I was so shocked when we walked over to Casa's, the most expensive restaurant in San Myshuno.
"My God, Seth. This place is unbelievable. Why did you want to come here?"
Grinning at me, he asked, "Have you ever been here before?"
"Of course not. The garnishes cost $50."
Peeking through the branches of the decorative centerpiece, he said, "But this thing is bugging me. I can't even see you." He plucked it off the table and set it on the floor.
I giggled, watching the delicate crystals sway. "You know I'd be happy with a little pub somewhere. You don't have to spend money to impress me."
Shrugging, he said, "I never go out, so I'm making up for five years of not dating in this one special night. How about I promise never to spend this much on you again?"
"See? Now don't worry about it and enjoy yourself."
After our meal arrived, I asked, "So tell me more about your family. Your brothers. Do they live in Pongo?"
"Yeah...all my brothers live there along with my parents."
I ate a bite of salmon. The buttery garlic fish seemed to melt in my mouth. "So, why do you have to live away and help out? They're older than you. Shouldn't they support the family just as much? I guess I don't understand why you have to work all the time."
Finishing his bite of cioppini, he answered, "In my country, the first born child is supposed to be the breadwinner, helping out the most. A lot is expected of them--so the parents choose what they do in profession, whom they marry, things like that. But my older brothers, Roman and Damon, are twins and both, I'm sad to say, are very irresponsible. And then my third brother, Simon, couldn't get into med school, so the first born duties just fell to me."
Whom they marry. That made my ears prick. "Your parents are going to choose who you marry?"
He nodded. "They've already chosen. We were betrothed at birth."
I cocked my head. "Then why the hell are you going out with me?"
He laughed. "Because I get the last say in things. I don't want to marry Io. I've made that clear to them, so..." he gripped me with his gorgeous eyes. "You have nothing to worry about."
His stare sent waves of flutters through me. God, I was so attracted to him. "W-Who said I was worried?" I flicked my fork, flaking the fish, trying not to show how relieved I was.
After dinner, Seth took me to the gardens in the back of the restaurant. "The extensive grounds are what made this place famous."
"These flowers are gorgeous. What a beautiful night."
Tripping over my feet, I stumbled but luckily, Seth caught me. "Easy there." He smirked, gripping my body. "It seems I'm always saving your ass. I have no clue how you got this far without me."
Looping his arm over my shoulder, I said, "Keep it up and you could find yourself swimming in that pool over there."
"If I go in, you go in with me," his low voice rumbled.
"You wouldn't dare," I shot back. "These are $1000 Simmy Choos I'm wearing. This would be an expensive night for sure."
"I could handle that. But could you replace this fine, genuine pleather vest? I doubt it."
"Fine pleather? That's a new one." I laughed.
"It's not every day you see pleather of this quality. You're a fashion designer. You should put it in one of your future lines."
Curling the side of my mouth, I said, "If I even think about doing that, both Tulip and Fashionista would be up in my face, making fun of me."
When we came to the bar, the music was playing a slow song. Seth asked in a gentle voice, "Do you want to dance?" His long lashes were so close to me, I could almost feel them.
My skin instantly prickled. "Uh, s-sure."
He slipped his arms around me and took my hand. I wanted to kiss him right there, but for some reason I was feeling shy.
He was a smooth dancer, moving in sync with the beat. "Do people dance a lot where you're from?" I asked. "You're good at this."
"We have ceremonial dances, but it's not like this. I just like to dance. Have had a lot of experience. I used to be a bouncer, remember? What do you think I did on my breaks?"
I was trying to imagine that infuriatingly smug guy whom I knew just three years ago, sweeping girls off their feet on the dance floor at the Goth Rock House. So much had happened since then. No way would I have thought that I'd be swaying in his arms, smelling his musky cologne and wanting to get closer to him.
He threaded his fingers through mine as I stared into his green eyes all the while my insides turned to mush.
Suddenly, the music changed to a techno version of a pop song and our spell was broken.
Rubbing the back of his neck, he muttered, "I'll get us some drinks." As he strolled over to the bar, Tulip texted that she and Tobias were out with Fashionista and E.
"Hey, Siobhan," Seth said, waving me over to the pool. "Come look at this crap on the water. It's glowing. Do you think it's real?"
A deliciously wicked idea slithered in my mind.
I texted Tulip that I wanted to Spacetime her because I was going to pull a prank on Seth.
Calling her, she answered with Fashionista right next to her. "Hellloooo, lovergirl!" Fashionista's voice sang. "Are you two making out yet?"
I put my finger to my lips and hushed him. Figuring out what I was going to do, Tulip put her hands over Fashionista's mouth.
"Seth," I said, innocently, "Say hello! Fashionista and E are on a double date with my bff and her boyfriend." I inched my hand on his back like I wanted to hold him.
With all my might, I pushed him forward.
Fashionista and Tulip started laughing. "Oh my God, girl! You didn't!" Fashionista howled.
E. and Tobias came over to Tulip's phone, wanting to know what was so funny.
"Hey!" Seth yelled as he splashed into the pool.
I couldn't believe I'd actually pulled it off!
All of our friends were hollering at Seth and screaming in laughter. I covered my mouth, hoping he wouldn't be too mad.
"Fuck you, you guys," he said to them.
Uh oh...maybe he was too angry? I said goodbye to everyone and clicked off.
"I'm so sorry, Seth. It just happened!" I lied, hoping he'd buy it.
Dripping wet, he hopped out of the pool and came over to me, creating massive puddles in his wake. I pulled away. "Oh no you don't," I said. "Remember my Simmy Choos."
"But sweetheart," he cooed, showering me as he dripped all over my clothes, "all I want is a little kiss. Don't you think you owe me that, at least?"
Well, I guessed I could kiss him after I ruined his vest. Leaning into him, he hovered near me. I could feel the electric tension between us, and I was aching to feel his warm lips on mine.
Then suddenly, he picked me up and tossed me toward the pool like a ragdoll. "What?" I cried, sailing through the air.
The luke warm water enveloped me, knocking the wind out of me.
He jumped in, grabbing for my waist. "There. Your Simmy Choos are fine."
I pushed him away. "You're in trouble. They are not fine."
Taking me by the hand, he brought me close to him and whispered in my ear sending shivers down my body to my toes, "Will you forgive me then?"
I cocked my head. "Maybe."
Bringing my face close, he said, "What if I did this?"
His warm soft lips enveloped mine in a luscious kiss. My heart sped up as he slipped his tongue inside, deepening into me. Fire shot down my body as we pressed closer to each other.
Crackling with energy, the air felt like it was alive, pulsating on its own. Our bodies swirled in the water as I kissed him harder.
Out of breath, Seth whispered, "Let's get out of here."