Cold Heart

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A Mistake

Hunter was pouring a glass of whiskey on his bar when he noticed Claire’s presence from the corner of his eyes. He couldn’t believe himself when he found both outfits were equally making his thoughts right into the gutter. Not to mention it was common pajamas she wears.

Clearly, there was something wrong with his head, he simply thought.

“Drink?”

Hunter lifted a fresh glass when he saw Claire walk closer. Claire gently shook her head without saying anything and took a seat in front of him.

“So…what do you want me to do…?” She softly said.

Hunter gulped his whiskey once. Hearing her words about what he wanted her to do and noticing Claire’s sweet scent really made him think all kinds of wrong. He couldn’t lie, her femininity, gentleness, kindness, and poise vibes, often made him want to ruin her, or taste her.

“It’s something that we --have to do,” Hunter pointed out.

“My parents were very surprised to know that I’m married, -- though, in a way they know...me.” Hunter cleared his throat, feeling confused about how to explain. “The point is, they want to see us,”

“...I don’t see any problem with that...” Claire said carefully.

“My mother is a very observant person… she’s the type of a woman that is warm, caring, she’s all about feeling and intuition-- Everything the opposite of me,--...and she knows me better than anyone,” He said. Claire heard a hint of a warm voice from him.

“She knows when I’m lying, it’s like I’m an open book for her...uh, no matter how much I tried to conceal it. So, bottom line...she’ll know our marriage is a fake if we don’t act like we’re really…” In love? “--husband and wife,” Hunter added flatly.

Claire didn’t realize that she was holding her breath and was pinching the edges of her pants out of her anxiety. She looked down at her lap, thinking about possible alternatives.

“... What if...we say that we couldn’t go there…?”

“That works, but for how long? I can’t avoid them too long,” Hunter said. “I used to visit them at least once in a month or two,”

Claire was quiet for a second before asking. “Aren’t she--they’re gonna find it...odd? That you see them often and suddenly you were already married to me…?” She asked carefully since she found that Hunter was close with his foster parents judging from how often he met them.

“I don’t think so… Like I said, they know how I can be so closed. I never tell them much about my life, even though in some way we’re close,” Hunter reassured her.

Claire slightly looked down again. “So what are we gonna do…?”

Hunter poured another round of whiskey before staring back at Claire. “We have to play the role better,”

“The good news is, you don’t need to worry about remembering each of my family member’s names… since, knowing me, it will be suspicious if I told you all about them in the first place,” Hunter proceeded.

Claire was just listening to him as she was thinking about how Hunter was a very introverted person considering even with his closest people, he shut himself. She couldn’t help to think that his past with her father might be the reason that made him that way.

On the other hand, Claire was wondering if she could help him to be more emotionally open and took the best from each of his feelings.

But who am I kidding here? It would be a miracle if I,-- his fake wife slashes the enemy,-- could bring out the best in him… Claire thought. She slightly looked down again.

“But the bad news is… You-- need to practice your natural response toward me, especially when the time comes for us to kiss or touch,” Hunter lightly said. “If how you respond to me was like the last time we kissed in front of the judge? My mom will know right away that this marriage is a scam,”

Claire was gasping in silence with her parted lips. It was not a comfortable conversation to discuss, especially with Hunter. She quickly tried to pull herself together.

“I, Uhm... Aren’t P.D.A would be a bit absurd? I-I mean, I don’t see you as someone who’d be comfortable to…--heh, you know,--” kiss me in front of other people?

It was hard for Claire to finish her sentences.

“PDA?” Hunter chimed in.

“Public Display of Affection...?” Claire said nervously as she slightly licked her lips.

“True…” Hunter said, reaffirming Claire’s theory about how he was not the person who liked to show PDA.

“However...with my family, we’ll never know when we have to do this...PDA. That’s the reason why I even discuss this with you... I’m preparing you,”

Claire would be lying if she didn’t remember their last kiss. Or the sensation it brought. And she’d definitely be lying if she didn’t want to feel that again. Even just thinking about it made her heart both melted and pounded faster.

What should I do…? Claire was hesitating before finally speaking.

“Can-can I…ask you a question? Um, I mean...I’m not trying to provoke you here, or anything,” Claire said nervously, lightly lifting her hand.

Once again Hunter found himself feeling guilty about their last talk in the laundry room. Way to go in making her afraid of me. He mocked himself inside.

Hunter just nodded and listened carefully.

“I was just...thinking…” Claire said before slowly continuing.

“From what I see,-- correct me if I’m wrong,-- Aside from their approval on what you decide and believe in, you’re still gonna do what you have to do...right…? Why don’t we just come clean and tell them the truth? --Don’t you think they deserve to know the truth…?” She said carefully, lifting her shoulders lightly.

“I mean, after all... a family will accept the whole you,”

For a second there, Hunter got the feeling that his mother would love Claire, no question asked considering that she’s just like his mother. All about heart and feelings.

“I’d rather not disappoint them with my decision,” Hunter pointed out. He didn’t take much time to answer either.

“Let’s just say, that as much as they know me, I know my family too… and believe me when I say that not telling them,...is the best way for everyone… Not to mention, your father’s will not allow a scam marriage too,”

“I see…” Claire softly responded, ducking her eyes.

“Okay then… I suppose I will try my best...to...play the role better,” Claire said, slowly climbing down from the bar chair. She was actually afraid if Hunter started asking to practice their kiss.

“Where are you going? We still have to match our story,” He said with the cool vibes that always made Claire nervous.

Feeling defensive, Claire tried to be cool. “I-I know, heh,” Claire said, walking around the bar to reach the fridge. “I...want to grab my ice cream, I need my comfort food… Do-do you want some? ” she quickly said.

“No, thanks, I got my comfort drink right here,” he replied.

Claire decided to take the whole rum raisin flavor pint and took a small spoon. When she was intended to head back to her seat, Hunter blocked the way.

“Why don’t we sit on the same side...?” Hunter said with a hand that lifted, leading her to his side of the seat.

“Wh-why?” Claire said between her widened eyes and faint gasped.

“Let’s start by trying to be cool with each other’s presence, no awkwardness, no feeling shy, or all of that stuff,”

“I’m...I’m cool… heh-- I don’t feel awkward when you’re around,”

“No…?” Hunter said with a challenging tone as he walked closer to Claire.

Claire noticed that Hunter was testing her responses but still, she couldn’t help to take a step back when Hunter got in front of her.

“Then tell me one reason why you always took a step back when I got close to you?” He said.

Claire slightly looked away, chuckling nervously.

“It-it’s a bit unfair to hold that against me, don’t you think?” Claire forced herself to be steady on the outside.

“How so? Please, do enlighten me,” He pressed kindly, which was making Claire more nervous.

Claire’s waist was already pinned to the island table, she got nowhere to go.

“I can think of three reasons, actually,” Claire said, keeping her chin up just so she could keep eye contact. Even though on the inside she was panicking to the max.

Hunter was tilting his head as he was waiting for her answers. Maybe he shouldn’t corner her that way since he could sense more of her sweet scent, not to mention his drink started to kick in, making him want to taste her lips again.

Sure, blame it on the drink. The point is, he had to make a point. He said inside.

Claire took a moment to put her ice cream aside on the table, while she was calming her heart too. She was gulping before speaking, braving herself to look him in the eyes.

“Well... First of all, did it ever cross your mind that maybe... you’re a very intimidating person...?” She said while slightly taking her eyes sweeping him.

With all those muscles, intense vibes, handsomeness, and all?! Nice, Claire, why don’t you tell him all of that?! Claire stopped herself before she spilled every word.

“Secondly, we barely know each other… and the only thing that I’m sure about you, o-or us--”

Hatred. You hate me.

“Well...we both know we’re not friends... So, I guess it’s very natural for me to keep my distance,” She said.

“Oh, and the last reason? I will never know whenever I’m gonna be out of line based on your standard when I’m with you... So, of course, I can be a little bit weird around you, -- O-one can’t be too careful,” she tried to keep steady and calm as she lightly lifted her shoulders.

When Hunter didn’t say anything and just stared back at her with his piercing eyes, Claire felt strongly nervous. Not to mention she noticed a glimpse of Hunter’s smolder, but she refused to show her vulnerability even though her knees were failing her.

“Still need another...reason?” Claire said with a challenging tone, crossing her arms but when she remembered not to provoke his emotions, Claire let down her hands and added her statements.

“B-but...your point is taken… I’m sure I’ll be ready, and I think I can be very convincing...in-in the future,” she said, slightly stumbled as she stared back to his piercing eyes.

As if Hunter was not satisfied with the whole explanation, he leaned closer.

“How about you try to convince me, now?” Hunter said.

“What? I don’t-- unders--”

Hunter didn’t let her finish her words, he kissed her out of nowhere, and found her submitting to him right away.

Did he want to test her, or he just couldn’t stand to taste her lips again? Whatever it was, a part of his head just telling him to stop and it was a mistake to kiss her. But the other part of him just found another pleasurable moment that made him want to lose control.

Claire didn’t know what to expect or what to do, but she knew she liked being kissed by Hunter.

As a matter of fact, she couldn’t believe she got what she wanted that soon. Tasting Hunter’s warm lips again, being in his arms for a second, experiencing the heat and strong sensation that apparently only Hunter could give her.

But is this real? Claire slightly thought between her fuzzy mind and melted body.

All his gentleness, his warm, and loving vibes when he kissed her, Claire didn’t think all of that was real since he clearly implied, that he was testing her.

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