Without sparing a single glance towards their direction, I stop near the information counter; realising that the receptionist has already eyed me from afar as she fixes her hair, quickly asking her colleagues about her makeup and her hair.
''Hi,'' She smiles, her lips widening. ''How may I help you?'' She asks, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear as she stares deeply into my eyes, causing me to smile back after clearing my throat; wanting to ease the discomfort.
''I'm actually here to see my fiancée,'' I reply and the smile on her face fades away immediately before turning to look at something behind me, causing me to follow her gaze. My eyes landed on Kenna who has both of her hands shoved into her coat's pocket as she walks with her other two colleagues, talking about a certain topic.
Within seconds, our eyes meet as she stops walking. Her two colleagues turn to look at me, their eyes widening in surprise before whispering to one another. They pat onto Kenna's shoulder, gesturing for her to head towards me as she stands there and smile—leaving me chuckling.
''You've found her,'' The receptionist says, making me make my way towards Kenna. With every step I take, it is causing the other female doctors and nurses to turn their heads, paying attention to us which is slightly surprising. Yet, I pay no attention to look away from Kenna, only letting them mutter whispers as they silently yelp.
As soon as I'm close enough to her, her two colleagues are already trying to make themselves look presentable as they look at me with wide smiles plastered onto their faces.
''We'll be going, Kenna. See you later,'' One of them says as she waves at me before quickly grabbing her friend's hand, leaving both Kenna and I, together. My lips curve up into a smile as I chuckle, not expecting a reaction like that coming from the experienced doctors here.
Then again, there are a lot of young, educated and experienced doctors here.
''I don't mean to ruin the surprise but people really are staring at you,'' Kenna says as she leans closer towards me, whispering the words. As she pulls herself back, I am already looking around at the people who has stopped to stare before quickly walking away, causing me to chuckle. ''I'm sure you'll enjoy coming here more often,'' She adds.
''Mm, I wonder why? People don't stare at me too often,'' I reply sarcastically, smiling down at a laughing Kenna, trying her best to control herself from bursting more into laughters to attract further attention.
''I'm not surprised,'' She replies. ''What are you doing here, Aidan? Don't you have work to do other than stalking me here at the hospital?'' She asks, her blue eyes are already piercing deeply into mine—making me clear my throat.
Her gaze has never affected me much in the past. To be honest, her gaze has never affected me at all except for now or recently which is quite surprising. For an unknown reason, the way her blue eyes just stares deeply into mine, sends shiver down my spin to an uncertain level. Maybe, I'm overthinking about it or being too observant due to the amount of stress from work but . . . I can't tell.
''You're up for lunch? I need you to sign the contract,'' I answer, holding my car keys and phone on my left hand as I gesture for her to walk out of the hospital and straight towards my car which is parked at the front.
She glances down at her wrist watch, ''Let's go. I'm free until three,'' She says and we both walk side to side, towards my car. Once we're getting closer, I press the car keys to unlock the car before opening the door for her; leaving her chuckling as she gives me a flying-kiss.
''Thanks, baby.'' She winks.
My lips curve up into a smirk at her sudden role-play before closing the door and heading straight towards the driver's side, entering the car. After starting the engine, I am already gripping onto the steering wheel and press down onto the gas pedal, causing my matte black Bugatti Chiron moving forward in a fast pace.
''Where to?'' She asks, as she turns the volume up after choosing a song on my Spotify. My body eases at the sound of the music from Tove Lo. She has always been one of my favourites because her voice causes my body to react in a way I can never comprehend.
There are a lot of other singers that I pay more attention to other than Tove Lo. My favourite singers are basically the same as Kenna's favourite singers because we grew up together, we hear the same music, we jam to the same music during our car rides and we even karaoke to the same music when we were teenagers.
''Choose a place because your wish is my command,'' I reply, faking a slight accent which causes both of us to chuckle as she says the name of her favourite café which is no doubt . . . Café Lalo. Of course, she will start requesting for me to buy her lunch for a week because she has stated that as one of her conditions but let's just hope she forgets about it, for now.
The car ride is filled with silence as she sings to the songs being played, enjoying herself. Kenna is always like this when she's riding in a car with me—either she'll be the one driving or sitting in the passenger's seat, she will just sing to her heart's content. At times, I would join her.
''We're here,'' I mutter as I park the car, finding a good spot near the café.
We both step out of the car as we walk towards the café after pressing onto the lock button. Precautions are very needed here; there will never be too much when it comes to safety.
As soon as we step inside, we are greeted by Samuel. The same Samuel who greeted us when I decided to tell Kenna about the whole marriage contract. He smiles at us before pointing at an empty table, letting us take our seats as he walks away, tending to other customers.
''I couldn't sleep last night,'' She says, breaking the silence which causes me to look up at her face. Her brows are furrowed as she leans back on her seat, ''Maybe because I was overthinking with the wedding or maybe I'm just not ready to lie to my parents,'' She continues to speak.
''But, they knew.'' I respond.
She nods her head, ''They do. Diana told them and they were happy,'' She looks out of the window. ''Anyone would be happy to find out that their daughter is engaged to the most-trusted man they know who had grew up and spent time with their daughter ever since she was little,''
I let out a deep sigh, ''We've gone this far. There's no turning back from where we are,'' I reply, not trying to force her more into this but it's true. We've told them about our engagement, there's no possibility in turning back from this except to continue on until the contract ends.
''I know, Aidan.'' She mutters, ''I don't intend to back off or end the contract because I know how much you want me to help. Don't worry, I'll be here till the end.'' She adds.
We both stare at one another, letting the silence accompany us; only the sound of people talking and the smell of coffee ease us without the sound of our voices. Without a doubt, one day . . . this will fire back but if we manage to keep it a secret to our graves, it'll be buried with us.
''May I take your order?'' Samuel asks, standing beside us as he holds onto his notepad. Then, all of a sudden, he starts to point out at Kenna's engagement ring with a smile on his face, ''Congratulations. I heard,''
''I mean, everyone heard.'' He adds which causes me to look at Kenna who smiles, glancing up at my direction. Our engagement was widely announced by the media, letting the whole world know that 'The Top 5 Hottest Bachelor' will indeed end his days of being a bachelor to become a husband. Basically, Kenna is known as lucky by some.
''I should've noticed you were the 'Aidan Ashton' but I didn't . . . how stupid of me,'' He chuckles for awhile as she looks up at him, ''Well, ready to order?'' He asks, again.
''The usual, Sam.'' She replies, making him write on his notepad before turning towards me, waiting for me to say my order but I can't keep my eyes off of Kenna. Deep down, I know how much she hates for the engagement to be heard or found by the media because the look on her face shows it all.
''Can you give us a minute?'' I ask, gesturing for him to walk away and just take Kenna's order to the counter. As soon as he has already walked away, my eyes remain on my best friend who seems to be eyeing her newly-manicured nails, ''I didn't know . . . I'm sorry,'' I say.
''You're sorry? For what?'' She raises an eyebrow, purposely making me explain.
''For our engagement to be the topic of the week and probably the month. I didn't expect the media to find out about this because if I did, I would've done something.'' I say before turning to look at the television on the wall, seeing my picture on the news.
''The well-known billionaire and CEO, Aidan Gabriel Ashton will soon end his title as one of the hottest bachelor. Recently proposed to his best friend, Kenna Anne Roosevelt, daughter of John and Julia Roosevelt—heiress of J&J Finance. Rumours have been confirmed, Aidan had proposed during her work hours, at the hospital as she is also a doctor.'' To my surprise, Kenna's picture is shown beside mine which causes me to turn and look at her, both of her eyes are fixed on the screen.
''At least, I looked good in that picture.'' She says, smirking at me as she sighs. ''Look, it's not even your fault. You don't need to apologise for something . . . out of your power because this is the media, we're talking about. They are capable of spreading lies or even news to anyone and I should be the one to understand more about that,'' She continues to talk, ''They even called me an heiress,''
''You are an heiress,'' I state.
''No. I'm a doctor,'' She replies back, ''I help those who are in need instead of showing my face to gatherings and in hope to find myself a husband who is worth at least millions before agree for marriage,'' She adds.
My lips curve up into a smile, ''Okay, you win. So, you're not mad about . . . the press?'' I ask, slowly.
She laughs out loud, catching other people's attention which causes me to quickly turn and smile at them as they utter whispers. ''Of course, not! Dude, I'm in the news and on the front cover of magazines, how can I be mad? Yeah, I hate being the talk of the media but hey, I kind of like it.'' Her laughter slows down, making me chuckle, lightly.
''Good. I thought you were going to kill me,''
''I was,'' She replies, making me look up at her face as she remains smiling. Her lips are curved up into a wide grin before flipping her hair, ''I just changed my mind.''
Kenna's orders came, her usual apple pie and warm green tea being served in front of her which causes her to close her eyes and smell the aroma. My grin grows wider at the sight of her enjoyment when it comes to food, it's not an everyday thing to see someone has this much love for food. It's really, really, really mind-blowing.
''Here's the contract,'' I say before unlocking my phone and pushing it towards her, letting her look down at the screen. ''You just need to sign under your name and then, I will make another copy for you.'' I add.
Her blue eyes move up to meet mine, ''Is this one of your tactics to make me sign without reading the conditions that you have wrote?'' She raises an eyebrow.
''Is it working?'' I smirk, causing her to laugh.
She grabs my phone before scrolling up, reading the conditions that I have wrote. Her conditions are also in the contract which has been rewrote and stated, neatly with no alterations, whatsoever. ''Wait a minute, number two is kind of funny to me.'' She says, turning the phone.
She reads it, loud enough for me to hear. ''Kenna will not be allowed to see other men or go on dates except with Aidan. Once broken, there are consequences.'' She says in a confused tone, ''What are the consequences?'' She asks.
''I haven't thought about it yet but we can discuss them together to make it more fair,'' I reply. ''I know that you're not seeing anybody right now but since you've stated that I shall be faithful to you . . . might as well add that to my conditions. It does not consider fair if it's only for the other person, doesn't it?'' I question, taking a bite of her apple pie as she continues to read the conditions.
''Fair enough,'' She mutters. ''The marriage shall last for three hundred and sixty-five days. Never less and never more under any circumstances, at all—yet, can be further discussed in the future.'' She chuckles a little bit at the end as she nods, ''I like this one . . . it's discussable,''
''Only for certain situations. Serious situations,'' I nod and she continues to read, scrolling and scrolling as she takes a bite of her pie.
Her eyes widen as she bursts out into laughters which leaves me frowning, ''Either party are not allowed to fall in love with each other under any circumstances. What makes you think this is going to happen?'' She asks, her eyes piercing into mine as she chuckles, ''I can't believe I just read that,'' She adds.
Dimitri was the one who convinced me to add the precise condition. He told me, anything can happen and I needed to take precautions. A year is not a short amount of time, especially when spent together . . . under the same roof. There shall be moments where both of us might get lost or confused and in order to avoid those kind of things to happen, he assured me to add it into one of my conditions.
''Dimitri added that,'' I say after shrugging. ''You and I both know anything can happen and it's just a reminder so that it shall not happen,'' I point under her name for her to sign, in which she does before giving me back my phone.
She smiles, ''So, he was worried it might happen? Us, falling in love . . . it seems impossible, don't you think? We have known each other long enough and nothing has ever happened before. I don't think it's going to happen now,'' She continues to say with both of her eyes buried into mine in which I fairly agree; spoke the words out of my mouth.
''Exactly.'' I agree, ''I told him exactly that but he was being very stubborn about it,''
Both of her eyes roll as she continues to smile, letting me lean back on my seat. ''We've signed the contract. It's really going to happen and it's going to last for a year. Now, there is no more turning back . . . we just have to go on with it,'' I say, loud enough for her to hear.
To my surprise, I find my mother entering the café which causes me to immediately mutter curses under my breath as Kenna turns, her eyes meeting my mother's. Then, she looks back at me with wide eyes, matching my current expression. The two of us stare at one another for a few seconds until we hear our names being called.
''We're fucked,'' Kenna and I say, in unison.
''Thank god we ran into you guys here,'' My mother, says and I raise an eyebrow as she walks towards us. Both of her eyes are staring at me before turning to look at Kenna, smiling widely, ''I called but none of you answered your phones and I saw your car outside. I just had to come in,'' She continues to say.
''We? What do you mean, we?'' I ask, waiting for her to answer as she turns to point at Julia—Kenna's mother, standing near the entrance with Amelia, also known as Mia, my sister. My eyes roll in annoyance at the sight of my sister and my mother, knowing she won't stop bugging about the wedding.
Mother chuckles, ''Come on. Pay for the food and come meet us outside,'' She says before walking out of the café, talking to Julia and Mia as they turn to look.
Kenna glances down at her wrist watch, ''I don't want to believe that they're outside. This is a nightmare,'' She says, her eyebrows furrowed as she closes her eyes. ''How can they just pass by and see your car? Does she have a tracking device on you?'' She asks.
Knowing my mother very well, she will not drop the topic about the wedding once it is over. She will start to plan it as if it's going to best wedding of the century; not caring whether either of us are busy or not having enough time to discuss it any further. She's like that.
This has got to be a mistake or even a nightmare for her to come and meet us here while we're having lunch. It appears as if she has hired a spy to locate my every move or location in order for her to find me, easily.
All of a sudden, Kenna looks down at her ringing phone before picking it up, ''How severe? Am I needed at the hospital?'' She asks through the phone as she looks up at me, ''I'll be there as soon as possible,'' Then, she hangs up the phone; leaving me figuring it out to myself, she has found her way out of this.
''What happened?'' I ask.
She sighs, ''I'm sorry but there's an emergency at the hospital and they're calling the doctors as much as they can. Since it's lunch hours, a few are answering. There was an accident a few blocks away . . . a couple are dead and a few are severely injured. I have to get back to the hospital,'' She says.
''You're going to leave me alone? With her?'' My eyes widen as she stands up, calling for the bill. Her hands are already looking for money in her jeans' pocket but before she can reach out, I've already placed a fifty dollar bill in Samuel's hand, causing her to look back at me.
''Keep the change,'' I say as I grab Kenna out of the café, straight towards my car.
There's nothing wrong with Kenna paying for lunch but I've been raised to always be a gentleman. Be the one to pay for food or for any other things, depending on the situation. I could just let her pay but I would be feeling somehow guilty or something in me, for not being the one to pay. Maybe, because I was raised and taught this way, I'm not really sure but I've always been the one to offer.
''You two are free, right? We can go ahead and check in with the caterers,'' Julia says, making me turn towards Kenna who seems to be anxiously checking her wrist watch over and over again, seemingly her mother seemed to have caught her anxiousness, ''Kenna, what's wrong?'' She asks.
''There's an emergency at the hospital and I really need to go,'' She replies, ''Aidan can be the one to help and choose the caterer,'' She adds which leaves me mentally slapping myself for her respond yet I stay still, smiling.
''What?'' I turn towards Kenna.
''I heard there was an accident that happened. You need to get back because of that?'' Diana, my mother asks, and Kenna nods her head, apologetically pulling her in for a hug before gesturing for me to send her back to work.
''Can we discuss this matter some other time?'' I ask, but due to the looks Julia and my mother are giving me, I'm left sighing. ''Just give me the address and I'll be there after dropping Kenna,'' I add, they both smile before nodding.
Without further ado, I step inside my car as I start the engine to drive down the road in a hurry. Kenna, on the other hand, is receiving a lot or calls from the hospital which is causing her to remain anxious about the current situation as she sits, quietly tapping onto her phone.
As she continues to tap onto her phone, I am starting to feel slightly anxious about it, too. My foot is pressing hard onto the gas pedal—trying my best to pass through cars and the heavy traffic which is impossible especially in broad daylight during lunch hours where people are filling the street.
I pull over at the entrance of the hospital, ''Thank you and I'm sorry for leaving you in a situation like this—just, tell me everything when it's all over.'' She says, smiling as she steps out of the car in a hurry before making her way inside, pushing through the amount of people.
My eyes wander around as I let out a deep sigh, noticing a few ambulances stopping near the emergency entrance. Doctors and nurses are quickly transferring the patients inside, cries of pain are heard; quickly, making me press onto the gas pedal to leave the area.
Then, my phone begins to ring which causes me to connect the call straight to my car, showing Flynn's name. ''Mr. Ashton, you have a meeting to attend in five minutes! Where are you?'' He asks, panically as voices are heard at the back, ''Please, tell me you're near.'' He adds and within seconds, I find myself smiling down the road as I have earned the perfect excuse.
''I'm on my way,'' I reply, making a U-turn towards my office instead of a right turn.