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Hanging out with Preye was everything Caleb expected it to be, and more.
A few minutes after they drove out of the Briggs home, Preye surprised Caleb by wriggling her way from the back of the jeep to the front passenger seat.
“You’re my date tonight, not my chauffeur.” She grinned at him as she pulled her seatbelt over her chest. Caleb had to moisten his dry throat and look away quickly when the seatbelt snugly pressed between her jaunty breasts. “Tonight, this is your car.”
While he thought the gesture on Preye’s part was unnecessary, it left a choked feeling in his throat. It was evidence that she was truly going out with him on equal footing, regardless of the difference in their status. It deepened his feelings of guilt; considering his true motives for the date, he did not deserve such fair treatment. That Preye, despite all her flaws, could be so thoughtful and kind to him, stunned him and left him shaken.
The date progressed amazingly, with Preye walking into their first destination—a restaurant—with her hand twined around his. They chatted animatedly before and after their dinner order arrived, Preye’s laughter and beauty drawing the eye of every male in the dining room. Caleb wavered between jealousy and pride at the attention Preye was getting, but he had no reason to worry. She had eyes only for him and it was obvious. He had to struggle to remember his real reason for the date. It felt like they were a couple, out for the night—two lovebirds, uncaring of what the rest of the world thought of them as they wined and dined.
After dinner, they drove to a nightclub, where they wriggled past sweaty bodies and slid into a private booth, leaning close together to yell into each other’s ears. Preye declined to dance, but jounced and jiggled in her seat to the loud music, her eyes sparkling and body gleaming in the muted light.
After another forceful personal reminder and inner lecture on his true purpose for the date, Caleb set the first part of his plan into motion.
He leaned towards Preye with a charming smile. “How about a drink?”
Preye hesitated and then leaned towards him. “I took a glass of wine with dinner. I think that’s enough.”
Caleb pushed down a twinge of guilt as he insisted. “Oh come on. Live a little. Tonight is meant for partying. I’m driving, so you have nothing to fear.”
A small frown appeared on Preye’s forehead and Caleb fought the urge to use his finger to gently smooth away the crease between her eyes. The last thing he wanted to do was encourage Preye to drink, given her medical condition. But he had no choice. He needed her to be a little less on guard, and alcohol was the surest method. But on seeing her concern, his conscience prickled.
“You’ll be fine.” He insisted again, trying to look indifferent about convincing her. “I’ll go get us two bottles of something chilled…”
Preye’s hand on his forearm stopped him. “I don’t think I should, Caleb. I’m sorry, but last time I did this… it didn’t end well. Just get me a club soda.”
Caleb cursed under his breath, but he knew it would be foolhardy to insist any further. “I understand. Just wanted you to loosen up a little and enjoy yourself, that’s all.”
Preye smiled and leaned close to him again, letting the hard nubs of her breasts brush his arm. “I’ll be as loose as you want. Just say the word.”
A delighted thrill ran up Caleb’s arm and he had to stop his body from reacting. He knew it was just the usual flirting between them, but the smoothness of their date so far had made him let down his defences. The comment went straight to his heart and then his groin.
He shook his head and grinned. “Hold on to that thought. Be right back.”
At the bar, he considered his options. One glass of wine was not enough to lower Preye’s inhibitions to the point that he could slip into her room and search for the key card that gave access to the basement. He had one ace left in his pocket, but he was reluctant to use it.
He made his way back to their booth through a mass of bodies wriggling to the loud music, a bottle of chilled beer in one hand, a club soda in the other, and a smile on his face. The smile faded as he drew close to where he had left Preye. She was in the booth, but not alone. He could see a male figure seated beside her, but the booth was too far away and the lighting was too dim for him to make out any of the man’s features, except for the face cap the man had on. However, he could see enough to tell that Preye’s body language showed that they was having an unpleasant conversation, or possibly an argument. Suddenly, the man grabbed Preye’s clutch purse and dashed away. Caleb hurried towards her as she started rising from her seat with a cry of alarm.
He thrust the drinks at her. “Stay here. I’ll get that asshole. Don’t go anywhere or talk to anyone!”
Without waiting for a response, he took off after the fleeing man who was elbowing his way through the thronging mass of dancers. A few people stumbled and the more inebriated ones fell to the floor. Curses and insults followed the man who had knocked them down, and Caleb also received some shoves and insults as he struggled to catch up with the other man .
A part of him rebelled at his reaction. What if the purse snatcher was armed? What if he got hurt trying to get the purse? But the frightened look on Preye’s face had robbed him of reason. He only had one plan in mind.
Catch the man, and bash his face in for scaring Preye.
Check back at 6:00om for the next episode.