Zee walked into the living room where her parents were still glued to the TV on a history channel. Israel was seated between them. When he saw her, he held on tightly to her father.
“Why was Israel crying?” her father asked.
“I think he was not in the mood for tickling.” Zee replied lightly.
“Oh.” He said and her mother just smiled.
“Okay.” Her father said.
“Have fun.” Said her mother.
“Thanks, you both.” She responded before waving them off and exiting the house.
It was amazing how she was always able to mask her true feelings when she was with her parents. She was so scared of facing Michael and she had been able to hide it from them.
Outside, Zee saw Michael’s Range Rover parked outside. She drew in a deep breath and took quick steps towards the car. She knew that if she didn’t move fast, she would lose courage and just stand there. She didn’t want to behave cowardly.
When she reached the car, the door opened and she knew he must have been watching her. He was straightening up from leaning over to open the car door for her when she slid inside and sat down on the passenger side.
The lemony scent of the air freshener inside the car was sweet and balmy but it did nothing to temper her nervousness. She couldn’t bring herself to look at him and kept her eyes on her lap instead.
Zee sat there for a few seconds, wondering why he hadn’t said a word even though she could feel his gaze perusing her. She was also aware of the earthy fragrance of his cologne warring with the lemony scent of the air freshener. Together, both scents created a sweet aura that she couldn’t enjoy because of his presence that currently overwhelmed her.
She swallowed hard as she remembered the spanking he had given her at the hotel and she was afraid he would take her somewhere and do it again. Her heart was pounding against her chest and she felt like crying. The air condition was on but it felt like she was hot due to how tensed up she was.
Michael kept perusing her. He could see the fear all over her and he almost wondered why. Zee the Queen who don’t give a shit, like she used to say about herself on her voicemail was now giving a shit. It was just as well. It was high time she started giving a shit.
She managed to look at him with eyes that had gotten humid with anxiety. For the first time, she noticed what he was wearing. He was clad in a black long sleeve shirt over a pair of white fitted pants, his toned abs noticeable in the high-end looking shirt. Even though his amber eyes were so alluring, she was intimidated as she had to look into them.
“Tell me what happened last night.”
“I…you know…” she began, thinking of how best to explain.
“Please what, Zee?”
She started crying. “I won’t do it again.”
Michael sighed. “I’ve not even touched you yet and you’re crying.”
“Please, I won’t do it again.”
“So why are you crying?”
“I won’t do it again, please.”
“You won’t do what again, Zee? I don’t even know what you did.”
“Michael please, we both know that you know.”
“Fine. I want to hear it from you.”
“I…I had one drinks too many and I…I got drunk. I’m sorry.”
“Any particular reason why you got that reckless?”
“I really don’t know.”
“Is that something you usually do?”
She shook her head.
“No.” she said quickly.
“So why did you do it?”
“I just…I just felt like being high.”
“Elizabeth.” His tone had gone icy.
“I don’t want to believe that you’ve just lied to me.” He stated flatly.
“You cannot just tell me you felt like getting high if you’ve not done it before. I know you, Zee. So you had better tell me the truth before you get me madder than I already am.”
It was hard but Zee decided to tell the truth. She remembered how Inara would always caution her about her drinking episodes. She had never been drunk in public though. It was something she did mostly at home and even then, she wouldn’t do it to a stupor like she had done last night. She usually stopped at a level when she was still in control of herself.
“Well, I…I do get drunk but not like last night and never alone in public.” She confessed.
He watched her cry for a few seconds. He already knew she was crying because she was afraid of being punished. He retrieved a handkerchief from the glove box and handed it to her. “Here, stop crying.”
She sniffled and received it from him, her movements, tentative. “Thanks.” She mumbled, wondering if he had let it go. If he was giving her a handkerchief, then maybe he had. “I won’t do it again.” She promised for the fourth time.
“I won’t punish you, Zee. Dry your eyes.”
“Really?” Zee could hardly believe it. She started dabbing her eyes with the handkerchief.
“You better believe it.” He replied.
“Thanks.” She mumbled with relief.
“You’re welcome.” He responded and reached out a finger to touch her chin, moving it so she was forced to look at him. “But just so you know, it’s only because I want you to be able to sit properly for our outing today. Next time, you won’t be so lucky. Not only did you drink to a stupor. You did it without company and alone in public. Anyone could have taken advantage of you.”
Zee was silently grateful that he didn’t get wind of what that idiot had almost done to her at the club. Somehow she had been conscious but just too inebriated to care and she was grateful to Inara and Lemuel, especially Lemuel who she knew didn’t like her but had still come to her rescue and defense.
“It won’t happen again. I’m sorry.”
“I hear you.”
“You’re welcome. Meanwhile, I don’t like those jeans. You can wear rugged jeans but not one so rugged it looks so tattered. I want it off. Go and get changed. Five minutes.”
Zee looked at her jeans and back to his unyielding expression.
“Tick tock.” He said and she found herself hurrying out of the car.