Written by Princess Juliet
A narrow escape
Jayden didn�t return to Atarah�s hospital room until late in the evening.
He sat alone in his office for hours after eating and freshening up, bothered as hell by the discussion he�d had with his father and brother earlier. He didn�t know what to think about the hospital or the impromptu inauguration ceremony. And it killed him to see his father acting on his own initiative without even bothering to consult them first.
Gosh! Couldn�t he at least wait till all the nightmares were over?
Pushing the door open, he walked into the room and found her struggling to rise.
�Hey, Wait, Princess,� He raced over to assist her to her feet and Atarah twisted to meet his gaze, frowning. �Where have you been since morning, Jayden?� Her voice was serious and her manner solemn. �I almost had grey hair waiting for you.�
Jayden laughed with a rich, throaty chuckle and ran his fingers across her flushed cheeks. �I had to take my bath, babe.�
�And?� Atarah looked at him with a defiant air.
He regarded her thoughtfully for a full minute and then spoke hesitantly. �I also had to take care of some important stuff.�
�What important stuff?� She was curious to know.
�Like signing an important document in readiness for a meeting this weekend.�
�That’s tomorrow.� Atarah reminded.
�Yes, tomorrow.� He murmured his agreement. When she gazed up into his eyes and sighed tiredly, he asked. �Have you eaten?�
�Good,� He commented, �And what have you been doing all day?� His blue eyes studied her intently and his thumb caressed her palm.
Atarah couldn’t ignore the frisson of pleasure that shot through her at his touch. She drew a slow, shaky breath, trying to calm herself down.
�Tarah?� He prompted
She shrugged. �Nothing much. I was just thinking about you.�Her confession made Jayden�s eyes sparkle with a bright smile and he lowered his head, his mouth covering hers, taking it with the same utter lack of preliminaries as always.
His lips parted hers, and his tongue pressed deep, stroking hers in a hot caress that ended all conversation.
This moment had been building since last night, and suddenly it was all that mattered�not only to Jayden but to Atarah, too. She heard herself moan, and then she was kissing him back, her mouth just as frantic as his, her hands gripping his jacket, knotting in the lapels to anchor herself.
Jayden wasn’t satisfied with that. He caught her arms, and lifted them around his neck, bringing her against him as he did.
The kiss exploded. Atarah was a mass of nerve endings, her lips wild under his, her entire body shaking as she strained for more. Dimly, she felt Jayden back her against the wall near the bed, pin her there with the powerful weight of his body. His palm cupped her brea$t, his thumb rubbing the nip*le in dizzying circles. His muscles were taut, his breath coming in hard rasps, and, through the confines of their clothes, his erection throbbed against her belly. The pressure felt wonderful�but it wasn�t enough. Atarah needed to be closer, to feel more.
With a broken, frustrated cry, she began struggling, trying to move higher, to shift their bodies into just the right position. Jayden made a strangled sound that was part laugh, part groan, and he gripped her bottom, lifted her up and fitted her against his.
The world stood still
Atarah�s breath caught, live currents vibrating through her. Blindly, she tugged Jayden’s mouth to hers, arching even closer and raising her knees to hug his hips. All that mattered was the throbbing inside her, the spiralling need Jayden had to fill.
He moved against her�once, twice�then abruptly stopped, tearing his mouth away to stare down at her with eyes that glittered with passion. �Tarah.� He sounded hoarse, as if uttering that one word was more than he could muster. �Tarah.�
Her eyes cracked open. She didn’t know why he�d chosen this moment to talk, nor did she care. Her body was screaming its protest. �Don�t,� She managed. �Don�t stop.�
�I don�t wish to.� Jayden pressed his forehead to hers. �But you are yet to recover.�
�What?� She was having trouble focusing
�We�re at the hospital. My family hospital. Remember?�
Suddenly, she did. She blinked, glancing around, trying to regain her bearings. They were in her hospital room. And she�d completely lost her mind. She had no desire to regain it.
�You need to rest, Princess,� Jayden murmured, interpreting her silence as an embarrassment. Before she could protest, he added. �I�ll join you.�
Atarah swallowed hard and nodded.
Jayden searched her face for one long, restless moment. He must have seen whatever he needed to convince him that she wasn’t angry, because he loosened his grip just enough for her legs to slide down and her feet to touch the floor. Then he led her to the bed and made her lay her head on his chest.
Atarah’s expression softened, an intimate light glinting in her eyes. She snuggled close to hug him, and Jayden draped the blanket over them, his arm falling loosely on her waist.
�Sleep well, Princess,� He whispered and she closed her eyes, dozing off almost immediately.
Jayden watched over her. She was sleeping peacefully, her delicate features at ease as she breathes softly. Despite his best effort to stay awake, his eyelid became heavy, and he fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.
Atarah was still sound asleep when Jayden eased out of bed and began putting on his shoes. He glanced down at her, feeling an odd tangle of emotions in his chest. She looked like a sleeping angel, her expression serene, her hair a dishevelled waterfall on the pillow. He was half tempted to chuck his cloth aside and climb back into bed, make love to her, and go to sleep with her in his arms.
But common sense prevailed, reminding him that it would be ill-advised, at least this time. The reality was, it was almost two A.M., and he had to return home to prepare for the inauguration ceremony or whatever his father calls that.
Besides, Atarah had to be fit to receive her medication in the morning. As it was, he�d worn her out. If he stayed, she wouldn�t get any sleep. He couldn’t keep his hands off her
His gaze returned to the bed as he finished tying up his shoelaces and he leaned over the bed, brushing a gentle kiss against the side of Atarah�s mouth. She made a soft sound and rolled onto her back. He kissed her again, more deeply this time.
Her lashes fluttered and lifted. �Jayden?� She looked dazed, confused.
�It�s late,� he murmured against her parted lips. �I have to go.�
Atarah’s face creased into a frown. �But why?�She queried, but Jayden had no ready answer to that. He didn’t want to bother her with his boring life.
�Your friend, Hilary will come over and keep you company.� He simply said and Atarah smiled faintly.
�Alright,� she returned his kiss with a reluctant sigh. �What time is it?�
�A little before two.� Jayden tucked the blanket around her, more as a self-barrier for himself than for her. All he wanted was to climb back into that bed, bury himself inside her, and d**n the world to hell. �Go back to sleep. I�ll return tomorrow.�
�Um-m-m…..,� Her eyelids drooped. �Would you set the alarm?� She mumbled
He reached over to the clock radio on the table and flipped the alarm switch on. �Done. And I�ll close the door behind me. Anything else?�
A corner of Jayden�s mouth lifted. She was already asleep.
Scooping up his jacket, he walked out of her hospital room, down the stairs and outside to the car park.
There, he took a taxi straight to the mansion.
By the time he arrived home, it was two-thirty banged on the dot.
�Home sweet home!� He breathe in the familiar air and paid the driver before stepping out of the taxi and walking through the huge gate into the building. But when he entered the sitting room, he stood rooted to the spot
His father and his brother were engaged in a heated argument, their loud voices echoing around the house. �Seriously! By this late hour?� Jayden was shocked.
�…And what do you mean by that?� Greg looked as if he was about to cry and Trent gave him a long, contemplating look before his face cracked into a smirk.
�You have just twenty-four hours to tell me your mother’s whereabouts or else…,� He took a step towards him and said icily, �I will post her picture on every billboard in Seattle as a wanted criminal.�
�What?� Jayden gasped at his words and only then did they notice him.
Trent opened his mouth to say something to him but then clamped it shut. �Don’t push me to the wall, Greg!� He said simply and stormed up the stairs, leaving his sons to stare at each other without blinking.
Finally! Jayden broke the silence. �What is he talking about?� When Greg didn’t answer, he glared at him accusingly, �Did you help your mum escape?�
Greg swallowed nervously. �No, I didn’t……�He tried to deny his claims but Jayden would hear nothing of that.
�Don�t you dare lie to me, bro,� He warned sternly and Greg was left with no option but to tell him the truth.
�She is my mother,� his voice was almost a whisper. �I couldn�t bear to see her suffer, I couldn�t bear to see her get hurt.�
�Really?� Jayden�s eyebrow shot up in shock, �What then about my mother,� He yelled hysterically, �Who is going to pay for her injustice? What then about Atarah�s mum, who is going to pay for all of her suffering? Gosh!� He gave his brother a disgusted look and started toward the staircase.
�I�m sorry.� Greg stopped him, his voice thick with tears
�I�m so sorry for betraying you.�
Without a word, he ran lightly up the stairs and went into his room slamming the door shut. He was trying so hard to control his anger because deep down inside, he knew he would do the same if he were in his brother’s shoes.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Hobsons hospital~~~~~~~~~
�Wakey Wakey, sleepy head.�
Slowly, Atarah peeled her eyes open to see Hillary staring down at her.
�Hilly,� she called out, surprised. �What�re you doing here? I mean,� Stretching her arms and yawning, she leaned forward to rise, �when did you get here?�
�Not quite long,� Hilary smirked at her. �Now go and bath, you look a mess.� When Atarah frowned at her, she added. �Your boyfriend�s order.�
Atarah�s face broke into a smile on hearing that and she glanced at the clock, surprised to see that it was 11:00 am. �Oh no!� She climbed out of bed and ran into the small but neat bathroom—It was already thirty minutes past her therapy session, how could she be so careless?
Hilary�s cheerful laughter followed her but she completely ignored her and took off her clothes and stepped into the bathtub.
Brushing her teeth, she took a long hot bath and wrapped a towel around her body. When she returned to the room, she was surprised to find a short blue dress and matching undies on the bed.
�You bought this for me?� Her eyebrow furrowed in a guarded curiosity as she stared at Hilary.
Hilary nodded. �But it was your boyfriend�s order.� She smiled her sweetest smile
Atarah rolled her eyes but smiled inwardly. She towelled off and began to change into the outfit
�He told me to stay with you till he returns.�
�Then he must be really busy, I guess.� She drawled her words
�Yes. He�s busy attending his inauguration ceremony.�Hilary replied with a grin
�Inauguration ceremony?� Atarah stared at her in surprise and she nodded
�Didn�t he tell you about it?�
Atarah didn�t respond, she was furious. �Why didn�t Jayden tell me about it?� She zipped up the gown and slid her feet into her pink slippers.
�Can you please lend me some money?� She begged Hilary.
�Sure.�Hilary reached into her pocket and gave her a 50 dollar bill before asking. �Where are you going?�
�To the Hobson�s hotel.� Atarah answered truthfully and she almost choked on her saliva, �why the hell did I tell her about the d**n ceremony?�
�C�mon, Tarah.� Hilary tried to persuade her not to go. �The party is a classy one, and you can�t just go there looking like���She paused and seize her up and down, ���like a common girl.�
�I don�t care.� Atarah�s face was set in an expression of stubborn determination.
�Fine!� Hilary let out a defeated sigh, �You should at least go home first and change into something better.�
�I can�t go home,� Atarah murmured sadly and she regarded her with a puzzled expression
�My mum is probably still angry with me.�
�Like seriously! She didn’t know about that too.� Hilary felt something stir within her as she gazed at her, her eyes never leaving hers and she was befuddled.
�See you later, Hilly,� Atarah waved goodbye to her. Before Hilary could react, she dashed out of the room and slipped out of the hospital through a back door to avoid unnecessary attention to herself.
Hastily, and without wasting time, she took a taxi to the Hobsons hotel, not minding the dull pain in her head.
The twelve-level parking lot was parked out like a giant can of sardines. Atarah jumped out of the taxi after paying, hurried off, and grabbed a down elevator just as its doors were about to shut. She took it up to the hotel’s main level.
They opened to mayhem
Mobs of people had come either to relax or to attend the inauguration ceremony. Jugglers, faint painters, performing mimes, and a popular deejay were some of the main attractions. The whole place was colourful and Atarah felt intimated seeing the way other guests were dressed. They looked like dignitaries while she was looking like a pauper.
She prowled her way to the middle, scanning every which way to try to spot Jayden.
All she saw was a sea of humanity.
Precious time wasted. She could almost feel it slipping away inside her. The scene that was unfolding around her�the activity, the laughter, the noise�took on a kind of surrealistic quality.
Where was Jayden? She wouldn�t give up until she found him.
It took an eternity, but finally, nearly forty-five minutes, she caught sight of some members of the press crammed near the eastern corner of the hall. At the head of the bunch was a popular reporter, Diane Dakota, deliberately blocking her competitors. And that could only mean one thing: the Hobsons were nearby.
Atarah shoved her way forward. Sure enough, there was Trent Hobson, a hundred feet away from her. It might as well have been a hundred miles, for all the good it did. She could see him, yes, but she couldn’t get through to him.
Beside Trent, Atarah spotted Greg and a regal-looking woman who had to be a colleague or thereabout. On Trent�s other side, she could make out the back of Jayden�s head. She cupped her hands over her mouth and shouted his name, but she might as well have been in Yankee stadium, trying to be heard over the din following a grand slam.
She was buffeted by the crowd, shoved this way and that, practically stampeded into the ground.
Jayden and his entourage moved on. The press followed, like a swarm of bees, maintaining a travelling wall between her and the Hobsons.
This was pointless.
Atarah peeled off to one side and ran a frustrated hand through her hair. There were tons of policemen in the vicinity. She could stop any of them, tell them it was an emergency and she had to see Jayden. But that would be a lie����
�What are you doing here?� The sudden sound of a voice behind her interrupted her thoughts. Startled, she turned around and saw Nancy was looking daggers at her.
She smirked. �I�m here for my fianc�, miss. So please leave me alone.� She was tired and was in no mood to exchange words with the annoying witch.
�Fianc� you say!� Nancy scoffed at her. �Didn�t your fianc� tell you that he can never be with the daughter of a murderer?� She rolled her eyes in exasperation and Atarah blinked at her, confused.
�Didn’t he tell you that he can never be in a relationship with the daughter of the woman who murdered his mum?�
�What?� She was dumbfounded by her harsh words and Nancy grinned wickedly in response to her skeptical expression.
�Have a wonderful time waiting for your fiance, criminal.�She drawled sarcastically and walked away in the opposite direction.
�You b**ch?� Atarah wanted to scream after her but then she cautioned herself, �calm down Tarah, don�t overreact.� The best thing to do was to go back to the hospital, sit tight, and wait for Jayden.
And then they would get to the bottom of this together.
She jostled her way to the stairwell, climbed as quickly as she could to the last floor, and stepped out. Eventually, the throngs of people began to thin out and the music started to fade out as she headed to the road.
Her mind was deeply troubled, and she was worried sick and frustrated as hell.
The screech of tires alerted her. Her head shot up, and she jerked around to see a silver Mercedes careen around the corner, bearing down on her with terrifying speed and purpose.
She knew she was its target. She also did not know why.
A frozen moment of paralysed fear. Abruptly, it shattered. A surge of panic flooded through her, and she closed her eyes tightly, anticipating her death, but it didn�t come. What she felt was a hand pulling her to the side and hugging her closely.
Her nose wrinkled at the familiar scent and she began to sob uncontrollably, her whole body trembling with trepidation.