What the hell was going on? He asked me to come to have lunch with him and this was what happened? I loudly cleared my throat and closed the door behind me.
The lady in red straightened and turned around to look at me. She was beautiful with her long wavy blonde locks and curvy body. She had pretty facial features and lips that were too plump to be natural. I still couldn't see Artemis, who was hidden behind her, until I walked forward slightly to one side.
Artemis didn't look up from his work and said impassively. "You can take a seat on the sofa while I finish looking over these documents."
I felt a small pin pricked my heart as I sat down on the nearest couch. Seeing how Artemis ignored me, the blonde woman took advantage of the situation and walked around the desk to stand next to Artemis's chair. She wrapped one arm around his shoulders as she bent down to show off her cleavage and sweetly said. " It's almost lunch time, why don't we go grab some food."
The natural light came through the floor-to-ceiling windows beyond them illuminated their silhouettes in an ethereal way. I felt another pin pricked my heart as I stared at the beautiful couple in front of me. I forced myself to look away and across at the other wall where an enormous shelf stood completely filled with colorful binders.
"No. I'll eat later. I still have a lot of work to get done. You may leave." He answered with the same inexpressive manner except his tone seemed colder.
Miss I-can't-get-a-hint continued to gaze at his profile as she reached out and covered his hand with one of hers and said seductively. "All work and no play makes Artemis a dull boy."
How could someone use a line from a horror movie and made it sound so sexy? I mentally threw daggers at her. Even though he wasn't responding to her, I still couldn't help feeling a little sick inside.
"Leave or I will tell my assistant not to let you enter the building next time." He said calmly but one could tell he was faintly annoyed.
Miss Botox-lip straightened and glared at me before angrily stormed out of the room.
"Sorry, I showed up an hour early. I guess my premature arrival ruined your..." I waved my hand. "Whatever-this-was with that lady." I did my best to sound indifferent even though I resented him for making me feel hurt and cheated.
He swiftly made a few scratches here and there with the pen in his hand and then set it down. He finally looked up and said pleasingly. "I don't mind that you came early." His lips curved into a smile. "This way, I'll have more time with you before I leave."
"Leave?" My face marked with confusion. "What are you talking about?"
"I'll tell you over lunch." He got up and walked toward me with the confident gait that I was starting to love so much.
He took me to a restaurant nearby and I felt self-conscious as I looked down at my outfit. "Um maybe we should go to another restaurant where I won't get kicked out for being under dress."
He chuckled and my stomach flip flopped. I could never get tired of this sound—it was not just music to my ears but also joy to my heart. "Don't worry about it." He reassured me.
Sure enough, the host brought us to our table without a comment about my casual attire. I guess having a 12:30 p.m. reservation helped. After Artemis ordered us a three course meal with a specific wine pairing, I immediately asked him. "So what was it that you wanted to tell me?"
I was at the edge of my seat eagerly anticipating his answer.
"I'm flying out tonight for an important business deal and I won't be back until Friday night." He said nonchalantly and without further clarification.
I was extremely disappointed—partly due to him still not answering my marriage question and also due to him being away for a few days. "Where are you going?" I asked dispiritedly.
I couldn't believe that I already started to miss him knowing he won't be home to bug me in the next few days—three days and three nights to be exact.
His smirk appeared on his face. "Are you missing me already?"
"No." I said with a straight face. "And you didn't answer my question."
"I'm flying to Shanghai." He turned back to sounding unconcerned, the teasing in his eyes gone.
"Isn't that where your mom was from? What kind of business deal are you doing in Shanghai?" I remembered my mom telling me that Mrs. Jame was born in Shanghai but moved to the States after meeting Mr. Jame. She came from a wealthy family.
"I'll tell you when I get back." His face dead serious. I've never seen this side of him except that one time at the gala when I was 18 years old. Why was he so cold and distant all of a sudden? I didn't know how to deal with this Artemis.
"What's with all the secrecy?" I demanded as I felt my frustration rising. "All you've been doing is telling me that you will tell me later. When is 'later' exactly?"
Before he could answer, our food came out. Usually, I would dig right in, but today, I didn't have much of an appetite. As I pushed my food around, I couldn't help but wondered what he was doing in Shanghai and why he married me.
"Is it not to your liking?" He asked a little concerned. "I can order you something else."
"No. It's not that." I took a small bite. "The food is delicious."
"Then what's the matter?" His eyebrows creased slightly. "You're not hungry?"
"Hmm." I kept my head down as I played with my food, then I snapped. "What is it that you're not telling me? I feel like you're holding something back and it's driving me crazy." I felt my eyes stung and blinked rapidly to control my emotions. I didn't want to cry in public, especially in front of him.
His hand reached out to gently hold my free one. "I promise I will tell you everything when the time is right. I just can't tell you right now." He gave my hand a squeeze.
"You can't or you won't?" I demanded softly.
"Both." His one word was filled with so much sincerity that I decided to believe him. Even so, the pain was still present because there was so much I don't know and it was killing me inside.
Why did he marry me?
Why did we have to keep our marriage a secret for a month before making it publicly official?
Why did he disappear 14 years ago?
Where did he go and what did he do?