you fancy. What’s got to do with me? You can date anyone you like. I don’t care. I just thought since you told at my place that…”
Oh shut up now!
Her shoulders lifted in the smallest shrug, disassociating the rest of her from her mouth. “So in the manner of speaking…I don’t care…”
Eventually her mouth got the message and stopped moving.
“You don’t care?” Draven echoed. “You know, Rain, you said the words ‘you don’t care’ three times.” He reminded mildly.
“So?” She tried to avoid looking at him but wasn’t successful enough. He was just usual offered no help, no clue to his thoughts why he cared about her opinion.
Draven leaned back, however he did not remove his hand from hers. “You know that it’s actually a psychology reverse.” His voice was as soft as thistledown. “You do actually care who l like or who is she, don’t you? More than you admit.”
His long look left her in doubt that she had exposed herself, had revealed something that would have been better kept hidden and…Damn it! She was really good at ‘hidden’!
“I don’t know what you are talking about.” She muttered. “And stop talking about this psychology stuff things…”
“You’re totally misunderstood what I meant…”
“It’s so ridiculous for you to think that…”
Her words were interrupted in the mid-sentences by his mouth, claiming kiss to her parted lips impulsively and his arms wrapped themselves around her. It was more than the physical effect of his shoulders over flowing the seat beside her. His presence was invading her space along with some subtle male scent that made it impossible to comprehend that it was real.
For the space of one, two, three heartbeats pounding in her ears, she was stunned by the suddenness of the kiss, that she could only lay compliant in his arms, nevertheless she recovered swiftly, as the magical thrill of his lips thoroughly exploring hers, warmed her body in that so…Deliciously good…
She returned his kiss with a gratifying enthusiasm and savored the feel of his lips on hers. She drifted into a paradise. Sensation pulsated through her as the tantalizing brush of his body against her, the undeniable evidence that she found him desirable and she desired more, so much more.
Soon he moved his hand, brushing his fingers through her hair. She learned into the kiss…Into him. Her hands flattened slowly against his chest, then enthused to his shoulders where her fingers worked a restless massage all the way through his outfit. She wanted to take his shirt off as his hand moved caressingly along the length of her spine, sending ripples of delight through her body, but that would mean releasing him and she didn’t want to. She did not want to stop. All she wanted him to do was to push the seat and kissing her to the pleasurable places. He might have…
But then the next moment he suddenly lifted his head and settled back to his own seat, leaving her so bereft for a second that she almost reached out to him.
She was still in dazed what other parts of her body would respond to his touch…And this wasn’t supposed to stop.
“That’s good…” He voiced out with remarkable coolness considering she felt she was about to spontaneously combust. “Perfect. But like I said, I’ve never yet taken a woman who wasn’t totally and completely ready. Body and soul. I’m not about to start with you. Not now.”
Oh…He was wrong. She was more than ready. Physically, mentally to start this exploration.
However she would not tell him that!
“Rain?” He called his name.
“Are you alright?”
“Alright?” She demanded. Her hair fell down back of her neck. “What a dumb question is that?”
“The ‘are you alright’ is a dumb question?” He asked.
“Fine!” She said beyond the fact that she had temporarily lost her mind. That it had taken the equivalent of a bucket of ice to bring back her senses. “I’m absolutely fine. If you over look the fact that you stopped me talking by kissing me!”
Shit! Shit! Why did you mention about the kiss?!
“Yes that! And you make it sound I took it seriously.” Excellent move, Rain. Now you’re just becoming the next star of Liar Liar 2.
“Took it seriously?”
She refused to answer that otherwise her mouth taking control of her brain, again telling him the truth.
“Rain?” He called her name again softly.
“Look …” She halted talking a calm breath. “The kiss was good, but I don’t think it seriously. You don’t have to think I’m such a fragile woman.” She said half trembling. “I’m not.” She hastened to add. “Really.”
“Rainie you misunderstood…”
“It’s not the first time we kiss, right?” She interrupted impatiently. Being jerked down from that kind of high world would make anyone impatient. “It won’t happen again between us, so don’t be getting bright ideas that I like to do more than that…” She concluded. “Not anymore.”
The piercing eyes with their black lashes looked down for a moment and when his lids rose, his gazed fixed on her face. “Trust me, Rainie…” He told her decisively. “The ideas I’m having right now aren’t near bright at all.”