Chapter: 10

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ELENA

I was going through my mail when the phone rang. "Elena speaking, how may I—" A familiar voice interrupted.
    
"My cabin. Now." And there was a beep indicating that he had hung up. I blinked while still processing it. Did no one ever think of teaching him some manners?
    
"Sure!" I answered the line which was, well, dead.
    
I took the elevator to his floor and was very soon in front of his cabin. The CEO'S cabin was on a completely different floor, just the one above mine. He grunted a 'Come in' on knocking. Except his gaze wasn't trained on his laptop screen unlike usual. It was on me.
    
"How may I help you, Mr. Parker?"
    
Rylan's eyes twitched for an imperceptible moment, what I had picked up from our interactions, was a sign that he wasn't pleased about something. "It's Rylan for you."
    
"I'm afraid you're my boss here."
    
"And that's why you do as I say." He stated, too calmly, as if raising his voice was beneath him.
    
"You're infuriating!" 
    
"I've been told worse." I rolled my eyes, contemplating whether to bolt out of the room. He probably saw it.
    
"Elena, take a seat." I didn't want to. First reason was he made everything he says sound like an order. More so because the last time he asked me to take a seat ended up in me agreeing to a marriage contract.
    
I folded my arms, staring defiantly at Rylan. He nodded to himself.
    
"As you wish!" He too stood up and buttoned his suit jacket. "You need to move in. With me if that isn't clear."
    
"Excuse me?" I burst out.
    
"You heard me."
    
"Why will I move in?" Instincts are never wrong. I guessed he was gonna say something that wouldn't be very pleasant and there we were.
    
He rounded the table and stopped at a considerable distance. "Because apparently that's what couples who are about to get married do."
    
"But ours is a marriage of convenience!" I snapped.
    
"And yet we are trying to convince people otherwise." I hated it. I hated the composure in his voice and I hated the fact that he was right.
    
I took a deep calming breath which actually didn't do much.
    
"I need time." Time to tell my parents, my friends and above all time to convince myself because I was nowhere near ready to spend more hours with him. He surely knew how to push my buttons and that couldn't be ideal for staying under one roof.
    
"Well you have till the end of this week."
    
I opened and closed my mouth, multiple times, stunned at his impudence. You know the feeling when you want to curse the shit out of someone but your supply fails you? I was living that feeling.
    
"You get off on it, don't you? Knowing that you're in control of every-fucking-thing!?" I asked when I had finally found my words.
    
Rylan thrust his hands in his pocket. "Well it certainly does help me sleep better at night."
    
"I'm done here!" I left before I acted on my violent instinct.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

'We are meeting my Dad for lunch. Be ready by eleven.'
    
I had read Rylan's text, twice, the second time pissing me off even more. He arranged a meeting with his father and didn't even bother to ask me if the time was convenient, not to mention the absence of a prior notice. Every single thing about this man screamed arrogant.
    
Rylan stood outside my house leaning against his car. It felt weird that he was in a knit polo, chinos and converse sneakers after I had been seeing him in nothing but formals the past two weeks. He straightened up when he saw me approaching.
    
"I hope you don't feel bad because it was so convenient adjusting my schedule according to you and getting ready in all but an hour!" I sneered.
    
He stared blankly at me before throwing a gruff "Get in."
    
My sneer turned into a full scowl. I didn't take orders from anyone, much less him.
    
"Say please." He halted in his steps and looked at me.
    
"What?"
    
"You gave out an order. Make it a request." I was done with him and his bossy tone. I would rather him make it fast if he was to make it to lunch on time.
    
"Or what?" He raised a brow, looking already bored by the conversation.
    
"I'm not getting in." I folded my arms against my chest. He gave me an incredulous look.
    
"Are we seriously doing this?" I shrugged in response.
    
"You kind of just ordered me to be ready for a lunch meeting that I had no prior notice of. The least you can do is not give another—" He cut in.
    
"I would have told you yesterday if you hadn't stormed out of my cabin." He offered a lame ass excuse. What about a text last night? I figured there's no point in telling him that..
    
"Well I'm not getting in unless you say please" I took his earlier spot, leaning against his car. "And luckily, we have all the time in the world because we aren't getting late for lunch or something!" His jaw flexed as he deliberated on his options.
    
"Elena, get in, please." That wasn't very good because he slightly gritted out the last part but I had made my point and I could work with that.
    
"Sure." He shut the door after me and got in the driver's seat.
    
I secured the seat belt around me. "I'm revolted by the awful lot of time I have been spending in your vicinity lately."
    
"I suppose you must be really excited at the prospect of moving in."
    
"Mm-hmm…Can't wait!"
    
"Why didn't you just send your driver to pick me up? I would have liked that a lot better."
    
"Can't say I didn't want to. Grandmother wouldn't have been very pleased." I couldn't help the corner of my lips from curving up. It was funny, imagining this giant arrogant man getting scolded by his grandmother.
    
I chuckled. "So the bossy and arrogant Mr. I-Get-It-All has someone who can keep his ass on line."
    
"Excuse me?" I grinned, enjoying the offended tone in his words.
    
"Excused." He exhaled, somewhat exasperated. I looked out of the window, my mood relatively better than it was in the morning.
    
"I hope you remember the story." He decided to break the comfortable silence that I wasn't minding at all.
    
"Grams will be wanting to hear everything from you about how we met and…." He trailed off.
    
"Fell in love. Don't worry, I have it all memorized. You kind of don't forget it when all you have done last week is try and sell this story to your family." I went back to staring outside because thinking about it kind of unnerved me, especially since that reaction from Dean.
    
We were soon in front of the Parker mansion. After seeing Rylan's penthouse, I wasn't guessing that a spread out luxurious mansion in a respectable suburb would be his father's preference.
    
"Here." Rylan's voice pulled my attention back. He was holding out a black velvet box towards me. "Put it on."
    
My heart was beating real fast. I could hear it. Unfortunately, it wasn't out of excitement but because of the way it was happening.

It wasn't the most special moment of my life like it was supposed to be. It was nothing like I had imagined it would be. I wasn't giddy with love or any sort of euphoric emotions whatsoever, not a single happy tear, nothing.
    
Just one cold dead moment.
    
I sucked in a breath and opened it. Without even realizing, I let out an audible gasp. My gaze was fixed on the intricate ring with the most beautiful blue solitaire diamond I had ever set my eyes on, not that I've seen many.
    
"It must be really expensive!" I said dragging my eyes off the ring.
    
He squinted his eyes and looked ahead. "Didn't leave a dent in my bank account, if that's what you're worried about."
    
"This is beautiful but I can't take it." I said closing it back. "This is too much." I meant it. It may not be something too noticeable for Rylan but it was for me.
    
"Well, we don't exactly have a choice now because I need my Dad to see the engagement ring on your finger." His Dad. The way Rylan said it told me that his Dad won't be easy to convince. That's why the ring.
    
When I still hadn't made a move he sighed and took it back from me. "There you go!" He said, slipping the ring onto my finger. I felt the weight of it on my fingers, the weight of a big fat lie.
    
"We are getting late." He had the door held open for me. I stepped out trying not to be jittery about it all. Fake marriage or not, didn't hurt to make a good first impression on people I was going to see more of in the next two years. I smoothened the imaginary creases from my dress.
    
When we're just in front of the front door something really abrupt came out of my mouth. "Am I looking fine?"

The question came out spontaneously before I could give it much thought. Rylan looked at me with just as much surprise flashing in his eyes.
    
Way to make it awkward, Elena!
    
"Wait! Don't answer that." Embarrassed I looked away and squeezed my eyes shut, probably hoping to magically conjure up a way for taking my words back.
    
Something even more surprising fell from his lips. "You look perfect."
    
I swiftly turned back towards Rylan only to find him staring at me. I searched those beautiful hazel orbs. There wasn't a hint of mockery or deception in them. Had the words not been ringing loud and clear in my head, I would have believed that it was a mere imagination on my part.
    
A warm voice cut in.
    
"You're here! Come in." I guessed she was Rylan's grandmother although she looked quite young to play the part.
    
"Grams, meet Elena, my fiance." The old lady shook her head at Rylan in slight disappointment. Could someone just get me out before she would start elaborating on how I didn't fit with her grandson?
    
"Wouldn't hurt you being a little more chipper with the introduction. I'm not meeting your teacher." Rylan gave her an unimpressed look but she wasn't least bothered by it. She turned all her attention to me. For a second, I was nervous under her gaze before a smile broke out on her face.
    
"Elena, I was so excited to meet you!" She touched my arm with a certain warmth in her honey brown orbs.
    
"It's very nice to meet you too, Mrs. Parker." I smiled politely.
    
"Mrs. Parker sounds too old. I'm only in my prime sweetheart!" I let out a small laugh at that. A little confession? I was hoping that his family members would resemble him in his social graces. So this came as a little surprise.
    
Rose, as she asked me to call her, guided me inside. I discreetly kept stealing glances of the place. It was huge and just as magnificent. I bet the centerpiece itself was costlier than my yearworth earnings. When we reached the living area a man probably in his late forties walked in. Mr. Parker? Why did no one in here look their age?
    
"Elena, right?" He asked, forwarding his hand. "I'm Samuel, Rylan's father." He flashed a warm smile at me and I could see the striking similarities in their faces. Rylan looked a lot like his father except I had never seen him properly smile. A smug grin or a sarcastic smirk didn't qualify.
    
I took his hand. "You have a beautiful house, Mr. Parker."
    
Another calculating smile. "Thank you, Elena. Why don't we sit down and talk?"

 Why don't we sit down and talk?"

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