Clandestine Heart

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Chapter 23

His heart in me keeps him and me in one,

My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides:

He loves my heart, for once it was his own,

I cherish his because in me it bides:

My true love hath my heart, and I have his.

--Sir Philip Sidney


“What time you will finish your class?” Tristan asked while leaving the bedroom half an hour later.

“It’ll finish around five in the evening.” She replied. “But I have to be there at one and now…” She lifted the mobile phone that was in her grasp. It showed quarter to midday already. “Well now it’s almost twelve in the afternoon.”

“Don’t worry.” He clasped her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze that definitely echoed all over her body. “You’ll be there on time.”

“Yes, but…” She halted and looked down to see her own outfit and suddenly the surge of embarrassment flooded her once again.

His thumb stroked her knuckles gently back and forth. “We’re going to your place to change first and I promise you that you’ll be at your class on time.”

Lara’s heart skipped one beat at his caress and her breathing accelerated without permission. “Okay.” She finally replied with a quiet voice.

“Sorry, I don’t keep woman’s clothes here.” He stated then he slanted his head to one side. “Perhaps I should do that now.” He added earnestly.

Lara did not know how or what to reply with that kind of statement. Instead she turned the conversation into something more general. “You have a very nice apartment.”

He eyed her speculatively for a moment before he showed his eminent smile. “Do you want to take a quick tour?”

“Well, I…”

“It won’t take longer than ten minutes, Lara.”

She shot him a look and felt the zing of something wild and rich and hot whip through her bloodstream. Honestly, did his eyes actually get darker when he wanted to get his own way? Had he perfected the art of looking both extremely masculine and mysterious at the same time?

She nodded. “Okay then.”

“Shall we start from the living room?”

“I visited it last night.” Lara beamed a smile at him.

“Ah, but it’s better with daylight.” His lips quirked up at her as he replied then pulled her to walk beside him.

And he was correct, indeed the living room was better in the daylight.

The lounge was colossal, open-space, high and definitely well-designed. For a start, the walls all were white and exactly after the foyer there was a round, dark teak wood table and on it was a big vas with white Lilies, baby breaths and roses adorned as a centerpiece. They looked so fresh. How or when those flowers had arrived?

She also just realized the imposing, elegant finest cream-colored L-shaped sofa that could easily filled with eight adults to sit comfortably. In the middle was a glossy retacgular coffee table with a medium gold bowl as a decoration. The sofa faced the ultra modern fireplace. And of course now the fire was lit and flaming steadily. On one side of the wall, there was one abstract oil painting hung strikingly, a spotlight really made a good impact of illumination to that painting and below of the painting, tucked in the corner was a shiny black grand piano. It was so contrast with the gleaming white marble floor of the room.

“Do you play piano?” Lara asked, slowing her pace and Tristan followed.

“Occasionally.” He shrugged indolently.

“You must be very good at playing music.” Lara was genuinely impressed.

“I only play piano and guitar.” He modestly replied. “But it’s very rare I do that. Work takes most of my time.”

“I see.” She murmured.

They went further until they reached to the far wall in which was a long glass wall. See-through curtains draped shot the glimmer of the sunlight, bathing the room with its warmth. Then there was a glass door that led to the balcony

Lara suddenly felt discomfited when she remembered what had happened on that balcony. And it seemed Tristan noticed that.

He halted and enclosed her within his arms, but loosely. “What are you thinking?”

“Nothing.” She forced a smile.

“Don’t buy it.” Tristan creased. “What’s a matter?”

Lara shook her head. “Nothing really.” She took a deep breath. “Shall we continue?”

Tristan looked at her and she knew he did not believe her but he did not pursue the matter, taking her hand again and lacing her fingers through his as they began to walk on. “Well, on that side is dining and kitchen area.” He told her and gave Lara to take a look at the area.

Once again, she was impressed of how beautifully designed this area with high-tech and state-of-art kitchen appliances and Near the kitchen area, in front of the glass wall, was a dining table surrounded by ten chairs, all white with black marble worktops.

“Ten chairs?” Lara tilted her head, bemused.

“I didn’t know either.” Tristan smiled. “When I purchased this place, everything were included.”

“So you bought this place without knowing what was inside?” Lara’s eyes widened.

“One of my staffs arranged after I told her what I needed for my apartment.” He replied, again lazily, as if there was nothing important.

“I see.” It was all she could say. Standing in this vast place, she was feeling so out of place. This place was really a wealth statement of Tristan Lancaster. He was really over-the top rich man, not just ordinary one.

Well, she had realized that last holiday, actually… With his private jet, villa and his lavish lifestyle.

What’ve got into you, Lara? Falling in love with this man for three years? There’s no way he’s suitable for you…

“Shall I show you, the second floor?” He said and that made her blinked and then realized that there was a half circle of white and wide stairs that led up.

“Sure.” She replied and once again Tristan led her to the second floor.

“It’s only a room, actually.” He explained as they walked up on the stairway. “My bedroom.” He emphasized the word ‘my bedroom’.

She turned and Tristan regarded her intently but there was nothing she could read on his handsome face.

“Ah, I see…” Lara murmured. “I thought the bedroom that…” she halted, remembering once again what had happened last night… of how they had almost made love. Flushing, she added with a soft voice as she released his grip as she moved away few steps. “I thought the room I stayed last night was your bedroom.”

“I sleep there often but it’s just another empty bedrooms.” He smiled briefly. “But this one is my room, my quarter.”

What he said about a room, was really a wrong word, as both of them reached the top. It was not a room, it was another, different kind of statement… masculine statement.

It was an open-spaced area without a door from the stairway. In the middle was an enormous bed, covered with light gray duvet. Two white side-tables of each of the minimalist designed bed with lamps on to them, were the only things furniture in this room.

On the left side was another glass wall with a single glass door that led to another balcony, bigger than the one on the lower floor. And there was a Jacuzzi or lap pool occupied the half-length of the balcony.

What a breathtaking place…

“You have a Jacuzzi?” She murmured quietly as she moved closer towards glass wall and stared at it with awe.

“I barely use that.” He snorted carelessly then he sauntered toward her until he was standing in front her. “Perhaps we can use that when the weather is warmer.” He suggested, raising his hand to run his fingers gently down to her cheek then to her chin. He tilted her head backward so he could look directly into her eyes. “What do you think?”

“Well, it will take another few months.” Lara squirmed inwardly. She really did not know to handle his sweet charade. Oh, he had shown a slight of his charade when they had been in the villa, but there had been nothing compare to what was happening now. It seemed as he was really doing this without holding back.

“I’ll wait.” In the shadowed day, his eyes were bright and as scorching as sunlight. There was a small smile twisting his lips. “I’ve been waiting all this time. Few months more doesn’t make any difference.”

Her mind whirling, she tried to dredge up a reply. How could she reply such a statement? She swallowed, feeling a little bit shaky like a leaf before strolled away from him. “What’s that?” She then pointed to the closed door, avoiding this intimate and promised conversation of their future being together.

“That’s a bathroom.” He pointed his chin towards the closed door at one corner. If he appeared to recognize her withdrawal, he did not say anything regarding that matter. “Want to check it out also?”

“Yes.” Lara swiftly nodded. Then aware that it was too swiftly she asked. “Well, if that’s okay with you?”

“Of course it’s okay, Lara.” Tristan stared at her for a moment. It seemed he was surprised by her question. “Why isn’t okay?” He frowned.

“Nothing, really. It’s just…” Her voice faded, did not really know what to answer.

“Lara…” He gently called her name. “I know that you are still foreign with us…” He inhaled deeply. “Well with me.” He briefly fluttered his eyes before he carried on. But please put your guard down…”

“Tristan…”

“Please hear me out.” He pleaded, and now his look was so intense. “I really want you, not only now. I have wanted you for so long and when finally I told you how I feel and I know somehow you still have the same feeling in which I’m grateful about that…” He gave a lopsided smile. “I mean, I can’t hold back everything I want to do with you. I can’t wait to share what I do with you.” He paused for a split second and his breathing became harsher. “If only I could do that with you sooner.”

Lara tentatively smiled at him, feeling cofounded with his words. “That’s okay, Tristan.” And that was all she could have replied.

He raised an eyebrow, as he heard the reply. “That’s okay?” He repeated. His eyes bored to her inquisitively.

“Umm… I mean…” She swallowed as she placed the lock of her hair behind her ear with a nervous gesture. “I mean, it’s in the past.”

Tristan smiled softly and his eyes flamed with insight with her edginess. “Yes, sure it’s in the past. So shall we check the bathroom before we hit the road?”

“Yes, sure.” She took a relief sigh then obediently followed his steps.

Obviously the bathroom was marvelous just like the rest of the rooms in this place, everything was immaculately designed, including the bathtub; an egg-shaped and white stone. But it was not the bathroom that was stealing her attention when she turned her gaze to the left side to the opened door room.

It was a walking closet.

She took her steps towards and went inside.

A white, velvet round stool was right in the middle of the room with the chandelier as the one of the illumination of the room. Then there were built-in wardrobes filled against most of all the walls with mirrored glass. Lara could see her figure standing. And she also could see him watching her to infinity everywhere she looked and it made her self-conscious of what she already had been. And especially with her look, right now. It was not really so appealing sight to see.

“What a walking closet you have.” She commented briefly as she avoided those so intense gaze on her.

“Half of the wardrobe are empty.” He replied while approaching.

She saw his movement from the mirror. She felt that her blood was pumping through her body. He was the epitome of confidence and charismatic, she thought. His blazing eyes kept on hers until he stopped exactly behind her.

He caressed her right arm very gently from the upper side then glided to her hand before entwined his fingers on hers. He wrapped both of their hand on her waist and pulled her closer, so she could lay her head against his firm chest.

“You’re so beautiful.” He whispered in her ear and with absolute gentleness he grazed it with his lips.

Lara’s breathing was increasing in every touch of his and her heart was racing witlessly. “With this look? I hardly feel beautiful, Tristan.” She replied. Her voice was husky while her eyes met his through the mirror.

“Ah, but you’re always beautiful in my eyes, Lara.” He murmured and then with his other free hand, he heaved her hair to another side of her shoulder before he slightly bent his head to kiss the nape of her neck.

“Tristan, I…”

“I want you so much…” He murmured and swayed her body to face him. He wrapped both of his arms on her body, prisoned her in his embrace. “You have no idea how much I want you.” He lifted one of his hand swept a gentle thumb across her cheek.

A tremor ran through her body as she was listening to his gentle voice. “Well, we…”

“I know.” He interrupted. “We have to go.” He added, placing a tender kiss on her forehead. “So, shall we?”


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