How to Tame a Dragon Ch. 09bytotallyatease©
She only agreed to do it as a favour to her sister -- but He more than made up for the inconvenience...
Izzy stumbled to a halt at that look on Daniel's face. He looked like he was absolutely furious, and by the way he was looking at her, it was her that he was so angry with!
"Is everything alright Daniel?" she stammered uncertainly.
Richard and Jessie came in before he could reply, but Izzy wasn't sure if he would have said anything any way.
As the afternoon wore on Daniel made sure, that he was never alone with Izzy; and he never spoke directly to her either. Jessie did most of the talking anyway, going on about how it would be good for Izzy to get home for a couple of -- or even a few hours... how much she must be looking forward to being with the family again.
She went on and on about all the things that Izzy must surely be missing by now, and in the end Izzy was heartily sick of the whole thing; and Daniel's look of thunder had finally mellowed into something akin to thoughtfulness.
True he still refused to talk to Izzy directly, and anytime she met his eye she would see nothing but a guarded expression.
There was well and truly a wall between them now, and Izzy had no idea what had caused it. Not knowing what had caused it also meant that she had no idea how to resolve it.
"I hope that you and Izzy are planning on staying to dinner tonight Jessie?" Daniel invited politely.
Before Jessie could accept, Izzy jumped in; "Oh no thank you Daniel," she said hurriedly. "I really wanted to spend this last evening with just Jess..." she shrugged her shoulders and gave a little laugh. "You know -- a girlie evening."
Jessie's look of surprise turned to one of nostalgia. "Gosh its ages since we've done anything like that..."
Izzy took that as an agreement to her suggestion, and leaped up to leave.
Daniel escorted Izzy to the door, presumably to give Jessie and Richard a moment of privacy.
"Goodnight Daniel," she said softly.
"Goodnight Izzy," Daniel said evenly, making no move to detain her when she stepped outside.
Izzy squared her shoulders and forced herself to walk calmly down the drive, she resisted the almost overwhelming urge to look back and see if Daniel was stood there watching her. She could almost feel his eyes boring into her back as she neared her little home.
She unlocked her door and, since the need to see became too strong to fight, she turned around...
He stood at his door -- she could see him silhouetted against the inside light. Her eyes filled with tears as she stepped inside leaving the door open for Jess.
"Pull yourself together!" she muttered savagely to herself. She knew that the first sign of weakness and Jessie would be all over her.
"Izzy? Izz I'm back where are you?" Jessie called as she slammed the front door minutes later.
Izzy squared her shoulders and forced her grin as she turned from the kitchen sink to face her sister.
"So what do you fancy for dinner?"
Together they cooked a curry with rice and a few finely chopped mixed veg. Just as the rice was boiling nicely Jessie suddenly asked; "Have you got any wine here?"
"No, I haven't," Izzy apologised. "I don't drink during the week, and I never did like drinking alone..."
"No worries," Jessie grinned taking out her phone. "Richard!" she exclaimed cheerfully, "we've a slight emergency over here... We don't have any wine to drink with our dinner, and a girlie night absolutely must have wine!" She waited for a moment. "Excellent! Tell Daniel, that he's my hero... White of course... See you in a minute." She closed her phone again and sighed. "I have such a wonderful fiancé," she said dreamily.
"Richard is wonderful... and Daniel is your hero?" Izzy asked dryly. "Can I take it that between them, that we may get a bottle of wine?"
A moment later there was a knock at the front door and Izzy went to open it.
"I'd say ho ho ho, but it's a bit early in the year for that just yet!" Richard grinned as he held out two bottles of wine.
"I'd forgive you just this once!" Izzy laughed as she took the bottles from him.
From the living room there was suddenly the sound of loud music playing, and both Richard and Izzy rolled their eyes.
"It looks like you two are going to be having a party here tonight," Richard laughed.
"Yes, whether I want one or not," she sighed.
Their evening went from strength to strength after that. Jessie was on a real high, even before the wine; and Jessie in that kind of mood was impossible to resist.
They ate their dinner and washed their dishes. Then they retired to the living room where the first bottle of wine disappeared very quickly.
The girls were more than a little drunk and just starting on the second bottle when there was a loud thumping on the front door.
"I'll get it Izz!" Jessie called over the music as she went to answer the door.
A moment later she returned with a grinning Richard... and Daniel.
"The fella's were feeling a bit lonesome over there," Jessie said, "So they decided to come and visit with us!"
"And look, we've come bearing gifts," Richard said holding out a couple more bottles and some party snacks.
"Oh do come in the both of you... You are most welcome," Izzy slurred slightly, and Daniel bit back a grin. Izzy drunk could well be the redemption of a rotten day for him!
Izzy woke the next morning with a really thick head, and a terribly churning stomach.
She looked with bleary eyes around her bedroom, trying to remember how she had gotten there. She was undressed right down to her underwear... and she couldn't remember how that had happened either.
She lay back and turned to see a tall glass of water by her bed side, and sat up to drink thirstily from it. As she sat there, her memories of the night before started to resurface...
Her face flamed as she remembered Daniel leading her up to her bedroom.
She had flirted with him terribly... and some of the suggestions that she had made to him!
Her face went from red, to white, to a slightly greenish colour. She threw the covers back and scrambled for the bathroom.
After being horribly sick, she washed her face with cold water, and brushed her teeth using plenty of toothpaste. She opened the bathroom door and stepped onto her landing to find Daniel at the top of her stairs holding a glass of what looked like orange juice.
"Good morning Izzy," Daniel said, not looking at her -- after his first all seeing glance.
"Good morning Daniel... What are you still doing here? Is that for me?" she croaked.
"Why don't you go and get back into bed, and I'll bring it in to you?" Daniel asked still not looking at her.
Izzy frowned. "I don't need to go back to bed Daniel."
He gave an exasperated sigh, before looking at her defiantly.
"After some of the propositions you made to me last night Izzy... it really is not a good idea for you to be standing there -- half naked."
Izzy looked down in panic, as she remembered that her scramble for the bathroom had not involved grabbing any clothes. She was stood in front of Daniel in some lacy briefs and a matching lacy bra... and nothing else!
She shot him a look of pure horror and humiliation, before fleeing to her bedroom.
"I'll leave your orange out here on the landing then -- shall I?" Daniel called through the door.
"Yes please," she mumbled.
He gave a wicked little grin before going down the stairs whistling.
When Izzy went down to the kitchen half an hour later, she was feeling a little more composed.
She could hear Daniel whistling in her kitchen, and scowled. What did he have to be so cheerful about? She wondered irritably.
"What happened to Richard and Jess?" she asked as she marched defiantly into the kitchen.
"Richard needed to get back to London -- for work, and so he managed to drag Jessie off at some ungodly hour this morning." He gave a little smirk.
Izzy couldn't help but smile at the thought of Jessie with a hangover, and being dragged out of bed in the early hours. She would not have been impressed!
"Poor Richard!" she murmured softly.
Daniel laughed but cut it short as Izzy winced at the sudden noise.
"Sorry," he lowered his voice dramatically.
He handed her a plate with a fried breakfast on it.
"Try and eat this," he advised. "It'll line your stomach, and hopefully it'll make you feel a little bit better."
Izzy pulled a little face but obediently started to eat. "You're a very good cook," she observed in surprise.
Daniel gave a little quiet laugh. "Not really. That's why I have Mrs. Coats... but I can manage to knock out a fry up, when one is required."
"Lucky me," Izzy murmured as she tucked in.
He placed a mug of coffee next to her and sat opposite, to sip at his own.
Izzy cleaned her plate and sat back with a contented sigh.
"Feeling better?" he asked softly.
"Much... thanks to you," she smiled briefly as she put her plate in the sink and rejoined him at the table. She sipped at the hot coffee before cupping her hands around the mug.
Daniel sat nursing his own mug. "So Izzy..." he said looking down at his coffee. "Some of those things that you said to me last night..." he glanced up at her burning face. "Ah, so you do remember then," he said softly.
"I'd had too much to drink!" she began defensively. "I only remember little bits, and then I'm not sure how accurate they are..." She frowned slightly as memories popped back into her head. Surely she would never have said those things to Daniel? She looked at him in confusion. "Please tell me that I didn't proposition you last night!" she begged.
He gave her a mocking little smile and she felt the colour heating her cheeks again.
"I could tell you that..." he began filling her with relief. "But I'd be lying." He grinned again.
Izzy could feel the embarrassment rising in her.
"It's all confused!" she almost wailed. "Please tell me what happened last night."
Daniel gave a little sigh and looked her in the eye. "Like you said you made a couple of propositions, when I helped you up stairs, you got a bit enthusiastic at times... but nothing too bad..."
"And did you take me up on any of them?" she knew she shouldn't need to ask but she needed to know for sure.
Daniel's eyes narrowed in offence. "No I did not," he said quietly.
"Then how did I end up without any clothes on?" she cried.
"You passed out on your bed and I made you a little more comfortable."
"You undressed me?" she clarified.
"A little... yes," he admitted calmly.
"And you weren't even tempted to take me up on my little offer?" She was awful she knew, but she couldn't help herself.
"Tempted... yes," he admitted with a single nod of his head. "But I didn't Izzy."
"Why?" she cried in offence.
He gave another little sigh at her lack of understanding. "Like you said Izzy, you'd had too much to drink." He rose from the table and leaned across to her so that they were almost nose to nose. "But don't ever make the mistake of thinking that I wasn't tempted. Because I was Izzy, I was very tempted."
He walked over to the kitchen door. "By the way I'm going away for a few days, so please come up to the main house whenever you want. Borrow any books you might want to read, and I'm sure that Rosie and Mrs. Coats would love to see you. And I've some more paperwork needs sorting in my office... when you have the time." He glanced at his watch. "I'll pick you up at five thirty on Saturday, Izzy," he said quietly.
She sat in shock as he turned and left her house. She'd not even said goodbye! He'd not even said goodbye!
The tears trickled down her cheeks
She didn't know what had happened between her and Daniel, but despite his care of her, and even his teasing, there was some sort of barrier between them that she didn't understand. And now he was leaving, going away without even talking to her about it.
She stood up and giving a huge sniff she squared her shoulders and prepared herself for her Monday morning visits.
She plodded despondently through the beginning of her week. Each day was a day to be got through, with no hope of even a glance of Daniel. The huge house seemed empty and forlorn without its master. Once Mrs. Coats and Rosie left in the evening it was left locked and deserted. Brooding over her tiny home... ironically a bit like how Daniel seemed to brood over her!
She saved her visit to Mrs. Coats and Rosie until last on Thursday morning. "I'm all done for this week." She told Mrs Coats with a grin. "So once I've finished Daniel's paperwork, I can stop for a natter... if you've got the time to spare?"
"Indeed we have Miss Izzy," Mrs. Coats smiled. "With Mr Daniel away all week, there's been very little to do."
The two of them walked through to Daniel's office and Izzy could see the small pile of paperwork to be sorted. "Oh this isn't too bad!" she said with satisfaction. "I think an hour at the most."
"That will be just in time for lunch," Mrs. Coats smiled. "You come back to the kitchen when you're finished and we'll all eat together."
Mrs. Coats left her in peace and Izzy rolled up her sleeves and settled down to work.
Lunch with Mrs. Coats and Rosie was the most socialising that she'd done this week, and she thoroughly enjoyed their company, and of course the excellent food which Mrs. Coats produced for them.
She left them feeling in higher spirits than she had felt all week, and went back to her little home; where she started to do her weekly clean up.
She knew that she was being foolish doing it too soon and that she would be feeling thoroughly bored come tomorrow, but she was just so restless. She decided the she would go into the nearest city in the morning; there was a local train station, within walking distance and she would hop on one of the trains... and see where it took her.
She ended up in York of all places, and the minute she left the train station she went hunting for something pretty to wear for Jessie's party. She would have loved to have gone for something stunning so that she could surprise Daniel, but unfortunately Izzy just couldn't pull off stunning.
She did manage to find something a little daring though. She opted for a long black skirt that flared out and sparkled delightfully, with its silver threads running through it. And she went for a deep blue bask style top that, left her shoulders bare, and gave her a wonderful cleavage... and cried out for a pretty necklace -- and some dangling earrings.
She dug out her one and only pair of stilettos and by the time she was ready on the Saturday night, she felt quite sexy.
Daniel knocked on her door at five thirty on the dot and she had to force herself to slow down, and not run to the door.
"Good evening Daniel," she managed calmly, although her eyes were sparkling with excitement, and her cheeks flushed.
"Ready Izzy?" Daniel's eyes ran over her quickly, and a wing of colour ran briefly across his cheeks.
That was the only reaction she got, and her excitement died a death.
"Of course... I'll just get my bag, and jacket and then I'll be right with you," she told him quietly.
By the time she had locked up, Daniel was sitting in his Aston Martin, waiting impatiently for her. She scrambled into the passenger seat, and clipped her seat belt into place, and without a word they were off.
They managed to complete almost all, of the two hour long journey, without saying a single word to each other. The final bit of the trip was the only time that she was encouraged to speak, and then only to give him directions.
They pulled up outside a hotel come restaurant and Izzy climbed out of the little car with a sigh of relief.
She hesitated at the entrance to look up uncertainly into Daniel's solemn face.
"Do I look alright?" she whispered doubtfully.
Daniel's eyes flickered over her and darkened. "You look beautiful Izzy, stunning even... I'm sure that Robert will love the outfit."
"Robert?" Izzy's mouth fell open in shock.
"Cousin Andrew's friend -- Robert," he prompted dryly.
"Robert!" Izzy demanded incredulously.
Daniel scowled down at her in confusion. "The love of your life -- according to some people," he told her.
"When I was ten maybe..." She laughed ruefully. "By the time I reached fourteen, I recognised him for the thoughtless, egotistical fool that he was."
"Maybe he's changed?" Daniel offered helpfully.
Izzy frowned. "I doubt that."
He held out his arm for her to take. "So shall we go inside then Izzy?" he invited softly.
Her eyes shone and she positively glowed as she smiled up at him. "Yes please Daniel."
As they entered the hotel reception, Daniel led her over to a small group of people. "Izzy... I'd like to introduce you to my parents -- Melanie and Stephen Harker." He grinned down at her briefly, before turning to the couple now smiling at her curiously. "Mum and dad meet Izzy, Jessie's younger sister."
The couple greeted her in a friendly manner, as they shook her hand and said hello. She could see that they were still wondering about the connection between Daniel and herself.
Before they could start any meaningful conversation however, Jessie and Richard joined them, and Izzy was able to retreat a little into the back ground.
"Why little Izzy! How you have grown up!" Izzy would have known that slimy voice anywhere, as she turned to greet Robert.
"How are you Robert?" she asked him calmly.
"I knew that you would remember me!" he crowed.
"You can only learn from mistakes, if you do remember them," she murmured softly.
Daniel standing just behind her; was the only one to hear her quiet voice, and he gave a little grin of approval. One glance at Robert; and all threats from that department had died a quick death. If Jessie truly believed that Izzy could ever be interested in a man like that, then she really had no idea at all about her little sister.
There were several tables arranged for groups of people to sit down and dine. Daniel hoped to sit next to Izzy at the main table but he found himself next to Jessie on one side and Jessie's mum on the other. Izzy was down the other end next to Daniel's father -- and much to her annoyance -- Robert.
As the first course was handed out Daniel found himself talking to Izzy's mum. She was a gentle little soul who was very chatty. Daniel couldn't decide who was more like her... one moment she would be chatting, ten to the dozen like Jessie; and the next she would look at him with Izzy's candid blue eyes.
"I think that you've stolen my daughter away from me," she suddenly told him accusingly.
Daniel wasn't sure what response to give to that remark, and so remained silent.
"You know that she was very sick last year, don't you?" she asked instead.
"Something about flu?" he nodded in remembrance.
"Followed by pneumonia," Mrs. Parkinson told him a little mistily. "The doctor warned us..." she broke off to wipe at her eyes discreetly. "Well, we were advised to gather the family and say our goodbyes," she finished softly. "He didn't think she would make it to the morning."
Daniel looked down at Izzy, who was doing her best to ignore the annoying Robert by talking earnestly to Daniel's father. She was so lovely! No wonder her family loved her so much. And now he realised that he may never even have known her at all!
"So please don't hurt her!" he heard the soft plea from Izzy's mother.
He desperately wanted to reassure the little lady, but he knew that it would be a lie at this moment.
Izzy belonged here with her family and friends. In persuading her to remain at his home he had not given any thought to what she would be giving up. He was amazed that she had even considered his cold impersonal proposal to her... and yet she had, and she had remained close to him, and he had thought that she was happy with him...