I didn’t realize that taking this job means working alongside Kane. It meant that I will spend every day running through objectives, structures, estimate on costs and time, manpower, and many more. I worked on my business proposal-drafting up the structure plans and gathering resources. I have moved from the village to the city. It was easier access to the internet.
Niran had offered to pay for an apartment for me but I refused. It sounds like I am ungrateful but the truth is I don’t need his money. I understand why he felt that he needed to pay for my residence in the city but I have always been born slightly more independent. Hence, I used whatever savings I had and hopefully during that time that I work under Kane, I will receive enough payment to continue paying for my apartment.
Within the week of our first meeting, Kane has moved from the hotel to a small office area that he has rented. Again, this is highly unusual for an employer of his prestige to remain behind and so close to me. We were communicating directly on the project. It was the only the two of us that worked in that office space.
Most employers communicate with contractors and their employers through emails, webcasting sessions, and phone calls. It wasn’t like that for this case. He was working hand in hand with me. The consultant that he hired for me to run ideas or questions by was someone from a larger city. He was a well-known architect. My first time meeting him had me stuttering because I was intimidated by his godly presence in my career world.
With this project on my mind, I used it as an excuse to push the wedding date and decision further. Niran was a little upset with the fact that I didn’t want to complete it.
“You can still work while we are married. The wedding will only be one day. Plus, the elders will be planning it, Anna. You just need to be there.”
I shuddered behind my desk at work. Marriage is not on the plate right now with me. I can’t commit when my heart isn’t there. I’m horrible to use work as an excuse to push the wedding date. So like the coward that I am, I am hiding behind work.
A knock sounded on my door and I looked up from my designs to see Kane leaning against the door frame. Today he was dressed in a light grey suit with a clean white dress shirt that was unbuttoned at the top. He crossed his arms over his chest and gave me a lazy grin.
“Can I help you?” I arched an eyebrow.
He shrugged before pushing off the door frame and stuffing his hands into his pocket. He walked over to sit in the chair across from me.
“How are you doing?” He asked.
“Everything is coming along well. I have a few designs completed-”
“I mean, how are you doing?” He interrupted.
I frowned, “Fine.”
A frequent lie. Truth is, I am dying inside. You look like Raiden. You are driving me insane standing in front of me. My heart hurts. I am constantly angry.
I returned my eyes back to my screen and scribbling down notes onto a notepad. After a few minutes, I looked back up to see him looking at me and there was something in his eyes but it was so short-lived that I didn’t catch it in time. He blinked and it was gone.
Something inside me broke and I couldn’t understand why.
He averted his eyes then. Standing up, he fixed the cuff on his suit and placed his hands behind his back while turning. He walked out of the office without another word but that wasn’t what had me staring after him.
It was the way he walked. It was startling similar to Raiden’s. I bit my lips to stop the incoming of emotions before shaking my head and returning my focus back to my work.
A few hours later, I saw Kane leave the office. I sighed feeling slightly more at ease. I threw myself into a zone and was nose deep in my work. I glanced outside and saw that it was dark but I was so close to completing this one project that I told myself to fight on and continue working.
However, an hour later, my eyes grew heavy and everything around me blurred as the sleep demon took control of my body. I rested my head over my arms on the desk as I closed my eyes just to stop it from becoming heavy but I should have known that it would make me fall asleep completely.
In my dreams, I was sleeping on top of Raiden. The smell of his masculine, salty sea scent filled my nostrils and I sighed in happiness.
“I miss you,” I mumbled. “Please don’t leave me. Please come back.”
I clung onto his body. My arms moved to wrap around his neck. My body curled up into his. I sought his warmth, his scent, and his love like it was air. I missed him so much. I didn’t want this moment to go away.
“You promised me.” I whimpered. “That you will always return.”
His arms tightened around me and I felt a pair of lips brushed across my forehead before trailing down the bridge of my nose and lightly brushing against my lips. It felt so good to be back in his arms. I let out another tiny sigh of content and snuggled closer.
“Raiden,” I breathed.
But at the whisper of his name, I felt him pulling away. Was it something that I said? His warmth and scent were becoming distant and a surge of panic filled me. I just got him. I can’t lose him.
“No,” I mumbled in fear. “No.”
Pain filled swarmed over my body again. I shook my head and held onto his body tighter but no matter how hard I tried, he was slipping through my fingers like air.
“No...no...please...I love you.” I pleaded with everything I had.
I sobbed, “Raiden, no!”
It felt like running for miles and whatever I am reaching for, it seems to be farther away from me. He was slipping from my grasp. My happiness was deteriorating as he disappears in front of me.
My eyes flew open and I sat upright immediately. Looking around frantically, I saw that I was now sleeping on the small couch in my office.
It was only a dream. I slumped in my seat in disappointment. I must be missing him like crazy to be dreaming about him like this.
A vision of him standing before me dressed in only his black trousers. His hands behind his back and a small smile on his face. Sadness and loss filled me like an empty cup.
I glanced out through the clear glass window that was separating my office from the hallway. I saw Kane’s retreating form. I shot up to my feet and in desperation, I ran to stand at my door.
Raiden, I called out his name in my mind. The desperation inside me was growing.
Kane stopped and I waited with my heart beating fast in my chest. I waited for him to turn. His shoulders were stiff. I held my breath.
A minute later he turned to look at me and his eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
“Did you say something?” He asked.
My heart thumped slower as the pain in my chest increased. It felt like someone was squeezing the life out of me. I shook my head while looking down at my feet. Letting out a disappointed sigh, I turned around and walked back to my desk. I turned off my computer after saving my work. I heard him walking back to my room but I refused to look at him.
A brief silence passed between us and during this silence, I have decided to push Raiden to the back of my mind. It was the only way I can keep my sanity around Kane.
“You are leaving for the day?” He inquired.
I nodded, “It’s late. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
After I tidied up my desk, I grabbed my purse and brushed past Kane but a pair of rough hands wrapped around my wrist. I glanced down at my wrist before looking at him.
“Did you eat?” He asked out of nowhere.
“No, I didn’t have time today,” I replied, tugging on my hands. It was sending little fireworks through my skin and to my heart.
“Let me treat you to dinner.” He offered and when he saw the look of hesitation passed on my face he raised up a hand. “Don’t worry. I won’t bite.”
I chewed on the inside of my cheek as I debated if this was a good idea. My stomach grumbled loudly in front of us and he smirked. Walking over, he took hold of my hand and walked us out of the office. Soon after, we were walking down to his car.
He opened the door for me and I slipped inside. After he closed my door, he hurried to the driver side. We drove through the small lively city until we reached a busy night street stall. As soon as we parked the car and got out, I can smell the sweet cinnamon smell of star anise.
We sat in an empty four seat table. The owner walked over and Kane ordered two bowls of pho. The bowl of noodle consists of beef broth that has been simmering all day, rice noodles, beef, Asian meatballs, and a hefty amount of vegetables. A few minutes later, the bowl of noodles was delivered.
Kane reached to spoon a small amount of red spicy sauce into his bowl. I liked my noodles without added hoisin or siracha and so I picked up my chopsticks and spoon, mixed the noodles and started eating.
After we finished our bowl of noodles, he paid for it and we left. I thought that being with him will be an uncomfortable environment, but I found it to be the complete opposite. Eating in silence was relaxing and although we didn’t have a conversation back and forth, I felt like I have known him for a long time.
Now, we were sitting in his car that was parked outside my apartment. Neither of us made a move to end the night. I glanced at him from my peripheral vision. He was looking straight ahead but looking completely relaxed.
“Thank you for dinner tonight.” I glanced at him.
He turned to me with a small tilt to one corner of his lip, “No problem. You could return the favor and take me out for breakfast tomorrow.”
“Will this be a habit?” I asked.
He broke into a smile then and shrugged nonchalantly. I sighed before turning my body to face him.
“I appreciate your kind gestures but I don’t think we should be doing this in the future.”
Another stab at my chest. I bit my lips and risked a glance up at him. He made a bold move and took hold of my hands in his. They were warm and felt nice.
“Is it because of Niran?” He asked.
I shook my head and gave him a confused look, “No, it has nothing to do with him. It’s just that—you’re my boss and we work together and...”
“And?” He arched an eyebrow.
I shook my head and started to move back my hands but his grip tightened around mind. I looked up, again, confused.
“And?” He asked again.
He chuckled then.
“What is it, Anna?” He prodded on.
I sighed in defeat, “It’s just that you look like someone I know and it’s hard on me. I can’t...”
“How similar do we look?” He questioned, tilting his head to the side.
“You look exactly like him except for your eyes,” I replied.
He didn’t say anything. Instead, he continued to look at me with those unreadable eyes. After a minute he spoke up.
“How do you know this guy?”
He was my boss. I shouldn’t go into intimate details with him about my personal life but why was it that I feel like everything will be fine around him. I looked out the window.
“It is complicated,” I mumbled.
“We have time.” He tapped the time on his car dashboard. It was a little past nine.
“Why do you want to know?” I asked.
He gave me a lopsided grin, “Because I want to get to know you some more.”
“Then it is only fair if I exchange an answer with a question of my own.”
He laughed softly, “Fine.”
“I met the man a year ago. His name is Raiden. We met in a place where others might not believe ever existed. At first, I thought he was arrogant and despicable but as time passed I found myself falling for him day by day.” Memories of our time in Grenagon entered my mind and I felt my chest tightening. I closed my eyes and envisioned his face.
“Everything about you reminds me of him,” I whispered.
I felt a hand touch my cheek and I opened my eyes to look at him.
“You love him?”
I swallowed and blinked back the incoming tears, “With everything inside of me. I feel like I am dying.”
We sat in silence. He was looking into my eyes and a shimmer of light passed through his brown eyes. For a second, I thought I saw something familiar but it disappeared like lightning. He dropped his hand from my cheek and leaned back in his seat.
“What is your question for me?” He asked.
“Why did you decided to work here? You could have worked out of your corporate office and sent someone to help me complete this task. After all, you are a millionaire. I am sure you have many things you need to manage.
He smirked, “There is something about this place that makes me happy. That’s why I decided to take care of this matter on my own.”
“What about this place? It’s a small village. It doesn’t get noticed by people, especially rich people.” I insisted.
“I answered your question already. If you are asking another, it is only fair if I get a chance to ask another one of mine.” He replied.
“I’ll allow it,” I answered immediately with a smile on my face.
“Are you sure you are willing to exchange question for a question?”
It was only a question. It wouldn’t hurt at all. I nodded my agreement.
“What would you say if I have other intentions on my mind...” He stopped.
“Like?” I poked further.
“What if I told you that I like you and by taking you out like this, I want to get to know you better? Will you allow it?” He looked at me.
My heart skipped a beat. I bit my bottom lips while he continued to look at me.
There are several things wrong with this. One, he wasn’t Raiden. Two, Niran was at the back of my mind. Three, I wanted to really say yes. The words were practically trying to slip out of my mouth.
He chuckled then and I can see a look of disappointment appearing on his face but he quickly hid it.
“It’s okay. I shouldn’t put you-”
“Yes,” I replied.
I don’t know why I said it. It was like my heart took control and allowed the words to slip past my lips. It could partially be the fact that the look in his eyes when I didn’t respond brought pain to my heart.