◽️ ADULT ◽️ ROMANTIC COMEDY
~ Sheila Schwartz Amazon/Goodreads reviewer
Excerpt from It’s Not Just Semantics by Mayumi Cruz. Copyright 2021 by Mayumi Cruz. All rights reserved.
His mouth twitched as mischief made a comeback in his eyes. “Really? Can you tell what you sense about…”
She was thankful for the timely interruption of the waiter arriving with his order. She knew where his next question was going, and she didn’t want that. Not if she can help it.
But it seemed Rome sensed her uneasiness and infuriatingly took extreme efforts to intensify it. He took his own sweet time eating his brunch. From sipping his coffee, to slicing the tinapang bangus, to mixing it in with the fried rice and salted egg with diced tomatoes, before putting it into his mouth, chewing the food, then swallowing it down—Alex felt as though she was watching a silent, slow motion movie. And that was just the first course, because he ordered food enough to feed six persons! All the while, he was smiling at her, throwing glances at her from time to time, taunting her. She went back to her phone and fumed silently.
At last, after more than thirty minutes, as he was eating his second dessert, she couldn’t take it anymore. She growled at him, “Can’t you go a little faster?”
He gasped, looking scandalized. “Why, Alex, I didn’t know you like it fast.”
“What?” She gawked. “No, I didn’t mean that!”
“Mean what?” He asked innocently. “So you like it slow, then?”
“No! Not slow, either!”
“Okay,” he gave her a thumbs up, nodding seriously. “Got it. I’ll remember that. Not slow and not fast. Just the right…,” he bit his lip, “…speed.”
She spoke through clenched teeth, “Will you please get your mind out of the gutter?”
“Alex, what in the world are you talking about?” He opened his eyes wide. “I’m talking about eating…,” pausing meaningfully as he put a teaspoonful of strawberry cheesecake in his mouth and chewing it ever so slowly, “my food.”
Suddenly, both their phones rang. They answered at the same time. Gaia was calling Rome, and Gaia’s secretary was calling Alex to tell them the lawyers were already there, waiting for them.
Alex stood up abruptly. “I’ll wait for you outside while you take a quick shower and dress up. I’m taking my car again. I’ll just follow yours to the office.” He didn’t reply, just continued to munch to his heart’s content, his lips curled upwards in a ghost of a knowing smile.
Fuming, she marched out of the restaurant. She had to get out of there before she hurls her phone at him. Inside her car, she sat, reflecting on what happened. She thought they’d found a common ground. Didn’t they just have a bicker-free talk? It seemed for him, dropping sexual hints at her was getting to be an enjoyable activity, her incensed responses to him only serving to amuse him.
Startled, she realized that when they first met, it was Rome who was stoic and humorless, and she was the one cheerful and lighthearted. It seemed it’s the other way around now. Each time they met, he pushed her buttons, deliberately provoking her to react, turning her into a grumpy, sulky creature, so unlike her old jolly self.
Get a grip, Alex. You’re playing into his hands.
She didn’t like it at all. Not one bit.
It was time she regained lost ground.
It was time for her ‘other weapon.’