Chapter 27: Assumptions
It was indeed past midnight when the plane landed on their destination and even though it is late the airport seems like it never sleeps. Waiting for Ririna to pick him up in the arrival area, Rion checked his phone for the new messages and emails in his inbox.
He could finally sigh in relief as he got away from the embarrassing moment he had suffered earlier. Taking his luggage with him, he put his phone back on his side pocket before taking steps as he heard Ririna’s car approaching him.
The window in the passenger seat door opened, it was Ririna giving him a confused look. Was it too obvious that his mood was too sour? He ignored her unspoken question and entered the car silently. As she drove away, Ririna wondered what could have happened to Rion? He wouldn’t easily get frustrated with something unless it is something really bad and really got on his nerves.
“So, are you telling me what happened?” She asked.
“No,” Rion replied. It means he would rather drop the topic and forget about it. It is very unlikely that he will meet that unknown woman again.
Ririna didn’t know why but she got a hunch that what made Rion pissed is very interesting. She couldn’t wait to find out what it is. It isn’t every day that she could play and irritate him.
‘Hehe…’ Her eyes glimmer with excitement and Rion shivered as he saw the grin on the witch’s lips. He’s doomed to suffer another prank from this woman anytime soon.
“Are you staying in a hotel while you’re here?”
“No. I’m not even sure how long I’ll be staying. I’ll probably find my own place in the city.”
“I see. You are free to stay at my place for as long as you want. Sky will be very happy to see you. He really misses you.”
Her eyes still on the road, her fingers tapping on the steering wheel as she waited for the traffic light to go green. Since she lives on the outskirts of the city, it will take them an hour to arrive at Peach Blossom Gardens.
“What about your boyfriend? He will probably kill me if he finds out I’m staying at your place.”
“What boyfriend? You mean Eli?”
“Oh now we’re on the first name basis I see,” Rion arched a brow.
“Oh, shut up, Rion. We’ve known each other for years. Do you expect me to call him Mr. Park or the devil for the rest of my life?” she sneered.
Rion laughed silently beside her. He hasn’t seen her for more than a month and he misses arguing with her.
“Of course, you would rather spend the rest of your life with him.”
Even if they were far away from each other, they have managed to keep their communication via phone calls. He knows almost everything about her. Their unusual friendship started when both of them were at the lowest point of their lives. Her, pregnant and alone in a foreign land. Him, a stubborn businessman who has lost the one so dearest to his heart, his younger sister.
Rion couldn’t understand at first how and why they could get along without a problem. She wasn’t like those women who would easily get flustered in his presence. In fact, the first time he met her, she gave him a kick on his stomach. A pregnant woman giving a kick to a grown-up man. Damn, woman! He always felt like shivering whenever he remembered those memories. Even her glare right now is promising a great deal of torture and revenge on in his poor soul.
She has informed him about everything that happened since she met the devil once again, his marriage proposal that she rejected and his eagerness to be with her once again. That man surely knows how to corner her. He laid cards that will make hard for her to resist.
“So, what’s the real deal between the two of you?”
‘Nice try, Rion Stahl. Yes, yes try to evade the witch’s curse and she wouldn’t try to do voodoo on you.’ Rion thought as he tries to change her mood.
She didn’t reply. How was she supposed to answer that question? She continued to drive without giving an answer. Eli has complicated things for her. Does this mean she’s wrong all along? He hurt her, and it doesn’t matter if he meant it or not. She’s been trying to at least forget about him even if she knows she couldn’t hide from him forever. Especially with Sky. Now that their lives are deeply entangled, she knows he will find out about their child sooner or later.
“You’re on it again,” Rion’s voice break the silence within the car.
“What do you mean?”
“You keep on having assumptions about him. Although he knows that the past cannot be changed, he asked you for a fair chance now to prove himself. I don’t know why you wouldn’t talk to him and let him know what really is running within that thick skull of yours,”
“He still thinks I’m his property,” Her face is blank as if she isn’t in herself.
“If you think that way, why didn’t he follow you when you left? Why didn’t he drag you back at home if he thinks that you are his?”
Why? Because she has no use for him anymore, right? She had claimed that she lost her memories. Without her memories, how could she assist and work for him if she doesn’t have her skills anymore?
“Well, he really came after you,” Rion confessed.
Ririna who was caught off guard suddenly stepped on the break surprising both of them. They almost hit the dashboard from the sudden halt of the vehicle.
“What the hell, Ririna? Are you trying to kill me?!!!” Rion yelled.
“What did you say?” Ririna turned her head to Rion and asked. Her eyes filled with confusion, her hands trembling in front of her.
Rion looked at her. He knows he had to tell her what happened three years ago. Eli seems to have changed into another man when she left him. Even if he didn’t experience love yet, he has seen enough men going crazy when the apple of their eyes leave them.
Eli was like that when he met him the first time.
It’s pity that he had to lose her first before realizing her importance. He was ghostly pale, dark circles under his eyes probably result of many sleepless nights he had endured. He was staring at one of the earliest painting that Ririna created.
It was during the first gallery exhibition that Rion and Ririna participated in. while most of her works are for sale, the one Eli was looking at wasn’t.
“Who do you think brought “The Afternoon Rays”?” Rion asked.
Her jaws dropped when she heard what he said. Of course, she could still remember those hard times. She was having her first ever exhibit but two weeks before the said event, Skyler who just turned one got ill and had to be hospitalized for more than a month.
She was very desperate and in despair at those times. If it wasn’t for Rion’s assistance, her exhibit would have fallen apart. The exhibit helped her raise fund for Skyler’s medical expenses but because the bill skyrocketed into an unbelievable price, she had to let go that painting even if she didn’t have any intention to sell it.
The painting “The Afternoon Rays” depicts her and Eli’s first encounter. A young man kneeling in front of a little girl, scrubbing away the dirt on her knees with a handkerchief. She didn’t know why she even painted it.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Ririna’s voice was tinged with disappointment. She had no idea that Eli had sought her almost two years after she left. Does that mean she matters? That he really cares about her? It wasn’t an unrequited love that she had assumed?
“If I told you about him going to your exhibit late at night, would you believe me? Do you know how long he had stood in front of that painting unmoving? He wanted to purchase it but since you told everyone it wasn’t for sale; we didn’t sell it to him. He left a card instead, saying that if you ever change your mind he would take the painting at any price you wish.” Rion explained.
Ririna didn’t know what to say. Was she too selfish and too insensitive about what Eli really thinks about her? Didn’t she notice how he slowly changed since she turned eighteen and took her as his lover?
Did she really know Eli at all?
“You’re so smart but I can tell you now you are so dumb and kinda stupid when it comes to him. You always got these reasons and assumptions against him without even talking to him. Tsk. Poor guy.”
Ririna didn’t make any response at all.
“Won’t you give him a chance? Isn’t he the same man who broke your heart? Sky needs a father, Ririna. He is honest about what he wants and expects from you. Isn’t it time that you do the same for him? Stop making assumptions and talk to him.” Rion suggested.
Ririna only blinked. Her mind still not grasping what Rion has told her. He really does have a point. For years, she only assumed what Eli may think of or what he’ll probably do, but she never bothered to ask him questions to clear things up between them.
Then she remembered what Eli told her from the last time they were together. He wanted her in his life.
‘You beside me. Don’t you ever run away again. I’ll never let you go. If I have to kill, I will kill. If I have to court you forever so you won’t leave again, I’ll do it.’