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Xenia had one question she itched to ask her cousin about. She invited Leah for dinner one day, thinking of catching up on the latest activities on the business and around town. She’s not regularly reporting to work because of Gene who wanted her to stay at home as much as she could. To answer the demands of her work, she created a new position in the company, which has resulted to recent organizational movements. And aside from reports being submitted to her, she also asked Leah about recent developments in the business.

“What’s on your mind?” Leah asked her. Her cousin must have read her mind.

“How’s Nick?” She asked quietly. There, she finally asked it.

“I haven’t seen him lately, ever since he was called to be in London. I don’t know the things that made him a busy man but I know for sure that he’s sad when he heard about you.”

“How did you know?”

“Because he told me that he likes you very much,” Leah replied then ate a piece of broccoli from her plate. Xenia couldn’t tell her cousin that Nick mostly spends his time at the Dawson Estate when he’s in Scotland. And from what Arman has told her, Nick has been having one-on-one meetings with Gene. For the sake of Gene’s safety, she couldn’t tell her cousin that Nick and her husband are blood-related.

“Is he still going out with Justine?”

Leah raised an eyebrow. “They never went out. Nick cleared it to me when I asked him about it too.”

Xenia blinked back the tears that started to form in her eyes. “Just when I met the man I’d ever wanted, I got married to another.”

“Hush, cousin.” Leah reached out for her hand. Xenia just nodded and sighed once again. “Alright. I just saw Nick coming in. And he saw us.” Leah said, as she looked past her cousin who had her back turned to the main entrance of the restaurant. “He’s coming this way. Brace yourself.” Xenia drinks her glass of water.

“Good evening, Leah” Nick greeted them. He turned to Xenia. “Your Grace.”

“Oh, please, Nick. I’m not used to being called in such formality. I’m maybe a duchess now, but we’re not in the Parliament or whatsoever.” Xenia tried to smile. She invited her cousin-in-law to sit. “It’s a coincidence that you’re here.”

“I came to see your husband and he told me that you’re here. I volunteered to escort you home to avoid the death threat to happen to you once again.”

“Were you and the duke closely related?” Leah asked him.

“We’re friends,” Nick answered. Xenia understood his reply. He’s protecting his cousin too.

“I came along with Johanne,” Xenia said, referring to the chauffeur she’s with. “You can follow us home if you want.”

“Unfortunately, Johanne has to leave. His Grace needs him to prepare to go to Edinburgh for matters regarding the recent developments on the investigation on his accident. He sends his apologies to you.”

Xenia felt her heart made unusual beatings at the idea of being alone with him inside the car on the long drive home. She proved it more when she felt somersaults in her stomach when they are really on the way home after thirty more minutes at the restaurant. Leah, on the other hand, will spend her night at her in-laws’ house.

Xenia promised loyalty to her husband and she’s afraid of the effect of Nick’s presence on her senses. It’s been quiet inside the car ever since they left the restaurant’s parking lot. She cast a glance beside her. She could smell the combined scent of a masculine perfume to nature fresh scent. She resisted the urge to ask him to stop the car so that she could kiss him when it’s safe.

“I wanted to share with you what’s the crazy thing that’s been going on in my mind right now.” Nick started, breaking off the silence.

“Can’t you just keep it to yourself?”

“I remembered a movie I saw called ‘Chase’ a long time ago,” Nick continued, ignoring her retort. “I’ve been wondering how could two people made love in the car while it’s driving off the freeway.” Xenia’s brows furrowed when she turned to him. “Gloria Swanson made love to Charlie Sheen while he’s driving her BMW.”

“Really? So what’s the essence of it right now? Do you want me to do that to you?”

“One of the things that I liked in you is that you’re smart, Xenia.”

“I’m sorry but I don’t intend to do that to you. I’m a married woman.”

“You seemed to have a sheer delight in reminding me about it, Xenia.”

“I just wanted to let that stay in your mind as long as you shall live. I’m loyal to my husband, Nick.”

“Do you love him?” came the question. Xenia turned to him.

“And if I do?”

“Do you think it will make me love you less, Xenia?” Nick stopped the car on the side of the road. He turned to her. “I don’t know how or why I love you in just a short time that we knew each other but one thing’s for sure, it’s been tormenting me to see you on that mansion and married to him.” He met her look and stayed. “I’m jealous of him because he has what I don’t have. And I definitely hate that mask! If there’s an only way to alternate things and turn back time, I’ll be more than willing to give away what I have just to know that I had hopes of making you mine. You see, Xenia, I’m not so selfish enough but I’m still hoping for a chance to be with you.” He softly held her on both shoulders. “I have so many complications in my life but I’ve never been so sure like this before, only to you. I had plans for both of us. I had plans on how to win you, proving to you that my feelings for you are real.”


“I love you, Xenia. I wish you could come with me and leave your husband.”

“No! Don’t make things hard for both of us, Nick.” Xenia fought back the tears from falling. Nick loves her. Oh, how she wished she could tell him the same but things are different now.

“I know you’d say that.” Nick quietly said. “I don’t want you to ruin your life for me. I love you so much and I don’t mean you harm.” He turned back to the wheel and started the engine. There was silence in the car again. Xenia could see Nick’s tight grip on the wheel as he drives them home.

“I will always love you, Xenia.”

Xenia turned away. She couldn’t bear seeing him hurt like this. It is hard for her too. But this is something she cannot make a good fight for. She’s bound loyalty and honor to her husband and his name.

Few minutes later, they reached the Dawson Estate. As Nick turns the car in front of the mansion’s North wing, Xenia saw her husband’s Lincoln parked near the mansion. She seemed to forget Nick as she immediately went out of the car as soon as it stopped. Nick was left to follow her inside.

“Arman, is my husband here?” She asked the butler.

Arman glanced back to the man who came with her. Nick was left behind, slowly making his way towards the front door. He turned back to his mistress. “Yes, Your Grace.”

“Thank you, Arman. You may go and rest now,” Xenia tapped her on the arm. “Good night.”

“Good night, Your Grace.” Arman said as he watched the lovely lady of the house made her way up the stairs. He turned to see Nick standing beside him.

“The mistress is right. You should retire now, Arman.”

“Yes –“

Nick gave the butler the gesture to keep quiet and leave. Arman nods and silently walked off. As for Nick, he made his way up the stairs and towards the room intended for him in the mansion.

Ever wonder what Nick is going to do next just to have the woman he loves?