“Isn’t it wonderful?” Draven asked, sitting on the wooden-white leaning benches.
Rainie turned her sight from him to look up and, drinking in the view. How long had it been since she had taken the time to admire the beach at this time?
“It’s nice.” She commented, smiling. “It’s been awhile for me to go to the beach. I mean, I’ve never thought to go here during autumn.”
“Well, now you know how does it feel to go to the beach during autumn, right?” He said, placing their picnic basket on the white sand. “Besides the autumn is almost over.”
“You’re right about that.” She agreed, slipping off her sandals to burrow her bare toe under the warm granules.
“Do you want to open the champagne now or shall we take a walk first?” He glanced at her, offering the option.
She thought, gazing out the waves gently lapping the shore. “Why don’t we take a walk first?”
“That sounds a good plan.” He stated, capturing her hand, easing her to her feet. “Let’s go.”
They began walking the perimeter of the shore, a slow stroll, his hand still holding hers as naturally as if they’d always done this together.
Rainie let him lead the way, holding on to his palm, allowing herself to enjoy the thrill running her whenever he touched her. “It’s so serene here.” She remarked as the gentle breeze ruffled the soft brown curls around her face. “Sometimes it’s hard to believe that we’re still in the same country.”
“Yes, I got the same feeling like you do every time I visit this place.” He braced.
“Do you come here often?” She asked, noticing their footprints had been washed away as fast as their eyes could catch. Their hands still entangled, comforting in each others, as if the missing puzzled had been solved.
“Yes, quite often.” Draven shook his head as if trying to deny. “Well, as many as I do have my free time.” He then shrugged fluidly. “Which, unfortunately I don’t have that much.”
“Do you have to work that hard?”
“Well, yes if you want to make a living.” He rolled his eyes as if that question were childishly obvious. His thumb was stroking the back of her fingers when he looked at them. His mood shifted into seriousness and all trace of amusement gone. “I have to work that hard. And I work a lot. Having this kind of leisure isn’t even in my vocabulary.”
“Why?” Rainie demand, confused by his sudden mood swing. “Why do you have to work so hard? I mean, you told me that you were reluctant to take the responsibility of your position but you didn’t tell me why?”
“Some people…” He began, seeming to choose his words carefully as looking out the horizon in front of them. Wind ruffled his silky hair. “Didn’t have the choice to lead the life they want to.”
Draven stopped, bending over to pick up a sea shell and jingled it in his palm. “Being me it’s not always easy.” He said. “Sometimes I only do what I have to do and not what I want to do. Where I’m going, who I’m going with there will always be news for media and not to mention of my surrounding. I hate being scrutinized by people yet I couldn’t do anything about it. I was born in this path and no matter what would do there’ll be some people don’t like it.”
She said nothing. She knew he wanted to tell her more and she needed to understand him more.
Draven exhaled, his gaze drifted off. “I’ve to turn off my mobile phone if I want to take a little holiday like this. Otherwise isn’t a break at all.”
“So do you have to work hard for your image?” She stared at him. “For only people’s sake you work that hard trying to impress?”
He shrugged indolently, still gazing out to the horizon. “Like I said, I don’t have a choice.”
“Everybody has the right to choose their lives.”
“Not everybody.” Draven dropped the sea shell onto the sand, then dusted his palms together. “I’m a living proof of it. I embraced my position when I was only twenty-four and that time I still wanted to learn, and still wanted to enjoy life, like any man at my age, except I simply couldn’t do it just because my family, our company needed me. My father demanded me to take over the business. I had to leave all of my dreams behind and devoted myself to my job.”
“But you have everything?” The word rolled in her mouth. Confusion warred in her gaze. Everyone in this world would trade their lives into his and yet it seemed he regretted every second of being him.
A bittersweet smile formed in his life. “No, not everything.”
“What else do you need more?” She asked, absently hugging her arms around her chest, a slight barrier against the sudden cool breeze.
“Are you cold?” He prompted, swinging around her. He captured her face and then her gaze. Whenever Draven Knight looked at her like that, a quiver began to tremble before growing into a tingle spreading through her entire body. It seemed the wave stopped lapping at the shore, the seagulls stopped singing and the breeze suddenly become windless. All she felt, all she heard was the rapid beat of her own heart, the heavy intake of her breath.
Oh yeah, definitely was not the cool breeze making her tremble.
“No…I’m fine.” She replied. “It’s just I’m not used to going out to the beach at this season.”
“I should’ve brought you my shirt.” He said apologetically, starting to rub her upper arms with his warm palms.
She leaned into his touch and then slightly drifted away before shooting him her gratitude smile.
His touch not only produced warmth, it was a forest fire. And to maintain her senses intake for at least few more minutes she needed to be away, not that far though…Just slightly but enough distance to remain her sanity. His gentleman style definitely ten times better Jason. Well it was not as if Jason had been inattentive. He was simply lacking something in the manner department.
“Feeling better?” He asked.
“Yes.” She supplied.
Partly lied. Literally she was warm now, but not figuratively.
He might be saying both of them should just take pleasure from this weekend, kissing, perhaps spending their nights together and she might be agreeing, except everything about this enthralling man, his charisma, his easy way with her, sent her pulse racing into another stratosphere. The worst part she already had begun to crave for more than she should have expected.
If she was smart, she would not have agreed. Go back to her hermit world and think how miserable her life was. Only every time she made that decision, her hormones reminded her of their first kiss at foyer on Jason’s engagement party.
“A penny for your thoughts?” He slipped his hand into hers and began walking with her again along the sandy beach.
“I just thought that you haven’t answered my question.”
Rainie’s head bobbed. “I asked why you want some more while it seems you have everything.”
A grin crossed. “What do you think?” He asked. “I think is quite universal problem, isn’t it?” Or shall I put that it quite natural to want more than you have. And people always want for more.”
Oh, yeah she understood the concept vividly. She was in it. The real question she asked herself was how much more.
“So…” She cleared her throat. “Tell me something that you want the most but you can’t have it?”
Draven shrugged. “Well, a lot of things actually.”
“What in the world you couldn’t have?” She studied him, focusing to control the sensation of his palm enveloped hers. She had spent more time with him in the past week than most of the time she’d known him and yet, there were times she still thought that as if she barely knew him. She knew so little about him. She wanted a real connection with this enigmatic man. Even if it was only for the weekend. “No offense, but what on earth you couldn’t buy but you want the most?”
“Why always something I want, laces with money?”
“Is there anything in this world that doesn’t need money as a payment?” She smiled.
“Of course.” He supplied, an easy smile on his lips.
“Like what? Moving the earth right next to Jupiter?”
He laughed, a deep hearty sound that she couldn’t help but echo. “Well, not that far. There’s something you still could have within our world.”
“Alright.” She nodded. “Then what is it then?”
He took in a breath, let it out. “I want someone to look at me for me, not for my money, my status. It was a simple as that.” He said then shook his head evenly. “Somehow it seems the hardest thing people do.”
“Do you think so little of people around that they could see pass the money?” She incredulously asked. “I mean don’t you think that you assume wrongly? What about Nathan?” She demanded then before he could reply she added. “Well, okay don’t put Nathan in this conversation, what about Victor or Seth?”
He ran a hand through his silky hair, displacing the dark wave. “Well, I’m just speaking of my experiences. The truth I don’t know what they see but trust me. I know because before I met all of you, I’ve encountered of people over the years and not one looked at me and didn’t see a dollar sign before name. Perhaps, I misjudged you all at the very first beginning and maybe if I didn’t see how comfortable Nathan with all of you, I might even didn’t bother to get to know all of you.”
She cocked her head meeting her gaze with his. “So you believe Nathan’s experience than your own? You put his head on the chopping board to get to know people?”
Draven jerked slightly away. Then his gaze broke from hers and tension poured like steel into his frame. “Do you find me arrogant again?”
Rainie shook her head turned to watch seagulls called to each other above the bluest sky while the soft gust of wind blew along the beach as the surf pounded the shore. “No, I don’t see you that way. I just…” Her voice trailed off. She sighed. “I just thought how miserable your life is for not trusting people until that extend.”
Her word produced as stunned silence. Draven was so taken aback. Utterly aghast that it seemed he had to halt immediately and staggered. If there were nuclear bomb blasted in front of them, she was sure he would not have looked confound to this core.
Soon, regret flooded her chest. This was not right. She should not have told him that. “I’m sorry about what I say.” She muttered softly. “I didn’t mean…”
“Don’t.” He said, silencing her speech with a finger to her lips. Beneath the glistening of the sunlight, his every feature was sketchy, blindly sketchy. “You’re right about that. I just never saw that way until you told me.”
“But still I shouldn’t have told you about that.” She murmured softly. Her lips were still affixed with his finger. “As I do the same thing about trusting people.”
“Yes, I remember about that our conversation.” His finger now moved to trail along her jaw.
Rainie gulped. Her heart thudded for so many times. Even as she told herself to stay cool, her heart seemed to do otherwise. Apparently Draven Knight was not good for her heart.
“And I’m glad that you don’t see me such an arrogant person anymore.” He added. “Since that would be the second thing I fear the most when people preserve me that way. I hate it although I try not to do, you know, not to look arrogant. Yet still people see me that way.”
“But you can learn.” She said and added. “You know, to look less arrogant.”
He bit his lip and did not say anything for a long moment. His eyes delved into hers. Then he nodded. “Yes, probably that’s something I need to learn this weekend.”
She grinned though her heart drummed hyperactively under her chest. “Maybe you could learn that from me.”
He chuckled, the tense moment between them gone. “Yes perhaps.” He agreed then after his chuckle evaporated gradually he asked her. His smoldering eyes seemed darker and more mysterious. “Aren’t you going to ask me what another thing I fear the most?”
Now she felt her head spun. Oh, boy…She was really in deep trouble.
“What…” She guzzled her dry throat, mesmerized by his dark, smoldering eyes. “What the other things you fear the most?”
Draven shifted his footing before capturing her jaw with his good hand as if intending to get her full attention while the other hand pulled her closer before he leaned in closer, his lips now a breath away. “You really want to know?”
Rainie nodded, mute. Afraid that even her voice could distract this moment.
“The woman I want who deserves so much more than I can give.” He said while his finger trailed, caressed a lazy circle along her jawline.
His touch was slow and oh, God…Set every nerve ending on fire, igniting parts of her body. She leaned into the touch, the tenderness, the heat.
“And you’re exactly that woman, Rainie Yang.” He lifted her chin with his fingertip and winnowed the gap between them before descending his mouth to hers.
He kissed her long and deeply on her lips. His mouth lingered on hers, warm and smooth and gentle. His kisses were drugging and sweet. And his touch began to please her, made her to yield to lean against him by degrees. She wrapped her arms around started to range up his back, before they reached higher, until she had him pulled against her, tight.
And that was it. Her world once again turned upside-down and inside-out. Damn this man could really kiss. And not only that, every kisses they’d shared were only making her addicted to those. And she wanted more. She realized how much more of that, until to this length. She just wanted to quench her raw needs of him.
Slowly he drew back and an easy smile on his lips. “So what do you want now?”
“I guess you were wrong about me.”
His beautiful eyebrow arched. “About what?”
“You can give me what I want.”
Draven laugh quietly. “Hm…Tthat’s new. I’m pleased to hear the revelation.”
“What if I’m starting to get too greedy?” She teased.
“How much to be greedy?” He stage-whispered. His sweet breath fanned across her face.
“Well it’s not how much that matters.” She said. “But how far.”
“Okay.” He moved his finger again and this time, trailed down her cheek. “Then how far does it take to be greedy?”
Oh, she could give him hundreds of them. Being greedy in her position was much easier than resisting it. And it all only started just with kisses.
“Well…” She rose on her tiptoes and placed a kiss on Ken’s cheek. “It’s all the way until this weekend over.”
He smiled. “Then this weekend I’m all yours to utilize.”
The last five words sent a tempting thrill through her. “I shouldn’t waste any this precious time.”
“No…” He agreed hoarsely. “You shouldn’t.” Draven then closed the gap between them. He kissed her again and started to give her some more of delight she wanted.