"Wow, it's chilly."
Eve shut the car door and walked around the hood. The night air crawled over her skin, leaving goosebumps in their wake. Maize City loomed below the hill. It had been her home for the past few years—a place that gave her a new life.
The low cliff let her appreciate its specks of glow that shined like stars. The bustling streets moved like a train of Christmas lights.
A breeze flew by, making Eve shiver. She wrapped her arms around herself and rubbed her skin. Her breathing hitched as her insides squeezed from the sudden cold.
Maybe she should rethink that cup of sundae.
Heavy warmth draped over her shoulders. It provided her comforting heat from the surroundings—managing to warm her up in more ways than one. The jacket hem stopped below her hips.
She pulled the lapels closer and caught a whiff of mandarin orange and coriander. Then, came in the hints of rosewood and mahogany.
They entranced her.
'What cologne is this?' Eve wondered to herself, sniffing a little. 'Is there vanilla too? Had he always worn this scent?'
"Let me remind you that this was your idea," Ambryan scolded in a low voice. His black dress shirt and vest hugged his figure, tailor made for a custom fit. It emphasized his broad chest and his slim waist.
He placed the paper bags on the hood. The smell of fried food wafted in the air. It triggered Eve's appetite. She grabbed her share and settled her bottom on a headlight, keeping herself upright with her legs.
"You can sit on it."
Eve glanced on the black aluminum covering. It probably had high endurance but she'd rather not risk it. What if her weight created a permanent dent? She did not have the money to pay for replacements.
"I'm good. Thank you," she muttered under breath. Her eyes flickered back to the cliff view. She held the paper bag in one hand and reached inside with her free one. "Where were we? Oh, my idea. Well… I've just seen and read about it so much that I had to experience it?"
Parked near a cliff.
It seemed like a classic spot.
The breathtaking view made the journey worth it. She remembered Ambryan's face, questioning if she really had been hungry. A cliff view couldn't be found in the middle of the city.
They had to drive out of it to find one.
Luckily, he did know one.
"So is that how we'll base our dating life? On fiction ideals?" Ambryan said, breaking the silence. He took his cup of orange juice and mimicked her position, leaning against the hood.
He pulled off the lid and drank directly.
"Who says we can't make it happen?" Eve giggled. Salt brushed over her taste buds. Her eyes gazed upwards, searching for stars. "What's wrong if we do that? Saves a lot of time thinking if you ask me."
The moon came out tonight. It glowed in its crescent shape. Most stars glistened in specks against the dark horizon. One stood out among the rest, shining larger and stronger.
'Was that Venus or Mars?'
Ambryan took his orange juice and sipped. His mind considered her proposition. She had a valid point. If they often appeared in romance stories, they had to be favored by the public. It would gain them their support.
But, it also came with consequences.
"Don't you think they would become suspicious instead?" He thought out loud. An ice cube landed on his tongue. He let it sit there, biting it on occasion.
"Everyone loves a good story. I don't think they'd mind that much." Eve took out the box of chicken nuggets. She picked up one and dipped it into a condiment cup, containing its sauce.
"Besides, whatever we do, there will always be trolls or haters or killjoys… I just want to find an advantage during all of this. Experience romance as written in novels? It sounded like a promising idea."
She chuckled at it. Dating a CEO, the most eligible bachelor of the country? The cameras expected much more than the average love story. Unless they satisfy the media's craving for a fascinating scoop, they wouldn't be left alone.
At least, they would be pestered much more than usual. After the launch, this actually seemed fun.
"French fry?" Eve offered, tugging the top of the paper bag. Her mind pondered on the idea again. What kind of dates should they have?
"No, thank you." Ambryan finished the orange juice. He put the empty cup inside the paper bag. He didn't touch the rest.
"Well, do you have a better idea?"
He crossed his arms over his chest. Dating wasn't in his expertise as pointed out by three people. Although, it seemed more like his personal preferences were unsatisfactory.
If they didn't approve, the public wouldn't either.
"It has to be something we both enjoy, isn't it?" Ambryan recalled. Nothing else came to mind. They had yet to find those out.
Eve blinked in surprise. "Wow, you remembered what I said."
"There's little that I don't remember."
"Oh, really? Like what?" Curiosity sparked in her head despite knowing this. Somehow she wanted to witness what he would say—the moments he would brag about.
It would probably be about work but which ones? The time they went into the archives and he knew where the folder they needed was since he filed it himself when he was in intern?
Or the time he recited a contract's annex word per word when a businessman tried to swindle their company for more money? Even with retorts, he managed to bring in the law and ended the negotiation.
She had asked him about it after. He merely said that if it held his interest and attention, he found it easy to recall—which usually related to work he added as an afterthought.
Ambyran turned his head towards her. His gaze narrowed in suspicion. "Like you crying after your performance."
Eve gulped, averting her eyes. She munched on a nugget absentmindedly. She had almost forgotten about it if he hadn't brought it up. Her cheeks flamed in embarrassment.
She thought that her spot had been secluded from the crowd. It seemed like she was wrong. What did he think of her then? Sentimental? To a stranger, it probably seemed like she cried over the event.
She felt that his gaze was still on her. Suddenly, the cold didn't come from the weather nor the climate.
"You-you saw that?" Eve laughed, trying to lighten the tension. Unfortunately for her,
It came out as awkward.
"Yes." Ambryan confirmed. His firm tone came back. "Although, it seems you're feeling much better."
"It was just a spur of the moment. Nothing to worry about." Eve waved the half-bitten nugget. It slipped off her grip and landed on the ground. She shut her eyes, freezing in place.
That wasn't helping her case.
"Are you certain?"
"Mhm, I only remembered my first love," she explained and opened her eyes. This topic probably wouldn't end until she answered his questions.
Ambryan deepened his scowl. "Your first love?"
She had a previous lover? How long ago was it? What ended their relationship? Had she been drunk around him? What had they done together? Surely, it had been more intimate than his sting of flings.
(A/N: What else do you wanna know? His Social Security Number? Pft. Yes, I laughed at my own joke.)
"Yeah… it's been years. The memories came like a tidal wave, washing me away from shore. I drowned in them." Eve reminisced. In her eyes, the current world vanished. It had been replaced by old memories as they played vividly.
"I realized that I'd always feel that way. A part of me would always yearn for those times." She sighed. It seemed like the saying, 'first love never dies', was true.
Her hand reached for her soda cup. The carbonated drink washed over her throat.
Silence engulfed the pair as crickets played a song. It sounded like background music. The stars continued to watch over them. The moon hid behind a cloud, trying to sneak a peek.
Things stayed that way for a few minutes. Both waited for the other to say something.
Ambryan exhaled sharply. Something had been squeezing his chest. It was faint—barely noticeable if it hadn't been for the quiet.
"Maybe you could reunite after this is over." The words flew out of his mouth before he processed them.
"What's over?" Eve asked, looking up at him. Ketchup smudged the corner of her mouth and crumbs coated her lips.
Ambryan cleared his throat, unsure of what exactly he wanted to say. He reached over to wipe off the ketchup stain. It felt cold and slimy under his thumb.
Eve recoiled but his hand moved to her jaw, gripping it in place. He fished out his handkerchief and used the tip for cleaning.
The crickets' song became a symphony.
"When this 9-month long relationship is over, you could go back and relive those memories again."
Was this somehow his fault along with his mother?
I think I need these supportive crickets. Next time I hear them, I'll pretend that they're either comforting me or encouraging me. Lol.
Mass release will continue tomorrow! Please stay tuned! (≧▽≦)
Have a good day!
Other ongoing work: Trust and Believe in Love