MASON

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Chapter 19

After leaving the living room with eyes following our exit, Mason took it upon himself to show me to the guest room. He has been quiet ever since we had left his family back there, opting to just walk quietly beside me. I tried to meet his eyes, even for a brief second, but he wouldn't look at me.

We stopped in front of a brown door before he opened it, walking in first before I followed after him. I glanced around, taking note of my bags that had been brought inside already, sitting at the foot of the bed. I was in a big room that was the size of my flat, as my gaze traveled slowly around the room to the king-sized bed, the interior and a huge flat screen tv on the left side of the wall. The mah–

Mason cleared his throat beside me. I briefly glanced at him and met his cocked brow–only then, did I realize my hand was still entwined in his. I flushed and withdrew it, anxious to put some distance between us and my heart hammering in my chest at the realization that I held his hands longer than normal. I hoped he didn't think I was aware of it, or that it felt nice to hold his hand. I hoped the thought didn't cross his mind. I was already struggling to love this down.

"I'm just glad this isn't your room," I broke out with a smile that anyone could tell was fake. I was trying to cover up the awkwardness, to conceal how shaky and agitated I felt at the moment.

"No one goes into my room," he grumpily replied without taking his eyes off me. He settled with pocketing his hands, and I wish he could see himself through my eyes, to see what I was seeing—how hot he looked standing there with an arrogant stance, but he wasn't doing it on purpose, that was just how he was. Arrogance, intimidation, and confidence came easy for him, natural.

I was sure it must have grown the more successful he became. He had earned the right to show off, to make sure people knew what he was capable of, and to simply have a bit of fun with it. His confidence was linked to genuine success and no one could bring him down from the pedestal he put himself on. They could try, but they wouldn't be successful.

"Ah." I nodded and smiled, almost like I had figured something out. "That's probably where you plan your murders. Keeping people away so you don't get exposed. Got it."

A mocking brow rose. "Maybe I should take you there."

It was the coolness of his tone, far more than his words, that left me in no doubt that he was joking, but I couldn't stop myself from snorting.

"Nice family you got there. I can see how you're related," I ventured, walking over to get my bags and lay it on the bed, trying to get my phone charger out. "You Campbells are definitely a ray of sunshine."

I turned, and he gave me a long, slow look. The taut line of his mouth did not ease. I pointed at his face. "You should smile more often. Anger decreases lifespan, don't you know that? And what are you, forty?" I joked, knowing full well that he wasn't forty. But I needed him to ease his mind. His shoulders were too stiff and his jaw was clenched. He seemed to have thrown a wall around him, for what reason, I had no idea.

"Do you ever shut up?" he asked with a frustrated sigh.

I shook my head in disappointment. "That's no way to talk to your pregnant fiancée, Mason." At his cocked brow, I explained with a chuckle. "Your family thinks the only reason we are getting married is that you got me pregnant. Oh, wait! That's not the best part yet. They think I'm pregnant with someone else's child and claiming it's yours because I'm apparently a gold digger." I was finding it amusing than I did in front of them. They were really crazy people.

Mason swore under his breath.

Smiling widely, I stepped closer to him, raising my head up to stare into his eyes. I found myself knocked off balance from the heat coming from his body to my nearness.

"I just wanted to say thank you," I began, carefully so I wouldn't trip on my words. "for what you did back there. You could have let your family insult me more, but you stood up for me. Though I can fight my own battles but thank you for at least caring."

Even though we weren't marrying each other for love or would end up together after the one year was up, Mason knew his responsibility. I was worried that he wouldn't care about anything or denied me respect because this was nothing more than a marriage deal that we forced each other into. Now, I was convinced that he wouldn't do anything to hurt me. He would hold his end of the bargain.

Maybe dad was right, after all. There was some good in Mason Campbell. Though he rarely showed it, it was still there.

He rolled his eyes at me. "It's not as if I have any choice. I'm supposed to play the good and loving fiancé."

I knew what he was doing. He was trying to play the role of the hardass man that everyone knew, someone who didn't do nice things to anyone, but the truth was, I knew he would do it for anyone. But I would let it go this time.

"So, where are you going to sleep?"

"Right here, of course."

"What?" I froze, afraid to move, to even breathe. "You can't stay here!" There was no way I was going to let him sleep in the same room with me. In a house with dozens of rooms, surely, there had to be one he could sleep in.

Mason crossed his arms and regarded me with a bored look. "Where do you think I should stay if not in my fiancee's room? The minute my family realizes we are not sleeping in the same room, they would start getting suspicious, and I would end up not getting what I want. I'm not taking any chances, Lauren. You just have to suck it up." His eyes ran over me with a look that was an insult. "Don't worry, I have no interest in you. You're not–"

"Your type, yes, I know. You've said it a dozen times that I can hear you say it every time in my sleep."

He took a slow, prowling pace towards me as I took a step back, regarding me with amusement, his eyes taking a darker shade of gray, and I felt the familiar excitement burning into my skin at his stare. It was as thrilling as fireworks.

"Oh, so you dream about me?" he asked, slowly taking more steps closer to me while I backed away from him.

"N..no. Don't be crazy. I don't dream about you." Why did he have to say that, or look at me like that? It made my heart beat fast with alarm.

He chuckled softly, his tone low and sensual. "I'm not only the best businessman, but I'm skilled in detecting lies, Ms. Hart."

"Yeah?" I worked hard to say more in a detached tone while moving back away from him, for he was only inches away from breathing the same air as me. "Can you detect this?" I made to sweep past him in a hurry, but I stepped on something slippery, and before I knew it, I lost my footing and was about to fall to the ground.

Hello, humiliation, my old friend.

A hand reached out in a reflex, wrapping its arm around my waist to try and stop me from falling. Mason twisted us around so fast that he lost his own footing as we both tumbled down on the bed with him on top and me, underneath him.

His hand was laid flat on the bed above my head, supporting his body from crushing me with his weight as he stared straight into my eyes. His stare was so hot and consuming. I could hear my heart pounding in my ears, intoxicated with his scent, the feel of his breath hitting my face and the heat of his body wrapping me around.

He wasn't touching me, but I almost practically came undone right there.

He was so beautiful. Every detail on his face was perfect, almost like he was the one whom selfishly carved himself. I wanted to push him away, but I could only stare back, breathing hard.

Mason's gaze strayed to my lips and stayed there. I swallowed and my pulse quickened as his expression became unreadable. Then, his body started shaken with laughter as he straightened up, looking down at me with pure amusement.

He backed away with a satisfying grin, turned around and walked out of the room, leaving me to look up at the ceiling breathlessly and with the knowledge that Mason Campbell just proved himself right.

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