The Pursuit of Pleasure

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Chapter 10

Nikolai allowed his hand to trail down the delicate curve of Charlotte’s back as they walk past yet another one of her favourite boutique. Women and shopping, he could never really get pass their desire to shop like there’s no tommorow but for him to be stuck with her as she did so; was all on him.

He should have known that when she had barged into his office offerring lunch, that it would have come at a price and what a price he was now paying.

Charlotte’s Damsely was quite persistent and when her words failed to persuade him, she would make sure that her dress and her body would do the job. He had told her before that what they had was purely physical and that he had no intention of settling down...ever ; but as often as that was, she always turn up out of the blue and somehow managed to make him do - things - that he would later on regret.

Hence, there he was an hour and half later, walking around the city, with his arms around her. But this time was different, he was going to end whatever it is that she thought they had going on.

He watched as she pointed out a bridal shop to him and all thoughts of delivering the news to her gently, vanished.

She tugged at his arm and began to lead him closer towards the shop of all bachelor’s nightmare and he immediately stopped walking.

“Something wrong?” She asked, her voice about as innocent as a criminal.

“I think we should talk.” He said, prying her hands from his arm.

Her brows creased as she allowed her hands to fall to her sides. “About what, babe?”

There was the other thing that they had talked about. Her giving him relationship pet name.

He sighed deeply, taking a relieving step away from her. “I’m ending this.” He said, gesturing towards her then himself. “Whatever this is.”

“W-what?” She asked, her eyes widening with shock and her skin paled.

“It’s over.” He said, bracing himself for the inevitable.

“Is there somebody else?” She asked, voice half raised.

Nikolai casted a quick look around to ensure that they weren’t drawing any unwanted attention. When he was satisfied that they wouldn’t even I the news any time soon, he returned his gaze to her.

Gone was the face of shock. She was now fuming. Her face was red, hands fisted into two firm balls and jaws clenched.

Nikolai drew out a deep breath. Wondering whether she really did think that they were in a relationship, to which it would be absurd because he had always told her where he stood from the very beginning.

“Charlotte’s, there has allows been somebody else. I told you that from the first day. You should know, you met one of them at the bar when you approached me.”

Her lips tightened and her chest began to heave, “Yeah, I remember.” She snapped, “but I assumed that after I got into the picture then, well, you stopped seeing them. You said that nobody else could do it like me.”

God!! Why did women have to take things so literal?

“It was bedroom talk, Charlotte.” He sighed, hoping that it wouldn’t take long for her to pick up whatever self-esteem she had and walk away before they really started to draw attention.

“Bedroom talk?” She threw his own words at him, taking a menacing step towards him.

So this was happening, he thought, bracing himself for the inevitable.

“Look, it was fun. We had fun. There’s no denying that but you seem to what more and that’s not what I’m willing to offer, ever. So it’s just best if we parted ways--”

That slapped had been expected but it was too fast for him to avoid it. He might have thought that it was imaginary if half of his face didn’t sting. By the time he caught on and sobered up, she was already storming off in the opposite direction as him.

But atleast it was finally over and done. He definitely needed to re-evaluate the women he took to his bed.

He turned on his heels and began to make his way back to where he had parked his car. He had lost two hours worth of work but atleast there wouldn’t be anymore surprises.

Soon enough, he made it to his car and as he began to fish for his key inside the pocket of his pants, his eyes stumbled upon a petite familiar figure, storming out of the coffee house across the street from where he stood.

Victoria.

She was talking to herself.

Somebody must have pissed her off, he thought. Remembering how she would often do that whenever Tanya would say or do something that she didn’t agree with.

She ran a quick hand through her ponytail, then began to scan the road.

Taxi. Was the first thing that came to Nikolai’s head. He clenched his keys within his fingers.

“I really shouldn’t do this.” He mumbled to himself.

Then proceeded to watch her some more. He would give her another five minutes and if a ride didn’t come by then, well, he was definitely going to have to do this. He would have no other choice than to offer her a ride.

He always was a sucker for damsels in distress, he told himself then scoffed, “Right. Since when?”

And he made a quick mental note, remembering the last time that he had helped out a woman in need.

But there were none.

None that he could think of. Just Victoria, last night. There had been something about her eyes, they seemed - sad, haunted even. Thinking about it now, he wasn’t sure if he would have turned her down if he had known in advance that it was her underneath that ridiculous mask. Not when he had already had a taste of what heaven was like.

The door opened behind her, Victoria turned around and sighed as tall blond a man emerged out and walked towards her. Her face immediately hardened as the man muttered something to her and she shook a firm no.

The blond idiot wasn’t taking no for an answer. He grabbed hold of her hands and proceeded to drag her away down the street.

Nikolai’s jaws clenched. What the hell was going on? And who the hell was he?

A boyfriend? He thought, and he blood immediately started to boil. If he was, then why the hell did she bid on him last night and practically begged him to fuck her?

But then his thoughts trail back to his sister. She would have mentioned something about this. Tanya always filled his ears with irrelevant things even when she knew that he wasn’t paying any attention.

For his own benefit he decided to cross out boyfriend as a possibility.

He crossed the road but still remained as far away from them as possible. A painful thud pulled on his heart when he watched in disbelief as the not-so boyfriend gathered her in his arms and prceeded to lean over for a kiss.

Definitely an admirer.

For a brief moment, Nikolai had wanted to storm over there and beat the pulp out of that guy then lecture Victoria about public display of affection and her allowing strange man to kiss her.

He was about to do so, but then stopped when she pushed the ken doll away and slapped him.

The world felt right again.

He smiled, watching as the man ran a quick hand over his cheek. But then his face hardened and his hand curved into a threatening fist. This was as good of a time for him to intervene, Nikolai thought as he sped towards them.

Once he had reached Victoria’s he drew a protective arm around her, feeling as she tensed up at first then but relaxed when she recognised that it was him.

“I think the lady has had enough of your company.” He drawled. Daring the man to object. A small part of him wanted him to, after seeing him kiss Victoria it was all that he wanted to do.

Tom’s eye narrowed in one Nikolai then back on Victoria. He let out a bitter sneer, “I hope you have better luck than me, trying to melt this one.”

His comment hit a nerve and not just to Victoria but Nikolai too.

He heard her huff and struggled against him but he held on tight to her.

“That’s a cowardly thing to say isn’t it? When a woman says no, it mean no. Throwing insults doesn’t do anything to soften the blow.” He spat.

“Huh. Well look at you. You think being her knight and shinning armor will get you in those iron panties?” Tom laughed bitterly, then continued, ” Good luck with that. She about as cold as a block of ice.”

Nikolai’s jaws twitched. He released hold of Victoria and took a step towards Tom, ready to have him eat up his words but Victoria’s hand pulled at his arm and she shook.

“It’s not worth it. Just let it go.” She said in soft and gentle voice.

He frowned to himself at how calm and unaffected she looked.

This guy was insulting her and she wanted him to just let it go? He didn’t want to.

So he grabbed a fistful full of Tom’s shirt with his other free hand, yanking him in full force.

“Nikolai, please.” She plead, placing her body inbetween the two of them.

Her eyes were soft, begging him not to and his heart thawed.

“Fine.” He hissed, releasing hold of prey and watched as Tom stumbled back on his feet. “Get the hell out of here before I change my mind.“He barked.

Tom threw them both a distasteful glare and sneered, “My pleasure.”

They stood watching as he walked to his car, got in and sped off. Nikolai released a sharp breath through his nose and turned his attention back to Victoria. Her face was flushed as she sighed deeply barely aware that her hand was still on his chest.

“Boyfriend troubles?” He asked and her head jutted up, as if only releasing that they stood dangerously close. He hadn’t meant it to sound harsh or judgemental but he did.

She quickly took a step back and blew out a ragged breath. She narrowed her eyes at him.

“Are you following me?” She asked.

She looked ready for yet another battle.

“Hardly.” He replied.

“Then shouldn’t you be somewhere else, with your head stuck between two thighs?”

Ouch! That hurt. Wait, was that what she honestly thought he did all day? Have sex with women?

She made a move past him, determined to create some distance between them.

“What about you? Should you be standing somewhere paying guys for sex?”

Fuck. He hadn’t meant to say that. And it was too late now to take it back.

Victoria’s feet halt. She turned around, lips pursed, eyes cold and breathing stilled.

“You really are an asshole, aren’t you?”

Her eyes were glazed with unshed tears, causing his heart to jerk painfully inside his chest.

He should apologise. He really should. But he never once had too.

She waited for a second before sighing in resignation, then began to walk away.

Nikolai stood, unmoved, feeling like the jerk that he was, watching as she proceeded to scan the road.

Something inside him pulled.

Christ!!

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