An Uninvited Guest Part 2
“I thought that there were matters you needed to attend to?” Questioned Brandon with a lazy smile that didn’t reach his eyes.
“Those matters weren’t so interesting and I’m sure that my colleagues can handle the problems just fine without me, so I thought why not spoil myself in a luxurious restaurant? But I never thought that I would meet you here.”
Brandon hummed tauntingly, “For a second I thought you were stalking me.”
“Now, why would I do that?”
“I wonder that myself.” Though the smile on his face didn’t falter at the sudden appearance of the old man with whom he was with this morning, Brandon’s eyes narrowed into a pair of slits, glaring incredulously at Dean. Dean may have said that it was coincidence, but Brandon knew it was anything but that. The sly old man loves to poke his nose in businesses that doesn’t concern him and make the surrounding people uncomfortable. It was as if he was a vampire that lived of people’s misery- maybe that’s how the wrinkles haven’t caught onto him yet, thought Brandon snidely.
Silence fell on them and Cherry’s eyes kept darting between the two men where the electric current in the air seems the run dense, her eyebrows raised to her hairline, curious of the identity of the old man conversing with her husband.
Feeling the gaze that was filled with intrigue piercing the side of his face, Dean turned his face to the side to look at the woman sitting across from Brandon, offering her a kind smile.
“Ah~,” He sang. “How impolite of me to not introduce myself to your lovely wife. My name is Dean Colburn and you must be the acclaimed Cherry Graywood who was willing enough to cast away her last name to marry my colleague here.”
“Colleague?” More than shocked by the unfiltered speech spoken by Mr. Colburn hearing the word colleague being associated with her husband came as a surprise as Brandon was adamant not to reveal anything about his work life, but here someone said that they were colleagues as if it was nothing.
To the silky voice laden with shock and confusion, Dean blinked his eyes before moving his agape expression to Brandon while not trying to mask the offended look in his eyes. “You didn’t tell her about me? Now, that hurts my feelings.”
Brandon said nothing, wearing the tight smile on his face as he was wordless with rage that made the fingers coiled around the glass of water tremble.
Tutting his tongue despondently, Dean shook his head and said, “This won’t do.” Turning his head to the side to look over his shoulder, he spoke to the server who was guiding him to his reserved table a few seconds ago before they stumbled on Cherry and Brandon. “Be a sweetheart and bring me a menu card and a chair so that I can sit here.”
The server bowed her head obediently at the request of the old man and left to gather the things needed.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Came the perturbed question of Brandon.
“Did you think that talking about me was a one-minute talk? It’s going to take at least one hour to educate your wife about me, so I’m going to join you guys for dinner.”
“There’s not enough space for you and your narcissism to sit here.”
“Then I’ll just sit closer to your wife.” The server came back with the menu card and a chair, placing it on the ground and Dean ushered words of fleeting thanks before settling himself on it and shuffling closer to where Cherry sat, but before reaching her, Brandon extended his long leg to hook his foot around the leg of the chair Cherry was sitting on and pulled her closer to him, earning a surprised yelp from his wife and the screeching noise from the chair that got dragged over the floor.
Dumbstruck, Dean watched how Cherry got swiftly pulled next to Brandon. Brandon draped his arm over the back of Cherry’s chair, not noting the flustered state that his wife was in while leisurely sipping his water, acting oblivious to what he just did.
Silence fell over the table. The strenuous air got broken by the old man’s loud snort. “How childish.” Dean spoke to earn a chilling smile from Brandon who answered him with indifference, “Learned from the best.”
The ambiance inside the restaurant got effect by her husband’s icy smile, turning the air stale and causing the other guests who were lost in their conversations moments ago to shiver, making them wonder whether somebody turned on the air conditioner to full blast. Cherry stared at her husband as if she saw water burning. This unprecedented behavior of Brandon had Cherry gobsmacked. She never knew that the same voice that was always laced in tenderness towards her could sound so detached and frigid. The coldness of it had the small hairs on her nape standing straight up and her hand clutched against Brandon’s chest as if to garner back his attention, to have those dim golden eyes look back at her with a warmth that she was familiar with.
Feeling those dainty fingers curl deeper in the fabric of his suit, Brandon turned his gaze from the old man to his frightened wife. Aware of the slight tremors emitted from those delicate fingers, he dialed back his bloodlust, bringing back the gentleness in his voice.
“What’s wrong, love?”
“Are you asking that because you truly don’t know or because you want to keep on those theatrics of yours?” Dean piped in as he fully seated comfortably at the table, holding the menu card in one of his hands while using the other hand to stroke his shaved chin as he mulled over the dish choices.
“I would like to have the lobster frittata with caviar.” He said to the server.
“Yes, sir.” The young server said before walking back into the kitchen, leaving the three completely alone.
Cherry felt her husband’s demeanor change once again as his piercing gaze fixed itself back on the old man. Not wanting another heated banter to happen, she cut in the conversation.
“M-Mr. Colburn, if it is alright to ask. How long have you been working with my husband?” To Cherry’s question, Dean hummed thoughtfully with a small smile on his face, bringing his hand up to fumble his earlobe where the small scar was on.
“Let’s just say that we have been working with each other for a long time.” The answer was vague, and it only rose more questions in Cherry’s mind.
“You don’t have to entertain him, love. Just pretend that he’s not here.” Brandon chimed in, bringing his hand up to push away the brown hair strands woven with strands of gold that obscured his lovely wife’s face, but his hand got swatted away by Cherry before his rough fingers could graze her skin. Her swat wasn’t painful, but it still struck Brandon as a surprise.
“Be nice.” She glowered at her husband. “I don’t know why you’re acting this way, but this is not how you treat someone who took the effort to greet us.”
“B-But, it’s our date night.”
“Don’t ‘but’ me. Be. Nice.” Cherry wagged her index finger sharply at her husband.
Dean observed amazed how Brandon got reduced to a sullen infant by his wife’s scolding and he had to stifle down a laughter that wanted to erupt from his mouth, but the couple sitting in front of him noticed the trembling shoulders and it put a pause to Cherry’s lecture as she now wore a confused expression with her index finger now hanging limply in the air not noticing her husband’s eyes that narrowed subtly at the old man.
Catching the two different glares, Dean cleared his throat. “Is there something else that you’re curious about, Ms. Greywood?” Dean inquired, continuing their conversation.
To that question Cherry lowered her hand back on her lap and readjust her posture as her eyes twinkled excitingly, because there was a question that she was painstakingly wondering about but never got an answer for from her husband who would always avoid the subject like it was the damn plague, but now with Brandon’s colleague sitting in front of them who was more than willing to answer her questions she felt like it was all or nothing.
“What is the occupation that you both do?”
Brandon’s eyes moved down to the side to gaze at his wife before looking at the old man’s indescribable expression. Brandon kept a calm and collected look, but his heart paused for a second as he didn’t know how the unpredictable bastard was going to answer Cherry.
He really kept her in the dark, didn’t he? Dean thought. Dean didn’t know whether to be impressed that Brandon could fool his wife for this long or to find it foolish to see the boy juggling with double identities. The next moment, a devious smile splayed on the old man’s lips, making the wrinkled skin around his mouth even more prominent as something dark lurked in his navy-blue eyes.
“We work in the human resources management.”
“In the human resources?” Came the surprised voice of Cherry as her long eyelashes fluttered a couple of times. She could imagine Mr. Colburn working in the human resources, but she never pegged her husband to be the type to want to work in a field that requires a lot of human interactions.
“I know what you are thinking Ms. Greywood- may I call you Cherry? It’s much easier and comfortable if we casually speak to each other-”
“You may not.” Brandon’s brooding voice interrupted, making no room for discussion.
“Maybe when your husband isn’t around.” Dean chuckled jets, but that joke didn’t get well received by Brandon as the muscle in his jaw twitched angrily. “But as I was about to say before I got rudely interrupted, your husband has an impressive set of skills for dealing with people and having them join the company.”
“Is that so?”
“It is.” Nodding his head and placing his forearms on the table, he leaned in, lowering his voice, and Cherry mirrored his actions, wanting to hear what he was going to say next. “Would you like to see where the company is? We could go after dinner.” The old man suggested, catching Cherry by surprise. Her lips parted open and closed and before her voice could escape her mouth to tell Mr. Colburn of her decision, her husband cut in the conversation like a sharp knife.
“No, she doesn’t need to see it.”
For the first time this night Dean’s scowled displeased, and he spoke, “The first few times were cute, but now it’s getting annoying. Don’t you know it is rude to interrupt your elders? I’m sure that your wife’s mouth works perfectly fine and that she’s capable of making her own choices.” Stated the old man with a grunt.
“And I am telling you already that she doesn’t need to see it.” Brandon gritted out; his voice was tight like a wire about to snap.
“It’s not like I asked you to come along. I have no problem of taking her there myself. I wonder what got you so worried-”
“Can you just shut up for one damn second!?” The glass of water couldn’t withstand the strength exerted on it and shattered under pressure, its shards strewn on the table mixed with water also on the ground and with some small pieces edged in the palm of Brandon’s hand, piercing through his tough skin, having blood ooze out from the small cut wounds and trickle down the hand- the drops of it joining the pool of water on the table.
Cherry’s hands flew to cover her mouth to stifle the scream that got induced at the horrifying sight of her husband’s hand bleeding.
Dean, who was unaffected by the temperament of Brandon, said, “Careful there, we don’t want to scare the baby.” Brandon’s eyes that burned with fire soon diminished to a sparkle as the words of the infuriating old man sunk in and he whipped his head to the side to look at his pregnant wife who gaped at the shards stuck in his hand, her face paper sheet white.
“Y-Your hand. W-We h-have to bandage it.”
The server who had served Cherry and Brandon at the beginning walked to their table with their orders on a round server platter, only to have his steps put to a halt on seeing one of the guests injured.
“Sir! Your hand!” the young server was about to call for help when Brandon raised his hand to silence him.
“I’m fine, please pack to food to go. Let’s get out of here Cher.” Brandon said and with the hand that was free of blood grabbed his wife’s hand, pulling her out of the restaurant.
The already dark sky was now covered with grey clouds. Drops of rain falling from it to hit the ground as to serve a warning for the people on the streets to take cover, because in a blink of an eye the clouds unleashed an undying flood of water and everyone run to take cover under an awning or in their homes while the rain invited colorful umbrellas to blossom in the streets.
Meanwhile, in a black tinted car, Cherry was tending to Brandon’s wounded hand in silence, wrapping the bandage that they found in the glove compartment around his hand carefully. Her face receiving soft orange glow from the headlights of the passing car only to recede back into darkness. It has been minutes since the incident and Cherry hasn’t even spared Brandon a glance. If it wasn’t for the rhythmical torrent hitting the car and reigning the silence inside it, she would have picked up the nervous beating of Brandon’s heart.
He knew Cherry was unhappy with him. He could feel the disappointment radiating off her, choking him, as he didn’t mean for all of this to happen. That old man was never supposed to be there, and he was never supposed to lash out like that. He had planned to spoil his wife and hold her in his arms tonight, but now he couldn’t even see the brown globes that he adore as his wife refused to level her gaze to his.
He had to let her know how sorry he was for his actions. “Sorry for what had happened in there, love.”
“I must have scared you, didn’t I? I didn’t mean for that to happen. I-”
“Why did you do that?” She asked in a soft voice akin to a whisper where someone had to lean in closer to hear it, but Brandon heard every syllable that came out of her trembling lips like a shuddering breath, woven in the ear deafening sound of raindrops raging against the windshield.
“It’s because he doesn’t know when to shut up-”
His words got caught in his throat when Cherry snapped her deep brown eyes at him. They smoldered with something indescribable while glazed in unshed tears.
“Sorry, I must have gone deaf now, because I don’t remember hearing Mr. Colburn saying anything that warrens your anger.”
“That’s because you don’t know him like I do.”
“Well, I’ve realized today that I don’t know you that well either.” Her words were like a sore punch in the gut, and Brandon winced inwardly.
“Why can’t you just tell me anything about your job? Why do we have to fight tooth and nail on a subject that should be normal to talk about?” She sighed exhausted, feeling a headache emerge as she finished banding up his hand. Brandon raised his hand up to cup her face, but she recoiled away, rejecting his gesture that would normally soothe her, but now felt manipulative. Ignoring the pained look in Brandon’s eyes, she turned her side away from him to face the window.
“Let’s just go home.”