I gaze at myself in the mirror, staring at my reflection—seeing that I’m standing in a short-sleeved shirt and slacks; getting ready for work.
It annoys me slightly to oblige the fact that I can’t be wearing any suits until I get my cast off, knowing that I won’t be able to stride along the office’s hallway in a suit and tie . . . I’ll just have to dread onto the moment.
My eyes wander towards the figure standing near the door, both of her blue eyes looking directly at me; hesitating on whether she should enter or not.
″Need any help?″ She asks, clearing her throat.
″What kind of help are you offering?″ I ask back, my lips slowly curving into a smirk—realising that she’s already tucking a strand of hair behind her ear in order to hide away the discomfort laid in her eyes.
She steps inside, ″Something about helping you get ready.″
My brown eyes are never looking away from her undeniably beautiful figure—it took me awhile to realise but now I won’t stop admitting just how much her body shape is an ultimate goal. It’d be a lie if I say that I wouldn’t go down on both knees just to worship her beauty when the time comes.
″How about helping me get unready?″ I wink as I turn to face her, seeing her cheeks redden immediately which causes me to smile—purposely running my index finger across her cheek and to her ear, tucking another strand of hair that slipped.
She looks up at my hair, seeing it messily in place before glancing down at my outfit. ″You seem to look perfectly fine for someone who did it with one hand,″ She says.
″I should’ve just stood naked and let you help me with the rest,″ I respond as she scoffs, letting me enjoy the moment. ″Remind me to do that next time . . . then, maybe we could see how perfectly fine we’d look after messing with each other?″
Her laughter erupts, ″What happened to that guy? The one who stood silently in this exact room—admitting to his hear of storms,″ The way her blue eyes are just staring deeply into mine without even bothered by my previous remarks; it’s making me more and more comfortable to tease her.
″Perhaps . . . a beautiful woman came along to help him,″ I reply before lifting her chin up. ″She has always known as someone who has the charm or more likely, the beauty to make people forget about everything around them. Can’t really say they were lying,″ I add, turning around to pick up my phone on my bed.
She smiles, ″You still have a few days off. Why do you want to go to work?″
″Look who’s asking,″ I reply without glancing away from my phone; checking out the unread emails. ″I have a lot of unsettled things at the office—if I bother to just stay home and do nothing, can’t have anything finished by then.″
″You can work from home. That’s always an option for you,″ She says. ″Nora said you should be resting instead of working. Aren’t you the slightest worried about your recovery?″
I stop scrolling to look up at her, ″I have a doctor as a wife and I trust that she can take care of me perfectly fine without me being worried. Besides, working from home is just another distraction when I see you walking around the house.″ My voice appears to tease her as she chuckles.
″You and your teases,″ She mutters.
Kenna won’t stop looking at me as I continue to scroll down my mails before replying a few of them from important clients, realising that I’ve left them in the dark for the past days when I was in Dallas; not bothered to think about work.
″Let me drop you off at your office,″ She starts to speak up again, making me furrow my brows as I lift my head up—abruptly to stop typing.
″That won’t be necessary. I’m calling Flynn and Gerald to pick me up,″ Just as I’m about to press onto the number on my dial pad, she has already taken the phone away from my grasps, making me sigh in disbelief.
She hides my phone away from view, ″Flynn lives closer to the office and it would only make his drive longer than necessary. Besides, I’m here and the hospital is just one way from your office.″
It’s no doubt that I’ll only be troubling Flynn or even Gerald when I call them to pick me up. They won’t be bothered to give excuses but to think back to the amount of pressures I’ve been giving Flynn and sometimes Gerald, it’s making me reconsider.
Flynn—has by far been the only assistant who can put up with me. He knows my pace, he knows where I put my things, he understands me most and he doesn’t leave until I do; there’s just something about his loyalty.
″Maybe, we can even grab breakfast on the way. A speedy recovery requires a sufficient amount of energy,″ She assures me.
″I don’t want to be late,″ I immediately respond but before I can utter more, my stomach grumbles in hope of receiving attention; occupying me with thoughts of delicious sandwiches being consumed. ″But . . . on second thought, breakfast sounds great.″ I clear my throat.
″Let’s go, amigo.″ She pulls me out of my room.
′Did she just friendzone me in Spanish?′ I thought to myself with a slight frown in between my brows, as she continues to grab onto my right hand before reaching out for her car keys where has been placed with my other car keys.
We step inside the basement, heading straight towards her white Mercedes-Benz—parked beside my other cars.
As soon as we’ve entered the car, she starts the engine before glancing at my direction. ″Put your seatbelt on, we don’t want you breaking your other arm.″ She says as I turn to look at her, not expecting.
″Thanks for the reminder,″ I breathe out, pulling onto the seatbelt using my right hand; having minor difficulties. ″Can’t fucking wait for my bones to heal and take this cast off,″ I mumble under my breath but apparently, loud enough for her to hear.
To my surprise, she starts to lean in towards me, causing me to hold in my breath—the scent of her fragrance and shampoo hitting my senses, ″For the sake of your life in a couple of months . . . try working on a few things on your own. There are certain things that you may need my help but if you’re capable of doing them on your own, then it’d be best to do so.″ She says before looking up at me, not realising that our faces are already just inches apart.
A slight movement can lead to more.
Her blue eyes glance down at my lips for a short few seconds before looking back into my eyes as I stay still at my spot; mesmerised by the beautiful orbs in her eyes, seeing them as another part of the sky or more likely the galaxy.
″Uh . . . as I was saying, safety first.″ She leans back to her seat, putting her own seatbelt.
Within seconds, we are already on the road, the car ride almost deadly silent if not for the song being played in her car by connecting it with my Spotify account. At times, we would always sing along or act completely foolish but for some reason, we’re both left in our own thoughts.
″Where are we getting breakfast?″ I ask before realisation hits me, ″Wait—no, let me guess. Café Lalo?″
Her lips curve up into a grin, ″Look at that. We have a winner!″
I glance down at my phone to find Dimitri calling me, a picture of him rolling his eyes with his tongue out being set as his profile picture whenever he calls—causing me to pick up the call.
″Hello, hello,″ His voice is being heard from the other line. ″D-Eazy is on the line. Where are you? What are you doing? Is Kenna with you?″ He starts to ask, leaving me breathe out and try my best to deal with his behaviour.
″I’m on my way to Café Lalo and I’m in the car with Kenna,″ I respond.
″Okay, I’ll meet you guys there.″ Just like that, he ends up the call which causes me to blink a few times at the sudden call before earning myself a slam.
″He’s meeting us there?″ Kenna asks, after taking a right turn; pressing harder onto the gas pedal.
″Apparently,″ I mutter under my breath.
We have arrived at Café Lalo to a view of people in their office attire, queuing and some eating in. My eyes wander around the café after stepping out of the car with Kenna standing beside me, ″Let’s head in.″ She says.
The aromatic smell of coffee and pastries are somehow causing my senses to light up, immediately making me look for a spot for us to sit down and eat. It doesn’t help much with the amount of people in here as they talk, chat and simply just making worth of their time.
A group of women manage to glance at my direction, smiling as they see me standing in the middle of the café. They manage to utter whispers as they glance, causing me to smile back—not wanting to appear as rude.
All of a sudden, Kenna starts to reappear beside me, ″There’s a spot for us to sit.″ She points down at a table near the windows.
″Lead the way,″ I gesture with my right hand due to the limited movements of my left.
Just as I’m about to follow her, she stops to raise her left hand—tucking a few strands of her hair behind her ear, a few times as I confusingly stare back at her. Then, I begin to realise that she’s currently showing off the wedding band while mine is fully on display, due to my arm’s position.
The group of women starts to clear their throats before looking away, still sparing short glances at my direction. ″At least he’s not gay,″ One of them say, lowly.
″I don’t know which one is better? Married or gay?″ The left one replies with a sigh, trying to make sure that she isn’t heard but unfortunately, my ears can’t help but to eavesdrop.
We walk away from them and straight towards our table.
″I’ve got to start locking you up in the basement if everywhere we go is being filled with horny women who won’t stop staring at you like you’re a walking penis,″ Kenna says, awakening me from my thoughts.
I let out a breathy laugh, ″Are you . . . jealous?″
She scoffs, slamming her hands onto the table. ″Who? Me? Jealous of what? Jealous of the women who won’t stop staring at you even though they can see a ring on your finger?″ She glares at the group of women who has turned to look away, seconds before I can turn to follow Kenna’s gaze. ″No, no, no, not at all. Why would I be jealous?″
I find myself smiling, ″I don’t know. There are certain reasons on why you would be jealous. Do you want me to list them for you?″ I teasingly ask.
″No, thank you. Don’t waste your breath,″ She crosses her arms before leaning back in her seat as she turns to look away. ″And, I’m not jealous!″
″Okay, okay, whatever you say, Angry Larry. Where’s your friend . . . Samuel? He was the one always taking our orders,″ I quickly change the topic, not wanting to piss her more than she already is from the amount of people turning and staring at me.
Well, I can’t simply say that I’m bothered because I’m not . . . yes, it can get a little bit uncomfortable from time to time but being me, who has spent almost every single day of my life facing and meeting different people, can’t really be bothered by a few who wants to stare. In fact, I never pay much attention to them or to whatever they say even though they are mostly filled with good, good words.
Sometimes, I’d take the chance to give them a good time of their lives. Just what they need—a little something from me to take them home.
Truth be told, I can’t really say that I’m proud of who I used to be or how I acted with women. It’s no doubt that I respect them for who they are but leaving them with a broken heart and even a ton of excuse to not see them again, it’s mad.
They get what they want—sex and they’re left just at that. It’s like a small transaction where I get what I want with what they want, sounds more like a barter system.
″There he is,″ Kenna points at him before waving, gesturing for him to take our order.
″Give me a second!″ Sam—Samuel shouts from afar, running towards the kitchen while I let out a breath, waiting for him to come back.
Just seconds before I can utter a single word, Dimitri steps inside the café before heading towards our direction to take a seat beside Kenna. Just as he’s seated, he pecks onto her cheek. ″How are you, sweet cheeks? Looking radiant,″ He compliments with a smile plastered on his face.
Dimitri turns to look at me as his eyes widen in surprise at my condition, ″What in the world happened to you? Don’t tell me . . . rough sex led to this?″ He glances between Kenna and I while I roll my eyes at his thinking, ″You got a broken arm, man. That must’ve hurt,″
″I fell,″ I answer.
″Off a bike,″ Kenna continues, glancing at me.
″When I was cycling,″ I frown.
″For the first time.″ She ends it with a wide grin on her face before turning to look at Dimitri who appears to be slightly confused—as he tries to put the pieces together.
″You’ve got to be kidding me . . . ″ He breathes.
I sigh, ″I wish. Breaking my arm from a rough sex sure does sound better than falling off a bike when learning how to ride it for the first time,″
Dimitri bursts out laughing, trying his best to control himself from overreacting but he can’t seem to get over the fact that his best friend or more precisely, me—was a dumb guy who didn’t even know how to ride a bicycle.
″Aidan Gabriel Ashton, twenty-six year old CEO of Empire, didn’t know how to ride a bicycle as he fell learning it for the first time with his wife back in Dallas, Texas. Sounds gold,″ He continues to laugh, eyes squinting in tears of joy.
″Laugh all you want, man.″
He grins, ″That’s what I’m doing!″
Sam appears beside us with a notepad in his hand, ″Alright, make I take your order?″ He asks, glancing at Kenna for a few times with a smile plastered on his face while Dimitri busies himself by going through the menus without being bothered by anything else around him.
As for me, I can’t help but eye her—wanting to see if she’s actually looking back at him and return the smile. Unfortunately for me, she can’t stop smiling back at him.
Honestly, Sam has the looks. He’s probably charming and he’s nice; the perks of him trying to swoon Kenna off her feet are high. It appears that they were pretty close enough . . . knowing her to always come here, too. Perhaps, it’s not just because of the delicious pastries.
Maybe, it’s just me . . . hallucinating or being fairly uncomfortable but Kenna seems to be focusing onto the menu without glancing back at him. It eases me a little bit but I can’t seem to find why I was off.
″I’d like a regular coffee on the go,″ Dimitri says after closing the menu.
″What about you, Kenna? Still dreading on whether you want to order your favourite sandwiches or try something new?″ He turns to smile at her, again as she chuckles.
″Hard decision,″ She mutters before looking up at me, ″What are you ordering?″
I blink a few times, ″Just . . . bread,″
The three of them turn to look at me, confused but Dimitri seems to have caught the look on my face as he smirks. ″Just bread? What kind of bread? We have a lot to choose from,″ Sam replies.
″The best you got,″ I answer before unlocking my phone, not liking the fact that Kenna seems comfortable being around him—I don’t know if I’m being tested with the value of our friendship or if this is something more than that but I’m left scrolling over the same email for the past couple of minutes as they continue on their conversation.
″Yeah, I was in Dallas for the past week.″ She replies with a smile, ″Can’t really take my mind off those delicious pastries,″ She adds.
″You can’t really stay away from Café Lalo,″ He grins at her, writing down our orders on his notepad while I clench my jaw—controlling my breaths.
I clear my throat, ″Yeah . . . am I supposed to place those orders myself? I’m a bit famished,″ I say as I look up at him, seeing him nodding his head before smiling at Kenna—making his way towards the counter, placing our order.
″Someone’s cranky,″ Dimitri mutters.
″He’s supposed to do his job and tend to other customers than just simply starting an unneeded conversation. Besides, I have a lot of work to settle at the office and he was just wasting my time.″ I reply without looking at Kenna, knowing that she might sense something being wrong.
″He was just being nice,″ She cuts in.
″Too nice,″ I respond before locking my phone and completely ignoring them both.
As soon as our food came, I am left drinking onto my cup of hot coffee, faster than I intend and left trying to bear with the burning sensation in my mouth. ″Fuck, that’s hot.″ I hiss.
″Are you alright?″ Kenna asks.
″Fine—eat faster, I need to be at the office.″ I immediately chew onto my chicken slice sandwich, catching both of my best friends’ attention as they both look up at me.
Just as she takes a bite of her food, I immediately call for the waitress nearby. ″Bill, please.″ I say and she nods immediately, walking towards the counter; leaving me looking at a surprised Kenna and a confused Dimitri.
″I just started—″ Kenna is being cut off by the sound of my phone ringing, making me place a fifty dollar bill; enough to cover up the bill and even give the waitress a large tip before standing up, picking up the call.
″Yes, Aidan speaking.″ I say towards the other line as I walk outside, leaving them both as where they are.
″What’s wrong with you?″ Kenna asks as she steps outside of the café with Dimitri trailing behind her, shoving both of his hands in his slacks’ pockets.
I frown, ″What do you mean?″
″You gave me the cold shoulder when Sam came to take our order, you started being a little bit rude just because he was talking to me and you weren’t even the slightest enjoying your breakfast when you ate as if you were in a marathon. That’s what I mean,″ She replies as she continues to look into my eyes, leaving me sighing.
″I don’t like it,″ I roll my eyes, looking away.
″Don’t like what? The food? You could’ve ordered something else!″ She exclaims.
″No! I don’t like the way he looked at you or talked to you. I simply don’t like him being there to take our order, get it?″ My reply surprised her a little bit as she blinks a few times, trying to reassure what she heard while I breathe out. ″Now, I’m leaving.″
″You’re not leaving!″ She turns to look at me as I see Gerald pulling over and Flynn quickly running to open the door for me—his eyes widening at my arm but not bothered to ask as he sees the heated conversation between Kenna and I.
″Watch me,″ I reply before stepping inside the car, glancing one last time at Kenna who has a frustrated look plastered on her face while Dimitri stands beside, not wanting to take part of the conversation but walks to comfort her.
I look up at the rear-view mirror to see Gerald looking at me, ″Straight to the office, sir?″ He asks, his voice low and hinted with slight fear.
″Yes,″ I nod.
Just like that, we’re already on the road, making me lean back on my seat—trying to clear my head from unwanted things. My eyes wander to Flynn who is currently sitting still on his seat.
″Anything happened while I was gone?″ I ask, causing him to shake his head.
″No, Mr. Ashton. Everything was fine and been handled well,″ He replies. ″May I ask about your arm, Mr. Ashton? Your condition concerns me,″ He asks, slowly incase I’m left triggered by his question but I’m not; in fact, I’m much relieved that he asked.
″I fell,″ I answer, not wanting to dread on it.
He clears his throat, ″You will recover well, Mr. Ashton but for the mean time, I will help you as much as I can—knowing that you can’t possibly write with your casted arm. I can also remind you when it’s time to take your vitamins and prescriptions for a faster recovery. Not just that, I can forward all of the meetings for today to tomorrow if you want me to, they can simply understand if I explain.″ He says.
″That won’t be necessary, Flynn. I intend on being as busy as I can, today.″ I respond.
″Of course, Mr. Ashton.″
There’s just something me and I wouldn’t really know what it is but seeing the look on Kenna’s face when she talked with Sam, that is still bugging me. The way she smiled, laughed and even grinned at the way he put his ways on flirting with her—how can she not see that coming?
He wasn’t actually flirting with her. It was more of a kind gesture with a smile here and there while he was taking our order; he wasn’t dumb enough to flirt with a married woman who appeared to be having breakfast with her husband. So . . . I might be angry for no reason, he was simply being nice.
What is this sudden feeling overcoming me?
″How long have you been married, Gerald?″ I ask, looking at the rear-view mirror to meet his eyes who was focusing on the road before glancing at mine for a couple seconds.
″Almost ten years,″ He replies with a smile. ″Why do you ask, Mr. Ashton?″ He questions.
I furrow my brows, ″Well . . . it concerns me. How do you keep up with the same person for ten years without wanting to just—well, without having issues,″ I continue to speak.
″I love her, Mr. Ashton. There’s no one better for me out there than my wife, herself. We have issues, once in awhile but that’s the beauty of marriage. You can’t simply go on without arguing or fighting but one of you has got to give in, be the bigger person.″ He replies without hesitation, ″You would understand that soon, sir. The first five years are hard but it’ll only get better,″
I stay still at my spot.
″What do you mean?″ I question.
He blinks a few times, ″You are married to the woman you love. You’ll soon see why you would want to spend your whole life with her,″ He says while I remain quiet—just nodding my head as a respond.
Flynn and Gerald might be thinking that there is something going on with my marriage, perhaps from what they saw earlier but it was just me trying to ease myself.
It was stupid of me to ask about being with the same woman for a whole lot of years when I’ve been friends with Kenna and Dimitri for as long as I can remember—never once did I get bored or annoyed by them. They have always been there for me and I have always appreciated it.
Then again, I’d find the woman I love and it will all fall into place.
″When are you taking your cast off, Mr. Ashton? I’ll set up a reminder on my phone. Also, you’d have monthly check-ups until you recover?″ Flynn asks after realising the awkwardness surrounding us.
″In eight weeks, the least. Hopefully I’ll recover as soon as I can—a lot of things are limited to me at the moment. Yes . . . I’d appreciate that, Flynn.″ I reply and he nods, his lips slowly curving up into a smile for a few seconds while I turn to look out the window, enjoying the busy streets of New York.
When I stepped inside my building, my employees looked at me in surprise—their eyes widened but they quickly covered it up with a smile, greeted me with respect. I didn’t pay much attention as I smiled but quickly made my way towards my floor, where I’d be spending hours in my office.
″I need you to write these down for me,″ I gesture towards Flynn before handing him a couple of files with my iPad, ″Don’t forget that you need to email them back to me—for now, I’ll just go through the documents manually. I also need you to record any important details as I’ll listen to them in a few,″ I add and he nods.
″You may leave,″ I mutter without looking.
Flynn nods again, walking out of my office with the important files in his hand until he’s out of my sight while I lean back on my seat before going through the recent files, trying to make sure that they are well-checked.
Just as I’m about to decline another call from Dimitri, I am left with his figure appearing inside my office as he slams the door shut behind him.
″I knew you’d ignore my calls and that’s why I’m here.″ He takes a seat in the opposite direction from me, ″What happened at the café? You were acting a little bit off and if I’m supposed to say, it also may seem that you were jealous.″ He adds.
I scoff, ″Jealous? Of who?″
″Sam, Kenna’s friend who works at the café. The one who took our order, the one you were glaring at when he was talking to her, the one who smiled genuinely and seemed happy when he saw her, the one who—″ I cut him off as I stand up, causing him to stop, a sly smirk appearing on his face.
″—that’s enough,″ I breathe out, running my fingers through my hair as I turn to look at him. ″Don’t you have somewhere to be, Dimitri? You’re interrupting me during work hours.″
He shrugs, ″Can’t help it that I’m curious. Did something happen back in Dallas?″ He asks.
I look away, remembering back of the memories in Texas—when we were practically making out in the lake and indulging in our own lustful thoughts when we were kissing intensely in our room, it was all clear and vivid but I can’t just admit of it.
″Did you guys have sex?″ He asks, raising an eyebrow.
″Of course not. We just—we kissed,″ I reply as I think back of how the curves of her body was being explored by my hand as we both leaned in towards the kiss. The way my lips ran down her neck, smelling her scent and taking in the way she craved for more; that was something to me.
″And . . . ?″ He leans in for more.
″In front of no one! We kissed when we were alone and we wanted it to happen—we were both somehow and somewhat admitting to something we both agreed in the contract, no feelings attached and for some reason, I felt something. The way we kissed . . . it was more than just faking in front of people or pretending to be in love. It felt immensely seeping into my soul,″ I furrow my brows at ways of trying to explain it, not knowing whether it’s got anything to do with my sober mind or just my own thoughts of playing games.
Dimitri looks at me without uttering a single word as he let out a sigh, ″Admit it, Aidan.″
″Admit what?″ I ask.
″You’re slowly falling for her.″