Takeover Ch. 02


Fia leaves early the next morning. She’s already dressed in a blouse and pencil skirt when she wakes you with a kiss. You turn your mouth away, saying you’ve got morning breath, but she just laughs and turns your head back to kiss you again, properly, her hips hot like the first time she kissed you at your wedding.

“Even with morning breath you taste delicious,” she says. She glances in the dresser mirror and checks her lipstick. “Sorry to race away. I’d love to spend the day just lounging around and showing you more of the mansion, but I’ve called a meeting. You’ll be okay here on your own?”

You nod, but you don’t really feel all that confident.

Fia notices and ruffles your hair. “The place is pretty idiot proof. Just experiment with all the buttons until you work out what they do. There’s a remote on the coffee table that controls everything. Any problems, call the concierge on 131. Oh, and there’s a phone – on the kitchen bench, I think – it’s yours. My private number’s in it, so if you really need to contact me use that. I know you’ll only use it in an emergency. My number’s on the wallscreen as well if you find that easier to use.”

Her watch beeps and she crumples up the tissue she’s been using to adjust her lipstick and tosses it in the bin. She ducks back and kisses you on the forehead. “I’ll be home as soon as I can. Let’s have a romantic dinner on the balcony.”

You insist on seeing her off. She leads you up a small flight of stairs that end in a heavy door that she has to unlock. Amused by the confusion on your face, she says, “Oh, the car’s just for weekend jaunts. I usually take the helicopter to the office.”

Fia opens the door and a fresh morning breeze blows into your faces. She kisses you a final time then leaves you to watch from the doorway as she walks across to the helicopter waiting on the helipad. Turbines whine as the rotor starts its lazy spin and soon the displaced air is blowing into your face, forcing you to push your hair clear of your eyes.

Fia waves to you from the cockpit and mouths something you can’t hear over the noise of the blades now swiftly cutting through the air.

Then the helicopter takes off and in a few moments it’s a dark spot swinging over the glittering blue-gold of the bay.

Feeling bereft, you watch the helicopter until it dwindles from view. You close the door on the exquisite view of the early-morning bay and descend to the living room. Without Fia around, the apartment is as eerily quiet as last night.

The remote is where she said it would be, but it takes you longer to find the phone. You finally find it on the arm of the sofa and flip through the contacts.

There are a lot of names you don’t recognise. Fia’s is there and also the woman she was talking to last night: Elana. She must be a secretary or something like that.

You put the phone on the coffee table and return to the remote. There are no labels next to the buttons, just strange glyphs you can’t understand, but with a little experimenting you soon find you can turn the windows clear and opaque at will, lower a huge screen that’s part of a home theatre, turn the sound system on and also activate the wallscreen.

The wallscreen is on the wall opposite the three with the windows that overlook the bay. It puts your small one at home to shame. You flick your hand in front of it and take it through all its options: videophone, television, internet. You feel too fragile to check your email as you originally intended and instead file through the list of contact profiles.

So that’s what Elana looks like.

Once you’ve learned how everything works, you take a quick shower and then it’s time to explore. The kitchen is the first port of call.

There’s a huge walk-in pantry and a double-doored refrigerator, but both are almost totally bare. The pantry has a lot of instant stuff in it, as does the freezer section of the fridge. You uncover multiple open jars of the same thing: pickles and balsamic vinegar, and you mutter in exasperation at such gross inefficiency.

You sit down and write a shopping list on some Cantarella-themed stationery. There’s a lot to buy. You get back on the wallscreen and place an order with the local supermarket. You’d have liked to have gone shopping in person, but you’ll have time for that later. The rest of the apartment still beckons to be explored.

You find the guest bedrooms, complete with their own en suites, and a study. It’s locked. Probably where Fia keeps all of her important documents. There’s also a small gym and a training room attached to it. Fencing dolls arrayed against the far wall.

Of course. Fia’s an accomplished fencer.

The apartment has three balconies. The largest one is on the upper floor so that it doesn’t obscure the view from the living room, and from the table and chairs and the second mini bar there you decide it must be for entertaining. The second is an intimate little balcony just off from your bedroom with an outside kocaeli escort bench shielded by flower boxes. The third L-shaped balcony on the first floor commands a view of both the bay and the mountains. There’s a small swimming pool attached to it as well as a Jacuzzi and a cottage garden.

You sit down on a rattan chair next to a rosemary bush already in bloom and run your hand through its fragrant branches as you look out across the bay. You soon find what you’re looking for: the Cantarella HQ.

You lie back and wonder what Fia is doing right now. You’ve only known her for a day, but you’re already missing her. So this is what married life must be like, then. Lying back in luxury and missing your wife.

You shake your head and get up. A husband has a lot of duties, after all.

Even though the apartment is clean, it’s very unorganised and you spend your morning sorting out piles of books and linen stacked in strange places. Then the concierge contacts you to say your groceries have arrived. The delivery woman brings them up, boggling at the view while she stacks the bags on the kitchen counter.

After you pack everything away you busy yourself with exploring the kitchen. There are a number of top of the range appliances, some of them still in their original packaging.

It’s obvious Fia seldom cooks. She probably doesn’t have the time.

You put the kitchen through its paces. You bake some cupcakes, the scent sweetening the air when you pull them out to cool before icing them. It’s a cheery, familiar smell, and the apartment feels more like home because of it.

Once you’ve iced the cupcakes, you get to work on deciding a menu for tonight’s dinner. You had a glance at the frozen meals in the freezer before throwing them out and it’s obvious that Fia likes meat.

Well, she is a barracuda after all.

You’ve just put the roast on when there’s a trilling from the living room. It’s the wallscreen. You grab a tea-towel to wipe your hands with and hurry out to pick up the call, expecting it to be Fia.

The face that appears on the wallscreen isn’t her, though. It’s a woman around the same age as Fia who you don’t recognise. When she sees you she arches her eyebrows, her dark eyes going wide, but then a smile flashes into being on her lips, a smile disarmingly sweet. She leans forward to get a closer look at you, pushing aside the lock of glossy black hair that falls across her sharp and fox-like face.

Your heart skips. Whoever she is, she’s very beautiful.

“Please excuse the intrusion,” she says. “Is Fia at home?”

You shake your head. She’s at a meeting, you say. You glance at the tickertape information filing by at the base of the screen.

…Quinn Asakura, Managing Director of Cayetano-Kichijouten Banking Corporation…

Asakura nods. “Ah. That’s why I wasn’t able to reach her at her office, then.” Her eyes flick down and you realise you’re still holding the tea-towel. Her smile deepens. “Doing some cooking? I’m sorry to have dragged you away from it.”

You protest that there’s no need for her to apologise. You had just finished icing your cupcakes when her call came through.

Asakura chuckles. “I had no idea that Fia had hired a personal cook. You seem very young for the position.” Her eyes slide over you. Dressed only in your room clothes you feel almost naked under her gaze. “Very young. But you’re no doubt very good at what you do.”

You stammer that you’re not a cook, really, but Fia’s husband. The woman’s eyebrows fly upwards.

“Ah. I must apologise for my rudeness, then,” she says. “I had no idea Fia was planning on getting married.” She quickly composes herself. “First, my most heartfelt congratulations. I’m Quinn Asakura, but please call me Quinn. I’m a business associate of Fia’s.”

You introduce yourself, stumbling over the words. Quin’s beauty is striking, and the intensity with which she looks at you makes everything you say sound like a lie.

“Well, Fia’s done a good job keeping you under wraps,” Quinn remarks. “I can see why. Jealousy is bad for business, after all. You’re more than adorable.”

You stare down at your feet, mortified by her praise. Quinn laughs and you look back up.

“My, my! I believe I’ve made you blush again. I must apologise. I’ll let you get back to your cooking. But would you let Fia know that I’d very much enjoy hearing from her?” Her eyes glitter as she glances at the tea-towel still in your hands. “And of course I owe you both a wedding gift. Something for the kitchen would not go amiss, yes?”

You say that there’s really no need but Quinn dismisses your protest with the sweep of a hand.

“No, no, no. I insist. And once I’ve decided to do something, there’s no point arguing with me.” She smiles. “Just ask Fia about that.” You see Quinn reach towards her own screen and press it. “I’m sending you an invitation to my next soiree. I suppose Fia might be kocaeli escort bayan annoyed by the imposition, but you really need to come and press the flesh with us. Hopefully you can coax Fia out of her little bubble. For a barracuda she really does enjoy the isolation of an aquarium.” Quinn winks at you and breaks the connection.

The details of the invitation float across the wallscreen and you stand there, staring at them, dumbfounded by your whirlwind introduction to Fia’s world. Then you hear the oven click over and you hurry back to the kitchen.


You sit at the table and look at the time on the fridge’s display.


Fia sent you a message that she was going to be a little late and to expect her at 7.30, so you’d timed the meal to be ready just before then.

Now the duck salmis has gone cold, as have the potatoes Lyonnaise and artichoke puree. You found a large number of bottles of a particular type of beer in the mini bar and you decided that it must be Fia’s favourite, so there’s one sitting beside her meal. The bottle glistens with condensation, too warm to drink. You’ve already swapped numerous warm beers with cold ones, expecting Fia home at any moment, but this time you put the bottle back in the fridge and don’t replace it.

Suddenly, you hear the distant hum of what might be her chopper. You hurry over to the window. There’s a group of lights floating over the darkened bay.


A black shape behind the lights appears and grows larger. Then it swings up overhead and you know it has to be her.

You bounce up the stairs and by the time you’ve worked out how to open the door Fia is on the other side. She’s fumbling for her key card, her hair dishevelled, her eyes dark and tired.

“I’m so sorry,” she says, pecking you on the cheek. “I know I said I’d be back earlier but there was drama in Marketing. I had to fire the Director and there was a bit of unpleasantness. A lot of unpleasantness.” Her eyes flick over you. “You’re a real sight for sore eyes, you know. I’ve been dealing with lawyers in starched shirts all day.”

As you lead her down the stairs she sniffs the air. “Wow, that smells amazing.” When she sees the food itself waiting on the table she stops and rubs at her eyes with the back of a hand. “Damn. You did all this for me?”

You nod. You’re sorry you didn’t get the timing right and that the food’s cold, but you can probably reheat everything.

Fia tosses her briefcase aside and sweeps you up into her powerful arms. Her kiss misses your mouth, your lips merely brushing when you turn away, not expecting it.

Fia makes no further attempt. She hugs you close. “I’m really, really sorry.”

You shake your head. You’re just happy she’s home. It’s true. The apartment had grown dark and cold and lonely without her.

Fia sits down at the table and you bring her a fresh beer. She gratefully twists it open and takes a long drink.

“How d’you know Menabrea’s my favourite?”

The mini bar was full of them, you say.

Fia squeezes her forehead. “Of course. I’m not thinking.”

She moves to carve the bird but you stop her, insisting that you do it. You cut a couple of big slices, serve the sides and then pour the sauce.

She eyes the food predatorily and you tell her not to wait for you. But she shakes her head. “It’s our first real meal together,” she says. “We need to do it properly.”

As you serve your own meal she gets some champagne from the minibar.

“Trento spumante,” she says, peeling the foil from around the cork. “I’ve been leaving this for a special occasion.” She takes your hand in the middle of slicing the duck and makes you help her pump the bottle up and down. The cork bursts out with a pop and foaming champagne floods your hands.

You gasp at the foam dripping onto the floor but Fia just laughs. “Oh, don’t worry about it! I’ll tell the concierge we need the carpet cleaned.” She spills more champagne on the floor intentionally then pours the bubbling liquid into the glasses. “I know you shouldn’t mix champagne and beer, but it’s been a long day. A very long day.” She hands you a glass and you bring them together with a chime of crystal.

Fia takes a sip and shivers in delight. “I’ll make it up to you,” she says. “Getting sucked into my shambles of a life.”

You sit down to your meal. Fia is in high spirits and devours everything. She barely says anything between mouthfuls and seeing her enjoying the food makes you flush with happiness.

You enjoy watching her eat so much that she’s on the point of finishing her plate when you remember the call from Quinn. As soon as you mention her name Fia stops eating and looks at you. She chews the morsel still in her mouth, swallows and says, “What did she say?”

You tell her about the party invitation. Fia rolls her eyes. “I was dreading that. A party, huh?”

You ask Fia if she doesn’t like Quinn. escort kocaeli She snorts. “I don’t have to like her, just do business with her.” She looks you right in the eyes, her face serious. “Don’t accept any more calls from Quinn Asakura.”

You nod then ask whether you’ll be going to the party.

“We have to,” says Quinn with a sigh. “But enough about that woman. Seconds please!” She pushes her empty plate at you.

You fix her seconds and as she digs in you get up to start packing the leftovers away. Fia places a hand on yours. “Just leave it. Let’s go relax outside. Grab the champagne would you?”

She leads you out onto the main balcony and pulls up a couch. Seated together, you gaze out across the glossy bay. The city sparks on the opposite side, spilling its neon light across the water. The view is serenely beautiful.

The champagne starts to go to your head. Fia feels so warm beside you, and over the warm salt scent of the ocean you can smell her. Tired, you rest your head on her shoulder and she places her hand on your knee.

Fia pours herself another glass and freshens yours. “So, tell me all about your day,” she says. When you tell her you spent most of the day tidying stuff up she laughs. “I noticed. You did more than just that, though. You know, I’ve lived here for years, but until tonight it never felt like home. Coming back to you was… well.” She encircles your shoulder with an arm and tousles your hair. “So how do you feel?”

Happy, you tell her. It’s true. You think you’re starting to get used to the idea of being married.

“I’m happy too,” says Fia.

The bottle of champagne is soon finished and Fia goes and gets another one. “Well, I was going to keep it for another important occasion, but this one is so special I think we need to open it.”

This time the foil causes her some trouble, but she eventually struggles it off. She hands you the bottle.

“Your turn to pop the cork,” she says.

Nervous, you hold the neck of the bottle out over the bay and turn your head away as you ease the cork out little by little with your thumb. Fia laughs and grabs hold of the bottle and shakes it wildly. The resultant foamy blast flings the cork out into the darkness.

She overfills both glasses and you sit back down. You wonder out loud whether the cork has hit the ground yet. Fia puts her glass down and turns to you. Her eyes are hot, her smile sultry.

“Can I kiss you?”

Surprised, you nod. She takes the glass from your hands and then she’s kissing you. Her tongue is hot, sticky with champagne. Fia pushes you against the back of the chair, her lips glued to yours as she cups your chin with her hands, her fingers teasing up into the hair behind your ears.

The kiss is voracious. She presses down on you, her body covering yours. All you can smell is her, the scent of her body, the salt of perspiration, the acid of the champagne.

The sudden intensity sets your heart racing. You feel yourself getting stiff. Fia slides her hands down from your face and begins to unbutton your shirt, but she soon gives up on this with a snort of frustration and dips her hands lower.

They’re in between your legs, cupping your hardness. Fia breaks the kiss, drawing your bottom lip between her own lips and mouthing it. “Looks like you’re ready,” she mutters.

She dips her tongue back into your mouth and this time she’s even more aggressive. You struggle, but her tongue stays in your mouth, intent on exploring everywhere. Her hands are pulling your shirt from out of the waist of your pants and her fingernails score across your stomach. It’s hard to breathe.

“C’mon. Let’s get these damn pants off,” she hisses against your lips as she fumbles with your belt.

You start pushing back at her, desperate to breathe, frightened by how quickly everything is happening. Only then does Fia break the kiss, leaving you gasping, chest heaving. She lies back, wiping at her mouth with the back of her hand.

“Jesus,” she mutters, frowning. “I’m sorry. I… Jesus, I was just too worked up.”

You lie there, staring at her, stammering that it’s okay and that you just couldn’t breathe. It’s a lie, though. She did scare you.

Fia shakes her head. Without a word she picks up the champagne and glasses and goes inside. You follow her. She places them in the sink and then sits on the couch and puts her face in her hands.

“I’m such a fuck up,” she mutters. “I promised I’d take things slow with you and then I just…”

You sit down next to her, biting your lip. You’re not sure what to say. You feel worthless for making her feel this way. You should have just let her do whatever she wanted. It’s a husband’s job to keep his woman happy. A husband isn’t just someone to tidy the house and organise the bookshelves and make dinner. It’s his job to support her, and please her as well. And you’ve failed utterly.

You lean over and embrace her. She shivers and moves as if to pull herself away, but then she looks up from her hands. Her eyes are moist.

“I’m so sorry,” she whispers. “I’m under a lot of stress. Things… well, things are a bit hard for me at the moment.”

You hug her tighter and she turns and throws her arms around you.

“Let’s go to bed,” she says. Then she laughs. “For sleep, I mean.”