“Don’t say a word.” Rainie warned Chloe when she looked up from reading the newspapers when she entered the kitchen. Rainie was dressed warmly with Whitney’s outfit. Her evening gown had been folded on the paper bag. “Not even a single word.” She said again as she continued to look at her before dropping off the paper bag on the wooden table. “You’re the least favorite person in this room.”
Chloe returned her gaze with his big brown eyes and tripped blithely. “It’s only two of us here.” She complained. She was wearing tight jeans with a pink sweater as her top and she did not look like she had been drunk last night. As a matter of fact she was as fresh as morning dew.
“Yup.” She replied swiftly. “My favorite person is me, though until this morning I loathed myself.”
“Oh, you’re so nasty.” She shrugged unconcernedly as she went to the fridge to get an orange juice. “I don’t know why you’re such in a bad mood.”
“It’s because of you.” Rainie retorted, folding her arms and tapping her foot. “Please don’t come to give a mien of innocence with me.”
“I don’t know what you can possibly mean by that. I can only assume you’re overset by last night’s events.” She replied after she gulped her juice.
Rainie raised her beautiful brow. “Which one? My ex fiancé is engaged that wasn’t me? Or waking to find that I was in someone’s bed?”
“Were you?” Chloe asked, a surprise clearly audible in her tone. For a moment, Rainie thought Chloe had nothing to do with what had happened between herself and Draven. Probably she had not, but it did not mean Chloe could just have left her with him! “Did something happen?” A mischievous grin formed on her lips.
“Oh come on. There’s nothing wrong to end up with a man’s bed.” Chloe expanded her hands up in the air. “Besides it’s Draven! Every women’s dream.” She glared defiantly, sitting down on the stool. “You lost Jason you gain Draven! It’s more than a fair deal.”
Rainie stared angrily across the table at her best friend. “I don’t know why you’re doing this to…”
“Seriously, stop pointing your finger at me.” Chloe suggested dryly. “I didn’t know that you ended up at his apartment. I was drunk also.”
Rainie sighed defeated. True, probably she was overreacting with what had happened. Besides Draven had not taken any opportunity to her.
God, what she was thinking! After the kisses they had shared in a very intimate way at his bedroom, Draven had treated her back to his usual manner. True, she had cancelled his suggestion to have breakfast, as she had felt quite shy.
Draven had not objected or agreed. He had only said to drop her at the apartment.
And as he had driven her home this morning, wondering exactly how they had had to say goodbye to each other. Not that they had been out on a genuine date or anything but she could not have hidden the annoyance of his manner though her annoyance had been more to herself. And she had not known whether to be disappointed or relieved when Draven had pulled his vehicle to fully stop at the side of the road and not even kissed her again. All she could have done was to murmur a word of thank you and had alighted without waiting for his reply.
“Hey…” Chloe’s voice brought her back to the present.
“What?!” She snapped impatiently.
“Why are you so moody?” Chloe was agog. “Has something really happened last night?”
“What do you mean?” Rainie hedged. Nevertheless her temper began to thaw slightly.
“Come on, there was something between the two of you, right?” Chloe asked gleefully. “You stayed at his place and you’re heartbroken. He was there for you.” She reasoned. “Don’t tell me, you’re discussing about the stars. In the event you’re totally drunk also.”
Rainie kept telling herself that she loved her best friend, however right at this moment she wished Chloe was anywhere but here. How could she explain something she did not understand also? Somehow she had agreed to ask Draven in the past week and she had have sworn on oath such a thing was ludicrous this morning. She took a deep breath. “Nothing happened.” She stated. Then, when her best friend gave a horsey snort, she added sternly. “I was drunk last night...Too drunk.”
“But not in the morning.” Chloe beamed.
Definitely not in the morning…
“I just said, didn’t I?” Rainie tried to hide the truth from her facial feature.
This morning was wonderful…
“Come on…” Chloe cajoled.
“I was drunk. I told you...Thanks to you.” She repeated in order to hide the sudden excitement every time she remembered this morning.
“What’s got to do with me?” Chloe asked ruefully, not quite happy not to be let off the hook so easily.
“You just walked out with Nathan without waiting for me to go home.” Rainie was unable to make her face as severe as her words.
Chloe frowned. “You’ve the key also.”
“Yes that’s why the reason. According to Draven, he didn’t allow me to be at home by myself.”
“He said that?” Chloe leaned forward. A curiosity replaced the frown.
Rainie could feel her cheeks burning. She made mistake. She should not have told her what he had said to her. “Yes. He was concerned about me! Not like you.” She blurted out, trying hard to ignore the sensation when she thought about it. Really sometimes he could have been unpredictable just like a tornado, came without a warning.
Slowly a grin crept on Chloe’s beautiful face. “What a gentleman…” She teased.
“That’s not funny.” She stated grimly.
“What you worry about?” Chloe replied, ignoring her statement earlier. “If he cares about you so be it.” She was almost purring. “You’re hooked by him whether you like it or not.”
“Chloe...” Rainie frowned warningly. “It’s not like that. I’ve to admit that he’s a true gentleman but I’m sure he has somebody. Somebody that’s more sophisticated than me. Besides I’m not into a relationship right now. I’m tired of having it.”
“Perhaps it’s true, but it doesn’t mean he doesn’t like you. If your assumption’s right, it’s likely that somebody bored him easily.” She shrugged away Rainie’s concern. “A man like him needs a woman who won’t easily surrender by his charm or his look or his wealth. I know because Nathan told me so.”
“God! I can’t believe we’re talking about him like this!” Rainie exclaimed, pressing her hands to her face, feeling a flame of embarrassment. Chloe did not know that after the kisses they had shared she was totally surrendered by his charm, at least.
“What’s wrong to talk about him like this?” Chloe parroted not quite understood.
“Never mind.” Rainie shook her head resignedly. “I just want to make this straight that I’m not into a relationship.” She said practically. “It’s no use getting something deeper beyond last night, you know how I feel about the prospect of commitment. I’m cursed with that thing. That’s why I never want to get into one.” She added, lying.
“Never is a long time.” Chloe said wisely, taking another sip of her juice.
“Not in this case.” Rainie said firmly. “Believe me.”
Chloe shrugged nonchalantly. “If anyone could change your mind, my money is on Draven.”
“Chloe, you’re going to lose your money. Every last penny. I don’t mind to have one odd date with him but that’s all can ever be.” She said trying to disregard the distress with her own word.
They stared at each other for a moment and then Chloe sighed regretfully. “Okay. I understand.”
“Thank you.” Rainie said, relieved.
“But for what it’s worth, I think he’s a perfect guy.” Chloe said determinedly.
“Of course he is.’ Rainie began impatiently wondering when Chloe would drop this subject.
“Good, so it’s wonderful to have a date with him again.” Chloe wrinkled her small nose. “He’s a good catch even for just a fling or a date.” She added and then her face glow as she raised her eyebrow. “Or even for Mr. right now.”
Rainie hauled her evening dress from the paper bag and pretended to concentrate on looking some stain. “Probably I would, like any other girls. But I’m not a sort of woman who could pop into his bed now and again for a quick spot of sex, no question asked!” She said grimly. Even as a fact she had popped into his bed this morning and had done some kissing scene with him.
If she had hoped to shock Chloe into leaving well alone, she totally miscalculated. “Then why don’t you do it now. Why don’t you just embrace it? Stop worrying about your love life.”
“I’m not into that thing.” She shook her head to clear it. “You’ve been friend with me for what? Ten years? Of course you should’ve known by now that it isn’t the kind of life that I’ll lead.”
“Sometimes it’s necessary to change the way of life.” She suggested stubbornly. “If it fails then try another one. That’s what called life, isn’t it? To survive.” She stared at her. “I understand what you’ve been through with that bastard, Jason. He’s an absolute swine and I don’t pretend to know how you must felt through all that, but I think it’s high time you had a bit of fun. You’re beautiful, intelligent and definitely could compete with those girls who hang around Draven. You’ve got every chance of meeting someone really nice in the future and perhaps settling down and having a family, just for now let your hair down. Go mad, step out of character, you know be...”
“Naughty and irresponsible?” Rainie put in dryly.
“I was going to say flirty.” Chloe grinned at her. “But naughty and irresponsible wouldn’t do any harm either. Honestly, I’ve got the idea Draven would be fantastic initiation into that way of life. He’s very charming.” She finished obliquely.
Chloe’s statement when she had mentioned that Draven was charming, she was absolutely right! For a moment, he had made her feel wanted and cherished. No to mention how he had teased her nerve! Oh yeah she admitted she surrendered.
The contour of her face must have revealed what she was thinking because in the next moment Chloe hugged herm laughter in her voice. “He did something didn’t he?”
“Chloe!!” Shocked laughter warred with her embarrassment.
“He did, didn’t he?” Chloe asked surprised. “Oh great! So what are you waiting for? That’s my advice. He’s a man after my own heart.”
Rainie eyed her best friend sternly. “I thought Nathan is a man after your heart.”
“Ah, but variety is the spice of life.” Chloe said decisively. And then her voice lost its laughter and she took Rainie’s face between her hands, her eyes were soft and twinkled when she added. “Don’t let Jason ruin your precious life. He’s wrecked it long time ago. Don’t let him destroy another day, another hour, another moment. He’s not worthy, he never was.”
“Do you think so?”
“Yes.” Chloe’s raised her chin. “Jason will always be an opportunist bastard.” She said, at Rainie’s questioning look.
Rainie winced at having Jason described as an opportunist bastard. “Then why didn’t you warn me or tell me two years ago when I was engaged with him?”
“I didn’t want you to hate me.” She answered honestly. “Look...” She covered her hands on Rainie’s. “There were so many times I wanted to tell you, but there was something that kept me holding my tongue. I wished I was wrong back then.”
“Thank you.” Rainie was touched by the concern shining out of her best friend’s face however how could she explain that everything was too late. Jason already ruined her life, completely and even though she tried to fix it, it would never be the same. The ability to trust a member of the opposite sex had been torn out of her the day Jason had broken up their engagement and she knew she had changed radically from that point on.
“Okay, now enough with your scruples.” Chloe insisted, firmly changing the subject as she retreated to her seat. “Did you hear what Deira’s mother told us last night?”
“I didn’t know.” Rainie replied with a suspicious look. “What did she tell you?”
“She invited us to join them another party next weekend at Ruby cottage. It will be another non official after engagement party or perhaps pre wedding party.”
“What’s got to do with me?”
“It means that you’re going to have another pretend date with Draven.” Chloe explained audibly.
“What?!” She gasped disbelief. “You...You must be joking right?” She stammered. “Please tell me you’re joking.”
“Nope.” Chloe shook her head. A grin reappeared on her lips. “Isn’t it a good fate for both of you?”
“I don’t think so.” Rainie answered panicky. She started to go to the back of the apartment to put her gown into the washing machine. “I’m not going.”
“Why not?” Chloe asked following her.
Rainie heaved deeply before she turned around to face her. I just don’t want do it again.”
“Chloe!” Rainie snapped irritably. “I don’t want to have another charade in front of this people. Once bitten twice is shy, okay. You see how last night ended? I was drunk and ended up at his bed, kissed him and acted like a horny girl!” She blurted out without her realizing she just revealed what supposed to be her dirty little secret.
“What did you do?” Chloe’s grin changed into a chuckle. “You kissed him?” She prompted lightly. “On his bed?”
Rainie wanted to smack her head to the wall or better to dig her own grave. How could she so stupid! Having broached the subject, she quickly regained his composure. “Yes I did kiss him.” She finally said. “But it was a total mistake.” She amended belatedly.
“Yes but you kissed him.” She winked. “Then what happened after the kiss?”
Rainie hastily held up a hand to forestall the other questions she knew were hovering on Chloe’s lips. “Nothing happened after the kiss. It’s not what you imagine.”
“Oh please...” Chloe waved her hands in the air showing the sign that she did not believe what she had said. “Don’t lie. I know that there’s something going on between the two of you.”
Rainie felt as if she was gaping at her like a fish, her mouth opening and closing repeatedly but nothing coming out. She shut her mouth with a snap of teeth and took a steadying breath. “I don’t lie to you and there’s nothing going on between the two of us. I’ve explained it to you.”
The declaration had Chloe grinding her teeth. “Fine, probably there was nothing happened last night, but I’m sure there will be.’
“There wasn’t and there won’t be something happen between us.” She said, desperately trying to make Chloe believed her. “Why are you persistent about us?” She asked suddenly feel suspicious about her. Her eyes did not leave Chloe, aware that there was a story she was not telling her, and she was not going to get away with keeping it to herself. “What’s up to your sleeves?”
Chloe’s fingers tapped out an irritated signal on the washing machine. “There’s nothing up to my sleeves. I just thought that it’d be good thing if two of my friends are together.”
Rainie winced again. “Why is a good thing?” She asked, opening the bag before putting her clothes into basket and sorted them out.
“Because I think you’re the only one who can capture his heart.” Chloe said.
“Why me?” Rainie asked, spreading her hands questioningly. “Why not other women who aren’t in the little black book he has?” She had some idea how serious the situation was when she did not get a smart comeback to her remark.
Chloe’s reluctance was palpable. “Because you can.” She eventually said. “It’s complicated.”
Complicated. That word covered a multitude of confusion Rainie knew too well. “I don’t want to be something experimental girl trying desperately to capture his heart. I’ve my own problems.”
“No.” She put one of her hand in the air to prevent Chloe to say more. “I don’t want to go beyond last night with him. Not now, not ever.” She said in a firm tone. “No.”
“No!” She snapped losing all of her patience. “Which part you don’t understand? The N or the O?”
Chloe looked at her for so long a time. “Fine. It’s entire up to you.” Rainie was just about to give a sigh of relief when she added. “But I think you’d come to the party. And don’t bother protesting.” She said, anticipating Rainie’s demurral. “What I’m suggesting now is no harm to do to try, right? That way Jason won’t feel superior just because he broke your heart.”
“I don’t even ask Draven about this.” She murmured, following her line of thought easily. “I didn’t even know about this until you just told me.”
“Will you come with him since you know now?”
Rainie glanced down at her hands. Though she did not know it, Rainie realized that Chloe won again, just like usual. “I must be crazy to even consider it.” She sighed as she raised her head.
“But will you do it? Will you go?” Chloe urged hopefully, and she rolled her eyes.
“Fine. Yes I’ll go.” Rainie confirmed, and was instantly consumed by doubts. Nevertheless it was too late to back out. She had given her word and it was a matter of honor with her that she kept it. Sound so patriotic and cliché but it was her after all.
“Great.” Chloe clasped her hands cheerfully. “Now we should find few new dresses to go there.”
“You’re the one will tell him, okay?” Rainie said.
“There’s no need. He already said yes.” Chloe replied airily.
“He did?” Rainie was taken back by surprise.
“Hm-hm.” Chloe nodded confirming her doubts. “He as a matter of fact last night told me that we should go shopping either today or tomorrow.”
“What?” Rainie glared at her unblinking. “Why should he ask that?”
“I don’t know.” Chloe shook her head lightly. “Perhaps he wants you to look good like last night.”
“Don’t worry too much about it.” Chloe waved her anxiety easily.
Rainie nodded imperturbably as she still had the doubts but she had no choice. God! Why she never won when she had discussion or even argument with Chloe. “Fine we can go to find another dress by tomorrow. How’s that?”
“Good.” Nudging Rainie out of the way, Chloe placed the basket on the floor and straightened. “Why don’t we do some window shopping first today?” And with that, she took Rainie’s arm and they left the kitchen.