C6 Chapter 6
When he reached her luggage, she shook her head and placed her hand in his instead. Then she made Yuri take the handle of one trolley with his other hand while she took hold of the second one.
" This is how we should walk, shouldn't we? " - Kathy looked up to Yuri, asking gravely.
" According to?.. " - Yuri was half amused and half exasperated.
" The Internet. " - Kathy answered simply.
" Ah. " - Yuri
He remembered Kristina telling him how Kathy believed everything on the internet to be true, leading the matriarch to implement parental controls on all the computers, gadgets and TV's in their home.
One of these days, he needed to have a talk with Kathy about the internet. But for now, Yuri decided he should go along. It would be less tiring for both of them.
" We should do whatever we feels right. " - Yuri, said finally.
" This feels right. " - Kathy softly answered.
Yuri's heart clenched, knowing that from someone who had suffered as much Kathy had, the words were more than a stranger like him deserved.
" Then we'll hold hands. " - Yuri said quietly.
And so they did. When they were inside the limousine, Kathy choosing to sit beside him.
" You're not afraid? " - Yuri asked.
She shook her head.
" Why? " - Yuri, added.
He felt he had to ask, if only to make sure that he would keep doing whatever it was that had taken away her fear. A quizzical expression touched Kathy's exquisite face, and her tone was suprised as she replied.
" Because you said you love me. " - Kathy
Whenever tabloids feautured officers of the Alcolytes, the headlines typically varied but the gist of them remained the same. Helios Jake Andreadis was the hotheaded sun god. Kellion Mico Argyros the charmingly wicked playboy. Leandro Paul Christopoulos a college university owner, hot smart guy. And Andreus Fin Economou the mysterious and dangerous bad boy. Each had his own vice, which the media love to exaggerate for the club's adoring, obsessed fans.
But with Yuri Daniel Athanas, if was different. The paparazzi had long given up on trying to dig out any dirt on the club's current vice president and instead delighted in speculating what kind of girl would eventually capture the Greek bachelor's heart.
Some thought that no lesr than a princess would do for the club's lone angel, who was also known for his old-fashioned and conservative ways. Others believed that Yuri Daniel Athanas would remain elusive until he was as old as George Clooney and, also like the actor, find someone who had both brains and beauty. The more cynical, however, believed Yuri was just like any other rich young man and would eventually fall for a trashy sex symbol. Naturally none of their conjectures was close to the truth.
" Is that your girlfriend, Mr. Athanas? " - reporter 1
" Give us a smile, beautiful! " - reporter 2
" Where you guys going?!!! " - reporter 3
All the shouting and rapid fire questioning would have disturbed Kathy if not for the way Yuri's hand tightened around hers. It gave her a sense of peace and safety. She relaxed immediately when Yuri murmured to her.
" Don't mind them, I'll protect you. " - Yuri
If Yuri said so, she thought, it must be true. Although Yuri had taken steps to mislead the paparazzi, a small number had still decided to leave nothing to chance by camping out in Athen's airpos, and they had gotten their reward when, for the first time since Yuri had risen to fame, the Alcolytes scandal-free vice president stepped out of the limousine with a girl in tow.
In minutes, their numbers swelled by the dozens, and Yuri's jaw clenched. It was a rare display of temper, and the sight whipped the crowd into an excited frenzy.
" Give us a kiss, Yuri! " - fangirl 1
" Look at the camera, you guys! " - fangirl 2
Even with airport security helping his bodyguards to ensure their privacy, the aggressive jostling amongst the reporters and their cameraman forced Yuri to pull Kathy closer towards him.
" Keep your head down. " Yuri ordered under his breath.
Kathy obeyed the command automatically. Her grandmother had warned her this would happen once the world found out she was Yuri's beloved girl. Many people are fascinated with Yuri Daniel Athanas because he's part of a very famous group. Kristina Rewis had explained to her. Many of them will lie to you about Yuri, but you mustn't believed them. You mustn't trust them, mustn't even listen to them. The only thing that matters, Kristina had said gravely, was what the people you love is telling you.
Even as the furor around them made Kathy's chest tighten, she sought to calm herself, not wishing to worry the man beside her. They walked with both their heads down, Kathy pressing close to Yuri, her innocent mind completely unaware that doing so had triggered a completely unexpected reaction. What the hell was happening to him?
Yuri's teeth clenched at the way his body suddenly stirred in hyper awareness of Kathy's soft curves. While he hadn't played the field as much as his friends had, he was far from being inexperienced. Control over his sexual needs had never been a problem or atleast it hadn't been until Kathy suddenly looked up to him.
" Yuri? " - Kathy's furrowed in concern.
" It's nothing. " - Yuri's fighting to keep his face blank and shook his head.
The noise from paparazzi faded as they went past immigration, replaced by the low, steady burr coming from the jets parked at the Hangar's private section. With no one to bother them from this point, Yuri carefully set Kathy away from him, needing to put as much distance between them.
'He must have been celibate far too long', Yuri told himself. God knew when was the last time he had even jerked himself off...
" Yuri? " - Kathy asked.
" Yes? " - Yuri glancing back to Kathy. And he was surprised at the faintly troubled expression on her face.
" Did I do something to displease you? " - Kathy had sensed his withdrawal from her.
Yuri realized with sudden insight. It was beginning to be clear to him that he had a lot more to understand about Kathy, things that hadn't found its way on his detectives report. Resolving to be more careful in the way he reacted around Kathy, he only had a moments hesitation before slowly taking hold of her hand.
" There's little you can do or say that will displease me, Kathy. " - Yuri kept his gaze on her so she would see that he wasn't lying.
" I was worried. " - Kathy troubled expression dissappeared from her face. Her fingers twined with his as she spoke.
Too sweet, he thought. He had to be careful with Kathryn Ice Rewis. He had to make sure she never realized that the man who had promised to love her didn't have a heart.
The plane had been airborne for almost an hour by the time Yuri went back to the lobby, where Kathy was supposed to be but wasn't. He raised a brow at the stewardess.
" Where she always is. " - Brendalyn (the stewardess), she answered with a fond smile.
" The kitchen? " - Yuri, asked
" As always, Mr. Athanas " - Brendalyn smile turned into a grin.
And the rest of cabin crew, all employed by the Rewis' law firm-grinned too. He realized then that the staff was inordinately fond of his fianceé, a rarity among those in the employ of most heiresses he knew of.
" How long have you been serving the Rewis family, Brenda? " - Yuri asked to her
Brenda flushed with pleasure at Yuri's use of her name. She knew that he had only known it because of her name plate, but even so most other wealthy people she knew wouldn't have bothered to do the same.
It only shows that the late Mrs. Rewis had made the right choice. Brenda thought. This young man was indeed the right one to take care Katherine Ice. Wishing to be as much help to her new employer.
" I've been with the family since I completed my training so about... Ten years. Practically everyone here has been employed by the Rewis' for just as long. " - Brenda, answered politely.
" I see. " - Yuri paused and studied the faces around him.
" Then I'm assuming that you are all sufficiently cognizant of Kathryn's special circumtances? " - Yuri added.
" We were there when she was rescued. " - Brenda smile dimmed.
Even now, she had to repress a shudder at the memories, and she hurriedly changed the subject.
" If there's anything we can do to help you... " - Brenda, added.
" You have nothing to worry about. I don't consider your offer of help presumptuous. My first priority is Ms. Rewis' wellbeing, and as such I'd appreciate anything that could help me understand her better. " - Yuri said gently, correctly guessing the reason for her hesitation.
" You have nothing to worry about us, Sir. Although we've also had to sign a non-disclosure before working for the Rewis' all of us are greatly fond of Ms. Kathryn Ice. It would be our greatest joy to help her in any way. " - Brenda's eyes relief shone.
" I'm glad to hear that since you all no doubt know my fianceé better than I do at the moment." - Yuri's smile was wry.
" Well, she loves food a lot, " - Brenda paused, murmured thoughtfully.
" She loves to prepare those cute lunchboxes for people she likes. " - Brenda, added.
" And for the people she don't like? " - Yuri, asked. While Brenda frowned.
" I don't think we've ever seen Ms. Kathryn Ice dislike anyone, " - Ned Luis Cervañes (the bartender) volunteered answer.
" But she gets extremely upset when she sees leftovers on people's plates. " - Ned, added.
Yuri nodded and mentally filed the information away for future reference. Seeing his genuine reception of their advice, the rest of the staff eagerly proceeded to share their insights.
" Ms. Kathryn Ice learned Arabic in one week, Sir. " - Amylaine Lara (2nd stewardess), proudly spoke of his fianceé's intellectual.
" She doesn't cry, Sir. But she goes alarmingly silent for days when she witnesses bad things. Even Mrs. Rewis doesn't understand what goes on in her mind when it happens. " - Ned, added.
Ten minutes later, a more knowledgeable and grimly reflective Yuri joined his fianceé in the kitchen. She looked up the moment he entered, her violet eyes wide and a frilly apron over her dress. She could have easily passed for a Stepford wife if not for the functional but unfashionable hair net she had over her head.
The sight of it almost made Yuri smile. A black-haired goddess in a hair net, he thought wryly. It was just one of the many fascinating things that made his fianceé an intriguing paradox.
" Hi. " - Yuri said finally, seeing that Kathy was still staring at him.
" Hi. " - Kathy answered, the wary note in her voice.
" What's wrong? "- Yuri ask immediately. A brief hesitation before Kathy replied quietly.
" I'm nervous. " - Kathy words made Yuri notice the way her fingers silently but restlessly moved on the edge of the table, alternately tapping and tracing, while her violet eyes stayed on his face.
" Why? " - Yuri's fist clench, something about it made. Whatever it was, he would fix it.
" I'm not sure if... " - Kathy's gaze lowered and that was when he saw what she had on the bento box.
Lying on top of colorful crackers and amidst cheese flowers were baked cookies shaped in letters that spelled YURI.
" Ah. " - Yuri slowly approached her, not wanting to give her any reason to bolt.
He could see it in the stiff posture of her body and in the way her knuckles had now turned white with how tightly she was gripping the edge of the counter. When Yuri reached the counter.
" Do you like it? " - Kathy ask, her tone was defensive, but there was childish yearning in it.
His heart, which Yuri thought was long dead, showed the smallest sign of life, two microscopic pieces joining together at the realization of just how important he was to the girl he had promised to marry.
" I love it. " - Yuri made sure to keep his eyes on her as he spoke.
Remembering the staff's advice about speaking the truth to Kathy. The tension eased from her form, but for Yuri it wasn't enough. Wanting her to completely relaxed with him.
" May I eat it? " - Yuri ask, when he gestured to the cookies.
She shooked her head, surprising him, and cocked her head to the side questioningly at him.
" Aren't you going to take a photo of it? " - Kathy asked him.
" Why would I? " - Yuri's turn to be bemused.
" Because... " - Kathy answered patiently. She paused,
" That's what people do. I've seen it in the internet. People take photos of what they love and upload it to Instagram. " - Kathy, added with a combination of innocence and wisdom.
When Kathy's guileless violet eyes went back to him, Yuri didn't have it in himself to refuse. She was already running circles around him, he thought, without even knowing it. Despite the sardonic thought, Yuri still found himself doing as asked, taking a photo of the admittedly lovely bento box and obediently uploading it to his instagram.