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PELLA SERIES - Chapter II - The Equinox


CHAPTER II

THE EQUINOX

Alexander Aurelius Pella
   
“Mr. Pella?” Anthony slowly approaches placating as if not to disturb a wild animal. He stands ten feet away from me accompanied by Henry. He oddly looks out of place even though he’s in his running gear,  his shirt off and his large muscles bulging like a well-oiled machine. Henry on the other hand is in his cowboy boots, black jeans, and pale blue shirt, his wide brim hat in place and yet he looks at home in the middle of a California beach.    


“What?” I ask sharply, still looking at the pathway where Elissa disappeared running.  

“Is it her, sir?” he asks in a gentle tone.   

My eyes are still fixed on the pathway as if she’ll come back any second, but of course, she doesn’t. “Yes, it’s Elissa,” I respond,  reticently.   

Ever since my dreams of Elissa started two weeks ago to date, I’ve been searching like a mad man to find her. But then, I've always looked for her every place I went, in every person I've met, in many, many women, and haven't, of course found her. The task wasn’t like just like looking for a needle in a haystack; but it was as if I was looking for a needle in mountains of needles. It's been exhausting, excruciating, soul shredding to the point of losing it. I've scaled the globe, went to so many countries, searched through millions of faces I've met day after day and not having found her, not feeling of her presence here and now, and having to start all over again, and coming up empty handed for such a long time, the task would have destroyed a lesser man... 

Then again, I'm only half man. Half my resilience comes from the angel who fathered me, and the other half is lent through the angel who bound me to him for eternity with a task I willingly took: protecting the only woman I ever loved in my very long existence, Elissa.  I knew she was going to look different, and even have a different personality. But our souls always called to one another. I felt the familiar pull, as the earth would call to her moon. Helplessly inescapable... Since the first night my dreams of our past started, everything else became secondary. After I felt her presence two weeks ago and finally knowing she existed here and now, any other woman I ever fucked, any of my businesses though I make billions, or any endeavor I ever desired to accomplish or ever accomplished, ceased to mean anything.  My sun finally rose after having left me in the dark for two-hundred and fifteen years! This is my second chance, my equinox! I feel alive! 

“Are you quite sure Alexander?” asks Henry pulling me out of my reveries.    

“Do you think I wouldn't recognize my wife?” I roar at Henry turning on my heels, my gaze stormy, ablaze with anger, piercing him with my glare. If it was anyone other than these two men who dedicated their lives to me for centuries, they wouldn't be able to question my judgment without my wrath.    

“Your wife in a different time, Alexander!” Henry reminds me urgently, as if this would make any difference to me. Nothing would stop me from reacquainting myself with her. “And, no, I don’t doubt your judgment, sir. But, I have an oath as well to protect her, and there’s something different about her this time. Everything depends on her remembering, and she seems to...” he says pausing, “...not want to remember. Or maybe it’s simply not Miss Ellie. You have to consider the possibility,” urges Henry.   

It is Elissa! When I saw her running down the driftwood plank stairs to the beach, I felt a tremendous pull, an ineludible desire to be near her. It was unmistakable; everything ceased to exist. Like a magnet pulling mindlessly and I’m blinded to anything else, but to answer her call. I know that she felt the same, because when I closed into her vicinity she doubled over. That was what I would have done if I had not learned to control my body and reactions, perfected over hundreds of years.  

 “It’s been two hundred and fifteen years, Mr. Pella. By the changes in you, we know that she’s here, in this time, and alive. But even if she were to dream about her past and you, she’ll only remember the way you looked then, not the way you look now. And you must still consider the possibility that the barriers her father erected might click in place on this life cycle. Unfortunately it will not work for you anymore, because you haven’t matriculated through time, but she has. First we have to make sure that, this is indeed Miss Ellie. YourElissa!” Anthony says emphasizing. “You know that more than her life depends on it, sir. You can never be overcautious.”    

I look at both Henry and Anthony with a glacial stare, and the tone of my voice tells them I’m not to be trifled with:     

“I’ve seen her eyes. Everyone's eyes are the doors to their soul; those were Elissa’s eyes,” I growl and add in a low murmur only audible to me, “still blue as pale sapphires...” with longing. “She may have matriculated though the tunnel of time one last time, but her soul is intact, and by the way she reacted to me; I know her conscience has some recollection. Her soul remembers! I just need to help it along.”  

When we were sitting atop the arch, she lifted her sunglasses, and I got to see her eyes, that blue still gives me the shivers! When she looked up at me, I wanted to hold her and never let go, kiss her until neither of us had any breath left in us! Aristotle always told me that our breaths carried our souls; although after all I’ve done during my tiringly long existence, I doubt if I still have mine intact. He said that when two lovers kissed, their souls would unite. I’ve known that to be true! Because she’s my twin soul. She’s always been the one who made me feel...whole. The only person who ever satisfied the never ending yearning for more of everything. Nothing I ever tried since she was gone ever assuaged the propensity for the reckoning in me. How could anyone fill a black hole? The depravity I have in me is a dark, menacing abyss. She’s the only one who shone light to it, chasing away the darkness; the only one who quenched the insatiable beast in me. No other woman ever made me feel the way she made me feel. 



“Alexander, you don't look the same! If she'll be looking to find Alexander back then, and she'll never find you. This is one of the last precautions against...” Henry says chasing away my visions of Elissa and looks at me with a carefully hidden commiseration, knowing that I don't care for anyone’s sympathy, or pity. “How would she remember you? It has to be her who does the remembering. It has to be her free will to choose,” Henry adds in a serious tone.   

'Remembering me... remembering us...' I think to myself. She promised!  

“Do either of you doubt me? Doubt my ability to locate her? Have I not chased her existence throughout the entire world... many many times? I am one of the best trackers the world has ever seen! Hell! This is a world I’ve started conquering when I was only 22 years old!” I raise my voice opening up my arms, “I have become the most shrewd businessman in the world, yet I kept a low profile. I have learned to read the signs of time, of wind, of fire, of earth, of water like you would read a book. The shadow men everyone else around the globe including the governments is wary of, are afraid of my fucking wrath! Because I know how to find them, neither do I have no qualms about fucking punishing them, should they ever cross me over! And, I know, that,” I say jabbing my thumb in the direction Elissa disappeared, “...was Elissa!”  

“There is one better: Nieto...He's still the best tracker of anything, or anyone. No one can find him, unless he wants you to find him,” corrects Henry, but Anthony cuts him off.    

“How do we confirm it Mr. Pella? How do we, beyond the shadow of any doubt know that it’s Miss Ellie? Names can be a coincidence, looks can be a coincidence. After all, her mother was human. She had to have human descendants. That could very well cause the resemblance you’re seeking.”   

I hold my wrists up to show them, and both of them take a step back as if I punched them and left them breathless, their eyes widen. I know Elissa's marks had to come alive too! She looked like I shocked her with a thousand Volts of electricity. The moment my seals came alive, the marks got scorching hot. Even though they seared me like the hot branding iron and was excruciating, and would have made me tremble if I didn't use all my physical faculties. But the pain was well worth it for having her fall into my arms, inhaling her unique scent after two-hundred and fifteen years of missing her!   

Aquila!” gasps Anthony reverentially.   

Aquila, indeed!” nods Henry. “My apologies for doubting you, sir,” he adds in his southern gentleman tone. “There’s one on each wrist, but...” he says looking up and asks, worried, “...only one carries the golden thunderbolts in his talons. What’s the meaning of it?”   

Anthony answers it before I do, “the eagle is ready to fight against all enemies!”   

“Only one is ready to fight. The other one seems wounded...” observes Henry, and expresses the concern I didn't dare to voice. Something is indeed amiss with her, and I need to find out, immediately.   

“Anthony, Elissa has a job interview this afternoon in Los Angeles. I want you to find out where, and see if one of our recruiters works there. I want her to be referred to my company.”   

He opens his smart phone and reads through her background search after I've located her here in Montecito, telling me what I already know, because I’ve read it a thousand times, memorized it as if catching up with her, “yes, Mr. Pella,” he say, and reads something under his breath, but we can all hear his voice:

“Elissa Cassandra Duncan. Age: 21. Today!” he says surprised looking up at me. My gaze isn't giving anything away. My mouth shut into a thin line. 21 means she could be visible to all the other trackers who is seeking her because she will be getting some of her memories back, and it may shine like a beacon to the Fallen Angels. “She has received her Master's degree. I'm sure it’ll be easy to find a very appropriate position for her at the Pella Aerospace and Energy International Inc.”   

“Anthony, I don’t want her to have just any position!” I utter enunciating. “I want her to be interviewed as my personal assistant. Whatever job she’s applying in Los Angeles, have her sent to our Los Angeles Headquarters. I want her to be referred to me, and to me alone to do the usual one week trial required of those who work with me closely.”   

“What if she refuses to work for another company other than the one she’s applying?”   
“I am putting you in charge of her referral to me! If you are unable, incapable, or unwilling to do the task I’m assigning for you, let me know, now! Do I make myself clear Anthony?” I ask in my don’t-fuck-with-me tone.   

“Perfectly so, sir,” he replies chagrined.    

“I want her to talk to no one in that company no matter who it is...”   

“But...” Anthony interrupts me. My gaze is on him immediately, sharp, and cold; he immediately shuts up, his mouth a thin line.    

“I don’t care if she is scheduled to be interviewed by the president, himself! She talks to no one. She is to be referred to me directly, and only to be interviewed by me!”   

“Yes, Mr. Pella.”   

“Are we taking you to the hotel sir, or the airport?” asks Henry after seeing the tension rising in me.    
“Airport. Have the jet ready,” I say and pull my t-shirt from the back of my running shorts, and pull it over me.    


 Thirty minutes later, I’m sitting in my jet ready to get take off. As we are en route to LAX, Anthony comes and sits before me with his iPad in his hand.   My laptop is open I start re-reading Elissa’s background and her resume, devouring the content. Delilah is signing “I Can Feel You,” in the background. Henry listens to the lyrics quietly watching me silently.

“Hold your breath don't cry they’re coming
*Tainted* secrets *don't die* they’re coming
And if you wait for dawn to fade
You should see the dark
And as the gold defines your pain

I can feel your heart
Open from the start
I can feel your soul
Yearning to my call?
I can feel you

Hold my hand don’t hide cos they're coming
Fallen angels fly by and they’re coming
So if you wait for dawn to fade
You should see the dark” 
she croons.

(Delilah - I Can Feel You)

Knowing that they’re indeed coming, I close my eyes for a few seconds. I can’t lose my focus.

 “Mr. Pella? Can we go over the schedule for the week sir?”    

“Have you arranged for Elissa’s interview to be transferred to me?” I ask pointedly, my eyes focused on him.    

“Yes, I have sir. Once she gets to the...” he looks down his iPad to check the company she’ll be interviewing in, “...Global Media Monitor, she will be referred to the Pella Towers.” I nod impassively, I am anything but. I’m going to see Elissa again. I exhale a breath slowly, I didn't know I was holding.    

“Okay. Let’s go over the schedule,” I say changing the topic.    

“Firstly, may I ask whether we are taking you to the Centurion or the Castraafter landing sir?”    

“I better go to the Centurion. Both the drive and the flight will take considerably less to the Pella Towers.” Centurion is a high security luxury apartment building I own in Santa Monica overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and occupy the penthouse when I need to be downtown at the early hours. Driving in Los Angeles traffic might take about twenty minutes, but the flight from the apartment to the Pella Towers takes no more than ten minutes. My home is located in Malibu built atop a bluff. There are no neighbors around, because they’re not allowed to build on it. But I owned the land for over two hundred years. It’s a fortress in disguise. It’s aptly named Castra, the Fortress.   

“Very well sir,” Anthony replies.   

“Just to remind you sir, we must fly out to Marana, Arizona tomorrow for the auctions. We have twenty-eight units of passenger aircraft to sell to the highest bidder, and also twenty-two units of helicopters. We have global bidders who have lined up months in advance. All of them deposited the bidding fees, and each has secured tens, some of them hundreds of millions of Dollars funding for the purchases; depending on what and how many units they’re buying of course. Since you have the final say in all the transactions, sir, your presence is more than required,” he says knowing I won't want to leave town when I know Elissa is back.   

The aircraft auctions I have to attend tomorrow give me an idea for the week long trial.   

“Anthony, what time are we supposed to leave tomorrow?”  

He consults the calendar on his iPad again. “We are leaving at 11:30 a.m., sir,” he replies.  
“Perfect!” I reply. This might be the opportunity I need.  

When we reach the tarmac, Turk Stacy is waiting by my heavily tinted Mercedes Guardian.   

“I'm not taking the car Turk. I need to get to the Centurion quickly. I'm taking the helicopter.”  

“Are you flying her sir?” he asks.   

“No. Henry will.”   
“Yes, sir.” he says.   

“I want three of the Conquest Knights to be flown to Marana for tomorrow. Make sure they’re transferred today,” I order. ”Go ahead of me today with the cargo, and take Aidan, Paul and Desertwalker.”

“Desertwalker?” he asks shocked.
“Yes.”
“You found her then, sir?” he asks anxious. I nod looking ahead.

I take the speediest shower I’ve taken in such a long time. I wear my navy blue Brioni suit with crisp white shirt. I put on my AP initialed cuff-links on. For the first time in a long time, I can’t decide whether I want to have an open collar, or have a woven silk navy blue tie. But Elissa always liked running her hands over my chest hair. Couldn't I give her a hint of that? Then I get a wicked idea, and the decision is made.


“Henry, let’s go!”

“Alexander,” he says nodding, and when he sees me he does a double take, blinks and smiles. “Well, my friend, if I wasn’t straight as an arrow, I’d say you are positively glowing! But, it might be the Southern gentleman in me talking. Anthony has been waiting at the rooftop by the helicopter.” I shake my head and not respond.

As Henry is clearing us for the take-off, my mind is occupied with Elissa. I’m preparing the usual questions, but add some extras to learn more about her. Get to know Ellie. The way she is now.

When I enter into my office in the thirtieth floor of the Pella Towers, my office staff is waiting for me standing.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Pella,” James, one of my assistants in the Los Angeles office greets me.
“Good afternoon, sir,” Melissa gushes tucking an unseen strand of red hair of her professionally made bun behind her ear. “I’ll bring in your coffee immediately, sir,” she says. I nod.
“James, bring in the list for the upcoming appointments for this afternoon,” I say and he scrambles to get his iPad, and rushes to catch up to me, and opens my door into my office.

I make my way to my seat, and turn it around behind me and gaze out to Downtown Los Angeles for thirty seconds. James clears his throat.

“You have three appointments scheduled for this afternoon, sir.”

“Cancel all but, Elissa Duncan appointment.”

“But, sir, Mr. Hudson is a Boeing executive, and we've scheduled this appointment a month ago since you were out of the country. It would take weeks to re...” he doesn’t finish his sentence when I turn to give my pointed stare at him.

“Reschedule Mr. Hudson,” he says and makes an exaggeratedly writing gesture with his stylus on his iPad, avoiding my glacial stare. Melissa walks in with my coffee in her hand, her heels clicking through my marble floors.

"Is there anything else I can get for you sir?" she asks.

"I don’t want any interruption, any distraction, and phone calls, any reminders, nothing until Miss Duncan leaves. Is that clear?" I ask to both in a tone with finality.

"Perfectly clear, sir," they both reply.

"What time is Miss Duncan due?"

"She is scheduled to be here in seventeen minutes, Mr. Pella," James replies.

"Show her in immediately," I say dismissing them and they quickly scuttle out like rats from a sinking ship but not before they both quickly, surreptitiously eye me admiringly. Fuck! Both of them? I don't want to know!

I close my eyes as minutes stretch before her arrival. The way she reacted to me, the way she looked at me... I play the image in my head over and over again.  I have missed that. James' disembodied voice is on the intercom:

"Mr. Pella. Miss Duncan is here for her interview, sir."

My heart lurches and I take a deep breath. "Send her in," I reply coolly. There's a knock on my door, and Elissa walks in wearing a black tiered V-neck dress stopping above her knee with her hair in a beautiful chignon emphasizing her long neck. She's wearing black high heels with a red clutch purse in her hand. I rise from my seat slowly, my usual economy in my movements is intact. I make my way around my desk and when I turn the corner to face her, she six feet away from me.

"Mr. Pella, I'm..." she says extending her hand as she walks towards me and the moment she realizes who she's addressing, she looks dumbstruck, falling speechless, and her feet falters as if she’s not used to walking in high heels and stumbles right into me. I quickly catch and hold her in my arms for a second time today.

"Miss Duncan, are you alright?" I whisper close to her ear in a husky voice. Then I set her straight still holding her bare arms right below her shoulders.

"Alex? Mr. Pella? You’re Mr. Pella?" she stutters blinking as I’m still holding onto her shoulders.

"Yes," I say in a soft voice, managing to look mildly surprised for her benefit. “I’m Alex Pella,” I say and her intoxicating proximity is extremely arousing. "What a pleasant coincidence, Ellie," I say, and to her surprise taking her hand, I lead her to a chair, "I could never forgive myself if you fall again,” I say in a serious tone, and point at a chair before my desk, “please, won’t you have a seat?" I request in a gentle but unmistakably commanding tone. She blinks twice, and wordlessly sinks into the chair with her mouth agape.

I notice her acute awareness of me, and she's trying to concentrate on everything around the room, in an effort to avoid gazing at me. But unable to help herself, her eyes follow my movements back to my seat. My hands slowly rise and unbuckle the only fastened button on my jacket, revealing my untied woven silk navy blue tie showcasing the sprinkle of chest hair through my unfastened two top buttons of my white shirt. She’s unable and unwilling to look away, and the intensity of my entire focus, and  my gaze is upon her, searing her, making her squirm in her seat.

“I thought I applied for an entry level position in Global Media Monitor, but I was sent here. They said my appointment is with Mr. Pella,” she says by the way of explanation.

“Yes, Miss Duncan. My company never hires employees off the street, or we don’t advertise for a position. I have recruiters in various companies. We let them know the qualifications we are looking for and the types of employees. My recruiters are always well aware of the kinds of talents my company is seeking. If they come across a candidate with a lot of potential my company is seeking of a new employee, they’re referred to me. They must have seen that potential in your resume for them to refer you. After all, this is an important position you are applying.”

“What position am I interviewing for, uhm Mr. Pella? Uhm, Alex?” she says and I’m unable to help myself but close my eyes for a second with my name on her lush lips in pure bliss.

“If your interview goes well today, you will be given a one week trial to work as my personal assistant given your education in linguistics and business.”

“A one week trial? I thought if an interview goes well, I would get a job, and a probationary three month period would be in place like any other company,” she states puzzled.

“Generally that’s what other companies would do. But my company’s success is largely due to its unconventional trial interview week which displays a potential employee’s talents, strengths and weaknesses. It also gives the employee a feel of what they’re getting into, and the employer to see how they can handle certain business related situations where we couldn't possibly cover in a two or three hour interview,” I say sitting back in my seat, crossing my legs; my hands steepled before me, pointing upward to my lips and her gaze is locked on them.

“What if a potential employee doesn’t want to go for the trial week? Why should they do it, if there are other jobs they could do in another company without the trial? It seems a little unfair,” she protests her eyes narrowing.

“Miss Duncan, if a potential employee wants a mundane job, getting themselves into ‘go to work, punch in, work eight hours, punch out, go home’ kind of job, they’re better off working for someone else; my company doesn’t need them. What I am seeking is talent! A talent who is willing to go and explore the world, explore the limits of their capabilities, intellect, their strengths, and improve their weaknesses,” I say leaning in. “I want an ambitious individual who has goals and plans for himself or herself, a free thinker, a problem solver, and someone who is willing to try what is out of convention. I demand that from all my employees, because I want people who are not satisfied with the bare minimum any job would offer. The rewards I offer are unparalleled  because, my employees produce, create, and innovate ten times more than any other company’s employees, and in return they are rewarded for the work they do with benefits that do not exist in any of the companies, but maybe only in a handful around the globe, and mine leads the top spot,” I explain with an arrogant confidence and lean back watching her reaction.
“What kind of benefits?” she asks curiously, cocking her head to one side. Oh fuck! That’s what she used to do for me to give access to her long neck. For a minute, I remember myself holding her from behind, and trailing kisses on her neck, and her shoulders; unable to contain the passion and ripping the shirt off her to a very satisfactory result. I cross and uncross my legs with my growing erection.

“Oh, but Miss Duncan, I thought I was the one who is interviewing you,” I say with a wicked half smile, and she stares at my mouth unable to break the contact, then forces herself to look up at my eyes, blinking several times. She exhales a long breath slowly and discreetly.

“Now, I have your resume before me. You've studied linguistics, and business. You've interned at the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce, and interpreted for the refugees for the UN and UNICEF last two summers,” I read and look at her with a soft gaze, “Very impressive.”

“Yes, I have,” she confirms, and her sapphire blue eyes are staring at me unblinking as if I’m going to disappear.

“Who raised you Miss Duncan?” I ask changing the topic immediately, and she faults a moment in her response, then opens her mouth and then closes, then opens again. I cock one eyebrow at her waiting for her response.

“I thought they weren't supposed to ask personal questions on the interviews. Family and marital status, relationships...” she says slowly trailing off.

“What other companies do is none of my business, Miss Duncan. My company is different; we’re an unconventional company. You see, if an employee is ambitious, intelligent, and innovative, it’s worth knowing that employee’s personal relationships, because it impacts the work productivity. Therefore, if I’m interested in hiring a person, my company helps anything to secure that person’s longevity on this enterprise. If they have a child, and concerned for their care, they wouldn't be able to perform the productivity I require of them. But if I know what they need, then I can assist them in taking care of that particular problem, assuring that he or she performs to the best of their ability. That, and only that is the purpose of the personal questions. You see, no one would be here, seated in that chair if my company didn't see a great potential in that individual. Maximizing the productivity goes through simply having happy employees.”

“Oh...” she says disarmed.

“So, Miss Duncan, who raised you? I’m just trying to see where your compassion for displaced people comes from.”

“I was raised by my uncle and my nanny since my birth,” she replies shrugging, dismissing a larger problem. Her eyes drift away from mine, looking nowhere in particular but her gaze is fixed in the Los Angeles skyline through the windows behind me.

“No parents then?”

“I never knew my dad. One night stand...apparently,” she says chagrined. “And my mom, well, she’s just joined my life only three years ago,” she adds in a sour tone. She shrugs, “not much to tell.” She wants to move on from the topic.

“Do you ride Miss Duncan?” I ask changing the topic.

“Ride what?”

“Horses, of course,” I say smiling brightly.

“What’s that got to do with the Pella Aerospace and Energy Enterprises Incorporated?”

“A lot, of course. You’re applying for a position as my assistant to liaise between me and my company’s international clients. A lot of time I travel around the globe, and quite a bit of business done doing some leisurely activity, and horseback riding is one of them. I would like my assistants to be able to ride a horse comfortably,” I explain. Her mouth is agape with a pleasant surprise.

“I love horses! I ride often! One of my biggest dreams is to own a horse ranch someday!” she gushes first time with enthusiasm, and I stifle a shuddering breath immediately. She did own a horse ranch, with the best horses the world has ever seen. I nod.

“Do you have a boyfriend, anyone you’re sleeping with, or are you attached in anyway, Ellie?” I ask in such a casual tone that it takes her a few seconds to process my question. Once she understands what I just asked, she inhales sharply.

“How’s that related to this job?” she asks leaning in her eyebrows crossed. There’s a soft V formed in the middle of her brows reminding me when she would get mad at me.

I rise from my seat in a swift but graceful movement, and walk around my desk and finally stop two feet away from her and lean back on my desk, buttoning my jacket at her eye level, drawing her eyes to my crotch and waist. She swallows.

“Because, I’d need one hundred percent of your attention when you work for me,” I say in a firm but a seductive tone. “You would need to travel often to various countries with me. A lover who is taking your attention from your job would be...quite...distracting,” I say casually and distinctly as I cock my eyebrows. I can see her chest rising up and down in rapid succession as her jaw drops open. I ignore her reaction.

“So, do you have a lover, Ellie?” I ask in a low, seductive voice, my gaze is on her with heated intensity. I need to know if anyone is standing in my way. She was my wife! She promised to find me, yet that was lifetime and more than two hundred years ago! I’m aching inside for her; she’s two feet away from me, yet I cannot touch her without her consent. The thought is harrowing, unbearable for my dark soul. Would she say she has someone she fucks, someone she loves? I can deal with someone she fucks; hell, I can even deal if she’s fucked an entire town, but I couldn't bear it if she loves someone. I couldn't, I wouldn't separate her from someone she loves, even if it means the end of me, losing what little bit of humanity left in me, if any. I love her too much to not to do that to her. But, I have to know! I hide my misery behind my well trained serene façade, and brace myself for her answer.

“Not presently...” she answers, swallowing, her eyes locked with mine unable to look away. Does that mean she’s had one? An ex? Jealousy rises in me. She presses her knees together, her feet pressing down on the floor in an effort to suppress some ache in her thighs.  I don’t make much of her physical responses, because she’s my twin soul. Our bodies would always call to each other. What I want from her are body and soul for all eternity.

“I see,” I say, and unbuckle my jacket and putting my left hand in my pants’ pocket slowly and casually, then I place my right hand on my leg, run it slowly up and down, then finally resting it at the same level as my crotch. Her eyes follow my every move. Her reaction brings up the ghost of a smile on my lips. She’s not immune to my charms.

“What does being your assistant entail, Mr. Pella?” she asks, pouting her full lips, her arms crossed. How I’d love to kiss that mouth! She wants to communicate with me. Well, nothing is more articulate than a kiss!

“I’m a very shrewd businessman Ellie. I’m too tough, and intimidating to others. I need, a soft,” I say in a low voice, “gentle, but professional, intelligent, charming, beautiful, multilingual assistant who can disarm the top businessmen of the world. I need someone like you...” I say shrugging.

“Top businessmen of the world?” she asks her eyes wide, hyperventilating. “I’ve never dealt with top anything in my life! My mad business skills are limited to dealing with poor refugees, and abused children. Those guys will eat me alive!” she protests.

I lean down close to her face with a slight curve of my lips, and give her a slow smile. Angel, I would never allow anyone intimidate you, ever! Protecting you is the mission of my existence. My face is only a foot away from hers. I can see the individual specs of her pale sapphire blues, her pupils dilated with worry. But my proximity is putting her into some overdrive.

“I am big, bad and ugly in my world,” I say slowly as my index finger is grazing over my lower lip, and without taking my gaze away from her eyes which I’ve long to see for a very long time, I say, “No one would dare to be impolite to you let alone intimidate you in any way whatsoever. Are  you up for a challenge, Ellie? Or do you wish to settle for the ordinary, mundane, and boring, just stuck in Los Angeles?” I ask daring her, knowing she could never resist a challenge I presented to her in the past.
“I did want to get out of town, put some distance between...” she says, but stops herself. Put some distance between what? Or more importantly, who?

“Yes, I am. One week trial you said? What if you decide that I’m not fit for the position after one week, or what if I decide that the job is not for me?” she says standing up her eyes level with mine. I cock my head to the side, and answer. “That’s why it’s called a trial. You try me, and I try you, see how we fit together as a closely working pair,”  I say darkly. I know that she fits me in every shape and form ever conceived by men or angels.

“Okay,” she swallows. Then nodding her head, “I’ll take the challenge,” she replies blushing. I close my eyes involuntarily hearing her acceptance. Step one complete. When I open them, I have better control over my feelings. It’s too difficult with her close proximity and her absence from my life for all this time; it’s taking all my effort to not to close the distance, and embrace her, kiss her to unite our souls, and to lose myself in her for the kingdom come!

“Do you have a place to stay in LA?” I ask her to distract my thoughts.

“Uhm...No. I haven’t had a chance to look. I wasn’t sure if I was staying in LA, or moving even further out,” she answers.

“How much further did you have in mind?” I ask softly. San Francisco? San Diego? Atlanta? Maybe as far as New York?

“I haven’t made up my mind; I was toying with the idea of maybe London, Paris, Hamburg, Rome, Istanbul, Sydney or even Hong Kong...” she says trailing off. What the hell? What is she running away from? Or more importantly who is she running away from? I have to find out. I clench my teeth with the knowledge that someone is making her uneasy.

“Is everything alright in your life?” I ask unable to mask the concern, my arms crossed.

“Why wouldn't it be?” she answers my question tersely trying to distract me with an ill disguised question.

“If it is, I’d like to see what we can do to resolve the problem,” I explain nonchalantly.

“Do you always resolve all your employees’ problems, Mr. Pella?” she asks with a quizzical eye. I smile wickedly in response.

“Only the ones I’d like to keep for a long time...” I reply. My response hitches her breath.

“But, I’m on trial,” she says confused and clasps her hand in front of her, fiddling with her fingers in a nervous gesture.

“Yes, you are. But, I’ll let you in on a secret. I never give a trial to anyone had I not thought it would work out. It’s just a matter of fine tuning the mechanics of how that person works with me. You might really like the job, Ellie,” I say standing up, and find myself towering over her. “I travel to all of those places you wanted to move to. My company has airfields and offices worldwide. You’ll get to go with me. But tell me, do you have an apartment, a local place you hang your hat in, or, perhaps store your lovely Louboutins away?” I ask looking down at her feet.

Her face falls.

“Uhm... Actually, no. I was going to crash, I mean, stay with couple of my friends until I’ve landed a job and actually worked a month or two,” she says swallowing. That concerns me more. How would she go to overseas if she had no money? What is concerning her so much?

“You’re in luck, then. I provide a place for my assistants. Not a very big place, but a safe and secure one bedroom apartment in the Centurion.

The Centurion?” she gasps.

“Yes, unless they built another one,” I reply smiling.

“I can’t afford it! It’s got to be one of the most expensive apartment building in the entire west coast!”

“That would be part of your benefits package. I don’t like worrying about the safety of those who work for me,” I say and walk to the bar.

“Now that you agreed for the one week trial, would you like a drink?” I ask effectively changing the topic before she refuses the apartment.

“Diet Pepsi, if you have it, or ginger ale, please,” she replies politely.

“Well, I’m fresh out of Diet Pepsi. You sure you don’t want wine?”

“I have to drive back to Montecito,” she says by the way of explanation.

“Ginger Ale it is then. Can you be ready to travel tomorrow?” I ask casually, hoping she’d say yes.

“Tomorrow? Yes, I, uhm...” she pauses, then nods having made up her mind, “yes, I can travel. Where are we traveling to?” she asks curiously.

“Marana, Arizona. I have aircrafts to be auctioned for a week starting tomorrow. This will give you a chance to meet the kind of people I deal with, but on our home turf.”

“Marana?” she asks. “I’ve never heard of the place.”

“It’s a town in southern Arizona, close to Tucson. When you’re coming tomorrow, pack clothes for riding, hiking, golfing, and also take sunblock and boots; that is aside from what you would normally pack.”
When I see her puzzled eyes I say, “business can be done outside of the offices,” but I also want to do some excursions with her alone. Show her some of the ruins, help her jog her memory without coercing.
“What time do I need to be here?” she asks.

“9:30 a.m. would be perfect.”

I hand her the ginger ale, and my finger barely brushes the tips of hers. I feel the usual burn on my marks, but since they've come alive, it’s pleasant tingling burn, arousing even. I notice her eyes widen. She tries to shallow her breaths, and close her eyes to lower the intensity of our magnetic pull. Slowly making her way to the bar, she places the glass which she took just two sips.

“I have better drive back to Montecito since I have packing to do, and...” she lowers her voice to a level she thinks only she can hear, but my acute hearing never misses anything, “deal with the household reaction.”

She picks up her clutch, and hesitantly but intentionally and with a hidden want extends her hand. When I take her small hand into mine, her breath hitches as if she just experienced the most passionate pleasure in her life, and she closes her eyes. When she opens them back up again her pupils are dilated, she’s taking a step to be on her way. I rush to the door, and hold my hand in place over the doorknob without opening.

“Be on time... Ellie,” I say with darkening eyes.

“Alex,” she says in acknowledgement.

“I’ll see you to the elevators,” I say opening the door, showing her the way. Both James and Melissa jump to their feet, surprised to see me sending off anyone out the door, they first look at each other and then quickly look away. I walk her to the elevators, and press the call button.

Elissa shifts uneasily next to me. Our proximity is too intoxicating for both of us, and she feels it too. Thank God for that! The elevator door dings open. Henry walks out, and she takes a look at him gaping, but, he lowers the brim of his hat, and says, “Ma’am,” obscuring his face with a disguised greeting, and walks out of the elevator and towards the back of the office. She leans back  behind me with curious eyes, trying to remember something. Then shakes her head, and, looks up at me.

“Who..” she asks unable to finish her sentence, her breathing increases. Then her finger points at the direction where Henry disappeared, and looks up with questioning eyes, “who was that?” she asks in a soft, barely audible voice. He’s the man who aligned himself with your father, dedicated his existence in protecting us, put his existence in the line in our defense, in your defense countless times. One of the two people I ever let to question me to my face. My respect for him is immense, because he delivered you in your last existence after your mother died before giving birth to you, and brought you back to life when you weren't breathing. He’s Doc Henry. He’s my friend...

“Someone I’m going to need in Arizona tomorrow,” I reply nonchalantly. She looks disappointed as if she was hoping for a different answer.

A little “oh!” escapes her lips like a whimper. She straightens her back, nods, and walks into the elevator car.

Still shaken, “Ciao, Alex,” she murmurs, making my heart lurch.

“Ellie. Until tomorrow,” I say with longing as the elevator doors close.


 
 


24 comments:

Susan Burke said...

AMAZING!!!!!! Loving this series already!!!!! Your work is AWESOME!!!! Looking forward to the next chapter!!!

Susan from Baltimore

Lisa Ansell said...

wow how much am i loving this
(___________________________________________________________________________________________________) < this much !!!!!!!!!!!! realy good can't wait for more Lisa xxxxxxxxxx

Krystal Bailey said...

Yay!!! Thank you Thank you!!! I have so much to do this morning but I had to read it! You never disappoint my friend. I cant wait to see what happens next! Im kinda like 'Christian who' right now. Yes, Alex will now be the one who invades my dreams! I hope you are feeling better and keep up the good work!

Angela Ramirez said...

This is an AWSOME story line!!!, .... Love it!

Rose M. Wesley said...

Wow, I am so glad I found your blog. Now I have something to read as I wait for a new chapter of Christian and Ana. I love this story as well and I have always loved storie like this. Remind me of a book I read years ago. Called Forever.
I think I have found a new favorite author.
Once again another amazing story.

mzthang said...

Emine you have made me a very happy woman. You are such a talented writer with the way these characters are evolving.

Keep up the good work and be sure to get plenty of rest.

~hugs~
from loving your work in the Caribbean.

Aundrea Mielke said...

Oh my the tension is great I was hooked with the first chapter but this one made me fall in love with Alex. He has such charm to Ellie that I wish I was her and that this story was real. I love this more than the Christian POV. Seriously get better definitely need more Alex!!!! Great job writing once again. Congrats!!!

Anonymous said...

great, perfect, wonderful!!! I think I´m addicted to your blog
Michelle, Czech Republic

Anonymous said...

I am so hooked now. I came to read this to occupy my time waiting for Fifty Shades and now cannot get enough. Where do I get the orginal books so I can keep up with the story line and not be so confused. This is the first time I heard about the Pella series cannot find them anywhere online. HELP please!!!!!
-Rissa

Eminé Fougner @ Cowboyland said...

Hi Rissa,

You can't find it anywhere yet. It's because I'm writing it. These are the characters I've created 3 years ago. It's my original story. It's going to be published sometime next year. But by then, I might post maybe two more chapters :)

Anonymous said...

Well that would make more sense. These chapters have made finals week much less stressful. It's a welcome change to studying. Thank you for sharing your talent with us. It's greatly appreciated(:
-Rissa

Anonymous said...

Hi Emine,
Hope you are feeling better. I love this new story. Alex Pella is WOW.. Thanks again for Sharing. Take Care,
With Smiles
Kathy(Australia)

Audrey said...

Im here because im still waiting for the latest chap of CG. And wow!!! Love alex!! Cant wait for next chapter and will definitely buy the book once its out!! Thanks for sharing with us first hand!! Love your writings and all the emotions you bring to the characters. Love love love it ... Both alex and christian pov.

Mathilde Barroso said...

What can I say? I'm anxiously waiting to read it all, after the stuff you email me, I was in love, now I'm love struck. Amazing emine, if the story continue as good as it started we might be looking at the next E L James! (no kidding)

thank you for the chapter, wish you well
xoxo

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Cannot wait for more.....

Jenfer said...

Emine,

No need to send a link for the
Alex Pella series. Finally had some time to sit down and read it, and LOVE IT!!!

Take care!

Jennifer

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! This is absolutely AMAZING! You are a fabulous writer, you have me hooked again. You said that this will be published as a book, oh i will so be buying it.
Out of curiosity will you be adding any more chapters?

Nikolina Bujdo said...

OMG!! This is my new drug! Love it! You have no idea how much I en joy reading this kind of genre! Last month I read one and it was brilliant!
Keep up with excellent job! xoxo

Anonymous said...

I am now hooked.... Fascinating
Concussion friend

Anonymous said...

I am now hooked.. Fascinating
Concussion friend

Penny Brueggemann said...

All I can say is WOW! You are an amazing, talented writer!

Evie Hammond said...

Mesmerizing, as always. What you're doing to my life!

Dang. I am now hooked, too.

Joan Goldman said...

Boy they are hot for each other and she doesn't even know it yet.

Shawna Albers said...

This is fascinating and as I am new to this site and blog in general I stated reading the comments; its a First for me and they are quite as addicting as the books.
Thanks,
Shawna Albers