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“Sorry! I’m sorry! Excuse me. Move!”
Caleb raced through the club, breaking apart gyrating couples and mumbling apologies as he passed. The man he was chasing did not bother to apologize to the people he pushed down, barrelling though the crowd of sweaty people like a cannon ball. Still, Caleb’s long legs quickly ate up the distance between them and just before the man who had snatched Preye’s purse reached the door, Caleb took a last lunge and tackled the man to the ground.
“Thief! Give me that purse, you fool!”
The lighting in the club was dim, so Caleb could still not make out the man’s features under the face cap, but the man was strong, silently bucking and wriggling, trying to break free from Caleb’s grasp. Caleb gripped the man’s shoulder and dug his fingers in, face grim. Pain shot through the man’s body and he finally spoke, making a strangled sound that sounded like a name.
Caleb frowned. For a moment, the word had sounded like his name…
The man spoke again, voice garbled with pain but clearer. “Caleb…stop…”
Caleb lessened his grip, confusion replacing his anger. How did the man know his name? He wrenched the face cap off the man’s head and gasped as a familiar pair of grey eyes glared up at him.
“Pretty Boy! What the hell is wrong with you?”
The question went temporarily unanswered as a mountainous bouncer appeared and hauled them both to their feet, his muscled arms bulging. “What the hell is going on here?”
Pretty Boy petulantly rubbed at his aching shoulder. “Nothing,” he mumbled.
Caleb nodded in affirmation. “It’s just a small misunderstanding. We’re good.”
The bouncer looked unconvinced, but he released their arms. “Whatever it is, take it outside until you’re both calm.” He stared at the glittering clutch purse in pretty Boy’s grasp. “Take your lovers’ spat outside.”
Pretty Boy spluttered in indignation as he realized he had been mistaken for Caleb’s lover. “What? We’re not..”
“Whatever. I don’t judge.” The bouncer rumbled. “But I do beat people up for disturbing the peace, so take it outside. Now.”
Caleb and Pretty Boy shuffled out the nearest entrance, ignoring the looks of curious and angry clubbers. Outside, they faced each other, Pretty Boy petulant and Caleb, fuming.
“What the hell was that stunt about?” Caleb demanded before he grabbed the purse free. “Give me that and explain what you were thinking when you attacked her before I break your arms…”
“I was not attacking her.” Pretty Boy retorted. “I merely tried to flirt with her again.”
Caleb raised a brow. “That was flirting? You looked like you were arguing with her.”
“Only because she rebuffed me rudely.” Pretty Boy looked around furtively, tugging his face cap back on. “Look, Caleb, we both have orders. My orders were to get close to her by any means necessary.”
“So you snatched her purse? Are you insane? In this time when tyres, fuel and matches show up at the snap of a finger? You could have been lynched for stealing. You’re insane. What did you achieve now?”
Pretty Boy’s lips tightened. “I’m only looking out for both of us, Caleb. You have your methods and I have mine.”
Caleb shook his head. “Very smooth, aren’t you? Smooth as a grater. Look, you just lost any chance of getting close to her. Get within an inch of her now, and she’ll scream her head off.”
Pretty Boy shrugged and rubbed at the point of his shoulder where Caleb had pressed down viciously. “Like it matters. Time’s running out lover boy. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Better go back to your Princess before someone steals her from under your nose.”
With another furtive look around, Pretty Boy turned and walked off, leaving Caleb puzzled and angry, his fist curling and uncurling around the purse in his palm.
Just what had that been about?
The date limped along after that point. Pretty Boy’s parting words had struck a nerve and Caleb hurried back into the club, relived to find Preye where he left her, unhurt but worried. Caleb tried to calm Preye’s ruffled nerves after he returned her purse and she confirmed its contents were complete, but it was difficult to regain the earlier mood with which they had started the night.
“It was that same guy I bumped into at the fast food place earlier today. Remember him?” Preye asked. “Did you see him?”
“No, he just dropped the purse and ran off.” Caleb lied, avoiding her gaze.
Preye shook her head. “The dude must be insane. He just sat beside me and was trying his lame lines again. I mean, what the hell? So if a girl rebuffs your advances, you steal her purse?”
Caleb shrugged and took a long drink for his beer, hiding his frustration. “Like you said, dude is probably crazy. At least you’re unhurt and we can get back to enjoying ourselves.”
Preye listlessly twirled her opened bottle of club soda. “Yeah, I guess so.”
Caleb watched her, cursing beneath his breath. Deliberate or not, Pretty Boy had effectively punctured the blissful bubble they had built around themselves all evening. He could see the earlier excitement had left Preye’s eyes and getting it back in there would be difficult.
Still he tried. Without the benefit of alcohol, he had to get her pliant enough for his purposes. After about an hour, he managed to charm her into a more cheerful state of mind. But when they finally called it a night, he knew she was nowhere near where he wanted her.
He had no choice but to play his last card. It made him feel like a heel, but it was his only option. It was time to move the next chess piece on the board in this game that would very well decide Preye’s fate.
When they entered the car, and Preye settled into the passenger seat beside him, he did not give her a chance to buckle herself in. He leaned across the space that separated them and cradled the back of her neck. Preye only had a moment to catch her breath before Caleb kissed her, revelling in the faint taste of club soda in her mouth.
He shifted closer to her, pressing her quivering body against his hard length, his actions deliberate. If he could not get her drunk, he would intoxicate her with passion, and leave her shaken, quivering and eager to invite him upstairs to her bedroom, which was exactly where he wanted, no, needed to be.
He had no choice but to seduce her.
Check back on Tuesday for more EPISODES.