The Trap Of Ace By Eva Zahan Chapter 36

Read The Trap Of Ace [by Eva Zahan] Chapter 36 – Warner? Why was he calling me?

The phone buzzed again. But this time, it was a message from him.

“Who’s it?”

My thumb halted in the mid way from opening the message. Slowly turning around, I put my phone back into my purse. “It’s Mom, she asked if we’ve reached the party safely.”

I couldn’t mention Warner’s name now. No matter how sweet he was right now, jealousy didn’t sit well with him. He proved it many times before. And I didn’t want to ruin this night when it just started.

I’d just talk to Warner later.

Nodding, he put the trays of food on the table and gestured to me to sit. Of course, pulling my chair for me.

Shaking my head, I smiled. “Thank you.”

When he settled at the opposite chair of me, my eyes fell on his broad shoulders. Gone his jacket, now he was only in his black shirt. And it clung to his sculpted chest and arms like a second skin. Those folded sleeves up to his elbows, displaying the veiny strong hands, had me stare.

A breathless sigh left my lips. Why was he so perfect in every way?

Except his stubborn self of course!

The delicious aroma of the covered food snatched my attention. My stomach growled again. And when he took the lids off of the food platters, my mouth watered.

Cheesy garlic shrimp!

My eyes snapped up to him. Smiling at me, he put some shrimps on my plate, then drizzling the sweet and sour sauce on it. Just the way I liked.

Seeing my surprise, he said, “How could I forget to make my girl’s favorite food on our first date?”

I gasped, eyeing the shrimps, roasted potatoes, smoking chicken sizzlings and spaghetti. All my favorites. “You- you made all of this?”

I didn’t know he’d culinary skills.

His gaze locked with mine. “You didn’t argue about the thing that I called you my girl or it’s our actual date.”

Oh!

My cheeks turned hot. I was so stunned that he made all those dishes for me that I totally ignored his other emissions.

“I- yes. It’s just a friendly date. Don’t forget that! And I’m not your girl.” I cleared my throat, shifting in my chair.

He chuckled. That beautiful sound always made me feel something inside me. It felt like he was a totally different man around me. He talked more, he laughed more. His eyes held light.

“Well, our k**s proves that both of your beliefs are wrong.” He put some spaghetti on my plate, and then reached for the roasted potatoes. “And yes, I cooked them myself.”

I tried my best not to turn into beetroot out of embarrassment. Though whatever I said, my actions told the opposite. But it wasn’t my fault. I tried my best to resist him, but he always crossed my boundaries.

“I didn’t know you knew how to cook.” I changed the subject, sticking a shrimp in my fork.

He shrugged. “I only know to make the favorite dishes of my Rosebud.”

My fork stopped in the half way in the air to my mouth. My heart skipped as I stared at him. He only learned to make my favorite dishes?

“W-why?” I stuttered.

“So that I could always keep my queen happy and full.”

His intense gaze had me gulp. Something soared into my chest as I struggled with the tons of emotions he made me feel.

Averting my eyes, I took a bite of the cheesy shrimp. And I was amazed. It was delicious! Even better than those restaurants.

Eager, I put two more into my mouth, and then tasted the chicken. My eyes closed at the savory flavors bursting into my mouth.

Once I opened my eyes, I noticed he didn’t even touch his plate yet. With an uncertain expression, he watched me. As if waiting for something.

With my mouth full, I raised my brow.

He scratched the back of his head. “Uh, how’s the food? Did you like it?”

I gaped at him. Was Achilles Valencian nervous? And he needed my approval?

S********g, I bit back my smile and nodded my head. “They’re delicious. More than delicious actually. You’d be an excellent chef if you weren’t a businessman,” I answered truthfully.

Relief washed over his features as he relaxed in his seat. Wait, was I hallucinating? Was that pink tint I was seeing on his cheeks?

Achilles Valencian was blushing! Oh s**t! I should have clicked a picture of it as a memory!

Noticing my astounding saucer eyes, he cleared his throat put back on his confident expression.

This time I couldn’t hide my smile. “You were blushing.”

“I wasn’t! Now eat your food. They’re getting cold,” he said, filling his own plate.

“Here, try some spaghetti. I’m sure you’ll like them.”

“Thanks. But you were blushing. I saw it!” I argued, teasing him. “It’s okay to blush, you know? It’s normal.”

He cursed under his breath.

I snickered. “Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me. No one will ever know that Achilles Valencian blushed.”

“Rosebud!” he warned, his grey orbs formed into a scowl. “Eat your food.”

Biting my lip, I finally decided to leave him alone and concentrate on my food. As we silently began eating those delicacies, my eyes fell onto his knuckles again. None of the movements of his hands didn’t seem to bother him even if they were black and blue. He didn’t even wince once.

My hands itched to drag him inside and out some ointment on them. But I knew he wouldn’t let me until the date was over.

“When did you buy this place from Tobias’ friend’s family?” The way the guard outside greeted him, staff working for him here and the way he planned everything said that he owned this house and the private beach.

He didn’t have to look up at me as he already was watching me. He was watching me more than he ate his food, not letting me eat comfortably. How would I do it when his hawk like eyes were watching me?

Annoying man!

“Three years ago. They actually didn’t want to sell it at first, but then I convinced them.”

“How?”

His shrug was casual. “By offering them triple of the actual price of this property.”

My eyes widened. “Triple? But why’d you do that? You could just buy any other property, much bigger than this.”

Again the intensity was back in his grey pools. “Those didn’t remind me of my Rosebud.”

My heart caught at my throat as I stared at him.

He- he brought this beach house for me? First that company, then that canvas and now this.

I was out of words. I didn’t know what to say or react. So dumbfounded, I looked down and went back to my plate.

Once we were finished with the dinner, he stood up and gave me his hand.

“Dance?” A slow music hummed in the background.

Hesitantly, I placed my hand on his, letting him pull me on my feet and gather closer to his warmth. His heady cologne filled my senses as we swayed slowly along the harmony. Gazing at my eyes, he tucked a strand behind my ear.

“Did I say how beautiful you’re looking tonight?” his low voice said.

With heated up cheeks, I shook my head.

“Well, you’re looking enchanting tonight, Rosebud,” he rasped.

I blushed some more. “Thank you. You’re not looking bad either.”

“That’s it? Nothing more I get to hear?” He raised his brow.

I rolled my eyes. “You’re looking good.”

“Just good?”

I glared at his mischievous grey eyes. Though he teased me, I could feel the change of mood in him after the dinner. His shoulders were tense, eyes were disturbed.

“What happened? You look tense,” I asked.

The smile slipped off his face. He shook his head. “Not now. Later, Rosebud. Let us enjoy our dance first.”

Letting out a sigh, I nodded and let him pull me closer and hug me to his chest. Without complaining, I rested my head under his chin, closed my eyes and enjoyed our slow dance, the music and his warmth. Just as he said.

***

“Check mate!” I said, lining my soldier right before his king.

With his hands adjoined before him, he just stared at the chess board in silence.

After our dance, he led me inside to play chess, just like old times. At the first match, he won, as always. But in the second match, I won. Same went with the third one. Not because I was better than him on the chess board, because he let me win. His mind was somewhere else other than our match.

The more time was passing tonight, the more his stance got tense. Those grey eyes turned more anxious as our game started to come to an end. He was stalling time, I was aware of it.

And even I was now afraid to ask questions. What was in the past that he was that agitated of the revelation?

What afraid me most was the fear in those gray pools. Tonight was the night I discovered his many faces. But I didn’t ever expect that I’d see fear in his eyes.

“Ace? You again let me win. It’s not fair!” I pressed my lips together. He used to do it in our childhood. He’d always let me win and even after I was aware of the fact, I’d be jumping up and down on my seat out of excitement. And he’d just watch me there. But I wasn’t the little Emerald anymore.

“No problem. We can play another match,” he said, rearranging the board.

I stopped his hand. His stormy grey met my turquoise. “Three matches are enough for tonight. Don’t you think it’s time to fulfill your promise?”

His jaw clenched, eyes looked away from mine.

“You promised, Ace. I want to know everything.” My voice came out firm, though my hand fumbled with my bracelet under the table.

Hands balled into fists, he took a deep breath; gaze set on the board. “What do you want to know?”

“Everything,” I whispered, gulping. “Everything that happened that night seven years ago. If you claim that you always had feelings for me, you always wanted me, then… what were you doing with Tess that night on the balcony?”

I let out a breath, finally asking the questions that have been nagging under my skin for so long.

Silence.

The only sound I could hear in the room was the tiks of the hanging watch on the wall, and my pounding heart under my chest.

His gaze drilled into mine as he sat there with an unreadable facade. Though the storm in his grey eyes was transparent.

“Ace?” I probed.

“Before you know what happened that night, you should be aware of my past first.” His eyes locked with mine. “Remember, Emerald. Before reaching any conclusions, know that whatever I did was for everyone’s good. Especially yours.”

What good was in there for me? But putting my question aside, I nodded my head, encouraging him to go ahead.

He closed his eyes, before opening them again, the muscle of his jaw ticked. “After my father passed away, my… mom went into depression. She couldn’t take the loss of her husband and d*****d her into alcohol and parties. I was about to turn eighteen at that moment.” The pain in voice was visible, though he tried to mask it hard. “As you knew, my father was an idol for me. Even if he never spent much time with us, I… loved him a lot. And after he passed, i- I was lost. I didn’t know what to do with my life then.”

Something squeezed in my chest imagining how much pain he must have gone through.

“With my mother never at home, I found myself alone. Though Caleb was there, no one could take the place of parents. On the top of that, the company’s burden was falling on me. For an eighteen years old, it became too much for me, Emerald.” He looked away from me as if ashamed. “Not being able to take everything in, i- I took the support of d***s.”

A gasp slipped through my lips as I sat there shocked.

“I became a d**g addict.” His voice hard as steel, eyes flashing. “There wasn’t any kind of addiction I hadn’t tried, to forget everything. To get a moment of peace, not knowing it was only pushing me towards the destruction.”

My eyes b****d, heart pained at the emotional downfall he went through. And I hadn’t had even any idea of it. Guilt washed over me like a tsunami.

“Why didn’t you tell me anything?” My voice croaked.

He held my gaze. Different emotions swirled into those stormy grey eyes. “I couldn’t let my darkness taint you, Rosebud. I’d never.”

“You could at least tell me. I’d be there with you. Maybe I could help you out.” A lone tear escaped my eye.

A soft smile tugged on his lips. “You were helping me, Rosebud. You were the only hope in my life that didn’t let my darkness engulf me whole. You were the only one that had kept me sane.”

My lower lip trembled. No matter what he said, I couldn’t help but feel the guilt clutching me in its grip. Here I was fantasizing about him not knowing what problems he was going through.

“Then what happened? H-how did you get out of your addiction?”

“I couldn’t for two years. Until…”

“Until?”

“Until I lost you.” Taking a deep breath, he cleared his throat. “I knew about your feelings for me, Rosebud. I knew everything. You were my princess even before you asked me to make you one. But… ” His features hardened. “No matter how much I wanted you, I couldn’t let you wait for me and ruin your life when I didn’t even know if I had a future or not, what I’d do with my life.”

Something churned inside me. An ominous feeling rose up my chest.

“That’s why that night, I took Tess’s help. To…”

My heart pounded down my chest, breath came out harsh, eyes burning. My nails dug into my palm.

“To push you away from me.”

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