Clandestine Heart

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Chapter 5

In hours of bliss we oft have met they could not always last.

And though the present I regret, I’m grateful for the past.

--William Congreve


Moving on was inevitable for anyone and Tristan was no exception. Though in his case, moving on meant to live to live his life like he supposed to live. He had to be who everybody had perceived him to be. Which was revolved around work and work, only occasionally with women but it was not as many as he had used to do.

Tristan sighed heavily. He, just like usual was looking unbearably handsome with his elegant grey tailor-made business suit. Yet, his shoulders were slumped in dejection and his good looking feature was tired as he rested his beautiful shape head on the leather seat behind the large mahogany table in his massive office.

There always were something important to do and important documents that piled nicely for him to read.

Surely, he had done his endless work today or any other days and always at the end of the day, just like tonight, her beautiful face always slipped back to haunt him.

At the beginning, he had tried to push away the image of her face, yet as time passed by, he had succumbed to his own mind and let her face accompanied how he ended his nights.

He played his expensive pen insentiently as he gave in to let his mind wondered. This time his mind wondered when Lara had confessed her feeling towards him for the third time. No women had dared to profess their feeling towards him so bravely like her. Mostly, they had just played hard to get in this case, Tristan really never had entertained that, or they had flirted, allured him with their beauties. Some of course confessed but after he had shown no interest, they had moved on to another preys.

But Lara was not just any woman.

It seemed it was just like yesterday when she had asked him to have talk. Reluctantly he had agreed, as he had had known the reason why.

That night, with her sweet soft voice, again she had told him that she’d loved him. He had heard many word of love had come from the lips of women, but it had never been so eloquent and yet so despondent at the same time.

“Tris,” She had called his name tautly. Her hands had clenched tightly.

“Yes, Lara.” He had replied tonelessly. He had just needed to get over it. Seeing her like this confessing to the wrong person like him had always been unworthy.

“I know that…Ummm…” Hesitation had started to fill in her tone and Tristan had almost just wanted to hold her and told her that he had understood. Nevertheless he had not done those things. He had only sat there in that fancy restaurant, staring at her blankly.

“I know that, I’ve said that… That I cared about you.” She’d begun again, her voice had been almost a whisper. “But… I really do ca… Love you.”

Every time she had said that word, it had turned his world upside down and he had always been speechless and in the verge of going mute. But he had needed to say something.

He had felt guilty. The guilt he had never experienced creeping inside him. He had really wanted to lie, or giving her false hope, but he really had not had the heart to do that to her.

So, he had said another truth, thought it had hurt her.

“Lara, you know that we’re friends from the beginning.” He had said flatly. “And you know the reason why we’re friends was because Liam and Abby are dating.”

Reluctantly, Lara had nodded and let him to continue to preach another lie.

“Don’t you think if not because of them, our path would have met?” He had added in, a mocking edge to his voice. “Please don’t misunderstood your gratitude feeling towards me just because I helped you into becoming love feeling.”

“I don…”

“I only helped you, just like perhaps Blake helped or even Liam helped when we see our female friends being treated like that with other man.” He had known that his word had a slight of chagrin sound.

Tristan had heard that she had drawn a shuddering breath. “I know what I feel, Tristan.” Her voice had been thick with emotion, as she had looked at his stern, hard features.

“I’ve no intention to date my friends. Besides, we’re a world apart. You want a steady boyfriend and perhaps a husband, while me…” Tristan had not continued only shrugged indolently.

“I see.” She had said in a void of uncertainty hush. “I understand.”

“You do?” Tristan could not have helped but to ask skeptically as he had arched one eyebrow.

Lara had nodded. “Yes, I understand completely now. And respect your honesty.”

Tristan had given no reply, not even a flicker of emotion in his eyes or a grimacing twist of his mouth. He had had put a mask to cover his turbulence of feeling.

And then she had smiled. That radiant smiled that always etched in his memory. “Thank you for listening. I know it must be hard for you to hear the word of love as I know that you might’ve heard it many times.” She had paused for a moment before she had continued. “This will be the last time you’ll hear my… Ummm… My confession. But just for you to know, despite what you’ve said that you’re not a good person, but I think you are.”

“Please hear me out also this time.” He had paused for moment, looking at her angelic face. “I do like you and you’re my friend, it’s just…”

“It’s just you don’t love me back.” Lara had finished it softly. “I just want to tell you how I feel, though perhaps you think that I’m really a pushy person, but I’ve no intention to have you. It seems that when I told you before, you didn’t seem to realize it.”

“And what makes you think that I realize it now?” He had glanced up arrogantly.

“I don’t know…” She had shrugged and given a sad chuckle. “I guess like everyone says; the third time is always a charm.”

Tristan had not said anything. He had closed his eyes for a moment. Perhaps what she had said had been true. Third time has been a charm. Because little had he known, that night, he had been charmed actually by her.

“Lara…”

“Tristan, I really need to go.” Suddenly she had gotten up from her seat.

“Lara…” He had called her name again and just about to rise also but she’d stopped him.

“Please.” She had said. “I can accept the offer just being your friend and I can guarantee you that I’ll never tell or show you how I feel.” Taking a deep, shuddering breath, Lara slowly had started to walk. “Bye, Tristan.” She had added one last time before she had walked away from him.

And she had kept her promise. Although sometimes they had bumped into each other, he could have sensed she had avoided him, never too directly though.

And the more she had avoided him, the more he had felt agitated.

The agitation had turned into longing then longing had turned into something much deeper…Something a like love…

He closed his eyes as he reclined his straight sitting position. Thinking about her. He wondered how she had been. How she had been coping with her life. Asking Abby would be the last thing in the world he would have done, since he did not want to raise any suspicious mind of Abby. She might have sensed something but since none of them had ever discussed it, Abby had never brought the subject.

Suddenly he heard his mobile phone buzzed. He opened his eyes languidly, half irritated to whoever called him.

He saw Blake’s name on his mobile phone screen. “Yes, Blake.”

“Where are you now?” Sharp and always so miserly with word, Blake asked him without any preamble.

“Where do you think I should be right now?” He retorted flippantly.

Tristan heard the soft chuckle from the other line. “Yes, alright. Stupid question.” Blake admitted. “Anyway don’t forget to meet us at Equinox later on.”

“What’s going on at Equinox?” He asked, despite he knew the fact that Equinox was the posh exclusive bar at downtown where he often went.

“Damn, Tristan, how come you become so old and forgetful now. Phoenix’s birthday.”

“Fuck!” He cursed sternly. “I totally forgot that it is today.”

“No worries.” Blake pacified. “Just be there on time. That’s why I’m calling now.”

“Are you on the way now?”

“Yes.” Blake said evenly. “I need to pick up Lara since I’m passing her place also.”

Digesting the information when Blake mentioned her name, Tristan nearly staggered. “So you’re picking her up.” a harsh confirmation rolled on his lips. He felt as if a punch through his gut and blew so deep that it reverberated against his spine that was stiffing with tension.

“Problem?” Blake asked simply. The question that was come from Blake, who never used two words when one would suffice.

Tristan cleared his throat. ”No.” He said in dangerous quietness of lies.

“Alright then. See you later.”

“Okay.” He said grimly and hung up before threw the expensive mobile phone on the table.

A muscle worked in his jaw. His elbows braced on the table, his head lowered. He felt as though atmosphere had been absorbed out of his lungs. His heart constricted with jealousy.

Oh, he knew he supposed not be jealous, he had no right to be jealous, as a matter of fact. Blake only did what a friend should have done. It was not a big deal.

However it was a big deal.

He could not afford to force down the jealousy when the thought of Blake picked her up and took her in the small compartment of his sport car. The idea of Lara sweet lips formed into a smile at Blake and how she told him about her day. How her most extraordinary eyes tilted slightly at the corners when she listened about Blake’s day.

Frustrated with his own galloping imagination, Tristan exhaled heavily before he manage to reign his thoughts.

He leaned forward and pressed this secretary intercom number on the telephone. “Judith, ask Thomas to prepare the car and pick me up in the lobby.” He ordered.

“Now Mr. Lancaster?” Judith, his secretary asked.

“Yes, now.” He replied impatiently.

“Absolutely, Sir.”

“Thank you.” Tristan hung up before he stood up and pulled on his jacket then strode out from his office and heading to the lift that would bring him down to the ground floor.

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