"Why are you doing this to me? To us? Why don't you trust me? Why?"
"Please leave." She insisted on closing her heart to him. It was too painful to look at him. His features mirrored hers, and he looked crushed, but she couldn't buy it. He could be putting up an act for all she knew.
"You're going to ruin us? Just throw everything away as if it meant nothing? Like we meant nothing?"
She flinched at his accusatory tone and tried not to break under the weight of his piercing stare. The pain in his eyes could have melted any other girl's resolve, but not hers. She was buried in quithere was there was no reaching it. Not anytime soon. She didn't give a hoot how he felt, because she was too damn hurt too. She hardened her bruised heart further with the force of steel and met his gaze. He had such beautiful eyes, the color of rich cognac. The kind that makes one long to drown in its richness. And the hurt in them didn't change the impact they had on her. They were so captivating still. Her favorite gems. Why did he have to look so handsome even in distress? She sighed deeply in a futile attempt to quell the pain slashing at her insides. The heaviness sitting like a rock within her chest was making it too hard to breathe. Suddenly she felt ill but must proceed even if it killed her. "Like I already told you, and would tell you now...there's no more us, there wasn't to begin with. Just leave me alone! Move on with your life. And please quit the pretense..." her voice cracked up with unshed tears against her will. "Please stop the pretense, don't act like you just lost the most precious thing in your life."
Elena glided into Lillian's room and blinked rapidly in a futile attempt to adjust to the dimness of the room. Fleetingly, she wondered how someone could be so comfortable in the dark. Lillian couldn't sleep a wink with the light on. She wondered if her dear friend was a vampire or something. She smirked at her lame thought as she proceeded towards the large window and threw the Italian curtains open, eliciting a grouchy groan from a barely awake Lillian. Guess she would have to put in more effort in getting Lillian up and running. It was a good thing it was a weekend, and they had nothing serious to do. Walking past the bed with its sleeping occupant, she entered the washroom and exited with a small cup filled with cold water which she poured on her friend's face with relish. This routine never failed to fill her heart with glee. Getting on her friend's nerves this early in the morning was the height of her day. As expected, that got the desired effect and Lillian was suddenly up and spouting in rage.
"What the hell Lena! Do you have to be so mean this early?"
"Sorry. The early bird catches the worm. Besides, I can't seem to help it." She shrugged and added smoothly. "We have been through this numerous times before, and you and I both know how it ends. You, my dear friend, don't respond to anything but cold water on the face." She laughed softly as she stood well out of Lillian's reach. She knew what that glint in Lillian's eyes meant. Her friend was thinking of a befitting retaliation. She couldn't blame her though, but in her defense, she needed to get her up and running as Ruth was already in the kitchen about to work her magic and would be expecting them downstairs for breakfast soon. Ruth was the mother of the trio.
"You do know I would get you back for this, right?"
"Yeah, I know. But on a serious note, Ruth is already in the kitchen doing her thing, and you know how she gets angry when–"
"Shit! I know. I will be ready soon, promise. Just give me a few minutes to exercise, then shower–"
"I'm afraid you will have to skip your yoga exercise today," She started saying, but Lillian cut her off with a tiny shake of her head.
"It doesn't work that way, Lena. I need to be consistent to be in shape. But don't worry, I won't be late either."
She gaped at her friend in bewilderment as Lillian practically jumped out of bed, took out her yoga mat from the wardrobe, and laid it down in the center of the room to start her yoga routine. She watched raptly as her friend started with somebody stretched, her movements so fluid she couldn't help but admire the sight before her. She also pondered what the hassle was because her friend had a great figure and could afford to slack off for a day. Well, that was an issue for another day. Now, though, she also had to get her butt moving and get ready. Her mission here was done. With a final glance at a friend, she silently slipped out of the room.
She got out of the bathroom fully showered and ready to face the day. It was a good thing Lena had come in to wake her up though her method was a bit drastic and annoying, to say the least. She was glad to be up and could savor the sun's rays drifting through the louvers. She went and stood in front of her window, letting the warmth of the sun seep into her pores. She wished then she could walk into the garden and get the full unrestricted impact. So deep was her longing she felt like a sapling lusting after the sun's rays. Sighing, she forcefully turned away from the window and made her way into her large wardrobe to pick out attire for the day. She selected a flower-printed sun dress that had a fitted bodice, a flared skirt, and a matching wedge shoe to go with it. Steadfastly, she applied light makeup; just some eyeliner and a touch of lip gloss before getting dressed. With a satisfied sigh, she twirled before her full-length mirror and nodded her head in delight. Now she could proceed downstairs to join the girls. The day was going to be exciting...she could feel it...and couldn't wait to unravel its mysteries.
Gliding down the stairs, she made a beeline for the dining room and realized she was just in time for breakfast. Thank goodness.
"There you are. You are just in time for breakfast. Please join us."
"Sure thing." She murmured with a smile. "Wow, this looks delicious, Ruth, and I know it will taste divine. Have you thought of opening your very own breakfast and lunch café? It would be a hit."
"I know. It's in my plans. Please dig in before it gets all soggy and cold."
"Thanks." Both ladies responded in unison before dishing out their meals and waiting for Ruth to do the same. They ate in amicable silence until Ruth broke it.
"So tell me, what's the plan for today? The day seemed so bright and beautiful to spend indoors–"
"Exactly my sentiment, Ruth. I think I will go window shopping today. The mall seems like a good place to start. What do you girls think?"
"I guess it's fine, but how about the beach or poolside? We could have a good swim and bask in the sun too. It would be like killing two birds with a stone. I could even pack us some snacks too."
"That sounds even better. What do you think, Lena?" She looked expectantly at her friend, who seemed preoccupied with her thoughts. "Is everything okay? You seem a bit lost?"
"Don't be silly, I was just thinking about how I won't be able to join you, girls, as I have made other plans with my man."
"Oh wow, that sounds hot," Ruth said around a mouthful of food, her eyes twinkling with laughter. She just smiled at the gentle banter and sighed in relief. For a moment there she had thought something bad was troubling her friend but was glad it was nothing. These girls were her family. The only one she had left. She was an orphan after all. A very wealthy one though. Her loving parents had made sure of that. They had practically built an empire for her, and she would be taking over the reins as soon as she turned twenty-five years old, which was a few months away. For now, she still had time to do all that she loved before she would have to become a business tycoon and take over her parent's empire. It was their legacy, and she would have to protect it, and ensure she didn't run it to the ground. She tried not to think about the weight taking on that grave responsibility would place on her puny shoulders. She would be responsible for the livelihood and welfare of thousands of employees. No biggie there, right? Letting out a shuddering breath, she tuned in to the conversation going on and tried to keep up. "So how are things between you and Daniel?"
"Oh, things are great. He sends his regards."
"Send ours too. Ruth, thank you so much. Breakfast was great and we appreciate your efforts." She said earnestly as she got up to clear the table. "I will do the dishes."
"And I would help. That way it would be quicker, and we could all set off sooner rather than later."
"Okay cool. Thanks."
"Don't mention it."
"I would store the leftovers in the fridge for later, and pack us some snacks while you girls do the dishes." Ruth pitched in to go into the kitchen to get some empty plastic containers for the food. Both girls hummed in response and went about their work in silence. They were done in record time and were out of the house in a rush after grabbing their bags and car keys.
"Catch you later, Lena! Be good." She called out to her hasty friend, who wasted no time getting into her car. "Weird. She seemed in a rush." She mumbled beneath her breath, then turned to her other friend. "Let's just take my car, Ruth. No point using separate cars with similar destinations in mind."
"Would you like to drive?" She asked politely, holding out her keys.
"Nope. It's your car, so you do the driving."
"Alright then, let's go." She said with a huge smile directed at her friend. She couldn't hide her excitement, for she was bursting at the seam with it. She had the epiphany something good was about to crash into her life. It was just a feeling in the gut. Just a feeling. An intense one.
"Yeah, park just right there. Perfect." She enthused and then got out of the car once the ignition was turned off. She glanced at the sea and was glad they had chosen to come to the beach instead of the poolside. Visits to the beach were one of her favorite pastimes. And basking in the rays of the sun rejuvenated her. She needed this like she needed the air to breathe. Lately, she had been feeling suffocated by everything and just needed to unwind. Spending some time alone with one of her best friends at the beach was just the thing to do the trick.
Thankfully, it wasn't crowded though it was a weekend. They could simply enjoy one of the miracles of God uninterrupted and in peace. Grabbing their stuff, they found a quiet, isolated place to lay their blankets and picnic basket. It was a good thing they came prepared. Suddenly, she was hit by a wave of exhaustion. She felt like relaxing. She would just skip swimming and sunbathe instead. She turned to Lillian and blurted softly, "I think I'm going to skip swimming and just sunbathe instead."
"Wow, I was thinking of doing the same too."
"Really. That's nice." She crooned softly with a smile while undressing in her bikini. She watched as Lillian did the same and couldn't help but admire her friend's flawless figure. There's no doubt about it, Lillian was a very beautiful lady. They were all in their own right. Smiling, she sat down and thoroughly applied the sunscreen before lying down with her shades on. She sighed blissfully before slowly nodding off.
She stared longingly at the sea and felt like dipping her feet in the water. Her friend was blissfully taking a catnap, and she didn't want to disturb her. Guess she was exhausted. She, however, was restless inside. She was so restless she couldn't sit still, so she decided to take a stroll along the mouth of the sea where the slow tides could softly caress her feet. There was a whole new world beneath the sea. A world so breathtaking and dangerous, it called on one in diverse ways. One can find solace from gazing at it, adventure from peering into its hidden mysteries, and peril when caution is thrown to the wind. Well, at the moment, she was finding immense solace from gazing at the sheer beauty before her.
"So beautiful." She whispered with reverence lacing through her voice.
"Agreed." A deep voice added from beside her, making her jolt in shock mingled with fright. Turning abruptly towards the intruder, she lashed out at him.
"What the hell! You scared the daylights out of me!"
"I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to do that. I just...well, I just couldn't help myself. The sight was so captivating." His gentle voice calmed the fright that ensnared her and made her anger dissipate. Begrudgingly, she accepted his apology and agreed he was right.
"Yeah sure, the view is captivating, alright. Especially today, the sea looks spectacular."
"I was referring to you."
"What did you say?" She asked with a gasp, whirling to face him again. She took her time in perusing him and admitted he was a fine specimen. He had a great body, judging from the six-packs on display, and all those muscles. He was muscular without being bulky. There's no ounce of fat on him. She could imagine him wrapped around her like a warm blanket on a cold wintry night. Lillian! She silently admonished herself with an imaginary shake of her head.
"I was referring to you, not the sea. You're captivating and a wonderful surprise. I never expected to meet such a lovely creature like yourself here. I guess it's my lucky day."
"Oh wow, that sounds so cheesy. Does that work with other ladies?" She asked with a tiny smile, his compliments leaving a warm trail down her back. She drew in a sharp breath when he threw back his head in laughter at her response. "It's not funny."
"Oh it is, and it's so refreshing. I like that you speak your mind so candidly. That makes you even more precious."
"Hmm, I see. Are you hitting on me right now? Is that what is going on?"
"Am I that obvious?" he responded with a question of his own, making her quirk a brow at him. "Anyway, I'm Patrick. It's truly a pleasure to meet you miss–"
"Lillian. Nice to meet you, Lillian." He repeated softly as if tasting the sound of it on his lips. He held her gaze captive as he brought her hand to his lips for a tender kiss. She was surprised at his boldness, and a bit put off. Though her body seemed to tell a different story entirely. It seemed to have a mind of its own and gravitated towards him.
"Nice to meet you too." She whispered breathlessly, his presence having a strange effect on her senses. The man was like a potent poison. He was barely touching her, and she was feeling all kinds of sizzling tingles down her body. Why was her body so responsive to him? He was a stranger, and she knew nothing about him. Was it his looks? There were hotter guys out there.
As she stood rooted to the spot, pulled in by the flaming heat in his sapphire eyes, she pondered what the attraction was. Everything about him captivated her and pulled at her heartstrings. What was this feeling rushing through her pulse? Was this love at first sight? She drew in a deep breath at the thought. It couldn't be. She couldn't believe it was finally happening to her. She was falling for a total stranger! A very hot six-foot-two inches of delicious manliness.
This was so incredible!
Suddenly there was a fierce rush of excitement pulsing through her veins, drowning out all sounds until there was only him. She couldn't stop the thrill bubbling within her. It was crippling, and she felt like she was about to embark on a mind-boggling, soul-soaring adventure. The kind one never forgets.
Her body was on fire for him. Embers of dangerous desire danced down her belly to pool in her...
Wow. This was too much! Pure overload on her mind. The sensations playing havoc with her body were new to her. Very new. She was a virgin after all. Her V-card is still unused and very intact. One might wonder why she was looking as she did, but she hadn't found the right man, and it hadn't felt right.
"Get your filthy hands off my friend!"
She jerked away from him at the hissing voice of her friend as if bitten. Turning to face her she flinched at the pissed-off look on her face, mostly directed at Patrick. Whoa, someone woke up on the wrong side of the blanket? She sighed as she tried to come to grasp her friend's antagonistic attitude towards Patrick. She wondered why Ruth was acting weird. "Hey chill, he wasn't doing anything to harm me."
"Could have fooled me."
"Okay. Anyway, I'm glad you're awake now. I made a new friend. Patrick meets my bestie, Ruth, Ruth this is Patrick," she enthused, but frowned when Ruth narrowed her eyes into slits at him. What's her deal anyway?
"Nice to meet you." He said with a tiny smile, his hand outstretched to Ruth, who blatantly ignored him. Where were her manners? Seriously, what was her friend's problem?
"We have to go now." She blurted in a tone that brooked no arguments.
Like seriously. She was going to play that card with her. Now she was the one pissed. But before she could make a witty comeback, Patrick stalled her with a shake of his head. She watched transfixed as he closed the gap between them, caught her gaze, and then went to whisper into her ears in a husky, sexy voice.
"See you around beautiful. If our path crosses again, I would call it fate and pursue you. You, my little one, will be mine then." With those searing parting words, he walked away without a backward glance. And she couldn't help but stare after him until he was gone. She felt as if she had lost something priceless.
What if she never saw him again?
And what if he was the one, her fated one, and she had lost him for good...before she could even have him?
Her day was ruined for sure! She turned and glared at her friend with all the rage, boiling through her veins, conveying her displeasure without saying a thing. Bitterly and with jerky steps, she went and gathered her things, ignoring her friend's attempt to talk to her. She couldn't face Ruth right now as her temper was off the charts, and she needed to calm the f*ck down. This outing was over.
Patrick jogged over to his fast car...the only thing left from his previous privileged life, and got in. Sadly, he had lost almost everything he had thrived on in one bad rotten investment. Rehashing the incidents that led to that misfortune never failed to enrage him every time. He had always thought himself to be suave and witty when it came to running a company, but then he had lost everything in the blink of an eye. He should have listened to his instinct then, instead of his friends, he wouldn't be penniless otherwise. Most importantly, he wouldn't have to pursue a spoiled, clueless heiress just to get a cut of her cake. And he wouldn't have to pretend to be cool after being insulted by a sullen mama hen of a friend. Gad! He felt like strangling that lady back there. If she thought for one second she was going to ruin his plans, then she had better think again. He was too desperate to allow anyone to ruin his plans for the little heiress. Not even his fiancé had the power to stop him. After all, he was doing this for them both. He was trying to right a wrong, correct a mistake while saving them from the slums that loomed ahead.
He had a great plan too. It was a foolproof plan to seduce the little princess and get her to fall hard for his handsome self. She would become so dependent on him that she wouldn't be able to exist without him. The goal was to make her putty and pliable in his gifted hands. He would gain complete access to her immense fortune. Well, stealing it sounded better. By the time he was done with her, she would not only be penniless but ruined. He would ruin her.
She had no idea what was coming to her.
Now one might ask why her? What's special about her? Well, nothing. She just happened to be the first interesting face that popped up in his search for wealthy heiresses online. There was no personal vendetta involved. She could just thank fate for her rotten luck. Her luck seemed to have deserted her as she was delivered on a silver platter to him. He hadn't orchestrated their first meeting. It was a pleasant surprise and was a coincidence. Truth was, he had come to the beach to clear his head and think up a plan. He had needed a smooth, flawless one that would plant him in her life. But as fate would have it, it had given him a boost by paving a path for him. Now he had an opening, he would capitalize on full force. No room for mistakes. The stage was set now, and it was time for him to play. Their next meeting was going to be orchestrated by him. He knew just what to do, where to start, and how to play. It was game on.
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