It really was him. Isabella sat back into her chair. She had been hoping it was a dream, but it wasn't. He really kissed her. Anthony... Charles actually aroused her without trying hard. After six years he was still that good. Her fingers grazing her lips, she recalled to the last detail how he took her with more intention than he used to when they used to date.
That same day, when she got home and took a look at Gabriel, Isabella realized it had been a while that she felt so strongly aroused. Her husband never took the liberty to make her feel good during sex. All Gabriel ever wanted to do was empty his nut into her.
Feeling sadness set in again, Isabella wondered how life would have been if she had not run away few minutes to her tying the knot with Anthony. She wouldn't be derived of intense intercourse, certainly. She probably won't have a failing company to be worried about too. Sighing, Isabella reasoned that it was useless to swim in regret at that stage. If anything, she should be working harder at getting her company out of its ruins.
Isabella's eyes travelled to the card that had been lying on her table. Temptation surrounded it. It was calling to Isabella to pick the hard paper and dial the number on it.
"Isa, there is an issue." Caleb's voice snapped her out of it. As he sat down, Isabella prepared herself for the terrible news that was going to come out of his mouth. Earlier that day, one of their loyal customers had an accident in the bathroom and that gave a dent to the already collapsing state of the hotel.
"I have called every single person that promised to see if they could help us, none, I mean no one is willing to merge. It is just so terrible. It is as though they all had an overnight meeting and decided to not consider us at all. Isa..."
"Caleb. What is going on? Why does everything keep getting worse? Just yesterday..."
Caleb reached for her hand and stopped her lamenting. "Hey Isa, don't do this now. Sulking about the state of this place is not going to help." He tapped her skin gently, in an assuring way before sitting back. "I was thinking, don't you think it is high time you started considering selling this place."
Isabella sighed, shook a bit as his realistic question reminded her again how things were. "You know," her voice had turned a shade of remorse as she twirled in her seat. "Before all these crisis started happening in this hotel, this whole place was the only thing that made me really happy. Genuinely happy. It is makes me happy even now that things are crazy, weirdly. Caleb," her eyes flickered to the attentive man. ",I don't want to lose this place. Apart from the fight I put up with my father to win this place, this hotel is..." Isabella shook her head frantically as she searched for the right word.
"This place is the only thing stable in my life. I wake up every day in that damn place I call my husband's home and the next thing I want to do is rush out of there and just spend the whole day here. Selling this place is a good idea, but..." Isabella could feel her heart thumping with fear at the mere thought. "It is not going to be as easy as saying it."
The small, encouraging smile that stayed on Caleb's face made her realize how pitiful she was making herself look. So, she looked away, one hand wiping away the tears at the corner of her eye. "I really wish you would explain the reason why it will be so difficult to leave that Gabriel."
"One day Caleb. Hopefully."
The both of them left the remaining words in their mouths tucked in and they both sat in silence, each man delving into their thoughts.
Moments later, Caleb said, "We still haven't called Mr. Oxford though." Her eyes darted to him sharply. "I checked him yesterday on Google and I must acknowledge, that man is in money. Apart from his father's fortune, he has made himself a ton of money. And their empire? It flourishes daily."
"You think he would be able to help?" Isabella started replaying their moment, she felt hot immediately. It really bothered her. The fact that he came out of nowhere and still, he has as much effect on her as he did years ago.
"He did mention that he was interested in our case."
"Maybe I should go meet him then. Hopefully he is able to help." Isabella wanted to slap herself for saying that. For some reason, Isabella was angry at Anthony and that was stupid because she was the one that ran away before they could get married. She broke his heart, she destroyed a beautiful relationship without giving a single excuse. She did not have it easy either after the whole running away drama.
But to speak the truth, she had no other option. Isabella knew meeting Anthony was the only hope left for her company. If that doesn't work she might as well sell the hotel no matter how painful it could be.
"Do you want me to come along?"
Isabella wanted to meet Anthony alone, so she shook her head in response. As her hands went to tuck beneath her chin, she thought, 'Maybe it is time I explained everything about six years ago to Anthony, I need to clear my conscience'.
The house was unusually quiet and that gladdened the brunette who would have killed for some alone time in the house. Kicking off her pumps, Isabella found herself twirling on the smoothness of the tiles before she made her way to the kitchen.
Their bedroom was just few distance away from the kitchen, so the noise she heard as she downed a gulp from the wine bottle she opened on a certain midnight, was without mistake from that room. Dropping the bottle on the marbled counter, she grabbed her bag and made for the room.
The sight that greeted her made her knees grow weak. "Gabriel..."
Her voice was so faint and full of pain.
With no care at all, her husband opened his eyes and took off the slender hand on his naked chest. After whispering something to the three ladies that immediately rushed out of the room giggling, with no clothes on, he finally faced Isabella.
"Why did you interrupt my fun?"
"Your..." She scoffed. "Gabriel, why on earth would you decide to bring hookers into our home?"
"Why? Are you jealous that they are getting all my attention?" He moved even closer. "You know what you have to do to get it."
"Get what? Your attention? Oh please. If there is any getting to be considered, it will be getting out of here."
"How dare you?" He was glowering at her, his breath kept fanning her mercilessly. "How dare you talk to me that way? In case you are forgetting something, your father is the one who gets to suffer if you try anything funny."
His huge, rough hand grabbed her by the hair and tugged so hard, she had to give a loud cry.
"Gabriel..." she reached for his hand which kept tightening his hold. "Please... Stop."
He glared at her, his offensive smell hitting her nose even more. "I need you to understand that a wrong move from you means that it is all over for your father. You don't want to be the reason your father loses everything do you?"
She could not respond as she was trying so hard to ease her hair from his painful hold.
But her silence offended the irritated man who grabbed her roughly from behind and dug his fingers into her buttock.
"Do you understand?"
"Y-yes." Isabella nodded quickly.
"Good. Now, I need you to do something," he finally released her.
"Take off your clothes and get on the bed."
"Uh?" Isabella was screaming in her head. Him sleeping with her mean more pain and not just physically.
"Get. On. The. Bed." He growled at her.
"I- I am on my period."
"What? You are of no use then. Get out," he mumbled as he made his way to the bed with a short frown.
Her hands stylishly massaging her head, Isabella walked in to get a small bag she tucked just behind the door. As she made for the entrance again, her mind still in disarray, she faced Gabriel who was playing with his groin.
"I have to go to the office." That place was more like a home compared to the hell she got married into.
"Get some groceries on your way back," he instructed without looking her way. "And, call those beauties back in. I am getting bored."
Isabella let out a shaky sigh which could have led to her breaking down into tears had she not held herself together with the last string of sanity and patience within her.
As she made her way into the kitchen to get some food, Isabella made an inner cry for the miracle she had been wishing for.
She really needed it at that moment.