POSTED 12/03/2017 07:09
Aiden grinned at her while pretending to ponder it. "Gee! That’s a tough one. Don't tell me that you're jealous?"
She gave him an exasperated look. "That's not an answer."
Laughing, Aiden went to her and wrapped his hands around her. "If you could see past the jealousy fog, you would know that all those clothes are new and have not been worn before. They are your perfect size."
"And why is that?"
"I intend to have you as my wife, Liv."
Fearing that it would be something much more serious like having a mistress, upon his explanation, she felt a deep sense of relief.
Pretending that she wasn't bothered the least, she pulled away and headed towards the door. "Jealousy ain't my thing, Aiden. Besides, I'd be happy to have you off my back you know."
He chuckled as he moved past her. "I'm afraid it's not going to be that easy to get me off. I plan on staying forever. I'll advise you start getting used to it, baby."
He laughed harder as she glared at him and stormed away. He was getting to her little by little.
They said goodbyes to Silvia and her husband and got into his car, waving at the couple as he drove off.
The window by the sink overlooked the driveway, and as Melissa glanced outside, she realized that the car parked outside was Richard's car as he came out, looking haggard. She hoped all was okay and that nothing was wrong with her best friend.
Cleaning her hands with a table cloth, she untied her apron and went out to receive him.
"What brings you here? Is there any problem?"
It was an evasive response from a man who rarely visited her. She and Richard hadn't liked each other from day one and only communicated because of Olivia.
"Then what brings you here...exactly?"
"You ask that as if you're not pleased to see me. Do we have a problem?"
She used the same words in order to provoke him. They always threw sarcastic words at each other and enjoyed making each other feel uncomfortable, it became a habit.
"I'm not ready to do this now. I haven't seen your best friend since yesterday and I need you to talk to her for me. You know she listens to you."
"And what makes you think I would do that for you?"
"Please, just help me this once."
"Okay. I'll try but you shouldn't get your hopes high yet. So what do you want me to talk to her about?"
"I'm actually the one at fault," he admitted. "Can we discuss it over a drink?"
"Sure. Let me quickly change into something better."
Melissa agreed to going out to discuss with him whatever the problem was because she wanted him off her back quickly. If she didn't agree, he would disturb her for days. So she found herself hurrying to meet up with him. "So where are we headed?"
"The Thirsty Horse Saloon."
Laughing at the weird choice, she said, "You look like a thirsty horse though."
He glared at her. "Do me a favour, Mel."
"Shut the hell up till we get there. Thank you."
Melissa deliberately cleared her throat noisily. "Excuse me? I am not your girlfriend, so you can't order me around. Besides you're asking for my help, so you better behave or I'll go back home."
When he nodded, she clapped her hands, "Na na that's not all, I'll convince her to leave you, if you don't behave."
"It's okay, Mel. I'll behave. Now can you just shut up till we are there? You're getting on my nerves and it's affecting my driving."
He glared at her again and she chuckled softly, backed down and left him in peace.
"This place looks beautiful. I've never had time to come here." Olivia was admiring the place when an attendant came over and showed them to a table at a cozy corner.
"I'm glad you like it." Aiden smiled as they sat opposite sides of a square table covered with a pink and white checked oilcloth. They ordered for steaks, iced tea and lemon juice.
Trying to sound casual, Olivia asked, "Have you ever brought a lady here for a date?"
Aiden stared long and hard before saying, "I want to date only one woman. Maybe you could talk to her for me."
"And who is she?"
"Search within yourself."
That was the only answer she was going to get. She let that subject drop because it was getting personal. Diverting it to something more comfortable, she asked him about his aunt.
“She died a year after my arrival in a plane crash."
"I'm sorry about that, Aiden. I didn't know."
"It's okay. We all have to die at a certain point in our lives."
"How did you cope?"
He drew a sigh. "I worked summers and weekends at the firm she worked for. They took me in because of the important role she had played in taking it to the heights it has attained now. And then I interned in management while getting my MBA from the ESMT European School of Management and Technology in Berlin. You could say I rose to the peak because of her.”
"I believe you soared because of your hard work."
He smiled as he traced his knife on the steaks. "You don't have to be sweet with me, Liv."
"Okay. Tell me more."
"I could bore you for hours."
"I'm not bored."
"Well, you will soon be. My whole three years in Germany has revolved around work. Striving to get there, so I could come back and get you."
"I remember one Christmas," he said after a moment of reflection. "I was walking down the street when I saw two teens hugging each other tightly. The guy told her he was going to come back for her and I remembered us." Looking at her, he smiled ruefully. "I hope she can wait for him and he will be back for her."
Olivia saw the pain in his eyes, the emptiness there. She wanted to wrap her arms around him, kiss his pains and worries away and tell him that everything was going to be alright but that wouldn't be true. Everything was not going to be alright. Everything was twisted.
Richard slowed down his speed and took out a gum from his pocket. He wanted to put his mind on something other than Aiden and Olivia. Melissa turned around to know what had caused the slowdown and shook her head as he chewed the gum.
"Please tell me that's not a gum in your mouth."
He smiled as he answered her, "That's not a gum in my mouth."
"Richard!" she chided.
"Come on, Mel. Give a guy a break." He chuckled as she glared at him.
"Men who chew gums are womanizers and their trousers are never zipped."
"Seriously Mel, your theory baffles me. You seriously need a man."
It was a familiar chant for Richard just to annoy her and she usually responded in a tone that annoyed him. "Just say the word, darling."
But Richard shook his head this time and ignored her, aggravating her further. "We are close, Mel."
It would be better if he was on her good side so he preferred the diversion even though he would love to eat her alive. He never got tired of throwing back words at her. She was just too arrogant for his liking. A woman was not supposed to be that way. To him.
Aiden's gaze was fixed on Olivia's mouth when she asked him to pass his iced tea, when he did, she took a sip. "Delicious." She moaned, closing her eyes and licking her lips.
"If you think the tea is delicious, then you need to have a taste of your own self. It's beyond anything imaginable."
"Thanks, Aiden. I'm flattered but I don't believe you."
He lifted his eyes to meet hers. “I don't mince words. You would love to know the truth? I'll show you later."
"Thanks, but there's no need for that."
"Are you going back to your apartment?"
The sudden change took her aback, but she quickly recovered. "I can't run away from my house no matter what."
"I'm aware of that, Liv. Are you scared of facing him?"
"I sincerely don't know if I want to face him. I was shocked and angry."
"Then move in with me until everything is cleared."
"I can't believe you'd have the nerve to suggest that. It ain't gonna happen, Aiden."
"Because I don't want it to."
Olivia flashed hot, then cold and spat at him through clenched teeth. "Don't insult me, Aiden. You really value that appendage in your pants, don't you?
We poor, frail females tremble at the thought of being deprived of it. Is that what you think?" She laughed scoffingly.
"It's not how you see it, Liv. I don't mean it that way."
Ignoring him, she stood up and moved around to his seat. "I want to have a dance with you."
"Oh. Really?" Aiden was dumbfounded. He thought he wouldn't get that dance because their discussion suddenly went sore.
"I want to beat you at your own game,” she whispered and dragged him to the dance floor. More Than Words by Extreme played from the jukebox and they moved to the song.
Olivia's knees had turned to the consistency of jelly at the heat she saw in his eyes. This was meant to unnerve him so she could get the upper hand but she could not ignore the jolt of electricity zinging along her spine at contact with the warmth of his hands at her back. He drew her closer, and any imaginary gap in between them vanished.
They slowed to a stop as the song ended, drowning in each other's gaze. Then Aiden abruptly pulled her away from the dance floor to a corner close to a restroom. Without pausing, he hungrily devoured her, tongue slick against hers, claiming it masterfully. He could not endure one moment without this. He was on fire. His hands guided her head to angle against her more deeply, and fire shot through his groin, nearly triggering a loud groan from him. His control was slipping away. He wanted her so badly he couldn't afford to stop. Olivia eased him backward, hands gliding along his chest like poetry, fingers working beneath the hem to feel him up, and he couldn’t stand it.
“Liv,” he growled as she nipped at his ear. At the same moment, her fingernails scraped down his abs. White-hot lust zigzagged through him.
He firmed his mouth on hers and tried to slow down the pace. Way down. He needed to be in control. They were in a bar not a room and they had to be conscious of their environment. Cupping her face to his, he tasted her as he would fine wine and she softened under his kiss.
Emboldened now that she was giving in to the fire burning brighter in them, the heat and hunger, he palmed the small of her back and hefted her torso against his, she moaned as she angled her head to suck him in deeper, and he nearly lost his balance when he saw a figure pass by. He gripped her tighter, losing himself in the wave of sensations until he hardly knew which way was up.
They either needed to stop right now or take this behind closed doors. He pulled back reluctantly with a butterfly caress of his mouth against her temple.
Breathing hard, she peered at him under seductively lowered lashes. "How was that?"
Smiling at her, he replied, "It was explosive."
"I need to get a drink, I'm thirsty."
"Need more of me already?"
Laughing she pushed him away. "Arrogant jerk."
"Yet you still love me."
"Kissing passionately doesn't mean love. We are just compatible and hormones are raging because we were once an item."
"Deny it all you want, Liv. The truth always has a bitter taste."
"I really need that drink, if you don't mind."
"This place is really lovely. Will sure be coming often."
"That's only if you have got a date, Mel. So nil are your chances of coming here often."
Melissa glared at the insult directed at her. Richard loved picking on the fact that she always wanted Mr. Right which was why she was still single. "Whatever."
"I'll go get some drinks. Chill.
Olivia came face to face with Richard as she turned to the familiar voice. Dread crept up her being. "What are you doing here, Richard?"
"I should be asking you that. Did Prince Charming bring you here?"
"Stay away from me." As she turned to leave, Richard suddenly griped her arm. "You're coming with me."
"Touch her again and I'll knock your teeth off. Aiden's voice was thunderous, so savage. The look on his face could melt an ice. Olivia could only watch in shock, his face had contorted, taking the shape of a furious animal, he looked ready to tear Richard into pieces.
Richard laughed, his gaze mocking. "I pull the strings here, Aiden. Olivia is going to be my wife."
The battle of wills was fought silently, neither man dropping his gaze nor blinking as they seemed locked in some weird moment of time as violence thrummed in the air.
"Both of you stop this madness now," Olivia snapped as she watched them go for each other's throat. They both stopped abruptly at the sound of her voice but not separating, their gaze on each other. "I said now." She said pulling Aiden's arm. With that they both separated.
"You can deceive yourself tonight that you have her but she will definitely come back to me. She's mine." Turning to Olivia, he shook his head slightly, pleading with his eyes. "I love you, Olivia Bittner and I'm sorry for what happened. Please come back home."
"Get out of here, Richard. I should take your eyes out for laying a finger on her, but I won't hurt you because she asked me not to. Be a smart fellow and leave immediately. Stay away from her. You don't own her in anyway."
"I will soon."
Olivia stood in between them and pushed at Richard. "Go away. Stay away from me."
Richard seethed with disappointment and fury, "He doesn't own you. He abandoned you when you needed him the most."
"I did not abandon her."
"Of course you did, he said roughly. You'd think destroying and smashing her heart to the ground would be enough for you. But if anyone would be selfish enough to try for twice, it will be you son of a bitch."
Aiden's mouth thinned, his jaw tensed, all signs, she recognized, of contained fury. He was on the verge of beating him to a pulp. But he restrained himself. He would not soil his hands because of a spoilt brat who thought he had the world in his palms.
"I'll come back for you, Liv and you will be mine." Laughing, Richard stormed away and was breathing hard by the time he got to join Melissa at the table.
"What took you so long?"
"It's would be better if we don't discuss about it. Get your bag, we are leaving."
"We can't just leave like that, we just came here. What's wrong?"
"We are leaving now. Follow me or stay back because I am leaving now."
She huffed out something he didn’t quite catch, but he wasn’t going to ask her to repeat it. He wasn't in the mood to battle words with her. He was on the verge of strangling anyone at sight and that could be Melissa if she didn't keep her mouth shut.
They got into the car, and Richard slammed shut his door angrily. The tires of his car squealed as he sped away.
"Slow down, Richard. You don't want to get us killed."
When he didn't respond or slow down, Melissa slapped his thighs, startling him for a moment and he almost collided with a car but quickly turned the wheels in time to save them. "Damn it, Richard."
"What the fuck was that, Mel? You could have gotten us killed!"
"If you don't stop this nonsense, I might be forced to slap some senses into your head."
Suddenly drained of energy, Olivia lowered her head and massaged her temples. "I need to go home. I mean my sister's house."
She turned to move and he fell into step with her. Not wanting to trouble her further, he allowed her to choose where she wanted to sleep for the night.
"I'll drive you over there."
"Don't worry, I'll do this on my own."
"Jeez, you're stubborn. He moved around to the car and gave her a gentle push in the direction of the door. "Come on. Get in. I won't risk you getting hurt or into wrong hands."
"No buts. Just get in the car, please"
Too weak to protest further, she opened the door and got in. Aiden was so furious he wanted to punch something. That Richard of a guy had just managed to spoil his night, but he wasn't going to relent. He would win back his love.
The drive back to Silvia's house was worse than a punch to the guts. Olivia was totally silent and moody. By the time they got to their destination, she didn't even say a goodbye. She slam shut the door behind her and walk away without a glance. He so much wanted to go out and plead with her to follow him but he let her go. Tomorrow was gonna be a better day.
"You can get out of my car now."
"Boy, you could teach the would be studs in Hollywood something about ego. I've never met anyone as full of himself as you are."
Looking at her hard and long, he took a deep breath and smirked. "Thank you, Mel. I'm flattered."
"You might really be something if your manhood could ever swell as big as your head."
"Not at all. It is very sad."
Losing his restrained temper, Richard barked out, his voice tight with anger, "Don't tempt me. You wouldn't like the outcome."
"Bullshit," Melissa said emphatically.
"Cut it out, Mel."
"Go to hell, Richard."
Glaring at her with frustration, he swore beneath his breath.
After a moment he said, "I'm there already. Mind joining me?"
Melissa drew a deep breath before firing the last volley. "Rot alone. Goodnight."
She slam shut the door behind her and stormed away.
"Will you please tell me what's wrong?" Silvia asked her sister.
"My ass is fried."
"Whatever does that mean?"
"I'm sitting on the fence, sis."
"Can you be more plain?"
"Don't worry about me, I'll be fine."
Even as she spoke the words aloud, she didn't entirely agree with it. She was far from being fine. Just thinking about the kiss made her shiver, then she turned cold when her thoughts went on to the scene between her, Richard and Aiden.
Dear lord! Tomorrow was gonna be hell.
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