Alijah stepped off the plane in Altay, China. Right away it seemed as if her body was giving out on her. She had known she would have a bit of jet lag but hadn't expected it to kick in right away. After she had called the pilot Thursday morning as Kieran had asked her to, she did some research on Altay. She had learned that it was a twenty-three-hour flight. That at first had worried her, but Kieran told her it would be fine. They would stop halfway, in Moscow, to refuel and do whatever else needed to be done.
Her next discovery was that Altay was fifteen hours ahead of Denver. So, while they had left Friday night, they didn't arrive until Sunday afternoon. Alijah figured that was another reason her body was so out of sorts and she hadn't even been off the place more than a few minutes. To her body, it was supposed to be night time.
Sighing, Alijah followed Kieran as he made his way to the car that was waiting for them. She slid in first, and once he was in and the driver was going around to get in as well, she leaned over and lay her head on his shoulder. She just wanted to sleep the rest of the day. As if reading her mind, Kieran's voice broke the silence of the car.
“You can't go to sleep, Alijah.”
Alijah contemplated rolling her eyes for a moment, but then decided against it. He couldn't see her, so the act would be done only for her benefit, and she honestly did not have the energy.
“Like hell, I can't. When we get to the hotel, I'm taking a hot shower and going straight to bed.” Even though she'd showered on the plane, she felt she needed another one.
Kieran didn't reply to her surprise and relief. She didn't have the energy to try and argue with him. She just wanted to rest, even if it was only for the ride to their hotel.
He hadn't been specific in where he wanted to stay so Alijah decided to book a two-bedroom suite at the Sheraton Urumqi Hotel. When she informed Kieran of as much, he hadn't seemed to mind either way.
Alijah hadn't remembered falling asleep, but she was being awakened by Kieran shaking her. She slowly opened her eyes, and she would have sworn it was one of the most challenging acts she'd performed in all her life. She was beyond tired.
As Kieran helped her out of the car while the bellhop retrieved their bags, she wanted to smack him. Her body was going through war trying to deal with the drastic change, and yet he seemed to be handling it without a hitch.
She wondered if he'd done anything special. She couldn't be sure but figured he was fine due in part to the fact that the man hardly ever slept anyway.
Alijah hadn't interacted with Kieran a lot on the plane. She spent most of her time in the small bedroom the plane housed, while he spent his in the front, going over work as usual. She saw him when he came to shower, and she contemplated joining him, but she'd already used the shower herself and knew there was no room for that. She had wanted to join the mile-high club, but his constant working put a stop to that.
Once they were checked in, Alijah found herself in their suite. She wasn't sure how she'd gotten there but chalked it up to her body being on autopilot. She was vaguely aware that Kieran was tipping the bellhop as she made her way to, what she assumed, to be one of the bedrooms.
She stumbled in and flopped down on the bed, unceremoniously. Alijah let out a sigh of relief as she allowed her eyes to drift shut and her body to relax.
Alijah groaned in her sleep. She knew she hadn't been asleep very long and here she was being awakened again. She wasn't going to give in. She planned to ignore him. If she did, she figured he would go away and leave her alone. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
She was lifted off the bed and placed on her feet. She didn't know where it came from, but somehow, she mustered up the energy to glare at him. Of course, he didn't seem fazed. Alijah was so intent on glaring at him; however, she almost missed the fact that he had undone her jeans and was now attempting to pull them down. She placed her hands on top of his to stop him.
“I'm not in the mood for you to try to screw me right now.”
Lifting a brow as he gazed at her, Kieran used one of his hands to restrain both of her wrists and continue to remove her jeans.
“If I were trying to fuck you, you wouldn't protest. We both know that.” He responded as he released her wrist, having gotten her pants down to her ankles. He then pulled her shirt over her head so quickly, Alijah didn't know what hit her.
“Kieran, I'm serious.” She gritted out, trying to take her shirt from him.
She watched as he threw it behind himself, before picking her up.
“If you don't put me down, I promise I'm going to...”
Her words trailed off as they made it into the bathroom. There she found the large spa tub was filled. There were also a few candles lit, and she could smell the lavender in the air.
“You're going to what?” Kieran questioned placing her slowly on her feet. When she didn't say anything, he reached out to unhook her bra. “Finish getting undressed and get in.”
“So, you do have a soft spot somewhere in you.” Alijah teased as she pulled her bra off.
“No,” Kieran stated simply, and Alijah couldn't tell if he was joking or not, but figured he was. “I'll be back to get you in a little while.” With that she watched him walk off.
Kieran left Alijah to her bath and headed back into the living room of the suite. He knew she was tired and wanted to sleep, but he couldn't let her just yet. He wasn't trying to be an asshole...for once. He knew, however, if she slept now, there was a possibility she would be up all night, and he didn't need her tired at their meeting tomorrow morning.
Taking out his phone, he decided to call Paetyn and let him know that they had made it safely.
“Hey,” Paetyn answered on the third ring. Kieran could hear the noise in the background and knew that his friend was at one of his restaurants.
“Hey. Just letting you know we made it.”
“Great.” There was a pause. “Have you talked to Cruz?”
“No,” Kieran responded. “Was I supposed to?”
“I was just wondering.”
Kieran's suspicions were instantly kicked up, but he knew whatever it was, he wouldn't get it out of Paetyn. At least not until he was ready to tell him. So instead of asking his friend what it was, he spoke to him a few more minutes before ending the call.
He sat for a few moments just enjoying the quiet. Not that the plane hadn't been relatively quiet. He didn't like the sound of the engines. Despite how soft they were he could still hear them. After a few more minutes, he picked up the room service menu by the phone.
After perusing it for a moment, he decided to order their fruit medley. He knew that Alijah needed to eat something, but also knew that something substantial would not sit well with her in her body's current exhausted state.
Once his order was placed, he headed back into the bedroom she'd claimed and peaked into the bathroom at her. She was laying back with her head resting against the bath pillow. The bubbles were up to her chest, but he could see her chest rising and falling steadily, so he knew she was sleeping. He thought about waking her but figured a short nap wouldn't hurt.
Making his way back out of the room, he grabbed their suitcases he'd had the bellhop leave by the door and wheeled them into the room. He thought about going through her suitcase and finding her something to put on when she got out of the tub but figured she probably didn't want him in her things. So, instead, he looked through his suitcase and pulled out one of the two t-shirts he'd brought with him and laid it out for her. He also pulled out a pair of boxer briefs and shorts for himself.
As he placed their suitcases into the closet once pulling the items out, his mind wandered back to her statement about him having a soft spot. He had told her no, and he wasn't lying. He'd never run a bath for a woman before or chose her something to wear when she got out. To him, that hadn't been his job with the women he'd dated, but she did things to him. He was sure that most of his actions were because he knew what the end result would yield. Her under him. So, he was more than sure his dick was doing most of the thinking for him, and the actions were coming off as sweet and romantic.
Kieran was brought out of his musing by the sound of a knock on the door. He opened it after looking out of the peephole and seeing that it was room service. He allowed the young man to wheel the cart in and tipped him before he left.
Once the door was locked again, Kieran went into the bedroom and grabbed his clothes before making his way into the other bedroom to use the shower. When he was finished, he dried off and got dressed before going to get Alijah from the bathtub. She had been in there almost an hour.
Leaning over the tub, he pushed some of her wild curls from her face, before grabbing one of the plush towels. He sat at the edge of the bathtub and ran his knuckled slowly down the column of her neck. He did this a few times before she stirred. When hazy green eyes stared at him, he held up the towel.
“Let's get you out.”
He watched as she nodded slowly before standing to her feet. Kieran had to tell his body to simmer down, upon seeing her dripping with water. He decided then that he would be taking her in the shower very soon.
Wrapping the towel around her, he lifted her from the bathtub with ease, sitting her on her feet on the thick rug. He helped her dry off before leading her to the bedroom and pulling his shirt over her head, the whole time, trying to keep his dick under control.
“Where are my panties?” Alijah asked as she tossed the towel onto a chair.
“I didn't think you'd want me going through your things. You don't need them anyway.”
“Kieran, I wasn't playing. I'm too tired.”
He merely stared at her and blinked before taking her hand and leading her to the living room. He had sincerely hoped she had realized by now, that if he wanted her, he was going to have her, and she was going to love it. He almost wanted to prove that fact to her, as she protested the whole way to the living room. As soon as he released her, she turned to go back into the bedroom.
“I'm going to bed.”
He wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her back to him. “You need to eat something first.”
Only after she nodded did he release her and remove the lid from the tray. While she piled the different fruits onto her plate, Kieran removed his laptop from its bag and decided to do some work. He had been working for about fifteen minutes when Alijah's voice cut through his focus.
“Aren't you going to eat?
“I had planned on it.” He stated still typing on his laptop. “But you keep telling me you're tired, so I guess I'm going to have to wait.” He finished, looking up and locking his hazel eyes with hers. He watched her slowly chew the strawberry she had taken a bite of before going back to what he had been doing.
It was quiet for a while, but again, her voice rang out pulling him from his work.
“Kieran.” She stated.
“Yes?” He questioned looking over the modifications Mr. Lao had told Remy he wanted.
When she didn't say anything, he looked up. What he found was her, one leg draped over the side of the chair. The other spread open. Her slit was glistening at him as she picked up another strawberry.
“It wouldn't be right of me to let you starve.”
Smirking, Kieran placed his laptop on the table, standing. He made his way over to her and dropped to his knees. “No, it wouldn't.” He stated before diving in.
Alijah sat at the conference table beside Kieran. As she did, she took notes on the conversation being had. It was amazing to her how the entire ordeal hadn't turned into a screaming match by now. She was sure that had something to do with Remy. She'd met the man that morning and had quickly discovered that he was Kieran's opposite. Where Kieran was short-tempered and quick to react; Remy seemed to have the patience of Job.
Each time that a storm began to brew within Kieran, Remy would step in and take control of the conversation for a few moments in an attempt to let Kieran simmer down a bit.
In his defense, Alijah could understand why Kieran was losing his already short patience often. Mr. Lao was a ridiculously, impossible man. She had discovered this at the beginning of the conversation. He stood about five-four and averagely built. The American's in the room towered over him. Even Alijah in her heels. However, with the way the man carried himself and was being outright belligerent, you would think that he was the most prominent man on the planet.
His accent was thick, which at times made his English hard to understand, but it wasn't something that was hindering the meeting. Remy had brought along the translator he'd employed as well, but the young lady was sitting in the corner. Her eyes stating she was as bored as Alijah was.
Slowly, Alijah shifted in her seat. She'd been shifting often, and every time she did so, Mr. Lao and his associates' eyes would snap to her as if her movements were somehow an offense to them. She was sure they were in a way. Hell, she had discovered that her very presence was offensive to them. Well, him at least.
He was the old-fashioned sort. A feat she learned after introducing herself and holding her hand out to shake his. He'd completely ignored her as if she hadn't been there and began speaking to Kieran. She wanted to snap at the little dwarf of a man, but a light touch to the small of her back had her looking into Remy's dark eyes. He guided her to the conference table and pulled her chair out for her.
As she had expected, her shifting did indeed garner Mr. Lao's attention, and he sent her an impatient look. Alijah gritted her teeth and gripped her pen tighter. Placing more force than necessary on the pad she was writing on. This was one of those times she couldn't use her Dragonfly applications. With the thickness of Mr. Lao's accent, she knew everything he said would be registered wrong.
Alijah felt a warm hand on her bare knee, and she relaxed a little. The meeting had been going much that way since it started. The little man would do something, say something, to tick one of them off and they would have to calm each other down. Well, as much as she could calm Kieran.
They had been in the meeting going on three hours, and nothing was getting accomplished. At this point, she even thought that Kieran should give up on the whole deal. She understood he'd placed a lot of his time into it, but she didn't think it was worth it. Especially if he would have to deal with Little Satan often.
“You know what ladies and gentlemen. I propose we break for lunch.” Remy stated, his accent just barely noticeable. If she had to guess, she would say he was from Haiti.
Everyone seemed to agree with this due to the ever-rising tension in the room. Alijah wanted to be out of this man's presence for a while. Unfortunately for her, Mr. Lao informed them that he had lunch catered and sent his assistant out to retrieve the caterers.
As she watched the young man go, Alijah sat her pen down and turned to Remy who was seated to her right.
“Could you point me in the direction of the restroom?”
“I'll show you. It's challenging finding your way around here.”
Remy stood, excusing them both and Alijah followed suit, following him out of the conference room. As they walked down the hall, she let out a sigh she didn't know she had been holding in. She heard Remy begin to chuckle next to her and she turned to look at him.
“I feel the same way after talking to him.”
“He's just so disrespectful. It's the twenty-first century. Women have rights. I wanted to smack him. The little twerp of a man.”
At that Remy began to laugh again. “Believe me. You aren't alone.”
The rest of the walk was silent as Remy led her to the bathroom. Alijah took care of business and washed her hands before leaving back out. She didn't want to go back into that room, but she knew that it was part of her job. So, she sucked it up and walked back the way she had come with Remy.
“So, how do you like working for Kieran so far?” He questioned a moment after they were headed down the hall.
“Because he's an asshole?” He questioned with a smirk.
“That's one of the reasons and because he seems to work more than he sleeps.” Alijah agreed with a chuckle.
“Well, I can say you'll probably last the longest. It's the middle of July, and you're still here. That's what? Two months? By this time, most of his assistants are raged and ready to quit.”
“What can I say? I'm a tough cookie.” She stated with a smile as they made it to the conference room door. She took a deep breath and walked through the door as Remy held it open for her.
When she entered, the first thing she saw was the food that was spread across the tables. There were sandwiches, salads and what appeared to be soup.
Making her way back over, she reclaimed her seat beside Kieran who was, from the looks of it, checking emails on his phone. The caterers came around and placed lunch in front of everyone. Alijah said a quick prayer over her meal before taking a bite of the soup. It took her only a moment to realize it was Bean Cured Soup. She reached over and took Kieran's from him, just as he was about to lift his spoon.
“Alijah.” He stated. His tone was more demanding than questioning.
“You can't eat this, Kieran. It's Bean Cured Soup.”
Kieran let out a sigh like he was irritated with her like most of the other men in the room. “Is that supposed to mean something to me?” He questioned through gritted teeth.
For a moment, Alijah thought about just giving it back to him and letting him eat it. It would be his fault if he had a reaction. She was trying to save him some trouble. However, she knew that his irritation wasn't targeted towards her per se. Therefore, she took a breath to calm herself down before replying to him.
“It has fennel seeds in it, Kieran.”
She saw the look of realization on his face. Fennel seeds had been one of the items he'd listed in her hiring information that he was allergic to. Instead of saying anything, he merely nodded his head and turned back to the rest of his food.
“It’s rude to call one's boss by first name.” Mr. Lao stated, and Alijah had to resist the urge to roll her eyes. “You lose respect from employees. Too intimate when should be all business.” He then stated looking at Kieran.
Buddy you have no idea how intimate we are, Alijah thought as she took another bite of her soup. She had decided to ignore him for the rest of the meeting.
“Negotiations not finished Mr. Cayman.”
“There will be no more negotiations.” Kieran ground out. Mr. Lao had pushed him to the edge and Alijah could see it. “That is my final offer. Those are my terms. You can take it or leave it.” The smaller man opened his mouth to speak, but Kieran cut him off. “You have forty-eight hours to make your decision.”
With that he stood, waiting for Alijah and Remy to follow suit, and the four of them, the translator included exited the room. Alijah quietly followed him to the car he'd hired and slid in to wait while he spoke to Remy.
When he was done, he slid into the car, and the driver pulled off. Kieran grabbed her chin lightly, and Alijah turned to look at him. He leaned in and kissed her forehead.
“Thank you.” He stated. “If you hadn't been there today who knows what could have happened.”
Alijah had long ago stopped being shocked by his sweet actions when he was with her. She was coming to expect the contrast of public Kieran and...well, and her Kieran.
“I'm also sorry that Lao was such an ass.”
She smiled at him. “I deal with a bigger one on a daily basis.” She teased.
Kieran raised an eyebrow at her. “When we get back to the hotel, I'm going to show you my gratitude for the next forty-eight hours.”
Alijah's breath hitched. She had no doubt he would make good on that promise, and she was looking forward to it.