The exquisite meal seemed to go on forever and Rainie found her idea of heaven on earth now came down to a few essentials. What was happening to her was purely magic. It was magic to sit here to be at the same table with this man who could turn her inside out with a single long-lashed glance and to listen to his smooth, deliciously voice, talking about an easy, undemanding topic and conversation flowing between them.
And she learnt more and more about him.
Draven was so open to tell his story. The story about his life when he had reluctantly accepted his role as a president director of his company. He informed her how much he loved travelling and shared his experiences about each countries cultures, the histories, the immense vibrancy of the seasons, and the breathing scenery, she only found out at books though at the same time he said midst burst of bubbling laughter that he hated to taste each countries original food just because his stomach did not cooperate with his tongue.
Being with him, she made the occurrence into moment she would remember for a very long, long time, if not forever.
Perhaps it was the ambience and the romance of the restaurant, she rationalized or probably it was sharing the enigma part of his life was magical. She tried using every reason as explanation for the way her heart would positively glow with warmth she was near him, then his smile…
He had the kind of smile that worked wonders with the majority of women no matter how much he irritated them first. He was simply temptation personified, so no one could blame her to be tempted like this.
“So?” Draven prompted. “What’s our plan?” He repeated the previous question.
The word ‘our plan’ seemed to startle her.
“I…” She began off-guarded. “I don’t know actually.” She said feeling foolish. With him, here in front of her, she did not care anything at all.
He glanced at her and his eyes seemed to narrow infinitesimally. “You don’t have any idea what we’ll do there?”
He should stop to use the term of the word plural like, it only made her wanting more. She was sure after he’d done using the word “our” and “we”, she was half afraid that the next word of “us” would bring her to her… Uhm…She was not sure where…
Though it did not matter. Since Draven was waiting for her answer and looking at her as though she’d developed two heads. Or probably now, he simply thought that she was a retarded whom couldn’t answer a simple question from him.
However, it was not that simple question, she defended herself feverishly, especially when he was sitting in front of her, looking accessible and relax. His presence was invading her thoughts, along with some delight epitome that made him impossible to ignore and it seemed the cottage, Jason and her friends was so far away.
“So you really have no plans?” He repeated, jerking her thoughts.
“Do I have to?” She asked, dazed. “I mean, seriously what would Jason do if I have plans?” She looked across at him. “Is not like he’d jump at me and changed his mind again, right?”
“Jason? Do you really want him to jump back to you?”
“What?!” She shrieked, surprised with his sudden question.
“Do you?” He reaffirmed, looking at her through his long black lashes, his dark eyes scorching.
“No!” Rainie vehemently shook her head. “Of course not!” She assured squeakily him. “What makes you think that? That’ll be the last thing I want in this world.” She added genuinely.
“Since you mentioned his name… ” He paused and then he smiled. “Fine, so what should we do?”
Fuck! he does it again…
Honestly she did not know how, he could’ve made the question sounded so…Seductive?
Rainie blinked, suddenly her mind going blank. Jeez… How did he do that? She wondered whatever he did, it would only do her heart any permanent damage to keep beating so erratically.
She swallowed feeling felt her mouth was dry. She picked up her glass, took a mouthful of champagne. “I don’t know.” She replied placing the flute down onto the table. “Any suggestion?”
For a moment she thought he was not going to answer, then soon his eyes glinted and his voice was pure temptation as he spoke. “Are you giving me a carte blanche plans for us?”
Rainie felt the blush spread across her face. It was as if she was going to combust. What happened here? Was it the champagne or simply it was his bewitching voice making her overwhelmed?
There must be some clever, witted respond she could say in a situation like this. Something classy and sophisticated, but for the life of her, Rainie couldn’t think any of it.
“Well…” She started, searching for a way of reply but not sounded so pathetic. “If that so, what would you do?”
His mouth twisted into its almost habitual charming smile. “I’ve to make sure that you’ve given me the permission first, before I talk.”
“Does it make any difference?” She scoffed, eagerly waiting for his reply, whatever the reply would be.
“Definitely it does.” He assured, leaning toward her. “You’re part of this deal.”
First, he was a charmer, now he was a hypnotist too? He’d made everything coming to his term.
“Uhmmm…” She literally gulped, trying to dislodge the lump formed in her throat and struggling for normality. It was that hard to say something, anything when he was looking at her with his smoldering eyes. “If you think that way…” She stammered. “Then I won’t mind.”
“Are you sure?” He asked softly and when she nodded apprehensively he smiled. His hand lifted from curving around his tall glass of iced water to hers. “You don’t really convince me.”
Rainie took a shaky breath. Really, the way his thumb brushed lightly against her skin made her feel so unconvincing. “What makes you think of that?” She replied dully.
“Oh I don’t know…” He shrugged, befuddled. “You seem so tensed and I don’t understand why.”
And she would never ever tell him why also!
“I’m not tensed.” She mouthed silently, hiding a little bit of truth in her voice.
Draven tilted his head to one side with a tempting smile as if he debated himself either to trust her or not, nevertheless after a moment a consideration he gave in and mused. “If you say so, then do you mind if give some of my suggestion?”
“Shot then.” She told him, trying to ignore the sensation every single time his eyes entrapped hers. “What if you don’t agree with my suggestion?” He asked curiously.
“That depends.” She looked down at her hand wrapped in his, not sure what to do with that situation. “I mean with the suggestion.’ She enlightened immediately and kept her voice even.
“What if I’m asking you a-not-so-decent plan?” He asked teasing her in a way that made a sudden escalating trembling in her stomach. “What would you do?”
“H…How…Indecent?” She stammered huskily, spellbound and she had nowhere to run. No escape from his touch, her response to the darkening of his beautiful eyes, his scent…
“Very indecent.” He said quietly and leisurely, his gazed still locked hers with their intensity.
Rainie gulped gracelessly. How to say something in return without sound so pathetic? Or should she say something, nonetheless?
“Would you agree with that?” He continued asking. Soon, he moved his hand to reach out and to touch one copper cork-screw. She sat motionless.
“I…” She stammered helplessly. “I don’t know.”
His beautiful eyebrow arched. “You don’t know or you don’t want to?”
Was he kidding? Did not he see the impact his displaying on her? She swore even there would have been an earthquake crashing the earth, she definitely would do his indecent proposal, no matter what that would be.
Very, very slowly Draven let his hand fall back to the table and he straightened his body, isolated her in her own daze. She felt as though she’d been sluiced in ice-cold water. He deliberately leaning away from her and it felt like a rejection.
“You probably don’t want to.” He stated with pseudo solemnity.
“I didn’t say that!” Rainie closed her eyes. Silly! She replied too fast. Now he thought what an easy girl, she was. “I mean…” She cleared her throat. “I need to hear your proposal first before I take my judgment.”
A crooked, bedazzling smile reappeared. “Fair enough.” He nodded and for a moment did not say anything only glanced at her as if he wanted to consider something. “Well if you want to know, I’ll tell you then you become the judge.”
Then again, he leaned forward recklessly close to her. His eyes glinted and his voice was pure temptation. “What if we spend our time together, without bothering others. Just us.” His mouth twisted into another alluring smile and his thumb now had returned to stroke the back of her finger. “We can go to swimming, skinny dipping maybe.” He slid it lazily. “Or just spend days in bed, having champagne. What say you?”
Now, she was hyperventilating and definitely breathless. What was he meaning? She swallowed hard nervously. Was he attracted to her, genuinely? Not just like he had said earlier this morning at home when, he had sometimes slip his help for her into occupational hazard? Or was it only for a fling? Took two islands in one row? The air thinned around her and she struggled to think something else beyond those reasons.
“Why?” Rainie asked with hoarse after she managed to find her voice.
“What do you mean, why?” He dumbfounded, the creases were drawn in between his eyebrows.
“I mean what are you proposing that?” She enlightened swiftly. “Do you have some kind of disorder of multiple personality or something?”
“Huh?” He Frowned. “What do you mean about that? And what’s got to do with my personality?”
Rainie shook her head disbelief. “Don’t patronize me.” She said wanting to sound a little bit show of anger but it sounded like she was pleading. Part of her was livid with her own theories that he only wanted to play with her and the other was she knew how weak she was with his charm. “What’s your intention of being nice to me?”
“Is that wrong being nice to you because you’re a nice person to be around with?” His hand for the second time lifted, but not to her hair but to her lips before he lightly brush her fingers against her lips. “Why do you find that so surprising?” He shook his head. “No.” He amended gently, his velvety voice involuntarily seductive. “Tell me, why do you find it so depressing?”
“I’m not depressed!” She snorted out frantically, pushing her face away from his touch, how she had the capability to do so, she didn’t know. “I just thought how bad you’re playing my feeling and my situation for your benefit.”
“My benefit?” He repeated, now although still low there was a suppressed anger in his voice that she didn’t miss. “Do you think of me that so low? Seriously, I thought we’ve gotten over that.”
“Draven, be realistic for a moment, will you?”
“Am I not now?” He asked folding both of his muscular arms together to his chest.
“Yes!” She snapped, irritated about the way how serene he was and how exaggerate she was. “I mean what do you want from me? She asked, filling the gap when he did not answer. “I’m obviously not your cup of tea. Why do you do that? As a favor? Do you think it’s little bit over the top to help a friend? Or is it simply your hormone is raging?”
Okay, fine, she knew that the last accusation was totally untrue. Draven Knight was excellent with his hormone, she was the only who had the trouble to keep it under the surface!
“Have you done it?” He asked silkily. No trace of anger anymore in his voice.
“Have I done what?”
“Pulling yourself down and not thinking that I might consider you as my cup of tea?” He emphasized vividly.
She stared at him, wide-eyed, utterly taken back. The pulse in her vein quickened again. Seriously, he should stop making her heart beating faster before she was going to be hospitalized.
“Don’t you know that you’re a very attractive girl?” His lovely eyes willed her to understand his statement as he continued. “Isn’t it so oblivious that I might get attracted to you? Any other man might, so why should I be different? Should I be immune with your attraction?”
She laughed brusquely. “Come on Draven, be real, please. You think that you find me…”
“Sexually attractive?” His voice lingered over the last sentences and suddenly she shivered. “Yes and not only sexually but I found you interesting as a person.” He leaned forward and every nerve of her body responded. “You should’ve realized it by now. I know you’ve seen me with women, I don’t have to deny it and the previous night you know so well that I wanted you in my bed.”
“Yes but you stopped.” She articulated bleakly, trying to ignore the trembling in her stomach and keep her voice even.
“I didn’t want to. But I had to, because you’re not ready. I didn’t want us to rush things up.”
“Rush things up!” Rainie parroted infuriatingly. “To be honest that’s the first thing I want to do right now. Since clearly the moment I didn’t want to rush my wedding, Jason suddenly just puff…” She snapped her fingers dramatically. “Gone into a thin air and engaged with another woman. So what makes you think that I don’t want to rush things up now?”
“You seemed so devastated that.”
“Of course I was devastated. I think it’s quite normal to any people. Broken-hearted is a normal thing, mostly people has that.” She said and continued. “Am I not allowed to feel that way?”
“Of course you’re allowed. I just don’t want to…”
“You don’t want what?”
“Well…” Draven paused for a moment before the rest of the words followed in a charge. “I just don’t want to be some kind of buffer or a man who’s conveniently there at the right time and at the right place but soon after you figure it out you simply walk away.”
Rainie was flabbergasted. She didn’t believe to hear that kind of statement from his mouth. From all the men, she knew, Draven was the most secured, self-confident and little bit smug kind of man. She’d never seen him without a woman tugging around him like a poodle afraid to lose her master. Surely, he was the one who found any woman was conveniently around him at right time and right place before he got bored and left them.
She shook her head disbelief. “Oh come on, do you think I believe that? And even if I take you as my buffer, I’m sure that you won’t be the one who lost. You’d gain something. You get the girl, you get the credit, and perhaps you might be lucky so you can get score without even trying.” Rainie said almost accusing him although the last part, she had said as a matter of fact. With or without any damsel in distress or not, Draven would always get any woman he wanted.
“Do you think man do the score,” He grimaced with the selection of word she had chosen. “Without feeling also?” This time he was the one who shook his head evenly, mused. “Wow, Rainie, you really disappoint me for thinking that way.”
“Should I think otherwise?” She challenged him.
“How should you, when you already set your mind up like that.” He shrugged indolently although that couldn’t surpass the tense in his voice. “Even if I alleviate those theory in your beautiful brain, would you still believe me?”
“And do you think you can change my opinion about that?”
“If it’s me that we concern then I say yes.” He firmly said but now there was a wicked grin played on his perfect lips.
“So condescending!” She retorted.
He chuckled heartedly. “No. I’m just so sure with this one. Although like I said again, it’s up to you decide about that.”
Rainie sighed defeated with his explanation. “Fine.” She gave in, she knew there was no way to win this argument, if she wanted to call that an argument. Plus, with the way he smiled and laughed how could she win? However a little bit more of argument wouldn’t hurt also, she thought before she added tersely. “You still haven’t enlightened me with your theory that man can’t do score without feeling. What about the man who sleeps with hooker? What’s your explanation?”
“I’m not speaking on behalf the entire male population in the world.” He smiled, but his voice was harsh. “I’m speaking on my own behalf. I never look down to any hooker, nor looking their duties are more demeaning than any other conventional, average job, but I just don’t have the need of the services they provide.”
Rainie sat quietly and her hands were folded in her lap, leaning against the back of seat. For a moment no one spoke until she broke the silence. “So you do have the feeling with all the women you’re with?”
He grimaced “Why do you only see me as the predator who keeps a lot of women in my havens?” Although there was an amusement in his tone, Rainie sensed some kind of subtle wariness.
A rush of guilt ran through her. She made a terrible mistake, thanks to her so insensitive, uncensored mouth and brain. “Sorry.” She muttered apologetically. “I just couldn’t help myself to say something not to inflict anyone’s feeling.”
His feature transformed becoming calm before he shook his head gracefully. “Don’t apologize for something who and what you are. You’re unique in your own way.”
She laughed humorlessly. “Yeah right.” She snorted. “Every girls willing to trade their happiness life with mine who just being dumped months before she’d even walked the aisle.”
“Oh I’m sure now they’d want to trade their lives now to yours.” He informed while showing, her-now-favorite-grin charade in his exquisite handsome face.
“Well…” He paused for a second, as if deciding whether or not to say something. “At least you’re saved into lifeless, boring, infidelity marriage. A lot of people’s fate comes too late, you know.”
Rainie played her fingers on the empty flute absentmindedly before she glanced towards him. “Do you think so?” It was rhetorical question, but she needed to ask.
You know for you sure that’s what I think.” He answered serenely. “You’re too good to any man to bargain for.” He continued while watching her face. And for the second time his hand took hers and gently moved his thumb to caress, sympathetic and erotic at the same time. “I’m truly sad that you didn’t get married but I’m not sorry that it didn’t happen. You deserve more.”
Rainie shook her head slowly. “I don’t think I deserve what I have now.”
Draven was frowning. “Why are you always like this?”
“This so low self-esteem.” He whipped out in a low and harshly voice. The frown was replaced by something shadowy. “What Jason has done to you? Has he really abused you mentally so you don’t have anything left including your self-respect?”
Rainie laughed and it had a dark edge within it. “No.” She replied. “At least not the whole part.” She admitted. “I was brought up not by the situation that I was confused with toy I’d like to play. I was brought up by the fact that I was so confused where I was going to live next time. I was forced to make a choice either to stay on the street or a house. And that led to another question. Were my foster parents would be nice to me? Then during high school, it wasn’t really my best memory also. I only dated Jason, no other boys. That’s why I was so attached with him and obviously he got tired of it. I figured, that he was waiting for me to break up the engagement. I didn’t think he heard it wrong when I said that I needed to clear up my life, I wanted to be fully ready to embrace a new life, but then…” She halted to shrug. “Like I said it was only for the excuse. And you’re right that he abused me mentally but not all, the environment, the situation did. Jason was just another addition.” She said, her bosom heaving with emotion.
The grip on her hand tightened. “I’m sorry.” His voice burned with regret. Rainie knew he apologized was not just for the words he had accused earlier of her being low self-esteem.
“It’s not your fault.” She said softly, her eyes gazed down onto the table.
She still didn’t know what had possessed her to blurt out her pathetic life, he did not need to know and obviously she did not want him to think that she was seeking some lowly sympathy. It was the last thing she wanted from him. She had done enough receiving sympathy to apathy from people.
“So now…” She began after silence enveloped them. “If you ask me not to rush things up, obviously you’re mistaken. You’re right, I’ve a low self-esteem but I really want to change. I want to loosen up and that includes what you offered to me.” She said and added belatedly. “That’s of course, if you still want it. Please don’t ask if you’re just a buffer for me. Because I don’t know how to reply on that.”
He did not answer. She was almost sure that he did not want to answer but as she looked up, his eyes held her with gravity for a protracted moment playing mayhem with the rhythm of her heartbeat. “You know, I crave for that.”
“Crave?” She whispered disbelief.
He smiled at her inflection. “Yes. I crave. Is that wrong to covet you?” He asked rhetorically and when she was just about to answer, he stopped her words. “No.” He said grimly. “I don’t want to hear to excuse that you’re not good enough for any man, because I’m telling you now Rainie Yang, that you’re one of the rare girls that every man lust for.”
It was good to hear those compliment although, it was a lie or the truth it did not matter. She only knew his intention was to gather her confidence that had lost long time ago. And for that she was grateful. At least she was motivated to try something different. Chloe had been right. She had to let everything loose. Be little bit flirty, after all, now she was a free agent.
“Even though that you’ll only be a bumper in that situation?”
A low chuckle escaped him. “I can take it for now.” He moved his hand to touch her face lightly brushing along her cheekbone again. “It seems you’re so eager and I’m here for nothing but to please you.”
Rainie giggled to hear of his choosing word and soon she felt the temperature around them was not so tense anymore although she still could not deny the heat of electricity coming from his unrelenting gaze into her eyes.
“So…” She cleared he throat. “Can we make it your way to enjoy ourselves there?”
“Sure.” He replied softly. She wondered if he had any idea how appealing his voice was.
But perhaps he had. He knew she was interested in him, what she did not want him to know just how much. She did not wish for another drama in her life. He was here for help but not staying as a lover. The more she got grip, the more she would be ready to embrace a new life again.
“And also no string attached? Just friends comfortable in each other arms, right?”
Suddenly he lifted from his seat and walked across the table. “That’s something we’ve to see.” He pronounced slowly with every single syllable, then bent to kiss her lips tenderly. “You know, I hate to assume before hands. So please don’t make any conclusions, what do you say?”
“I agree.” She said, placing her palms to his face. “We just see what happen there. Although, I’ve to warn you that I’m not really good at having this affair.” She smiled nervously. “That’s the reason I want your way. So please don’t put your hope at high stake.”
He laughed, showing his glinted, perfect teeth. “I’ve to tell you, when you’re with me, I always put my hope at high stake.” He kissed her again briefly. “Now I’d better get the bill.”