I needed to go home and run over the haste financial decision Mason had just made but I wasn’t granted enough time because he was already en route on a different road that I’m sure didn’t lead back to his mansion. Somewhere in the depths of my mind I was hoping that he’d drive to an open field and dismember my corpse beyond recognition so I can escape this madness but DeLuca had something else on his mind.
He parked outside one of the most expensive jewellery stores in the whole of New Orleans and served me a small smirk.
“Micio, shall we?” he offers his arm but I glare at him in response before quickly opting for a more bitter, effective verbal response.
“We’re going to pick out our engagement rings of course.” I wanted to quarrel and bicker but then the thought of that flash drive hit me into realization like a wrecking ball would into a wall. Reluctantly, I wait for him to come round and help me on my feet but I didn’t make the mistake of leaving my crutches.
“Please open the boot,” I ask quietly and Mason pretends to be observing the busy streets before averting his attention to me “scusi?”
“The boot, open it up.”
“Feisty,” he grins widely with those dazzling incandescent irises and hands me my crutches “I wouldn’t mind holding you again.” I knew that he merely said that so he could accidently hike my dress up again.
I’m smarter than I actually look, Mason.
“That’s debasing,” I mumble attaining a good grip on my handles and I set them forward before limping right behind them.
Mason is a true gentleman, opening the door for me and walking at my slow pace but nothing could erase what had happened a week back and the gun I found in his possession.
“Good day, how can I help you today?” an aged, white-haired male asks with a tender sweet smile that lights up the large room.
The store was ridiculously huge, not intimate and cosy for a newly-engaged couple but this would have to suffice for now. Stones, jewels and pearls lie underneath the cold glass in their cases but my gaze fixated on a fascinating mocha-skinned woman with bright golden eyes standing in one of the corners.
“We’re looking for the best rings you have to offer,” Mason drawls on and the salesman offers me a kind smile until his aged wife emerged from what I presume is the storage room.
“Would you look at that Charlie. I’m seeing a whole lot of caramel biscuits here, a whole lot of them!” she squeals far too loudly for an old saleswoman whom I’m sure has seen interracial couples every day since they opened the doors of this business.
While the old woman droned on and on about how much hair interracial kids have, I turned around and limped to the woman I had seen earlier, which would’ve been a success if I didn’t bump into a late-forties man with a bald head.
“Take me away from here.” I whisper to the male who looked generally confused but I continue to beg for escape nonetheless “take me away from here. I can do the washing, scrub the floors and wear those short French maid outfits that send all men into frenzy.”
The man’s slant beady eyes flicker from side to side and he leans into me as if what he’s about to say isn’t for everyone to hear, “do you suck c0ck --”
“Alright, move wise guy or else you’ll be sucking my fist!” Mason hollers and the male scurries away, his facial expression displaying his mortification.
Mason helps me limp back to the old woman who was now talking about buttermilk biscuits and this time, I hobble to the black woman I had seen before.
“Young one,” she articulates with so much melody “can I interest you in a reading to find some jewels?”
I muster a small smile for her, “I’d like that, thank you.”
She grabs hold of my clenched fist and pries it open, revealing the slices in my palm that resembles an ‘M’ and rubs her middle finger down on the lines. Her fingers skim my wrists briefly and her eyes flutter close as she rubs the smooth skin. After opening her eyes she hauls out a bag of jewels and scatters them across the table, creating an ethereal canvas of colour.
Gingerly, she begins to loop them into a wire with her index finger and thumb, “Insecurity,” she pushes a purple jewel resembling a vulture onto the wire “you feast on something after everyone has taken the joy out of it.”
She pushes a red rose jewel onto the line, joining the vulture, “Fertility. Womanhood. Humour. Sadness. Pain. Lust â” my eyes widen at her labels.
“What are you doing?” I ask but the woman continues to line the jewels onto the line, filling it up.
“Take those down! I do not feel such!”
My teeth chew on my bottom lip and I frown at her, “I will not purchase that.”
She lifts her gaze from her beautiful necklace and I struggle to not be consumed by her golden delicate eyes, “You will soon know emotion and feel it.”
I back away from her slowly and my breath catches in my throat once I slip on my cast, only to have steady, strong arms save me the fall. Now familiarised with his body mist and cologne combined, Mason helps me up and scans my face with curious eyes.
“Anything interesting that happened?”
I gaze at the woman, who wore a proud smile and I gulp, “uh...no, do you need me for something?”
Mason keeps his gaze locked behind me and nods mindlessly, “you need to choose my ring.”
Right. How could I be so stupid and allow that woman’s false words steer me away from my initial task? Mason keeps a steady grip on my waist as he helps me back to the salesman and my gaze falls upon the most ridiculously large ring I’ve ever seen.
I glare at the large diamond nestled in the centre of the ring, “Mason, you can’t be serious.”
Mason seems deep in thought and he mutters a quiet, “what do you mean?”
Exactly what I said.
“I can’t take that.”
Mason scoffs, scanning the ring for himself before smiling in his self-approval, “it’s bbw.”
The room grew silent and I had to swallow in my comment, “big, beautiful and wonderful.”
I let out a small breath but my lips twitched at the small joke he had thrown, “can’t I pick my own ring? I’m sure we can look at the standard-sized diamonds.”
Mason nods hesitantly at the salesman and he disappears into the storeroom before coming out with a case of simpler, delicate rings. My eyes instantly fell upon the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen and I couldn’t help but smile.
“That’s the one.”
You can’t blame me for swaying to the devil’s tune but I am a girl of course and marriage is something I’ve always wanted to experience, even though it is an experimental thing for two years.
“Micio,” he glares at the ring with harsh eyes and a slight grimace “it’s simple.”
I found it absolutely exquisite. It was a yellow-gold-blue Topaz and diamond ring. The ring contained one spectacular emerald-cut genuine London-blue Topaz stone that was set in a Yellow-Gold, four prong, basket head that set the stone low on the mounting. On either side of the Topaz were two rows of channel set diamonds, four in each row.
“We’ll take it;” I grin widely at my choice but then another row of rings were pushed in front of me “now pick mine micio.”
I gaze up at him in nervousness and I bite my bottom lip to draw out the embarrassment, “I can’t afford anything in this store.”
Mason turns his body fully to me and I succumb to his pastel blue eyes which read a foreign heat. His warm, large palms fall over my grips on the handles and he levelled himself down so we could be at ocular-level.
“I don’t want you to spend anything while you’re with me, understood? You’re my wife and I will take care of you like a proper husband should for as long as you are with me.”
I wonder how long it will be until Lena sleeps with you right before my own eyes.
I read true sincerity in his words but the thoughts of him marrying me for his own secret motives drove those thoughts away. “You will take whatever I give you?”
“Whatever your beautiful eyes fawn over then I shall wear that ring with pride.”
I chose a ring similar to mine, Sapphire instead of Topaz and the gem was cut to fit his masculinity but I couldn’t trade the platinum stones on it for something else.
Mason holds his hand out for me and I place my oddly dainty hand in his palm before taking it back in shock.
“Micio, what could be the matter now?”
“Your hands are huge.”
He scoffs, as if he was offended and he cocks a brow at my statement, “mind I tell you that each of my palms are for each sides of your rear, do the math.”
I cock my head behind me and eye my rear, “good argument.”
“Now,” he huffs like an impatient child “can I put the ring on you?”
I couldn’t hide the small smile spanning on my lips when he slips the ring down my finger until he enticed a small laugh from my mouth by handing me his droopy hand, mocking a snobby woman. I take the ring off the table and slide it onto his finger before smiling delicately at him. The smile soon left my face when I noticed his cold demeanour once again.
“Micio, go into the car while I pay up.”
He has no right to control me like that; I’m not even Mrs. Mason DeLuca officially yet.
“Am I nuisance already, DeLuca?”
Mason cracks a snide smirk, “doctor said you can’t be on your feet for more than an hour.”
“Fine,” I grunt taking the keys from his palm ”dad.” I later add.
“Add a D. D. Y and you won’t be able to move at all.”
I limp away from him as fast as I could with wide eyes and exit out the store.
The sun’s rays appreciate the Topaz stone, making it glitter in the light and a giddy feeling wormed itself inside my chest. I’m getting married, even though the reason is not quite pleasant but I’m actually getting married. Despite the giddy feeling, the sense of insecurity hits me hard. If it weren’t for tradition or Mason’s shady dealings then he wouldn’t have considered marrying me in the first place.
“So, will we be having McDonald’s or you fancy some readymade lasagne?”
“How about a home-cooked meal?” I offer quietly while rubbing the beautiful stone.
“Well,” Mason winces with a small smile “I’m not exactly Jamie Oliver in the kitchen.”
“Not even Guy Pearce?”
“More like Gordon Ramsey but I don’t know shÃ¬t.”
Right, so he’s a control freak-maniac but he knows nothing in the kitchen...
I laugh, harder than how I should’ve and when I regained composure, I found Mason staring at me with a blank look on his face. I should probably clarify this now, I laugh like a pig-goat hybrid and if something is really funny then I snort.
In this case, I snorted, and unattractively may I add.
“What?” I chuckle, evening out my breathing.
“Your laugh,” he smirks to himself and I nearly whipped out my phone to make a picturesque memory of his beauty “it pacifies me.”
I frown at the confusion stirring in my head, flushing the thoughts of his face down the toilet, “you mean it blesses you?”
“No, it pacifies me.”
Now could be the perfect time to change the subject Jae, “how about we head down to the shops and get some ingredients? I’ll be cooking up the storm today.”
“Jae...can’t you wait after we consummate for you to kill me?”
“I’m not the bad,” Blair and Walter’s taste buds seem to agree with my statement.
“Well, let’s put my taste buds to the test.” Mason offers smugly but I was way too fixated on the idea of making him swoon over my dishes.
“I can’t sit here while you do everything.” Mason mumbles while swiping down a few times on his iPad “are you sure you don’t need my help?”
I gave him a curt nod and tied Syria’s apron around my waist while scrambling around the top class kitchen Mason owned. It had expensive technology accompanied with sultry colours â red and silver.
I channelled true African dishes, tackling a Merguez, which is a very spicy, red sausage of mutton combined with beef. For a side salad, I was preparing tomatoes and roasted bell peppers cooked together, seasoned with garlic and chilli pepper. The dessert is one of my favourites, a South African dish that is called Melktert which is a sweet pastry crust containing an easy creamy filling made from milk, flour, sugar and eggs.
I came across a lot of characters when I lost my sight briefly back in high school and food was kind of my second love, after forensics of course. Although since I decided to major in forensic science, I found it hard to return to the kitchen and cook.
I smile sarcastically at the reference before dropping it, “please mix the filling for the Milk tart.”
“And how do I do that?”
“Milk in a saucepan while you’re mixing the eggs and sugar together. Add the flour and bring everything to the boil.”
Mason shows no display of attempting his task and I clench my jaw before turning to him, “do I need to give you some motivation?”
“You’re in control,” he muses quietly with those hooded midnight blue eyes “I like that.”
I sigh heavily and unhinge my jaw, “You didn’t understand a single thing I said, did you?”
“Not a clue,” he admits sheepishly “but I will do my best to help you.”
Majority of my work was completed and I only had to pour the filling into the baked crusts and let them set in the fridge. Mason took charge of the situation and poured the filling before placing it into the fridge, completing the last component of today’s menu.
The silence between us was awkward and tight but I had to at least admit to one thing he was doing right.
“The operation,” I mumble quietly, failing to meet his eyes. “it really means a lot.”
“I have a lifetime of making it up to you, cara mia,” he sighs scooting closer to me and I took notice immediately. Why wasn’t I moving back and establishing a boundary? “when are we getting rid of your car and fully moving your things into this house?”
Betsy? No one will touchy my lil’ baby child!
I choke on my spit and rush out a quick cough, “don’t you think that maybe we’re moving a bit too fast?”
“Fast?” Mason scoffs advancing towards me and sandwiching me between the table and his muscular frame. My body rose beautifully to the occasion, abiding to the dominance and I may have perhaps thrust into his pelvis mildly – mildly, I swear.
“Micio, kiss me.”
I fumble on my speech on cue even though I was already on my toes to meet his command, “that isn’t part of the deal.”
“Fuck the deal,” his lips capture mine in a heated kiss and my body was liquid in his hold. Everything about him was about skill, expertise to appreciate my delicate lips with his quick tongue until they were swollen. His taste was electrifying and after what felt like so long, my fingers embedded themselves deep within his curls. Soft like silk yet fiery like razor blades digging into my skin, I pulled away while gauging in my conscience’s reaction – uh oh, she’s furious.
“Your body worships me, micio,” his tongue darts out to moisten his lips and he places his forehead on mine, his fingers ghosting against my chin. “how do you feel about that?”
“I’m hungry,” I whisper trying to free myself from his grip but he didn’t budge “could I please dish up?”
That kiss wasn’t because of the fact that he may have some feelings for me, that kiss was to prove his point that my body would do anything for his because it’s the only thing it is familiar with.
“Mason,” I plead quietly and he pecks my lips, the lisp fading on his tongue. His lips press on mine in small delicate kisses until his scorching midnight blue eyes snap open.
“I will be the only one you will desire, micio; I’ll make sure of it.”
The scene of what happened earlier seemed to fade into a distant memory once Mason asked about the origins of the food I had made. I didn’t mean to ramble and take up most of our eating time but Mason did ask after all.
Since sight wasn’t what I possessed during that time, my taste buds grew highly sensitive and I could recognise every foreign taste embedded in a meal. Sadly, after my vision came back my heightened senses kind of dispersed.
“How did you meet all those people?” Mason enquires geniunely while slicing his second slice of the milk tart. The tart set quicker than I had expected and I had to thank his state-of-the-art fridge for that.
“During the summer holidays I went out and met a few people who had a lot to teach me. In a way, I was trying to see which box I could be casted in.”
He hums in acknowledgement but I believe he’s too encased in the dessert rather than my story. I continue nevertheless, “You have Creole, Guyanese, Zulu, Aborigine people so it’s amazing to research those cultures.”
His eyes widen as he attempts to say one of the cultures I have listed, “Zu---Zulu? Where on earth did you meet this people?”
“Pretoria, Cape Town, Tanzania,” I shrug, scooping the last piece of my tart “Chief sent us out to research bone striations that could withstand any weather conditions so I stole some time to go sight-seeing.” I shift my gaze up at him with a slight smile “may I take your dish for washing, dear husband?”
He pinches his dark brows at me with a jutted bottom lip, “dear wife, you’re lucky you’re such an awesome cook or else you would be doing the dishes today.”
I gasp in mockery, grabbing both sides of my face with wide eyes, “Mason DeLuca can actually wash dishes? What’s next? He can make his own bed without Syria’s help?”
Mason lets out a disgruntled noise and leaves his plate on the counter so he can charge after me. I scurry away from him and round the counter, only to have him gain on my weak speed (I have a cast, mind you) and catch me.
Mason tugs off my large granny glasses and my hands shift to my eyelids to rub the tiredness away, “Mason, I can’t see.”
Mason’s still very much in the room because his nose is in the crook of my neck but my frustration to see got to me, “I’m not kidding, give me my glasses back.”
“That ring should be the only thing you must wear.”
I pull my hands away from my face and flutter my eyes close, “Mason, I need my glasses. I’ve spent a lot of time in the darkness and I don’t plan on going back to that place again.”
“I’ll be your eyes.” He offers solemnly while wrapping his arms around my waist.
My heart hammers in my chest, the action bruising my chest but I kept my reply brutal, “I don’t need you to be my eyes because you were the one who took them away from me in the first place.”