1| Half Hope, Half Love
"If someone you love hurts you, cry a river, build a bridge and get over it."
"I'm nervous, Scarlett."
In the midst of choosing the attire for his special night, after probably scandalizing his whole closet and not getting the desired piece, I stopped my ministrations, only to turn around to look at his troubled expression.
Very rare, indeed.
"What if she doesn't like me?"
When I made no move to correct him, he gauged my incredulous expression, but continued nevertheless. "You know I don't have much experience with women."
Actually, his 'much' translates to "shaking hands with the urgent female pests and later sanitazing his whole bloodstream with the likes of Lifeboy.
But I knew better than to peel his words, and throw the carbs back at him.
"I highly doubt Kiara isn't sensible enough to see what I see in you."
Staring right through his hidden soul, I smiled genuinly. "That you're the most handsome piece of flesh and blood, highly advanced functioning robot with the special lie detector, having characterised devotion and pride to your work, and not necessarily to say, but much better person in real than what you let all those around you see."
But as expected, he didn't believe a word of mine so I continued rummaging through his clothes.
"Kiara is someone I don't want to let go of, anytime soon."
I didn't turn around. "I know."
"If things turn out right, I'll propose her to be my wife."
I didn't respond, knowing its alreadly clear to both of us, that if things didn't turn out right in the end, he'll break from inside and I have to be beside him to help him, recover, revive.
To be back on his feet again.
"I'm not experienced enough, Scarlett."
Yes, wooing women had never been on the list of his achievements.
But there is always a first time for everything. He needed to know that.
He needed to know he didn't need my help anymore. I was just his employee.
His secretary. Assigned to help him in his work.
Not his friend. Present here to give him love advise.
Taking a deep breath, I bit my lip hard, finding it hard to ignore the anticipation of his next words.
Sometimes, I wish I didn't know him that much.
Instantly, my body stiffened, hearing my first name roll out so beautifully, lovely, sensually, from his mouth, and I gripped his robes tightly around my fingers, clutching them for life, silently shooking my head, my heart not wanting to hear his next words.
Grabbing all my wits, slowly I turned around, looking as casual as the moon hidden behind the clouds, tucking a lock of hair behind my ear.
Not wanting to make it awkward, I placed the selected pair of clothes on his bed, feeling his precise eyes gauging my every movement, making my skin tingling with nervousness.
But when he made no move to go and change whatsoever, I sighed to myself and walked to his side, placing both of my hands on his broad shoulders, making him look at me.
He would need some encouragement and a slight push, I thought.
"I think you're thinking too much, Heath. Any women in their right mind would love to be with you and any women in their wrong mind would kill to be with you."
He didn't look a bit convinced. It's okay, I didn't expect any better from him.
He looked at me with blank eyes, his expression passionless, and I cursed myself for not realizing that he could be as silent as the dark, if he wanted.
The more he felt, the more he hid.
Because he was scared of being betrayed and left behind.
He had his pretty good damn reasons for thinking that, I decided after remembring everything he went through.
He didn't talk much, he was not arrogant like all the rich funky rude bastards, he was not conceited, baring him of any drop of narsissance, but he can be all of those, if required and nobody knew it better than me.
He was wounded, but he would rather die than let anyone see and take advantage of it, he was thirsty, of love, of his parents, of his grandfather, of his love, Kiara.
But he found it easier to bury it deep inside his heart, than to let it all out. As usual, we run from the truth, only to collide with its cruelity, it's purity, one day, with such a force that it tackles us down to the past, the one place where nobody wants to wander again.
No matter how much good or bad, it is. Nobody wants to go deep into their past.
And this time, he encountered the truth, with bravery, and embraced it in his heart, to move forward, with better promises, with his loved ones.
"You don't have to worry over trifle things, I know you can do better than-"
"You're her sister, Scarlett. Nobody knows her better than you. Tell me what she likes..." He gazed at me with intensity tearing my insides. I could feel his breath honning my lips, making them part in desired anticipation. "In men."
My throat went dry, my mind blaring with his request, trying to find any suitable answers for him, but I found none.
Except for she likes every men, as long as they behave as one.
But knowing him, it was better to keep it to myself.
"I... " Inching my face away from him, I tried to look at anywhere but him. "Kiara isn't picky type, you know. She likes almost everyone, instantly."
Feeling his intense burning stare at my skin, I added in haste."As a friend, of course."
He hesitated. "But I don't want her to think of me as a friend anymore. We've had a fair three year long friendship already."
I've been with you for seven years straight, I thought.
"How about you tell me what does she like in men, romantically?"
Immediately, my mind flashed back to all those times I found Kiara making out with some guy in her closer, her car, outside balcony, and sometimes, even in my own room.
I sighed. This was going to be a long day to convince him of his doubts.
Cautiously, I tried to pry his hand off my own shoulders, but when he didn't make any move to let go, I decided to just go ahead and get over with it.
"I think she likes to have.." Briefly, I glanced at his lips, gulped inwardly before moving up to look at him."a proper kiss on her first date."
I grinned forcefully, trying to look as casual as possible, but that came out rather than a frown, I realised.
He frowned himself in response. "Proper? A kiss is a kiss, Scarlett. Whatever do you mean with a proper one?"
Horrified at his interrogation, I tried to swallow my own tongue. "Its just a speculation, Heath. I suppose she would rather have an entertaining date with someone she likes, such as perhaps you, than have ugly smooches-"
"Ugly smooches? You think I can't kiss her properly?" His eyes darkened in gloom, clutching my shoulders tightly around his long fingers.
I raised my hands in defence. "No! I didnt mean it like that. You know it! You know me-"
But then suddenly, he dropped my hands from my shoulders and inched away from me, looking guilty. Befuddled, I just looked at his enchanted form.
"I think you're right. How can I ever-" He stopped, took long strides, standing back in front of me, and cupped my chin with his both hands, making me look at him in more confusion.
Heath Evercrest never touched women unless unfortunately, the said women was his mother, which he never did willingly of course, or the said women happened to be his weired sister, whom he had to touch in order to shove her out of his office, his house, his room, and sometimes, even his bathroom.
"Why didn't I think of it like that? Hell, yes right. Of course, Kiara would wish to have me kiss her, it's obvious, Scarlett. But how am I supposed to know if she would like it if I kiss her my way, or.." His eyes twinkled as he looked at me."If I kiss her the way she wants, which you'll show me."
I stared at him blankly, as if he'd just asked me to show him how my sister wants him to kiss her.
Realising that's exactly what he said, I toppled over in my own steps, knocking him down gently with my own disbalance, both of us landing on his soft bed, him on top of me, breathing heavily.
I tried to reason with him, our close proximity suddenly making me crazy. Nudging him gently on his shoulders, I tried to push him from above me.
But when he didn't, I grew nervous.
"You're drunk." I said, as a matter of fact.
"I can't be. Just four cans of beer isn't enough for me to get inebriated."
Four! He told me he just had two.
"You know you've a low tolerance for alcohol, Heath."
He narrowed his eyes, as if I had been indignant of his muscularity. "I know my limits, Scarlett."
"That's not the point here-"
"You've been getting increasingly and annoyingly accusing of my behaviours lately and you know-" He started.
"That's because you don't listen to a thing I say-"
"Do you think you're under any position to order me around now?"
I looked at him, feeling hurt by his words.
Moreover, I was angry at myself for ever letting myself carried away by his sweet words and nature sometimes.
He can be arrogant, rude, narissatic, and egoistic. Any time. I knew it from the start.
But then why it always catches me off guard when he changes his attitude so suddenly.
Why it hurts right in my chest, when my words mean nothing to him just as my presence does, I wondered.
I said nothing, just glared at him back, my eyes now shining with the cresuclent pearls of emerging tears and I cursed myself for ever letting my guard down in front of him.
Suddenly deciding to have him out of my sight, I put my palm on his chest, pushing him aside roughly, only to have him catch my left hand and push it down to my side, over my head.
I tried yet hard, raising my right hand at his shoulders now, and when this time he tried to catch it, I raised my left leg and the same time and tried to kick him but he was fast enough, pinning his left leg over my own, securing my right leg with his other one and now grabbing both of my wrists beside my head.
Narrowing his eyes, he looked at me, slightly stained from his activity, and I clenched my teeth in frustration.
Looming over my body, he moved down, his face inches from my own, and I took a deep breath to calm my nerves befoee struggling against him, fighting his strength.
Managing to give him some scratches and pain, I was almost out of his grasp when he pushed all his weight on me, stumbling sllghtly on his left leg.
"Stop fighting." He ordered. "And squirming."
I nodded in silence, deciding to trust him, which I had been doing for past seven years now, my mind reeling with the fact that if he didn't do anything intimate with me past these years, he was most likely to not do anything now, considering he is in love with another woman.
"You're drunk." I repeated, once he settled in the crook of my neck, his breath ticking my senses.
We lay there in silence for I don't know how long, the only thing in my mind right now was how good he felt against me, or how his low heaving breath mingled with my own minty one, or how I bit my lips to refrain myself from sighing or moaning out loud enough for him to hear when his hard chest pressed against my cloth clad breasts, or how his fingers would sometimes graze at my thigh, in pure intentions of putting me in place, of course, or how his lips were mere inches apart from my pulsating throat, so if he would just lean a bit, I would die and go to heaven, or how his lips would actually brush featherlight against my neck, hot breath from his open mouth, making me close my eyes in anticipation, until he decided to break this unbearable silence by shifting some of his weight from me.
I also made my way to sit back up when I collided with his half bent arms and fell back onto the bed with the soft eep, only to see he hadn't fully gone from above me.
Daring to look back into his eyes, I glanced a look at him. "Heath."
Sorry, he meant to say but I knew better than to have his ego hurt by apologizing to me. He was far too better to hurt me anyway.
"It's okay. I don't mind much." I said, trying to sit back up but when he still didn't move, I sighed.
I didn't want to look back at him. I knew I would give in to his absurd request. I knew what he wanted from me. It was clearly written on his face.
Sometimes I was afraid and angry, why he ever chose me to confide his secrets to, I was grateful he chose me when one day he told me why he didn't go home, or lived with his parents.
I was grateful the other day he told me why he hated having his sister around.
I was grateful the day he told me why he chose this company as his future, I was grateful when he told me why he didn't want to leave his office or why he was a workaholic.
Hell, I was even grateful when he told me why he didn't want me to wear heels to the office since he didn't think they suit me, or perhaps, he didn't want me limping to his conference room, sighing in pain.
I was most grateful, the day, almost eight years ago, when he found me on the bench, looking all miserable and desperate and offered me, out of nowhere, the most respected position in his company.
As his secretary.
And I embraced the job with the most grateful look on my face ever. I gave my evrything to my work, his company, his employees, his colleagues, his family.
I was utterly grateful that he bought a apartment for me, out of the bonus of my hardwork, of course, 'cause nothing comes free in this world, but still, I was grateful that he did it for me.
He acknowledged my potential.
I was grateful when he would call me late at night, not saying anything for hours straight, and I knew he came from the family dinner and didn't like to put down much by his father in front of his own capable sister, but his pride wouldn't let him say it in words to me and so I understood my need to remain silent on that meaningful call as well.
I was grateful he would accompany me to my home, though he did it out of guilt of working me over office hours, but still, he would be grateful enough to drop me across bus stop to take a bus safely home.
I was grateful he would come to sleep at my apartment, thought he got maybe god knows how many of them, to escape from his indulging mother, knocking at his door for day, and one look at me would tell me to keep my mouth shut and let him have a spare room for himself for night.
Outside company, I was his friend.
Inside it, I was his mere employee.
I was torn between choosing what I actually want to mean to him.
But when I realized what I wanted from him, I knew it was impossible for me to say it aloud, much less than feel it, and so I forgot the dreadful feelings or atleast tried to the minute he opened his another secret to me.
Which, as expected, I was so not grateful for, when he told me he liked Kiara Scarlett, my sister.
Correction: My step-sister.
But he didn't have to know that.
I felt his lips on my bare shoulder and stiffened at his touch. Opening my mouth to stop him, I found my tongue hinged. "You're drunk, Heath."
"I want Kiara, Hazel."
I tried not to focus on the softness of his lips against my skin as he glided them up to the corner of my lips, goosebumps appearing on my now burning skin. "And I want you to help me doing that."
Just as that, I found myself crushed beneath his weight, my head hitting the soft pillow of his bed as he empowered me yet again, and I swallowed a lump in my throat. "This isn't the right way to do it, Heath. Besides, you're drunk, you don't know what you're doing-"
"I trust you enough to know what I want, Hazel. And I know you'll not deny me anything."