Eve cackled and the moment shattered.
The more she thought about it, the more hilarious it sounded. The absurdity was too much! If she didn't know any better, she'd think that Ambryan thought she had an ex-boyfriend. The idea prompted another fit of laughter.
"If it was that easy, I would have already gone back before," she said in between giggles.
It was Ambryan's turn to freeze.
"Yes, really." Eve confirmed with a nod, wiping tears from the corners of her eyes. "It's not like it was impossible. I could have done it but… well, life happened. And I am here now. Dating the most eligible bachelor in the country for that matter."
Another round of laughs came out of her mouth. Her stomach began to cramp. What was in that martini? Laughing gas? Weed? Why did everything sound funny to her?
She better hunt down that bartender if this didn't end well.
Ambryan watched her wordlessly. Her voice echoed around them. Her fair skin glowed like moonlight. In this peaceful silence, she took the spotlight. Gleeful happiness simply radiated out of her.
It could take anyone's breath away.
"If you had the choice, would you go back or not?" Ambryan couldn't help but ask. Curiosity emitted from the recesses of his mind. It took control of his thoughts, speaking for him.
"After this is over?" Eve turned back to her food. She still had half of her nuggets left. "I'm not sure. How about letting me get through this alive first?"
Her last statement made her chuckle. If Charlee Edwards was just the beginning, there would be more to come.
'Speaking of Charlee' she wondered, 'What happened to her after that little show? Was she wailing inside a bathroom perhaps?'
Eve continued to ponder on what counter attacks could come from the aspiring actress. If that five-minute breakup proved anything, it was how Charlee abhorred defeat. She had almost expected an assault at the company lobby after that day—except Ambryan held more power which would only result in instant loss.
On the other hand… the playing field would be more even with Evangeline. Charlee would probably form a plan on how to bring her down.
She'd have to be ready.
Meanwhile, Ambryan brooded over her answer. It provided little gratification for his question. Actually, it provided nothing to his question. He decided to replace it. "What about right now? If you had that chance to drop everything and go, would you?"
Eve stopped mid-bite. Go back? To ballet? Right now? She'd face hell. Her teacher would show no mercy. The training would be brutal, remorseless and every synonym thesaurus could come up with.
"I, honestly, can't imagine my life any different from now," she said after a while and she meant it. As crazy as the situation seemed, she'd never thought of going back to her hometown. Maize City had given her so much more than she anticipated.
It gave her joy and hope.
It wouldn't sit right with her if she just left.
"Maybe I don't have that much of an imagination," Eve added when the silence remained. She took out the sundae and removed the lid. The soft peak had melted. "Or maybe because it's the influence of free food. Who is to say I'd still get this if I left? Next time, you get to pick on where we should eat."
Ambryan offered zero comment.
Her words churned inside his head. How would his life be if Evangeline hadn't been part of the website? Who would replace her? Who would he have chosen instead? What kind of first date would they have? Would she be the PDA type? Would she talk back against his decisions?
Would they end up here? In this hill top? In seclusion and silence?
Would the moment be just as beautiful as right now?
"Whoever invented the idea of french fries dipped in vanilla sundae and hot fudge…" Eve moaned as she chewed. Her hazel eyes glazed in delight. "... that person was/is a genius."
Shaking his head, Ambryan let the topic drop. No matter how many What Ifs they'd talk about, what mattered was the present. This moment might not exist in an alternate universe. He'd rather not know about it. He'd rather not let its possibility ruin the current.
He reached out a hand with his palm facing up. "May I?"
"What happened to 'fast food is unhealthy'?" Eve asked, the corner of her lip curling up. She pointed the box of fries in his direction. The sundae sat on the car's hood between them.
"It's not advisable to eat the only other food available right now," Ambryan replied, dipping two french fries into the ice cream. He popped them both in his mouth and tucked his hands into his pant pockets.
"That would be cannibalism."
"Well, that went dark really fast." Eve breathed out, gulping at his words.
"And here I thought romance fiction had been taken over by the supernatural." Ambryan chuckled. He leaned to the right, bowing his head in her direction. "Is it not the trend for the male lead to devour the female one?"
Eve's jaw dropped and her eyes flew wide. How did—the question left her head as soon as it came. This shouldn't be surprising from the CEO of a production company that centered around romance. Statistics reports such as trends helped them choose which projects would generate the most profit.
But… Did that mean he actually knew of romance more than he let on?
"That is another genre which is not applicable to ours." Eve patted his shoulder and stepped back. Her gaze flickered towards the city. She switched to the chicken nuggets. "We're not in a fantasy world."
"I'm well aware. Otherwise, that would mean that you'd date me in your dreams."
Her head snapped back to him. She pointed a nugget to his face, squinting her eyes and scrutinizing the smug look he wore. "Okay. How much alcohol did you drink?"
Eve scoffed. "That is definitely a lie."
Ambryan practically breathed red wine as much as black tea. He'd always choose it above other available beverages. She had wondered if his blood was composed purely of red wine. Then, remembered black tea must be mixed into it too.
"No, it was sarcasm."
Three words that could describe Eve at the moment. It wasn't just her martini anymore. There had to be something in all drinks served at the launch party. She wasn't the only one acting abnormal tonight.
Ambryan pinched the top of his paper bag and pulled his share of food close. The base dragged across the car bonnet. He peeked inside as if the bag contained a monster.
Eve swallowed the last bit of her nugget. The sound had caught her attention. She watched as Ambryan opened a carton. "I'm surprised you picked chicken nuggets. I thought you were more of a burger guy."
On second thought, she couldn't imagine him eating a burger. She would have loved to see it though. He probably had that rare skill of keeping his face clean despite the amount of sauce the burger had.
It wasn't fair.
"These are made from chicken breasts. It has the most protein for the lowest calorie count." Unlink her, Ambryan skipped the dipping sauce. He bit into the nugget and chewed carefully, making sure to break it down into tiny pieces.
Eve scrunched her eyebrows.
Had she heard of that sentence before?
It was midnight by the time the pair reached the apartment complex.
Maize City toned down into a slumber. Only a few establishments stayed open. Night workers were safe inside their workstations. Clubs brimmed with energy at the outskirts. Neon lights swirled around their area as party goers brought the night to life.
Other residents enjoyed the last bit of peace before Monday morning came.
Eve unbuckled the seatbelt and yawned. Her stomach bulged with fast food. She could hardly move. Until minutes ago, she could barely breathe. The dress's bodice did little to help with her state. It had fitted her like a glove—no room for a full stomach.
She hated the dress for the first time.
Ambryan crouched beside his window. He eyed the building until his gaze reached the 10th floor. Frown lines appeared above the bridge of his nose. "Are you sure you can go up by yourself?"
"I am more than capable of walking on my own two feet, Ambryan Hathaway." Eve chuckled. She grabbed her clutch, checking if she had all her belongings—especially her phone and her wallet. Both had some form of identification.
The last thing she needed was for her ID to be left behind.
Ambryan shifted his attention towards the passenger seat. He raised an eyebrow. "I see you mastered my mouthful of a name."
"I still prefer Ambee though."
The car heater stopped working. Ice had frosted over its mechanism. Not even air-conditioning could compare to how fast it cooled the air inside the car.
Eve opened the door and escaped. She waved from the other side of the car window. A bright smile stretched across her face. The moonlight amplified its captivating gleam.
"Good night, Ambee! Have a safe trip back!"
Well, that... escalated quickly.
I am speechless.
What about you? :D
More chapters to come today! Stay tuned!
Have a good day!
Other ongoing work: Trust and Believe in Love
10 one-shot chapters on Aug 1! Read CH 363 A/N for more details.