Seventh Secret

The location of their first meeting was a very fancy restaurant in London. Zach had read about it in articles about the best places to eat in London and it was most certainly outside of his price range. Darien had sent him a text beforehand telling him not to bother about what he was wearing as they had a private room booked.

That didn’t do much to settle his nerves. Zach looked down at his coat, smartest black trousers and shoes and knew they probably wouldn’t pass at close inspection. There was nothing much he could do anyway.

He took a deep breath and pushed open the door to the restaurant. A long mirrored hallway greeted him and he carried on down until he came to another door. A smartly dressed man was waiting on the other side. Zach felt the appraising glance and internally cringed.

“Do you have a reservation?” he asked respectfully.

“I’m here to meet Darien Harper,” Zach replied.

Darien hadn’t found the need to book under an assumed name given that his face was very familiar. Zach was shown straight through to the private room.

Darien was already sitting at the table sipping wine. Zach received a nod from him and sat down at the other end of the table.

“I was worried you wouldn’t come,” Darien said smoothly.

The billionaire was dressed in one of his work suits, this time with no tie and the first few buttons undone. He still looked as good as ever. By now Zach had his face memorised to the fine details and knew it was one he wouldn’t be able to forget.

“I signed a contract so I couldn’t exactly back out,” Zach replied. “Are we eating here?”

Darien waved the menu at him.

“I noticed that you like food so I thought I would give you a taste of some expensive things. I already ordered for both of us to save time.”

Zach felt a little excitement. He had barely read any reviews of the restaurant as he had never envisioned having enough money to go, but as far as he could remember, it was actually in the top five restaurants in London.

“I didn’t dress up so it would look like a casual meeting,” Darien added. “The staff here have always been discreet, but I can’t trust anyone.”

After reading a lot of news articles about Darien the night before, Zach was very inclined to agree with him.

“I did some research into your past with the media,” Zach replied. “Do you ever get any privacy?”

Darien’s eyes were very hard to read then. Zach almost wished he had never asked the question.

“What’s privacy when you have over a billion pounds in your bank account?” he said with a bitter tone. “I’ve never dared to make any romantic advances to anyone male since I realised how my every move is watched by someone with a camera.”

Zach felt like he should pat him on the shoulder to comfort him, but Darien wasn’t his friend, they were in a mutual business agreement.

“Does anyone besides me know that you are gay?” he asked curiously.

Darien took a very long sip of wine before replying.

“There were some people at university who knew enough to have a suspicion and there was the man I had been seeing right before my media debut and public attention. I took care of all of them with a lot of money and non-disclosure agreements,” Darien explained emotionlessly.

Darien’s first public media appearance had been at the famous Oxford v. Cambridge university boat race. The media always attended and Darien had been on the Cambridge team alongside a member of the royal family. Those factors teamed with his good looking face had been enough to catapult him to tabloid media fame and he had become a public figure.

Zach was saved from replying by the arrival of the food. The plates were laid on the table with lightning speed and the dishes were quickly and succinctly explained by a smooth voiced waiter. Zach barely digested the information as a lot of the words had been unfamiliar.

Darien smirked at him when the waiting staff left.

“You glazed over there- I saw you,” he said. “I’ll explain with less fancy terms. On this plate is mushrooms, that one is steak and these are fish. Everything else was lip service really. It’s how it works in expensive places.”

Zach surveyed the array of plates with more attention and realised Darien was right. Once you took away all the information about sourcing and price, everything could be summarised as what the main component was. All the dishes looked to be very small portions.

“Does everyone here go home hungry?” he asked. “The plates are so small.”

Darien laughed loudly and Zach stared at him in surprise. He had never imagined he would see Darien laugh like that. It wasn’t an evil or disdainful laugh, the billionaire appeared to be having genuine fun.

“I’m glad I brought you here. The plates and portions are normally small in places like this so you get to sample more things and pay more by default,” he informed him. “The food also tends to be richer so it is more filling.”

Zach understood the logic and checked over his cutlery. There was a lot to choose from.

“Just pick anything, I’m not judging you,” Darien said, seeming to have read his mind.

Zach picked up a knife and fork and pulled the nearest plate closer to him. It looked like a portion of greasy vegetables that had gone through a vat of purple dye.

“Did this plate take a dip in the deep fat fryer at McDonalds?” he asked out loud.

Darien laughed loudly for the second time that evening.

“That’s butter basted vegetables poached in the finest red wine,” he said with a grin.

That explained the strange purple tinge to them. Zach took a bite and frowned. Darien was right about richness, he had never tasted so much butter on a vegetable before. It may have not been the best thing to eat first on an empty stomach.

He checked for a bread basket and came up with nothing. There wouldn’t be a bread basket in a place like this.

“Try the steak if that’s not to your liking,” Darien suggested.

Zach was keen to push the vegetables aside for something more filling and hopefully less rich. He cut into the steak with the provided knife and was relieved not to get any blood. The blood that dripped out of steak that hadn’t been rested, always put him off.

The steak was absolutely mouthwatering when he bit into it. It had all the right flavours combined with a pleasant texture. Maybe this place was well regarded for its steak. He quickly finished the plate which was easy due to the small portion size.

Darien raised an eyebrow at him.

“I can tell you enjoyed it- your emotions were all over your face.”

Zach shrugged. He liked eating food and didn’t mind that people could tell.

“What would you recommend next?” he asked.

Darien handed over another plate. It was a very simple plate which consisted of a lettuce leaf and several slices of what initially looked like red meat covered in pepper. Zach took a moment to realise it was slices of tuna and not raw red meat.

“What’s expensive about this one?” Zach questioned.

“It’s Bluefin Tuna,” Darien informed him. “It’s a very expensive fish and it’s getting rarer.”

Zach speared a slice with his fork hesitantly and took a tiny bite. This was one thing that he wasn’t sure about. He had never eaten tuna steaks before and he found the texture strange. He ate one more slice and put it aside to try something else.

By the time he had tried all the different dishes, his stomach was feeling close to full. He didn’t know if Darien had ordered another round of dishes to try.

“I did order some desserts since I know about your sweet tooth,” Darien said. “I’ll get them to clear the table and bring the desserts in.”

It was strange how connected their minds seemed to be. He would think one thing and Darien would say something related to it. It seemed like there was potential for them to get along in the future.

“That would be nice,” he agreed.

Darien pressed the button on the table and the waitstaff appeared a minute later to clear the table. Zach spent the time speculating on what desserts an expensive restaurant with excellent reviews would serve.

The first thing he saw on the table was a croquembouche. How big did Darien think his stomach was? There was no way he could eat all of that. He watched each dessert arrive at the table with wide eyes.

Darien sipped his wine delicately and smirked at him when the door had closed behind the waitstaff.

“I ordered everything on the dessert menu for you,” he proclaimed. “I hope you like it.”

Zach surveyed the array of desserts on the table. There was a trifle, a large and well glazed chocolate cake, a lot of cheesecakes and tarts as well as scoops of artisan looking ice cream.

“I’m not going to finish all of this,” he pointed out. “Unless you can stomach three quarters of the amount here?”

Darien looked a little green at the prospect.

“Should I ask them to box up any leftovers for you to take home?” he asked in a much less smug tone of voice.

Zach liked that idea. He could share the leftovers with Emilia and perhaps bring anything else to the office for everyone in the erotica department.

“That sounds like a good idea. It saves it being wasted,” he said.

With that concern out of the way, he reached for the nearest bowl which was some purple ice cream. It turned out to be a very delicious winter berry ice cream. He tried the next ice cream and went down the ice cream selection.

The best ice cream was undoubtedly the lemon meringue one with the flecks of real meringue and lemon zest. He held out his spoon to Darien. The billionaire was still on his first portion of chocolate cake.

“This one is the best one, try it,” he said.

Darien looked surprised at the brazen offer, but he opened his mouth and leaned forward nonetheless. Feeling his warm breath on his hand was strange to Zach and he withdrew his hand as soon as Darien released the spoon from his mouth.

“You’re right, that is very nice,” Darien said a moment later. “I’ll take note of that.”

Zach had an awkward few seconds with his spoon. He wasn’t the type of person to share cutlery, he should have offered it to Darien with a clean spoon. Now Darien had his saliva in his mouth. Zach hurriedly picked up a new spoon and continued eating his ice cream.

“Have you been here with any of your girlfriends before?” he asked to change the subject.

By now Darien had returned to eating the chocolate cake.

“I have brought some here, but there’s no need to get jealous, I normally just order them a salad and don’t bother with dessert.”

Zach was taken aback by how callously Darien treated his girlfriends on ‘dates’. He might not be attracted to them, however he could be more considerate. Then he processed the jealousy part.

“I’m not jealous, I was just curious,” he replied.

Darien didn’t reply to that. Zach put down his spoon, he knew he was very full and wouldn’t be able to fit in another mouthful.


Darien returned home later in the evening to a dark and empty house. This time he wasn’t empty handed, he was carrying a box of leftover cake from the restaurant and the coldness of the house didn’t bother him. He placed the cake carefully in the fridge and sat down at the breakfast bar.

It had been an interesting evening. He had laughed out loud and had wholeheartedly enjoyed his evening with the intern. He had made a good choice in making a deal with Zach.

He found himself looking forward to meeting with him again.

Comments (1)
goodnovel comment avatar
Lynnburger Morris
Makes you wonder how the rest of the world view dating............

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