Thankfully he's the first to break the eye contact but that doesn't mean his eyes left me. I watch reservedly as his eyes take in my appearance, my arms over each other above my chest self-consciously as I give him a bored look to which has the corners of his lips lifting into an amused smirk. Biting the insides of my cheek to stop the butterflies fluttering in my stomach, I force myself to return the eye stripping favour as I take in his clothes.
His slim fit suit consists of a pair of clean pressed blue-black coloured suit pants, a crisp white long-sleeved shirt with silver cufflinks that peek out from the sleeves of his suit jacket which is the same colour as his pants. On his feet, he wears a pair of black, gentleman's Oxford shoes. The look gives him a formal yet intimidating vibe that makes my get-up seem almost angelic.
”Let me guess, you must be Lucinda's boss,” I drone out lazily, my heart pounding a mile a minute in my chest as he lifts his eyes meet mine once more. "May I know the name of the man who so graciously had me picked and prodded at for a photoshoot?"
"Draven Stryker," He responds in a humourous-mocking kind of tone unlike his voice however his grey eyes show next to no emotion. "Picked and prodded, Ms Owens? Isn't that an odd way to describe being pampered."
How does he know my name?
Gritting my teeth at his insult, I ground out pathetically, "If about twenty different strangers pulling you in thirty over directions is called paper then I think you need to buy yourself a dictionary to find out what the perm 'papered' means. Another thing I'd like to know is why was I, being in your very artfully chosen words, papered in the first place?"
"I assume you have plenty of questions as to why you are here," Stryker smirks at my are-you-serious face as his Oxfords click smartly against the wood of the floor as he walks towards a corner of the studio where I hadn't noticed earlier has a sheer white curtain draped slightly over a chair with a large white light focused on it. "However, I'd like to have a trial picture of you taken before I offer the job to you."
Scrunching my nose up at his words, I reply straightforwardly, "You must be barking mad to think I'm going to allow you to take my picture just because you say so and to be frank I'm not even interested in whatever job offer you have for me."
With that, I turn on my heels to leave the room but his voice stops me short of pushing down on the locked handle of the door, "Three million dollars."
Tightly clenching my fists as I lower my hand from reaching out to the door handle, I turn around to face him with pure confusion written all over my face as I ask questioningly, "What?"
"Three million for the photos," Stryker replies nonchalantly as though he's explaining to a child why one plus one is two. "However, I request you do a trial photo right now."
For a moment, I'm stunned to silence as I stare at him, trying to see the subsequent motive to all of this. It takes me a while which in itself is unusual but I can't seem to think a single covert motive that fits why he would pay me three million just to sell me away later on. It just doesn't make any sense.
Sadly for him, however, I'm not the kind of girl to be bought over by money.
"No thank you, Mr Stryker," I grit out, focusing my eyes on his face as I somehow manage to keep my voice steady. Turning my back to him, I press down shakily on the handle twice before realising that it's still locked. "Please unlock the door."
The minutes tick by heavily as Stryker does nothing to do as I've asked and my patience with him begins to wear thin for that. Clenching my fists tightly by my sides to keep my hands from trembling in fear, my nails though short dig painfully into my flesh, sending small waves of pain to combat the rushing adrenaline in my blood system, I turn around to face him.
"How about just one photo," He finally says after a moments pause as he takes in my facial expression. "What harm will it do to you?"
The world of harm, Stryker, I mentally answer him, softening my glare a little as I try to reason with myself that though I may not be recording anything right now, this might be my only chance to ensure we have a second meeting where hopefully, I'll be more prepared.
As expected, the logical side of me manages to win over my emotional side. Taking my lower lip into my mouth as a nervous reaction to what I'm about to do, I give him a small, almost non-existent nod.
"Royce!" Stryker calls out loudly, making me jump sky high and I nearly get pushed to the floor as the door that I was previously trying to open, opens to reveal a robust, tall, black-haired attractive man in a loose white T-shirt and a pair of ripped jeans. "We're ready."
The man called Royce beams widely as he enters the studio while gently pushing me in Stryker's direction. Stuttering out wordless protests as he pushes me onto the chair next to Stryker. I freeze like a deer caught in headlights when I feel a warm, long-fingered hand rest itself on my upper back that is covered by the sheer fabric that gives the dress its illusion neckline.
Looking up at the hand's owner, my eyes bug out when I see Stryker looking back down at me, heat rushes to my cheeks under the light makeup and as hi face nears mine such that I'm breathing int he air he breathes out, I lose myself in his dark brown orbs that hold worlds of darkness and mystery. My lips part slowly as I suck in a breath of air as for once in my life, I don't know what to do about this situation.