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Authors: Sam Ayers

Her Charming Secret (9 page)

BOOK: Her Charming Secret
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“Check out the second file,” Nicholas said to his son. “Even though you were offered a raise, you declined. May I know why?”

“You pay me well, sir,” Aiden raised his head and spoke to his boss. “Mr. Reid, I’m just an employee here. The position and power does not matter, because I’m here to work and I’ll do it no matter what position I am in.”

“So, Aiden, are you trying to say that you are not interested in taking up the Vice President’s post?” William asked him.

“Sir, this person sitting next to me is well qualified for the job, and he is interested in this field, too. Alex should be the V.P. And I don’t think you need other candidates because you will not find a better person for this job,” Aiden said and smiled at Alex.

“Vice President, huh? Can I think about this? Because I still have to take care of the contract in Tokyo. And I haven’t packed yet,” he smirked.

“I support Aiden’s decision,” Nicholas said. “I would like to see Alex in the V.P’s chair, too. We can discuss that later. We will have another board meeting soon. Now I think you two should leave. Have a safe trip, boys.”

“Yes, we can discuss that later. Good luck and take care, kids,” William said as he got up and left the meeting room. Nicholas followed him silently.

“Oh heavens! My old man is planning on killing me,” Alex lamented. “And why the hell are you stepping down? You deserve it!”

“I don’t think so, Al. First of all, I’m not interested in it at all. I never wanted to be a businessman and take over Reids, Inc. And secondly, you deserve it more than I do. You’re the one who goes out, meets the clients and charms those ladies.” Aiden laughed. “Let’s go now. I don’t want to miss the flight.”

They walked out to see Jo standing near Aiden’s office, writing something down in his diary.

“Is everything okay?” She asked as they came closer.

“Yes, Jo. We were just leaving. The flight is on schedule and I really don’t want to miss it like last time,” Aiden said, glaring at Alex.

“Hey, that
so
wasn’t my fault. I left my mobile at home because you rushed me into leaving. Now imagine how the ladies would have gotten if they couldn’t have been able to hear my voice,” Alex smirked.

“Mr. Not-so-genius, I had one too; you could have borrowed it. Anyway, goodbye, Jo, and take care,” Aiden said, facing her.

“Goodbye Aiden and Alex, you take care, too!” she called as she waved at them. Alex caught her hands and looked into her eyes.

“My darling Josephine, please don’t miss me too much, because I will meet you in your dreams.” Alex smirked.

Jo snickered. “Dreams? No! Nightmares? Yes! If I see you at night then it sure is a nightmare. Now go! And take care of yourself.” She grinned widely.

“Are you trying to say take care of Aiden for you? Well I will, darling, I will!” He chuckled when he saw her blush. “Let’s go, Aido.”

Aiden turned around for the last time to see Jo. She smiled and waved at him; he waved back and walked away with Alex. She had been working for him for just a month, but somehow the idea of leaving her even for a day or two made him sad.

 

*  *  *

 

They stopped over at Aiden’s place first so he could pack his stuff, then drove to his parents’ place where Alex packed his own stuff. After saying goodbye to everyone and promising Aubrey that they would be back before her birthday, they left for the airport.

The flight was on time, so they checked in and boarded. As Aiden heard the announcement, he saw Alex was already chatting up the air hostess.

“Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Chloe and I’m your chief flight attendant. On behalf of Captain Knightley and the entire crew, welcome aboard Air Canada Flight AC001, flying non-stop from Toronto to Tokyo. Our flight time will be thirteen hours and ten minutes. We will be flying at a cruise altitude of thirty-five thousand feet at a ground speed of about 550 kilometers per hour. At this time, make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position. Also make sure your seat belt is correctly fastened. Also, we advise you that as of this moment, any electronic equipment must be turned off. Thank you.”

“Seriously, dude. Let the poor woman do her job,” Aiden muttered when Alex winked at the air hostess.

“I gave up on being a Casanova, Aido, but that doesn’t mean I can unjustly take away from the women of this world the perfection that is me.” Alex grinned.

Aiden just made a face at him as his hands held on to the armrest a little tighter. He didn’t like takeoffs or landings, add Alex to that . . . He sighed.

“What’s wrong, Aido? Scared?” Alex asked raising his eyebrows, smirking.

“Shut up, just shut up. Do not talk to me till we land safely in Tokyo,” Aiden said as he turned away from Alex to look out the window at the clouds and Toronto as it grew smaller and smaller under him.

Well this is going to be a long journey if I can’t even have fun,
 Alex thought, smiling to himself he thought about the meeting. He was pleased to have Aiden along; the one thing he knew for sure was that Aiden was never going to leave his side.

Smirking, he poked Aiden’s shoulder and got a glare from him. He decided to trouble Aiden once he calmed down and started to look through the movie list on flight to see if there was something he wanted to watch.

 

 

- Chapter 8 -

 

 

Spooked Onsens

 

 

 

 

 

Flights were something that Aiden avoided unless direly necessary. Having to keep faith in a hunk of metal filled with flammable liquid as it carried him across an ocean was gut-wrenching. Which was why he was sitting with his eyes closed, taking deep breaths, trying not to get sick, while Alex was eyeing the air hostess. Aiden swore that if they actually had to evacuate the plane in case of an emergency, Alex would be lost; he was so busy ogling the air hostess, he couldn’t have heard a word of what she had said. All he did during flights was flirt with the air hostess, watch a movie, flirt again, sleep and flirt some more.

Later, Aiden asked the air hostess for some apple juice, hoping it would settle his stomach a bit, just to see Alex leering at her.

“Seriously, dude, are you going to do this again?” Aiden asked, annoyed at his cousin’s behavior.

Alex turned and looked at Aiden with wide, innocent eyes. “Do what, Aido?”

Just as Aiden was about to answer, the air hostess came back with his drink. Giving her a small smile, he turned back to the window.

“Hello, lovely! A gorgeous woman like you must have a beautiful name,” Alex said, looking at the blush blossoming on her face; he had just caught another, hook, line and sinker.

“Anna,” she smiled. Aiden just shook his head and glared at Alex. As she walked away to attend to another passenger, Alex turned to Aiden with a raised eyebrow.

“What?” Alex scowled.

“Nothing, it’s just that . . . didn’t you say you were serious about Abigail?”

“Of course I am! Look, Aiden, I’m not gonna lead Anna on; I’m not that big a loser. I’m simply giving her a moment of freedom from the monotony that is her life on this plane.”

Aiden rolled his eyes just as she came back and heard Alex say, “So, Anna—” before he put on his headset and blocked all noise. Some time later, groaning, Aiden opened his eyes, guessing he must have drifted off. His head hurt, and he was scared to close his eyes again. The nightmare had started again. The same voice. She was calling him. He was afraid to close his eyes. What if he lost himself to her? 
Who was she?

His thoughts were interrupted when Alex patted his shoulder. “What?” he asked.

“We’re going to land soon,” Alex replied. “Who is coming to pick us up?”

“I informed Ryu Nakamura; he will be there at the airport.”

“Ryu Nakamura? Oh! I know him. He was there at that meeting once. Last year, right?” Alex said coolly.

“Yes, that’s him. His work is pretty good. You know he’s just 25?”

“I know a guy who is 25 and declined the V.P’s position, which I think is pretty silly because he’s a genius and he deserves it. And you know that it’ll help you impress Jo.” Alex smirked.

“Are you serious? I’m not interested in the V.P’s position, and I’m guessing you’ve gone crazy, because I am definitely NOT trying to impress anyone.”

“You can’t lie to me. I see the way you look at her,” he said.

“Really now, what way do I look at her?”

“You look at her with those stupid puppy dog eyes, which has made her fall for you, and you, my dear cousin, are confused. Big time. So open your eyes and look at the signs. She is falling for you.”

“I have no clue where you got that idea from. Josephine is not interested in me.” Aiden sighed. “I think she already has a boyfriend. She tries to avoid me and she’s so . . . different. It’s like she’s trying to push me away from her.”

“Aiden, girls are like that. Give her some time; let her realize that she likes you. You can’t just make a decision about who likes you and who hates you, dude.”

“Listen, bro, this is not gonna happen. Stop playing cupid, ‘cause you suck at it! I can’t believe how many girls you’ve tried to set me up with and everything ended badly.”

As Alex was about to tell Aiden something about love and stuff, they heard an announcement.

“Ladies and gentlemen, as we start our descent, please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position. Make sure your seat belt is securely fastened and all carry-on luggage is stowed underneath the seat in front of you or in the overhead bins. Please turn off all electronic devices until we are safely parked at the gate. Thank you.”

“You know what? You’re acting like a kid. You’re in love, buddy, and I know that,” Alex said.

“Alex, you are confused. I know what I feel, okay? And the only thing I can think about right now is that girl from my dream.”

“Not her again! She doesn’t exist, Aid. She’s just your imagination.” Just as he said that they heard another announcement. Aiden hated it when he got disturbed in between a very important conversation.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have just been cleared to land at Narita International Airport. Please make sure one last time your seat belt is securely fastened. The flight attendants are currently passing around the cabin to make a final compliance check and pick up any remaining cups and glasses. Thank you.”

“Alex, I’m not having this conversation with you. Please leave me alone.” Aiden groaned.

Alex muttered something, but finally decided to give up. They landed safely at Tokyo Narita Airport and, after clearing Immigrations and Customs and collecting their bags, met Ryu Nakamura.

“Ohayou gozaimasu! Welcome to Tokyo,” Ryu greeted them when they reached the exit.

“Hello, Nakamura. Good to see you again,” Aiden said as he extended a hand to him. “You remember my cousin, Alex, right?”

“Ohayou, Ryu. Nice to meet you again,” said Alex.

“Hello, Mr. Reid,” Ryu said as he extended his hand towards Alex.

“Please, Alex is fine. Mr. Reid makes me sound old.” Alex laughed, making a face.

Ryu laughed along with him. “We have booked you a suite at Ritz-Carlton; I hope that will be okay?” He asked them politely.

“I don’t mind; I just need a bed to crash,” said Alex as he got into the passenger seat. “What do you say, Aido?”

“Huh? Sorry, what?” Aiden asked. He hadn’t been following their conversation, so he had no clue to what they were talking about.

“We were talking about the meeting. Why did you want to have the meeting as soon as we reached Tokyo?” Alex asked.

“Well, I want to go and inspect the new site for the other hotel project Uncle William was working on. So if we can finish this meeting now and leave immediately, we can reach the site, get the work done and catch the next flight home.”

Alex stared at Aiden as if he’d spoken pig Latin. Finally he managed to ask, “Are you for real?”

“What?”

“Humans need to eat and sleep. And according to your plan, there is no time for eating or sleeping. So either you must be an alien life form who can live without food and water, or you are not my cousin Aiden, who is 
human
!”

“Alex, we’ll take care of that. This is important,” Aiden sighed.

“Yeah, right.” He snickered.

Aiden could see Ryu smiling as he drove to the hotel. This was going to be a long day, because he knew that Alex wasn’t going to behave.

 

Later that day, Abigail saw Jo striding furiously around the room muttering and murdering the pillow that she had in her hand. The poor pillow was almost ripped. She was muttering about persistent and stubborn idiots who didn’t know how to take no for an answer. Taking pity on the pillow, Abigail tried to pacify her.

“Jo, please calm down,” she said.

“I cannot believe this; that jerk did it again,” Jo yelled.

“Oh c’mon Jo, he has 
always
 been like that,” said Abigail, calmly.

“How the heck did he get my number? Is he stalking me now?”

“Do you remember who he is? He could have gotten your number in minutes and yes, I guess he is sort of stalking you now.”

“I need to get out of here then. NOW! I can’t stay here. I don’t want Richard to find me again. He has my number now, what next? Will he be at the door step?” Jo looked pale. She was paranoid again.

“Relax, Jo! Yes, he has your number, but for now just ignore him,” Abby murmured.

“How can I ignore him? That guy is practically stalking me; he’s making my life hell!”

“Block his number, Joey. If he tries to meet you, scream bloody murderer and the ever helpful crowd will take care of him.” Abigail grinned and winked at her.

“This is not the time for a joke, Abigail. I’m going out; I need to clear my mind.”

“Jo! Hey listen, I was just kidding—” Abigail’s words got cut off as Jo stalked out the door and slammed it shut. She stared, openmouthed, at where Jo had stood seconds ago; she was shaken out of her reprieve by the ring of the phone. Looking around, she saw it was Jo’s phone. Sighing, she picked it up.

“Hello, Josephine,” came one of the cockiest voices of all time.

“Richard. Why have you called Jo again?” Abigail scowled even though she knew he couldn’t see her.

“Oh it’s you, Abigail; please hand the phone over to Josephine.”

“Keep your tone in check, Richard, or this phone call may just end.” She scowled.

“I want to meet her. Where is she?” He asked.

“Now, I don’t think that’s a good idea. She despises you. Why the heck would she want to meet you?”

There was no reply for a minute. Abigail imagined he was thinking of something else. Something was always going on in that wicked mind of his. “Can I meet
you
 then?”

This is a surprise. He wants to meet me! Why? 
“Why do you want to meet me?” she asked in an impolite manner.

“Because Josephine means a lot to both of us. We both love and care for her, and I know that you want to see her happy, so do I. I would do anything to make her happy again,” he said, in a very calm tone. “Just agree to meet me once. I promise you that I will make everything better for Josephine.”

Abigail considered saying no and slamming the phone down, but then he would keep pestering Jo. She already had so many problems in her life. What right did he have to come in and disturb the life she had here?

Abigail sighed. At least if she met him, she would know what his intentions towards Jo were. If he kept going the way he was with Jo, the thought of reconciling was not even imaginable.

“Alright, I’ll meet you then.” Abigail sighed.

She agreed to meet him at the café at the corner in half an hour. Walking into the café, she saw him sitting in a secluded corner, a handsome profile against the bland background – but his frown basically ruined anything good you could see about him. Seeing her, he impatiently waved her over.

Sitting down, she couldn’t help but smirk. “I guess your choices are just like you, huh Richard? A bitter black coffee, just like you.”

He scowled at her. “Let’s not get sidetracked, Abigail. You know what I want to talk about.”

“What is it you want to talk about, exactly?” Flagging down a waiter, she ordered an iced tea.

“Josephine! I want to talk about Josephine.”

“What about her?” she asked.

“Is it just me or is she trying to avoid me again?” He asked.

The waiter returned with her tea. Twirling the straw, Abigail looked at him. “Yes, she is.”

“I want to talk to her. She can’t avoid me forever, Abigail.”

“She thinks she can, Richard, and frankly, I don’t blame her,” she said.

“Abigail, I haven’t come here to argue with you. I know that you dislike being here this very minute, but this is about Josephine. I want to take her back home,” he said calmly.

“Oh yeah, that’s just great . . . we’ll desert her for years on end, then suddenly turn up in her life, try to control every aspect of it and take her away from the only form of stability she has known in a while.” By the end she was almost shouting. Looking around at the people staring, she calmed down a bit.

“It’s not
my
fault, Abigail, and lower your voice, please.”

“Not your fault? She’s been at home crying her eyes out the whole of this week and you want me to believe that
you
are innocent,” she almost hissed at him.

“Will you give me a chance to explain myself?”

“What’s there to explain?”

“That I care for her,” he muttered.

“You have an amazing way of showing it,” she deadpanned.

“Abigail, please. You are making this harder than it is. I really care for Josephine. Just once. Let me talk to her once. I promise I’ll make her happy,” he said earnestly.

“You obnoxious jerk; you haven’t apologized to her even once.”

“But Abigail, she isn’t ready to talk to me. She won’t even answer my calls.” He looked down.

Abigail sighed. “What do you want me to do, Richard?” she asked tiredly.

“One meeting is all I ask.”

She nodded. “Okay, but if this blows up in my face, you will have hell to pay. Oh, and Richard? Pay the bill.” Smirking she stood up and walked away.

BOOK: Her Charming Secret
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