The gust of wind started to blew a little harder and Draven persisted they should have returned to their bench to get their towels being wrapped around them. He had told her that any time sooner the temperature would have changed radically.
They marched back to their bench hand in hand. It was already twilight but the scenery around was still serene only this time the fiery ball of orange lowering into the ocean already and there were no seagulls danced above the sky only the sound of cricket substituted them.
“Are you cold?” He asked, his face creased with a genuine concern about her.
She shook her head. “No, I’m fine.” She said then added dubiously. “Why are you cold? You want to go back to the hotel?”
Teasing warmth kindled in his gaze as he smiled slightly. “Sounds suspiciously like an invitation.”
“Well, I just thought…”
“What did you think?”
Rainie gave a deep breath. “Stop that, will you.” She demanded.
Draven’s head tilted slightly and a witty smile formed on his powerful face. “Stop what?”
“Your charm!” She snorted. “You keep doing it and I’m telling you, that’s not good for my heart.”
Draven rolled laughter. The kind of rich and deep laughter while his eyes beamed an amusement. “I hope wouldn’t make you to have a heart attack.”
“If you keep doing it, I would.” She quipped.
He stopped walking and pivoted toward her, his hand was still on hers. “Do you always say the first thing that comes into your head?”
“Usually.” She admitted. “Why?”
“Nothing important.” He shrugged. “I just really don’t know what to do with you.”
Well, she had a lot of lists, if he wanted to know. The temptation to tell him was bubbling up but fortunately this time she could hold up her tongue. It was not everyday she could manage successfully to do so.
“So,” He went on, shooting her a grin. “Any ideas what should we do next?”
Oh, that she also had. Hundred of them. And none of them the usual ways she had done while she was at the beach. Habitually, she had have been building her own sand-castle, or swimming or sometimes reading. But now Draven was with her, she did not want to do one whit about those things but continuing what they had started not only today but last week. And besides he had promised her what she had wanted to do.
Being shy was out of question for her now.
“If you recall that I’ve given you my carte blanche, haven’t I?” She teased, hoping that somehow it sounded breezy and sophisticated.
And amazingly it worked.
“I’ve a good memory.” He said placing a kiss on tip of her nose before starting pull her hand and began to walk again.
Few minutes later their benches started to become visible. Around them the shore maintained its veil of silence, only the illumination from the cottages had lighted. It was bright enough to keep them in track but dim enough to keep the air of romance stayed still. And as far as this corner of this place was concerned, the only people who existed were them.
She saw everything was still untouched, the champagne, their picnic basket and her towel.
Well, who had have stolen those things in this private, secluded place? She thought. Money really paid for privacy also, apparently, even when there would be a big party tomorrow night but when a man as caliber as Draven Knight demanded privacy, no one would reject his wishes. However, his words played in her mind.
Was it that hard to trust a people? Had not he also asked the same question to her last night? Well, she was for sure never being in his position, though not trusting her feeling on another person’s hand could be almost the same case only different situation.
She had trusted people before so many times until Jason had taken a toll of her trust. But in his case, he was afraid to trust people because being himself. Draven had not had trust long before he even had known the meaning of it. His fear of what he had or where he was from made him did not trust people. He was afraid that people would not see him just Draven Knight. Without his wealth and his famous family name trailing behind him.
However he was not the only one to feel that way.
It had actually happened when Rainie had begun to know Nathan, Whitney and Paige also. For the first or two encounters even when they had been in the close quarters of Seth and Victor’s apartment, the four of them had put distance among them, as if they had not wanted to talk or to reveal about themselves.
It had taken at least another year to make them loosen up. Then one by one as Paige and Whitney respectively had fallen head over heels in love with Seth and Victor, they had grown more openly. Comfortable had been a new term to see how relax they’d been.
Then again, that had not happened to Draven, apparently.
His face had been straighter than ruler until, well, if she assumed correctly few minutes ago when he’d decided to reveal at least a little bit of who he was. Though, as she altered her mind that it was only tiny information. Even in this closeness, Draven still managed to put distance between them as if he did not want to talk about whatever sat heavy on his mind. Rainie had thought that both of them had drawn closer over the past two weeks. They were close enough at least for him to tell her something monumental in his life.
However, besides the story he had told earlier, he’d said nothing within those regards. Instead, he indiscernibly changed the subject. And to be honest he was really good to distract her. Her intention to get to know him, always being diverted either by his charming gesture or by his witty, sarcastic story about his friends, never about him.
Well, they were not that close, were they? She thought. Who the hell she was in his life having the right to know about him and his past? Should she be grateful that at least Draven would loosen up a bit towards her? Instead of being greedy to want more of his story, she should just listen and wait and wish that he would tell her more.
No. She denied silently. She didn’t want just to sit and wait for him to tell her about his life. She wanted to know. She wanted to know who he was behind those perfect, charming façade.
“Ready for the champagne?” Draven asked, disrupting her thoughts. Apparently they were in fact had returned to their benches.
“The delightful drink we’re just about to taste.” He chuckled then stood in front of her, tipping her jaw. “Or you find me so irresistible that you forget about what we’re going to do here?”
“What…” Her voice trailed off. Oh, what was the point to lie? He knew, and she knew how irresistibly charming he was without even trying. “You already know my weakness, why should you ask that again?”
A satisfaction smile from in his beaming face.” You know, I’m so glad to hear your confession. And…” He drew her into his arms. “It’s the sexiest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Rainie felt her heart thrilled and she tried to keep the feelings tamped down, away from showing it. “My, my, are we trying to burst up your ego?”
He laughed. “If you say so.”
Rainie’s arms went around him. She felt fit against him perfectly, like the curve of puzzle fitting into its setting. Beneath his shirt, she heard his heartbeat, the steady thump matched her own. “What about you then?”
“What about me?” He asked, leaning down to brush his lips against hers; tender, slow easy kiss.
“Are you going to tell me your weakness also?”
Suddenly she sensed that he drew away from her though the withdrawal was subtle and not physically but it was figuratively. He stared at her, the glint of his eyes had faded. His mouth zipped. Restraint personified.
Realizing that, she made a mistake, Rainie told him directly. “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.” She then started to pull away only she felt his arms tightened around her waist.
“No.” He hoarsely said. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I should tell you about my weakness.”
“You don’t have to…”
“But I want to…” He interjected, lifting one of his hands before it weaved on her hair. “I just thought you already knew about my weakness.”
“If I know, I wouldn’t have asked you, would I?”
He smiled, his slightly lopsided smile. “Can you at least sense it?”
She opened her mouth the closed it. She did not. Could not know or sense it.
Oh, she could guess but to save her humiliation from whatever pop in her mind, she would better keep it shut, only for herself. To indulge that it might have been her as he was to her weakness.
“Well?” He pressed on.
“Hmm… this time I give in.” She finally said.
Draven stared at her. Beneath the sunset luminosity, his every feature was outlined however it accentuated the smooth dark planes and hollows of his chiseled feature. His eyes were seemingly more fathomless, unreadable. “It was…”
Suddenly both of them jostled, startled as if being forced to return to the reality before simultaneously whirled around at the sound of familiar voices. Which happened to be Nathan and Chloe who were coming to them half-running. Her long and straight hair danced like fingerlike projection through wind while Nathan with his more asserted pace followed his girlfriend. Both of them were wearing jumpers and jeans, preparing for the cruel almost winter breeze.
And she swore she would kill both of them to show up at wrong time! She was close to hear his weakness and suddenly those culprits popped from nowhere, invading their intimate moments!
“What are you doing in…” Chloe abruptly stopped her running steps. Her voice trailed off as she saw the scene before her. She stared at their entwined hands and gave an astonish gaze to them. She turned around to exchange her quick glance with her boyfriend as if they were sending mental message to each other before staring back at Draven and Rainie.
Now the two pairs of eyes look at Draven and Rainie with interest however for good manner, Nathan preferred to ignore it.
“We knew we’d find you’re here.” A grin crossed Nathan’s face as clapped him on the back.
Draven shrugged languorously. “Where else we could be?”
Nathan chuckled. “Yeah you’re right.” He agreed and turned his attention to the untouched bottle of champagne, two flutes of crystal glasses and a rattan picnic basket. His eyes apprehensively darted from the whole packages of banquet back to two of them.
Perhaps it was only her to feel like a child who caught in the act doing something improper things, because Draven seemed at ease. He did not even bother to let go her hand.
“You guys are busy?” Nathan asked but revised quickly into a sotto voce. “You guys are busy.”
“What? Are you doing something?” Chloe was still so in her shock therapy state could not read the situation pushed on.
“Honey they don’t want to be disturbed.” Nathan said as if those words explained the whole thing.
They should have, if Chloe was not too fazed to see them, together, in the intimate darkness.
Nathan spread his palms up and gave her a sign look of irritation. Clearly he was surprised why suddenly his busy-body girlfriend suddenly became naive woman. “They want to be alone.” He finally articulated every single word. “And we caught them up in the middle of something.”
“What? I didn’t see…” Then it seemed suddenly the lightbulb burst in Chloe’s brain. The soonest she recovered from her shock, her face changed into a smirk and she took a step back. “Oh that one…Well we’d go somewhere then.”
“Or you can stay with us.” Rainie said, with all the conviction of a low-willpower dieter in a cookie factory. “We’re just about to drink our champagne, right Draven?” She leered at him who was still standing unperturbed.
“Sure.” Draven said, nodding his head. He then released his grasp on her hand and moved forward to the bench to open the closed their picnic basket. “We’re just about to eat these.”
“Are you sure?” Chloe asked still looking at them especially at Rainie.
Obviously she wanted to know every single detail things. And Rainie knew that meant everything. Though honestly, she did not want to share it, even with her best friend right now. And the only thing to avoid the endless questions from her, Rainie had to keep her occupied. Here with her and the men. Well, Chloe would not let her go out of her hook, but momentarily, Rainie was safe. Perhaps, later on, she was ready to tell her. Not everything but she would tell her at least something and omit few tidbits of important ones.
“Yes, sure.” Rainie waved her hand in the air, taking the same steps as Draven’s “Come, there’s a bottle of champagne enough for all of us.”
“Well if you insist…”
“Don’t worry.” Draven interjected while taking out the bottle. “It’s beautiful night here, we’re all going to have fun anyway tonight.”
“Need a hand?” Nathan offered. He already hunkered down next to Draven.
“No, I can handle it.” Draven said then moment later the cap of the champagne popped followed by the spark of bubbles over flowed rushing to exit from its bottle.
Rainie approached the other bench and sat down only to realize that there were only two glasses rested inside the basket. “Sorry, we only have two glasses.” She said apologetically to her friends.
“Don’t worry, I can share with Chloe.” Nathan said nonchalantly. He then proffered the filled-glass to her and the other one to his girlfriend who was already sat next to him.
“Do you mind to share it with me?” Rainie looked at Draven, who was still wiping his hands from the spilled out champagne.
His eyes met hers before he smiled wickedly fascinating as if throwing her a telepathy communication, inviting her into a conspiracy of delight about what they had shared and what they would share was already beyond a glass of champagne but both of their friends did not need to know those details. Rainie leaped to accept.
“Cheers, you guys.” Chloe and Nathan hold their glass together and clinked it against Rainie’s.
“Cheers.” Draven saluted, holding the glass with his hand over Rainie’s.
For sure, Chloe did not miss that since she had splendid eyesight. However Rainie chose to ignore and pretended nothing happened as she gulp her drink before giving the glass to Draven, all in one purpose; to circumvent Chloe’s scrutinizing eyes.
“How long, you’ve been here?” Nathan leaned backward, sat on the sandy beach and rested his back at the edge of the bench.
Draven glanced at Rainie briefly before he replied. “We arrived around four, four-thirty, and decided to take a good walk before we drink our champagne.”
Natha nodded, taking a sip of champagne, Chloe had passed the glass to him. “That’s good. We just arrived about half an hour ago. I asked the receptionist, she told me that you at the beach.”
“Where are the rest?” Rainie asked. She also passed her drinks to Draven.
“Victor and Whitney are still on the way.” Nathan replied chirpily, opening chilled, silver bowls of strawberry and picked one of them. “While Seth and Paige, by the time I called them, they almost reach here. I think now they already arrived.”
“Can you call them to ask few more glasses please?” Draven tipped the crystal flute to emphasize his point. “And perhaps ask him to order another bottles and lend me his sweater or jacket…” His voice jiggled a little, reeling in some before he added turning his face to Rainie. “Do you need to ask Paige to lend her sweater, also?”
Draven’s offer evidently caught another attention from their only audiences. Under the eagle-eyes of Chloe, shone a lot, a lot of questions! And with some frustration too.
Rainie knew that the active person like Chloe, hated if she was not the first person to know about her information. Since Chloe had been the one who pushed her to let everything loose and enjoy the moment. For sure by the time, Rainie took her advice and she was not there to witness at first time, she would be pissed. Not to mentioned she missed something in this situation.
“Arh…” She stammered. “If she doesn’t mind, I’d like to borrow her clothes.”
Draven averted his eyes back to Nathan. “Yes, ask Paige to bring her jacket.” He requested.
“Where’s your phone?” Nathan asked grumbling, though he still fished his sleek and slim mobile phone from the pocket of his jeans.
“I forgetfully left it in the room. I had things on my mind.” Draven silkily replied, his indecipherable brown eyes passing the couple in front of him, focusing on Rainie’s blushing face.
Clearly the message received!
Why Draven told her in front of them like that! It would only make the imaginable antenna on Chloe’s head blipping erratically.
Chloe’s eyes whizzed with revolting speed, just like clownfish eyes rolled around inside the fish-tank, ogling the two of them with unexplainable expression in her face before a beam like a moon had its full circle formed on her face.
“So what did you guys do that made you forgot your phone?” Chloe casted a line.
“Chloe, that’s for me to know and for you to find out.” Draven virtually beamed back furtively.
“Well, no harm of trying.” Chloe continued to prattle away.
Terrific. Draven really knew how to pull the interest out of Chloe’s. What was he thinking? And asking the help from Nathan wasn’t a good idea also, she noted, sparing a glance at another tall man who already had stood up and spoke over the phone. Nathan was a nice person but he did not want to interfere amongst his friends. His character was totally the opposite of his girlfriend.
Rainie’s mouth was dry and she had to swallow twice before she could say. “Geez, Chloe, please don’t be so busy-body, will you?”
Chloe’s attention diverted to Rainie’s feature again. “What? I’m just having a conversation here.”
Rainie rolled her eyes dubiously. “Yeah right, like I believe you.”
“Hey!” She rejoinder, insulted. “I want to know that finally you’ve taken my advice…” Her sentences trailed off seeing the shooting look from Rainie. Immediately, Chloe understood that whatever the conversation they had shared few days ago remained as a secret.
And if Draven noticed the unfinished phrase, did not say anything, instead he looked up at Nathan who had hung up his phone. “So, have you asked them to bring some clothes for us?”
Nathan nodded lazily, sitting down onto the sand. “They also order all of us dinner also for Victor and Whitney. We’ll have it here. It’s such a nice night to waste though it’s a little bit chilly.”
“Fine, no problem with us.” Draven said, linking the word us meant for himself and Rainie.
“Oh, do you want to know the latest news?” Chloe suddenly asked, filling the serene evening.
Rainie who was about to drink the champagne stopped in her track, her glass halfway to her lips. She knew that tone in Chloe’s voice, knew it like the back of her hand. It meant she was just about to do her favorite things. Gossiping.
The men gave their full attention to her, intending to hear what she was about to say. Seriously Rainie did not know that guys like to gossip also.
“What?” Draven asked folding his arms together on his chest, showing off little bit of his lithe muscles near those parts of his body.
From the corner of her eyes, Rainie knew that Chloe tried to control her fascinate on his body, but her mouth said otherwise. It wide opened, gawking.
Rainie suppressed laughter at her best friend reaction. Good now you know how irresistible he is, Chloe! She told her silently.
Nathan created noise from his throat. Hrmm-hmm…” He said, making his girlfriend to stop making herself a fool before shot her a sharp glance.
Thank goodness it worked. Swiftly Chloe closed her mouth and averted her gaze to her boyfriend with her caught-in-the act smirk.
“What’s the latest news, Chloe?” Draven asked. Once again, if he had detected something especially regarding the killing glance from Nathan to his girlfriend or the smirk of Chloe’s face, he was good to remain a poker face and totally ignored the situation.
“Oh, that one…”
“Yes that one, honey.” Nathan pressed the last word as if to remind Chloe whose she belonged to!
Chloe waved off the words. “Rumors, Jason is canceling the engagement.” She began enthusiastically. “They fought over Jason’ position in Deira’s parents’ law firm. It seems Deira’s father doesn’t keen he taking the position as senior associate a month after they’re married.”
Rainie froze and remained the same for few seconds. She needed to absorb and digest the information she’d received from Chloe. Was she telling the truth or just gossip?
“Where was I all this time?” Nathan asked apprehensively. “When did you have time to gossip when I was around?”
Chloe’s smacked a tender hit on her boyfriend forearm. “I got the called from one of the bridesmaids. She told me everything. Surely you saw when I was talking over the phone when we’re on the way here.” She said lightly did not see the chances from Rainie’s face.
Jason is going to cancel her engagement? Why? But the question was how she felt a pang of satisfaction or even happiness started to fill in her heart. Was she really happy, knowing that there was a chance for them to get back together? She thought she was happy to let him go now.
Oh, she was indeed contented and she wanted to wish Jason genuinely a happy life with his new woman. She was even eager to move forward with her life.
Then now the moment she had heard about the news where all the excitement to face her life had gone? Why should she feel this way? Knowing the fact even though it was only a little, tiny fact that she might have a chance to go back to Jason.
Perhaps now, he realized that marrying Deira and having his position fixed on the top ladder wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be, Jason had changed his mind again that all he wanted was her and not Deira after all.
Where all negative qualities Jason’s personality gone? She had realized his bad personality traits and yet she seemed to forget those important parts the moment she’d heard about his engagement.
In addition how about her affection she felt on Draven, she thought she had? Was it only a mere infatuation, sexual chemistry that would be disappeared so easily? Had she fooled herself all this time that she liked Draven more than she should have?
Oh, no doubt she was moved by his charm, almost even a had thought she had deeper feeling more than just affection, however, apparently her feeling was not strong enough to overlook this unexplainable feeling she was having now. Otherwise she would not even think about Jason again, immediately the moment she had heard the rumor. Then again, she had really enjoyed her time with him. He made her laugh again and really, she was going to have fun, a real fun with Draven.
Oh God, she thought belatedly as she stealing a glance at Draven who was staring at her with immeasurable eyes penetrated on her pale face while his was expressionless. The dread in her stomach grew even more since she did not know what he was thinking at this moment especially staring at her that way.
His visage showed absolutely nothing.
“Honey, probably it’s just gossip.” Nathan’s heavy voice stirred her from her trance. She averted her gaze to the more neutral faces, focusing more on her friends. “I’m sure they’re back together now even if that was true, it was only an argument. I’m sure they’d cancel this party the moment they really break up.” He finished but not without leered first at Draven then at Rainie’s face.
Gradually Chloe realized her mistake. She followed her boyfriend suit before the look in her face changed from cheerful to chagrin.
“Oh, probably you’re right babe. Perhaps it’s only gossip.” She said and mouth a silent ‘sorry’ to Rainie for being so insensitive all of sudden by passing too much information. And as to lighten up the sudden change of air amongst them and perhaps to lessen her guilt she again changed the topic about different things, though quietly noticing that Rainie had fallen into silence. Chloe said something but Rainie did not really listen. The conversation progressively between the couple seemed very far, very distance at this moment.
It did not matter anyway. The damn part she already had the information, whether it was true or not, undoubtedly it’d shaken her inside out. She hated to feel this way, and yet she couldn’t do anything to ignore that.
And, it was not begun from the look she had received from Draven. That deadpan expression face was far more dangerous than any frame expression she’d received from him.
Lord, she really did not know what she should do. However one thing for sure she knew…
She was totally doomed.