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Chapter 8

  • Alina
  • He wore a steel grey suit with a royal blue shirt underneath that made his eyes stand out. His blond hair was perfectly styled, and he looked just out of a fashion magazine kind of gorgeous. His lips were formed in a mischievous smirk, and his eyes were sparkling with excitement. He hasn’t shifted his eyes from me since the instant I walked into the room.
  • How on Earth did he get here?
  • “Is something wrong?” someone’s voice cut through my trance.
  • I looked towards the person to see that it was the restaurant manager, Mr. Davis. Ryan was waiting for me to have a seat, and I didn’t even realize I was staring back at Erick from the moment I walked in. We were like two different poles of a magnet drawn to each other.
  • “Nothing, sorry.” I apologized and sat down on the chair which just so happened to be right next to Erick.
  • Everyone got down to business as soon as we were seated. Our hosts had already ordered wine, so I took a small sip from my glass. It felt weird drinking on an empty stomach, but I lost my appetite again as soon as I saw Erick. Plus, there was also the fact that I hadn’t eaten anything for nearly two days and survived only on coffee. Or was it the fact that the owner’s daughter was sitting right next to him and giving him the come hither looks? No, it couldn’t be.
  • “Right, let us get to the introductions,” the manager spoke as we were all seated. “I’m Nathan Davis, the manager, as you might already know. This is our owner, Mrs. Trisha Alfano, and her heir and eldest daughter, Rainelle Alfano.” He pointed to the two identical looking women with black hair and blue eyes who were no doubt mother and daughter. “This is our head chef, Samuel Giovanni.” He pointed to the only man sitting to his right who was wearing his chef uniform. “And finally, Mr. Erick Stayton, our new sponsor. He has just agreed to help us with our plan of expanding our restaurant to different parts of Canada as part of his new business venture. It’s a pleasure to have you on board, Mr. Stayton.”
  • In the entire conversation, the words just agreed seemed to hold my attention the most. I narrowed my eyes at him, and he requited by smirking at me, thus confirming my suspicion. He did it on purpose! Somehow, he found out about my schedule and played some dirty trick to make himself a part of it. It was not all that surprising once you count in his status as a vampire. He was trying to get a reaction out of me, but I made up my mind not to give it to him.
  • Setting up the devices with the help of Ryan and an extra helper that the manager called in, I recorded most of the conversation in my phone and in a video camera that Ryan brought in and asked a few critical questions. However, I stayed quiet for most of the time and let Ryan do most of the talking while I wrote them down on my notepad in case the recorder on my phone failed. All the while, I could feel Erick’s burning gaze on me, but I dared not look at him.
  • A waiter came to take our order sometime later, and since my hunger still haven’t returned, I ordered a simple Caesar salad, ignoring the glares of both Ryan and Erick, and another glass of Pinot Noir. Then I excused myself while we waited for our order to get some snapshots of the interior of the restaurant. Ryan already took a snap of the exterior with his iPhone while coming in.
  • “I’ll call someone to assist you,” the elderly manager told me.
  • “Thank you,” I said and waited for a guide to arrive and show me the best spots for clicking some snapshots.
  • The waiter who came took me to several places within the restaurant that looked absolutely gorgeous. There was the family section, the bar section, and the private section, all of which separated from each other artistically so as not to intrude on anyone’s privacy. Even the waiting area was beautifully decorated with real plants and freshly cut lilies of varying colours. I saved the couples section for the last because that was on our way back to the manager’s office and also because I wanted a couple or two to pose for the camera as they had dinner.
  • Upon reaching the couples section, I asked one couple to pose for the camera. They happily obliged and smiled at each other lovingly as I snapped the shutters. It was when I was rising from my bent position when black spots danced in my vision. A pair of strong arms wrapped around my waist when I would’ve fallen forward and steadied me against the wall of their chest. I got a whiff of dark chocolate, and I knew instantly who it was.
  • “Let go of me!” I hissed in a low voice so only he could hear.
  • “I will,” was his curt reply, “once you’re steady enough.” However, his arms were like steel bands around me even after the tension left my body.
  • “Erick—”
  • “Dinner has been served,” he whispered into my ears, his eyes on the couple in front of us as the male fed a piece of stake to his girlfriend. “I came to get you.” He released his hold on me but lightly placed his palm on my lower back to guide me towards the office.
  • When we entered, both Ryan and Rainelle looked up at us and at the hand he had on my back. I felt a strange sense of satisfaction upon seeing Rainelle’s frown deepen. Ryan waved me over as he was putting all his equipment back into the bag he brought them in, so I broke contact with Erick to hand him over my camera. Ryan took advantage of the contact and held on a second longer than necessary, no doubt trying to make a claim in front of Erick. I really didn’t have the energy for this right now.
  • “You don’t look too well. Eat something other than a damn salad,” Erick whispered to me in a commanding tone. His familiar dark chocolate scent filled my nostrils as he leaned forward, much to Rainelle’s dismay as he ignored her attempt at a conversation.
  • “I’m fine,” I replied curtly, drinking more of the wine.
  • He glared at me but didn’t say anything. By the time dinner arrived, I was definitely not fine. My stomach was turning, and I felt nauseous. The strong scent of all the food on our table wasn’t helping my condition at all. Instead, it was making my head hurt. I could feel Erick’s gaze on me, but it wasn’t a glare this time. It was more like concern.
  • Ryan did all the talking while I sat and pushed around my food on my plate. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea after all? When I felt a couple of eyes on me, I hesitantly took one bite of my salad and immediately stood up.
  • “Excuse me,” I said before dashing towards the washroom I saw near the family section.
  • Once inside, I locked the door firmly and emptied the entire contents of my stomach into the toilet. It was even worse because the only thing that I could throw up was the wine I just had and the coffee from earlier. My stomach hurt pretty badly as I wrenched my guts out for what felt like forever.
  • I stood from the ground after some time while making sure that I wouldn’t double over again. Then I flushed the toilet and got out of the stall. Not caring about ruining my makeup, I went over to the sink and washed my face. While trying to take deep breaths, a new wave of dizziness washed over me. I staggered and fell back.
  • I prepared myself to hit the ground. Instead, a pair of strong arms wrapped around me, and I was pulled into someone’s chiselled chest. The familiar smell of dark chocolate enveloped me once again. Oddly enough, I felt myself relax a bit. Although my brain told me to run as far as I could from this irresistible vampire, who was soon going to be my husband, my body was too weak to protest. I didn’t even bother asking how he got into the ladies’ room without alerting anyone.
  • “Can you stand?” he asked surprisingly gently as he tightened his grip to steady me.
  • I shook my head no, my voice having deserted me. Maybe I puked my vocal cords down the toilet as well.
  • “It’s alright. You should rest now. I’ll take care of you,” he said while stroking my back soothingly as I stood with my head on his chest, my entire weight on him.
  • I nodded as my eyes slowly drooped, and darkness soon overcame me.