Chapter 8: Rome
Ava Marquez’s POV
Iñigo was unusually quite as we ate our meal. I tried to think what could possibly have turned him to be quite. Racking my brain, I remember telling him about my parents and about Rome and Grace. But I also remember Rome giving us his wisdom. Maybe he was absorbing the love stories since he is very bitter with love?
Peaking at him through my lashes, I watch him gracefully chew his meal and cut his meal. Even the way he eats was sexy and beautiful. His posture is spot on and his manners are on point. One can see the difference between us.
He must have felt my gaze because he stopped cutting his meat and looked at me with his smoldering eyes. “What is it?”
I gently asked him “Are you okay? You’ve been awfully quite.”
He sighed and shook his head.
“You know you can be honest with me. We can make a pinky promise that I won’t take offense nor will I share to anyone what you will tell me.” I urged him on. He was thinking very deeply after Rome gave us our meal. What could he possibly think of?
“Pinky promise?” His eyebrows rose and his eyes shown mirth in them.
I nodded grinning at him as I finish my meal “Yes. My dad and I used to make pinky promises.”
Holding my pinky at him, I was shocked that he hooked it with mine. Yes! I can ask him anything! But first things first.
“So, what were you thinking after Rome’s advice? You were in really deep thought.” I pondered as I placed my arms on the table and slumped my head on my hands.
He sighed, ruffled his hair and leaned on his chair. “I just couldn’t wrap my head on the idea of loving someone for the rest of your life. My parents aren’t the best models for that and so is my failed marriage.”
“I understand, it is hard to think of love when you’ve been faced with those situations.” His eyes tilted to meet mine “But maybe if you would take a chance again and use Rome and Grace’s story as examples, you can get your happily ever after too.”
“It’s my turn now to ask questions.” I said leaning forward “Why are you so scared of asking for help?”
He stilled in his seat, averting his gaze from me. I waited for him until he expelled a breath “I was thought young that it was beneath a Petrakis to ask for help from anyone.”
“So you never asked for help?” I gasped out loud.
“I did but only a couple of times.” he guiltily replied “My parents raised me well but overtime I realized I didn’t like the lessons or values they preached. I was taught to be independent, ruthless and unforgiving. Marriage should be to gain power. Hence, when I married Laurene they partly didn’t approve of it since Laurene’s family company was bankrupt. I guess I became bitter and heartless after what happened.”
I nodded in understanding “It’s actually in these moments that you tap onto your values and your support system. Everyone needs help. Even the most powerful heroes in history needed help.”
“I know. I’m slowly trying to apply it.”
“So, will you accept my proposal since its basically me helping you out too.” I asked hopefully.
He grinned at me with a naughty smile on hsi face “I thought it was my turn to ask questions now.”
“You are such a party pooper.” I pouted at him. He softly grinned and his face grew serious.
“How do you do it?” he asked me leaning forward “How do you stay positive despite everything life has given you?”
“I’m too pretty and amazing to get wrinkles, that’s why.” We both laughed at my joke. “But on a more serious note, I just don’t have the energy or time to be dwell on self-pity. I mean do get sad and at nights I would cry myself to sleep but once I wake I would always put on a brave face. My sister needed me and I needed myself to be strong so I can give her a good life.”
Giving him a small smile, I stared at the children outside “Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days I was a kid. Everything was perfect back then. You didn’t have to worry about bills or making ends meet. But I realized being adults is just as fun too, you just have to see the beauty in everything. So are for you Mr. Iñigo Petrakis.”
I pointed at him with my finger “You just need to learn to forgive, ask for help and a lot of dosage of faith, trust and Ava Marquez!”
He laughed out loud at my final words. “Am I now being an uptight and boring man?”
“Oh you really am.” I rolled my eyes at him. Grabbing his hand, I gave him a mischievous grin” A handsome uptight man who needs to dance and sing all his problems away.”
“Ava no. I don’t dance!” He gritted out as he gripped the edge of his chair.
“Too bad I’m a persuasive person.”
Putting some coins on the karaoke, I held the microphone to my lips and sang the lyrics of Mama Mia.
A playful grin was on my lips as I danced and sang infront of an embarassed Iñigo Petrakis. People hooted and cheered. By the time we were at the chorus, people jumped on their seats and danced with me.
“Come on you’re the only sitting down.” I said pushing him to the dance floor.
“Fine.” He defeatedly say as I handed him the microphone and let him sang the song. We grinned and cheered as I helped me dance.
By the time we were on our next song, Iñigo was headbanging to the song Bang, Bang.
We were all laughing, jumping and singing to our hearts content. Seeing Iñigo let go of all his inhibitions and laugh out loud was truly a sight. For a moment I paused on my feet when I felt the drumming of my heart. Slowly, glancing up at his twinkling eyes and diamond smile, I just knew that I was slowly falling for Iñigo Petrakis.
Iñigo Petrakis’s POV
True to Rome and Grace’s words no photos were circulated of our time in the diner. I was grateful for them. Although they did send me stolen photos of Ava and I.
“My we do look good together.” Ava’s sweet voice fanned my neck. Turning towards her, she was leaning towards me with absolute awe in her eyes.
“Ava.” I professionally called her. This stunned her so she straightened herself and gave me her infamous smile.
“Good Morning Boss. I brought you coffee.” she cheeefully placed the cup of coffee on my table “Here’s your lunch too. I won’t be able to join you since-achoo!”
She grabbed a tissue and wiped her nose “I’m so sorry I didn’t mean to. Good thing this thing has a cover.”
She said placing the tupperware. I just noticed her eyes were a little watery and her nose was a bit red.
“I’ll be driving my sister to the airport since she’ll be interning in the US.”
She sneezed again.
“Ava are you okay?” I asked her as she breathed a deep breath.
“Perfect!” she grinned at me although it didn’t reached her eyes “I’ll start working now. Oh and kindly don’t forget that you have a meeting with Mr. Meisenhalter for the renewal of business deals.”
“Ava?” I stopped her “Are you sure you’re okay? You look like you might have a cold.”
“I think so.” She softly said sneezing “I might have gotten it from the rain last night.”
“Why didn’t you let me take you home?” I frustratingly asked. She should have asked me to take her home when it began to pour after we ate at the resto.
She shrugged “I had to stop by somewhere else before I went home. I didn’t want to bother you.”
“Next time I want you to ask.” I firmly pointed at her. A grin flew on her lips.
“Are you growing soft on me Iñigo?“She teased. I schooled my expression to hide the redness of my face.
“I’m just trying to help out a friend.”
“So, were friends now.” She advanced towards me, a devious grin on her eyes “Don’t you want it to be lovers?”
I cocked my eyebrow at her.
“Perhaps wife? Husband?” She continued on until she planted her hands on my chest and gazing at me with her sultry lashes.
The thought of calling Ava my wife was not such a bad thing. Shaking my thoughts, I stopped her advancement “We should get back to work.”
“Such a difficult man.” She muttered to herself “Alright. Have a good day boss!”
Strutting out of my office with her sexy ass on those tight pencil skirts, I removed the image away and focused on work.
By the time lunch came, I quickly devoured Ava’s prepared meal, freshened up and drove to my business partner’s meeting place. The Meisenhalters have been our partners since my grandfather. I haven’t personally met them since it was my father who were able to deal with them before. I just hope they can continue our business partnership even with the state of my company.
Glancing at my watch, I was early. Sitting at our reserved table I easily spotted Mr. Meisenhalter. He was a man of about 60 years old with gray hair.
“Mr. Meisenhalter. It is nice to formally meet you.”
“Mr. Petrakis. The pleasure is mine. You can call me Gregory.”
We both sat on our seats and discussed business. Halfway through I felt the conversation wasn’t going the way as it is planned out.
“I wish you would take no offense Iñigo but you currently have a scandal attached to your name.”
I cursed inside my head that this came up. Cooling my expression, I sat up straighter. “Yes but I assure you it will not cause problems in the company. What we do with our private lives won’t be a concern to the company”
“I understand but the standing of most our bored believes to avoid any scandal. I am merely curious as to what are your plans with Ms. Ava Marquez and your company’s fortune. I was able to work with her and she seemed like a nice woman.”
“Yes she is but ---”
“Sorry I’m late.” a familiar voice entered the room we were renting and I gasped in shock as to who it was.
“It’s nice to see you again Iñigo.” Gone were the red shirt and black pants. It was replaced by a pinstripped suit.
“Iñigo this is my brother-in-law Rome. He is the COO of our company.