Michael looked at Zee. She carefully avoided his gaze. Then he looked at the red-dyed-haired boy who was looking at him expectantly. At the same time, he pulled Zee closer to his side as if he could not get her close enough.
Now, he knew why she was there in the first place. What a coincidence. It was almost laughable. Only, this was not funny to him.
First, she had said that she had no plans for the rest of the day, but here she was, throwing lies all over the place. She had even told this guy that he was her big brother. How clever. He did not have time for this.
“Elizabeth.” His voice was dark and rough as he said her name like a command and reluctantly, she looked up at him, her fear-filled eyes, clammy.
“Who am I?” he demanded.
Zee started to look at Stanley when Michael’s voice thundered low at her. “Do not look at him. Look at me.”
Her eyes quickly returned to his.
“Who am I?” he repeated.
“You’re my boyfriend.” She managed to say, her voice wavering.
“Good, now look at him and tell him who the fuck I am.”
Zee looked at Stanley who was standing there, stupefied.
“Stanley, he…he’s my boyfriend.”
Stanley’s eyes seemed to grow rounder as he stared at Zee, unbelieving. Then his eyes met Michael’s gaze and he saw a dangerous glint in them. Michael’s eyes on Stanley’s were ferocious, the amber color of his iris fierce like that of a tiger watching prey.
“I believe that was clear.” His gaze on Stanley’s remained intense with a warning, his deep voice, low but almost rumbling like thunder amidst darkening clouds.
Feeling intimidated by Michael, Stanley took a step back. He was a bad boy himself, but Zee’s boyfriend was certainly badass. He was wise enough to listen to the adage, pick your battles. He preferred fighting battles he could win and this battle was bigger than him. He let his gaze return to Zee who was giving him an apologetic look. “You lied to me.” He said disappointedly. “We could have been great together. Have a nice life.” He turned and stormed away in the direction he had come from.
Zee’s gaze fell to the ground as she wondered about what will happen next. She could feel Michael’s hand tightening on her waist and his breath at her ear, giving her tiny shivers. “Come with me.”
“Michael, please, I want to go home.” She whined.
“You’ll go home. But not right now.” He took her hand and started leading her in the VIP direction but she pinned her legs to the ground and wouldn’t move.
“You don’t want to be carried now, do you?”
Zee didn’t want the humiliation of being carried unceremoniously, so she followed him, two of the guards following at a cautious distance behind them. The corridor he led her through, was glass-walled and partitioned by doors bearing the names of different flowers- rose, dandelion, sunflower, and so on.
“Where are you taking me?” she whined.
“Back to the meeting room where I was with Mr. Arnold just now. Luckily the reservation hasn’t expired.”
That didn’t tell her anything as far as she was concerned. “But why?” she asked tentatively as he stopped at a door bearing the name African Daisy and got it open. Then he instructed the guards to wait outside. That was when Zee knew the privacy he was seeking would do her no good.
“Michael, I’m sorry I lied.” She said, her voice full of anxiety but he was practically dragging her inside the room because she was no longer moving. Once inside, he shut the door behind him. He was still gripping her wrist as he moved her towards the large meeting table inside. “Michael.” She said his name pleadingly but he was bending her over the table and keeping her trapped to it with his body.
She tried to move but found she was barely able to move. Then she heard his voice, low and stormy behind her. “First, what gave you the effrontery to wear that nose ring I expressly forbade you from wearing?”
“I’m really sorry.”
“Second, you said you didn’t have any plans for the rest of the day but here you are. Thirdly, I told you that you’re not permitted to have a boyfriend but you snuck into this hotel with that tout. Fourthly, you lied about why you’re here and got Mrs. Arnold involved in your lie just to cover up your tracks. And then you crowned your misbehavior by lying that I’m your big brother huh? How dare you?”
“Please. I’m sorry.”
“I know. But I’m going to give you something you’ve long been overdue for.”
“Michael please…aargh!” she cried out as his palm came crashing down on her sit spot. “Michael…” She began pleadingly and let out another cry as he landed another smack that felt harder than the first. She sniffled, unable to believe what was happening. She remembered Inara. Was this karma for always getting her best friend into trouble? No wonder Inara was always scared of misbehaving. The spanking was painful. She tried to move, but she could barely move a limb. Instead, she felt his palm crashing down her backside again. She broke into a sob as from then on, he continued whipping her bum mercilessly and holding her body down on the table. It felt like her backside was on fire as she cried.