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Chapter 4: Trap

"SHE just walked away? And you let her?" Danil couldn't believe what Vanluke was saying. They're on their way to a warehouse where the bastard contractor, his wife and his mistress are hiding like rats separating themselves from the crowded outside world.

"I did," Vanluke replied poker face.

"A girl head on rejected you still you're calm about it."

"I figured she would reject me. I would've been so disappointed if she agreed out of fear."

"What made you want her?" Danil is suspicious of his intentions.

"Dan, you were the one who told me she's the best fit criteria to be the new lady of Kromatova."

"Well I did mention she's a good fit to be in the family. I didn't say marry her."

Not in a million years will Vanluke admit to Danil that he has been dreaming of a naked Ara Villanueva beneath him, screaming and begging for his mercy in bed. He hasn't been able to have sex with anyone because he's exhausted himself fantasizing a commoner. His libido isn't going to let him rest until it gets Ara. A new taste, a new flavor he can keep all for himself. Plus a fit to be next to him, he realized.

"So how will there be a wedding if she's not into you?" Danil removed his black coat. Prepping to punch the lights out of the woman who brought them a great deal of loss in the industry of gun smuggling.

The minions opened the door for them revealing a scared to death contractor and two women. A same old drama people do when they suck up the juice of wealth illegally then regret it because they screwed up. All three of them are classically tied in chairs lineup to be beaten.

"I'm so sorry! It was because of them! They made me do it!" the wife screamed seeing how Danil removes his necktie and rolls up his white polo's sleeves up to his elbows. "Please, I'm begging you don't do this!"

Vanluke was served a chair to do the talking. "I have an important matter to attend to. Talk. One at a time starting with you, Pete." He was talking to the contractor.

"I-I'm sorry my wife leaked the information about the deal! I swear I didn't know it--"

"Ssh," Vanluke raised his left forefinger in the air to signal everybody shut upm "To hell with your excuses, Pete. You wouldn't be sitting there if you had nothing to do with this mess."

Danil wears a pair of black leather gloves.

Pete took this as a cue for him to be punched in the worst way possible. "I-I-I did know it! I didn't try stopping Ella because I thought I could get away with both the money and the goods!"

"I'm disappointed, Pete. I came to the Philippines because you requested for me to do the deal."

"I'm sorry! Forgive me!" crying disgustingly Pete knew his life was about to end. Danil was about to beat him when Vanluke signaled for him to stop.

"Although I'm feeling generous."

Pete's hopes were up. Shaking terribly.

"I won't kill any of you tonight. If it isn't because of your damn selfishness I wouldn't have met the future lady of my house."

"Thank you! Thank you! I promise I will never do it again!"

Vanluke to turn his focus on the silent mistress and the trembling wife. "You two. As punishment, you will be stripped off of any wealth. Find a damn job under the sewers. I'm not kidding. Pete, while living the second chance I gave you, deny these women the money they love so much. Don't help them."

"As you wish, Sir Kromatova! Thank you!"

"What?" Danil groans. "That's it? I brought my favorite gloves! At least let me use them!"

TIK tok… tik tok…

All that can be heard is the clicking sound coming from the wall clock in the vet's office. Ara's work has just finished. It's ten in the evening. All of her assistants had already gone home an hour ago. She's alone. Thinking about her parents' financial incapacity. The pandemic has been going on for a while. There's a virus lethal to human lives floating in the air. If one gets infected it has to be treated as soon as possible or that person will no doubt die.

Her clinic hasn't got a lot of patients lately. Her parents' sari-sari store can't keep up with the bills anymore. The money left in her bank account is enough for just the next three months.

She needs to find another job. She'll be deciding to close the clinic for a while. At least until the pandemic is gone. She already debriefed the details to her assistants and gladly they understood.

She went home after commuting past eleven in the evening. She slept the night calmly because tomorrow, she'll be job hunting.

In the morning, the first thing she did was to thank God for everything she has and provide her guidance when she goes out.

"Ara, may sulat para sa iyo," her mother came into her room delivering a white long envelope.

(Ara, there's a letter for you)

"Talaga po? Kanino po galing?" Ara accepted the letter. Upon opening it her left eyebrow raised.

(Really? Whom did it come from?)

The letter contained a job hiring advertisement from a resident doctor in a private hospital hours away from her city. The job description was all qualifying her. Not only is she a vet but she has experience being a nurse for humans during her fourth year in college. She has a nursing degree before deciding to enroll in a vet school.

Suspecting nothing she went off the location to apply for the job not mentioned in the ad.

Upon arrival, her smile faded off. It wasn't a commercial building nor a hospital. It was a mansion somewhere in Tuba, Benguet. Her heart suddenly beat fast. For some reason she was nervous to go inside. There weren't any people outside the mansion. She paid the taxi then pressed the doorbell button at the left side of the tall black iron gate. That's when the familiar balck three-piece suits appear at the other side of the gate. "Oh shit," she mumbled. They were the same men that kidnapped her days ago!

"Welcome Miss Ara. Your employer awaits you inside," says the man on the right. The one on the left was silent and looking around as if there were guns pointing in their direction. Ara thought it was not impossible that people were watching them from the bushes.

She was ready to run away.

"Miss Ara, please call me, Fedor. My companion here is called Czar. We will show you the way."

She shook her head. "You've got to be kidding me!"

Fedor smiled. "The area is guarded by Sir Vanluke's hired security force. They received orders that upon your arrival you are not allowed to leave may they use diplomatic persuasion or a little force."

She sighs hard. She couldn't help cursing under breath. She wiped her face with her palms. "Damn it. Why am I not surprised?" She mumbled walking past the gate.

"THIS is abduction, Vanluke Kromatova!" greet Ara to Vanluke once she stepped in the visitor's lounge.

"If this is abduction I'll make sure you develop Stockholm syndrome," he retorted.

"Using a false advertisement to attract me into coming here is punishable by law!"

"I know the doctor. The ad is true. That's why you're here."

Ara's lips twitch angrily. If this is one of his ways to trap her then there's no reason for her to stay. She spun her heels towards the door. She marched past his men not giving a damn. She needs to get away as soon as possible. If fear gets over her it'll be the end. Vanluke is a dangerous man indeed. He had her walk straight into his den! There's no guarantee she can get out alive if trapping her here had something to do with witnessing 'that' night.

Czar stepped into the entrance/exit door. Blocking her only escape. "Miss Ara, don't make Sir Vanluke angry."

She bit her lower lip. Preventing the tears pooling in her eyes to fall. She didn't want to show weakness. She has to be strong. She breathes in all the courage she can. "Let him be angry. If he's planning to kill me might as well die urging freedom. Remove yourself from the door, Czar." She laughed at her own ridiculous act.

"I can't do that Miss Ara," he replied emotionless.

"Miss Ara," Fedor calls her from behind. "We beg you. Sir Vanluke is already facing a lot of problems in the industry. He needs someone to take care of him while he rests."

Ara, doubtful, faced the pleading middle aged man. "Which part of him needs caring? As far as it looks he's healthy as a horse."

"You don't understand Miss--"

"Leave it, Fedor." Vanluke's monotonous voice echoed in the entrance hall. Fedor and Czar stood up straight doing their best not to meet the eyes of the tiger ready to pounce at anyone.

Ara did the same, not meeting his gaze. She's afraid that if she meets his grayish eyes, her knees will tremble to fall. Her heart's beat was faster than earlier.

"Ara, let's continue our conversation in my study, shall we?"

Ara felt it. The authority in his voice. He wasn't asking. He was commanding her to follow him to his study. Immediately she made her decision. She will play along with his acts until he reveals what he truly wants. 

His study is very different from what she sees in Russian movies. It was not filled with books but with nothing. In the dark navy blue motif study only the thick mahogany table is there and a few file binders arranged above it. Walls have expensive Russian paintings. The themes are like slavery, landscapes and people doing their own businesses.

What kind of person is Vanluke Kromatova? She thought idiosyncrasy.

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