My brother and his secretary got pulled away at the last minute for an unexpected meeting. That left me alone with Axel again. After breakfast, Axel and I were driving a rental car down Barcelona’s street. I’m reading a pamphlet that was given to us by the check-in desk crew back at the hotel.
My eyes scanning the content on what we should do for today. There are popular walking streets, cooking classes, bike tours, even dancing classes.
“We should find time to go take some cooking classes,” I mentioned, not looking up from the pamphlet.
Axel laughed, “I don’t think that’s a good idea. You and cooking don’t go well.”
My lips pursed and I threw him a good glower. He smirked before agreeing, “Alright, we can go but I do the cooking.”
“As long as I get to eat,” I agreed, my puckering lips turning into a sweet smile as I bat my eyelashes.
He scoffed in disbelief, “All the hard work and the cook doesn’t even get a kiss.”
Immediately, I remembered our heated kiss from last night. I felt heat crawl up my neck and to my cheeks.
When will I get over this?
“The cook is my best friend.”
“And the boyfriend,” He added.
It was my turn to laugh, “You forgot ‘pretend’.”
I picked up the next pamphlet and it showed a picture of a beach but with either half naked or fully naked people. I heard Axel whistle next to me.
“We should go there,” He said.
“No way are we heading to a nudist beach,” I told him, and to let him know I was serious I sat the pamphlet down and picked up another one.
“Oh!” I squealed shaking the pamphlet excitedly, “This! We should go here.”
I showed him the pamphlet, he glanced at it briefly before keeping his eyes on the road.
“Seriously, Hermosa? Parc del Laberint d’Horta? A maze?” He lifted an eyebrow.
“Oh c’mon it will be fun! I have never been to one. Don’t you want to know to know how it is like to get lost?” I said with excitement before typing the address into my phone GPS.
“It isn’t the first thing I thought we should do but this is you we are talking about.” He responded.
“What do you mean?” I asked, glancing at him.
H glanced my way before shrugging, “You’re clueless.”
I scoffed, “Well, I am a little offended. I didn’t even get a chance to defend myself.”
He chuckled, “Alright, fine. If a guy approaches you and says you are beautiful, what do say?”
“Do you have glasses on?”
He laughed some more, shaking his head while laughing.
I scoffed again, “No right man in their spanking mind will walk up to a girl like me and say I am beautiful.”
He clicked his tongue and gone was his amusement, “You are clueless.”
I gave him a glower before turning in my seat to look out the window. What exactly did he mean?
Thirty minutes later and we found the place. Horta’s Labyrinth Park was Barcelona’s oldest conserved garden. The garden is built on an estate. I couldn’t hide the excitement, taking hold of Axel’s hand I rushed him to the entrance.
The park has numerous kinds of trees & hedges surrounding it which gave it a secluded feel. Axel and I walked by the domestic garden. It was absolutely beautiful and very keenly kept.
“It’s beautiful,” I uttered, eyeing everything all at once. My eyes couldn’t stop on one scenery.
The maze sat in the center of the park, but Axel and I decided to look at the surrounding gardens first. There were many beautiful sculptures all over the park. When we made it to the maze, I turned to him with a bright, excited gleam.
“Let’s play a game,” I told him.
He arched an eyebrow in question, “What kind of game?”
“Let’s each take one entrance of the maze and see who is the first to find the other person,“I explained.
He gave me a bored look, “No.”
“Axel! This will be fun.” I insisted.
“I think the beach would have been more fun.” He retorted before turning away with a sigh.
“We are not going to go so you can see naked people.” I grabbed onto both of his hands and shook them as I pleaded, “C’mon, play with me.”
His eyes flickered back to me for a moment and I watched those dark chocolate brown eyes transform into a wicked glint. The corner of his lip lifted into a smirk.
“Ok, if I play, what’s in it for me? Do I get a prize?” He asked.
I narrowed my eyes suspiciously, “What do you mean?”
"Hermosa, if I find you first, what do I get in return?” He reworded his question, leaning in closer to me. I stumbled slightly back.
I let go of his hand and crossed my arms.
“What do you want?” I asked.
His eyes looked me over and I felt somewhat violated as he stripped me naked with his eyes.
“I will tell you when I beat you.”
We started on different ends. At first, it seemed simple. Really! I swear I was making good turns and decisions but then I started to worry. Seriously, everything looked the same.
It felt like I have been in here for an hour at least. I’m even pretty sure Axel got there before me.
After a few wrong turns, I was starting to get worried but a few minutes later, Axel appeared from behind a hedge. I ran to him the second I saw him.
“I am so glad to see you!” I exclaimed.
“You got lost, didn’t you?”
“No...not really,” I mumbled guiltily.
He laughed and I punched him in the chest.
“It’s not funny. How did you find me so easily?” I questioned.
“I’m a firefighter. I should know how to locate someone.” He replied before turning me to face him.
“So for the prize..”
“Wait a minute-”
He placed a hand over my mouth to shush me.
“I’m talking here.” His dark chocolate eyes sparkled with mischief and victory.
“This is not fair.” It came out muffled.
“George goes back into the suitcase.” He announced before dropping his hand from my mouth.
“This isn’t fun anymore.” My lips pursed. I am completely unhappy with the turnout.
“Should have known who you were playing against.”
After the maze, he and I stopped by a local café and ate there before heading back to the hotel. It was around dinner time when we arrived back home. On our way up to our room though, we were stopped by my mother.
“Ryleigh! There you are! I have been knocking on your door for the last fifteen minutes.” My mother huffed in irritation.
“Well, why did you knock for fifteen minutes? Why didn’t you just stop? Wouldn’t it be easier to just wait for me to come to find you?”
“Like you will ever come looking for me.”
Axel coughed a laugh and turned away, “I will see you upstairs, Hermosa.”
I watched him leave me alone with my dear mother. She looked at Axel before turning to me. She shook her head and rolled her eyes.
“Your father adores your boyfriend. He said that Axel was a real man.” Her mother rolled her eyes for the second time. “If you ask me, I would prefer someone with a higher taste and a well-paying job. I mean seriously, Ryleigh-”
“Mom! Stop. I’m not going to go through this with you.”
“Don’t you take that tone with me, young lady. I am still your mother.” She glared in warning.
“Then stop interfering in my life. Can’t you be happy for once for what I do?”
She sighed, “It’s not that I don’t love you, Ryleigh. You know very well I do. I just wish that you will listen more and do the things that I ask of you. I mean, I met this awesome owner of a realtor agency that is a close friend of Ronald. He is an absolute dear—well-mannered and all. I really think you should meet him.”
“No,” I said through clenched teeth.
“Oh for the love of-”
“Mom, I’m tired. I am going to my-”
“Ryleigh, I am not done talking to you.” She snapped, and I closed my eyes and counted to ten.
“Emery just sent word that tomorrow we will be visiting the venue. Everyone will be going.”
“Do I have to? Can’t I just—I don’t know—be there when the wedding starts?” I asked, feeling like it was useless for me to go.
“Yes, you will be going, and I would also like to introduce you to Maximillian. He is the realtor owner.” My mother waved her hand in the air.
“No,” I said again.
“Ryleigh, really- ”
“You know what, mom? I think my boyfriend is calling me. I have to go.” I growled before stomping off. I heard her protest but didn’t stop.
When I got to the elevator I was close to tears. I had enough of her trying to control my life, telling me what to do. I hate the fact that she doesn’t acknowledge Axel as a person. I hate how she is constantly tossing me at men I don’t even know. I am not an object. It hurt but I was more pissed off than hurt.
I won’t let her try to control my life anymore. I’m taking my life back into my hands. Her words will not affect me any longer. I am going to do what I want, and I don’t care what the hell anyone thinks.
When I got upstairs and into my room, I slammed the door shut. I walked to the bed and sat down at the end. Still fuming over the fact that my mother had the audacity to try to hook me up with another man. What the hell is wrong with Axel?
The bathroom door opened, and Axel stepped out with a towel wrapped around his waist like he always does back home. One look at me and he knew I was pissed.
“What did she do?” He asked.
“Not right now, Axel,” I responded, still feeling infuriated with her. I can feel the sting of tears coming on. I blinked them back furiously. He didn’t listen and walked over to sit next to me in wearing nothing but a white hotel towel.
“Don’t let her get to you, Hermosa. You are an amazing person.” He told me softly.
I shook my head and the tears were winning. I stood up before he could see them.
“I need space,” I mumbled before storming out of the hotel room. I heard him shouting for me wait but I left anyway.
I got back into the elevator and made it down to the ground floor. There, I figured I could go for a walk to get rid of the hate that was growing inside my heart, but I knew that won’t help quick enough. So, I did the next thing I knew that will help.
I went to the bar.