Cold Heart

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Mysterious Client

Hunter was standing by the window after discreetly checking around on Claire’s small and cozy office. There’s no picture of Harrison, he noticed. Was that a sign to say that she wasn’t close with Harrison? Or maybe she was hiding him as he predicted. He thought slightly.

He couldn’t lie if she wasn’t Harrison’s daughter he might be into her.

Seeing her in front of him in her outfit which made her looked very clean, organized, with the good-girl-vibes all over her looks just made him realize that she’s prettier and more appealing in real life rather than in her photos, but that won’t save her from the wrath he would bring upon her father.

Claire started to get nervous under Hunter’s sharp eyes as she realized how he examined her. How could she not? She thought, but she kept her appearances calm.

“--...um, resting my eyes for a second,” Claire mumbled before clearing her throat. “Now… What can I do to assist you, Mr…” She opened his folder he gave her just to find the form was empty.

“So, how do we do this?” Hunter said, tugging his hand in his trouser as their eyes stared at each other.

Okay, maybe you can start by leaving...? Claire was thinking about telling him that, but of course, she couldn’t do that.

“Well, we can start with telling our names... you haven’t filled in your personal information,” Claire said patiently with her soft smile, waving the form in her hand gently.

“That if… you still want to proceed… I mean, to be honest, I got the feeling that you don’t really want to be here,”

Claire spoke her words in a very kind way but Hunter still caught the sarcasm she threw at him.

Smart. Not bad. Hunter thought inside.

“I think I’m right where I want to be,” Hunter said flatly. “Even though now I find that I’m kinda not welcomed here…”

“No, Of--” Claire was speechless for a while. Was she the one who’s rude to him now? She questioned herself between her parted lips.

“I can assure you that you’re always welcome here… I just assumed--” Claire slightly stumbled.

Why did she lose her calmness, she didn’t know why. It’s so not her.

“--Heh, never mind... let me just start again...I’m Claire Neverner,” She took a quiet sigh in between. “Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable, Mr…?” Claire said while sitting on a single couch.

“Hunter,” He replied shortly without moving or breaking his eyes on Claire.

It’s funny how the idea about making himself comfortable with her there tickled his senses. Hunter noticed that between his curiosity, whether Claire had heard about his name or not. Apparently not, he thought.

As Claire knew that Hunter didn’t intend to tell her his full name, Claire simply nodded with her best poker face. She used to handle days with awkward clients but that time Hunter really got her nervous.

Is it because he’s so freakishly handsome?

The mysterious act,

The cold attitude,

The dark and dangerous vibes,

The suit that covers his perfect abs--

Come on, Claire! You’re happily engaged!

“So, what can I do for you, Mr. Hunter…?” She said, shaking her mind off, cutting her wild fantasy and secret attraction over the guy she barely knew.

She of all people should know better that sometimes women tend to fall in love with an ideal image in their mind, feeding their romantic feeling with their own fantasy & expectation that might not really be there. It was all only a projection from their dreamy hope.

“Well… I actually just have one question that I’m curious about,” Hunter said, crossing his arms in front of his chest.

“But first, maybe just humor me… How do you get here? What makes you do this job?”

Hearing his questions made Claire’s mind work fast, she was wondering too for his intention.

She was about to direct the conversation back to him since the session should be about her client, not herself, but she knew that that would be useless based on how stubborn her client was.

Besides, Claire knew that Hunter was the type of client that needed to be taught to open himself up. Or loosen up for that matter. So, she needed to open herself to him a little bit. She thought inside.

Claire let out a friendly chuckle before answering.

“It’s a calling, Mr. Hunter, as simple as that… I’m pretty sure everyone’s familiar with that, but for the sake to... humor you,--” Claire slightly tilted her head as she smiled.

“--Although it’s a common saying that family is the cradle of human personality, not everyone really knows the saying… Or know how everyone’s role in a family really impacted each member’s character... Well, I must say parents are key...and if one family has a dysfunctional parent, it’s most likely that their children will have a hard time developing their good personality…”

Claire took a breath as she tried to read Hunter’s reaction. “Knowing that I’m able to do something to help them… um, giving me pleasure and joy,”

“I’ll take it that you used to be one of those kids?” Hunter said, digging for more.

“Well… Nobody’s perfect, Mr. Hunter, that goes for family too,” Claire said steadily. “Now, I really interested in your one question you said before--”

“So, do you still have parents? Or are you a parent yourself? And if I’m not mistaken one of your specialties is in marriage counseling?” Hunter cut in, pressing to be exact.

“Yes, no, and yes, for the last question,” Claire squinted a bit as she smiled, surprised to be questioned a lot of personal questions by Hunter.

“Mr. Hunter, may I tell you that in order to be… at service for you, I should know...your story, your struggles instead of my personal life…” Claire avoided the word advice to him, she assumed it could challenge his pride.

Hunter lightly scoffed before heading toward the sofa, lying there with his feet on the couch, and put his hands on the back of his head.

He couldn’t lie, he felt a little temptation to make her break, just because he felt challenged by her steadiness.

“I’m just trying to get to know you… since this is my first time going to the shrink,”

His face was hard to read but Claire saw a glimpse of his smolder face which gave her a kick in her heart.

“That if you don’t mind answering all of my questions before… the more details you give me, the more I can, um, open up… I guess,” Hunter said.

Deep down Claire knew that Hunter played her but he’s the client. Nothing worse than a client who didn’t want to help themselves. And here right here is the perfect example of that Client. Claire thought.

“Of course, I don’t mind… this is your session after all…” Claire said emotionlessly in a way that Hunter found attractive.

“I...still have a father who’s very ill at the moment… I never really knew him, because you were right when you said that I’m one of those kids... um, my mom left when I was still in junior high while my father at that time was working far away from our city… They left me under the neighbor’s guardian...um, I think that pretty much sums it up…” Claire said as steady as she used to be.

“Um, oh, and I’m not a parent...yet… but I’m looking forward to being one and having my own family… and you’re not mistaken, I’m specializing in personal growth, marriage and family counseling,” Claire explained.

There are too many things that could make Hunter distracted, especially about her mentioning having a family. So, the man in the photo is indeed his fiancée. Why did he even bother about that? He quickly thought.

“You just said that your father had abandoned you too…and now you’re taking care of him?” Hunter blandly said.

“How do you know I’m taking care of him…?” Claire replied, testing him a bit.

Hunter got up from his lying position to sit with his gaze still on Claire.

“I just assume from the way you said ‘very ill’ and the fact that you knew he’s sick itself just proved my theory even more… otherwise you wouldn’t know about him at all, don’t you think?” he lightly said.

Clever guy. Claire spontaneously thought before glancing down at the floor for a second.

“... Yes, he’s been in-home care for over a year now…”

“You must be a saint to be able to take care of him… A father, that left you,” Hunter said coldly.

“I’m just an ordinary person like everyone else…and I make peace with my father’s mistakes,” Claire explained, catching the harsh vibes from Hunter. Why would he keep digging about me? Claire slightly thought.

“I really like to tell you all about my story,” No, I’m not. “--But I’m afraid we won’t have the time for your prior question,” Claire said.

“Ah, yes…” Hunter lied back, lifting his arms to his head again.

It made Claire attracted to his hands’ muscles for a second, even without looking. Weird. How Hunter made her feel, intrigued and yet upset as well, but maybe she’s just being a chick who got butter-melt feelings when seeing guys with perfect muscle, Claire thought.

“Well, it’s actually not really a question,” Hunter said lightly.

“I got this...personal thing in this city. A personal thing that began a long time ago, I don’t really know even if the guy is still alive or not… but he owes me so much, and I got a vow to keep.. the problem is, I’m very determined, even if I have to against all of his family who defends him,” He slightly raised his eyebrow, tilting his head coldly.

“With that being said, I’m aware that his family may be good people...but I need to do this, he has to pay.” Hunter stared into Claire’s round eyes.

If Claire decided to keep their eye contact just a little bit more, she would lose all her calmness so she looked down to her lap before speaking. It was pretty clear Hunter was not looking for her advice.

“Mr. Hunter, can I ask you something? Why are you here…?” Claire said gently, she was hoping that she could connect with Hunter in order to make the session went well, but Hunter, on the other hand, looking at his watch. His gesture was all about leaving.

He got up from his seat, tugging his hand to his pocket, and looking straight into Claire’s eyes again. His eyes were cold, his face was emotionless.

“Just checking on something I already knew the answer,” He said. “Thank you, Claire, I’m sure we’ll meet again,” Hunter said as he walked toward the door.

“May I tell you something, Mr. Hunter? Since I can’t help you much,” Claire quickly said, looking at his back. “Forgiveness can be deliberating, on the other hand, vengeance never really changes anything as we hope for… Sometimes we just have to let go of the past and move on, focusing on things we have and grateful for at the moment.”

Hunter heard her every word without turning his back, and soon after she finished talking Hunter left without saying anything, leaving Claire who sighed as she relieved from the intense situation with Hunter.

Well, could this day be any more strange? Claire said inside.

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