A/N: I know I'm a little bit too late but this chapter is brought to you by:
Yaya and Yaya
Warning: The chapter is not for the people with weak heart.
Chapter 14 - I Guess I Kinda Like The Way You Numbed All The Pain
*Three Days Later...
"How are you Mon cheri
Astraea slowly bent down to brush off the stray flowers off her baby's tomb plate before placing the flower vase that she personally arranged on top.
"I hope you're happy out there", she whispered on the wind with a small sad smile on her face, thinking that at least, her baby must be in a happy place right now for she do not want to imagine having her baby involved in her misery.
Clearing her throat when she felt the beginning of tears, she had to force a laugh out. Her baby might be sad if he saw her crying from up above so she tried to cheer herself up saying, "Look, I brought you flowers"
It was, of course, like those roses Theo used to gave her every morning... Not really the same but probably the closest thing she could do to bring in the presence of her baby's father, even if he didnt knew the existence of their little angel.
She's getting emotional again!
Tapping her cheeks, she tried to stop those rebellious tears that just keep from falling.
Didnt she promised herself she'd already move past this stage?
But then again, she guessed that it is part of the process of healing. Facing her deepest pain so she could finally accept and gain back the self -respect she lost so long ago.
For years, she had been blaming herself for what happened to everything... Theo driving her away, her parents being angry with her actions and then her baby, her poor baby who didnt even had the chance to see the world! All of those weight she carried alone on her shoulders... having to live hating herself a little bit more each day.
Astraea nearly got mad then but her family never gave up on her. Since then, she focused all her energy to make up for what she did, taking her part in the company and start on obeying her parents, doing all the chores just like how they wanted right from the very beginning.
"I'm sorry If I havent been around here that much...", she said softly. Closing her eyes and burying her head on her arms above the nameplate as she finally let out the tears, "Please forgive mommy for being weak. Don't worry, from now on mommy promise to visit you more often okay?", she vowed to herself.
Because in her pursuit on hiding and escaping from the pain, she never really got to visit her baby's grave after that first time.
Busying herself and keeping on giving herself excuses, she deluded herself into thinking that it isnt real if she didnt see...
It helps, she guessed, to numb her pain but then, nothing was ever the same and she never really felt truly happy again.
Maybe it was the reason why she was so eager and pathetic on making it up with Theo?
Thinking that If he could somehow accept her again, then she could also finally start on forgiving herself.
But seeing Theo again only just made her realize they were both too broken... that even if their love is true, it wouldn't be enough to heal or to forgive and forget.
She thought that giving closure to their past is what they really needed.
Sometimes, in order to save oneself, you have to let go of the things that you love because holding still will only cause more pain and destroy what was left...
"Handle it first okay?", Astraea sighed and roll her eyes at hearing the almost hysterical voice of her secretary on the other end of the line as she pulled over the parking lot on one of their wellness resort, "Don't worry I'll go there straight after this"
Its not like she can really blame her secretary for she is actually being bombarded with work right now because her brother had put her in charge for the mean time, saying that he's got a lead on the man who stole the money from the company.
"Good Day Mam", the crew saw her at once, smiling and directing her towards the meeting place, "This way please. They are already waiting for you"
Astraea almost raised her eyebrows at the word. Wasn't she just meeting her father today for lunch?
She didnt know why but her steps slow down, suddenly feeling nervous but it seems like she didnt have to overthink any further though for at the end of the hallway, there stood her brother talking to someone on the phone.
It is just her brother who's probably gonna say goodbye to their father.
Astraea closed her eyes for a moment, feeling ridiculous. Why in the world did she even think of him going after her?
But its a good thing that he didnt cause she isnt even sure what she'd do if he did-
"Hello there babe", someone suddenly whispered on her ear before she felt strong arms enveloped her in a back hug. She didnt have to look behind to know just who that someone is cause that cold voice, sending her shivers was enough give away.
Fils de pute!
(Son of a b*tch)
She guessed she shouldnt have spoken too soon... cause just when she thought she's already got him off her track, he's back here haunting her again! And for what? Isnt he done with his revenge yet?
"Hey!", Astraea struggled to get away from his tight grasp. Damn him. She just wish her brother wont turn around and see them at this position cause that would just mean trouble, "Seriously... get off me!"
Her words must have caught him by surprise though for she was able to push him away from her.
For a moment, silence filled the air as they stare at each other. His cold eyes looking at her with something she couldnt point out...
"Didnt you miss me?", he spoke slowly with a hint of hurt in his voice that if she didnt knew better, she would probably believe his words and fell in his trap again.
Before she could answer though, her brother suddenly appeared beside them and asked, "What is going on here?"
"Nothing", she answered at once, feigning ignorance before she made a move to push Theo away, "He's just leaving..."
To her surprise, Theo shook his head saying, "No, I'm not" before he took hold of her hand that was pushing him away amidst her protest and greeted, "Hello... brother", with Marco nodding his head in return.
Astraea stare at the exchange with wide eyes, her brows furrowing in confusion.
She knew they probably knew each other because it was her brother who got Theo as an investor and she understand that, but since when did they became close?
"If you two are done with whatever you're doing", Marco began speaking with a sigh, his gaze turning towards her hand that was now tightly clasped within Theo's larger one, "Can we now go inside?"
Without waiting for answer, her brother already opened the door and stepped inside.
Dont tell her he is also included on this?
Just as she feared, Theo happily move forward saying, "Im gonna go meet your father."
C’est pas vrai
The spark in his eyes was enough to raise warning bells in her head that before he could follow her brother inside, she tugged hard on his hand and pulled him along the empty hallway into the nearby fire exit.
"Whoa I knew it!", she heard Theo chuckled behind her just as she closed the door, ready to retort but her words were caught upon turning around only to find herself trapped in his arms.
"You really missed me huh?", he whispered, his finger tracing the side of her face. She instantly turned away tapping the offending hand instead, "What are you doing here?"
"You're here so... I am too"
"Cut the crap", Astraea felt her blood turn cold at his response before she closed her eyes and took a deep breath to calm herself.
When will he stop this?
Staring at his eyes, willing him to answer honestly even just this once for she wants the truth to come out from his mouth... she asked softly, "Why are you really here?"
Theo though seems not to take her question seriously for he only chuckled again saying, "Is this how you greet me after what happened-"
So he's not gonna say anything huh?
Astraea bit her lip to stop herself from blurting out what she knew and began moving away instead.
What's the point of staying when their conversation is proving to be just nonsense. Before she could make her escape though, she felt herself pinned again on the door.
"Dont you think I should be the one asking you...", she isnt prepared for the intensity in his eyes with all traces of laughter gone, "What. Are. YOU. Doing. Here?", he asked her, spatting each words as if it was foul words with gritted teeth, trying to control his anger, "Why did you leave me?"
Astraea could only stare at him sadly, thinking how did it all still come to this?
Didnt she already said her goodbye?
"I-I thought I made it clear-"
Theo's eyes flashes in anger and brought a crumpled paper from his pocket, "You mean this?"
"I just realized that no matter how hard we tried, we can never go back to the way we used to be so-"
"Bullshit!", Theo cut her off, punching the door behind her hard that her eyes widen in surprise at seeing blood, "After you said and made me feel your love that night, you're gonna go ahead and leave? What the f*ck Selene?!"
"Y-you're bleeding", she couldnt help stuttering, still in shock at what just happened.
Astraea tried to reach a hand out but Theo only brushed off her touch saying, "It's nothing... Im already numb to the pain anyway"
The shock of what happened had her defenses down for a second that she isnt prepared for his hurtful words.
"Why do you care anyway?", he asked her with his eyes full of accusation, "Its not like I meant anything to you... even that night must be just a goodbye sex huh?"
His response felt like a wake up call, a slap from reality. Didnt she promised herself shes done taking the fall for everything?
Clearing her throat, she pushed him away lightly saying, "You should go home"
But her words must have triggered something in him for his eyes turned cold again before he took hold of her hands and began assaulting her with his kisses.
"Get off me!" Try as she might on pushing him away, he just wont budge that she couldnt stop the tears that fell from her eyes, her voice trembling, she managed to ask, "Arent you done yet?"
He must be wondering what she's talking about for her question managed to stop him briefly.
Thinking that she's got nothing to lose anyway, she gathered all her courage and finally asked him the dreaded question, "Arent you done with your revenge?"
Upon saying those words, he instantly stopped and turn to look at her in complete surprise.
"I knew it alright", she started, clearing her throat and hoping that her voice won't broke as the stupid tears kept on falling, "I knew that you're just doing all of this just to get back on me... because after all this time, you still havent forgiven me."
Theo turned pale, having no words to defend himself. Dropping his hands away from her as if she had burnt him.
"But Theo Ive already said and done everything. Heck- I think I've even asked for forgiveness to last me a lifetime! And if its still not enough for you... then Im sorry but I dont think I can destroy myself anymore just to make you feel whole again."
The look on his eyes was enough to let her know that she hit the right spot for he isnt denying anything.
And it should be a good thing right? That he's not trying to make up lame excuses but damn! Her heart hurts knowing now that what she discovered is the truth.
The silence that filled the small room was too much for her, Astraea just had to leave...
As it turn out, she wasnt the only one who was quite shaken with what happened for her brother told her that Theo texted him saying he's not feeling well.
"I was really hoping he'll be here, there must be a real emergency", her father stated with pity, Astraea wondered how come her father seemed to put Theo with high regard for he wasnt the one who would be easily impressed by just anyone.
Like this man.
Axel is the son of one of the board of directors and he has been working on the company for years already. Yet for some reasons, her father still didnt seemed to warm up with him. Her brother told her it was something to do with respect saying Axel just got his position because of his father.
"Marco", he nodded at her brother before winking at her, "Selene"
"It's Astraea", for you. She automatically replied, stopping herself from rolling her eyes at the guys attitude.
Well she couldnt really blame her father though for not liking him cause she too do not like guys with pompous nature.
"Can we help you?", she had to ask out of courtesy when her brother and father seemed to master the art of silence.
"Erm- I was just on my way to lunch alone...", the guy started speaking and it became painfully obvious at what he is hinting at for his hand touched the empty chair beside her.
She met her brothers reluctant eyes confirming her thoughts.
Maybe... she shouldn't have asked?
Before the situation escalate any further, someone suddenly slid in the empty chair saying, "Excuse me for being late I just had an emergency earlier"
"Hey!", Axel started to protest but his voice was drowned by her father's loud booming voice.
"Theodore!", Astraea could only stare in disbelief at the scene as her father greeted him enthusiastically, "My boy! I thought you won't be able to come today?"
"Sorry", Theo smiled sheepishly at her father and brother, "But dont worry Mr. Leblanc, everything's already settled."
"Just as I expect from my future son in law..."
Astraea didnt know if she's just imagining it but she thought she felt deaf and only the words future son in law registered on her mind. The next thing she knew, she already choked on her food and Theo was giving her water while rubbing her back.
"Err- Is there something you need?", she heard him asked someone.
"N-no", Axel replied in a rather high voice, "I'll just go ahead"
But the other guys embarassment was the least thing she cared about right now for her fathers words still rang on her mind.
"Dad! Did you just say son in law?", she asked, her voice rising a notch knowing just what her father means. How can she not when she is the only daughter in the family?
Except of course if there is some other she should know about or if her brother sway on the other direction but that is obviously not the case here.
Speaking of, she turn her eyes towards her brothers direction thinking he'll back her up cause he should know something's up.
Merlin, he is there with her when Theo left her broken! But her traitor of a brother wont even meet her eyes.
"Yes. He's the one", her father told her proudly like he just announced that she won the lottery, "Whats the matter? I thought you said you wanted to meet your fiance so I arrange this"
She may have agreed to her father's proposition of arrange marriage just to please her family, so they wouldnt have to constantly worry about her anymore but that was before she knew it would be him!
"But he's...", her voice trail off upon seeing the smirk on Theo's face, his hands still caressing her back even if she already stopped choking a few minutes ago.
"You should know by now that you cant escape from me", moving closer to brush the stray hair off her face, he whispered on her ears before he sat back properly again as if nothing happened.
"The investor you met at Bangkok? I know that'd be great idea", her father just continue speaking merrily, not noticing the tension that rises up, "Marco and I thought it'd be better if you two get to know each other first beforehand"
And as if that wasnt the end of her bad luck, one of the kid that was running around suddenly bump on Theo who was refilling the water on her glass and thus, the cold water spilled on her clothes.
She couldnt believe her luck.
"Sorry I-", Theo at once made a move to wipe her clothes, seemingly not noticing the delicate area.
"No!", Good thing she is alert, holding his hand that was about to land on her chest, "I-It's okay. Excuse me"
Before anyone could stop her, she already grabbed her purse and dash towards the nearest comfort room.
But after looking at the state of mess that she is in the mirror, she thought she could use this opportunity to escape. Her father would understand, probably... but damn. She 's still totally confused at what's happening, she think she needed to breath.
She could do that. Merlin, there's a huge amount of work waiting for her in the office and she cant fall apart now.
"Where do you think you're going?"
Astraea hadnt even reached far in her plans though for Theo suddenly showed up right in front of her, blocking her path.
"What the heck Theo?", she asked in frustration, "Look if this is another one of your plans then I dont have any intention on playing with you anymore!"
Damn him. Why cant he just let her go?
She tried to walk past him but he grabbed her arm.
"I'm sorry", he spoke slowly, staring at her in the eye after grabbing her wrist, "But Ive decided not to let you go"
(What a bastard)", she whispered furiously, glaring at him as she remove his offending hand, "Cant you just please leave me alone!"
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If she is determined to run away from him, he too seemed to be adamant on not letting her go for he now took hold of her waist, holding her close, whispering, "I cant"
"Have you lost your mind?", she exclaimed exasperatedly, staring at the blank and empty look on his eyes right now that scared her more than his cold angry ones ever did.
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"Maybe? I dont even understand myself...", shrugging, she saw him broke into a small smile after her remark before he pressed his forehead on hers and said, "-all I know is that I cant let go of you. So until I figure it out, just stay right here, beside me. Okay?"
Astraea is honestly left with no words.
He really has outdone himself this time...
Well played huh?
Because once again, she made herself fall into a trap that she cant escape. It's not like she can say that she was just being forced on the arrange marriage this time for she did agreed voluntarily. Damn it.
Why does it always come down to this?
The loud sharp voice from the other line almost made her drop the phone she's holding in surprise the minute she answered.
"Where are you? The mad twin is here spouting nonsense!"
Just as she escape from one problem, here comes another.
Yes, she had successfully got away from Theo, finding an opening when he got up to answer a call, she immediately leaped at the chance and hurriedly flee away from the scene after saying her goodbye.
"I'm on my way", she could only murmur, bowing down her head on the steering wheel and resisting the urge to bang her head on it repeatedly before pressing the button to open the top of her car instead. Maybe she just needed to breath fresh air, literally.
"Thank goodness be-"
Astraea never got to hear her secretary's words though for the sudden opening of the door on her passenger's seat caught her attention and she raised her head to look at the intruder only to find Theo sitting beside her comfortably.
"Red convertible huh? I like it", he smiled admiringly at the interior of her car before he made a move to place his duffel bag on the back seat. All this and she could only stare at him with her eyes wide in surprise.
To her astonishment, he didnt stop there and suddenly leant towards her. Astraea thank god for her fast reflex that she was able to dodge his advances.
But maybe she was just being assuming cause Theo only let out a small chuckle after noticing her reaction as he put on her seat belt instead saying, "Safety first"
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Or maybe not.
Turning her face away from him to hide her embarrassment, she was totally caught off guard at his sudden kiss on her cheek, she could only stare at him accusingly while he smiled at her that increasingly annoying dimpled smile she couldnt resist, she swore that he must have known how adorable she finds him with it.
"You do know that you cant get away from me right?", he whispered on her ear before he finally return to his seat as if nothing had happened and he didnt just cause her heart to race.
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"So where to go now babe?", he asked her nonchalantly, wearing the sunglasses he found on her dashboard.
Clearing her throat, Astraea managed to whisper, "Get out"
Theo doesnt seem to realize how close she is to bursting out for he only smiled cheekily and said, "No can do"
"For goodness sake Theo!", she exclaimed, leaning to his side to try and push him away.
Damn. She knew she might look like a child having a tantrum right now but her anger only increase at seeing the smile on his face, knowing that he isnt taking her seriously.
"Have a heart babe", he told her as he grab her hand to stop her assault, "I dont speak french and I dont really knew anyone here aside from you and your father and - Who knows where I'd end -"
"That is your problem-"
"Did you forget that your father told you to take care of me while Im here?"
Astraea gritted her teeth, knowing that he hit a spot but no, he couldnt use her family against her, she mumbled instead, "Why dont you stay with my father if you're so close with him"
His tight hold on her hand suddenly loosen, whispering, "That is..."
Astraea backtracked knowing she is in trouble seeing that glint in his eyes.
"-Actually a very good idea!", he told her with a smirk, "I'll be sure to tell him how close WE are. Especially that night? Im sure in his happiness, our engagement will be push earli-"
"You wont dare!", the situation were tilted instantly as she now took hold of his hand to stop him from leaving.
Just wow Astraea Selene, she couldnt help scolding herself. Now you're even giving him ideas!
The sudden ringing of her phone caught them both by surprise and she had to bit back a curse at seeing that it was again her secretary. Damn. She forgot she had somewhere to be right now!
"Look. Im really busy right now and I dont have the time nor the energy to play games with you so please. Can you just please leave me alone?", she tried a different technique, almost close to pleading but she is a fool for even thinking it'd work.
Goodness, why does it feels like she is talking to a small child here?
"Are you for real?"
Astraea closed her eyes at the blank stare that he gave her and took a deep breath instead, hoping to channel all of her hidden patience for she didnt know how long she could try to deal with him... without doing any real damage on him physically.
Shaking her head, Astraea started the car mumbling, "Suit yourself" before she let go of the brakes and began driving at a high speed.
A few minutes later, she pulled over the parking lot of their company. Turning the mirror to check if her appearance is okay before reapplying her lipstick.
"What?", she asked, raising an eyebrow at him after seeing his gaze, wondering what's the matter with him now for she's not used to his silence only to notice how handsome he looked even at his disheveled state.
Astraea had to turn away while scolding herself internally at her train of her traitorous thoughts.
"Is it weird that I'm so turn on right now?", His words had her glaring at him again and he must have felt her annoyance for he added defensively, "What? You are being too sexy"
Shaking her head, she just chose to ignore his remark as she goes down her car. Better to start making her day productive eh?
"You do know that right? hey- wait for me"
Astraea only roll her eyes, wondering just how far is he willing to take this? Does he have nothing to do or he is just bored in his life that he decided to pester hers?
Good Lord. She forgot the mad twin is here a.k.a. Alexis who is the twin sister of Axel.
Her annoying shrill voice that rang through the air the minute Astraea stepped inside the building was enough to make her cringe, she couldnt help scratching the tip of her nose subtly in her irritation, "You finally decided to grace us with your presence huh?"
She therefore conclude that Axel must have babbled the news already for his sister immediately turned her head to look behind her, straight towards Theo's direction.
"My my, is he the one?", Astraea almost pitied Theo for being subjected under the other's examination, looking mightily uncomfortable.
But really, Astraea shouldnt be bothered at the scene in front of her, yet she decided to humor her, crossing her arms instead while watching their display rather boredly.
"Hey!", Theo protested after the girl pulled on his coat to make him step closer. If she didnt know any better, Alexis must be sniffing him.
Theo on the other hand seems like he had no idea what's happening, raising his arms as if he was being inspected, he said, "No touching please I already have an owner"
Astraea sighed, thinking that she must have already wasted a few precious minutes here in their nonsense, she said, "He's yours if you want", while walking past them as she make her way towards her office where she is really needed.
"What? No!", Theo protested at once, disbelief laced on his voice, "You dont mean that Selene!"
Yet she didnt even turn around and only waved her hand in goodbye.
"Its probably due to the name calling, my brother always called her that just to get her attention, knowing she hates being called that-"
So thats explain why the other twin seemed to always forget her preferred name. Turning around after she entered the elevator, she made the mistake to look and stare at his eyes that is now filled with... sadness?
"Wait- I know you. You're one of the most eligible bachelor I read once on a magazine!" the girl continues to babble nonsense, Astraea bit her lip seeing that Theo is starting to get agitated with every passing second. She tried not to care cause wouldnt it be better for her if he caused a scene here? Maybe then her father might change his mind about Theo... Yet she didnt know why, but her feet automatically started on walking towards their direction to prevent his outburst.
"Well of course, President Leblanc would only want the best for her only daughter knowing that the world would end and she would probably still stay single. Who would want her anyway? She's just pretty but she has no personality, always just following around what her parents told -"
Merlin, that girl should really stop talking if she knew what's good for her. Astraea fisted her hand at the insults but that is not what she's worried about, she was already broken too much that those petty words from unimportant people were already nothing to her and she could care less.
No. It was actually the man with his jaw clenched, his ears burning red, she was afraid she wouldnt reach him in time as she try to stride faster, she was just about to grab his hand to pull him away somewhere when he suddenly spoke.
"But I am the one who chose Selene", he said with so much conviction that the people went silent and turn to stare at him before their gaze went to hers slowly like they were watching a drama, "This is the last time you'll speak crap against her you hear me? You do not know anything so dont you dare-"
Theo must have been really in his own world for he didnt notice anything was amiss, Alexis was even staring at her unsurely as the tension rises.
Astraea sighed before she finally decided to step in and took hold of his hand to try and calm him down while she rubbed his arm with the other. For a second, Theo looked like he was about to lash at her too but he caught himself upon realizing that it was her.
"Lets go Theo", she said. His eyes was instantly filled with relief as he intertwined their hands together while nodding his head.
"See you around Theo"
Astraea immediately closed her eyes at the words that came out from the other girl's mouth knowing what was coming next.
She just never really learn huh?
How hard is it to shut up for a few minutes anyway?
Well at least she tried...
"It's Levant", She couldnt stop him from turning around and glaring at Alexis who instantly turned quite pale, "Selene is the only one who could call me Theo, the same as I am the only one who can call her Selene. Get it? Or do I have to spell it out for you?"
Tugging on his hand, Astraea whispered on his ears, "Dont mind her", pulling him away before he could do any real damage to Alexis for the said girl already seemed to lose the power of speech.
"What?", she asked, seeing the smile on his face the minute the door on the private lift closed.
"Nothing", Theo shook his head and tried to school his feature but his dimples gave him away. Astraea followed his gaze and saw him looking at the reflection of their intertwined hands.
She immediately began to pull away without success for he only hold on tighter saying, "I told you. You can not get away from me Selene"
Seeing the level nearing their floor, Astraea stepped down hard on his shoe instantly making him double down in pain just as she exit the elevator with a smirk saying, "Not if I could help it"
Her secretary must have been waiting for her cause he was already walking by her side the second she stepped on their floor, saying, "Good Day boss!"
Astraea only grunt her response for she is seriously starting to get pissed off by that extra cheerful greeting especially when her day is turning to be anything but that in every second.
"Selene wait for me", speaking of annoying.
She was about to give Theo a piece of her mind but the scream that followed his appearance was enough to drown down her words.
"OMG! Who is that handsome human being?", her secretary asked looking like he was close to hyperventilating, he almost pushed her aside in his pursuit to reach Theo, "Wait- are you even human? Look at that face and damn hot body-"
"Samuel!", she called off her secretary at once, shocked at his vulgar words.
"Ms. Astraea!", her secretary whined, "I told you many times before not to call me that. Its Sam you know"
"Did I hear handsome?"
As if Sam was not enough, her friend who was the head of another department, which also happened to be a queer came to their small group and suddenly gasped at seeing Theo, before he cleared his throat and used his feminine voice saying, "Oh hello there. Ms. Astraea, why did you not warn us you'll be coming with this pretty boy, we didnt even have time to prep ourselves"
"Erm- Hi?", Theo greeted rather awkwardly behind her, scratching the back of his head as he stood behind her.
"You two!", she started, about to reprimand the duo but upon seeing the hopeful look in Theo's eyes, an idea entered her mind and she changed the course of her words and pushed him instead towards the other two, "Take care of him while I go prepare for the meeting okay?"
"Sure thing!", the duo answered her excitedly before they exchanged high five.
"B-but Selene!", Theo tried to protest but she already made up her mind.
"Its okay Theo", tapping his shoulders, she began walking towards her office with a renewed joy in her steps, "Have fun!"
"So what was the progress of that project I gave you..."
Astraea's brows furrow at hearing the noise from the other side of the room. Her attention on the meeting slowly trailed off as she slowly pushed her chair backwards a little so she could see past the barricade where her office is connected.
Her eyes immediately widen at seeing Theo sitting on her swivel chair and playing with her stress ball.
He must have somehow sense her looking for he turn to her and even waved.
How in the world did he escape the duo's clutches?
Astraea could only sigh deeply and remind herself to keep calm instead.
A few hours of exchanging ideas and their team was already slowing down when someone suddenly knocked on the door and in entered a delivery guy on one of the famous restaurant in the country, holding several bags and placing it at the table in the back.
Her staff was already starting to rejoice when she burst their bubble and said, "Maybe you're mistaken, I didnt order any-"
Her words were cut off however by Theo who was smiling sheepishly at her, saying, "Dont get angry but I thought you guys must be hungry working for hours already?"
Silence filled the room as the people look at her and Theo back and forth, awaiting her decision but its not like she had any choice though. Looking around, she saw the tired faces of her staff that she had to agree to take the needed break first.
"You dont have to-", Astraea began speaking as Theo took the opportunity to sit beside her, bringing along different bags with him.
"But I want to", he replied and she thought she heard a squeal from somewhere but she looked up only to find everyone who stayed in the room busy eating that she just shrugged, thinking she must be tired and imagining things.
Turning around to face him again, she couldnt suppress the gasp that escape from her at the amount of food he was placing in front of her, saying, "You do not seriously expect me to finish all that?"
"Err- I might have gone along some of the recommended restaurant around to try their food cause I'm not familiar with the names and Im not sure you'd like it", he tried to explain and played things cool even though it is no use for she knew just how far some of the other chains are from their company that she felt something warm envelope her insides.
Before she knew it, she was already talking to him comfortably just like the old times, she had forgotten everything else for a moment, "You know what? Maybe one day we could go around and I could show you some of the best spots here. I'm sure you'll like it, knowing how much you used to go raving around good food"
"I-I'd love that", he told her with his eyes shining bright in delight that Astraea's breath hitched, her heart began to race again until their small moment were interrupted by another squeal. She couldnt be imagining things twice in a row!
Looking up, she was taken aback upon finding almost all the other staff staring at them in shock and awe that she instantly glare at them making them all back down, busying themselves with other trivial things instead.
She got carried away again.
The meeting for those who chose to stay and take the overtime ended close to midnight as it gone on longer than they anticipated. She was honestly tired and knackered, sorely missing her bed that she just want to lay down and sleep at the sofa in her office but it seems like someone had beat her to it for there lay Theo, already sound asleep.
The laptop that he borrowed was open in front of him and she saw him reading some mails from his company.
For a moment, she almost felt sorry knowing how busy he must be but then again, she remembered that she didnt force him to do any of this. In fact, wasnt he just doing all of this because he wanted to get even with her in the first place?
Except that it backfired and she already knew what he's up to... Yet for some unknown reasons, he still chose to stay beside her until he 'figured it out' Whatever that means...
The thought of his previous plans was enough to harden her heart once again.
She stood up at once after turning the laptop off and began on walking away without looking back.
Seizing the chance to finally have him off her back.
Astraea was already a few blocks away when something on the back seat caught her eyes upon reaching another stoplight. She turn around to stare at Theo's duffel bag that lay there seemingly innocent yet causing her inner turmoil, she swore she never felt so uncertain with her decisions in her life.
But after being caught in a series of red light, she thought that maybe the heavens above were sending her message, or maybe it was just her conscience for she finally turn around and came back for him.
"Hey", he whispered at her quite groggily before he stood up and stretched his arms, "You're already done?"
Astraea could only nod her head quietly, still feeling guilty for leaving him alone.
Theo must have guessed that she's not in the mood for their usual banter cause he stayed uncharacteristically quiet.
Well, at least until they reached the parking lot cause he grabbed her hand when she was about to enter the driver's seat saying, "Do you want me to drive? You might be dizzy from all the stuff-"
"Dont be absurd you dont have a license-", she didnt finish the thought though for he brought out his wallet with a universal license. Astraea thought he almost had her there that she blurted, "You dont know the road networks here"
But even that, he also seemed to have an answer, showing her his phone with her address already input on his gps. She could only shake her head at his 'preparedness'.
"Your dad gave it to me. So, lets go home?"
She really could say nothing to how supportive her dad is. If only he knew that he was the same man whom he despised years ago when she couldnt present the father of her baby...
Wait- did he just said? Astraea's brows furrow, her mind backtracked as his earlier words just sinks in on her..
"Who told you I'll let you stay in my house?", she asked, closing the door of her car and leaning behind it as she crosses her arms on her chest while staring at him down.
"Erm- I'm... not?", he scratch his head, seemingly surprised.
He seriously thought she'd let that happen?!
"Of course not!", she answered rather vehemently, rolling her eyes as she made a move to open the door once again, thinking that their conversation is already over saying, "I'll just drop you off to one of my family's hotel-
"Come on selene", Theo seemed to be not on the same page though for he quickly closes the door again and tried to reason, "What is the point? Its not like we havent already lived in together..."
His words slowly trailed off though upon noticing her glare that he quickly changed his direction saying instead, "Right. Just- let me at least drive first until we reach the hotel?"
"You really wont say no huh?", Astraea could only sigh at how persistent he is, she thought she might as well just give in for she is only tiring herself, "Fine then"
Abruptly throwing her keys on his hands, she made a move to take a seat not on the passengers seat but on the rear one thinking sarcastically that if he wanted so bad to be her driver then she'll give it to him, she'd even pretend she's in an uber, sitting quietly and keeping herself preoccupied with her phone.
Only seconds later, she was already asleep and she even used his duffel bag as her pillow.
"Wake up Selene", she felt a familiar gentle caress on her cheeks waking her up from her slumber and the first thing she saw was Theo's face peering at her closely as he perched his head comfortably on top of the rear door nearest her, she almost screamed in shock.
"What the f*ck Theo!", she exclaimed looking at their surroundings, "Why are we already at my house? I cant believe I trusted you."
Before he knew what was happening, she already pushed open the door where he was standing and made a move to go down her car, taking his bag with her as she began on hitting him everywhere she could reach with it.
"Ouch. Aw- Hey!", Theo tried to stop her by hugging his bag, saying, "I did try to wake you up earlier though, here"
Astraea was almost taken aback by the phone that was suddenly thrust in front of her, she had to take a step back to take a look properly and what she found made her want to face palm and hit him again everywhere for he was showing her the selfies he took with her while she was sleeping, her car parked at the drop off of the hotel with even one of the pics has their bellboy posing with the peace symbol on the camera.
Damn. She could only glare at him and his wayward ways.
How the heck does he always find ways?
To her surprise, Theo suddenly said, "Dont worry. Im just... making sure you go in safely and I'm gonna go get a cab or uber, whatever, to take me back to the hotel", placing his duffel bag on top of the rear end of her car, he began rummaging for his gloves and continued speaking, "Let me just wear this and Im good to go."
Her conscience made its presence known again, feeling the cold breeze of the night but she tried to just shrug it off, telling herself that it was him who volunteered and it's not like she is kicking him off of her house at this time of the night, and with this cold weather.
Clearing her throat, she said instead, "Okay... Thanks for the ride I guess?"
"Anything for you"
If he thought his answer would add to her guilt, then he isnt wrong for she almost invite him inside then and there if not for the tiny stubborn part of her that do not want to let him know just how much she really wanted him for the fear of being taken for granted again.
Strengthening her resolve, she entered her small house and continued straight towards her room on the second floor to try and keep her mind off things.
But try as she might, she couldnt help worrying and checking on him every few minutes on her window when she hadnt heard any sign of other car stopping at her street.
Cursing her weakness, she finally grabbed her phone and pressed the number one fast dial remembering how he told her quite proudly earlier that he changed her speed dial into his so she could call him easily whenever or wherever.
Well then... there is no time but the present to test it out.
And as if he heard her thoughts, she didnt even wait for a few rings when he already answered, albeit with a freezing voice.
"Hello Selene?", he said, she could see him stand up from his crouch on the pavement before he turned to stare at her house, within few seconds, his eyes already caught hers, "Is there anything you need?"
When she didnt answer, he just cleared his throat before he continued speaking saying, "Did I disturb you? Sorry the cab says he'll be here in a few more minutes. Dont worry. I-I'll walk to the other end of the street if Im disrupting your sleep"
Astraea couldnt believe it, he was actually really considering on walking further down ahead as he already grabbed his duffel bag that she finally let her conscience won and whisper the words she hoped she wouldn't regret, "Get in"
A few moment of silence passed as Theo only stared at his phone before his gaze turned to her, she honestly thought he hadnt heard her.
Well, lucky her then for she doesnt have any intention on repeating the words but it seems like he had indeed heard her for his eyes slowly lit up, nodding his head, he said with a little stutter, "I- I'll be there in a sec", His delight couldnt be hidden even if he wanted to.
Opening the front door for him, she ignored the smile off his face and directed him instead on her spacious living area.
"Lets make it clear. I'll only let you stay here just for tonight." she started speaking before giving him a cup of hot chocolate knowing that his insides must be freezing right now.
"Yes mam.", he answered her like a good boy, she wonders if she should be worried but she just shrugged it off and continue giving him the briefing instead.
"And as you can see, my house is just small so I cant lend you a room to stay and the second floor is off limits so... this is the best I can offer"
Admittedly, her house might not exactly look like it was that small because of its loft style but that is just what she like for she felt like she could breath freely at the spacious design. The second floor of her house only contained her bedroom and comfort room as the rest is open to below.
Tapping her sofa, she shrugged and gave him an option to leave, "If its not up to your standards you can find your way out"
"No!", he answered rather vehemently, shaking his head, "The sofa is fine. Its great!"
"So... you live alone here?", he asked while looking around her house rather worriedly.
"Do not fret, I have tight security system here", she told him while rolling her eyes for she already knew just what it is that he was thinking about, "You should know how long I negotiated with my father and brother before they finally relented and it was all thank to that someone who taught me to stand on my own that I was able to try living independently."
He must have figured out that it was him she was talking about for he smiled at her tenderly, saying, "Well... thats good to know"
The next moment was filled with silence as their eyes met and they only gazed at each other before Astraea realize what she was doing and stood up quickly, making her escape, "Its getting real late. I need to go."
"Yes I think... You really should do that", she heard him replied with a hint of warning on his voice that she turn around to see his eyes laden with desire, "Good night Astraea Selene"
Her steps instantly went quicker just as her heart thunder, yet she forces herself not to look back for she isnt sure if she could control herself if she stayed any longer and she couldnt afford that.
She owed herself respect and she swore she wouldnt give in again easily. Scratch that, Astraea honestly wanted to hit her head on something hard at her traitorous thoughts for there really should be no easy or hard way at all cause she shouldnt give in either way.
Merlin, just the first day of him being near her again already deduced her into this! Astraea now honestly started dreading the more days to come...
A/N: I know you guys probably thought Selene should be tougher but damn I am so weak for Theo (Especially seeing that new commercial of Nadech for Toyota
) I would probably be unproductive today due to LK fitting that's why I'm posting this early
Thank you for reading!
Each comment, as always, is very much appreciated.
: Chapter 14 as promised
Now we just wait for another fin happening
: I'm glad I could be of any help fuel your NY fever babe
: Thank you
Me too cant wait for what's in store today!