Silence consumed the three of them. The rustling of the wind was louder than the garden. Lina peered at Kaden like he had lost his mind and Everett looked like he was going to lose his mind any minute now.
"Mr. DeHaven, you must be mistaken," Everett said, placing a chaste hand upon his chest and revealing a cunning smile. "I am not the one following after a couple on their date in hopes you'll pick up the crumbs."
Kaden simply turned to Everett, a warning stare upon his face. Everett's lips twitched, his eyes flickering to Lina, as if the sight of her could give the weak man some confidence.
"And who said I was talking to you?" Kaden mused, raising a brow.
Everett stiffened, not realizing he had just shot himself in the foot. He had automatically assumed the DeHaven young master was talking to him.
Kaden chuckled under his breath, threw a final glance towards Lina's direction and stalked off.
Lina couldn't help but stare at Kaden. His confident stride, powerful posture, and indifferent gaze, all of it was so familiar. His muscles clenched underneath his shirt, revealing each fine line and strength.
Finally, when Kaden was at the entrance, he paused and glanced back at her. Her eyes went wide, caught red-handed for staring. A ghost of a smile graced his lips.
Lina's heart raced when his hazel eyes met hers. As if Kaden was roping her in, she took a step in his direction. His attention was mesmerizing, like a siren beguiling sailors, and she was his willing victim.
Lina was startled, the trance momentarily broken. Even from afar, she could hear Kaden's soft laughter. Her stomach fluttered. She wondered how he'd sound from up close and personal, then her face reddened at how promiscuous that sounded.
"You'll undoubtedly be one of the hundreds of blind dates I go on during my winter break," Lina said, taking Everett's business card out of courtesy. "So it's best you forget me."
Without another word or glance, Lina found herself drawn back to the garden's exit, only to realize Kaden was gone. She hated the disappointment that weighed her shoulders down. She especially hated her expectancy that he'd be waiting for her.
"But I won't," Everett said.
Lina didn't respond. She left the heir of big three law firm standing there like a fool.
Lina traced through the well-lit hallways, with its lavish paintings, and sparkling chandeliers, hoping, wishing, that all it took was a turn of the corner for her to stumble across Kaden again.
But he was gone. And she was left wondering if she had fallen into his trap again.
- - - - -
"She's looking for you, Boss." Sebastian stared into the distance, where he could see the young woman glance left and right, but in a secretive manner as if she was looking for the right direction to walk in.
"As she should." Kaden leaned against his car, taking a drag of his cigarette.
His eyes crinkled when smoke entered his vision, the cigarette hanging dangerously between his two fingers.
When Kaen saw her sweet expression, he breathed in the cigarette, and when he saw her soft body turning like a lost lamb, he breathed in again, and again, as many times as it'd take to quell his thirst for her. But the more he inhaled, the more he wanted her.
The flutter of her lashes, the hesitancy in her eyes, her willingness to flee, he wanted her like a man wanted water in a desert. He wanted to see how far she was willing to run, how wide her wings could stretch, and how pretty she'd look in his arms.
"Should I direct her to the Presidential Suite, Boss?" Sebastian inquired. It was where his Boss usually stayed whenever they came to this hotel.
Kaden pictured her hesitant spirit when she misunderstood Sebastian's intentions. He could imagine the fire in her eyes and the coldness of her words.
"No need," Kaden mused. "She'll come to me soon enough."
Sebastian didn't ask further. He didn't need to. His Boss's words were absolute. Once said, won't be taken back. It was how Kaden always dealt with things. It was how Sebastian's grandfather had told him the Boss would behave.
"Yes, Boss," Sebastian responded, noticing the cigarette was quickly gone.
How strange. The Boss rarely smoked and when he did, it was because something unnerved him. And he almost never finished the cigarette so quickly.
Sebastian wondered why.
- - - - -
Lina walked out of the hotel, subconsciously searching for the black limousine that had dropped her off at her university gates.
Lina perked up when she saw a black car, but let out a disappointed sigh upon realizing it was her driver. So much for wanting to keep a distance from Kaden…
Lina didn't understand why she growing drawn to Kaden. She was telling herself, again and again, that he was up to no good, that her future with him would be bleak.
People were always drawn to the things they can't have, and for her, it was the walking red flag.
"Young Miss…" the driver greeted her, bowing his head in respect as he opened the door for her.
"Thank you," Lina said, sliding into the car, not realizing there was another one parked in the far distance, watching her.
Lina stared out the window as the driver finally maneuvered the car in the direction of the Second Mansion. She tightened her fingers together, the words of the Second Mansion hanging over her.
Soon, they arrived at their destination and the doors were opened by the chauffeur. Lina got out of the car without a word. She walked down the long path leading to the front entrance.
No one to greet her, no one to welcome her, she should've known.
Lina wordlessly walked through the house, up the long staircase leading to her room, and then turned the corner in the hallway. Suddenly, a voice stopped her.
"Aren't you going to the dining hall to greet mom?"
Lina turned around at the hesitant voice of her younger brother. She offered him a gentle smile, but he stared at her in disappointment.
"You can tell her my greetings, Milo," Lina mused.
Milo snorted, crossing his arms and staring at her outfit. "And what are your greetings?"
"The blind date went horribly."
"Well, when you're dressed like a university club recruiter, of course, the date would go horribly."
Lina laughed at her brother's irked tone. He was always the one nagging one, despite being younger than her by two years.
"Just pass along the message," Lina said. "If you're the messenger, mom won't shoot you."
"No, but she'll scream my ears off, and that's the same as being shoot," Milo mused.
Lina chuckled, but said nothing else. She was exhausted from today's events. She went into her room, where it was dark and depressing. Leaving the lights off, Lina collapsed onto the bed, only to hear her mother's loud voice from downstairs.
"What an ungrateful wench! I push her out of my uterus screaming bloody murder and this is how she repays me? Does she not understand how hard it was to set her up with the heir?!"
Lina closed her eyes, sleep weighing her down. She was already used to falling asleep to her mother's shouts.
"Nothing she does is right! She's bad at everything she does. The one thing I ask her to do once in a lifetime, and she can't even do it properly!"
Lina felt herself drifting into dreamland, where a familiar amber-eyed man would be waiting for her.
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