2 𝘊𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘨𝘦 𝘣𝘢𝘥𝘣𝘰𝘺
He decides in telling her about the plans for tonight. Strangely enough, going out seems appealing to him.
"Hm, we have this invitation from Bennet to go out tonight. It's going to be just you and me, Bennet and... God knows who, Nate and... I really hope he doesn't mean bringing Marie," he explains and raises his eyes to Paula who has kept silent all along.
"So, what do think? It's a celebration for sealing the deal." Chase gazes at her, head bent, eyes prying through his long black eyelashes for a reaction.
And a reaction he gets.
Usually, changes of plan don't go well with Paula especially when it is about their time to spend together, not that there are too many interesting things happening.
"I thought we've had dinner planned for tonight. You and I. Your proposal," she replies slightly irritated but still in a soft voice.
"If you don't agree, we'll not go," Chase gives up.
"No. No, by all means. You can go. I'm fine, just... I'm planning a quiet evening home," she replies trying to look at ease with her decision but still showing off the irritation she always uses to piss him off. And with that, she walks out of the living room.
"Paula come on..." Chase tries to stop her while she disappears into the kitchen.
It's obvious to him that she isn't at ease with it and knowing her better than no one, he's sure she just keeps herself on the victim's side not because she doesn't want to go out but because he has changed the plans.
She was and she liked everything to be predictive.
And still, he doesn't feel to change the plan even though he knows it has been him to promise her a dinner tonight but, but he has hoped Paula is more flexible tonight.
So he decides that yeah, going out will be the best thing for tonight.
Chase strolls out of the walk-in closet buttoning up his shirt gazing at Paula laying down, looking relaxed while flipping through a fashion magazine.
She kept quiet all evening which was not unusual for her. Sometimes she would just dive into some story that she read without noticing anybody around.
It didn't bother Chase. They both needed time for themselves, but it was added to other moments of coldness and that did make him uncomfortable.
"Will you be alright tonight?" he asks for one more confirmation before leaving the apartment and throw himself in the night he knows he'll enjoy.
She doesn't seem to hear him though and Chase doesn't ask again.
The doorbell breaks the silence of the house and he immediately knows it's Bennet so he grabs his jacket and before leaving the bedroom places a soft, lingering kiss on Paula's forehead.
She startles from her story and raises her eyes to Chase's face. She just smiles bitterly and Chase is grateful for getting back only that.
He couldn't and wouldn't put up to one of her mood scenes right now, not tonight. He only wants to get lost in the crowd of the club, music banging his ears and dry scotch burning his throat and why not, get a little drunk. Wouldn't hurt.
Without any other words, he leaves the bedroom, and deep down he feels like leaving Paula as well, which is not altogether that much of a bad feeling but still, he has to admit she is the closest to a perfect wife for the social image if he ever wished for one.
He moves wavily towards the door and strangely he feels that closing that door behind him is one of the best things to do.
Not only for tonight, but for all the time that is to come, thinking of the long period he will have traveling back and forth between New York and Seoul.
He knew Paula would not adjust to that even though he planned to have her with him whenever was possible but that plan just faded away in a blink when Paula's eyes got empty of desire tonight, lacking any trace of passion.
"Bennet," Chase greets his brother with a wide smile, already up for the fun of tonight.
"Wow! I've never seen you so fucking anxious for a night out, brother."
"Really? And where do you see that?"
"On all that damn mug of yours," he clarifies rounding a finger on Chase's face looking very content with what he sees. "You're coming alone? Paula couldn't put up with the change of plan?" he continues mockingly.
He didn't like Paula very much. She was a beautiful woman, refined, classy, and all of that but still, something felt like missing from his brother's life and he knew Paula could not replace or offer that something. So her not coming tonight was more than Bennet could have wished for.
"Yeah, change of plans ruins anticipation, right?" Chase replies with a slightly sad smirk as if anticipation is something bad.
Well, it kind of was, in certain circumstances, like love, or sex, or relationships. And Paula was all anticipation, from the smallest things she did in her everyday life to their nights together or their business deals.
Both brothers walk out of the fancy building towards the sports car of Bennet, one of his arms thrown around Chase's shoulders, like two very good friends gossiping. When Chase gets in the car, noticing it was just the two of them he looks questioning Bennet.
"Nate chickened out?" he asks.
"Not really... hm, he's picking up Marie," Bennet answers gazing at his brother and waiting for a reaction.
"What? I can't believe this kid sometimes!" Chase shakes his head.
"Dude, this kid really is into the girl. I don't see why you are so stiff about it."
"Really? You don't see it? Whenever did we have the luxury to be into someone that wasn't carefully checked and approved by mom? We're just not like that, Bennet and I wished he goddamned wasn't either."
"I know. I know what you are trying to say Chase but still, you can't ask him to be like you. Hell, nobody is like you!"
"And how am I, Bennet?" Chase asks obviously bothered but his mind gets stuck at the thought that he actually has never taken his time to think about how he is. There has always been something to get him too busy for that.
"Chase..." Bennet tries to avoid the subject altogether and get back to the party mood he has and his brother has just fucked it up.
He takes a quick look at his brother while Chase keeps his glare on him still waiting for an answer.
"Alright. I really hope to get something fucking good out of this. You're stiff, brother, you're always so fucking calculating everything, always on the right side of the wall, and never adventure even in business if you do not see a clear analysis and the figures well predicted. Talking about fucking anticipation!"
Chase takes his time to absorb everything he hears, shifting his glare out on the window and lingering his eyes from one building to another as their car is passing by.
His life was everything but adventure, his marriage was anything else but adventure, Paula was many things in his life but not an adventure, not adrenaline, not passion, not throbbing desire.
Bennet checks on Chase once more and feels sorry for coming out so straight. He loves his brother, Chase has always been this pole to lean on when life has taken him sideways.
Chase has been that constant in his life keeping him floating when Caroline has left without a word never to come back or to be found.
Booze and drugs were his constants soon after before Chase came in and with a brotherly determination shook Bennet out of the hole he ran into and set him straight on his feet.
"You're right, Bennet. But this anticipation makes me comfortable and I feel in control, control that I can't afford to lose, you know that."
"Yeah..." Bennet replies happily that the subject is somehow closed. "But don't take that away from Nate."
"He's my only son, Bennet."
Chase snaps his stare at his brother wishing to find the exact meaning of his words.
There was never going to be a wedding with Paula. They were just fine in a relationship and the only time she mentioned it Chase made damn sure it would not happen again. No way he would argue with Bennet about it!
Bennet takes a short look at a staring, pissed Chase.
"Oh, for fuck's sake, I'm not talking about Paula. What the hell is wrong with you? Paula?!" Bennet burst into a peal of hysterical laughter.
"It wasn't me talking about not having another son yet!" Chase grinds relieved at Bennet's clarification and Bennet smiles shaking his head and holding his look on the road.
The visit to Seoul was an uncontested success but there was a small detail that he didn't reveal to Chase just yet.
Not that it was not important, actually it was the reason that Koreans agreed to sign the contract and Bennet had to grant them their request.
He knows he has to tell his brother before all process starts. Chase will find out anyway and Bennet has never let his brother find out important staff from the mouths of others.
"Listen, Chase. With the Koreans deal. You know... I had to make a compromise to get that deal closed," Bennet starts, keeping his eyes on the road, pretending to be relaxed and comfy.
"What the hell do you mean, Bennet? What compromise?" Chase asks shifting in a millisecond into the cold rough businessman he usually is.
"It's not about you, brother. Nor the money. It's about the architect that will handle the project. They want him or her to be a non-stop collaborator during the construction period."
"Are you serious? And you never thought to discuss that with me before agreeing? Goddamn it, Ben! How do you think Jackson will agree to send Marisa to Seoul for six continuous months? He will be losing more than three more contacts during the period and guess who is going to pay for that. Fuck it, Bennet!" Chase bursts and turns his eyes towards the window, beating the air around him with his hands, already thinking how he would convince either the Koreans they didn't need the architect at all times or Jackson to agree to dispense himself of his best architect for six continues months.
"Chase, I already thought for a plan. Come on, did you think I would risk it that much?"
"I don't think I want to know your plan. At least not until tomorrow morning. Or Monday, whatever."
"It's worth it bro, trust me."
Bennet pulls his car in front of the club and hands the keys to the valet, both getting down and heading straight to the entrance. The bouncer nods and opens the access in the booing of the young people waiting in the queue.
"Bennet, nice to see you tonight."
"Hey, Kai. Seems a busy night," Bennet replies pointing to the pill of people waiting to enter.
"Isn't it always?" Kai replies with a grimace and opens the heavy iron door for the two brothers.