Kome didn’t know if she wanted to smack him or to kiss him. She knew, sensed without needing him to tell her, that he’d panicked and was suddenly overwhelmed by the difference in their social status. The very factor that had kept him from courting her all those months ago, was again pulling him back from her.
But she wasn’t allowing it, Kome thought grimly. She wasn’t allowing him slip away. Definitely not after he’d confessed he was in love with her.
“We’re going inside to talk.” She announced, once she was certain he wasn’t walking away anymore. And she turned and strode through the side gate.
The desire to retreat inside wasn’t just to provide them the needed privacy to talk. She needed a couple of minutes to decide how best to deal with the situation. And she’d decided that going on the offensive was her best option.
“Want a drink?” She queried, once they were in her living room.
“No.” He declined with a shake of his head. “Kome…”
“I need a drink.” She stated, turned and flounced off.
Heard his deep sigh and compressed her lips. She was not letting him off so easily.
She swept back into the room with a glass of juice and found him still on his feet, right on the spot she’d left him. He looked worried, and it pulled at something inside of her. But she hardened her emotions.
“You have no wish to sit?” She asked coolly, taking a seat herself on the sofa.
“I’ve hurt you. And for that, I am deeply sorry.” Theodore said quietly, sombrely.
Kome inclined her head, took a sip of her drink and stared at him with considering eyes. “Why, Theodore?”
He understood her question and answered it forthrightly. “I panicked and acted like an idiot.”
Kome wasn’t satisfied. She’d figured that out for herself—that he’d suffered some sort of panic and that he’d, well, acted like an idiot as he just said. But why now?
“Why now, Theodore? Why now when…” Kome broke off and shook her head. She stared at him sadly. Confusedly. “Only this afternoon, we finally came out in the open and owned our feelings for each other. Only this afternoon, you told me you loved me and I confessed I loved you right back. So where’s the panic springing from all of a sudden?”
“I don’t know. It was knee jerk. Stupid.” He looked at her. Then he too shook his head. “No, I know where the panic came from. And it wasn’t just panic, it was also fear.”
In his eyes, Kome saw the kind of openness that eliminated all barriers. He was baring his heart, maybe his soul, to her, like he’d never before done with anyone. Her own heart constricted and then loosened as love spread.
“What are you afraid of, Theodore?” She asked, her voice no deeper than a whisper.
Theodore did not speak, not for a full minute. Then he walked to the sofa and sat down beside her. He took her hand and his eyes steady on hers, he responded. “I never, in all my life, thought that a woman so beautiful, so accomplished and from a privileged background would ever look on a man like me. A man big-boned like I am, retiring in personality and still struggling with his first meagre millions.” He paused.
Kome did not speak. She waited, even as the temptation to reassure him bit hard.
“First time I saw you, right inside the Union Marble House, I lost my head.” He went on, his eyes never leaving hers. “Before that week was over, I’d lost my heart and I had absolutely no hope of retrieving it. And worse, I had no hope of having my love reciprocated.”
Again he paused. And when he spoke again, his voice, and his eyes too, were full of tenderness. “When you invited me to that get-together here at your house, I felt like Santa Claus had to be real and he was giving me an early Christmas present. When I came and you told me the invitation was only meant for me, I thought my heart would burst from the sudden hope that overwhelmed it. And the first time we kissed, right on my balcony, I knew that I’d die happy if kissing your lips was the last thing I ever did.”
He raised her hand to his lips, but did not kiss it. Just held it there where the breath from his mouth caressed her skin. “I love you in ways many would consider impossible for a man to love a woman. I love you beyond and above physical appearances, wealth and everything the world holds dear. I love you from my heart and from my soul and I will love you same way for the rest of my life.”
Her heart engulfed with love for him. And her eyes filled and glistened with their tears of unspeakable joy. “If you love me beyond wealth, then it should not matter whether I have it or not. What comes from my background, you have rightly judged as privilege, Theodore, and so it cannot be allowed to stand in the way of our happiness.” She slid her other hand and touched his face. “You must know I love you. I love you like I have loved no other man and like I will love no other man ever again. You are my soul-mate, Theodore. I believe that.”
He lowered his head and kissed her hand then. Then raised his head and his eyes to hold her own. “I am unworthy, not because of the lack of fine things life blesses us with, but because there is a possibility that another man could love you better, love you more. I am unworthy, but I am greedy. I want not just a few kisses, or a few hours with you. I want all of your kisses. I want every single day with you. I want all of you. Kome… please marry me.”
What glorious words! “I told Ted I will be your wife.” Kome whispered and laughed when his eyes rounded and shone—like her own, she was certain. “Yes, I will marry you, Theodore.”
“Unbelievable!” He murmured, totally overcome. Then kissed her hand, leaned forward to kiss her lips and then backed up instantly. “Just a second.”
He slid his hand inside his jacket and slipped out a box. He opened it and held up the ring with a simple triangular diamond. “This is a token of my love, Kome. Wear it with love for me.”
“Oh Theodore, you have the best words.” Blinking back the tears that so impatiently wanted to fall, Kome held out her hand and when he slid the ring onto her fourth finger, she raised it and kissed it. Then she looked at him. “You are worthy, Theodore. Worthy to love me and worthy to be loved completely by me. And I think no man will love me better, or more, than you do. My soul, not just my heart, is entwined with yours.”
“I am a man blessed then.” He touched her face with such tenderness and then drew her into his arms and kissed her.
He was Theodore Malik, a simple man and a simple accountant working for a firm he planned on retiring from as soon as he set up parameters for his own—which might take a little while given his meagre income. Today was the happiest day of his life, for today he married the love of his life, Kome Douglas, gorgeous millionaire heiress.
She had walked down the aisle to him, this woman he would love forevermore and beyond. And bound by love, they had made promises to each other they knew they would never break.
Theirs was a romantic tale, a fairy-tale. He’d seen a couple of cynical sneers on the faces of some guests. But when a man had a beauty beside him and her face glowed with pure undiluted love, you didn’t care about the doubt and cynicism that wrought unbelieving hearts.
Now he lay, thoroughly spent, beside her on their wedding night bed, sated beyond words, pleasured beyond imagination and steeped in the wonder of a union that superseded body and mind and encompassed the spirit.
He had a ridiculous, possibly stupid, grin on his face he knew, because he could feel the stretch of his mouth from one end to the other. He turned his head and looked at her. She was smiling, her eyes half-closed and her satisfaction apparent in the softness of her expression.
“Gosh, I feel so thoroughly loved.” She murmured, a tickle of laughter whistling out of her mouth. “I am certain, because I cannot move, that you have liquefied every ounce of flesh and bone on my body.” A sigh, deep, content and delighted, floated out and she curved her lips into a tempting smile. “It is my dearest hope that you would repeat this liquefying procedure again, and possibly every day, or other day, for the rest of our lives, Mr Malik.”
Pride swelled and his grin radiated with it. “I am working on making that secret dream of mine, and yours, come true, Mrs Malik.”
She chuckled. Their hands slipped into each other and linked.
When he heard her soft breaths, he closed his eyes and Theodore Malik was content.