Presence


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8. Chapter 8

She must of slumbered off to sleep. Because she woke up to find themselves pulling into the long driveway of a massive manor. He definitely looked grade listed and old.

"where are we?" she asked

"my mothers house" he replied.

"oh, ok" she said feeling extremely nervous now. She was already meeting his mother.

"its the safest place i can think of at present" he continued

An old man in a butlers uniform came out of the house to greet them. "Tariq, what a pleasure to see you".

"its good to see you to Joe" he responded, gripping the man on the shoulder in a friendly gesture. 'this is sophie" he continued

"Welcome sophie" said Joe with a big smile

She smiled and said "hello"

 They entered into a grand hallway, which was filled mostly with pictures of Bedouin type men on horses, rearing for the fight and innumerable Persian antiques.

"your mother is out at the moment" said Joe. Tariq nodded.

"We will be staying here for two nights Joe"

"would you like me to prepare an extra room then?"

"No thanks, just mine"

Sophie looked over at Tariq puzzled.

"Its ok" he said reading her thoughts again, "its the only way i can protect you best" he leaned in whisper to her. The feel of his warm breath on her neck and, made her insides melt.

Walking up the stairs and through the long hallway, she couldn't help but compare it to her own family home. This place was so much more alive with vivid paintings and colours whereas her own home was outdated and full of ancestors looking down on you with disdain. When they came to tariqs room, there was already a man lighting the fire and a woman opening the curtains out to a balcony and another had just made the bed. Tariq placed the duffel bags on the floor and sat on the bed looking at her with his mind deep in thought. 

"what next?" she asked trying to bridge the silence

"lunch" he replied and then got up "exscuse me, i just have make a phone call"

"right" she said

As he walked out to the balcony, she looked around his room. It was decked out in fine furnishings, a lot more modern then the rest of the house. But plain again and no photos or real momentos of childhood here. It was like everything about him remained in a constant shroud of mystery. She looked at the large accommodating bed and wondered about the bedding arrangements. She looked up to see him staring at her. His face unreadable.

"ready for lunch?"

"certainly" she nodded.

Lunch was served on a beautiful patio overlooking the luminous pool and rich green landscape beyond. She felt starving, but was beginning to relax for the first time since yesterday.

"can i ask again, who were those men and why did they want to kill me?" she as.said, feeling it weigh heavy upon her

"they were after Anna" he replied

"but how did they know i was anna or where i lived?" she exclaimed

He hesitated and then replied "i was not alone at the cafe"

she blushed remembering her first encounter with tariq and the wanton way she behaved.

"do they know that i am her sister?"

"no" he said rubbing the side of his beard, "no one knew"

"except you?" she pointed out

"no i only guessed, she is the master of intrigue your sister, however she did have a habit of talking in her sleep"

A pang of jealousy hit sophie and she looked away showing her unhappiness. He grabbed her hand with his dark searching eyes. "are you ok?"

But he seemed to know her thoughts once again, because his smile increased with pleasure and interest. "It was a stake out" he confirmed and then with his eyes still warm and holding her gaze he kissed the palm of her hand, which sent a wonderful sensation straight up her arm and to the rest of her body. His own eyes opened wider and he let go of her hand looking away.

"eat up" he motioned to the untouched food still looking at nothing particular in the distance.

Sophie could only pick at her food, the sensation still running through body like an addictive drug.

 

 

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