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His Burning Gaze

by AE 6 months ago in Short Story · updated 6 months ago
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By AE

Eyes of Mr Hawk, courtesy of Matheus Macedo (Pinterest Artist)

If I was ever in a place of predicament, this takes the cookie. My boss wanted me to attend a social event, a gathering full of endless talkative people, in other words Hell. Being part of a fairly grand interior design company, attention was a given, but being at the centre of attention was a big fat no-no. You see, I’m an introvert in all her prime. I don’t like small talk, I don’t like being in the spotlight, I love my privacy and alone time, and I most definitely do not like social gatherings. Just the usual likes and dislikes of someone who’s social battery takes a heavy hit within the space of five minutes in large crowds.

The reason my boss was forcing me to go this event was because we had just finished designing an entire building for one of our most prestige clients. In all honesty, I was quite proud of the work we managed to execute and part of my boss encouraging me to attend this party was because, well the sourcing and the entire design of said building, was all credited to me. The social event was being hosted by the new owners of the building, who had become well acquainted with us, for the very reason that they trusted our work, we managed to fill up masses of beautiful offices. My mum always used to say, ‘integrity is identity’, with that in mind I bounced up the career ladder; being only 25 I was in a well-established place as an interior designer. I know she would be proud of me if she were still here.

The situation at hand was that I was completely dressed in a perfectly fitted black satin dress that fell to the floor, hugging my waist and curves with a long slit that stopped mid-thigh revealing my leg. My favourite black strappy court heels giving me height, my hair in brown silky waves, diamond studs adorning my ears, soft makeup, and glossy lips. I really put my best effort in. The only thing worse about this moment in time were the flips in my stomach. My clammy hands growing colder by the second. Introverted anxiety, I suppose.

“Pull yourself together, Mia”, I whispered to myself before I heard a loud beep outside my apartment, signalling the arrival of a car. After one last glance at myself, I made my way down the steps and out of my apartment. I walked out of the apartment complex, and immediately felt the gush of the cold wind travelling its way through my body. My boss was nice enough to send a car for me with my favourite driver. I did love my boss, old and fatherly, he took care of his employees. Maybe he was more partial towards me, but I wasn’t complaining, he was happy with the work I produced.

“You look lovely, Miss Lunette”, a thick Irish accent came from the driver’s seat.

“Thank you, Taylor. You look rather dapper yourself”, I chuckled. Taylor and I crossed paths quite occasionally, usually because he would be driving me around to source out materials and other aspects that come with being an interior designer. The drive was fairly silent, which I was grateful for, aside from Taylor’s soft humming to John Legend on the radio. Taylor knew my introverted tendencies and he respected that I didn’t like the formality of small talk, and for that I would always be grateful.

As he drove off, I watched the city pass us by from the window, night life bustling with people preparing for the weekend. I could almost feel myself submerge into my own land of dreams, but it was quickly broken by the sound of people talking and the dreaded car slowing right in front of the masses of people gathered around in front of Herring Banquet Hall. Media press were also present of course, lights flashing, journalists shoving and shouting questions. When will this night end?

“Have a lovely evening, Miss Lunette. Please, call when you wish to leave” Taylor chimed. I could see his look of pity for me through the mirror, I gave a small smile and proceeded to step out of the car. The cold air engulfing me once again, and the dread seeming to set its way into my stomach as my hands resumed their clamminess.

“Ah, there you are Mia. I was wondering if you’d ever show up”, my boss, Jonathon, called out to me. I turned around and gave him an awkward smile. He was dressed in a black suit, white shirt and black bow tie, salt and pepper hair slicked back, miles away from the laid-back boss that he was.

“If I could get out of this, I would Jon.” Grimacing at the amount of people present. He chuckled at my look of trepidation.

“No way, there is no getting out of this missy. You look beautiful” he gave me a side hug, and for the millionth time, I felt that father-daughter feeling my boss always managed to give me. “Shall we go inside; I would introduce you to the press, but I fear you may pass out from the pressure” he sarcastically remarked to which he earned an eye-roll. He laughed again and proceeded to lead me inside to where, lo and behold, there were more people. “I know you like to stay hidden, but I do need to introduce you to some potential new clients. Give them a reason to want to work with us, you know” Jon added ever so casually. Before I could say anything further, he heard his name being called out “Ah, Mr. Kellan”, he shouted back and waltzed off in the direction of the man in question.

Once again, all by myself. I took a deep breath and decided to walk ahead, I could still feel the cool breeze of the autumn evening hitting my back, doing nothing but making me shiver. I wanted a place to sit and hide. Gazing around, I admired the design and the ambience of the entire room. Large with high ceilings, a sort of Scottish look to the pillars that held the ceiling up, the lighting dim but not enough to obscure faces. It was… romantic if there was a word to describe it. You could hear the chatter of all the people invited to the classiest event of the month, amongst that, you could hear soft music playing, matching the atmosphere of high-class and sophistication. At the far end of the room was a bar, with drop lights surrounding the entire area. Luckily, there were chairs, in fact the only places to sit were at the bar. Before I knew it, I was bee-lining towards the counter, desperate to be away from stares and occasional looks, I smiled my way through the crowd of high-society guests and finally landed at the bar. Just as I was about to sit down, a buzz set its way on my skin.

Someone’s looking at me.

Call it woman’s intuition, but the feeling was intense, too strong to ignore. Almost instantly, my eyes were taking me up to the balcony that overlooked the room, and right at the centre, strong hands leaning against the golden bannister, was a man, an Adonis. My skin prickled at his gaze, making me shiver. The cold night had nothing on his penetrating stare. His deep brown eyes dead set on mine, his eyebrows slightly raised, his stubbly jawline so sharp I wanted to run my finger across it, just to see if it would cut me. Tall and built, power emanated off him, smacking me right in the gut and for the life of me, I could not drag my eyes away. His posture and demeanour showed supreme dominance. His influence, whether or not felt by the room, could definitely be felt by me. It was magnetic, like as if the only place you could look was at him. The side of his mouth lifted up at the corner ever so slightly, it would have been easy to miss if I wasn’t staring right back. He was amused and I was completely encaptivated. Still, his eyes didn’t move even for a fraction of a second.

Mia, get it together. I screamed at myself, but I struggled to look away. Before I could make a further fool of myself, the bartender’s voice managed to snap me out of the intense gawking that was happening. I was eternally grateful.

“Can I get you anything, Ma’am?” he asked politely.

“Erm, a glass of water please” I managed to muster out of my dry mouth, my heart rate probably at an all-time high. How could one person draw such a reaction? I shook away the growing thoughts as soon as a tall glass of water was placed in front me. Grabbing the cool glass, I chugged the contents, desperate to calm my nerves, I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. After a couple of seconds though, that buzzing feeling had left and I began to relax. I closed my eyes, a hand on my heart and took a deep breathe. Repeating the mantra don’t look up, don’t look up, don’t look up. If I did, what would happen? I didn’t want to find out, the thought only propelling my heart into the race of life. Honestly, my state was laughable.

Once again, I was broken out of my inner dwelling, by Jon. “Mia, is everything alright?” he asked in his worrisome manner. I smiled and nodded.

“Just managed to find a seat” I breathed out a laugh.

“Well, I need to borrow you from the seat” he added in a sarcastic manner plus an eye-roll. “Remember the potential clients I told you about?” he enquired, to which I nodded my head. “I want to introduce you to them”. He urged with his eyes for me to agree, judging by the look on his face, this was important. I wanted to throw a strop, but alas, I had a duty to a boss who pretty much let me do whatever I wanted to. I can’t count the long lunch breaks he let me have or the number of times he let me work from home. He knew I was comfortable with what was familiar to me, people, and environment alike. As much as I didn’t want to, I put on my professional face and followed him to the ‘potential clients’ he was so excited about.

I couldn’t see what exchange was happening since my five-foot four self, even with heels on, had nothing on the towering height of Jon, but everything was within hearing distance.

“Mr. Hawk, I’d like to introduce you to my star designer” He moved out the way for me to step forward, the smile on my face vibrant, until I saw exactly who ‘Mr. Hawk’ was, and my smile had instantly dropped. His power once again engulfing me, he was tall, broad, and extremely handsome.

I saw his emotionless face turn into one of interest. His lip curled into a smile. Once again, his gaze burning straight through my soul as he took a step forward, accelerating the speed of my heart. I could have heart failure right in this moment. He stuck his hand out for me to shake.

“Hello Mia, it’s nice to meet you” he spoke, his voice smooth, deep, the sexiest sound I’d ever heard. I couldn’t move, couldn’t speak. No matter how much I urged myself to say something, my voice remained stuck, my mouth dry as a dessert. My hands remained at my side, unable to convince them to move. Stuck in his trance, I faintly felt Jon nudge my back, to which I managed to break out of his hypnotic stare. I moved my hand into his, the feeling setting me on my fire. His big hands enveloped mine and his smile dropped looking at our hands entwined together, like as if he felt what I felt, his broad chest growing as he drew in a quiet breath. Before I knew it, his chocolate-coloured eyes were back on mine, leaving me rooted in the spot, his gaze fierce as ever.

“Nice to meet you too, Mr. Hawk” my brain finally registering and signalling my mouth to respond softly.

“Please”, his expression full of intent, “Call me Hunter” he uttered roughly, only making the air harder to breath.

I was wrong, of all predicaments, this one definitely takes the cookie. Not just one cookie, but all of them.

A.E

Short Story

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AE

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