I smile at him and put my card away. I pick up my glass and look around the bar. “Where shall we sit? What about those seats over there?” I suggest.
Keon glares at me. “There’s rooftop seating, come on.”
He takes my elbow and pulls me up the stairs in the corner. The second floor is less busy. Keon leads me out, onto the balcony. There’s a beautiful view of the lowering sun on the glassy high rises. The yellows, oranges and reds are spread across the panes.
We take a seat on a low-to-the-ground sofa, situated in front of the glass, balcony fencing. It’s a private area, cornered off by realistic, fake plants and patio heaters.
Keon is still glaring at me when I take a sip of my cocktail. The floral infusion explodes on my tongue, it’s delicious. I roll my eyes and chuckle at Keon.
“Stop pouting,” I tell him. “Look, I don’t want you to think I’m after your money. I want to be able to pay for things to, I want to treat you as well. You’ve already paid for breakfast and a whole new outfit for me. It’s just a drink, Keon.”
His navy eyes soften, and he slips his hand around mine. He tugs my hand over, so that he can rest our entwined fingers on his lap. “I know that you’re not after my money, babygirl. Unless you’re a highly skilled actress, you had genuinely never heard of me before. How were you supposed to know I had money?”
He has a point, but...
“You were introduced as CEO; how poor could you be?” I ask and he chuckles.
“I guess. But you have your own money. Your father is incredibly wealthy, too. Although you can never be too rich, I don’t believe you are after my money, you strike me as a very selfless person.”
For some reason, his words make me feel bad. Does he really know me? I’ve made selfish decisions before. I want to be a good person in his eyes, I need to make sure I live up to his idea of me. I don’t want his money.
“I swear to you Keon, I’m not after your money,” I tell him honestly.
He gives me a warm smile and squeezes my hand, reminding me that our hands are clasped on his lap. “I know you’re not. I’ve been with someone after my money, I know what gold-digger looks like.”
He visibly tenses up at the mention of, presumably, his ex-wife. I reach for my drink. “Let’s talk about something happier, yeah?” I offer and tap my glass against his.
We stay for one more drink at the bar. Our dinner reservations are at half seven. The car takes us to the restaurant, pulling up outside it with ten minutes to spare. Keon takes my arm, and we enter the smart building. I’ve eaten here before, it’s expensive but the food is worthy of the price.
The menu and culinary staff are French, and the food is exquisite. Keon tells the maître-d his name and the waiter escorts us into the grand hall.
Most of the tables are full. Gentle music and excited chatter bounces off the high ceiling. Keon suddenly tenses up and comes to a sudden stop. His grip on my arm causes me to jolt and halt next to him.
“What’s wrong? Are you alright?” I ask worriedly.
He gazes at a table ahead, his eyes narrowed and his expression unreadable. He seems to snap out of his trance, because he takes my hand and leads me back out, into the foyer.
“I’m so sorry, Enna, but my ex-wife’s parents are dining in there. I know this is inconvenient and a lot to ask, but could we please find somewhere else for dinner? I don’t want a scene tonight, especially not with you present.”
He looks genuinely upset and I quickly agree. It must be awkward to bump into your ex’s parents, especially if you didn’t end on good terms.
Keon tells the waiter to cancel our reservation and he calls the car back. We get into the back and Keon takes out his phone. He holds my hand in his whilst he makes a call.
“Lionel? It’s Keon. Hi, how are you?”
I listen to his conversation, whilst keeping my gaze out of the window.
He obviously doesn’t have a good relationship with his ex-in-laws. He mentioned it would cause a scene and he didn’t want me involved. I didn’t realise how messy his situation is.
Actually, I don’t even know when he and his wife got divorced. Was it recently? Has he dated anyone since?
I’ve been so conscious not to talk about it, I’ve been trying to be sensitive to his feelings. But I realise now that I didn’t even find out the basics. I don’t even know who she was, what her name is.
“Do you think you could squeeze us in?” I tune back into his call. “You’re a lifesaver, thank you.”
He says goodbye to his friend and ends the call. He asks the driver to take us to a restaurant I’ve only heard of, but never eaten at.
“Have you been here before?” Keon asks when we pull up ten minutes later.
“No, I’ve heard good things, though.”
“My friend is one of the chefs, he managed to get us a table.”
“Okay,” I reply, people-watching out of the window.
Twenty minutes later, the driver drops us off at the restaurant. The maître-d is expecting us when we enter, and she shows us to a table by the window.
Keon chooses to sit in the chair next to me, rather than opposite. The reason he wants to be closer becomes apparent when he takes my hand and holds the menu with the other. We order some wine and our food. My stomach rumbles at the thought of the swordfish I’ve ordered.
“I take it you don’t have a good relationship with your ex-in-laws, then?” I ask Keon. His eyes harden and he takes a large sip of his wine.
“No. They were not pleased that I wanted to end our marriage,” he replies.
His voice is cold, and tense and I don’t like it. I squeeze his hand and decide to change the subject. This is obviously not something he wants to talk about. He can tell me about it in his own time.
“What are your plans this week?” Keon smiles at my question.
“Why, baby? Are you wanting to see me again?” He asks teasingly and I bite my bottom lip.
He chuckles and brings my hand up to his lips, so that he can kiss my knuckles. The sweet action has butterflies going crazy in my stomach.
“Let’s plan some dates,” he says and pulls out his phone, gesturing for me to do the same.
We pull up our calendars and arrange to see each other on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday evening.
“I’ll let you know about Saturday, there’s this luncheon fundraiser I need to go to, but my evening should be clear.”
The food is delicious, and I make a mental note to visit this restaurant again. After we’ve settled the bill, we wait on the curb for the driver to come round.
Keon is holding my hand, the other resting casually in his trouser pocket. The top two buttons of his white shirt are undone and peeking open. I find myself staring at his tanned throat, when he swallows, his Adam’s apple bobs and it’s the sexiest thing ever.
He turns to face me, catching me staring. My cheeks heat up and he smirks knowingly. He pulls me into his arms, uncaring of the people moving past us on the pavement. He kisses my forehead and then rests his chin on it.
“Thank you for a lovely evening, babygirl,” he murmurs.
I muster up some courage. “Would you like to come back to mine?” I ask and I feel him tense up in surprise.
I don’t want the evening to be over yet. It makes sense to go to mine, my flat is only about fifteen minutes from this restaurant.
He pulls away and looks down at me. “Really?”
“Yeah,” I mutter, feeling shy all of a sudden. “I know you’ve got work tomorrow, so it’s okay if you don’t want to.”
His eyes soften and he strokes my cheek. “I’d love to, baby, but I’ll have to get up early, probably about six, is that okay?”
I smile and nod my head. “That’s fine.”
No way am I getting out of bed at that time.
The car pulls up in front of us and we slide in. I give the driver my address and Keon pulls out his phone. He calls his assistant and asks her to bring round a change of clothes for tomorrow, his briefcase and some of his toiletries.
I’m not surprised that he has an assistant, but I’m surprised that he is comfortable with her going through his stuff like that. I’m not sure how I’d feel about paying someone to pack my underwear and choose my clothes for the day.
He hangs up and smiles at me. “Don’t worry, I pay her overtime for stuff like this, and she even has her own assistant that she can call on, if she’s busy.”
It doesn’t take long to get to my flat. It’s only half nine when I let us inside. I give him a quick tour, I’m glad that I cleaned it this morning.
I pour us each a glass of wine and sit down on the little balcony. I kick my heels off and Keon shrugs out of his jacket.
A little while later, the intercom buzzes and I let his assistant up. I have no idea what I was expecting, but the young blonde is not it. She must be around my age, maybe a year or so older. She’s beautiful, with a smattering of freckles on her nose and ice blue eyes.
“Hi, Sir, I’ve brought your things,” she greets Keon when we answer the door.
“Thanks, Shannon, bring them in please,” Keon replies, and we step aside to let her in.
She hangs his suit up on my coat rack and places his brief case and his weekender bag on the floor.
“Will that be all?” She asks, smiling at both of us.
“Yes, thank you for doing that Shannon, your bonus will be in your account by tomorrow evening.”
“No problem, Sir, have a good night.”
I feel silly when she leaves. Sure, she’s beautiful, but she was nothing but professional. Her eyes didn’t linger on Keon, and she didn’t shoot me any dirty looks. Keon barely glanced at her. Unless they’re both very good actors, I feel reassured.
“So, bedroom?” I suggest casually and Keon looks surprised before smiling widely.