Chapter 4

Her lips gaped open. She was taken aback by an unexpected statement that almost caused her heart to stop for a moment. How could someone who barely knew her like her in a matter of a day, or maybe more? Because Clarice had never felt that way, but the man before her, openly admitted to liking her.

Clarice swallowed. She scrutinized Tristan Penn's appearance. The charismatic CEO but also a billionaire became very convincing in his declaration of affection.

His confidence in that statement made Clarice certain that Tristan Penn was no ordinary man. Twice she had met him, and both times she had seen him look the same appearance. Just this time Tristan was wearing a suit of a different color.

"Are you done assessing my appearance, Clarice Morgan?" he asked, distracting Clarice's thoughts.

Clarice blinked her eyes repeatedly. She felt as if she had awoken from a dream that was neither bad nor good. "Just get lost … " snapped Clarice, indifferently. 

"I'm not leaving until you listen to what I just said. Ah, no. I'll leave after I want to leave on my own."

His words were so powerful to say. Tristan had power in his every word, which made Clarice certain that Tristan was not a random person. "Then let me go."

Tristan grabbed her wrist as Clarice was about to leave. Forcing Clarice to sit back down, she exhaled with a heavy sigh. "You're wasting my time!" 

"I'm going to make sure that our time together stays in your memory, Clarice Morgan. Do you think I'll let you go after I meet you?" 

His tone was so domineering. Tristan Penn had completely changed 180 degrees, unlike yesterday when they met. His expression this time was unmistakable. He showed how genuinely interested he was in Clarice.

"And you thought I'd want to be with you, Mr. Perfect? You think you can take the place of my boyfriend?"

"He's dead, just so you know. Stop saying he is your boyfriend. He's not even your boyfriend now. And he won't come back to life even if you bring his name up in front of me," Tristan corrected clearly.

Clarice was shocked again. She couldn't understand why a man would be so harsh with his words towards a woman. His words hurt Clarice deeply for a stranger she had just met. In fact, his expression was devoid of regret when he said that.

Tristan loosened his grip, not feeling the least bit guilty about what he had just said. He just wanted to make Clarice understand and realize something about the irreversibility of death. But he also knew that dealing with Clarice would not be as easy as dealing with other women.

"You know, I'm a dominant man who won't feel guilty or bow down to a woman's words. You're crying for your ex-boyfriend and I'm not going to feel sorry for you, Clarice Morgan," Tristan explained.

Clarice was right about Tristan not being a random guy. He proudly shows who he is with his dislike for Clarice. And it was true, not once did Tristan look remorseful.

"You're an asshole," Clarice said, cursing him.

"I know. But a jerk like me, you won't find it at the beginning of a meeting. So I, on purpose, showed you how I really am, Clarice Morgan."

His confidence level was beyond Clarice's comprehension. Tristan did show her how he behaved in front of her after showing her who he was. But Clarice wanted nothing to do with him.

"I have to go home," Clarice said, this time in a soft tone.

"I'll walk you to your apartment, as Stella requested."

"No, I–"

"Don't refuse, Clarice."

Clarice stood up and did not reply to Tristan's words. She took the first step, which Tristan took as an answer that she wanted to be driven by him.

They left the café together in their respective cars. Clarice slowed her pace as she exhaled. She was annoyed by Tristan's appearance and how he spoke to her.

She glanced at the rearview mirror, checking to see if Tristan was really following her or just talking nonsense. And when she saw him, her heart raced like she was in a horse race. Tristan was behind her, following her.

Clarice thought about his statement. She began to feel scared and also suspicious that this man she had met was up to something. Although she felt that there was nothing to suspect, she was always afraid of strangers.

"If only Joel was still around, he would have told that man to stop being around me," she said, softly.

Joel ... was the only man who always protected her from any form of danger. Even Joel, it could be said, had the strength of Tristan. 

When Clarice finally arrived at the parking lot of her apartment, she was surprised to find that Tristan had followed her to the parking lot. The man didn't even look embarrassed to be stalking her in the parking lot. His face showed the hard lines of his jaw and he walked elegantly, like a model.

"I'll walk you to your room," he said, opening the conversation.

"No need. Stella did not order you to stand in front of my room. And I don't want you to go any further than this. So ... stop here." Clarice took a step back, looking at him coldly.

But every time Clarice took a step back, Tristan took a step forward. He didn't listen to what Clarice wanted. The man did things according to his own will. 

"Why won't you stop?! I can scream, just so you know!"

"Scream, Clarice. The CCTV will prove that I didn't do anything to you after all. And besides, this is an apartment under my ownership."

Clarice's face looked shocked. Her eyes widened at the news she had just learned. In the two years that she had lived in the apartment, she had just found out who the owner was at a time like this. She had heard rumors that the owner was a man of incomparable perfection, he was also a young man, who did not have a girlfriend, but people often saw him in nightclubs with paid women.

Clarice swallowed. She didn't know what to do with the owner of her apartment building because she couldn't possibly show her guilt when she had done nothing wrong.

"So you have no choice, Clarice Morgan," he said.

Once again, Clarice could only sigh and surrender. She turned around and walked back ahead of Tristan, just as she had done in the café.

They were silent together in an elevator with only the two of them. It made Clarice want to get to her apartment room as soon as possible.

"You must make a note of this, Clarice," Tristan said, "make a note in your mind that this moment is one in which our acquaintance will continue until I succeed in making you fall in love. When that happens, I will have full control over you in a way that will help you let go of the past."  

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