THERE IS NO MEANING IN THIS LIFE BUT LOVE
But who could predict that Leon would decide to repair the burnt bridge between their relations? He left the party not long after Claire had gone. He headed to the garage in a quick pace, not paying attention to Ark's questions. Leon acknowledged his dreadful mistake. He didn't understand what got into him! Why did he have to shower abuses up on Claire when it was those lustful politicians, who were staring at her in appropriate way? And not only staring! Leon heard some whispers among them in which they were freely discussing their perverted fantasies about her. It made him lose control of his emotions and his mind dimmed with rage. But her slap sobered him up at one, while her tears made him realize what he had really done. Leon hated himself right now. He was such a bastard for telling her all those terrible things! He longed to beg Claire for forgiveness. It was not her fault that she was born so beautiful and desired. Lots of men were losing their heads from her beauty and it made them go over the limits. And he wasn't an exception himself.
Leon sat in his expensive sport-car and took out his cell-phone. He needed to find Claire and tell her that he didn't mean what he had said to her. He put on the search of her whereabouts through a satellite and when he found out where she was, his jaw dropped to the floor. She was 70 km away from the city. It was beyond his understanding how fast she could get there. She had left just half an hour ago! Leon calculated in his mind the speed of her riding and slapped his face in astonishment. 140 km/h!
He had to find her as soon as possible before anything happened to that extreme girl!
He drove to the very place the satellite was showing Claire's whereabouts. But he didn't see anything but a desert highway. It was getting colder outside and it seemed that the rain would start any minute. Leon got out from his sporty Mercedes, looked around once again, but there was still not a single trace of Claire and her vehicle. He tried to imagine where she could be and a bright idea crossed his brilliant mind. It could be possible that Claire had pulled of the road. He found fresh tracks on the asphalt and noted that they belonged to a motorbike. Kennedy followed in the tracks until he found who he was searching for. Claire was lying on the cold grass not far from her beloved motorbike. She was dressed too light for October's weather. Leon bent down and traced a line down her cheek with his fingers. Her skin was as cold as ice. The young man got scared for her wellbeing. She could catch a cold or get pneumonia if she stayed lying like that. He decided not to wake her up but take her to his car and warm her frozen body.
Leon took her almost weightless body in his arms and carried her to his parked car. Her head was lying on his shoulder while her forehead was pressing to his neck. He could clearly feel her warm breath on his skin and it made him shiver in delight. Kennedy brushed his possessive thoughts away and pressed the girl's body tighter to his chest. Her safety was more important than his pleasant sensations right now.
The rain started to pour like it hadn't done it in years. Millions of cold and fat droplets of water fell on young people from above, making Claire stir in her sleep and open her eyes. It took her some moments before she realized that she was in Leon's arms. Judging by her confused impression she didn't expect to see him.
Leon kept his poker face in place and kept on carrying her back to the highway, where his car was waiting.
"Let me go!" she announced proudly in a low voice.
"I don't have it in my plans," Kennedy answered quietly. "You are freezing and you have to get warm."
"It's none of your concern," she narrowed her eyes angrily and started to tear herself from his embrace.
Leon put her down beside his car. She turned on her heels furiously and was about to go to her motorbike but he didn't let her do it. Leon caught her wrist with a sonic speed, pulled her to him jerkily and crushed his lips on her slightly opened mouth in a fierce and passionate kiss. Claire didn't get a chance to react or even understand how her back had been already pressed down against a hot hood of the car. Leon leaned all his weight upon her body, never giving her any chance to break free. He grasped both her hands and pinned them above her head with his left hand, while his right one was holding her chin so that she wouldn't shake her head.
Claire tried to kick him with her legs, but he was smart enough to stand beside her while doing his dirty tricks. The more she struggled for her freedom, the more passionate and wild his kiss was getting. Never in her whole life did someone dare to kiss her like that! She didn't even know that such kind of a kiss existed in the world. She had had some kisses in her experience, but all of them were clumsy and false.
But to her great horror her body started to answer that bestial kiss, forgetting that her partner was the man who had hurt her with his accusations not so long ago. Suddenly her mind showed her an image of Ada Wong kissing Leon. It pained Claire even harder than those words he told her that evening. Maybe he kissed that spy the very same way he was kissing her right now. She didn't want to be just another random lover to him.
Claire fell in love with him from their first encounter in Racoon City. But she knew that he didn't love her and there was nothing to expect from him. Lots of men wanted to drag her in their beds, but she had always turned down their perverted offers because she didn't love any of those men. She was sure that they didn't feel anything similar to those light and wonderful feelings towards her either.
She wasn't just a doll for fun, and she wouldn't let anyone use her to fulfill their barbarian needs and desires. So she summoned all her common sense and bit Leon's tongue when he wanted to deepen his forceful kiss. It was hard to break the kiss, the very kiss she was dreaming about, but right now she didn't want it. She was angry with him and he was just making fun of her by taking advantage of her.
Leon yelped from an unexpected pain in his tongue and tore his mouth away from hers, throwing a disapproval gaze at the girl.
"Let me go!" she cried in his face breathing hard due to the lack of oxygen. "Are you nuts? How I suppose to get it?" Claire thought that she would manage to escape his tight grip by biting him at the most suitable moment, but she failed. He was too strong, too dominant to break free, and his hold didn't get any weaker after her unforeseen attack.
"I am not crazy, Claire. And I won't let you go neither this time not any other," he said powerfully, tightening his grasp on her chin, so that she would look straight into his eyes. "It's time to cut the slack down, dear".
"I don't want to hear you, Leon. It won't change anything. You have already told me everything you think of me. So, let me go or I'll scream". She tried to struggle. Oh, Heavens, she tried hard to free her wrists from his iron grip, but why did he have to be so persistent and strong? She had never imagined that her own body would lose to his as she had always thought that she was strong enough to stand against any man. But, it seemed, that Leon Kennedy wasn't just any other man. He had some power over her and he knew it. Yet she refused to give up so easily.
"Yeah? Okay, you may start. I will gladly listen to your screaming, but remember that there is no one around to help you. So what are you going to do: let me explain everything or just waste your voice for nothing?" Leon demanded, looking straight into her eyes. Her face was flushed, her gaze was shooting lightning, while rage could be clearly noticed in her mirrors of soul, but he didn't fear. After all, he was a super governmental agent and he faced lots of situations which were a lot more dangerous than her death glare.
She didn't say anything just clenched her teeth in anger and sent him the most disgustful gaze she could master.
"So you chose the first variant," Leon uttered as a matter of fact. "Very well. Now you're going to listen to my every word and I won't let go off you until I finish what I am going to say."
He received her constrained hiss in response.
"I'm here to take back what's mine," Kennedy held his gaze on her firmly, but she just smirked in return and said:
"Then take your stupid car and get lost from my sight, rookie!"
Her words stung him to the quick, but he fully comprehended that it was her offence speaking, not Claire. And he was the one who caused that offence to rise in her heart.
"Just hush and keep it up now," determination could be clearly heard in his voice, as he tightened his grip on her wrists. "I have never been as serious as I am now in my whole life!"
Claire got silent. For a moment, she regretted that she had said those words. He was indeed serious, even she had never seen him so concentrated and tensed as he was now.
Leon took a deep breath before he started:
"I saw the light in your eyes when we first met back in Racoon City. And even if the situation we faced that night didn't give me time to think properly, deep inside I knew that you were one of a kind. I made a mistake by letting you go all alone. It was the worst mistake in my life and even now I keep scolding myself for losing you there. I lost you, Claire. And it's my entire fault that I still keep losing you every time we meet. Today is just like another case. I saw you among those politicians. They were so hungry for your company while you were shining like a diamond around their dull figures. I do admit, it made me jealous!" his voice raised and he gritted his teeth, as he pressed his body tighter to her soft chest. "And I am still jealous because I know that every man is dreaming to possess you! Even my best friend! He has told me today about the way he sees you. I couldn't take it anymore. Every male dares to look at you as if you are some toy for fun! But I don't think the same way as the others! I am not one of them, because I know you, Claire. From the very first time we met, I still can't get you out of my mind. You came to me from all four sides at the same time. Unexpectedly and inevitably you entered my life, my mind and then spread down my veins. So, when I see anyone who has that hunger in their eyes when they look at you, all I want is to punch that person and tell him to keep his hands and all his dirty fantasies to himself!"
Leon fell silent for a moment. He was searching the answer in her eyes. What was she thinking right now? Did she believe his declarations? Or maybe she was listening to him only to win her lost freedom back? To his terror, Leon noticed that his fingers bore into her soft skin like claws of some wild animal. He loosened his grip on her wrists and shifted his hands to her shoulders, cursing himself for hurting the dearest person to his heart. He just wanted her to believe him so badly, that he didn't even realize that he gripped her fragile body like the last straw.
She didn't say anything to his great disappointment, but also he didn't notice those negative emotions towards him she had in her eyes before. She didn't start her struggling again either. So, maybe she was giving him the last chance?
"I beg you, Claire. Forgive me for what I've said at the party. It's not your fault that all men admire you. It's me who is to blame for not protecting you from them. I was blinded with jealousy and couldn't think straight. I realized that I offended you deeply only after you left. I am so sorry for making you hear those harsh words. I wasn't myself back then."
"You were acting as if I were your wife who tried to deceive you," finally her voice broke through, making him tense. Claire was looking at him calmly yet firmly. There was no offence in her beautiful eyes, but he didn't see any signs of warmth in them either. "And you know that I am not," she concluded in a stern voice. "You didn't have any right to judge me, Leon".
"I agree. I'm guilty towards you and I'm the only one to blame for not telling you about how I feel earlier."
He looked at her apologetically; his grip loosened on her shoulders as he shifted his arms to circle them around her body in a tender embrace. The girl let him put her in a standing position again.
"I love you, Claire. There is no need to keep it a secret from you anymore. I made a lot of mistakes in my life and yet I kept on living, but losing you is equivalent to death. All I regret is that it took too much time for me to realize that my life has no meaning if there are no you by my side".
"So what are you going to do now, Leon Scott Kennedy? Did you think that finding out about your hidden feelings I would jump in happiness? You said right that it took too much time for you to open your secrets".
If only someone could know how hard it was to tell him those words. His sudden confession made her dizzy, she felt like she was suffocating from a whirlpool of emotions that shot up in her stomach. After all, she had been longing to hear his confession for a very long time, but she had never imagined that this day would ever come or he would tell her about his feelings after they had a fight. It wasn't in her scenario of a perfect love story.
"I can't dare to think that you will return my feelings. Even if you don't forgive me, I want you to know that you are too precious to me and I can't let myself lose you again. I caused too much pain to you with my indifference and I still can't understand why I was such a fool. You have all rights to slap me, kick me or beat me up to death for what I have done".
She knew he was sincere with his words. She sensed that he regretted everything he said to her at the party. And his eyes were proving that. There was so much sadness and self-reproach in his stormy-blue eyes, that she felt sorry for making him look that way, even if he was the one who started their quarrel.
"Leon," she uttered when he shifted his gaze from her face to the side in shame. "There are still lots of things that are left unsaid between us. It's true that your words hurt me like a knife stabbed in my heart back then, but even after what you have said, I couldn't bring myself to hate you."
After hearing that, the young man lifted his head to look at the woman he loved. Her face held a sorrowful expression, and he was ready to sacrifice his life in order to bring a shiny smile to her face again. The very smile he saw on her lips at the party and the very smile he wiped away from them with his unfounded accusations.
"I love you too, Leon. All those years I've been loving you and even now, after everything you said at the party in the White House, I can't order myself to stop loving you".
Her words broke out a revolution in his heart and mind. Claire, his dear Claire had just returned his feelings! But why did she look so sad and anguished? Could it be that her love for him was one and deep suffering to her? Leon bit his inner cheek when the thought crossed his mind.
Meanwhile, Claire recalled their every encounter and her eyes went downcast from the pain she felt right now.
"But you have never noticed how I felt towards you. You always looked to the other sides, anywhere but me. You had crushes and love affairs. You didn't want me in your life, so why are telling me that you love me all of a sudden?" she raised her voice and sent him a desperate glare. It was painful to refuse his charms, but she had a pride. She was Redfield and no one who came from Redfield family let anyone play with their feelings!
"I wanted to protect you!" he demanded.
"From who? From yourself?"
"Yes… and from myself too," Kennedy murmured and sighed in defeat.
"Then you have to know the truth, Leon. I don't need any protection," the girl responded proudly.
To be continued...