The Billionaire's Arranged MarriageBy: CJ Howard
“We’ll be having dinner at the Carlton tonight. I promise not to keep her out too late,” he said with a gleaming smile.
Kimiko nodded. “Please don’t worry about keeping her too late. Take your time and enjoy yourself,” she said with a smile. Jillian looked sharply at her. She suddenly felt like she was being sold off to the highest bidder.
“Take good care of my baby girl,” Samson said, his eyes still trained on Reed.
“Yes, sir, of course,” Reed answered with a nod and smile. He held out his arm and Jillian slipped her hand loosely around his elbow and he led her out the door. Her parents both watched her go, and as she turned to look over her shoulder at them, she noticed that they had very different expressions on their faces. Her mother looked extremely pleased with herself and her father looked reticent.
Reed opened the door of his red Ferrari and she raised her eyebrows and sighed as he helped her into the car and closed the door behind her. When he closed his own door and put his seatbelt on, he turned toward her slightly as though he needed to find the belt latch, which allowed him to get a better look at the woman next to him. His eyes lingered over the voluptuous curve of her breasts, her narrow waist and the roundness of her hips.
“That’s a pretty dress. It does a lot to bring out that gorgeous body of yours, but you might want to wear clothes that show a little more… skin…” he said as he drank in the sight of her.
She was horrified. “Reed! How could you say something like that? You just met me!” she huffed at him. “That’s so disrespectful!” He zipped down the road and looked over his arm at her. “How is that disrespectful? It’s a compliment. You’re a beautiful woman. You have a gorgeous body. Women who don’t have gorgeous bodies would probably love to hear a man say something like that to them. Don’t scorn the compliment just because it isn’t packaged all neatly with a polite bow.
“I’m saying you are one beautiful lady, and most women would kill to look like you. You should show it off a little more instead of hiding all that beauty under so much clothing. You’re wearing too much. You have an incredible body. Show it off. What’s insulting about that?”
She glared at him. “It’s disrespectful of you to comment on my body at all. First of all, it’s not your business what I wear or how I display my body if I even display it all. I choose my clothes to suit my style and personality and no one else’s. I didn’t wake up this morning and think, ‘oh… I wonder what Reed would like to see me in… I wonder what Reed would want for me to wear… I wonder what would make Reed happy…’ No. I wear what I like and what I want.
“I happen to think this is a pretty dress and I think I look pretty in it, and that’s it. I don’t really care what you think or want, so kindly keep your opinions to yourself.” Then she turned and looked out of the window.
Reed was unaccustomed to women talking to him that way, or anyone else, for that matter. He was used to having the world handed to him on a silver platter by everyone but his father. He wasn’t quite sure how to respond to it.
He sighed. “I think we got off on the wrong foot. I’m sorry. I just wanted to tell you that you look beautiful.”
She realized that she was being defensive because this was a forced date and she was giving him too hard a time. Guilt began to bite at her and she, too, sighed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you. Thank you for the compliment, but perhaps if you’re going to say something like that to a woman, give it a little thought first and make it sound more polite.”
He shook his head. “I don’t know what’s impolite about telling you I really like the way you look, but okay,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. They drove to the restaurant in silence the rest of the way, but he kept stealing glances at her legs every chance he got and she noticed but didn’t say anything to him about it.
They were seated immediately at the restaurant and she was impressed by the attentive service they received.
Reed took every opportunity he could to look at Jillian from every angle as they had gotten out of the car, headed into the restaurant, were seated and then finally he could face her. He still wasn’t finished looking at her. She was finished with him looking at her, though.
“You must hear this often, but you really are stunning. You have such a unique look about you,” he said with a lazy grin, staring at her face.
“Most people don’t actually vocalize it,” she replied with a salty tone.
“What do they do, just stare at you?” he asked, wondering aloud.
“Have you decided what you want to eat?” she asked, changing the topic and holding his menu out to him.
“I know what I want,” he said, grinning at her and smiling in a suggestive way.
“You should look at the menu. They might not be offering what you want,” she retorted.
He chuckled and took the menu from her hands. “Sassy. I like it!” he said, the corners of his mouth curled upward.
She ignored him. She was so irritated with him already. He was acting like a horny teenager, staring at her and making comments about her body. This was who her parents wanted her to date?
They ordered their meals and he decided he had better play it safe with her until he could figure her out. She was acting cooler than most girls he talked to. Actually, she was acting cooler than all the girls he talked to. No woman had ever ignored him; as a matter of fact, they regularly fell all over him and swooned if he paid any attention to them at all. This one seemed annoyed with him. It hadn’t ever happened before.
“I guess we met before when we were kids,” he said with a more polite tone. “Do you remember that? It was a long time ago; I’d be surprised if you did.”
“Surprise, I do,” she said shortly.
He was caught off guard and he stopped momentarily, lifting his drink and taking a long pull off of it before he set it back down.
“That was an unfortunate event,” he said a bit more quietly.
“It was unfortunate for you,” she said, her eyes glued to the wine menu. She wasn’t reading it, but she didn’t want to look at him.
“I can’t imagine it was a pleasant experience for you,” he replied.
“It was one of the worst experiences of my childhood and I don’t care to discuss it further or ever,” she said and then waved at the waiter, and asked him for a glass of wine.
Reed was stopped short again. He took another drink and felt uncertain about what else to say to her, but luckily, that’s when the meal was brought to their table and he was glad to have an excuse to keep his mouth closed.
They talked lightly throughout dinner about the weather and the restaurant, their food and the service where they were. Reed couldn’t help himself, and he continued to look at Jillian’s body and face all throughout the meal. Jillian tried her best not to look at him, as she felt it was gracing him with far too much of her attention and that was what he wanted more than anything, just like when they were children.
They finished the meal and Reed got her back into the car. He stole sidelong glances at her and decided that he wasn’t through with her for the evening, though she didn’t say anything to him about continuing their time together or going back to her house.
He thought he would take her for a drive, so he wound his car slowly up into the hills for a while before she finally turned to look straight at him. “Where are we going?” she asked.
He looked back at her and smiled. “I thought we might go for a drive. We can head up to the hills and see a sunset together. It might be nice to enjoy with each other. I realize our parents are the ones who want us to spend time with one another, but it could still be enjoyable if we make it that way,” he said with an earnest smile at her.
She suddenly felt a huge wave of guilt. “I’m sorry. I haven’t really been giving you a chance at all. I’m still holding a bit of a grudge from the incident when we were children and I’m not thrilled that my mother wants me to date you… and that has nothing to do with you, it has more to do with being allowed to make my own choices.”
He pulled the car onto a deserted stretch of land that looked over the city down below and they could see the sun setting into the ocean. He helped her out of the car and they went and stood in front of it and looked out at the view.
“To be honest, I wasn’t really thrilled about it either, when my father brought it up, but I will say that I have done my best to give you a fun evening and I don’t seem to be making a good impression with you.” He turned toward her slightly, his hands in his pockets and he let his eyes wander up her legs and slowly take in every curve on her body until he reached her face, which was still pointed toward the sunset.
“I understand. I really haven’t been very fair to you.” she replied, and her mother’s words rang through her mind… ‘make a good impression’…. “I am sorry about that,” she said, looking down and then turning to look up at him with an apologetic expression.