Second Chance

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Chapter 9

2 hours later- At the bar with friends.

“Rhea, can we leave?” I asked her, hoping she would agree and yes, she did. Neither of us had the mood to enjoy the night. I was relaxing until Carlton’s words rang in my head. He exactly aware of his action.

“What’s with that long face first? You have time to tell while waiting for the boys.” She pointed at Aidan and others who joined us. Kayden asked his friends to come along as well. At least he had some fun there.

“Not tonight, Rhea.” I gave her an apologetic smile and she understood me without forcing much.

I didn’t talk much with Kayden when we were heading back to my house. But once awhile, he threw his glances to my side. Probably found it strange to see me this way. After all, he knew me since before it was obvious, he knew me quite well too.

“I missed you.” He blurted out.

“I missed you too, Kayden. Glad you came and visit me.”

“This is not like how you missing me, Adele. It’s different.” He emphasised his words. I think I prayed very badly that I can’t afford any sort of plot twist in my life. “Kayden, I’m married.” I showed my ring on his face.

“You call that a marriage, Adele? You’re not happy with him then why still hanging on it?”

“That’s none of your concern Kayden! Look, I don’t want to argue with you especially now. Kayden don’t do this.” I merely begged.

“Why are you doing this to me Adele? Why can’t you see me? Consider me instead.”

“Are you mad? This is not something to be considered Kayden!!” Without realising, we reached my house. I left the car right away without waiting longer. He left too and stopped me by my wrist. “Adele, don’t leave like that. It’s always been you, with or without my brother. Why can’t you understand that?” I sighed and placed my palms on his cheek.

“Kayden, look. We’re good friends and I didn’t want to lose this friendship. Our friendship is at stake with this behaviour of yours.”

“I’m not a kid, Adele. Stop treating me like one.” He pushed away my hand. I shook my head with a frustrated sigh, “Can we talk tomorrow? I’m tired Kayden, try to understand that.”

Kayden took a deep breath and smiled. It felt better seeing him relaxed a bit. Upsetting was the last thing; I want to do. He always has a soft spot in my heart no matter what. He leaned in closer and almost kissed on my forehead but I pulled away.

My forehead, no way. It was fully reserved.

When I entered the house, Carlton’s voice came along and startled me. “Where have you been? What happened to your phone?”

“Woah, Sir! Easy, easy.” I replied him sarcastically.

“Answer me Adele”

“I thought you have your ways to track me. What happened now?” Then I remembered I put my phone in silent when I left to the bar. I didn’t want to be disturbed.

Why he was looking for me?

“You can at least reply my texts, right? Do you know how worried I was?” I fished out for my phone and saw multiple calls and messages from him.

Why he was worried?

I simply rolled my eyes in annoyance, “How was your date?”

“Nothing as yours probably. You should keep your business elsewhere and not as the neighbourhood. Remind that kid.” He replied casually.

From his words, I understood that Carlton saw Kayden and I earlier.

Don’t ask him, anything! You’re better off alone, Adele. - I reminded myself and restrained myself from asking anything.

“Carl, can you check this?”

My eyes wide opened, “What the fuck?” I gritted my teeth and recited the mantra in my heart. In the blink of an eye, I found myself in the room without looking at them again. I paced back and forth anxiously around the room, biting my nails. “Adele, open the door!” Carlton demanded, from the back of the closed door.

I opened the door and stared at his reddened cold hard face. It didn’t fright me at all as he was staring at me unflinchingly, “She’s leaving the house right away or I can never imagine what will happen.” Without waiting for him to say anything, I closed the door again. If I keep standing closer to him, I would end up being a softie. I tried not to be affected by his masculine scent and eyes.

I didn’t want to continue this day already and I didn’t keep feeling disappointed. My entire scalp was on fire and it hurt when I started to think more about whatever happen this whole day. My head began to throb and surely sleep was the only one thing I need.

***

The next morning, when I went outside Carlton was at the dining table and sipping his brain fuel, coffee. I marched towards the table and sat across him as I slammed the handbag on the table. He didn’t tilt up to look at me. I scraped the chair out from the table, no response.

“Ma’am” Tantiana called me out politely.

“What?” I snapped at her.

“Your breakfast.” She asked while contemplating to bring the food tray for me.

“No, I don’t want anything.” My eyes fixed on him while replying to Tantiana. That was the time he decided to look up at me. “Have your coffee, Adele.” He ordered.

“It’s my wish. I told you to not order me around. You don’t have to show your fake care towards me, Carlton.”

He stayed mute. I continued, “You can go order around your ex. Opps, I mean your assistant. She will obey your command.”

I felt pathetic with whatever happened. “If you want to order me around, then I can do the same but I remember you said that this marriage is meaningless for you.”

“Adele, not now. Not this morning.” Carlton said with a cold tone and he looked as if he trying to control his emotion.

“Why?” I raised my voice.

“Don’t yell at me, Adele!”

“Listen carefully, Carlton. You free to do anything but don’t bring her and contaminate my kitchen. I don’t like strangers walking around there.”

He chuckled as if entertained with my words, “Contaminate? Adele, even you barely go in there.”

I panicked when he exposed the reality, “Um- I mean. Excuse me, that’s not the point.” I gulped down and avoided his eye contact.

“What’s wrong with your face now?” he asked out of curiosity. I gritted my teeth and let out a fake laugh “Haa, of course. Of course, there’s a wrong with my face. Now you going to find the flaws on my face. Now the wrinkles, dark eyes and freckles are obvious for you and you don’t like to see anymore.”

“Adele-,” I didn’t let him finish and continued. I need to let out everything, I can’t hold it anymore.

“You prefer to see double layered makeup, plastic and a barbie. Right? You can go to office now, don’t waste time looking at my wrong face. Don’t spoil your mood. Leave Carlton, leave. You can spend more time with her.” He stayed around and stood up from his stool. I heard a deep chuckle when he stood closer to me.

“I’m sorry, Adele.” The angry look I gave him, softened but I can’t let him win easily. “I’m sorry for saying, long time ago that I will make you to talk.”

I stunned with his words. Bloody hell!

“You’re worse than my grandma.” He suppressed his laugh and pulled back himself.

“Carlton!” I screamed out his name.

“That too!” he calmly opened the door and left for work. After half an hour, my stomach lumbered louder in hunger. “Tantiana” my voice was small and in guilt too.

She came with the food tray but surprisingly she was laughing. I raised my eyebrows at her, “Sir was right” I was shocked then she shoved her phone on my face. It was a message from Carlton.

‘Don’t be upset with her. Give her food once I left. She’s really hungry.’

I read that message again and again until I squealed at my sit. One moment he enjoys messing up my mind and the next moment he acting all sweet and caring.

The time seemed not passing at all when I glanced at the watch. I couldn’t even come up with one conclusion when it was about Carlton. Why not he figured what he wants and let me know straight away instead of giving me mind games?

But he knows what he wants. He aware of his needs and wants, still he stopping himself. That was pretty transparent.

Ugh! My bitch mode activated ever since I came from New York and I can’t seem to turn it off. My brain still can’t process anything. I went to the kitchen of my café and tried to distract my mind. The aroma of freshly baked pastries really soothed my mood. I took the tray out from the oven and transferred them in the display cabinet.

“I’m here for my sister-in-law.” I gaped at the voice and straightened up.

Carlotta Wilbert, Carlton’s sister came down after so many days. The last time I saw her was at my wedding. She looked lively. “Carlotta! What a pleasant surprise.” We hugged.

“How are you? Mum said you bake the best lemon cake, so I’m here for that too. And we need a lot to catch up.” Total opposite of her brother. He always keeps his speech short and precise. Sweet too!

Ok, enough!

“I’m fine. Okay let’s get your cake and starts gossiping.” I replied her cheerfully.

I asked her to pick a table while I went to get her coffees and desserts. When I returned back to the table, guess who else were there?

Yes, you guessed it right.

Oh, dear lord!

His face was glued on the phone screen and the barbie was sitting next to him, giggling with Carlotta.

Be professional, Adele. Not in front of his sister. What she would think of you? My inner voice reminded me.

I neared their table and sat next to Carlotta. “Look who we have here.” My mouth needed a stitch, I know. He looked serious with whatever he handling from his phone and he didn’t look up at me. “Anyways Adele, how’s business?” Carlotta asked.

“Great. I have good staffs so things going well. What you doing here? How’s life?” I asked while resisting myself from looking to the view across me.

“Me? I’m back for good, Adele. Life is cool.” Her smile doesn’t reach her eyes this time. She kept her answers short this time.

“You’re not returning back after this?” I asked again.

Carlton hissed. I looked at him ad he was still on his phone. “You question a lot, Adele.”

“Brother, you know we meeting after some time. Ignore him, Adel.” she replied with annoyed voice. I sneered, “No, that’s fine. People no longer like my voice anymore. Maybe a barbie’s voice would be preferred.” He switched off his phone and turned his attention to me.

Carlotta chuckled and cleared off the mess. Giana was sitting so close to him and showing something from her iPad. They can keep business out from lunch hour, I suppose.

We kept talking and I had to turn my neck every time Carlotta talked. “Giana, do you mind switching place?” They all stopped whatever they were up to and looked at me. “My neck hurts you know. I must keep turning and looking at her. So, will you?” It wasn’t a request but a bloody command. She nodded.

I smirked when Carlton looked at me with a lightened-up face and questioning eyes at the same time. My cheeks flushed.

This asshole!

“Okay, you both can stop drooling at each other. We’re still here.” Carlotta teased us.

I saw Giana rolled her eyes at us. How dare you, bitch! I raised my brows at her. She stuttered, “Hmm, Carl we have meeting at 3pm. I think we should leave, now.”

What to do now?

“Giana, you leave first. I’ll be joining later.” I looked at him silently as she left with a sad face.

“So, Carlotta can I look forward for any party then?”

“Well, that’s for sure. I need to sort some stuffs in dad’s company and once done I’ll text you the time and place.” She clarified and since she back for good now, I was sure she had joined her dad’s company.

I wondered what made her stayed here this time. I was lost in my thought when Carlotta excused herself to answer the phone.

I was battling to keep my mouth shut. Then after a while, passed Carlton a deadly glare, “Why did you brought her here? Simply right? Wanted to rub it on my face that you get to do whatever you want?”

“My sister said she wanted to meet you since she couldn’t last night.”

His sister couldn’t meet me last night? What was that? My brow furrowed at a moment. “Last night?” he leaned forward at me and our faces were inches apart. I gulped nervously.

“Yes, but you were busy with your boyfriend and didn’t answer the call.”

“He’s not my boyfriend!” I clarified.

“Don’t raise your voice at me, Adele! And it was my sister who picked the place.”

“Obviously, you regretting coming here right? You don’t wish to see my face.” He rested his back on the chair, sighed and he seemed hurt. I moved my face to other side, made sure to not let him see my agonised face.

Why we were even on this term? I had no idea either.

Carlton’s phone rang and he had to answer it. He moved to the large window and answered the call. I can’t help but continued to ogle him. “Calm down, tiger. You can jump on him later.” Rhea came in with Carlotta trailed behind her. They both were mocking me which caused me to roll my eyes.

“Well, hello to you Rhea.” She placed her a paper bag on the table and heaved a sigh. “What is that?” I asked pointing at the paper bag. “Aidan instructed me to eat fruit as much as I could and I don’t want!”

We both laughed at her. “By the way, she’s my best friend and this is Carlton’s sister.”

“I know her, I saw her during your wedding.” Carlotta said with a smile. “And guess what, she’s going to be mummy soon!” I added along.

“What? Wow!! Congratulations!”

While they were busy with their topic, my gaze fell on Carlton. I felt a cold breeze washed on me when my eyes fixed on him. I miss my days with him at New York, we had good times together and it was too good to end quickly. It always that way, right?

Suddenly Rhea’s voice trailed, “Babe, help me to eat this please?” she shoved an apple on my face. My face blushed again when I saw the apple. “Eh, why are you blushing?” she asked in confused state.

I shook my head and took the apple from her. My eyes averted from the apple and looked at Carlton. This apple reminded me of the day I saw him working out. Gosh, he looked incredibly yummy.

Erk, what was that?

I lifted my chin with one hand and angled my face slightly to admire the hotness of Carlton. I studied his features from far especially his neatly trimmed jaw. He looked really attractive and hot. I didn’t know how long I was staring at him and biting my lower lips but jolted when Rhea spoke, “One time ago, a wise man told you that staring was rude. And please stop your bad habit Ele” I chuckled and blamed the apple. The poor apple reminded me and made me stupid for a moment.

Rhea always stops me from biting my lips but I can’t help it especially having him around.

My phone buzzed and it was a text from Kayden. I read it and locked it back. “Kayden is here.”

Carlotta looked at me with a suspicious look, “A good friend of us and my previous student.” She nodded and returned to her phone. Carlton was still on his phone and I wondered what he still doing here. As far as I remember, Giana said he have meeting at 3pm. He will be late.

Kayden came in and took every girls’ attention there including Carlotta. But she didn’t make it that obvious yet a look from Rhea confirmed me that I was right. The look from Rhea was like, ’Demmmm girl look at that!!’ – The best friend typical look.

Kayden looked at Carlotta and then at me. He greeted us and sat across Carlotta. She gave him her most mesmerizing smile. I was containing my giggle. Kayden moved closer to my ears, “I miss you.” He whispered.

“Adele” Carlton called out my name and turned to look at him. But my world stopped spinning because I didn’t see the next thing that was coming. His lips clashed on mine; I was puzzled for a moment.

What just happened?

I unable to look at anyone there especially Rhea. I knew I’ll be the laughing stock for next few days. But Carlton remained cool and steady, “Wife, I got to go now. Lot, you’ll be here or leaving already?”

She replied, “No, I wanna stay here for a while. See you later big bro.” with that he walked out from the café.

No, I can’t let this happen. “Will be right back.” I hurried out from the café and stopped him before he left in his car. “Carlton, wait.”

He stopped without turning to look at me. I went in front of him and crossed my arms. “What was that?”

He acted dumb, “What, what?”

“Carlton, I don’t have time to tell everything one by one. So, answer me.”

“Me too. So, make it quick. I have meeting.” He smirked.

“Why did you kiss me?” His smirk grew wider and stepped closer to me. “You asked for it.”

Wait! What? When did I asked for it? Is he crazy or something?

Before I could reply him, he continued “What you were thinking while holding the apple, Adele?” he whispered which made me stiffened and blushed too. This can’t get any hotter. “What,- umm. Nothing.” I stuttered.

There was a hint of smile on his face. It was certain that he enjoyed this whole motive of him to make me feel awkward. “Look, Carlton-,”

He stopped me, “Why you were biting your lips when you were looking at me?”

“So? You can simply kiss me?” I asked him back.

“Yes. If there’s no anymore question, I shall take my leave.” He kissed my cheek and went inside his car. He opened the window, “And it’s my damn wish to kiss you anytime I want.” He said with dangerously cold tone and roared his car. I stood there stupidly until he car went out from the sight.

Bloody asshole!

I was totally going crazy. “Why he kissed you, Raquel?” My lips curled inwards when Kayden asked that.

Guess what, I didn’t know either. He didn’t answer my question.

“Drop it Kayden.”

“Can you answer it? Stop fooling me around. You said there is nothing between you two but he acted otherwise.” He raised his tone this time and I lost it.

“Kayden, I’m not at a place to answer or explain myself to you. Stop it and don’t create a scene now.” I said with a cold expression and went back inside.

I really can’t stop smiling since then because I liked it. I liked the way he kissed me; it was sort of reminder. Yes, that was it. I knew and it can’t be wrong..

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