Clandestine Heart

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Chapter 2

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon’em

--Twlefth Night, II.v


Darkness blanketed the autumn sky, only a pale crescent moon and few twinkling stars scattered across the inky plain above, gracefully shone their beams of silver into the darkness part of the earth. Though the sky was dark, at certain point of on earth, it was bright by streetlights standing still in their arranged position, obediently provided the people the lights in which nature could not.

Unfortunately only few people appreciated the majesty and the mysterious night sky. They preferred something instant such these artificial lights, than gazed upon to treasure the sky where the true precious beautiful light of nature laid. Also they were into worship of the immediate riches of the world, though who to blame, if they were more practical, more materialistic and rather to live in their man-made happiness.

With no exemption, also in this city; New York, one of the busiest and most populous cities in the world. This was the city of business and money where there was an intangible line lay amongst the living of the poor, middle class and few of the wealthiest people.

Tristan Alexander Lancaster, obviously belonged to that few elite circles of the wealthiest people. He had been born with silver spoon and he had never had his hands gotten dirty to acquire the things he had wanted nor allowed him to mingle with just anybody. His family was prominently wealthy and of course so were his friends.

Tristan had befriended with Phoenix since they had been in primary five or six. Their families had been closed for two generations, there had been no doubt that they had been expected to be the same.

Even Rosalie, Liam’s younger sister, had been arranged to date either him or Phoenix in order to keep their family close. Fortunately Phoenix had sealed the deal.

It had not been a smooth-sailing love story. Phoenix, though was always friendly and wise, had one weakness. He always loved women. He had been once called a first class playboy by some magazines not without reason and obviously, women loved him as he had good-look and very athletic body.

However fate had said differently or in his case, it had come to Phoenix’s side. Since, though phoenix had been changing women like there had been no tomorrow, he had fallen with Rosalie. He had not really dared to approach this feisty, smart woman. In addition her brother, Liam would have killed him on the spot if any one of his friends had laid their hands on his baby sister.

Phoenix had had to work double harder when he had decided to be serious with one woman. Leaving his carefree lifestyle had been much easier compared to convince the siblings.

Rosalie had not believed he had changed, and Liam just had hot believed him. He even had threatened to cut any connection with Phoenix. But Phoenix obviously had not been a person who easily to deter. Then with so much effort for almost one year, finally Rosalie could have seen the seriousness attention of Phoenix and Liam could not have objected.

Then, there was Liam. The stubborn, crude and a very successful businessman had been friend of Tristan longer than Phoenix and was the total opposite of Phoenix. He had been very cold towards any woman. He had believed women only wanted him because of his status, power and money. He had had that thought until he had met Abby.

She was different that any other woman he had ever encountered. She was strong and wise not to mention kind-hearted although she came from the other side of his world. For the first time, Liam had wanted a woman. He had wanted someone more than life itself. With all his power, he had fought for Abby. She had not believed that Liam had fallen for her. With a man as caliber as Liam, obviously he could have chosen any woman to toy with. But, Liam was a serious man. Once he liked a woman, he would never have altered his mind easily. All he had needed to do had been to convince her. With his strong characteristic, he had made sure that Abby would have been his.

The last person Tristan had been close to be his friend was Blake. He had only known him for eight years, since they had studied at the same University of Edinburgh. Where Liam also had studied at the same place.

If Liam was a fire, Blake was the opposite. He had been famously labeled as a cold prince by society. This ice prince was very remote and controlled. Never seen with any woman to date, never really had become the headliner also. Blake had not had any close friends before. If not because they had shared the same room in campus dormitory, perhaps they would not have been close like now.

It had taken quite sometimes for Tristan to understand him, but after a while Blake had started to open up, warmer towards his close friends, though on the surface, he still put his distance. It seemed he did not care others’ interest but all of his friends knew better than that. He cared so much. He only did not know how to show it. His cold upbringing with his family had imprinted so deep in his soul. Even now he was a very successful neurosurgeon, he was not that friendly towards people.

And Tristan, himself, if he wanted to analyze his own character, he would have said that he had the same thoughts as Liam’s. Woman wanted nothing but his wealth, He shared the same kind of life like Phoenix. He treated his women lavishly with his attention, his unlimited cash and his expertise in the art of seduction, though he did not need to work hard to gain attention. With his look he could have any woman he wanted even if he had not had money to burn.

Definitely he and his friends would have become to what they were now, of how they carried their way had been because of their upbringing.

In his case it had been because of his father. He had seen since he had been just a boy that his father had changed from one woman to another, leaving his mother behind at home. He had used to think that it had been normal until he had realized that it had been far than being normal.

In addition, for once Tristan had felt the betrayal from one beautiful woman. Georgia Leighton was her name. She had been able to crack his heart and Tristan had been willing to give his feeling involved. But only six months after they had started, Tristan had found out that she had secretly loved another man. And he had confronted her, she had admitted calmly the reason she had two-timed him. She had told her that, going out with Tristan had been easy. What had been the word she had stated to him? Bearable.

They came from the same family background. She had been sure that Tristan would not have used her wealth and most of all it had felt good to catch one of the most eligible bachelor.

At first, he had been furious, but when he had some kind of sentiments, he had seen the element of truth in her statement. And after all the anger had subsided, he had realized that he had also been the same as perception as hers. He had not really loved with Georgia anyway. His man-ego had driven his anger at first only. After that had gone, she had been easily forgotten.

Tristan had returned to his usual pace of life and apparently more that what society had perceived about him, what they had labeled him long ago; the infamous playboy.

Nevertheless every time he went back to his massive apartment, the hollowness reeled in. his space and his heart had one thing in common; concrete wall and emptiness. The funny part was, he had never welcomed anyone to enter deep inside him, not even Georgia.

Tristan took a quick glance at his opulent watch. The needle showed that it was almost three in the morning, yet he was nowhere near his apartment.

Instead at this wee hour he was in one of the exclusive posh lounge, sitting on the bar stool and drinking his whiskey, practically alone. This place was dimmed and almost empty, leaving only him and few customers inside.

Earlier that night, he had silently left the hotel room with a beautiful blonde girl still sleeping after releasing his manhood that he did not even bother to remember her name. They had met during some function tonight, she had been attractive enough. He, just like usual had done his routine towards any woman and without doing so much effort, the deal had sealed.

He gripped his glass tighter before he drank the whiskey in one gulp. Soon, the hot liquid filled his throat before went to his lung. He then grabbed on stick of cigarette then lighted it with the matches. Honestly he could not recall when had he started to smoke. Perhaps it had started when he had been so stressed out with his work or… maybe it had been simply because of her.

The woman, who was far too different than any other things in this world. She was the only woman who had made him to have the urge to risk everything, gambling to destroy the wall of his heart that he had worked to build so hard mentally and emotionally.

He had used to think that smoking might making the memory of her disappear into a thin air. Yet, apparently until now it did not work. Even if he might have a lung cancer because of too much smoking, her sunny bright smile still made his heart beat faster every time he reminisced or how her laughter, resonating like music to his ears immediately stopped his world to revolve. If he wanted to carry on, he revered her sweet feminine scent lingered in the wind of his air or how her enticingly long hair brushed inside him. But those things could not compete to her beautiful eyes. Those brown innocent eyes were the window of her heart. They were always honest to reveal everything of her feeling.

And those pair of her brown eyes had been blue three weeks ago, when she had stood in front of her mother’s burial ground. He had seen the sadness before since he knew he had been one of the persons who had hurt her. Oh, hurt had been understated. He had made her crumbled into pieces, exactly. The moment their eyes had collided he could have seen the vulnerability and how she had tried to fight it.

Seeing her again though in devastating situation somehow equaled to heaven.

God damned, she was beautiful, he thought as he killed his cigarette on the astray.

Closing his eyes, he recollected the moment he had seen her again after months of keeping his distance. Well, she had grown more beautiful each time he saw her. Though she had looked so fragile with a telltale smudged of tiredness around her eyes. Her dark-brown hair had been longer just slightly above her slim waist.

Back then, he had wished to embrace her in his arms giving her the comfort she had needed. He had have traded the world just to hold her or gone to hell and back only make her smile return and perhaps even bargained with the devil to make her happy again.

Yet it had been only a wish.

Tristan sighed heavily. It was a wish he, himself, could not even fulfill it. He knew if he had done that impulse action, everything he had built would have easily broken apart. He had made her suffer again. He had done that two years ago. He had been the one who had hurt her beyond everything she had gone through.

Fuck, he was no God’s gift to women. And no, it was not because he was kind of handsome vampire from the famous movies or dramas or had a twisted sex life such as sexual slavery of dominant and submissive kind of things.

He just did not know how to give in his heart completely. He had never known, for he had grown up in the cold and detached family. Behind the wall of wealth and influence, society rarely saw that their huge mansion had been rotting inside. His parents’ marriage had been difficult ever since it had started. They had never been a happy towards each other. Only when they needed to appear in front of the public eyes, they could cooperate pretending to love each other. Once they were alone, they went their own ways. His father, David Lancaster, was never in their house for months, leaving his wife alone at that palace-like structure. Well, not practically alone, only feeling lonely, with all the household staffs, the mansion was never empty, but Tristan felt the loneliness surrounded his mother.

Maria Lancaster, his mother, should have been the last woman to suffer. Tristan did not want to add another victim in his life, though he realized it had not been really his fault but the guilt for being powerless to erase his mother pain. And besides, he was like his father. He hated the fact, but could not deny that his blood ran through his vein. He had the same sharp thinking as businessman and a charm that could melt any woman’s heart.

Tristan shook his head, a cynical smile formed on his lips. That’s not true, he immersed. He actually had another woman suffered.

Lara Harrington was his victim. The only difference was, his father had kept his wife by his side only to hurt her emotionally while Tristan, on the other hand, had pushed Lara away and yet by doing that, he had hurt her.

Pushing her away, he had thought had been the best decision for her. Lara deserved a man who could protect her and he knew he was not the right person. The only protection he could have done to her was to keep his distance.

It should have been a very easy way out. He had been sure that the broken-heart she had experienced would have gone away soon then everybody moved on with no hard feeling. Well, finally she had received the message. She had started to avoid him as many as she could.

Yes, it should have been easy, only he had miscalculated one thing.

His feeling.

Every time she had avoided him, the scar had been deeper. He had had no idea when she had captured his heart. When had he started to loosen his guardians or how she had managed to do that without his knowledge.

“Excuse me, Mr. Lancaster, but we’re closing now.” The voice from the bartender brought him from his thoughts of her.

He nodded. “Okay, give me the bill for me to sign.”

“Certainly sir.”

“It’s so quiet tonight.” Tristan commented while waiting his bill to come.

“Yes, it’s a bit slow tonight, sir. Perhaps since it’s close to winter, people are lazy.” The bartender replied while giving him the bill.

Tristan only signed the bill without even bother check the amount. As a member of this exclusive lounge, he did not to pay immediately since it was monthly charged. But he never left the bill without a big tip.

After he set aside fifty dollars notes inside the bill, he gave it back. “Here it goes.”

“Thank you, sir.” The bartender smiled politely.

“No worries, Jack.” He said, lifting his expensive jacket from the stool. “Goodnight.”

“Good night, Mr. Lancaster. Safe drive.”

Tristan gave him a quick smile. “Will do, Jack. You take care.”

“Yes, sir.”

Tristan then started to walk towards the door and few minutes later his Bugatti Veyron was speeding fast on the road of Lexington Avenue, heading to his apartment at Midtown Manhattan.

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