Chapter 3:::::Shop Until You Drop::::::
AN: I do not claim ownership over any Sailor Moon characters.
Serena was utterly lost! The company employee acting as a guide that Darien had graciously ask, in his own commanding way had disappeared a little over a few hours ago while taking her on tour of different expensive boutiques around the city. However, she was more interested in museums and antiques shops instead. It had been totally her fault that she did not keep up with the young woman but instead she had dallied around.
'I'm hopeless. My first day in a big city and I already managed to get lost!'
'Look at the bright side, Sere,'
"There's a bright side to this situation?'
'There's a bright side to every situation. Now, when one gets lost, who does one ask?'
Serena pondered for a moment before she snapped her fingers in an affectionate of 'I-know'. 'The local people, of course. How can I be so dense?' Serena scurried along the street before spotting an old man on the street with a newspaper in hand. She tapped him lightly on the back and smiled when he turned around. "Excuse me, I'm lost. Can you tell me where I can find the Moretti building?"
"Of course. Are you a tourist?" he asked warmly as Serena nodded. "You need to walk down to Lexington Avenue and make a right. It is a gigantic glass building. You wouldn't missed it." He said as he pointed down the street full of bustling people. Serena wanted to kiss the old man but settle for a smile instead. She thanked him and walked down the direction he pointed.
Hours later, Serena waned to scream out from frustration. She was on the right path but a few looks from the thugs on the streets along with the catcalls and perverse looks, she ran full speed in her heels and ended up in god knows where. This particular street was quiet. Only a few people passed by every now and then. She continued to walk faster past a few men. Her heart beat faster when she heard an unmistaken footsteps following behind her not too far back. She prayed to god that they would go away. She was put into many situations back in Chicago where she was afraid from time to time, but this one, this one topped them all.
"Oh God. Please, make them go away. I will start going to church again and I promise to talk to you everyday before I go to sleep and before I eat my meals." Serena mumbled under her breath.
"Hey, lady!" one of the man called out to her. Serena did not stop as she continues to walk faster, and then jog then into a full running speed. They kept following her. She spotted another group of men coming at her from the front. Her mind started to reel as she dove into an alleyway hoping to see an exit. However, what she saw was a dead end brick wall with spray paints on it. She was cornered. Serena turned to face the men. They were stocky middle age men with beard and tattered clothing. Each grinned at her showing their yellowed teeth.
"Oh god. I am going to die. They're going to rape me then murder me and no one would ever notice my absence.' Serena thought frantically as she tried to calm down. There were five of them. She could possibly take maybe one or two of them out with what little she knew about self-defense and then break a run. However, she has to leave behind her pair of gorgeous heels that took three of her paycheck to buy. She was in a tough situation.
"I don't have any money." She said shakily as she swallowed.
"Babe, we don't need your money. You dropped something back there." One of the men said as he pulled out a piece of paper behind his back. It was the address of the building.
"Oh." Serena said a little relaxed as she extended her hand to take it.
He started to hand to her before pulling it away again. "How about something in exchange?" Serena bit her lips in nervous fashion. "How about that beautiful body of yours?" he said with a suggestive lick. Serena visibly shivers as she made a face of disgust.
"I'd rather kiss a rabid skunk." She shot back before covering her mouth. God, how can she be so stupid at a time like this?
The men laughed. "The gal got spirit." He said with s drunken grin. "I like fiery women." All five of them advanced toward her with a mocking look on their faces. Serena racks her brain for something useful. She had watched so many movies where heroes put into situations like this. Then it hit her. Preparing her voice, she unleashed an ear-shattering scream that had them all wince. Serena charged at the front man and with all her might, she lifted her leg and kneed him in the groin while pushing another man into the brick wall. She stepped out of her shoes hurriedly and threw it at the remaining of them before running full speed, shoeless out of the alleyway. She kept running and running, not looking back once. She did not stop when the shouting and the screaming behind her called out. A pair of strong grip wind around her waist as she screamed loudly. Twisting her body around, eyes closed, she pulled back her fist and aimed at the attacker. A satisfying crush heard and the attacker released her and stumbled back.
"What the hell did you do that for?" an annoying voice rang out.
Serena stopped panicking as she opened her eyes slowly. The sight of Darien on the ground holding his injured jaw came into view as it slowly sank into her mind. She let out a silent 'O' before kneeling next to him on the ground. "I am so sorry. I thought you were those thugs back there." She apologized before helping him up.
"What thugs?" he asked then winced when his tender jaws stretched.
"The thugs who attempted to possibly rape and murder me." She answered.
That had gotten his attention fast enough. Whipping his head to look at her incredulously, he struggled to find words.
"You…had…did they…?" he stumbled with his words.
Serena shook her head. "No. I fought two of them and…"
"Wait," Darien interjected with shocked. "You fought them by yourself? How?"
"I kneed one of them in the groin, shoved another one against the wall and threw my shoes at the rest of them before running out." She answered simply.
Darien's mouth opened and closed several times before he managed to form coherent words. "Unbelievable." He muttered out.
"Can we leave now? We can talk more when we're out of here." Serena said tiredly.
Darien nodded before pulling her into an embraced and walked toward the waiting BMW sedan.
They arrived at the building ten minutes later, thanks to Darien's insane driving. Serena was sure that he had blown all of the stop signs on their way over here. Moreover, just why was he angry? She could clearly see the tight grip he had on the steering wheel. His thick forearms were revealed when he rolled up the white dress shirt up to his elbows. The veins were visible with unstrained anger as his jaws clamped shut. He did not utter a word to her during their ride and she got an impression that he was somehow mad at her. And he should be! She had taken his time from his work to find her all over the city. Serena felt instant guilt. She needs to apologize to him, if he still wants to hear it.
Darien pulled into a perfect parallel parking on the sidewalk in one try. He walked over to her side and opened the door. She stepped out, barely had time to smother a scream when he scooped her up into his arms and walked into the building. Serena's face was definitely ten shades of crimson color when everyone stared at her. She spotted the woman who was supposed to be her guide among the employees and she looked very pale.
"Carina, my office. Now." Darien said in a cold tone before walking toward the elevator not waiting to see if Carina had followed or not.
They made it into his office in silence. Darien put her down on one of the leather seat before stalking toward a cabinet, pulled out a bottle of brandy, and poured it into a glass before handing it to her.
"Drink this." He ordered.
"Really, I'm okay." Serena insisted but she took the brandy anyway. Throwing it back into her mouth, she almost choked at the burning sensation that the liquor offered.
The quiet creak of the door had them both look at the recipient. Darien's face was a cold hard mask before he glanced at her. "Stay here and don't move from this seat." He commanded again before nodding toward the closed door for Carina to enter. The woman was scared as she kept her head down low and went in without a second thought.
Casting last glace at her, Darien went in after and the door clicked maliciously. After a few heartbeats, Serena scurried out of the seat and tiptoed to the door before pressing her ear against the wooden door.
There were a lot of muffled of profanities and an occasional sob coming from Carina, Serena assumed. The guilt doubled when she realized that her careless action had jeopardized the woman's career. Serena could not stand it anymore as she opened the door. She was right. Carina was quietly sobbing while Darien was furious.
"It's not her fault, Darien." Serena blurted out. Darien narrowed his eyes at her before ordering Carina to leave. The woman hurriedly left the room leaving only the two. "We got separated from one another. It's was an accident."
"Serena, it is her fault. She was suppose to look after you every minute." Darien pointed out impatiently.
"I can take care of myself." Serena snapped back. He had sounded like she could not take care of herself. That is not true. She had taken care of herself since she was four.
"Yeah? And look how that had turned out! You were almost raped and possibly murdered by those bastards and no one would have hear you scream." He shouted furiously.
"It could have happened to anyone. I have been taking care of myself since I learn how to talk, Darien. I dealt with these people before."
"Dio. That's was before you were my responsibility."
"Oh? Is that what I am? A responsibility? I am responsible for myself, you jerk. You may be my boss but that does not give you the right to order me around. You know what? this isn't working like we had hoped. I honestly cannot imagine how much I can take of your multiple personalities." Serena said before stalking out of the room. Darien was still in shocked. He had never met anyone who was brave or stupid enough to stand up to him. He was used to giving orders and having them obeyed. Serena was the first to brake the cycle, to challenge his authority and he was either admiring her for her courage or very angry that he could barely see straight.
"She's not getting away that easily." He muttered before following her. He found her picking up her purse and getting ready to leave. He intercepted her at the door and locked it before she could get out. Trapping her with both of his hands against the door, he looked into her brightly lit gaze full of anger. His face softened a bit. "Dio. I am sorry, Serena. I was over-reacting. I know that you have dealt with those kinds of people before. It is just that, I want you to feel safe when you are under my care. I don't want you to have to face that kind of thing anymore." He said softly as he lifted a piece of her blond hair and tucked it behind her ear.
Serena looked at him with resigned. "That's awfully kind of you, Moretti, to want to protect me. Thank you, but I want you to know that what happened today was solely my fault. I was busy looking at museums and others. You should have yelled at me instead of Carina. She didn't do anything wrong."
"I was…afraid…when Carina marched into my office hysterically crying, blubbering out that she lost you."
"You were…scared for me?" Serena asked incredulously.
Darien gave her a hesitant smile. "If you're gone, who else is going to play my pseudo wife?" he teased.
Serena punched him playfully on the shoulder. She caught a sight of his bruised jaw and absently, ran her fingers over it. "Does it hurt?" she asked softly.
Darien stifled a sighed when he felt her soft fingers swirling tentatively over his jaws. He felt a shiver down his spine when she rubbed the spot. "Nothing I haven't endure before." He answered.
"I'm sorry, Darien." She said.
"Don't be. I'm glad you've got the strength of a man instead of a woman." He joked, trying to lighten up the mood. Serena laughed softly.
"Come on. Do you have a first aid kit?" she asked as they walked toward the private room of the office. Serena sat him down on one of the sofa before rummaging around in the cabinet. She pulled out a box of first aid kit and brought it over.
"This is barely a scratch." Darien protested mildly but did not make a move to stop her from tapping his split lips lightly with an ointment.
"That's what they all say, but I prefer to know that it's not going to get infected." Serena said as she placed a band-aid on the wound. "There." She pulled back with a please smile on her face. She started to say something before she caught Darien's gaze. He was looking at her strangely. His eyes were absolutely smoldering, as if looking straight into her soul and reveal her every hidden secrets. Serena gulped slightly, trying to make some space between them but his gaze held her in place. "Darien." Serena murmured softly.
Darien placed the pad of his thumb and traced the outer part of her lips with feather soft touches, gliding all over her creamy skin. He bent his head and nuzzled the side of her neck, his nose skimming and taking in the sweet scent that rolled of her. His lips made its way closer up her chin, kissing the corner of her lips lightly. He was a bit surprised when Serena twisted her head and kissed him. His fingers immediately came up and tangled in her silky hair as she wounded hers around his neck. He nibbled on her lower lips while she responded in kind.
The heat was surging through them both as Darien flipped their bodies onto the sofa. He continued to kiss her thoroughly enjoying the soft curves of her body beneath his. The sift mewing sounds from Serena only encourage him to kiss her more roughly. Nothing else matter at this point, not the fact that they are only pretending, not the consequences afterward and certainly not the pair of amusing blue eyes staring at them from the doorway.
Darien cursed softly as he cu the kiss short and helped Serena into a sitting position. Her face was flushed deep red and her lips swollen from his attention. She looked confused for a moment before following Darien's gaze toward the doorway and let out a low moan, burying her head in her hands.
"Can I help you, Raye?" Darien asked dryly, fixing his tie as he shot his 'favorite' sister a glare.
Raye wisely covered her twitching lips with her hand. "I…erm…was in the neighborhood and decide to come by to say hello."
"Well, here I am and hello. Is that all?" Darien asked.
Raye scoffed. Her eyes twinkled as they landed on the blonde-haired person next to her brother. "Aren't you going to introduce me to your…wife?"
Darien quirked a brow. "Malachite called you, didn't he?"
Raye laughed. "Of course. Mina was just as excited."
Darien muttered something under his breath that sounds suspiciously like 'damn cousin should have drowned at birth.'
Serena finally unfolded her hands and has enough gut to sneak a peak at the woman near the door for the first time. She encountered a very beautiful brown-haired woman with light azure eyes, just a couple of shades lighter than Darien. She was medium height, and dressed casually in knee length skirts and ivory silk blouse. The woman known as Raye smiled tentatively at her.
"Serena, this is Raye Moretti, my annoying sister. Annoying sister, this is Serena Jansen." Darien introduced. Both of the women rolled their eyes at Darien's weird introduction as both mumbled 'men' under their breath. Serena caught Raye's gaze as they burst out laughing.
Raye walked toward Darien and latched onto his arm. "You're going to tell me how this all started and then I'm going to help you."
"And why would I do something like that?" Darien asked, clearly amused.
"So I can help her prepare, of course. Wouldn't want to blow your cover, would you?" Raye chided mildly.
Darien finally sighs as Serena grinned slightly.
An hour later, after Raye's amusement and laughter, they had finally decided to give shopping another try. Well, mostly Raye and Serena suggested that they were going shopping. Darien had invited himself along much to Serena disagreement and Raye's over observing gaze.
Raye had taken them to her personal tailor in a tiny designer boutique on Seventh Avenue. He had always known that shopping with women was nothing but nuisance and back pain all day long, but somehow, the thought of Serena going anywhere without him against was unsettling.
Upon entering, a middle age woman rushed to greet them with a huge smile on her face. She had a little talk with Raye before politely informing her shoppers that the store will close for the day to accommodate them. After that, Serena and Raye whisked away when racks of endless supply of designers clothing was pulled out from the stored room.
Darien had settled himself comfortably on the soft leather couch as one of the employees had placed a cup of coffee in front of him and New York Times. Shrieks and laughter came from the back of the room as Serena was pushed tentatively out wearing a black Armani pants and a soft ivory cashmere sweater. The outfit covered her skin but left little to the imagination. Her hip hugging figure was made for any type of clothes.
"So, what do you think?" Serena asked hesitantly. Darien carefully folded the paper, placed it on top of the glass table before slowly getting up, and circled her a few times.
"Very elegant and sporty." He commented. Serena raised a brow and bit back a grin.
"You should listen to him. Darien's has a gift for women's clothing." Raye said dryly as she walked toward the pair with more clothing piling on top of her left hand. "Here, try this on now." She said as she pushed Serena back into the fitting room.
Minutes later, she emerged in a jaw dropping champagne silk gown adorn with diamond embedded in the fullness of the skirts. It sparkled every time she moved as the silk glided over her soft skin.
"Bellissimo" Raye complemented as she nod in an approving manner. "Once you're in Beaufort's mansion, you have to have one of these dresses in store because that man likes to throw parties out randomly. We have to be preparing for every occasion. Now these." She said as more clothes were tried on and those who are not 'good enough' by Raye's definition were thrown into another pile on the soft-carpeted floor. Madam Rosenberg, as Serena had found out, was more than willing to go with Raye's opinion since Raye was a regular customer.
After hours of trying on endless supply of clothes, Serena was ready to bolt out the door if not for the hold Darien had on her arm.
"Let me go, Moretti before I claws your eyes out." Serena threatened. Darien only grinned in return.
"I thought women loved shopping." He remarked though not making any move to let her go.
"Well, your sister had officially turned me against shopping forever." Serena said with a pout. She was scared to try on any clothing anymore.
"All done." Raye hollered from the back room. "Some the stuff will be shipped to your private jet by this evening."
Serena made a face as Darien finally let her go. She was tired and hungry and right now, a cheeseburger and fries sounds good.
"Cheer up Serena." Raye said happily, as she pats Serena on the back. "Darien is paying for the clothes."
"If I want to send Moretti straight to the poor house, I have to buy a hell lot more clothes than this." Serena muttered sending Raye into a fit of giggles.
"That you are right." Raye concluded.
Finally leaving the boutique, Raye had promised that she'd do fine before parting to go back to her house in Long Island. Their flight was set for eight o'clock tonight that gives Serena a good couple of hours to kill. She had dragged Darien around the humongous city for sightseeing. Serena found Darien was extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the surroundings. He took her to Central Park where they snacked on hotdogs and sodas from the cart selling nearby, went skating by Rockefeller Center, and just mingling around with the locals and tourists. Serena found an extreme liking to New York, and even considers moving to live here.
"We should get going." Darien voiced as they both head out of Central Park.
Serena made a face. "Sure, sure. Ruin the fun, why don't you?" she mumbled as Darien Chuckled.
"I'll bring you back here again. I promised." He said solemnly.
Serena quirked a brow. "There's going to be a next time?"
Darien grinned. "Sure. I might even need you again to pretend to fool my grandmother." He joked.
"I'm going to church after this and donated as much money as I could to get rid of my sin." Serena prayed as she clasped her hands together.
Darien laughed as Serena glared at him and ended up making him laugh harder.
They made it to Kennedy Airport where the private plane was waiting for them. Boarding the jet, Serena was surprised that this one looked more businesslike. Darien later explained that it was the company plane, not his personal use one. Serena could only 'O' as she settled herself comfortably on the creamed leathered couch. Darien had pulled a whole bunch of documents from his briefcase and set himself to work while she had turned on the television and settled on 'Shrek'. Serena was so engrossed in the ogre who fell in love with the princess that she did not noticed Darien staring at her.
Darien was somewhat fascinated with the petite woman in front of him. Sometimes, it struck him how much she reminded him of himself when he was little. Did she have a childhood to remember instead of the bitter past she went through? He did not know why that bothered him so much to know that she went through many harsh things that no one should go through. Maybe, just maybe he can he could give her some nice memories to remember in France.
"A penny for your thought?" Serena voiced cut through him softly.
"Not even worth a penny." He replied with a shrug.
"I don't know. Cleaver businessmen like you always have something up their sleeves." Serena teased.
"Maybe, maybe not." He remarked. "Then again, a trick or two may be good for you."
"I beg to differ. Have you even ever made a sudden decision in your life without planning it thoroughly first?"
"Can't say I have. Nope, never." He replied.
"I'm sure. Think harder." Serena jibbed.
"Well…when I was fifteen, my father sent me to boarding school for the first time. I was always expected to follow my father footstep, you know. Not just from him, but from everyone who know me. Anyway, the night before I left, I snuck out with a couple of friends and got extremely drunk. I didn't even make it home the next day."
Serena laughed. "Did you regret it?"
Darien shook his head. "Can't say I did. It actually felt good. When you're drunk, you forget almost everything that matter and just have fun."
"I hope getting drunk isn't your way of running from your problem."
"Of course not. I learned my lesson the first time."
"So you don't drink?"
"Just because I said I won't get drunk, doesn't mean I don't drink. However, I can control myself. I rarely get drunk anymore." He replied with an amuse smile.
Serena finally grinned before turning her attention back to the movie. She was not into it as much as before, maybe it was the powerful presence of a certain dark haired man sitting besides her. Sighing to herself, she leaned back and hugged the blanket closer to chest and concentrate on the green ogre and his quest of rescuing the distressed princess.
Thanks for all of your reviews. They are very heartwarming and encouraging.
Finally done with this chapter. Now, the next one is when they land in France. Drop a review to let me know what you think of this chapter.