Darien couldn’t believe what he had done when he returned home. He had fallen asleep on Zach’s shoulder on the train and had to be woken up. Zach had probably been inconvenienced by that.
He had apologised once he realised where his head was. Zach had accepted the apology and had denied being bothered by it like the kind and polite person he was.
His stomach rumbled and drew his focus away from his transgression on the train. Eating like he had over the past day had messed with his schedule. Darien strode to the kitchen and made himself a protein shake.
Darien’s eating habits had materialised in his early twenties when he had taken over Harper Publishing. Every second of his day back then had been focused on learning how to run the business and once he grasped those skills, he had changed to trying to drive the company to new heights. There had been no time for proper meals unless it was to lure in new business partners. He had compensated by changing to supp
Zach sat down at the well polished table opposite the billionaire. The strange feeling in his heart had gone. Perhaps it had been his first instance of heartburn. Darien looked as good as always. His hair was primped to perfection. Zach liked his wavy hair from the weekend more than his neatly arranged straight hair. Maybe it was because of the implication that he was one of a very small number of people to see him with wavy hair. The billionaire was currently engaged in a quiet conversation with the waiter who came across as efficiency incarnated. “Was that your order?” Zach asked once the waiter had left. “That’s right,” Darien confirmed. “I want to surprise you.” Zach resisted the urge to get his phone out under the table and do some internet research about this particular restaurant. He had a feeling he had seen the name somewhere before so it was probably another top rated restaurant in London. “Is your hair naturally straight or
Darien turned away from Zach and despondently walked off to where he had parked his car. He needed to be somewhere quiet so he could settle his heart.He drove home as fast as the speed limits would allow and swore during every traffic jam. The city centre was terrible for car drivers.Once he reached his multi million pound house, he poured himself a bottle of wine and sat outside in the garden.He had fallen for Zach. There was no denying it now. He didn’t just like him, he was in love with him.There was no turning back now.The contract he had created to chain Zach into improving his life, came to mind the second he thought about acting on his feelings.He had put in the clause that neither of them could fall for the other.Darien put his hand into his hands and groaned.He had ruined his own chances at happiness with that contract. Why was it even in the contract? He could have left it out and he would be feeling muc
Darien wanted to bang his head against the steering wheel. He had shown his hand too quickly to Zach. He just hadn’t been able to control his feelings of annoyance when he had seen Zach talking to Austin for so long through the front window of the flower shop. They had looked happy together and well, he’d always had something against Austin. Why had the dim blond decided to open his damn flower shop so close to his offices? It wasn’t even like he could bribe Austin to leave, the blond was rolling in money. He could tell that the intern was annoyed with him for saying those things. There was a tight set to Zach’s jawline and he felt very sorry already. He knew Zach wasn’t in love with Austin, he hadn’t looked flustered with the blond at all from what he had seen. He had the air of a person putting up with someone dumb. He also knew that Zach had no intention of going against the contract by asking Austin out. He knew all that, yet he had done h
Zach was confused by the sudden hand holding. Darien came across as a person who didn’t like to be touched and here he was holding his hand.Then he saw the look of complete pain on the billionaire’s face and he softened. Clearly Darien was holding onto him for help. Spicy noodles weren’t something Darien could withstand.He slipped his hand out of Darien’s grip and patted his head.“I’ll get you something cold,” he said. “You can give up now, I’ve clearly won this challenge.”Darien nodded weakly and Zach smiled to himself. He was most likely to be the only person who had ever seen the billionaire in a state as fragile as this.He quickly grabbed the tub of ice cream from the freezer and two spoons. The shop he had visited to get the noodles hadn’t stocked the largest selection of ice cream due to the time of the year so he had just picked the one he expected Darien to despise the l
Darien couldn’t believe that he had the bravery to invite Zach around to his multi million pound house. No one aside from his personal assistant and cleaner had ever been there. He poured himself a glass of milk from the fridge and drank it in one shot. His tongue was still tingling from those demonic noodles and he had only eaten two mouthfuls. How it was considered a fun pastime was beyond him. Maybe he was out of touch with the youth now. He had been so set on becoming the perfect leader of Harper Publishing at 22 that he had tried to be more mature to make business dealings easier. Now he knew he should have appreciated his youthful years more. At least he had managed to have some fun at university before everything had gone downhill. There was also the making out with a stranger at a masked ball two years ago, but he didn’t like to remember that. Darien’s kitchen contained every modern device possible from an airfryer, an instant boiling water ta
Zach was undeniably flattered to know that he was the first person to have an invitation to Darien’s mansion. It made him feel special as he was getting to see even more aspects of Darien’s private life.It was the most special he had felt in his life.Darien walked down the long hallway and turned left at the end. Zach was shown the two reception rooms, dining room, gym, the sun room, the indoor swimming pool and the display room which was full of empty glass cabinets and lifeless white walls.“The idea was to have a place to display anything I might collect. I’m not into antiques or anything like that so it’s stayed unused,” the billionaire explained after seeing his questioning glance at the empty cabinets. “Maybe I’ll start collecting something when I eventually retire.”The tour continued and the kitchen was next. It was everything he could have dreamed of and it of course had a waffle maker stand
He didn’t deserve Zach. He had bound him into a legal contract and had put him under all kinds of restrictions. He also had too much baggage in his life for someone happy and optimistic as Zach. “You’re good at following instructions,” Zach observed. “That always makes for good teamwork.” Darien smiled gently at him. “You’re good at giving orders, that helps a lot.” He carried on eating. Croissants, eggs, cheese and ham shouldn’t go together like that, but they did. Darien had believed from all the fancy food he had grown up eating that he had already experienced a wide range of food. Now he knew that wasn’t true at all. It was nice to try new things with someone else. “I was going to ask if you like it- I can see the answer though,” Zach asked and carried on eating. Darien was already nearly at the end of his second croffle. He tried his salad and beamed at the taste. He could tell why so many people took up cooking as a hobby
Of all the things Darien could have offered him in that moment, Zach would have never guessed that Darien would invite him to stay the night and in such a casual manner. He was the first person to be invited around to his house and now he was the first person to be invited to stay the night. Today was certainly full of surprises. “It’s late,” Darien continued. “I have lots of spare bedrooms and neither of us have work tomorrow. It’s easier for you to stay the night.” The billionaire’s logic was hard to refute. There was definitely no shortage of spare bedrooms on the top floor and the next day was Saturday so it wouldn’t matter that he wasn’t at home. It was just very unexpected. “...Okay,” he said hesitantly. “Are you sure it won’t bother you?” “It certainly won’t,” Darien assured him. “All the spare bedrooms have ensuites and I’m sure there’s amenities in them. I can lend you pyjamas if there’s none in the wardrobe.” Zach was more in