Second Chance

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Chapter 21

Run after the truth or let it unfold eventually? The dilemma that I was placed into even though Carlton asked for time so he will open up to me. But I just had little patience and badly wanted to know about the girl. I attempted to ask him, he asked for time in return. I tried my luck with Tantiana, her answer even shocked me as hell.

It has been two days since it happened but I still can’t get it out of my mind. My eyes travelled to my best friend who was busy purchasing things for her gender reveal party. The last time I remember of my shopping with Rhea when we both wanted to change our wardrobe and right now something unexpected was happening.

I was happier this time!

“Can you help me a little?” Rhea annoyed seeing me zoning out. She decided to surprise Aidan and others, including me. For the balloons she ordered and picked by herself while I went to collect to the customised cakes which were the blue and pink cakes.

“Sorry. Let me carry that for you?” She passed the packages to me as we stepped inside her house. For venue we picked her backyard since Rhea wanted to keep the celebration between her circles of loved ones.

Aidan and Rhea’s parents were there too.

“Your in-laws are here too? Why didn’t you tell me about it?” I whispered in her ears while arranging the appetizers on the table.

“I thought you must’ve known about it. Why are you so tensed now?” she asked back.

“You’ll know in shortly.” When I saw Aidan’s mum approaching us, I went prepared to answer her every question because recently I found out that she and Mrs. Morris are friends. Aidan’s parents were nothing like Rhea’s, no offense.

“Not everyone can be like your Mamma. I wish she can take tips from her too and be nice to me.” Rhea murmured. “I mean she is nice but just sometimes you know, can be annoying. Especially when I got pregnant.”

“Rheala. Adele” We forced out a slow breath before turning around to face the voice sounded behind us.

“Hi mum.” Rhea hugged Mrs. Alex and before I could say anything, I was already hugging her. “How are you Mrs. Alex?”

“I’m all fine as wine. How are you?”

“I’m doing great too as you can see.” A huge smile stretched on her face when her eyes fell on the desserts. “I just can’t wait to find out about the gender.”

Rhea chuckled, “I can’t wait to reveal too but we gotta wait it seems.” Her mother-in-law nodded as slowly her gaze stopped on mine.

I knew what will be her following question.

“So, Adele when is your turn then? We can’t wait too. I’m sure Carlton’s parents wanted grandchild too even though they didn’t ask about it.”

But I can wait!

Why do people always ask about this question to the married couple? I mean it wasn’t any illegal or something but everyone has their own planning when it comes to having babies. People should learn to respect other’s decision and realise how sensitive this kind of topic can be. You never know anything about their family and struggle so stop asking them!

“We’re planning Mrs. Alex.” I said in short and continued to set the food table. Somehow, her words sticked in my mind. Perhaps, she can be right because Carlton’s parents never asked anything about this but who knows if they are wondering too.

Within an hour, Rhea and I completed everything that needed for the party later in the evening. Rhea’s parents and in-laws began to get ready for the evening while Aidan just returned back from florist with a beautiful sunflower and rose bouquet for his beloved wife.

This man had always been nothing but full of surprises for my best-friend. I watched in delight when Aidan kneeled down and handed the bouquet toward Rhea. Once they were out my sight, I took a last glance around the backyard, to check if anything missing.

“Ele. I think you should rest and get ready for the party. You brought your clothes with you right?” Rhea asked me as she sat next to me at the couch. With lifting my head with one hand, I was scrolling my phone and I glanced up at her, “Yeahh.”

“Sorry about his mum.” She shot me an apologetic look with her hand squeezing mine.

“It’s nothing silly. Forget it.” I hugged her so she could feel better. Mrs. Alex’s question had nothing to do with Rhea and I didn’t make it as a big deal too.

“You sure? I swear I didn’t expect that from her.”

“Rhea, forget it. I have something better for you.”

Her eyebrows rose at my words, “Oh yes, I almost forget. What happened after he ended the call? Details. I want details. Drop it.”

I stared at her in shock. “Rheala! Really? It’s something else and you must help me out.”

With that, I began to tell her everything about the picture and the mysterious girl in the picture. She was equally curious as me just to make sure that wasn’t Giana. When I assured her that Giana wasn’t the one in the picture, she heaved a sigh.

“So, what now?” She asked me as we both headed to the guest room.

“Who is she, Rhea? I want to know.” I cried out dramatically.

“Carlton asked to you give some time. Why are you so curious to know about her?” She asked, with a sideway glance at me.

“I know he promised to tell but I can’t wait. Rhea help me!”

She shook her head at me, “Babe, listen to me. You must respect him. Imagine if he forces you to speak about Harriet even when you’re not comfortable to talk about him to anyone yet. How would you feel? And guess what, I don’t know about the way he looks at the girl in the picture but I’ve seen the way he looks at you.”

I felt butterflies in my heart when she mentioned that. “How?” I asked with a bright smile fixed on my face.

“As if your smile is only matter for him. Answer me, Adele. Does his adorable smile calm your anger?”

I stayed silent for a moment as his smile appeared in my mind. I stared at Rhea without blinking because my best friend was right. Nothing calms me any better than his smile and also his calm aura. I wondered how Rhea could had such question toward me.

Bloody, telepathy!

“Yes.” With my answer, her smile reached his eyes.

“Are you in love with him Adele?”

My heart began to pound. “Don’t deny, Adele. Your feelings developing for him. Think about it.”

Without waiting for my reply, Rhea stepped out from the room. Cold dread ran through my veins, along with rush of adrenaline. Something about her question, gave me different thoughts. I avoided them, stripped down my clothes and went inside the bathtub.

Soaking myself in there, I closed my eyes to relax but it went wrong. When I closed my eyes, I can’t help but imagined Carlton and his touch on my skin.

How his finger could be inside me?

Holy shit!

No! No! What was I thinking?

I quickly cleaned myself and came out from the tub, towelled myself and pulled a robe around me. As I stood in front of the mirror, a faint of smile creeped on my face. I remembered those days I wanted to wake up next to Carlton’s warmth and how disappointed I was when he wasn’t there the next morning.

Why did I yearn for it?

Right now, I want to unfold everything about Carlton. I had the urge in me to know every small detail about him. The secrets, the stories, the past, the present and want only me to witness his future. I want to know him, emotionally, physically, spiritually – completely.

The stream of water was flowing while I was drifting away in my own thoughts. Shrugging myself out to conscious, I went out from bathroom to dress up. I wore a light blue square neck swiss dot dress. Applying light makeup, I let my hair down and wore the bracelet Nonna gave it to me. I headed down the stairs as I heard distinct voices of guests that began to fill the backyard.

I took a really deep breath before walk out to backyard. It was nervous to go out there when earlier I received a text from Rhea, saying Carlton arrived already. He didn’t search for me, probably must be attending the other guests with Aidan.

Even though I was anxious to know about the baby’s gender but the question Rhea shot to me making me shiver in summer. I never reply her question instead asked that question to myself. When I stepped out, my eyes stuck on Carlton who was looking at me intensely.

“Now that the look I meant. Only you are important for me. Ele, he is crazy about you.” I turned around in disbelief when Rhea said that.

“You’re sick. Go attend your guests.” We walked to where Carlton and Aidan were standing and I was forcing myself to look away from Carlton who currently making me to blush.

Fuck, what has gotten into me?

“Adele, you look gorgeous.” Aidan said as Rhea and I neared them. I chuckled and hugged him. My eyes trailed on the man in suit, his eyes didn’t leave from my figure but he stayed there in graceful manner, sipping cocktail.

“Thank you, Aidan. How are you feeling?” I asked as I popped a chocolate into my mouth.

He smiled and shook his head at me, “Don’t ask me. I had the same feeling when I waited for her at aisle three years ago.”

Everyone was talking happily while I was the only standing awkwardly where Carlton threw glances on me. Every time our eye locked on each other, I averted quickly and wandered off from there. In between making small talks with the guests and checked on Rhea’s cue to bring the balloon, my eyes often landed on Carlton.

I knew avoiding his eye contact was a terrible idea because somehow, he would figure out about me and my sudden awkwardness.

“You’re blushing and avoiding me. What’s wrong?”

Told ya!

Carlton stood beside with his arms crossed over his chest but his eyes was facing the crowd. I turned around to him and studied his face for a moment. Gulping deeply, “I’m not avoiding you.”

“You are.” He asserted.

“Why do you think I’m avoiding you?”

“I don’t know Adele. You tell me.” His eyes fixed on me and he didn’t look as usual, more like tensed with something. His tone was cold. We both were staring into each other’s eyes until I heard Rhea’s voice. She cut off our glaring moment, asking me to bring the balloon that Aidan need to pop.

We all gathered around Aidan and Rhea as an opaque balloon was in their hand. In count of three by all of us, Aidan and Rhea popped the balloon. We just screamed maniacally when the blue confetti flew in the air.

I gasped when I saw the blue confetti that unpredictably matched my dress.

Baby boy!!

Aidan and Rhea’s family members hugged the new parents and congratulated them. I stood there with an iceberg next to me, watching them as happy tears welled up.

“I’m going to have a nephew!! I’m so happy for you!!” Rhea and I crashed in a bone wrecking hug out happiness.

Next to me, Carlton congratulated Aidan and hugged too. He then turned to Rhea with a warm yet a smile that didn’t really reach his eyes. I knew something was bothering him and that something was me.

“Thanks Carlton.” Rhea said and hugged him. He didn’t wait for me but disappeared from my view. I saw him conversing with Aidan and others. I felt so bad to see him like this, I mean someone who I claimed that he will stay calm in every situation, was losing his temper slowly.

After all he’s human too Adele. You’re pushing his buttons! How long he can be tolerant and put up with your mind games? Give in a bit! He deserves it.

***

The drive back to our home was disturbingly quiet. We didn’t talk at all ever since we left Rhea’s house. I just this cold war between us because nothing happened, I guess. If only he knows the reason, I avoided him at the party. Instead of talking, we chose to not talk at all.

I found myself headed straight to the bedroom and changed into my pjs. I laid on the bed quietly, waited for Carlton but he didn’t appear at all.

Without making it as a big deal, I asked myself; ‘Are you in love with him?’

How I wish someone would show me any sign?

I got up from my bed and moved my steps to the walk-in closet. As I opened the wardrobe, Harriet’s cloth was neatly folded and I took it out, brought forward to my chest.

Say something, Harriet. What should I do now? Am I in love with him?

I sat there as tears rolled my eyes, thinking about the circumstances I got myself into. I finally let him go peacefully and did that mean I was accepting Carlton in my life and falling for me?

My tears dried but I didn’t realise how long I was there with Harriet’s sweater held to my chest and when exactly Carlton entered the room, watching me.

“Carlton…” My words trailed as I stood up but he walked off, leaving me alone with question marks. He seemed broken.

And for some reason, I knew screwed up big time.

The next morning, I was preparing coffee when I saw Carlton rushed down. A smile grew on my face when my eyes held his gaze but he didn’t return the smile. I took a deep breath and let it out when he walked past me and sat on the chair for his morning coffee.

“Tantiana, coffee.” He called Tantiana coldly.

I handed the coffee I made for him, “Here. I made for you.”

“Thanks, but no thanks. Tantiana, coffee please.”

Right on my face! I want to cry so badly!

I missed my all happy and fun husband. Who is this iceberg? I thought to myself and sat next to him with a pout. The coffee I made for him was undisturbed so I asked Tantiana to bring him a new one. Maybe this can the other side of Carlton that none should wish to see. It was too hurtful when it came from someone who never lose himself for any kind of emotions.

I sat there static unable to react or speak anything. “Carlton-,” He cut me off as he stood up and walked out from the house. Tantiana rushed out from kitchen when she heard the ear raucous sound of door banging. I groaned, putting my head on the table “Mummy!! I fucked up”

She chuckled lowly, “I still find you both cute.”

“Shut up and go back to work.” I stomped out from the house with bag in one hand and my water tumbler.

***

It was half past noon and sadly I can’t concentrate in my work at all. I had to do something since I couldn’t stand around and let things slipping off my hand. I thought long about it and came up with a plan.

As I giggled, I walked out from the café but my steps halted when I saw Carlotta coming in. I realised God’s plan and timing. Sighing heavily, I approached her. “Hey gorgeous!”

“Sister-in-law!! Fancy to see you.” I smiled and led her to our usual table. Ordering our drinks, I sat there, thinking how to start-up the topic and I braced myself. “Lot, I’ve something to tell you but please don’t hate me for it.”

She raised her eyebrows at my words while her lips sipping the chocolate drink she ordered. I started “It’s about Kayden and me. Please don’t get me wrong, okay?” I requested. Carlotta nodded her head with her round blue eyes busy searching for something that I can’t seemed to read on my face.

“He was my student and we-,” The words that trailed from my mouth was cut off by Carlotta, causing my forehead to crease in confusion.

“Wait, wait. Is this about he likes you and whatever happened in past?”

It took awhile for me to reply her. “Yeahh”

“Oh sister-in-law! I know about all that. Why do I have to get you wrong anyway?” I leaned forward with a deep sigh and letting my glance toward Carlotta.

How she would have known about all this?

“Kayden told me everything about you the other day. Trust me, I’m fine Adele. Everyone has past and we gotta respect it. it has nothing to do with present or future. So, if you’re feeling bad for not telling me or anything, please don’t.” My lips went slightly ajar when I heard those words from Carlotta.

“Lot, do you know how relieve I am listening all that from you? Thank you darling!” I squealed in happiness.

Knowing that one thing that been bugging me for past few days was solved easily. Credits to Kayden and Carlotta’s maturity. I can’t thank them enough to make things easier for me.

***

The idea of meeting Carlton at office, collapsed when something urgent matter came up in café that needed my attention. Once Carlotta left the café, I spent the rest of hours to solve the pending works and now heading back home.

As I locked the main door of the house and stepped in the house was dark. Before I came in, I saw Carlton’s car at the porch.

He’s early today? I thought that to myself and switched on the lights. I gasped loudly when I saw him sitting in the same shirt, he wore this morning. There was a whiskey bottle on the glass and a whiskey glass in his grip. His eyes were closed as his head leaned back to the leather sofa.

I placed my bags at the side, forwarded my steps to near him where I noticed that his shirt was unbuttoned. My eyes studied his tired face and caressed his cheek “You’re early today. All okay?”

He didn’t reply me. I swear I can’t take this radio silence from him and guess what I had enough of trying to wrap everything in my head. I walked to his wine station and grabbed a glass for myself. When I wanted to pour myself a drink, he spoke. “Adele, stop.”

I didn’t bother but took a sip of the throat burning liquid. I neared the glass to my mouth again but he held me by my wrist, “Give it back.” his voice was deep. After getting the glass out from my hand, he let out a deep breath and stared at me.

“What’s wrong with you, Carlton? Talk to me. Look, I’m sorry for avoiding you the other day but it wasn’t intentional.” I spoke but he didn’t answer me. I might not get it what he was going through at the moment but I can say that it was because he saw me holding Harriet’s sweater.

And if that’s the case, he better be happy about it because I was looking for an answer to tell him. Seeking for guidance from the angel and realised a lot more on my feelings towards him. But I also know that without telling him everything I wouldn’t be fair for him.

I sat next to him while he was drinking the whiskey, “There’s something I should tell you. You deserve to know about the person who walked into my life before you.” My gaze fell on Carlton who was looking nowhere but straight to the wall. I laid comfortably on the couch and placed my legs on his lap.

I didn’t like the idea of telling the truth with him in a guilt or as if I’m a criminal and let the whole situation to be awkward and creepy. So, I did it in my way; cool and comfortable even though I was sweating and shaking inside.

I continued, “He was Kayden’s brother. I was engaged with him in an unexpected situation or you can say that I didn’t see it coming but slowly as time moves, we fell in love. We shared and created memories together but guess what God works in mysterious way and took him from me.” My words halted with a lump in my throat and my voice began to strain. I swallowed in hardly, stopping myself from breaking down in front of Carlton.

He noticed that and placed his hand on my feet, squeezed it and allowed my whole body to relax under his touch as the endorphins increased in my nervous system. He knew the best spot, like I said before.

“Let me do this. But yeah, I told myself that everything happened and happens for good reason. That time I was clearly convincing myself because nothing made sense and I got was to think this way. But…” My words straggled while I took in his feature in my eyes and heart. He was looking at me in that short pause between my words.

“But someone walks in my life and I clearly, purely confused and went blank. I didn’t know what I am I supposed to do next. I wasn’t prepared for it. The person came in at the most unexpected time and gives a whole new meaning for my life. That’s when I realised Harriet is in better place now and I’m with the exact place I should be and the exact place was next to you.

That’s when I realised that the good reason that God had is the person who vowed in the presence of God and gave this beautiful ring for me.”

After a moment, as Carlton’s watching my every movement, I rose up from the couch and sat closer to him, folding my feet. I couldn’t stop the butterflies I was feeling when our faces were inches apart as I took in his cologne that driving me wild.

“But right now, the person is drinking whiskey, massaging my feet and I just wanna say to him that let’s give us a second chance.”

Phew, I let off everything from my chest. I can die peacefully, no just kidding.

His piercing eyes opened wide and fell back on the ground. “Did I say anything wrong? Look I’m not good in all this. Next time I’ll do better.” He shook his head in no without tilting his head. My fingers went around his chin, lifted it up and made him to face.

His eyes were wet; wet with tears. “Carlton, what happened?”

“No one can do better than you did, Adele. You didn’t say anything wrong, baby.” I held back my tears. Never in my life I thought someone or a man would be crying for me. I pressed my lips tightly, watching him as his hand cupped my cheek affectionately, “Are you sure? What about the girl in the picture?”

I smiled sweetly, “One hundred percent. I don’t care about the girl or anything other girls in your past. I’m here with you now and for the next times. That’s matters the most for me.”

Carlotta’s words made to do this. I thought profoundly on whatever she said about Kayden’s past. She was right, why do we need to dwell on someone’s past when everything in the moment is the one important. I didn’t want to know about the girl in the picture because I’ve seen the way Carlton looked at me.

I didn’t want anything else!

“Adele Raquel, I’m going crazy with you.” I giggled at his words as I rubbed my nose against his. My breath hitched when after stroking my cheek, his lips touched mine. It was slow and torturing just as in his way. Biting my lower lip to earn access and gladly gave in. He sucked my tongue and devoured it lustily, with more passion.

Elation mugged over my body and breath when I moaned in his mouth. I felt his heat fanning against my body when he brought his mouth down to my neck, planting wet kisses there. My fingers tangled into his hair when his face stuffed at the crook of my neck.

In an instant he pulled me onto his lap so that I was straddling his lap and he yanked of my top. I found his hand squeezing and kneading my ass which leaving me in a sharp huff. I threw my hand around his neck and brought him closer to me as the desperation ached to my core.

His teeth nibbled my neck as I threw my head, giving more space for Carlton and swallowed a moan. “Don’t hold it.” He purred in the low seductive voice that got me felt the wetness. He brought his hand from my ass and moved to my breast, “Do you know how beautiful you are, Raquel?”

My second rolled perfectly on his tongue and that was bloody arousal!

Fuck this man!

My numb hands tried to bring his face up and made him to look at him. We looked at each other while my body was releasing all kind of hormones and my brain fogged with nothing but lust. “Carlton, you look appetising.”

He chuckled softly and whispered back in raspy voice. “Adele, you and your choice of words.”

Oh, my ovaries!

“I’m alive with you Carlton. Only you. I want you” His eyes roamed in mine and a silent smirk creeped in.

Fuck! I know what was that for!! He replied, “Patience baby.”

He carried me to the room in bridal style and gently placed me on the bed. I was breathing heavily on the bed while he was taking all his sweet time, watching me with a stupid but sexy smirk that never left his face.

“What are you doing?” I managed in between my hoarse breath. The desire building to the peak inside of me.

“Simply, watching and savouring moment!” He bit his lower lip and hovered on top of me, after taking off his unbuttoned shirt. He went downwards leaving soft kisses between my thighs once he leisurely let my jeans to slip off. My knees were shaking with his hot breath fanning over my skin. My chest moved forward and up when he went to the sensitive spot. I found myself too fragile for his touch and also enjoyed it at the same time.

After teasing with his tongue at the slowest rate, he inserted his two fingers inside me and caused me to groan. “Oh fuck, Carlton.” and pulled me toward his eager mouth. He kissed me again and this time both his mouth and hands’ attention went to my bare chest.

My hands travelled down and over his toned body that I yearned for and my hand reached for the belt. But he stopped me with a dominating kiss and murmured, “Remember I said slow and steady?”

Of course.

I gulped in and he continued the dirty talk, “It’s all in my way tonight, Raquel.”

I’m gonna die.

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