Clandestine Heart

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Chapter 18

My love is of a birth as rare as ’tis for object strange and high

It was begotten by despair upon impossibility.

--Andrew Marvell


A curtain of mist lay over the city but the stars sparkled and danced in the dark sky. The elm leaves dislodged by the light breeze wafted gently to the ground. It was typical towards the end of the month of January, a two-faced month where wintry weather frequently marred the slight and gentle greening.

In front of the hospital lobby, two figures were emerging. The first one was tall, elegant and very good-looking man while the other was petite, fragile, beautiful woman. Their hands were entwined nevertheless the intense atmosphere was very suffocating to them as they stood in silence.

“I’m calling my chauffer first.” Tristan broke their silences as he informed Lara. He then gently disengaged his hand on hers as he fished his mobile phone.

Lara nodded. She really still did not understand his behavior tonight. She didn’t even know since when his hand had been on hers or why now, the moment he left his hand of hers, she felt colder than the intruding freezing wind caressed her face.

“You’ll stay at my place tonight.” Tristan told her tonelessly, once he disconnected his conversation with his driver.

Lara who was standing a foot away from him, stared at his back and all of his splendors, taking in every little detail. “But that’s not necessary. I can take care myself.”

Tristan turned his proud head. His cold, dark, flashing eyes were seeking out hers in a look as a physical blow. It was obvious from the beginning that Lara didn’t want to do anything with him, yet he refused to be deterred from the purpose and the situation that had brought him with here. “No you can’t take care of yourself tonight.”

“I’ve been taking care myself and so far I’m doing fine.” Lara argued, clasping her hands jerkily. “There’s no difference about tonight also.”

“Trust me Lara, there’s a lot differences about tonight.” He told her darkly.

Under the pale moonlight, Lara needed to focus on his lean features with a heart that was chilled even as its beat involuntarily accelerated. His mysterious, deep-set eyes had an aggressive glisten. “What’s the difference?”

Tristan moved fluidly forward as his spiky black lashes low over his slumberous look as he was staring at her. “Do you really want to know?” He asked in an indolent connotation as smooth as silk.

That deep, dark pronunciation sent tiny little shivers running down her taut spinal cord. And she preferred not answering that. Instead she lowered her gaze down, did not want to feel the feverish tension that had snaked through her.

Less than a minute later, his car had arrived and Tristan opened the passenger door. “Let’s go Lara.” He commanded gently.

Alarm gripped her at his command. He really never listened to her. A deep inner quiver slivered through her soul. Facing Tristan, she suspected, would not be easy, for she was still smarting from his question. “Tristan seriously I can take care of myself. But I do really appreciate what you’ve done tonight.”

Tristan closed his eyes as he released his breath in an impatient hiss. “I don’t think you don’t understand.” He said. His lips compressed tightly and she could see a bloodless white line around his mouth. “But you’re coming to my place tonight.”

“I can’t go back to your place.” She still insisted.

“Don’t argue with me.” He told her coldly.

“I’m not arguing. I just want to go back to my place.” She retorted. She had enough. Enough with Tristan was around her. She needed to be away from him as far as she could. She feared being with him one more second, she would crumble down again.

Tristan turned around and she once again looked at his back. The sight of his broad, uncommunicative back was eloquent enough to tell her that her efforts were a waste of time. Nevertheless she would not give up. It was her heart after all was in the stake of heartbreaking line. “Can you please give me my medicine?” She implored wearily.

Suddenly he slammed his car door and for the second time he turned around to face her. His lush black lashes fluttered and slowly lifted. He could feel his temper rising, no matter how hard he tried to ram it down. Was not she capable of any logical reaction? First she was wounded. Next despite of the pain she had been through mentally and physically at the event of the evening, she still insisted that she could take care of herself.

“No.” He uttered the word in a tone of crushing finality. “You’re going back with me.”

“Look, what’s the use of you for taking me back with you? Can you give me one good reason why are you persisting to help me?” She protested meekly. Anxiety holding her taut, she noted how very angry he had become. She had never seen him like this before. His eyes flickered under the dim light of the street lamps, they were simmering. Nervously she shifted of her standing, every muscle tightening, every nerve-ending flaring with agonizing immediacy into sensitized awareness.

He did not reply directly, he only stood there at the same spot motionlessly. There was a stiff breeze blowing to ruffle his black hair, making him more handsome. It was painful sight, loving him is painful. And when he finally replied his voice cracked with emotion. “You’re not well. And I won’t leave you alone anymore.”

She took a step away from the message that blazed in his eyes. There was no denying the thunderous whirlwind swirling inside her. Why did he mean about that? Did he really have a slight of concern? Or was it simply a guilt and responsibility just because he had found her in the lowest stage of her life? She thought of all she confided. Slowly she shook her head from side to side as she spoke to him sternly. “It’s not good reason enough.”

“What good reason would it be, hm?” He demanded, standing so rigidly in front of her.

Lara shook her head. “Nothing.” She said. “There’s no good reason. It was just an excuse for me so I can come back to my place and my room where I can crawl and sleep.”

Tristan’s lips gave a lopsided smile. “You can crawl and sleep tonight in my place also, I won’t stop you and trust me, I’ll leave you alone there. But I won’t leave you alone at your place tonight, knowing the fact that you’re wounded.”

“I can take…”

“Don’t tell me that you can take care yourself.” He interrupted. “I know you can any other night. But not tonight.”

Lara bit her lips nervously. How she supposed to tell him that his nearness only created another wound of her heart? How could she face him knowing that later on, he would ask her what had happened tonight? She just did not want in the same roof with him. She took a deep sigh. She needed to cut it very fast. “What’s good for you, Tristan?” She argued immensely, and roughly snatched away the twig of her hairs played by the ruffle wind. “Why you’re so persistent to nurture me? There are only bruises that will heal within days. What’s your benefit? I bet you gain nothing but a troublesome girl.”

“What do you mean benefit?” He gritted in a fierce undertone. He took a step closer. His dark eyes flamed belligerently. “Troublesome girl? Why do you see yourself like that?” He lifted both of his hands in the air, giving the sign of disbelief of what he had heard. “Why do still have this low esteem attitude about you? All I see is, that you need help and everyone in my position right now would help you. I’m sorry that you don’t have a choice that I’m the one and the only one who helps you in this situation. And you must bear to be with me for tonight. Since there’s no way that I’d leave you alone. Do you understand?”

“To understand and to follow what you want is totally different thing.” Lara regarded him skeptically. “I do understand but doesn’t mean I’ll comply what you wish.”

“Oh, trust me, Lara.” He hissed softly, slanting his eyebrow “You’ll comply what I wish.”

Breathless, she gazed up to his beautiful orbs. She knew it was pointless to argue with Tristan nevertheless she did not really comprehend what he wanted. “Seriously Tristan, I didn’t really see the point why you want to take care of me?” She asked. “Did you…” She paused briefly. “Did you not like me?”

“Not like you?” He asked back unevenly.

She sighed with a great wariness, somehow, she just had enough to face him tonight. The situation had gotten worse every time they argued like this. “Tristan, please, can we just drop it? I’m tired. I just want to go back to my place.”

“And I told you that I won’t do that.”

Lara’s both hand came up to rake through her hair, trembling. “Why? Can you tell me the honest reason why?”

Tristan felt his chest was constricting. He was tormenting between to tell her another lie or simply the truth. His mind was splitting apart. The emotion and rational senses were colliding just like the wave of ocean violently had crashed against the shore. Nevertheless somewhere deep inside of his dark heart told him if he had not spoken now, if he just would have let her go without laying it all out everything, the he would have never the chance ever again. She had to know, whether she liked it or not. She needed to know even though she had been over him or what would have the future might become.

“Honestly?” He asked with the blaze of longing in his eyes. “It’s because I love you.” He said hoarsely.

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