What a little was left of the evening seemed to be so tedious, except for those few occasion when turned to look at Draven and caught him studying her with a gaze that was unreadable, somehow scorched her from her head to her toes and all points in between and that made that glittering party looked so mundane after that single, perfect kiss.
Obviously there was a fraction of feeling that she was gloom with Jason’s engagement. But the feeling had been slightly overshadowed by that kiss. She did not know why she felt this way.
She held the flute of he champagne tightly. Oh, she really did not know how she was feeling right now. Was it excitement about the kiss? Was it sadness when she had told an awkward lie to Jason’s parents before that she was totally okay? Was it the disappointment when she saw Jason, her bas...So calculating rapacious ex fiancé?
She flicked a covert glance to the opposite end of the room where Jason was laughing at something, Deira, his new fiancé, said.
Deira’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bannester had regarded Draven warmly earlier, they had known Draven fairly close, and Rainie had witnessed that it had chilled Jason to the bone. Jason might have terrified if Draven had covered the truth, though Draven had not said about Jason to them.
Though, somehow Rainie had a slight expectation that Draven would have revealed that their daughter’s fiancé was nothing but a leech and a fortune hunter? Jason that fancied his last name would be added to the end of the well-off firm company of Bannester.
She predicted that the one who had spent most for this lavish party had been from the woman’s side. Jason had a good job, but that was it. A good job without a great prospect of wealth. He had realized if he wanted to reach the highest ladder of power and wealth, he had had to be with somebody who had those since birth. Obviously Deira had those things that Rainie had not.
That was exactly what Jason was. Handsome but a total mercenary. At only thirty something years old, Jason had ambitions that he had no intention of working hard if everything could be achieved by a simpler route, such as marrying a rich daughter. Rainie, as naïve little girl from high school, seemed not a good future. He had dropped her like a hot coal when he had met Deira during of the function eight months ago and Rainie’s fickle mind about getting married had been his reason to escape from their relationships, she reminisced viciously, draining her glass of champagne.
The drinks never stopped flowing for the rest of the night. It was her sixth glass or so she thought. Although it was a bit too late that she was after all not a drinker of this type of drink. Champagne was always her weakness. She felt the ground started moving, once or twice she had double vision, and not to mention the echo she felt in her ears.
“Are you feeling alright?” A voice at the back of her shoulders enquired.
She turned to find Draven, staring at her over bright eyes and flushed cheeks with a doubtful frown. “Tell me, since you’re a man…”
Draven kept his eyes self-consciously steady with this accusation at her. She could see that the conversations began like this, were apt to get uncomfortable.
“Do you think Deira is beautiful?” Rainie demanded contemptuously. She tossed her head in the direction to the tall, redhead woman. “Of course she isn’t only beautiful but rich also.” She added without waiting to hear his answer.
“So are you.” He said softly.
“I’m not rich.” She said straightforwardly, turning her back to Draven.
“I’m not talking about wealth.”
“Then about what?” She rasped then felt the stung of slight pain in her head. “Anyway…” She began, straightening her shoulders with resolve. “Thank you for…Being a nice man.” She slurred incoherently. Champagne had hit its target; her brain and her self-esteem.
He sighed at the mutinous and yet intoxicated expression of her face. “You’re drunk.” He murmured, removing the empty glass from her limps grasp. “Is it your fifth or sixth glass?”
She shook her head heavily. “I don’t know.”
“Do you want to take some fresh air?”
“No.” She declined. “No, thank you, I’m fine. Just a little bit tipsy.” She confirmed miserably, many unscrupulous yet gullibility thoughts swarmed in her head.
He nodded abruptly. “Everybody wants to go to the club later on. Nathan already booked a place for us.” He informed. “Do you want to join?” He asked, a concern gaze gleamed in his eyes.
She gave a reassurance smile as she saw it. “Yes, why not. We need one hell of great time.”
“Are you sure?”
She nodded more than necessary. She really needed something to release her. A bottle of Vodka and Diana Ross with her song ‘I will survive’ were the things she needed instead of expensive Champagne. “Totally.” Again she reassured, did not care if he saw her that she was some kind of alcoholic woman who buried herself with drinking.
He gave her hand an encouraging squeeze. “My instinct about you is right.” He told her warmly.
She eyed him apprehensively, puzzled with his statement. “What instinct?”
Draven grinned widely. “You’re a fighter.” He said with satisfaction. “You have to be, to have chosen and succeeded in facing the world bracingly all of your life. Any woman who could do that isn’t going to let a man like Hewitt to break your heart.”
Rainie laughed, feeling totally opposite. As a matter of fact, she felt that she was definitely doomed. “No, I’m not.” She replied softly. “But we can go back to that later.”
“I’d like to find what’s gonna be that later. In the mean time, I think we should probably go.”
“Yes, you’re right.” She agreed then scanned the room. Everyone except Jason and Deira’s family were the only ones staying. “Where are the rest of our friends?” She puzzled, blinking her eyes couple of times as she was trying to get her focus intact.
“They left.” He informed briefly.
Rainie nodded. Okay, that was something she could have seen it coming. All of her friends seemed in the party mood tonight.
“Are you sure that you want to join?” Draven repeated his previous question.
“Oh, yes, I said that right?”
“So I believe.” He rasped, then holding tightly to her arm as if he was afraid that she was going to collapse anytime. “Let’s go.” He said and swept his hand toward the exit in a silence indication that Rainie should precede him. He then crooked his elbow and wait for her to take it.
And Rainie, yearning to touch another part of him, however superficially, she complied, threading her arm through his, walking side-by-side next time to the door.
They remained arm-in arm and spoke not a word as they crossed the lobby and stored through the big glass front doors.
“Wait here.” He ordered softly. “I’ll give the ticket to the valet service.”
She was his figure went away from her, which was good actually for her. At this quieter, windy air and darker surrounding, she could recall what had happened. Immediately, her thoughts returned form the moment they had arrived at the party and since then all the circumstances had not occurred to her, specially with the kiss.
Fine, she confessed that probably doing the kisses with him had occurred to her then, back in some dark, recessed, feverish, sexually deprived part of her brain. Might be once or twice before the party, she had entertained a quick fantasy of how it would feel to make love to him and after the kiss, she had visualized it for more than a few seconds and in in much more graphic terms.
Who knows? Perhaps it will happen tonight.
Oh, good heavens! What’s wrong with me? She scolded. This was Draven Knight she was fantasizing about. In spite of all her earlier imagination romanticizing about him, she tried to make herself being realistic. He was far beyond her level. He had mover experience in seducing women and Rainie was next to virgin when came about game and love.
Then again, she chastised herself, what did love have to do with anything? She just had a terrible heartbroken, definitely big word ‘L’ was not on her first list. She was err…What should she say? Infatuated by his charm just like she had with Jason? She certainly was not in love with Draven. How had she gotten from thinking of having hot sex in his car, to hearts and flowers and happily-ever-afters? The two were not necessarily connected at all!
“Leaving so soon, Rainie?”
Another voice came suddenly out of nowhere. She turned slowly to face the owner of that voice and saw Jason was standing behind her. She noticed belatedly by the aggressiveness tone of his voice. His mood was bad, perhaps because of the drinks, she thought sketchily.
“Yes.” She answered unperturbedly. And despite she was drunk, she was very aware that they were utterly alone in the main lobby.
“What’s the deal with you and Draven?” He asked with his glazing, furious stare at her. She was right, about Jason’s mood. He looked less handsome with this anger look as he strode purposely towards her.
“What do you mean?” She frowned tautly.
“You heard me.” He snapped impatiently. “What are you doing here with him?”
“Having dinner, enjoying your party, same like everyone else.” She dismissed with lightness. She didn’t know what would and could Jason do here, even if he did look as if he would like to wring her neck, though verbally he could rip her to shreds! “You invited us, right?”
His mouth twisted, perturbed. “I know whom I invited.” He scorned. “I didn’t think you came together.”
“So what?” She challenged him and wondered at the same time what had made her fall in love with this person at first place.
“Don’t you think that you’re moving in rather exalted company nowadays, do you?” He said insultingly. “I mean, come on, both of you have nothing in common.”
Deliberately so, she knew. And she realized also what he referred to with that remark about ‘exalted company’. Ordinarily she would never be with a person as calibre as Draven Knight and even if she had come with a date, that person probably would not be respected as much as him.
Rainie unemotionally met Jason’s accusing gaze. “What’s your problem? Do you think that I can’t find a man besides you within days just like you did with Deira?”
He gave a disdainful laughter. “Not at all. I only thought that you’ll be that brave, sweety Rainie.”
“Don’t call me!” She said derisively, feeling her anger starting to rise. She hated him to call him that. The word that she used to love now she only loathed it. What was he trying to prove anyway? Really, the conceit of man! “You know damn well, that Draven and I, along with our friends have known each other for sometimes.”
“Between you and him barely cross words!” He snarled. “What makes me believe, suddenly, out of the blue that you’re dating?!”
“None of your business.” Her eyes flicked dismissively over his face, icy with contemptuous anger.
Jason laughed again and it was not a pleasant sound. “Of course not. I’ve lost my feeling years ago.” He said, then slowly taking his time he scanned her figure with disrespect gaze. “But I’ve to admit that you’re looking absolutely sexy.” Within split of seconds he blocked her way and rubbed nastily, taking a painful grip of her arm.
“Please put your hand off.” She demanded coldly, hiding her nervousness behind the frosty tone. She was afraid of Jason now, physically, and she did not know what would he do with her when no one was around to save her.
He looked down at her with hard dark eyes, a humourless smile now curving his lips. “I don’t think I will.” He murmured slowly. “What if I suggest we’ve a little escapade for old times’ sake?” He proposed croakily.
Nausea welled up in her throat at this completely unwelcome proposal from a man she now despised, but the coldness of her gaze didn’t waver from his. “I don’t think so, Draven won’t like it.” She warned him, confronted.
The anger’s spark intensified in his eyes. “You little sl…”
“Everything’s alright darling?” Draven’s voice suddenly interrupted amiably. “Sorry it took so long to get the car.” He added then looked at them questioningly. “Is there something wrong?” He strolled over to join them, much to Rainie’s delight and relief. She instantly felt secure of his presence.
Jason slowly released her arm and Rainie resisted the impulse she had to wipe his touch from her flesh. Instead she shot Jason a look of intense dislike before she smiled gracefully to her rescuer. “Nothing.” She discharged lightly as she added on. “Jason was just about to say goodbye.”
“I see.” Draven turned his cold brown eyes on the younger man. “I thought we have already?”
Jason pulled himself together with obvious effort, even managed to give another man a rueful smile. “For our past, I’d like to say goodbye to her personally.” He said pleasantly
Hell, no doubt that Jason was making an effort to be pleasant because he was very aware of Draven’s big connection, she guessed shrewdly.
“Don’t bring the past.” Draven said evenly. “What’s in the past, remains in the past.” He added softly, a dangerous stillness surrounded him.
Rainie was watching Jason as Draven made the remark. Jason’s handsome face lingered pleasantly smiling, however there was certain wariness in his eyes. She was not sure that it was absolutely wise for Jason to challenge Draven, even in this mild way.
She noticed by now Draven had not really liked Jason during their acquaintances. He liked Seth and Victor but never Jason. Probably, not only woman who had instinct to not like someone at first sight.
Jason gave an inclination of his head. “You’re right. What remains the past should stay there.”
Draven nodded elegantly and gave a confident smile as he encircled his arm on the slenderness of her waist. “Very wise move.”
Jason’s gaze narrowed assessing on Draven. “Though, it’s wise for me to say that you should know about our relationships and why we broke up, before it’s too late for you to realize it.” He scathingly said. “If I were you, I wouldn’t believe what a woman told you after they broke up with her partner. Sometimes the words are so biased.” He added with a pitying glance to her direction.
If the look could kill or if Draven’s hand had not moved from her waist to take a firm grip of her arm, Rainie would have killed Jason then. Jason was making her sound like some twisted, whiny, needy and disparagement woman without a pride, out to hurt him in anyway she could!
“Thank you for your err…Tremendous advice.” Draven pronounced articulately. “But I’ve to make a point of always forming my own judgement concerning others.” He smiled and added softly. “That’s why, I’m here with her.”
Jason nodded sketchily. “She always needs somebody, otherwise she wouldn’t have come here.”
Fuck! That damn condescending bastard!
“I can assure you that was never an option.” Draven told Jason smoothly nevertheless irreverently, turning to smile at Rainie, the violent that glittered in his eyes, telling her of his own controlled rage. “I was the one who asked her to accompany me. They’re plenty of other men who would willingly have taken my place if I didn’t ask first.” He guaranteed Jason scarcely.
“Of course she has a lot of suitors.” Jason agreed sceptically, did not believe the words Draven had said. “I really should go inside. I guess I bide you a second goodnight.” He added before walking confidently inside the hotel.
Rainie let out a deep breath, unaware until that moment, she had actually been holding it. The last few minutes had told her that Jason was even more dangerous that she had thought he was. His vindictiveness where she was concerned was more than obvious to the point that he had deliberately tried to belittle her in front of Draven, to make her look like a desperate woman.
“Forget about him.” Draven was looking down at her concernedly. “He’s not worthy.”
She agreed about it though her main emotion was not about Jason’s attitude. It was about the embarrassment that Jason had successfully displayed in front of Draven.
“Yes you’re right.” She finally said after trying so hard to compose her feeling.
“Come let’s go to have much more enjoyable party.” He said, consoling her.
Slowly a smile plastered on her face. “Yes, let’s go and get pissed!”