A Touch of Passion

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Chapter 5

Another weekend, Nina was in her office busily trying to complete her task for the day. She had an appointment with Samuel and she can’t disappoint him. She had promised him faithfully she would be there. Nina glanced at her watch. It was two- thirty and it was still raining. She needed to hurry if she wanted to beat rush -hour traffic, which had already started. It would be very difficult, or rather impossible to beat in this weather.

It had been raining a lot the past few days, and according to the weather report, it wouldn’t be changing any time soon. Fifteen minutes into her drive she noticed the sky was getting darker and the wind began to blow the rain. the branches on the trees began to bend out of shape under the strong wind and lightning flashed across the dark sky. Her car began to swerve from side to side as she firmly held onto the steering wheel, trying desperately to keep it in control.

However, after forty-five minutes of non-stop driving, through bad weather conditions, she stopped in front of a beautiful white house with big French windows and doors, and a well-manicured lawn and colorful garden. To her surprise, it didn’t seem as though it had rained there as the sun was shining. she walked up to the front door and rang the bell, then waited.

A gentle man in his late fifties opened the door.

“Good afternoon, Miss, how can I assist you?”

“Good afternoon, sir, I’m Nina Curtis, I’m here to see Mr. Maxwell.”

“Oh, please come in, he’s expecting you.”

He ushered her into the beautifully furnished living room.

Please have a seat Mr. Maxwell will be down shortly?”

“I’ll go and let him know you have arrived.” Without another word he turned and walked away.

Samuel joined Nina in the living room a few minutes later. He greeted her warmly, and offered her a glass of wine. He sat down beside her on the sofa and soon after they went into a discussion.

She explained to him in detail what was happening with the loan she was trying to acquire. She was happy to fill him in except for the part about Mr. Charles’ proposal.

Samuel continued the conversation by explaining to her that he was not surprised by the difficulties she was experiencing to obtain a loan. He went as far as to express how sorrowful he felt for those young people, especially those on the lower-case ladder.”

Nina expressed how she would be greatly disappointed if she couldn’t acquire a loan to start the business since her mind was all set on accomplishing her desire.

Samuel was impressed by Nina’s desire, he reiterated that she needed to have some kind of tangible assets, to use as collateral. He went on to indicate to her that during his days, when he was starting out. It wasn’t as hard and difficult as it is today, and as Samuel continues to enlighten Nina on some of the requirements, she needed to be able to obtain a loan.

The butler came and informed him that there was a telephone call. He excused himself, and shortly after he returned, he told her they had to leave. He had someone he wanted her to meet, he will be able to assist her with the loan. Nina was filled with happiness, that moment was one of the best news she could ever have gotten. She could hardly contain her excitement.

Within a few minutes, they pulled up in front of a beautiful house, with grey shingles, a black door and a lovely manicure, flower gardens, nestling at the far end of the rear lawn.

Samuel parked against the curb, Nina parked in front of him. They strode rapidly up the pathway towards the front door, on reaching the door Samuel pressed the buzzer and instantly a young lady came to the door. as she was expecting them. She directed them to a sitting room, completed with lovely burgundy and gray handmade floor tiles.

Samuel did not stay. He had to leave due to an emergency. but before he leaves. He assured Nina that she was in good hands.

Nina couldn’t help but notice how beautifully the house was. It was completed with a combination of high beamed ceiling, antique wood door and elegantly furnished with modern furniture.

Huge paintings hung from the walls and several vases of flowers, placed about the room. She couldn’t help admiring the furniture, they were exquisite.

There was a small glass door on one wall that leads to the veranda and another big one further away that opened into the garden. They allowed for access in and out of the room and for natural air to enter. Nina walked to the door. She could see an array of plants including fruit trees, lavishly filling the outer space which was well manicured. A big swimming pool with at least half a dozen lawn chairs neatly positioned alongside it.

The water was calm, smooth and glassy blue which was inviting. She couldn’t help but imagine herself lying down, on one of the lawn chairs sipping a glass of red wine and quietly listening to some of her favourite soul music from the 70s and or 80s. As she stood there with her back turned to the entrance, lost in thoughts. A voice tripped in.

“I’m sorry to have kept you waiting. I was tied up on a call.

” The voice sounded familiar. Nina turned around immediately, and looked into the face of the last person she had expected to see. And as she did so, a small gasp escaped her mouth leaving her speechless.

Her entire body goes on pause, she wanted to respond but her mouth was paralyzed. She could feel her legs buckling helplessly underneath her. The shock on her face was obvious. The gentleman couldn’t help but to bite back a smile that was about to display on his face.

“Are you alright? Can I get you something to drink?” He asked in a soft baritone voice. Nina forces herself with an effort and manages to respond breathlessly.

“I’m fine, I’m afraid I was a bit surprised. I didn’t expect to see you here.”

“I’m sure you didn’t Miss Curtis. I didn’t mean to scare you anyway.”

I’m sorry.” she said, sounding a bit nervous. ” It’s good to see you again.” She held her hand out. He took it lightly, inclining his head. She dared to look straight at him. He was looking exceptionally handsome and dressed casually in his T-shirt and jeans. His short black wavy hair was neatly combed. The hand he extended out to her was strong and well manicured.

“Please have a seat Ms Curtis.”

“Thank you very much.”

“You’re welcome. Can I get you something to drink Ms Curtis or if you don’t mind Nina?” he inquired politely.

“Yes please, and thank you. Nina is just fine”

“You can address me as Michael”

“Sure, why not?”

He excused himself, and shortly after he returned followed by the young lady who had assisted her earlier, she came in, balancing two frosty glasses of juice on a tray. Michael walked across to a sofa opposite Nina’s and sat down. He was served first, then Nina next.

“Thank you,” Nina said with a pleasant smile, as she took a glass of the lemonade from the tray. The young lady’s face lit up with a smile in return. She then hastily walked away and left the room. Nina felt thirsty and she took a long drink of the lemonade and sat up straight in her seat, anxiously waiting for Michael to fill her in on his decision to assist her. But he seemed to be taking his own sweet little time.

Nina eagerly waited to hear him say something But he just wasn’t forthcoming. She wondered if she had heard correctly what Samuel had said. She stopped and she wasn’t going to overthink herself. Of course she heard correctly, loud and clear what Samuel had said to her.

"Damn this man.” she thought irritably. What’s going on with him? Why doesn’t he say something? Her thoughts spiral out of control. She should have left immediately when she found out who he was. He was purposely testing her patient. she thought.

Michael sipped slowly at his juice tapping his feet. “How long have you known Samuel?” he enquired. Nina thought,

“Seriously, what does this have to do with him assisting me with a loan? ” But then she responded.

“Not for long, as a matter of fact, we’ve been friends for a little over a year.” Nina, somewhat surprised by his question.

“Why do you ask?”

“Curiosity, I suppose.”

He smiled sourly. “He seemed to know a lot about you.”

“He’s a fine gentleman,” Nina responded, as if the word would be alien to him.

“And very pleasant” she added, with a mysterious little smile.

Michael’s brow came down in a frown. Nina caught her breath, but all he said was.

“I see.” Finally, Nina couldn’t take the suspense anymore she spoke.

“Michael if you don’t mind. I have been here for a while and I’m curious as to why we still haven’t gone into a discussion on the reason for me being here, do you mind?”

“Sure, I agree, but suppose we start first with you giving me the answer to the offer I made to you weeks ago.”

’What are you talking about?” Michael looked at her puzzled, wondering if she was the same Nina Curtis, she looked a lot like her but her response says otherwise.

“Michael, what are you talking about?” she repeated. Michael gazed at her levelly, his expression of amused curiosity.

“The answer to my proposal of course.” His fingers tapped restlessly on the glass in his hand.

“Oh shit, his proposition”, she thought, “That’s insane, I’m not that desperate to accept his ridiculous request, besides I have completely forgotten all about it.”

Liar, who are you fooling, you are desperate and you haven’t forgotten about it either, her thought tripped in.

“I’m sorry Michael, but that request is completely unconventional.” she bloated out. Michael looked straight at her perplexed.

“So, what exactly are you saying?” Nina bit down hard on her bottom lip, as she stared thoughtfully into the distance.

“I’m not interested in your proposal.” He stared at her silently, slowly got up out of his chair and walked over to a small glass door, periodically taking a drink from his glass and looking directly outside, finally, he said.

“I’m sure you can agree. We both have something that can benefit each other?” Nina inhaled a deep breath before she responded. Michael was quick to point out that he was a good man, but that didn’t matter to Nina one tiny bit.

” I’m not sure about that.” Michael was completely disappointed by Nina’s response.

“I can understand, when it comes to a good man Nina. You’re not sure about what you want.”

She gave out a sarcastic sound

“Uh huh,”

Mr. Charles walked back over to his seat. sat down and stretched out his long legs comfortably in front of him, accompanied with a sardonic smile and responded.

“I always get what I want.”

Nina gritted her teeth in annoyance but manage to say

“I’m afraid Michael, there is always a first time for everything. This time I think you want what isn’t up for exchange. Something you can’t and will not have. He took another drink from his glass and scratched the back of his neck, and said disappointingly.

“What’s wrong Nina? do I seem to be out of your reach?”

Nina was shocked at his assumption. She found it difficult to speak, her thoughts instantly tripped in.

"This man must be a freaking Narcissist.” as she bit down hard on her lips for a second trying to keep her composure.

“Don’t make me laugh Michael Which planet are you from? Are you kidding me?”

“I’m trying to help”

“How Michael? I don’t need your help, you sound like a conceited, egotistical little child. I have a mind of my own?”

“I would have thought so. But it doesn’t seem to be functioning properly.” This made Nina mad. She grinds her teeth, clenches her fists and refuses to make eye contact for a while. before she spoke.

“Oh no dear, not to your benefit.”

Michael didn’t respond, He just sat there staring at Nina as if trying to read her mind. Nina felt disrespected and even more stupid for believing he would assist. She should have just walked away, the instant she saw him. she thought.

“If you will excuse me. I think I should be getting back home. She got up from her seat and attempted to leave. He drew her back firmly onto the seat.

“I seemed to have hit a nerve.” he said; almost non-emotional.

He felt the words register instantly with her as her body stiffened.

“I’m sorry,” he said after a short while, “I should not have been so impolite.”

“You are absolutely right. You shouldn’t have.” Nina agreed furiously. “I think perhaps it’s best if I just leave.”

“Shhh, no need to get upset. Let’s go outside for a little walk. The heat inside here is getting a bit overpowering for you.”

Before Nina could respond. Michael held her hand and led her through the big glass door into the garden.

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