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Home > His Absolute Domination: The Billionaire's Paradigm #5

His Absolute Domination: The Billionaire's Paradigm #5
Author: Cerys du Lys

I went to inspect the food Lucent brought. There was something wrong with it; there was only one of everything.

I scrunched up my brow, staring at it. Why had he done that? One orange juice, yogurt, a cinnamon apple granola bar, and one package of raisins. Strange. This definitely wasn't enough for two people.

"Lucent?" I said, looking over my shoulder towards him; he still stood at the window, but now he was looking at me instead of looking outside. "I don't think this is enough food."

He smiled and shrugged, apologetic. "No, perhaps not. I have a surprise for you, though."

"Oh? What?"

He approached me, saying nothing. Once he stood at my side, he stooped and fetched the food, then picked each item up, slow, one by one. He kept acting strange and I didn't understand the reason for it. Yes, Lucent was critical and meticulous, but typically not this slow. It worried me, but then I realized this was a silly thing to get worried about.

"Let's eat and then I'll tell you," he said.

I nodded. "Alright."

We cleaned up first, replacing the cushions we'd slept on and putting them back onto the chairs where they belonged. The curtains went into a pile, and every other minor stray indication of our night spent here became nothing more than a memory, too. Everything, gone, cleaned, melting away like spring purifying winter's snow. Lucent scooted the chairs away from each other, much to my disappointment, then sat in one.

I sat in the other and scooted it back towards him, getting as close to him as possible. While he prepared our meal, I leaned across the armrests and put my chin on his shoulder. He laughed at me, but he didn't kiss me like I'd hoped. I only wanted a small kiss--on the lips or the cheek or the nose--but, no.

Meal preparations went fast, all things considered. Opening yogurt, unwrapping a spoon, peeling away the wrapper of the granola bar and pinching open the raisin box. Easy, inconsequential, and soon we ate. Lucent handed me the yogurt and the spoon, then bent the granola bar in half. He began crunching his portion.

I stared at my yogurt and spoon. What was this? I wasn't exactly upset, but I kind of was. Disconcerted, I supposed.

"Um," I said. Just um. This was enough.

Lucent glanced over at me. "Hm?"

"Why are we eating like this?" I asked.

"I don't understand," he said. "What do you mean?"

"You fed me last night, and the last time we ate yogurt you fed me, too. I thought you'd do it again."

"Oh," he said. Just oh. This wasn't enough.

"Is something wrong?" I asked. "You're acting funny."

"I don't believe I'm acting funny, Miss Tanner. I'm merely doing what adults do in these situations. They eat their breakfasts separately, as opposed to feeding one another."

"I dislike that."

"You dislike it?" he asked, smirking. "It's completely normal."

"None of this is normal, Lucent. I don't know if you realize it, but we've been trapped in a library all weekend together. You've spanked me, and we've had sex. I would like to think that it was special, but I don't exactly know for sure. Either way, I very much enjoyed it so far, and you're ruining it now."

When I finished my pouting tirade, he stuck my half of the granola bar in my mouth. Glumly, I let him, leaving it plopped partway between my lips while the other part dangled in the air.

He hid his amusement, though I knew he enjoyed my feigned gloominess. It was feigned now at least, but I really had been upset before. I wanted us to act the same as we always had. In hindsight, always wasn't a long time, though. Maybe my perspective was too narrowed and I'd fancied too many allusions as to what we were or what we had together.

It wasn't whim and fancy, though, it was desire and need. I needed this, needed something, and while I'd never exactly known it before, nor had I intended for any of this, I knew it somewhat now. A little bit, at least. Shreds and pieces, fed to me, like the torn bits of meat Lucent fed to me last night. I was hungry before, starving, but I never realized it until Lucent came and gave me sustenance.

That sounded altogether too flowery and poetic to say, so I didn't say it, but I felt it. I felt it glumly while Lucent smirked at me and I held a half of a granola bar partly between my lips.

"Let me see the yogurt," he said. His voice softened, more easy and regular now.

I handed the yogurt to him immediately, along with the spoon. Removing the granola bar from my mouth, I waited with eager anticipation.

"This isn't normal," he said as reassurance; more to reassure himself, I thought. I already knew none of this was normal and I'd told him as much.

Scooping up some of the yogurt, he held the spoon out to me. Facetiously, though looking extremely serious, he made choo-choo train noises.

I ignored his attempt at mockery and opened my mouth. Lucent placed the spoonful of yogurt in my mouth and I removed it from the spoon with my tongue and lips. Then, for good measure, I crunched a bite of the granola bar, letting the two different foods mingle and mix while I chewed.

"Better?" he asked.

"You have a certain seasoning method, Mr. Storme," I informed him. "A particular je ne sais quoi that enhances the flavors and brings out their special, hidden qualities. Your culinary skills are masterful."

"Oh, yes." Rolling his eyes, he took a spoonful of yogurt for himself. "I'm quite certain you're correct, Miss Tanner. By merely holding the spoon, I exert my will upon the yogurt and enforce heightened flavoring throughout it. It's nearly like magic, certainly."

"After we eat you should exert your will upon me," I said.

Lucent nearly spit out his yogurt, choking. I panicked at first because I didn't know CPR, but it was just yogurt and he soon regained control over himself and swallowed. Then I stopped my panic and I laughed.

"I was thinking that after we finish breakfast we can go home," he said with an air of secretive indifference.

"What?" I said. Glancing outside quickly, I noticed the snow had stopped. I must have noticed this before, too, but it didn't register in my mind until now.

"While you slept, I arranged for some assistance in clearing off your car," Lucent added, his words austere and professional. "A path from the front door of the library to the street has been cleared away, and your car has been cleared off and shoveled out. You should be able to drive onto the street easily."

Yes, but... no. It all hit me so suddenly and I felt lost and confused. Of course we should leave if we could, but I didn't want to leave now. I stared at him, lost, listless, and I knew I should be happy for this, happy to return to my apartment, but I wasn't. I didn't want to go. Did he not understand that? I hadn't told him, not in as many words, but I thought our time together was nice. Was he trying to escape from me?

No, no. I shouldn't think those things. Lucent was attempting to be nice, that's all. Whatever he'd done, however it worked, once the snow stopped it made sense to leave. If there was no reason to stay, we should go. Except I had a reason I wanted to stay. I couldn't tell him that, though. I shouldn't.

"How did you know which car was mine?" I asked, grasping for a reason, any reason, not to leave. "Are you sure you cleaned the right one?"

He hesitated. His eyes widened for a second, alarmed, or maybe not. He returned to his regular calm and collected self almost immediately, and I realized I must have imagined it. I wanted a reason for this ending not to be an ending, and I kept creating illusions in my mind to force it into becoming what I wished for. This, perhaps, was the creative writer in me. Probably all of this was that, truthfully. None of this meant as much as I hoped it would and I only had myself to blame.

"It was the only car in the parking lot next to the library," Lucent said softly. "When I arrived Friday evening, it was the only car parked nearby, too. I believe my assumptions that the car belongs to you are correct, unless you've secretly parked many blocks away?"

"I did," I said, huffy. "I parked all the way across the city. I walked here during the snowstorm and if I leave now I'll have to trek all the way back through the snow. In a skirt. I'll catch a cold. What do you think of that?"

Lucent frowned. "Miss Tanner..."

I was acting rude and incessantly cantankerous and I knew it, but the words fit my thoughts and there was nothing else I could say. I was caught up in the suddenness of this all and I hated it. This wasn't my happy ending, my fairytale fantasy, and why couldn't he see that he could so easily provide it? It wasn't just this, our departure, but more than that. If he simply told me a few things. I didn't know exactly what things, but if he told me them, assured me, invited me to spend more time with him. If...

I did have his message to listen to when I arrived home. Perhaps that would settle this. Yes. I nodded inwardly, telling my bratty, moody self to stop playing these games. For all I knew, my distress was unfounded. Once I arrived home and listened to the message Lucent left me on my cell phone, perhaps all of these heart-clenching feelings would vanish.

Perhaps. I hoped so, at least. I didn't know for sure.

"I'm sorry," I said. "This is just sort of difficult for me."

He nodded. "I understand."

"Do you, though?" I asked. "I really enjoyed this weekend, Lucent. I'm glad I met you."

He smiled a little, but it was a sad smile. His eyes dropped slightly and he looked at me softly. "I'm glad I met you, too, Miss Tanner."

"Are you really?"


"Will you say more than that?"

"I don't know what more to say," he said.

"Anything?" I suggested. "You can say anything at all and I'll like it."

He nodded and thought and said nothing and thought and then nodded once more. Then he spoke. "I apologize that I never ended up being able to teach you more about cards," he said. "I promised you in the beginning that I would attempt to show you a few of my tactics, but it seems time flew away from us."

"It's alright," I said, forcing myself to smile. "You can do it some other time. I'd like to invite you to my apartment, maybe. I can make us some real food. I do cook rather well."

I sort of cooked fine. Saying "rather well" made it sound better, though. It should be adequate cooking, I hoped. I knew my way around the kitchen, at least, and I had a few tricks with food like Lucent had tricks with cards. If all else failed, I could ask Margaret to help me before he showed up.

If he accepted, at least. He refused to commit to asking me on a date now? Well, I'd ask him on one instead. How did he like that?

"I think I would like that," he said, smiling.

"You can come over Wednesday," I said quickly; probably too quickly. "I usually work late here during the weekdays, but Wednesdays are quiet and I can find someone to cover my shift or ask if I can go home early. What do you like to eat?"

"I'm unsure if Wednesdays work for me, Miss Tanner. I apologize for not being able to give you a definitive answer at the moment."

"Oh," I said.

He breathed in deeply, exhaling just as much. What was this? I watched him, confused.

"You do have your phone messages to listen to," he said. "Don't forget."

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