Chapter 9 - Mr. Flogger and His Horses
Humming, I changed my clothes and footwear in a much proper one.
As oppose to earlier, I felt pretty much confident now. Mr. DaisVita and his Casanova ways weren’t my problem anymore. Well, by heart, I still believe that he’d endlessly pour words of delight to inflate my lungs and he’d try to get all touchy with me, but unlike last night, I am now prepared. The location I had in mind for our meeting would be the proper place for a civil talk: in my Auntie’s ranch. I figured, what could go wrong in a place full of horses and manure right?
After changing, I walked out of my bedroom and into the outside porch. I leaned on the metal railing and waited. In this angle, I could see the whole of the front gate, the main garden, the driveway, and the parking lot. It was a beautiful view altogether. I actually enjoyed the time just scanning the place.
Fifteen minutes past, I saw the BMW leave the house. Ten minutes later, I saw a new flashy car enter the driveway. Inside it was Mr. Rich Man driving the sleek red Ferrari.
Although it was forced, I brought out a smile on my face.
Mr. DaisVita stepped out of his vehicle, eyed me and waved a hand.
I waved back, smiling, but my teeth still didn’t show.
“A lovely morning, mi amor,” he greeted loudly, his head straining up to look at me in the second floor of the house. His thick brownish red hair complemented the red coating of his automobile.
Gods, that endearment again. I hate to be called that, or mostly I hate that he was the one who calls me that.
“Good morning Mr. DaisVita,” I greeted back, leaning low on the marble balustrade.
“Please call me Enrique or Rafael, mi amor,” he advised. “Won’t you invite poor me inside your beautiful castle?”
Right on cue, I spotted the mini golf cart of the ranch driving nearer us. This time, I grinned.
“Don’t worry, just wait for me. I will go down there now. The golf cart has arrived.”
“Golf cart?” he echoed, clearly confused. I didn’t bother on answering him and just turned to leave the porch. After a minute, I was in the ground floor, exiting the house. His eyes immediately took in my appearance when I walked towards him.
“Wow, you look sexy in those boots,” he commented, appraising me from head to foot with delight in his eyes.
I mouthed a ‘thank you’ in response.
Once again, he took my right hand and bestowed a kiss on it slowly. Despite myself, a small blush crept in my cheeks in response.
“I am happy that you accepted my sudden visit here, Andrea,” he said when he withdrew.
No. I didn’t accept it. My Aunt did. Those were in my thoughts, but to avoid being bitchy, I chose to answer this instead, “It is nothing Enrique. I have free time today anyway.”
“Then, I am a very lucky man,” he replied and then winked at me.
No. You wouldn’t have been if Eriol is here. I rolled my eyes to the side and appeared to look like I was thinking. “Hmm... maybe you could say that,” I said in the end.
My attention was caught when the golf cart arrived. He turned around and saw it too. “Oh, so this was what you were saying earlier,” he said, smiling back at me.
“Yes. Auntie wants me to tour you in her ranch,” I lied, but it was the only way for us to be in an open place and not in the house where anything can happen, like say...kiss me suddenly?
“I see. That explains you wearing boots too.” He bobbed his head in understanding. “And here I am, wearing polished black shoes, slacks and a long-sleeved shirt. Totally not fit for the location.”
For a moment there, I thought he was complaining. He looked too formal for my taste though, but it wasn’t his fault in the first place.
“It’s fine. You don’t need to ride a horse if you’re worried about your attire,” I assured, walking then to the cart that was now parked right in front of us. I climbed in, sat on the metal seat and waited for his answer.
“I could make an exemption if it is with you,” he finally stated and then cast me a sexy grin, standing near me with a hand on my lap. I wanted to smack it out actually, but didn’t in the end. “Especially... when you are the one riding me,” he added to my apparent shock.
Seriously, was this his way of turning up his charm? He was already throwing sexual innuendos at me early in the morning and he hasn’t even started apologizing yet!
I gave him a tight-lipped smile and then scooted to the right to give him space to sit in. “We should go. The sun is very precious,” I said, avoiding his sticky gaze.
Our ride commenced, with me trying to lean away from him while he was throwing an arm on my back. For a bystander, it would really look like we are couples. We were silent the first few minutes of the ride, admiring the garden and the landscape near and ahead of us, but then Enrique started to speak, clearly dying to make a conversation with me.
“I want to apologize to you for last night,” he said, eyeing me. “Believe me, it wasn’t what you think. I have a superb nutritional diet and I am a healthy, virile man.”
I scoffed in my head. He actually stressed the word virile!
“Last night, I don’t know why, but I suddenly felt like there was someone punching me thrice in the stomach. It was so painful. Like my insides were being crushed to death. I had to vomit in the lounge then. Good thing you weren’t there to see it.”
I wasn’t able to focus on his words because I was preoccupied with my thoughts on Eriol. He actually did that much on him? But how? How was he able to inflict damage on this poor man without us even noticing? I guess this was clue number five of him being a vampire - the power of invisibility.
But wait. Do vampires actually have a power like that? I definitely don’t think so. How about persuasion? I have read a lot of books that vampires can get an easy lay using that power. Eriol can persuade him to think that someone punched him. It was a possibility. Or maybe an illusion? Jane in the Twilight book used the same powers right? Maybe Eriol has that ability too.
My mind was so messed up with the information that I didn’t even notice Enrique already cinching his hand on my waist. What a smooth move. From my shoulders to my waist. Great. I really should be more cautious of him.
“You look sad, mi amor," he said as I met this gaze. He actually misread my apparent alarmed expression as a sad one. Huh! “I’m touched. It makes me think that you care for me.”
I do care for you, you bastard! Your life that is! Eriol is seriously going to kill you and I don’t even know why?!
He pulled me closer to him and I immediately pushed him back. “Let’s... not get too comfortable, Mr. DaisVita,” I said, smiling awkwardly and directing my glare on the cart driver’s back.
“Please, how many times did I tell you to just call me by my first names,” he pleaded with kitten eyes. Huh! He doesn’t even look cute!
“If you insist,” I said, crossing my arms once again. He awarded me with a pleased smile afterwards.
Another couple of minutes later and we finally arrived our destination. The Winner Family’s ranch was the ultimate spa for purebred horses. They have state-of-the-art equipment and accessories, a spacious running field, and well-trained personnel. Not only did they have horses, but also herds of cattle and sheep located in different sections too. I could really say that this was a haven for these animals and an advantage for the nearby community too for my Aunt’s meat business was the most sought-after.
“Where are the horses Mister Leo?” I asked the driver of the golf cart directly after we disembarked. It was weird that there weren’t any horses in the yard this morning. They are supposed to be brought outside in order to be fed and exercised.
“Inside the stable Ms. Andrea,” he said, regarding me and my companion conspicuously. I bet he was also thinking that we are couples.
“Oh, I see. Thank you, Sir,” I said.
“You’re welcome Ms. Andrea. Enjoy your tour,” he replied, tipping his cowboy hat that covered his graying hair.
As we headed our way, I had to distance myself from Enrique so that he wouldn’t hook an arm on me again. I was glad that he got the message and refrained from doing it.
“This is my first time here,” he started as we walked along the cobblestone pathway into the sterilized stable. “I had always wondered what is the commotion about regarding the Winner Family meat products and now I know why.” He scanned the area from side to side, looking pleased with the sight and added, “This place is really good. I think the animals in my mini zoo at home would definitely love to migrate here.”
For the first time since he arrived, I laughed freely. He really has a good sense of humor. I kinda find his statement funny and the way he look, all fascinated by the sight, made me think he wasn’t much of a spoiled rich man as I thought him to be.
“Well, if you are pleased with the place, wait until you see the horses. I bet your jaw would drop,” I said, now entering the end-to-end stable.
As soon as we were inside, jaws really did drop. Only this time, it was mine and the horses in their box stalls because standing a few meters away from us, with a sprinkler hose in one hand and a leather cat o’ nine tails flogger in the other was Mr. Hot Butler himself; sexy as hell with nothing but leather pants on and black boots. He looked like a shining apparition with the sunlight from the other end of the stable as his backdrop.
My eyes immediately popped out when I saw his abdominal muscles flex when he raised the sprinkler up to cover more body part on a silky black Arabian thoroughbred. I couldn’t even possibly avoid looking at the intimidating flogger too.
Why was he even holding a flogger anyway? But more importantly, why was he here? Wasn’t he supposed to be running an errand for my Auntie? Wasn’t he supposed to be accompanying her? He was supposed to be away from the house now! Why the hell?!
Worry immediately crept inside me. I can bet Mr. DaisVita was no longer safe anymore. That much was sure.
He noticed our presence and immediately turned the sprinkler off. I had to quickly close my mouth before Enrique could see it hanging.
Eriol smoothly walked toward our way, the whole time sizing the man in my side and vice versa.
Their eyes were sparring I can quite clearly see. Enrique didn’t look affected with Eriol’s apparent shortage of dress, but I am. HECK, I am! I can feel my hands actually wanting to reach out and touch those heavenly slabs of his.
“Milady Andrea, Mr. DaisVita welcome to the ranch,” Eriol said when he was but a few inches away from us, his head bowed low. He had his repertoire of butler gestures readily shown and Enrique could notice it. I bet he immediately deduced him as a mere servant of the Winner Family.
“Are the horses fit to be ridden?” Enrique asked in an academic voice. This surprised me. I would have asked Eriol why he was here, but Enrique took the initiative and asked first. Good thing his attention was on the horses.
“Yes, Mr. DaisVita. I have personally inspected them and I say they are fit to be ridden,” Eriol replied, his attention on the man. He was still holding the flogger and damn, my mind wandered again to see visions of him holding that thing in front of my naked body.
Shit. Shake it off! Shake it off!
“So you are the caretaker here?” Enrique asked again, inspecting Eriol’s overall appearance with a raised brow. His inspection also includes the flogger of course. If I am correct, he just briefly glanced at me with a hint of mischievousness. I maybe a virgin but I bet the hint had something to do with the pleasure shop I had accidentally stumbled upon yesterday.
Great. Mr. Rich Man might as well be a Christian Grey-wannabe in the end. The thought of it immediately gave me the chills.
Eriol cleared his throat as if he had just read my mind. What an oaf. Could you keep your powers to yourself please?! I am not a freaking open book!
“No, Mr. DaisVita. I am not the caretaker of the stable. I am the head butler of the Winner Family. I am Eriol,” he replied with a well-mannered speech.
“Good! So that means, you can take care of our needs while we are here,” Enrique said quickly, then he turned to me and asked, “You want to ride, mi amor?”
“Su-sure, I would love to.” Although feeling nervous, I croaked a reply, quickly scanning the stable for a white stallion. I saw it immediately, next to the black Arabian thoroughbred’s box stall.
This white stallion was my favorite of all the horses the Winner Family has. This was the horse I had been training together with Auntie’s step-son, Lorde, while we were still fifteen. I call him, Trinitus - a handsome Andalusian horse.
With a click on his boots, Eriol strolled towards the wall where there were a couple other whips and crops hung upside down. He placed the flogger there too and then went back to our attention.
“We can choose our horses while you wear your shirt Eriol,” I said, hinting him of my unspoken request.
“Yes, I think that’s a good idea,” Enrique butted in and then proceeded to walk in a nearby stall where a chocolate brown mustang was placed. He was so engrossed with examining the creature that it gave me a chance to give Eriol an intimidating glare, but him, in his usual cold demeanor, dismissed my concern and headed straight to Trinitus. I didn’t even say it out aloud yet that it was the horse I wanted to pick, but considering he could read my mind, there was no doubt he already knew about it.