The morning sun is slightly peeking from the curtain of my window right into my eyes.
I wake up, and my blanket is wrapped tightly under my arms, and it smells like jasmine and vanilla—the same fabric conditioner they used.
Someone must have tucked me in last night.
I peek through my blanket, and I’m still in the same clothes as yesterday from our flight.
Two days in a row now, and I slept in the same clothes. I get up from the bed, feeling lightheaded. I have to sit back to have my bearing.
I don’t see my suitcases anymore. I guess one of the staff must have brought them into my closet.
I take off my clothes and head to my bathroom, and I pass by my massive walk-in closet. All my clothes from my suitcases are already hanging according to color. I open the top drawer, and I see my underwear. My makeup, makeup remover, moisturizers, kits, perfumes, and cologne are placed just the way I like.
As much as I want to be lazy all day, I have more important things to do than sulk in my room.
I decide to go to my bathroom and shower before someone can come inside to wake me up and see me half-naked.
After an eon, I’m all dressed up. I choose a knee-length white dress and Jimmy Choo sandals to match my dress. I put some mascara on and concealer under my eyes. I apply lip gloss, too—just to look presentable. I still don’t know anything about Mom’s funeral.
After my breakfast that I asked to send into my own living room, I walk down to dad’s office. I hear murmurs from the inside—I presume they’re Dad’s friends or Mom’s. I knock three times and wait.
Before I can knock again, an unfamiliar deep husky voice says to come in.
I hold the doorknob, but someone grabs from the inside, and the door swings open for me.
Shock is an understatement when I look up at the man in front of me.
The feeling is so strange, igniting every cell in my body that I don’t know it’s possible.
I meet the gaze of those beautiful grey eyes surrounded by thick lashes that I now envy.
And man, those eyes are so powerful and can hypnotize every woman with just one look. He has a small scar across the end of his right eyebrow, and now, he furrows in confusion.
Wait a sec. Why though?
Oh, wow! His hair—thick jet black long wavy hair that touches down his shoulders and is slightly tucked behind his right ear. Jeez, he’s perfect with high cheekbones. A nose that is molded to perfection, and he has a squared jaw with a five o’clock shadow that added to his look—more masculine?
And oh, my God, his slightly parted lips are so full and red and kissable. I wonder how they feel against my lips.
What do they taste like? And are they soft, warm? Does he apply lip balm?
Oh crap! Did he just notice me ogling him? Because I see the amusement in his eyes, and a smirk curves up his lips.
I swallow and blink twice or three times, maybe, to erase those thoughts out of my head.
For God’s sake, I’m here for one sole purpose, not to ogle at some guy.
There are plenty of fish in the sea if I’ll just look around. I can drool at every man on earth I want, but not this time.
I clear my throat to speak. Before I can say a word, he cuts me off.
“Who are you?” His deep husky voice makes me even shiver—it feels like an ignition to fire deep inside me, which I never felt like this before.
This is getting weirder.
“Oh, and who the hell are you? Can you stay out of my way?” I raise my eyebrows and glare, but a six-foot-three or four inches is blocking my way.
With his button-down white crisp shirt with two open buttons slightly shows his hard and broad chest, making me want to run my fingers on the skin if it’s soft against my touch.
His sleeves rolled up just above his elbows, showing his strong arms and the tan skin of his arms. And those hands with long fingers that I don’t know how many women—
Blame those books I’ve read, and I can’t just avoid the steamy part. My bitchy part starts to sprout like a werewolf, ready to shift to wolf form.
Oh, I’m just a girl.
“I want to see my dad. Now, move, you—” before I can continue, my best friend saves me from whoever this god-like in front of me.
“Abby, you’re awake. How’re you feeling?” He gives me a brotherly hug and kisses me on my cheek. “You look good today.”
“Should it make me feel better, or is this your way of telling me I still look like shit?”
Drew looks better too. I guess he must have slept well last night.
“Pumpkin. Sweetheart, language, please? So, you met Seb?” He smiles at me that doesn’t reach his eyes, and I blush so hard. My father just called me pumpkin in front of this hot—no, he’s an overconfident ass.
“Who? Seth, who?” Oh, this must be the hot jerk. God, this has to end. Now!
I want my mind back. I mean, what the hell am I thinking? I just lost my mother, and here I am, crushing on some jerk—a hot jerk.
I hold the groan, and I want to mentally berate myself.
“So, you are the daughter, Addy.” I hear the husky voice behind me again.
Did he just call me Addy? Men are so full of crap by purposely mispronouncing women’s names.
I don’t want to be rude, so I face him. He’s already offering his hand for a handshake. I hesitate, but my dad is around.
I’m a good daughter, and I have to remind myself.
So I look at him, who is now smiling and showing his perfect white teeth, and Oh, holy mother in heaven, he has dimples, and I’m a sucker.
Sam Caflin and Chris Hemsworth have.
Why does he have to be so perfect? Can’t he have at least a single flaw? Even the cut from his eyebrow makes him perfect even more.
I shake his hand firmly, and I swear his pupil dilates, and I feel like I have been charged by a thousand volts that ignite my entire body to full comfort.
I feel my blood rushes to my brain, and my heart beats erratically. I’m still holding my breath, and my lips dry instantly.
Did he feel the same way too?
He looks shocked as I did, and he looks more confused. He instantly releases his hand. His smile fades, then he clears his throat once more. I feel like I’m in heat, and my pulse is throbbing.
“I’m sorry about your mom, Addy.” He seems sincere in saying it.
“Thank you. And it’s Abby. Abbygail. You seem to know my mother pretty well,” I say and sit beside Drew.
My father kisses my head and sits across me. The hot jerk Seb takes a seat on Dad’s left side.
“He knew your mother well. He’s Chris’ son, Abby. He took his dad’s CEO position years ago. He’s now the majority shareholder of Hughes Industries,” Dad explains.
Oh, boy. The rich bad boy playboy is glowing on his skin.
Perfect. And he’s bad news.
“Mike, you forget to mention I work my ass off. Your daughter might think I just grabbed the opportunity while Dad handed his position to me,” he retorts amusingly. Then he glances at my hand that’s intertwined with Drew’s.
“I didn’t judge you, Seb. I’m sure you deserved that position.” I feel guilty because the moment Dad said that he’s the CEO.
I was sure he got the position because they own the company, but then he seems to be serious, determined, and smart.
Or everything I see in him is clouding my judgment?
Still, the playboy and bad boy image, the cocky, arrogant, and assholeness are there, and it’s annoying that those characteristics make him pleasing and look more beautiful.
The way he talks and sits, he looks more powerful and very intimidating if I’m not used to meeting businessmen like him.
I can see him who always bark, organize, decide, and is a control freak. I guess I misjudged him if Dad complimented him genuinely. That makes Seb sexier.
I want to hit my head against the wall, and maybe it will help me distract my thoughts.
Please, I need some peace here, heart. I’m still broken and lost. Why do I have to meet him in a circumstance like this?
“Are you still in college, Abby?” he asks, emphasizing the B.
“Yeah. I just finished my junior year. I’m taking a Business Management major in Finance and Ad,” I answer with pride.
“There were good colleges and universities around here. Why bother in another state?”
My palms start to sweat, but Drew squeezes my hand as he must have felt my discomfort.
I look at Dad. “I don’t want to depend on my parents. I’m not just a little princess who plays dress-up, goes shopping, and paints toenails. I want to see places, meet new people without the pressure of being the heiress, I guess.” I shrug.
“Hmm. Interesting. Mike mentioned that you excel academically.” He looks amazed, but it feels more like an insult to me.
What is this? A beauty contest with a Q & A portion?
I want to roll my eyes. “Let's say I’m a freak, a dork, I have no life other than books and my thick-rimmed glasses, but thanks to Adolf Gaston Eugen Fick and Otto Wichterle, I don’t need any more glasses,” I answer with touches of sarcasm.
I look at Dad, and he doesn’t look impressed at all. Mr. Hot sexy jerk smiles at me that can melt every women’s panties.
I look at Dad again. “So, Dad, what’s your plan on mom’s?” I feel my eyes start to wet. I look up, blink back my tears, and take a breath.
“Your mom didn’t want a long funeral.”
I bite my bottom lip, which starts to tremble. I feel my tears run down my face. I can’t say another word, and all I can do is nod.
I take a huge breath. “It never occurred to both of you that you have a daughter out there who’s missing her parents? You didn’t even bother telling me that Mom was sick again. I thought you both went for a honeymoon. I didn’t know that honeymoon has the same meaning as hospitalization these days. Maybe because I don’t have a Twitter account, and I’m so left behind with the new urban dictionary.” I don’t mean to be sarcastic, but I’m so upset for both of them.
Seb chuckles, and I glare at him when our gazes meet. I can see a hint of surprise again.
“Your mother’s last words were to tell you she loved you so much.” He takes a deep breath.
I rise from my seat and go to dad. I hug him so tightly and wipe the tears from my face.
I clear my throat. “I need some air.” I rush to get out of Dad’s office.
I walk towards our old bench that Dad used to watch me playing on the same massive lawn when I was a kid. They still look the same— the landscape is even more beautiful than three years ago.
I hear footsteps approaching. I sit at the empty bench before I can reminisce about those happy memories, then the hot jerk sits beside me. His perfume reaches my nostril.
God, he smells so good, and I want to bury my nose in his chest. I know without looking at him, and these whatever sensations I feel that affect every nerve endings in my body are not going to end soon.
I need to remind myself constantly that whatever crush I have on him has to end. I’ve been avoiding things like these for three years, and I’ve been good at it, but I doubt if I will succeed this time.
“I said I need some air.” I take a glimpse at his beautiful face. “What are you doing here?”
“I heard you the first time, but I guess I need some air too.” He sighs, then stares at me like counting every freckle on my face.
I ignore him and look at the landscapes instead. “Well, you can have some air in every corner of this place. We have another bench over there, So go find your place.” I shoo him away, but he doesn’t move.
“Show me then. Be a nice hostess. You know I’m not familiar with your home.” He smiles.
I narrow my eyes, and his smile turns into a grin. Bless my heart and every living creature on this earth. This man deserves to be named Anael, not Seb.
“Hmm. This isn’t your first time being here, and you’re not my visitor,” I tell him and press my lips together.
He chuckles. “Ouch. You hurt my feelings, Abby. So I guess I should just stay here, and I’d like to share some air with you. I’m not that selfish, you know,” he says with a glint in his eyes.
“God, you’re impossible!” I cross my arms over my chest, and his gaze lands on my slightly exposed chest. I release my arms quickly, and I think I just blushed.
“Are you always this—?”
I cut him off. “Bitchy? Annoying? Grumpy?”
“Smartass, fascinating, and beautiful? Yeah.” I know he used to flirt with women, and did he just hit on me? I’m sure I’m red as a tomato right now, and he is amused to see my reaction.
“I need my moment, please?” I look up to him.
“Fine. But next time, you’re not gonna shoo me away again. I’m leaving anyway.”
He rises from his seat, and I feel his gaze on me, so I look up. God, this is impossible. He tucks his hair behind his ear, and he looks magnificent, standing with the sun rays shining on him.
“Nice to finally meet you, Abbygail.” Then he walks away.