The trip to the mall went quicker than Noelle expected. She went around a few stores but she was there for no longer than an hour. Now that she was home, she would have to get dressed for work and head out soon. The 7/11 she worked at wasn't in walking distance so she would have to take the bus there. Usually the trip took her 30 minutes.
Noelle slid her key in the door before turning the knob. She stepped inside, taking off her shoes and sliding into her slippers. She headed to her room so she could enjoy the clothes she bought.
She purchased a basic black pencil skirt that actually fit her and some black pumps to match. For when she had interviews in the future. She also picked up a white satin dress that had a slim fit. The low neck line had a beautiful lace embroidery. She wasn't sure where she'd wear it but being the last one in stock in her size, she couldn't pass it up. She bought a couple more everyday things and matching bracelets for her and Yu. It was childish but she didn't mind feeling like a kid again. She wanted there to be something special that they could both have to symbolize their friendship.
Before Noelle could finish pulling off her shirt she heard a knock on the front door and then a doorbell ring. She smoothed her shirt back down before heading to the front. Every now and then one of Yu's work friends would stop by and bring flowers for the apartment. Noelle assumed one of them had came earlier this time.
She reached for the handle and answered the door. Her eyes widened. What was he doing here?
She stared at the tall handsome man who's hands were filled with bags. He looked even better today than the last time she saw him. He had his hair slicked back with a few rebelling strands left to fall over his eye. He wore a velvet royal blue blazer and black dress pants. The blazer was decorated with gold buttons and cuff links. With out a doubt Noelle knew the pieces on his suit were real gold. She raised her eyes from his suit, to his lips, to his eyes. They were so bright and beautiful as they creased from his smile. Why was he smiling at her like that? With that look on his face, he seemed so kind and innocent. Was this the same arrogant Ceo she met just last week?
Haru took a step forward breaking the silence "Did you miss me?"
There it was. The arrogant king was back. Suddenly Noelle was filled with embarrassment, shame and desire as last week's events replayed in her mind. Though she wanted to, she couldn't forget the way he touched her. This was bad. Noelle took a step back and attempted to close the door in the Ceo's face before he blocked her midway, stopping the door with his foot.
He was disappointed with her reaction. She didn't want to see him even a little?
"Elle open the door please. Believe it or not, these bags are quite heavy. My fingers might just fall off if you don't invite me inside."
Noelle pulled the door open slightly and questioned the Ceo "Why are you here? How did you even get my address? So you're a pervert and a creep."
Pervert? Where did that come from?
"You have your address and contact details on your blog. That's not very wise, you know. Greedy men might come after a beautiful woman like yourself."
He actually followed her home but he couldn't tell her that.
Noelle slowly opened the door, her cheeks flushed as she questioned him with hidden excitement "You read my blog?"
Bingo. Haru had found her Achilles heel. He put on a child-like face and pouted. Hoping to appeal to any sensitive side Noelle had. He looked cute and for a quick moment, Noelle thought about letting him inside. That was before she remembered this wasn't her place.
"I can't let you in. I'm just a guest staying here. My friend, he owns this place."
Haru was confused and jealousy activated within him as he started to connect the dots. "He…? You know it's not common for a man and a woman to share a home unless they're intimate with one another."
"Are you guys tog-"
Noelle cut him off. "It's not like that, he's just a friend that's helping me until I get back on my feet." Not like she was ever on her feet to begin with.
Haru was relieved but he still wasn't happy to hear that she shared an apartment with another guy. "Just a friend". He knew that position all too well. Any friend of Noelle would definitely be after her and he didn't want competition. Though he knew he would win over any other guy that set eyes on her. He had the looks, the money, and the charm.
"You know what" Noelle thought for a second. "Come inside, he's at work but he wouldn't mind me having a friend over anyway."
Haru's heart danced, did she just refer to him as her friend? It's not a label he wanted to keep for long but he was glad that this was a start.
He stepped inside, taking his shoes off at the entrance. He followed Noelle to the white upscale couches and watched as she took a seat. He placed his bags on the table, finally allowing his fingers a break, and sat right next to her. He didn't leave a centimeter of space between them.
Oh no, Noelle wasn't falling for that trick again "Excuse me, Hashimoto san but-"
Haru interrupted and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder "Haru, you can call me by my first name." There was no need for formalities. Haru hoped that they could talk casually with one another.
She looked at him in silent admiration, why were his eyes so damn bright? They were distracting her.
She slid out of his hold before continuing "Right, well Haru I would appreciate it if you could give me a bit more space, you're really close."
Haru pulled on a few coils of hair and twirled them between his fingers. With an egotistical tone he objected "Why? Are you that worried I might touch you again? You'd be lying if you said you didn't enjoy it." he unraveled his fingers from her hair and slid them down her back.
Noelle stood up, she tried her hardest to maintain her composure. She couldn't let him know how his words and touch affected her.
"Fine then. If you won't move then I will."
She walked over and sat on the opposite couch facing him. Butterflies fluttered in the pit of her stomach. Why did she feel like this?
Haru smiled, he liked the challenge she was giving him.
"This is much better." She leaned back against the couch and got comfortable.
"I don't want to sound rude but why are you here? If you're looking for a booty call I am not the one. I hope you can tell me what you need quickly so I can send you out. I have to head out soon myself."
If anyone else took that tone with him, Haru would have their career ruined behind closed doors. But he didn't mind the unreserved tone Noelle so casually addressed him with. He actually enjoyed it.
He reached for the glass table between them and grabbed one of the bags. He tipped it to the side and pulled out the rose gold satin blouse he caught her admiring.
"This is for you, and everything else on this table."
Noelle looked at the bags and then back at Haru.
"For me? I don't understand, did you buy these?" She leaned forward and looked through one of the bags. It was filled with beautiful but very expensive looking jewelry. Was this him trying to apologize for the incident last week? Or was he trying to bribe her to keep her mouth shut?
She pushed the bags forward. "Oh no, this is all very very nice but I can't accept any of it. Please return it." Noelle was already painfully accepting handouts from Yu, she wasn't going to allow someone else to gift her such lavish things.
"It wasn't expensive if that's what you're worried about. Why can't you take it? I bought it all for you." Haru was starting to understand Noelle a bit more. She didn't seem to like grand gestures such as this one. He would have to gift her in moderation in the future, otherwise she might not accept it.
Noelle inspected all of the bags before setting her eyes on the top laid across Haru's lap.
"That one, I'll take the one on your lap. Thank you but please return the others."
Before Haru could respond, Noelle continued "If your intention was to bribe me, you didn't need to bother. I wasn't going to say anything about what happened in the office if that's what you were worried about."
"There are only three things in this world I ever have to worry about. Would you like to hear them?" Haru gazed at the beautiful woman across from him as she shrugged.
"My mother and my company."
That's it? Didn't he say there were three things?
"That's only two things, what's the third?"
Haru leaned forward and pushed the bags back towards Noelle "You'll find out soon enough."
Noelle sat up and redirected the conversation "Okay, then back to my question. Why did you buy such nice things for me? We're still strangers to each other. Or were you trying to apologize?"
Haru opened his mouth to respond before Noelle's phone alarm went off. It was 6:30 p.m already?
"Crap I'm running late." Noelle stood up and hurried past Haru. He turned on the couch and grabbed her wrist. His eyes lined with a determined sheen.
"Whatever other obligation you have planned, cancel it. You're spending time with me right now."
Spending time with him? Is this what he thought this was? Noelle intended to snatch her hand from his grasp but his hand only tightened around her wrist.
Noelle tugged on her arm "We are not doing this again. Let go of me. I have a job I have to get to, I can't just-"
"Then quit. Come work for me instead. Whatever your salary is, I'll triple it if you work under my company." Haru was getting impatient but he was determined. If she could work for him, not only would he help her get recognized but he could have eyes on her almost always.
"What are you saying all of the sudden? I can't just not show up. Even if I did come to work for you I would have to put in a two weeks notice beforehand."
Haru stood up and walked around the couch so that he was towering over Noelle, not letting go of her wrist.
"Come have a seat, I wasn't finished talking to you. It was rude how you interrupted me."
Are you serious? Now Noelle was annoyed. Who did he think he was? If she wasn't out of the house in the next few minutes she would be late.
"I said let go of me." she slapped him hard and loud across his face.
Haru's soft brown eyes turned a deep murky black. His arrogant but playful demeanor seemed to vanish. Noelle had to admit, she was scared.
Haru's impatience was getting the best of him. He grabbed Noelle's free hand and pinned her against the nearby wall. Knocking down the China and pictures on the shelves. He pinned down both wrists with one hand and grabbed her hair with the next, forcing her to look up at him.
With a low growl he whispered above her ear "You just made a big mistake."