The five-page contract lay on the glass table as the two business partners facing each other stared at it. Neither of the two moved towards it. They wanted to get away from it as far as possible. They never trusted each other so a contract is needed. The fact that there were no lawyers or witnesses present worried them both. But their arrangement had to be a secret. The first to cut the half-hour silence was the one who proposed the plan.
“You know that we don’t have another choice, right?” she softly said. While she was the one who proposed it and planned this meeting two weeks ago, she was feeling hesitant as she continued to glance at the pair of ocean blue eyes watching her.
“We do. We can choose to ignore,” he immediately replied. His deep authoritative voice scared her before but he always annoyed her with his obsessions with power and control that she grew immune. She crossed her leg after his statement, irritated that he ignored their previous meetings – outlining why they can’t ignore the problem.
“I would do the same if not for who placed us in this situation,” she insisted. He brushed his black vest then fixed his tie. When his gaze returned to her, his eyes grew a darker shade of blue. But it won’t intimidate her. They were currently at the same level. She scoffed at his attempt to frighten her.
“Then you should be the one to convince that person,” he replied when he realized that he couldn’t scare her.
“That person wouldn’t budge. And I intended to do his wish.”
“Even if it’s not real,” he added to her statement, making her cringe.
“Even if it’s not real,” she repeated, emphasizing the last word. “I will still try. How about you?” She smiled sweetly at him, taunting him.
“Don’t use them against me,” he growled, clenching his hands on his lap. For a short moment, she felt nervous but she didn’t show it in her expression.
“We are in the same situation even if you don’t want to do anything with me. Besides, you already agreed to this days before.” What made him change his mind? She was getting impatient. Even though she dreaded to do something with him, she needed to make that person happy. By the end of the contract, nothing will stop them anymore from living their lives the way they want it.
“But it would be a bother.” He relaxed on the back of the couch then opened the button of his suit.
“It definitely will be. But think about our freedom after this,” she insisted again. But she won’t beg. If he won’t accept her terms, she will find another way. But definitely not with him. She watched him as he scratched his chin, looking through the glass window separating her front lawn from the inner house. The light of the moon illuminated the pathway. Contemplating on her words, he thought about how inconvenient her proposal is but at the same time how acceptable her reasons are for proposing it. They just have to follow her terms for a limited time, convincing their families that they are trying to get to know each other.
Ironically, they despise each other, their personalities were too alike that they usually crash. If it wouldn’t be for her grandfather and her desire to get her family off her back, she won’t propose this foolish idea. He thought about her proposal for the last two weeks, laughing at first then pondering if he should ask his best buds for their opinions. This will also be help him get some people off his back and achieve his business goals.
“We can just do this for real.” He grinned when she glared at him. This man kept joking around.
“I hate you.” She gritted her teeth, irritated with his suggestion. The man’s grin immediately left his face and was replaced with a scowl.
“And I you.”
“Freedom…” he muttered after 10 minutes of silence. Her eyes widened a fraction, a smile broke after hearing his statement.
“Yes. At least after the contract expires.” She uncrossed her leg and shifted forward, eyeing the paper on her glass table.
“I need to add a term in our contract.” Her gaze shot to his, frowning at his idea but didn’t comment on it. They have to compromise or they will both lose. His suggestion was based on his own selfish desire - to wait and to be for someone he loves.
“We can be with anyone secretly.” It didn’t surprise her. Even without the statement in the contract, she expected him to propose this. It wouldn’t surprise her if he has several girlfriends. She knew that he is a playboy.
“As long as our families and the public don’t know anything before our contract ends,” she replied coolly. He nodded then moved forward to grab the contract. He grabbed his pen in his breast pocket. He first wrote another article in Section III regarding dating. She watched him as he signed it, trying hard not to smile. Finally!, she thought. When he looked up, she noticed that his eyes were still dark and regarded her with an intensity that shook her.
“Your turn,” he said then pushed the paper towards her. Their gaze didn’t leave each other’s eyes as she signed without looking at the paper. Slowly, she placed her pen on top of the paper.
"You know that this is just a business transaction," he said.
"I know," she replied confidently.
"So don't get attached, you'll only get hurt," he added. She frowned. There was no way either of them will like each other.
"I know." He smiled.
“I hope you’ll take care of me for the next two years fiancée, Ms. Savanna Morgan Reinhart.” He offered his hand to her. She didn’t fail to notice his mocking. She sweetly smiled as she reached for his large hand and squeezed it firmly. But of course, it didn’t affect him. Her hand was too little and too weak to hurt him.
“I hope you do too, Mr. Draven Hightower.” Their charade will now officially begin.