A week after the conversation she had with Chloe regarding Draven, Rainie stood, clutching her coat that was enough to protect her from the biting wind. She was standing in front of Seth and Victor’s modern apartment building.
Tonight was one of regular nights when they usually gathered. Which was quite absurd. Why on earth, they still had ritual to meet up as if they had not met that often in one week! Though for the past two weeks she had not come to see them. Hence, she could not protest, leave alone reject the policy that had been set up by noisy but loveable Chloe. And that meant she had to come tonight.
Speaking about her, Rainie had not seen her for the past two days. Chloe’s life was juggling from her work as sociology lecturer, her perfect boyfriend and also as a super woman who seemed always organizing many things.
Chloe was very unique, she was optimistic while Rainie was not.
Having brought up as an orphan since she ha been eight years old, Rainie had used to move from one family to another one for peculiar reasons, until she had settled to the fourth foster family. Her parents had been the best parents she could have wished. They had given her happiness lived like normal children, such as had a house, friends, family and handsome fiancé. Her life had sailed smoothly until two months ago when Jason had wanted nothing apart from to end their overdue relationship.
Thinking about Jason made her nerve and her rage boiled to the surface. Even it was so hard to see the reality, she admitted Jason had played quite a big role in her life, though lately were only negative stuffs.
For instance it would be just like tonight. Meeting them, meant that she had to endure another sad, concern’s faces.
Fuck! What am I doing here? She thought bitterly as she lifted up the brown bag that contained the two bottles of wine.
Though at the same time she also hated whining for her misfortune life solitarily.
And here she was, standing unwisely in the middle of cold wind for more than ten minutes battling with herself whether she should enter. She was trying to conjure enough the energy of her spirit. Yet, she had to. Not just because she had been absent for the last two, but also because she had to admit, it might be kind of fun, if she could enjoy for all of it.
She closed her eyes gathering her last piece of courage to press the intercom of her friends’ apartment number.
The intercom buzzed then less than few seconds she heard the unclear voice came from the pathetic black square box.
“Yeah?” She recognized Victor’s voice greeted lazily.
“It’s me...” Rainie said, hoping she sounded cheerful and as convincing as she could.
“Hey, girl, finally you’re here.” The shift from laziness to pleasant was achieved in the space of a single breath. “Come up.”
Victor clicked off the speaker and within few seconds she heard the main glass-door unlocked.
And as she was ascending the stairs that led to the third floor, she felt a jag of guilt came to her.
From the sound of Victor’s voice, it’d seemed that they had been expecting her and that meant all of them were here. Probably also Draven. To be well known as the most achieved, successful man in the city, all of them hardly had expected him to come to their gathering in instant. Most of the time he had been always late and never had been alone.
She had observed long time ago about his elusive domestic tycoon’s predation and mobbing his social behavior.
Honestly she wanted to see what kind of fine woman he brought tonight and to see another his proficient skill to woo a woman, his mating habits or at least his courtship rituals. He always brought sophisticated woman, different occasion, different woman. Once or twice they had asked how to remember those women’s names and his answered had been intolerable, at least for Rainie. He had said that he had had no intention to remember their names as they had come and gone.
Hrmpph, how true her accusation, that Draven was nothing but a rich, spoilt brat with too much sperms to spread!
Though her accusation did not flick the women he dated. Either they were supermodels, actress, lawyer, or not-so-simple socialites. They whom always wore branded attributes from head-to-toes and glittering diamonds that sometimes made herself cringed.
Rainie counted one to ten to calm herself down before she took a deep breath. She raised her hand than curled into a knuckle for knocking while the other one kept on holding on the package.
The door swung opened and when she saw it was Draven who opened, the first thought went through Rainie’s head was that look he had was too yummy for words.
His white pristine shirt and charcoal suit were utterly impeccable and sexy. His brightly blue perfect printed color necktie was totally bitching.
Bitching...Well, that’s the word.
Rainie felt a momentarily twinge of covetousness and she had half a mind to slip the accessory from under his collar and pocket it for herself. And hey, while she was it, she might as well unbutton his shirt and slip it off from his shoulders along with his jacket. Probably he would want to remove his own shoes and socks. She could certainly help him to pull out his trousers and then she would have deliberation to run her hands all over his naked...
“Hi Rainie, It’s been awhile.”
Pffft. A perfectly good fantasy interrupted just when I’m getting to the best part.
Fuck! She muttered under her breath. Now she became a horny, lunatic spinster.
“Uh, hi...” She responded pitifully, not sure what else to say.
“You’re looking good.” He said smiling at her.
What a liar, she thought but she did not say it out loud. Instead she only replied sternly. “Thank you.” And then asked him. “Where’s the rest? I brought wines.” She lifted the packages up.
“They’re inside.” Then stepping aside to extend and arm toward the interior, he bade her. “Just in time to have dinner, well, actually supper.” He chuckled.
“Why?” Rainie inclined her eyebrow emphasizing her question.
“It’s been two hours for Seth to prepare his latest er...Experience cooking and I can tell that everybody already complains about it.” He informed. His chuckle now became laughter.
And, my, my, my, he laughed deeply, so richly.
“That’s our perfectionist chef.” Rainie commented. She could the cacophony of clacking dishes and clinking glass, the sign that everybody including Seth, were preparing the dishes.
“Rainie…” Draven called her name. “Don’t you want to come in?”
She tilted up her head slightly to his direction where now he was already in inside living room, only to realize that she had been standing still at threshold of the front door.
“The wines will be good diversion while all of us are starving to death waiting endlessly of only God knows what Seth is cooking.” He told her, tipping his head at the dining room and at the same time pointing the brown bag on her hand.
Rainie barely heeded what he was saying, because she was too busy trying to make sense of her dirty mind, though it was so disastrous to fantasize about it, she could not help especially when he was standing there with an elegant frame lithe body. And when he was so self-assured, somehow it made him sexier.
“Don’t you want me to carry the wines?” He offered with casualness.
“Sure thanks.” She handed the drinks to him and walked passed him.
Second later, everybody welcomed her and soon the festive atmosphere filled in the air during the dinner. Without all of them realized, the time had shown eleven-thirty and buzz of conversation in the room one by one reached their closing parts.
“I’ve to say although it took forever to cook this, I admit that you did a great job.” Nathan complimented Seth’s hard work as he took the last piece of that delicious meal and eat it. He had taken off his jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his red-shirt to his elbow.
“Still you should’ve given us some appetizer.” Victor grumbled. “I could’ve died starving.” He rubbed his flat tummy under his light blue outfit. His handsome boyish face cringed.
“Come on Victor, Seth tried his best.” Paige said defending her boyfriend. Her flawless make up only enhanced her already beautiful face and her white tee-shirt and jeans framed her modeled figure rightly.
“Paige’s right.” Whitney said, adjusting one of the long sleeves of her light purple dress. “He tried his best and the foods were tasty.” She then added raising his glass of red wine to salute Seth.
“Yes, thank you Seth.” Draven stated as he leaned his well-shaped body to the back of his chair.
Seth, who was still wearing his chef uniform only grinned with the compliments. It was obvious that he was contented and felt proud with his masterpiece of work in spite only selective people that he showed his work.
Suddenly Draven put the serviette on the table and stood up. “Indeed it was lovely dinner, though I’ve to call off the night, guys.”
“What? Why?” Chloe protested as she looked at him intently. Her beautiful face frowned as she was pulling up the sleeves of her little black knee-length dress.
“I’ve a date.” Draven replied nonchalantly.
Well tonight apparently he did not bring any woman to come here.
“But you haven’t tasted my dessert.” Seth protested. The grin that had been on his face few minutes ago disappeared now.
“I’m sorry guys, but I can’t stay.” Draven replied apologetically. “But let’s catch up next week.” He added briskly only being responded by total awkward silence.
The mood in the air transformed into discomfiture. They avoided Rainie’s hasty, misty eyes.
Next week, Jason’s engagement party, his announcement of his soon beloved bride of his. Not to Rainie, but to another woman.
“What?” Draven inquired, did not comprehend their weird reaction.
“Well,” Victor began hesitantly as he leered at Rainie who was sitting next to him silently, unmoved, little bit tense before he turned his eyes to the piercing, questioning gaze of Draven. “Next week is Jason’s engagement party, before the wedding, in another two weeks. You got the invitation also?”
“Oh, that one.” Draven said softly though it was quite heard well enough for Rainie’s ears and she could sense a little bit of concern and annoyed in his tone.
“Are you okay, Rain?” Whitney asked. Her face showed some worry there and so the rest of her friends. All those seven pairs of eyes riveted on her with mixture of look.
Great! that was the lasting she needed right now. Being pitied by her close friends. She had known once she’d stepped into this house, the subject and her feeling would be the main attention.
“Yes, I’m fine.” Rainie lied with her wellbeing.
Of course she was not fine. She was still heartbroken, feeling used and got dumped! Only certain people would be okay with that situation. But not her. Though her last piece of dignity took over and she played the masked of unresponsive in front of them.
Chloe shifted her gaze alternately from Rainie to Draven. “Actually we’ve talked about it.” She began and Rainie shot the killing glare at her, hoping that Chloe would get the message and would not bring the conversation they had six days ago. However, Chloe was totally ignoring her, she continued telling the fear she had been holding up. “I told her that she should come to show him that she’s over him by taking some hot guy to the party.”
“Have you found that hot guy?” Seth asked her.
She was just about to answer another lie that she’d found that hot guy, Chloe so pathetically describe.
“We thought about escort agent.” Chloe answered for her behalf.
“And?” Whitney asked Rainie.
She was just about to open her mouth to reply, and again...Chloe beat her with the quicker answer. “Instead of hiring a man, I suggested that Draven should accompany her.”
Great. Just great.
Now, not only Draven thought Rainie was annoying but also thought she was a pitiable woman.
Rainis drew a deep breath. “Chloe has...Well, I said...I said no.” She stammered. The shade of red crept on her cheeks, the mixture of embarrassment and furious. Then she turned her head to Chloe.
Chloe should have known if the look could kill, it was the way Rainie shot the look at her. Chloe could have died thousand times.
And she could not look at Draven who was the only one standing in the room.
She had not forgotten those their first humiliating encounter and she was sure that she could see the knowledge of that memory now, clearly gleaming in those mocking silvery eyes.
“I think Chloe’s idea is brilliant.” Paige tittered.
Rainie gasped disapprovingly. “I don’t think it’s brilliant idea.” She shook her head vehemently. Gosh! She knew it! She should not have come!
Rainie looked up at Draven reprovingly. She could swear that he might find all of this was funny.
“I don’t mind being your date, Rainie.” Draven sudden announcement astounded her.
“W...What?!” She stammered disbelief. Quite flabbergasted that he easily agreed to go with her without questioning anything.
“Great!” Chloe cheered gladly. “The problem’s solved.” She said staring at Rainie’s pale face.
“Good.” Seth murmured gleefully. “Now all of us can go.”
“Guys...I’m still unsure that’s a good idea.” She told them, frustrated.
“Why?” Draven regarded her with cool eyes.
“Because...” Rainie began but halted in the mid of sentences.
“Because of what, Rain?” Paige leaned forward, resting her chin with her elbow on the table waiting for her reason.
“Has something changed since Chloe gave you the solution?” Draven prompted interestedly. “Have you found the escort? Because if you have...”
“I haven’t found the escort guy.” Rainie cut in evenly, her frustration increased by the minutes as she felt this situation slipping more and more out of her grasp.
“But it doesn’t mean...”
“You’ve to go with me instead.” Draven finished slowly. “Do you have someone else in mind?”
“Then what’s the problem? I was asked er...By Chloe a minute ago and I said yes...”
“You can’t be serious want to come to the engagement party as my escort.” She said desperately, since she could not find a good reason why she should not bring him without taking a chance of more pity from all of her friends.
“What can’t I?”
You probably have committed with your girlfriend.” Rainie assured him heatedly. What was wrong with this man? Couldn’t he see that she didn’t want him to go with her?”
Draven mouth twisted into the semblance of smile. “I think it isn’t any of your concern.” He drawled huskily.
“I wasn’t...” Rainie broke off, her cheeks again were fiery red. She took a deep breath trying to calm herself. “Look, Im still unsure if I want to go.”
“You should go, Rain.” Nathan suggested taking all the tension of all eyes on him. “We’ll all go and it’s quite absurd if you won’t.”
“Nathan’s right.” Victor added lightly. “You’d go and with Draven. It’d look less awkward.”
Less awkward? Is Victor kidding? She thought. It’s more than awkward! As matter of fact, going together was the master of awkwardness.
Yet she did not say anything. Rainie sat still. Those inquiring eyes were on her again, waiting for her reply. God, the weighing on her shoulders was getting heavier. She had no good explanation of her refusal, at least in front of them. And their suggestion including Draven was so sensible, what other excuse she could deliver in this situation?
“Do you think so?” Rainie exasperated asked and looked into their eyes, excluding Draven’s.
“Yes!” All of them except Draven said in unison.
Rainie sighed defeated. She had no choice. “If all of you think so.” She finally said half-heartedly.
Then Rainie saw all of them sighed in relief and she frowned as she saw him. His eyes met hers unwaveringly for long seconds. And she swore that she saw a smile that lurking on the edges of those sculptured lips. A faint knowing gleam she detected in the depth of those fathomless eyes.
No doubt he was gorgeous, and having him as her escort would salvage her damaged pride, but still she was quite not sure with her decision two minutes ago. And yet now she had to change the whole plan. Not only she had to prepare the outfit and others tit-bits, but also to collect the fragment of her broken-heart.
Oh man,it’ll be a very loooong week ahead. She thought desperately.