Sheikh's Untouched Woman(5)

By: Kylie Knight


She didn’t respond to his words, just looked at her watch. “Francois should be here soon.” A telltale buzz started in her purse. “Shit,” she muttered when she read the words on the screen.

“I imagine that’s Francois telling you he can’t make it today.” He smiled that smile that used to melt her panties right off but today she just wanted to slap him hard enough to leave a handprint.

“Got it,” she said as she starting digging around for her keys. At least she’d get to spend the rest of the day with Rafa. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” She walked away but she should have known that was too easy.

“Since you planned to be here anyway, how about that coffee?”

Her head fell and she tried to wipe away the negative images and words swirling in her mind. She had to say yes. Let him say whatever he needed to soothe his conscience and get it over with. “Fine. Ten minutes.” She pointed down the street to a coffee and chocolate shop.

Raffi caught up with her. “Surely you can give me more than that since you planned to be here for a few hours?”

Serena didn’t bother looking at him or offering an explanation. “Ten minutes.” When they reached the doors of the shop she took a step to the side, “I’ll be inside in a moment,” she pointed to her phone and then turned her back on him.



~



Raffir felt his frustration rising at Serena’s seeming indifference to him. It was arrogant to assume she’d still be the same infatuated young girl eager to spend all her time with him, but her attitude now was a bit much. Sometimes he thought he caught a glimpse of anger or hurt in her eyes but she was now a master at masking her emotions. Another change that could probably be attributed to him.

He gazed out the window at her red hair looking like flames as it blew in the sunlight and wondered who she had to call? Was it a lover or a boyfriend? A husband? That thought felt like a kick to the stomach. What did it matter to him anyway? He would apologize and return to Maju-ul and find a woman to help him rule.

When it was his turn he placed an order for both of them, hoping her tastes hadn’t changed too much in the time they’ve been apart. “A plain coffee, latte and two muffins,” he told the cashier and laid cash on the counter.

“Change that latte to a black coffee and take off a muffin,” she smiled at the barista with a wink. “Thanks.”

She grabbed her coffee and found a table overlooking the street. “This looks good.” She sipped and waited for Raffi to talk.

He looked at her, searching for hints of the Serena he once knew but she wasn’t there. This woman was stunning and confident, a core of steel that said she wouldn’t be taken for a fool again. “Serena, I’m sorry.”

She nodded as she absorbed his words and felt…nothing. She thought she would feel anger or relief or something but she didn’t respond at all to his apology. “Okay.”

“That’s all you have to say?” Why did he want a reaction from her so badly? Was it just ego or was it something else?”

“What else do you want me to say Raffir? You asked for this chat to apologize, do you need my forgiveness to feel better? Fine, I accept your apology.” She took several large gulps of coffee to keep her emotions in check.

“I want you to understand.”

“Why?”

He didn’t know. He just wanted her to understand he wasn’t rejecting her. “I can’t say, really. I just hated the way things ended.”

She nodded, everything suddenly became clear. “You’re here because I left before you could, what, get one more screw or tell me again that I was just a mistress?” She shook her head with a smile that wasn’t quite a smile, “Sorry to be the one to tell you, there was never going to be a good end to us.” It had taken her a long time to acknowledge that because at the time she thought there was a chance they’d become more than what they were.

“Where’d you go?” He’d spent a week searching for her in Paris and came up empty.

“I finished the year and left.” She’d barely finished even that due to the morning sickness that kept her in bed or wrapped around a toilet during those final weeks in Paris.

“Why did you leave the apartment and all your belongings behind?”

Serena wanted to laugh at the bewildered look on his handsome face. He still couldn’t fathom a woman would leave behind such luxury, just another clue she hadn’t known to look for. Now she did. “I didn’t leave any of my belongings. The stuff I left was never mine.” They were gifts for a mistress, a woman paid to be at the sexual beck and call of a wealthy man. Just thinking about it still made her sick to her stomach.