I don't like Samantha. She seemed like a dangerous woman. Maybe it was my paranoia talking but there was something off about her that I couldn't quite pin point.
I had originally wanted to use Theo to get to Samantha—to control her if need be. However, now it seemed that it was the other way around. She had gotten her claws into him instead and was controlling him like puppet. She got him wrapped around her finger like a fool.
I had not anticipate this. Now, I had to change my plans and course of action in dealing with her. It couldn't be passive anymore and had taken a more aggressive route—I had to deal with her personally.
Imagine my surprise, when we landed, Nate was informed that both Samantha and Theo were waiting for us at my office.
I knew immediately that Samantha had somehow figured it out that Theo wasn't me. I was just glad that we didn't tell Theo any of our plans besides what his job entailed—which was going on dates in my place. He probably divulged all he knew to Samantha by this point.
When we met them at the office, Samantha had immediately informed me how she was working for my great uncle—information that she knew that I already knew. She went on saying that she was willing to switch sides and help me instead. I was wary of people flipping sides this easily and knew I couldn't trust her from the start. However, I still wanted to hear what she had to offer—whether that offer was real or not—it would still be an advantage for us to know.
Before I could hear of her plan, Grace had shown up. She kept showing up at the wrong place and at the wrong time and put me in a dilemma. I didn't want Samantha to know our connection in case she would use it against me later—in case she would hurt Grace to force my hands in the future. But I hope it would never come to that.
As I stood there, with Samantha's spider fingers on my chest, I wanted to fling the woman aside and go to Grace. To embrace her and tell her to trust me, to not doubt me or let anyone else make her doubt me.
But I couldn't, I could only stand there and stare back at her. When she swayed, my feet involuntarily moved. Before I knew it, I was by her side, grabbing her and asking her what was wrong.
Currently, as we sat in the car, Grace suddenly asked me. "Do you love me?"
My hand tightened on the steering wheel as I contemplated my answer.
"Grace, let's talk about this later. I'm trying to take you to the hospital right now." I explained. I wanted us to sit down and talk about this instead of me being distracted by driving.
"No. No more later. I'm sick of later. You don't know how much I despise that word." I said frustratedly and stubbornly. "Just tell me the answer now. I just can't wait anymore." My voice wavered as I continued. "You don't know how much it hurts not knowing if the other person feels the same or even cares about you."
Tears fell down my cheeks and I hated myself for being so emotional and pathetic. I wish I could just let this drop. They were just three little words, why did I want to hear them so badly? Insecurities weren't attractive no matter how you look at it and I was worried he would be turned off by them, by me.
A few minutes of silence passed and I thought he was going to ignore my question and not answer. However, he decided to pull over and parked on the side of the road. He took his seatbelt off and turned to look at me as I did the same. He cupped my cheeks and brushed away my tears with his thumbs before letting them drop and seized my hands.
"Grace, I didn't say those words back when you first said them not because I didn't feel the same way or that I didn't care about you. I just..." His voice faltered as his hazel eyes bored intently into mine. "I just didn't know what love means..."
He paused for a while as if pondering on how else to proceed. The silence was deafening. Even though there were cars zooming fast by us outside, I didn't register any of the external noises. All my focus was on Artemis's beautiful face and his enchanting lips—waiting for the words that would eventually come out of them.
I could hear my heart beating hard in my ears as I waited. My hands squeezing his tightly due to the suspense. Each second seemed to drag on forever and I started to regret asking the question.
Finally, Artemis spoke up and I stopped breathing. He said each word slowly as if to savor the meaning behind each of them.
"If love means I think about you every minute of every hour of every day, then yes, I love you. If love means I want to make love to you every time I see you, then yes, I love you. If love means I feel lonely when you're not around, then yes, I love you. If love means I feel content when you're near, then yes, I love you. If love means my heart beats wildly when you simply kiss me, then yes, I love you." He paused to let it all sink in before he added the last part. "And if love means I keep seeing you in all my future plans, then yes, I absolutely and positively love you."
I let out the breath I was holding. It came out fast like the biggest relief I've ever felt. I did not expect this kind of confession. I thought that if I pushed him, he might shut down further, or at most, he would just simply say those three words back. However, this was more than I could have hoped—way more. My heart was swelling as he carried on with each sentence. I felt as if I could explode with happiness at this very moment.
I was so overwhelmed with joy that I didn't even pay attention to the last part—something about future plans. Tears brimmed my eyes again, and this time, it was for the opposite reason.
"What? What's wrong?" He was adorably surprised and concerned. "Did I say the wrong things?"
"No." I laughed through my tears. "You said the perfect things." I wiped at my face with the back of my hands as I did more laugh-cried. "These are happy tears."
As he was helping me with drying my tears, I grabbed his suit lapels and pulled him in for the kiss that I've been imagining the moment he had landed. His hands held my waist as I playfully bit his bottom lip. He groaned and bent his head to deepen the kiss. His tongue invaded my open mouth and devoured me like a starving man. I kissed him back just as hungrily.
My arms went around his neck, pulling him closer as my soft chest rubbed against his hard one. My body stretched over the gap between our two seats and the action pulled on my stitches causing discomfort.
When his fingers dug deeper into my sides, I gasped at the pain—finally remembering the wounds that needed attention.
"Sorry. Did I hurt you?" Artemis said huskily against my lips. "I think we should continue on our way to the hospital before we get distracted."
"If I weren't hurt at this very moment, I would want you to make love to me right here and right now." I said boldly and passionately.
A mischievous smirk appeared on his attractive face. "Oh. It’ll happen." He said it seductively like a promise. “Bet on it.” And sealed it with one more sweet kiss.
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