Morning came slowly, then all at once, especially for Eliana who didn get even a wink of sleep. She just lay on the bed, her hair sprawled on the pillow, her eyes fixed on the chandelier. Her heart dissatisfied with her decisions, her mind looking forward to what the day would offer.

Julian had asked her to come with him to his company, and she wasn sure why yet. Is this part of what he had promised her?

She swallowed and got up, her hair falling behind her. She made her way to the large bathrom, and bent over the black toilet sink.

She didn have any of her things with her, and she just washed her face and came out.

On her bed, was a breakfast tray with coffee, a clothes box and shoe, and toiletries. The door was locked, and whoever dropped it must have tiptoed around because she didn hear a thing.

She walked to it, and took a toothbrush and toothpaste, then walked back to the bathroom to get ready.

Julian sipped from a wine cup as Caroline gave an analysis of the office and pending documents to be signed. He kept his gaze fixed on her as she talked, and she stopped, unconsciously arranging her dress.

”Is something wrong? ” She asked him.

He gave a one sided smile and kept the glass on the table in front of him. ”You look stunning today, ” he said.

She smiled. ”Thank you, Julian. ”

”It is just such a pity I will have to let you stay home today. ”

Carolines eyes widened. ”Why? ”

”I will be going with Eliana, ” he said, took a breath, then lifted his eyes to her. They looked darker than ever, and Carolines breath stopped in her throat. ”The piece. ” he finished, then smiled.

Caroline swallowed and blinked back the fear she felt. ”But why? She doesn know a thing about the company. ”

”I am not such a dishonorable man, Caroline. I promised her something, and I will give it to her. ”

Caroline nodded. ”I guess it can be helped. ”

Julian nodded. ”It will also give you freedom. ”

”Freedom? ”

He nodded, then stood up from his seat to where she was standing, with her hands clasped on the tablet.

He slowly let his fingers tuck away a strand of her hair to the back of her ears, then proceeded to trace it down her bare neck, only stopping on her shoulder.

”Of course, Caroline. Freedom to do whatever you want. I just hope… ” He moved the finger to her chin, then lifted it up so her eyes met his. ”I just hope…it will be something that will not cross me. I don … ” He let the same finger move slowly to her neck, and her breath hitched. ”I do not like being left with no option. ”

He smiled again, then moved away from her. She released her breath, tears pooling in her eyes. It had been a threat. She blinked it back and wore a smile.

”How dare I? How dare I do something that will not please you? ”

He shrugged. ”In the end, I am only a man, Caroline. I want reassurance. ”

Caroline nodded, finding it scary that he had quoted her from last night. ”I won ever leave your side, Julian. ”

He chuckled. ”It is not so much about being by my side, than it is about actually looking at me while you stand by me. ”

She knew what he was talking about. A little too well.

”I will… ”

”You do not need to tell me, ” he said, waving her off. ”I know you will stay by my side. ” He laughed then, and she immediately nodded.

A minute of silence passed, and Caroline started to excuse herself.

”Then, I will take care of things here. ”

”Wait, ” Julian said, adjusting his tie. He was watching a portal like oval that offered him a glimpse of Bastien, who was wearing exactly the same thing, just immobile so he looked like a reflection.

He smiled at the portal as he finished adjusting, then waved it away and let it dissipate into smoke.

”How is Bastien? ”

”I haven seen him since yesterday when we went together . Would you like me to check? ”

Julian smiled. ”Have you, really? Then let it be. ”

She nodded, just as Eliana emerged from her bedroom. She was wearing the white double breasted suit that had been kept for her, with her hair held up by a classic antique comb that dated back several decades. Her block heel sandals made her a little taller, and fitted in the last pieces of elegance she needed. The suit was adorned with a belt that dangled close to her knee.

She had no makeup on, but the lightness of the color brightened up her features too, creating a certain allure around her green eyes.

”You brought them for her? ” Caroline asked, as she watched her slowly descend.

”I realized you were busy. ” He turned to her, his look meaningful, but she was clueless.

He let her stay there, as he walked to the foot of the stairs, just as Eliana got to it.

”Good morning, ” she said to him, her smile small and uncertain.

”You look stunning, Eliana. A good morning to you too. ”

Caroline lifted a brow to his rather affectionate gesture.

”Thank you, ” She smiled.

He gave her his hand and she accepted it slowly. He brought her down the stairs, then started to walk away.

Caroline watched as they did, without a word. She hadn even done anything yet, and Julian is so…

Her eyes squinted. Julian is not easily swayed, that much she knew. A man who would rather watch his caged brother painfully take his form every day just so he can watch how his tie looks instead of just using a mirror…he wouldn be so easy.

Eliana took a seat in the car, as Julian settled beside her.

”Uhm, ” she started to say. ”I am not sure what exactly I would be doing today. ”

Julian smiled. ”Think of it as a ritual. ”

”How? ”

”Think of it as me saying…welcome to my world. ”

She nodded and turned away, the more intelligent part of her feeling like those words held much more meaning than they seemed to…and she wasn sure she wanted to discover it.

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