"Good evening, Ms. Rosecraft, " I heard a man's voice say. It is familiar, but because it is through the phone, I can't discern from who it came from.
"Who is this?" I said, hoping it isn't a prank call.
Oh goodness. My heart actually leaped in response.
"Oh hi!" I said, quite dumbstruck that it is him. "You...have my phone number?"
"Yes, " was his only reply. In the background, I can hear a soft jazz music playing and the sound of billiard balls hitting each other.
"May I know from whom or where you got it?"
I heard him chuckle then. For some reason, I have a feeling that he had our conversation in a speaker. "Would you get angry if I tell you I researched it in your curriculum vitae?"
"Uh, no, " I answered, "that won't make me angry, but that will give me chills. You have some potential to become a stalker."
I heard him laugh then, the same hearty one in the backstage last night. "You're hilarious, Daniella. I like you."
Okayyy. I am not going to think of the word 'like' as something else other than for friendly purposes.
I gulped hard and decided to go straight to the point. "Soooo, what's up? Why are you calling this late an hour?"
"When are you returning to New York?" he asked directly.
"Uhm... tomorrow afternoon, why?"
"I'm just wondering if I can collect your debt to me now."
"Huh? As in this moment?" I was taken aback. It just sounds weird to hear him say that.
"No no, " he quickly disagreed, "Tomorrow morning, at 10 o'clock. What you are going to do is to pose as a life model for my painting session for just 3 hours."
I leaned against the lamppost, hooking my free hand in my shoulder. There were people passing me, minding their own business as I did mine.
"A model?" I said after my brain ingested the information. "If you don't mind, can I ask where your original model is? I assume you have one."
"Yes, I have, but she backed out because of a family emergency she needed to take care of."
"And you think that I'll be fit to become a model?"
I don't have a low self-esteem. I am confident with my appearance and many even tell me I am a charming gal. I just don't think that I am fit to become an art model.
"Yes, of course, " he said immediately. No hint of reservation whatsoever. "So are you in?"
"Am I going to be nude? Because I will certainly not agree."
I heard him chuckle again. "No, you just wear whatever you want to wear. Our session tomorrow is all about facial angles and light tones, so I only need your face basically for the club members to paint."
Club members... My mind spelled out. Will the president join too? I wanted to ask that one, but refrained, for I still have a suspicion that I am in loud speaker. Also, I don't want Vincent to think that I have some unanswered issues with Erik, and by saying unanswered issues, I meant his declaration of revenge on me.
"Wow, it sounds amazing already, " I answered him even though a chill ran up my spine after remembering Erik's words on my ear.
"I'll see you tomorrow then?" he said.
I nodded although he can't see me. "Sure."
"I'll just text you the place. Don't worry, the class will only be held within the chateau."
That sounds acceptable. I of course don't want to leave the chateau for hours when I know that I'll have my flight soon.
"That's sounds good then, " I said hoping to hang the phone up. I bet Ericka and others are already wondering why I'm taking too much time.
"Wait, are you in a night club?" Vincent suddenly asked that. I could sense an bit of alarm in his voice.
"Yes, my team and I are in a club called Lotus Spade. Have you visited here? The place is amazing!"
I heard a faint disappointed groan then. I'm not sure if its from him, but it sounded a bit gloomy. I don't think that prince charmings can produce that kind of unfavorable sound at all.
"You should get out of that place now, " was his sudden command. I creased my brows and pressed my lips together.
"Woah, don't sound like a parent now Vincent."
"No, I'm serious, Daniella. You should get out of that night club now. It's not safe."
Now, the tune of his voice turned grave. It almost sounded like Erik in his bossy self.
I heaved a deep breath. I have no intention of giving him a sarcastic comeback as I treated him as a good friend, but still, I don't want to be ordered without any justifiable reason.
"We are having fun here Mr. Vice President and I don't want to become a killjoy on my friends, " I clipped, "Tell me... why should I do what you ask?"
I heard a scratching, thumping sound then. Next, a button pressed and thereafter, a voice of a man I never would have expected to hear.
"Because if you won't, I'll come and get your sexy ass out of there, " Erik Romano 'the asshole devil' Fancii threatened.
"Erik?!" I shouted in panic. After realizing that I actually said his first name, I immediately covered my mouth.
"Ahh, I mean...ah Mr. President?!"
"Daniella, " he drawled. Dammit I could actually visualize his stern face looming above me. "One warning is enough. I don't think you are too dumb to be told over and over again."
Even though I know he can't see me, I stood my ground and squared my shoulders. "I don't have time for an argument with you Mr. Pre.si.dent."
"Then just get the hell out of there, " he ordered again.
I pressed my lips tightly. Finally, my suppressed irritation towards him has boiled up again.
"You know what you pompous ass, I will not leave just because you command me to. My friends and I are having fun here. You are not my boss. You are not my mother or my father, and certainly not my boyfriend, so you don't have the right to command me just like that."
There, I hope my words pass in that thick head of his.
"Good night, Mr. President."
I hung up the phone not waiting for his reply. I had to, because if I don't I am pretty sure he would release an apocalypse of words again. Tonight is mine and my team's night for a celebration party. I don't want it destroyed just because of some overbearing man who wants all of his commands granted.
The words 'not safe' did linger in my mind though. What could possibly be in Lotus Spade that both Vincent and Erik worry so much? Is it the drunkenness of its customers? Or the prostitutes clearly visible in a corner? Or just because they think that we are too young to party in a high class club?
After collecting cool air in my lungs, I successfully tuned out the negative vibes I had because of Erik's phone call interruption. I went back inside with the hopes that nothing will ruin this night anymore.