COPYRIGHT © 2019 Miu
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No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, electronical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the Author.
This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
All pictures and multimedia used are not the author’s work and doesn’t claim any legal rights.
MATURE CONTENT and VULGAR words not suited for young readers below eighteen (18) years old.
“Remind me again, why did I even allow you to treat me?” Asher mumbled, still staring at the shawarma in his hand as they sat there on the bench in a park.
“What are you dissatisfied about? This is good.” Satele pretended that she didn’t hear Asher’s complaint about their food. She happily munched her shawarma while she roamed her eyes around the peaceful evening scenery in the park.
Lamps were subtly illuminating the place while the frozen lake emitted foggy air while children skates and played with the snow. Some contended to cuddle under a tree draped with a blanket and jacket while some took their evening jog and walk.
She let out a contented sigh. Nothing beats a peaceful time with her favorite street foods and coffee on a cold winter night.
Asher resisted to eased his knotted brows with his fingers. He should have known better. It was all him forgetting that the woman had no money yet still had the audacity to treat him to dinner.
All those preparations, all the money to buy branded clothes, shoes, and accessories, the facials and spas went down the drain. Lost in the river of disappointments.
He thought it would be a romantic dinner with candlelight and music, or they would eat inside a wall or glass under the warm rays of a cozy restaurant. But no! It was street food worth five dollars with a drink from the vending machine under the cold winter night on a fucking bench in a park.
“I’ll never let you treat me again,” Asher said, chewing on his food.
Satele tried to hold her laughter, but Asher’s expression the moment he realized they were not going to an actual restaurant was epic, and she burst into constrained snickers. And it would be the most memorable, and if she might add, the most unforgettable night of her life. She even snapped photos of his reaction.
“It’s not my fault you misunderstood,” she said between laughter. “Only have ten dollars here.”
“And yet, you have the audacity to ask me out,” he said, turning his dagger eyes at her. “You better not say anything about this or I’ll swear . . .”
Satele tried to be scared at Asher’s warning, but the look on his face like he didn’t know what was going on kept parading in her mind, and she burst out laughing again.
“I’m sorry . . . ahahaha . . . I’m sorry . . . I can’t . . .” She tried to say her piece, when he was beginning to get pissed, but failed miserably when all she could manage where laughter every time she stared at him.
And she would never be the same again. Shifting her head to the other side, she avoided looking at him and tried to calm herself.
Asher’s face darkened when she wasn’t taking him seriously.
“Easy on the laughter. You might choke yourself.”
And like a jinx, Satele coughed, which sent Asher in a panic.
“What the fuck! I just told you to be careful.”
For a moment, he didn’t know how to react. His palm hesitantly hovered on her back before he went for it and rubbed her back anyway.
Satele coughed a few more times, and by the time she caught her breath, her face and eyes were red. What the heck! She choked with her saliva!
“You okay?” Asher asked, caressing the palms of his hand against her back.
Satele was surprised his voice was a few octaves lower and a little soothing. She took a peek at him, and what she saw made her gasp in silence. She found his arrogant face but soft eyes proclaiming worry for her.
. . . W-Wha . . . and for some reason, this got her blood excited, racing to her head, adding to her already reddening face. Warmth radiated inside her, spreading through the rest of her body. She quickly shifted her head forward, pretending not to be affected with the heat and that weird tingling sensation in her stomach, which caused her palms to sweat.
“I’m fine,” she said, grabbing the bottle of water Asher gave to her and drunk it without thought. She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and casually returned the bottle to him.
“Aren’t you going to eat that?” she asked after a time that Asher just stared at her.
“You know . . .” Asher briefly paused before continuing, eyes glued to hers. “You . . . lack grace and poise.” And yet, here I am, admiring that trait of you.
“Well, sorry you’re eating together with an unrefined monkey. No wonder you’re not finishing your food. It must have been hard on you.”
“How on earth did you derived from that?”
“How am I supposed to interpret it then?” Satele laughed dryly.
Asher stared into her eyes, and Satele felt that something was not right the longer he stared at her. His pupils were dilating, melting even while his hard, arrogant countenance became softer, much softer.
Were her eyes playing tricks on her?
Her thoughts were interrupted when he leaned closer, and she leaned back on instinct. But the limited space they were in, there was not much room to maneuver.
“You . . .” Asher paused again, lips pressed tight for a fraction of second as if he was fighting the words that would come out next from his lips. “You’re annoying, irritating, stubborn, and the most unrefined woman I know. You always contradict me and loves to pick fights with me.”
The more words came out from Asher’s lips, the more Satele’s brows crumpled. She was about to retaliate when his next words stunned her in disbelief.
“But my head is a total whack of you. You really know how to toy with me, do you know that?”
“W-Wha . . .” What did I do? Why did their conversation turn out this way? Satele’s heart was beating in her throat now. A part of her didn’t want to listen and wanted to escape and don’t see the man anymore. But another part, the tiniest spec which was hiding since the moment she saw him was sparkling brighter and bigger until she could no longer ignore it, urging her to stay and hear what he had to say.
Asher looked at Satele. Her simple face. Her small nose. Her unappealing appearance and flat chest. But to all oddity, he found her beautiful. Her eyes, which were dark violet, almost black as her hair that cascaded to her waist in thick locks. And her mouth . . .
He leaned in closer, their forehead touching. He knew she didn’t like him, but he could no longer fight what he was feeling. He could no longer wait! Just having her sitting beside him was enough to let those words he was holding back slip from his mouth.
“I like you.”
“. . .”
“I like you damn it! And damn you for making me feel like this.”
Huh? Satele opened her mouth and prepared to barrage him with words, but it was when his mouth covered hers. It was warm and gentle yet firm. And the weirdest part, it sent shivers ran down her back. The intoxicating taste of cigarettes mixed with the odd combination of spices from the shawarma made her hungry for more as her wide eyes stared at the different emotions in his gaze.
Asher drew away quickly when he realized they were in a public place, and people started to throw weird sneaking glances at them.
Still, Satele didn’t pay any attention to that. She could hardly swallow. The blazing heat engulfed all parts of her body. She didn’t know how to react. She was stunned at his confession, and the kiss was the last straw, totally cutting her communication with her brain.
“Your reply is?” Asher asked, back to his arrogant self. Though the redness at the tip of his ears and the beads of sweat on his face were becoming pronounce as the seconds ticked by.
“I . . . I . . .” Satele didn’t know what was happening. She was still dumbstruck, and the silliest words came out from her mouth. “I’m . . . I’m not . . . I . . . I’m like any other girl. As you said, I infuriate and annoyed you.”
She was getting signals from her brains again, and there was no stopping her mouth. “How can it be ‘like’? We don’t even know each other. I irritate you. You irritate me. I’m not your type. I mean, this is actually the first longest conversation we have. How can you possibly like me?”
She was having none of it. Or maybe he was joking or pranking her to get back at her? Or maybe there were already cameras around, filming the whole thing for him to laugh with his friends.
She roamed her eyes, hoping to catch the camera guy when Asher pinched her chin and steadied her gaze on him.
“I’m not joking.”
“To me, it sounded like a joke,” she said, laughing without humor. “Okay, let’s forget about the whole get to know you part, but . . . I’m not even your type, you said it yourself. How do you expect me to believe you when a guy such as yourself who have everything to actually like someone like me? A girl who has nothing. No looks which could topple an entire country. No wealth to wantonly spent. No grace and pose which––uhmp!”
Satele didn’t finish her sentence when Asher kissed her again. Her palms landed on his chest, pushing him while shifting her head away from his reach.
“Stop! Stop it!” She smacked his chest while wiping her lips.
“Did somebody ever tell you that you talk too much?” Asher said, unperturbed by Satele’s angry appearance. He gripped her wrist and casually held it in the air, stopping her from hitting him.
“Yes, and I will talk how much I want!” Satele snapped with her cute little perking nose, which Asher found adorably cute.
“Woman, you’re not beautiful, and you’re not rich. No, you don’t even have twenty dollars on you. You couldn’t even afford to treat me a decent meal. You’re so cheap and annoying.”
“But to me, you’re simply haunting, and I like you. You and your shit personality, so deal with it!”
“W-Wha . . .” It wasn’t romantic at all! It was a confession soiled by pride and arrogance!
But why is it that she wanted to cry?
Leaning in, his forehead touched hers in gentle caress. Their hot breath fanned each other’s faces as he murmured with a raspy, low voice.
“If you could see yourself through my eyes . . . you won’t be saying that now . . .”
What? What did he say? She couldn’t quite get that. Her hearing was tempered with the vigorous pounding of her heart.
“Your answer?” he asked.
“I . . .” Answer? What answer? She didn’t know. She didn’t know what was happening. She was still hang up in his words that he likes her. She was not over it. How could her brain think and process an answer when nothing came to mind? Her mind was utterly blank.
“I . . . I don’t know . . .” She really didn’t know. Her emotions were a mess at the moment! Don’t ask her anything! Don’t even ask her name!
“. . .”
Asher released Satele’s wrist, and cupped her face with his hands, softly caressing his thumb on her cheeks. “Think about it . . . ,” he whispered.
The gentleness in his voice and the softness of his whole countenance was really baffling, especially that all the times that she was with him, she knew him as a hooligan with an arrogant attitude and boorish mouth.
He moved forward, eyes locked on her lips, which sent her heart racing. She knew what he was going to do next, but why was it that she couldn’t pull away? Why was it that she didn’t want to pull away? That tiny speck of feeling in the past took shape and matured into an emotion which she refused to acknowledge as an attraction. She was attracted to him . . . but did she like him?
She didn’t know . . . and she wasn’t about to find the answer when his lips grazed hers in a soft kiss, and everything fell away.
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