***Had to upload early. And thank you for all your comments in the previous post. Enjoy!***
Daniel’s father owned property down in the Hamptons. Get this, he offered to pay for our flight and then for a car service, something to do with the scenery. I felt awkward enough as is that I didn’t need this extra burden hanging on me. So with some assistance from my parents, I decided that I’d at least pay for my flight ticket. His father insisted on the car, and let me just say, Daniel’s father had good taste. Talk about plush!
“So, what’s the deal with your father?” I asked Daniel behind the black sedan.
Daniel sighed. “It’s complicated.”
“I can keep up, besides, you said you’d explain if I wanted to know. I want to know. Just so there’s no surprises.”
Daniel nodded. “I owe you that much.”
“At least,” I muttered.
“My mother is a socialite who follows my father around. My father happens to be a Wall Street hedge fund manager. They live a lavish lifestyle, let me tell you,” he chuckled lightly, “and this lavish lifestyle includes ownership of property in the Hamptons. And here we are.” He turned to look out the window again.
Surely that wasn’t all. “And?”
Daniel shrugged. “And that’s it.”
Daniel hesitated and then nodded slowly. His nods then morphed into a shake of the head. “My father is a strict man. He pretty much thinks I’ll fail in anything in life if I don’t follow through with what he says. And my mother’s been…unwell. She…” he hesitated again, “she had a cancer scare a little while ago.”
“I’m so sorry,” Daniel just smiled, saying thanks. “How is she now?”
His mouth suddenly dropped and then he returned to watching the scenery. “I don’t know.”
I couldn’t imagine being in the dark about my mother’s health, but I didn’t want to make things worse for Daniel so I just let it go. I’m sure he has his reasons for not knowing, whatever they may be, and I didn’t want to push him.
Daniel cleared his throat. “Any more questions?”
Maybe this will throw him off the path of his parents. “Who’s Tanya?”
Daniel smiled. “I thought you’d ask.”
I smiled too and shrugged. “Well, if there’s a possibility of seeing my pretend boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, then I wouldn’t want to be caught off guard.”
The car then slowed down to a house, a freakin’ mansion really, on the beach. “We’re here,” Daniel said, finally ending the conversation.
His father was nowhere to be found once we entered the place, hardwood floors and latest tech galore, but his mother appeared to be waiting for us. She opened the front door as soon as we pulled up. She wore all white, perfectly bright, and had short brown hair. The feature that caught my eye, though, was her incredibly bright smile. To me, she looked like the type of woman where nothing phased her. A strong woman.
“Hello, hello,” she beamed, leaning into me for a hug.
I smiled politely. “Hi.”
“My name is, Jade,” she introduced as soon as she pulled away.
“Anna,” I said, simply.
“Welcome, Anna,” she beamed. Then she turned to hug Daniel. “My son,” she said in a yearning tone.
“Hi, how are you?” he asked. I wondered if he wanted to know.
I guess Jade was a quick learner because she didn’t say anything about her health. She ushered us deeper into the house and upstairs.
“We have quite a few bedrooms in this house, a couple are en suites. You will be in this one,” she gestured to the corner room and stood in the doorway.
“Thanks,” Daniel said.
I didn’t put my bags down on the floor like Daniel did. Instead I just stood there, before the room, wondering where mine was. Jade didn’t mention anything, so I figured I was the one that was going to have to ask. While I was considering how to ask in a polite way, Jade spoke.
“Is there something wrong dear,” she asked me with a frown. The lines on her forehead started to crinkle.
“Oh, no,” I said quickly, “I just…I’m just not sure where my room is.”
Jade burst out laughing, startling me. Daniel stared at the exchange.
“Oh, darling,” she began, “we are not old fashioned over here; I’m sure you both sleep together in the same bedroom in California so, you can both sleep together here as well. Now, I will let you two unpack and get settled, and I will meet you both downstairs. You must be hungry after a long trip.”
I just nodded and smiled. “Yes.”
She skipped away, and as soon as she left it was like she took my optimism with her. Daniel remained seated on the edge of the bed, staring at me with another apologetic smile.
I groaned in response. “Seriously?”
Daniel shrugged. “What? It’s not so bad. Besides,” he got up and walked towards the bathroom, “you have almost slept with me before.”
“That was different,” I mumbled after he disappeared.
He turned on the shower. “It’ll be quick and easy, with as little pain as possible, and then we’ll be out of here. Like ripping off a band-aid.”
I always hated that expression ‘like ripping off a band-aid’. No one likes band-aids, even if it does cause little pain. It still hurts. And with my low pain threshold, it feels like I’m getting stabbed or something. I mean, every time I get a wax I inwardly hope that I get an elephant-sized tranquiliser shot to my special place! So no, ‘like ripping off a band-aid’ doesn’t inspire a semblance of hope.
After we had our meal we decided to spend the night out at a local bar. At this point, Daniel’s father had not yet come home. “All the better,” Daniel said. The bar was a nice place, tables high and low, scattered, and it was moderately packed. We flocked to the bar and ordered some drinks, both Daniel and I were on either side of Jade.
“You know,” Jade started, “I have not seen the two of you touch since you came here. Is there some rule you’re applying right now?”
I went red and Daniel shook his head. “No, we’re just not into PDA.”
I nodded, even though I was the total opposite.
“Nonsense,” she replied, “you two are young, you’re out; have a good time. Enjoy each other.”
Jade gently gripped our arms and pulled us in closer together. “Put your hand around her waist, Daniel. Don’t be shy. I taught you to be affectionate, don’t waste my wisdom.”
I smiled while Daniel did what he was told. I immediately went hotter, a little more embarrassed.
Jade giggled at my reaction. “Look at you, sweetheart, you look like you two just started being a couple tonight.”
Well, my youthful dreams of becoming an actress is dead and gone.
“Oh, look Daniel, Anne-Marie, I better go say ‘hello’. Let her know you’re in town.”
Before Daniel or I could say anything, Jade ducked out.
“Well,” I said, “that was…interesting.”
I thought Daniel would have let go as soon as Jade left but he seemed immobile. His hand remained wrapped around my waist, his touch warm, and his eyes vacant.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Daniel,” I said, a little louder this time, giving him a slight nudge, “what’s the matter?”
This snapped him out. He shook his head rapidly and then looked at me. “Let’s get out of here.”
He tried to pull away but I quickly grasped his flailing hand. “What? Why?”
His attention turned away from me and into the crowd. I followed the direction of his eyes and there she was. On the floor, at one of the tall tables, stood a woman; and by the look on Daniel’s face I suspected I knew who it was. Bronze legs as far as the eye could see, wavy brown hair up to her shoulders, and brown eyes with a tinge of amber in them. A strapless gold dress, that made her eyes pop, perfectly fit her toned frame.
I raised my eyebrows in awe. “Is that who I think it is?”
Daniel nodded. “Yeah, that’s Tanya.”
The bombshell spotted Daniel and I, smiled and then started making her way towards us like a model strutting her stuff.
Daniel sighed. “Here we go.”