"So, it is basically a hotel?" The fat man asked again.
"She just said..." His partner gave up trying to explain anything to the man who was making light of the little meeting they were having.
And Isabella was trying so hard not to get unduly angry. Her free hand kept tugging at the table cloth, the same time, her smile widened. "Yes, it is a hotel. But a vintage kind of hotel."
"Why would anyone want to stay in such a place?"
"The services offered there are like no other sir. Everything about the hotel is amazing, magical. Our guests always have a good time."
"If it is so magical, why is it failing?" David Maxwell's secretary gasped with shock at the directedness of his boss. Isabella could feel it, the anger, it had made its way to her chest. Her hold on the cloth became fiercer, it shifted off the table.
Caleb placed his hand over hers to placate her.
"We are actually working on ways to improve the standards of the hotel. We just have a bit of monetary…"
"Save it Ms. Shade. Your hotel is a lost cause. The best thing you can do right now is sell it. That's the advice I can give."
How dare you say such a thing? Do you know how hard I worked to get this company?
Isabella wanted to cry out, but she maintained that smile. The smile of defeat. The side of her eyes blinking with tears, she looked down and said, "Thank you for your advice sir."
"I actually wish you the best Ms. Shade." Isabella nodded and looked at the other direction to see if any waiter was in sight. She needed a glass of wine. A bottle of wine would do the job actually.
"Mr. Maxwell, can we join you?" That voice! Isabella felt her shiver. No, it could not be him!
Still looking for a waiter to pass by, Isabella resumed squeezing the cloth.
"Mr. Oxford, of course you can. I am glad you made it today."
"I am glad too." No, no. It couldn't be.
A glass of wine found its way to her hand immediately and she faced the little crowd that was concentrated at a table. "So, anything fun going on here?"
"Well, Ms. Shade over here was telling me about her hotel. Ms. Shade," she immediately faced David Maxwell so she could not see his face if at all he was who she thought he was. ",tell Mr. Oxford here about your place. Maybe he might be able to help."
Isabella shook a little as her head shifted to face this Mr. Oxford.
If she had her way, she could have become invisible at that instant. It really was him. With green orbs staring right into her with a snarky smile beneath them, Isabella noted how much he had changed. He looked huger, more built, more handsome. "Well, Shades and Cloaks is a vintage hotel. As the name vintage implies, everything about the settings is purely historical."
The side of his mouth had gone up with a smile while she talked. His smile. It always found a way to affect her back then. And at that moment, it was affecting her with even more intensity than before. Why not? Anthony was looking like a complete sex god that women fall in love with without him even trying.
She pinched Caleb lightly for him to take over. As soon as he did, Her eyes traveled to the woman beside him. She was pretty. They suited each other. Good for him.
Isabella darted her eyes to the side as she began to feel Anthony's stare fall heavily on her as he responded mono-syllabically to Caleb's explanation. She needed to get out of that place. She needed to find a way to regain composure. "Um… please excuse me."
As Isabella walked towards the restroom, she became tempted to look behind to see whether or not he had his eyes on her.
On getting to the restroom, her hand slamming the door hard, Isabella went to the mirror and leaned against the counter, staring at herself. She could read the mixed emotions inside her by just looking at her eyes. Isabella could not afford to have that happening.
Not now. Not ever.
Sighing, she reasoned out her present situation.
Isabella never thought she would be meeting Anthony so soon. She always thought if at all they would meet, it would be when they are old and close to their graves. Her mind picturing the magnificent looking man, Isabella felt her hands shake a bit. It really was him.
Gosh! How many years had it been?
Recalling the circumstances at that period of time, Isabella shook again. She had done something terrible to him.
Oh God! Rubbing her forehead, Isabella wondered what she could do. Crazily, explaining the situation back then was not an option she was willing to explore. But then, she needed something, anything to help her face him.
A knock came from the bathroom door. "Bella?"
Her eyes widened, her legs lost their stance. It was him!
He was just outside the bathroom. And… he called her Bella. Anthony was the only one who ever called her that and she loved it whenever he did. His British accent to be thanked, him calling her name always did things to her. It awakened things within her, she wanted it to or not.
"Sooner or later, you will come out, Bella and I will be waiting here."
Scanning the exquisite restroom, Isabella saw no potential exit. So, she bade goodbye to her idea of doing the cliché; escaping through the toilet's window.
Finding her stance, Isabella reasoned that it was better she went out. If at all Anthony had not totally changed, one thing about him is that he never gives up till he gets that he want. And she knew better than to try to drag the situation at hand.
"Finally," her eyes evading his own, Isabella resumed walking. Like she expected, he did not allow it. Isabella immediately felt her arm being slightly pulled, next thing, her chest was glued to his huge body, she looked so little in his hold. "I won't allow you run this time around Bella."
Finding the fact that she was beginning to warm up to his touch a bad sign, Isabella struggled to get out of his arms. "Let me go please."
"I need to talk to you." His hands repositioned as his firm voice bluntly stated his mission. While one snaked around her waist, the other settled on her hair, he was holding her securely against his strong, firm body, Isabella could not move despite her budging.
"If you want to talk, let me go."
"Okay." She should have just let him hold her. Isabella's hands went up as the shock that befall her when his lips attacked hers was not an ordinary one. Kissing away, licking away, exploring her mouth like he was munching on his favourite chocolate bar, Isabella knew he wasn't going to end it soon no matter how much she budged or tried to complain.
Pushing her against the wall, he took the session to the next level. His huge hands gripping her buttocks firmly, Anthony pushed her towards him, his lips still engaging hers in a heated session. Slowly, he grinded against her, Isabella just had to moan. It was then she realized that she had given into his kiss for a while. She was actually loving it.
"Hm. You are still freaking hot, Bella." Anthony's hand pushed her even closer despite their closeness and put his hand to use and caressed through the cotton dress. Pulling away from her lips finally, without pausing for a second, his lips went to tease her earlobes. She gave a short gasp, her fingers dig into his back.
She was actually loving it! Isabella finally realized what was happening. Managing to push him away slightly, she took a look around to check if anyone had seen them.
Facing him with a sharp glare, she asked angrily, "Anthony! How dare you kiss me?"
"Charles. Nobody calls me Anthony." He took a step back, his hands going into his pockets. "And, don't fool yourself, you actually enjoyed what just happened. Instead of complaining, count yourself lucky that I just made your day."
"Made my day? By kissing me? Oh please! The next time you touch me carelessly, you will regret it."
The side of his mouth went up with a smirk, his eyes wore amusement. "I am certain you will be the one regretting Bella. Because, once I start something," he took a step closer to her, his scent engulfing her once more, his eyes boring threateningly into hers. ", I make sure to finish it."
Her jaws dancing to contain the emotions jumbled within her, she walked away from the corner that he had her staying put. "What do you want from me, Charles?"
"I spoke to your… the man that came with you. I am interested in your hotel Isabella." That was actually the first time he called her that way. It was always Bella back then. Taking out a card from this breast pocket, his hand stretched towards her, "Take this and call me whenever you are ready to discuss business. I have a proposition that will ensure everyone being happy at the end of the day."
Isabella's brows quirked as she collected the card. "I don't think I will be calling you, but thank you."
"Oh, Bella," he swept a strand of hair into the back of her ear. ", you and I know that you want whatever happened minutes ago to occur again. So, I will be waiting for that call."
Isabella found herself sneering mentally at his words. Just because she kissed him back he thinks she wants him. As she watched him walk out of the restroom area, her mind wondered if he knew she was married. Looking down at the card in her hand, Isabella thought, like hell I would call him.