Merry Christmas Part 2
The door swings open, and I take the gloved hand of the chauffeur as I step out of the car. I hold the golden clutch tightly in my palm, instantly regretting braving the December air with nothing but a dress on.
My heels click onto the cold pavement as I hurry to the entrance of the restaurant.
It isn't busy, but then again it is Christmas day, so I am surprised it is even open. The front is made out of glass aside from the wooden sign that said 'Qusa' hanging at the front. There is a few orange glows that emit from inside, and I push the glass door open and step in.
The room has been completely cleared, the table and chairs swept to either side, and it confirms my suspicions. This place isn't open.
"It's opened for us Mae," I turn as Dominic speaks stepping out from a door. He fixes the cufflinks of his shirt as he approaches me.
"Why am I surprised that you've rented out this place?" I smile at Dominic as he stands in front of me looking down at me, the dim light bouncing off his bright silver eyes.
"I didn't rent it out Mae, I own this restaurant," he replies.
I cover my mouth in fake shock.
"I wouldn't have ever guessed." I take a step back to get a good look at him. "You look very nice," I mention.
Dressed in a white tailored shirt, Dominic has discarded his suit jacket revealing the burgundy suspenders that hooked over his shoulders holding his dark navy trousers on his waist.
It is funny because the colour of his burgundy straps matched my dress. I had finally found one opting for a fitted mid dress with off the shoulder sleeves and a sweetheart neckline. Complimenting the outfit, I had straightened my hair and wore black stilettos.
"And you look beautiful." He offered me his arm, which I take, and Dominic leads me to the solitary table in the centre of the room.
As I sit down a soft play of jazz danced through the room, adding an ambience to complement the calm and soothing mood.
"How are you feeling?" I ask as the waiter lays the starters in front of us—a small bowl of soup with a single coriander leaf in the middle.
"Better." Dominic takes a small sip of the soup after he speaks, "I don't think I ever said it, but thank you for looking after me."
"Well, if you die before the year ends FolkWhore is contractually inclined to refund you." Dominic smiles as he stares, amused by my response. "But I'd also hate to see you come to such a terrible demise," I finish bringing the soup to my lips.
"And so, the truth reveals itself."
I raise a brow at him before speaking, "what truth?"
"The arrangement benefits you and me," he concluded.
"Sexually, emotionally, maybe even mentally."
I dab my lips gently before laying the napkin down.
"I don't mix work with pleasure, Dominic," I say, leaning back in my chair. "It creates problems which I would rather not have."
"I can see your every thought, Mae. I know this situation benefits you."
My eyes narrow ever so slightly that I don't notice that our plates have been taken away.
"And pray tell, what do my thoughts tell you?" I ask, holing the glass of white wine to my lips before taking a sip.
"That's it's been a long time since you've been you?"
I sit the glass down hastily, the liquid sloshing slightly, and a drop falls onto the white sheet. Dominic takes it as a sign that he'd hit something and continues, "that for however long you've done this line of work no one has asked for you. That if you're not careful, you'll forget who you are, and your deepest fear is what shell of a person you'll be revealed to be when you retire. If you manage to get that far."
I place my hands on my lap. My stomach doing flips while my heart seemed to have lost its way, and found itself in my stomach. Dominic is completely correct, the moment the words leave his lips, my brain shuts down. The shell of me begins to emerge, and I want to hunch over and throw up, chuck up all the memories and fears.
I stare at him, forcing those silver eyes to pierce into my mind and pick up the tumbleweeds that are floating around.
"Is that why you bought me for a year. Show me a life where I was with someone who knew me and loved me?" I reply almost robotically.
"No, I wanted someone to have my child," Dominic says simply.
A laugh seeps out my mouth before I have a chance to stop it. Dominic's eyes narrow before they soften and he smiles, his dimples showcasing themselves. I hadn't seen him smile like that since we first met.
"That is quite funny, Dominic, but I think you might have struck out with me."
"I chose not to have children."
"Chose how? Surgery? Implant?" I can see the curiosity dancing across Dominic's eyes as he questions me.
"No nothing like that, nothing so invasive. After I passed my training, I was granted a wish."
"Magenta, anything I wanted. Most chose materialistic things, but I was looking at the bigger picture."
"And what was that?"
"That I was in a job where I had to pretend to love people that I don't actually love. My main concern was that all that faking would make it difficult for me to find the real thing. So, I asked Magenta to stop me from getting pregnant unless it was with someone I loved."
"That's a dangerous game, Mae, what if you got pregnant for someone truly horrendous? What if Magenta removes her wish to manipulate you? What if you change your mind?"
"Those are a lot of questions, but it's been doing me well these last few years so..." I shrug my shoulders. "Besides, I'm with you for a year. You concerned that I might get pregnant now?"
"No, like you said you separate work from pleasure. Despite me being both I'm sure you can manage."
I lean forward onto my elbows as I speak, "so, tell me then, the real reason you bought me for a year?"
It was Dominic's time to lean back into his chair, he sat up quickly as the main is brought to our table—fish which seem to be placed on a bed of kale and broccoli, there was intricately placed yellow dots a fish sauce I guessed to add some moisture to the food not that it needs it.
I take a forkful, watching Dominic waiting for his reply.
"As you know, my companies have come across various small problems. Someone is messing with my companies, with my money." I watch as Dominic take a sip of his wine sighing heavily. "I'm losing control, and I don't do well when I lose control. So, I needed an escape." His eyes capture mine and his face seem to soften as though just gazing at my face gives him that calm he needs.
"You're that escape, that constant in my life when nothing seems consistent."
"But why me? You could've easily had your pick of any employee. It's a lot of money on a gamble."
"And that is exactly why you. I didn't want to have to think about it. My whole life is surrounded by smart choices and calculated risks. I had the money, so I did it."
I watch as Dominic bends down to retrieve something off the floor. It is a perfectly wrapped box covered in silver paper, decorated with white snowflakes all with a golden bow on top.
"Merry Christmas, Mae," he said softly, handing the present over to me.
My mouth begins to ache as the smile tries to grow wider.
"You really didn't have to."
I try my best to contain my excitement, peeling the paper back delicately and with sophistication. As I tear the first piece off my eyebrows knit together in confusion. The more I rip, the slightly less confused I get.
"Headphones?" I look at Dominic then back at the box. In the back of my mind, I had thought it would be jewellery or something...shiny.
"So, I don't disturb you vinyasa again," he replies. My smile returns. This is by far the best present I have received jewellery was easy to get someone, but he had actually paid attention to me and bought me something I can use.
I place the box down and lean over the table, placing my lips against his now slightly flushed cheek.
"Thank you, Dominic," I whisper against his skin. I sit down, smiling at Dominic as he returned my smile with his own.
A.N. Finally we found out why Dominic chose Mae, turned out it was luck! We also found out that Mae can't have children, pretty good contraception she has going on. Let me know what you think. Most importantly, thanks for reading.