In Hanoi

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She felt ridiculous standing there holding a tall stalk with an unusual flower on it behind her back but it was part of the shoot. Why on earth was she here, modeling for a photo shoot which would appear in Bazaar? She wasn’t a model. She knew nothing about modeling. This was Ryker’s bright idea.

When he asked her to come here to Hanoi, she had jumped at the opportunity. She had never traveled outside of the US and she had always been interested in visiting a country where the culture was so different from hers. And, the idea of going somewhere with him was very appealing and the opportunity was too good to pass up. She was under the impression that she was going as his assistant but it wasn’t until Monday evening when he informed her that she was going to do some modeling.

“How could you do this to me?” she demanded.

“I thought you would you be thrilled.”

Thrilled? I’m not a model. I don’t know the first thing about it. If I had known that this was what you had in mind, I wouldn’t have come.”

“You’re my assistant. You had to come.”

“That’s right. I’m your assistant. I’m not a model. Why didn’t you ask someone else to come?”

“Like whom?”

“I don’t know. What about Melissa?”

“Melissa wasn’t interested.”

“So, you asked her?”

“I did but she wasn’t interested.”

“So, if she had said yes, she would be here instead of me?”

“No.”

“What about Krista? She looks like a model. Why didn’t you ask her?”

“She’s on another assignment. Now, stop making a such big deal about this. We’re here in Hanoi, staying at a five star hotel that’s an hour’s drive from the beach. Let’s just make the most of it. Get freshened up and I’ll take you to meet Gilles.”

“Who’s Gilles?”

“The photographer.”

She met Gilles whom she immediately took a liking to and here she was at her first photo shoot and still no sign of Ryker. Where was he anyway? Shouldn’t he be there giving her his support? He got her into this and he didn’t have the decency to be here now when she needed. When she saw him she was really going to give him a piece of her mind.

Ryker was on a beach in Thịnh Long which was less than a 45 minute drive. It was a less touristy place and was mostly frequented by the locals on the weekends and holidays. Today was Tuesday, so it was nice and quiet. He seemed to be the only one there at the moment which suited him. The sun seemed to be MIA but still, it was a nice day. The sand felt nice and cool under his feet. The sound of the waves was always very pleasant. He had decided to come for a swim instead of going to the photo shoot. He needed to clear his head.

He hadn’t been completely honest with Shaelyn. He hadn’t asked Melissa nor any of the other women in the company if they were interested in doing the photo shoot because he had his heart set on Shaelyn doing it. Sure, she wasn’t a model but she was the right choice and when he had sent a photo of her to Gilles, he had agreed. And having her here wasn’t purely for business reasons. He wanted to be here alone in a faraway place with her. And to be honest, he was glad for the excuse to ruin her dinner plans with Brian.

Understandably, Shaelyn had been upset when she found out why she was really there in Hanoi but he had managed to appease her somewhat. Yesterday, they went to the conference and interacted with a lot of people from all over the world. Shaelyn seemed to be enjoying herself. They had lunch with a woman from Tahiti and another one from Senegal. He looked forward to having dinner alone with her and last night, after enjoying authentic French cuisine at one of the restaurants at the hotel, they had gone outside into the garden where they sat for a while.

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The sky was crimson and sprinkled with golden hues. It was after eleven when they decided to call it a night. On the ride up in the elevator, he told her about the photo shoot. They were alone. At first, she was shocked and then, she got angry. It took a while to calm her down.

As he gazed out at the sea, he wondered how her first photo shoot was going. Granted, he should have been there to give her moral support but he needed to get away. He was still pretty cut up about her and Brian. He wondered if she went to see him after leaving his office to tell him about the trip. Was he as disappointed as Melissa?

Melissa had tried to act like she was fine with it with it but he could tell that she wasn’t. Her eyes said everything that she couldn’t say. He felt badly but was relieved that he didn’t have to go through with the dinner. He had to let her know when they saw each other again that he wasn’t interested in pursuing a relationship with her.

He wasn’t interested in her or any other woman and it was all because of Shaelyn. He wished now that he had brought her here to the beach with him so that they could both enjoy the solitude together. She would have preferred that to the photo shoot. They would go for a walk along the water’s edge and then go for a swim. Afterwards, they would relax on the sand, basking in the warm sun which had emerged and breathing in that tangy salt air.

It was time for a swim. He walked to the water’s edge and into the warm sea until it reached his waist. He swam for a while. Two hours later, he was back at the hotel.

Sources: Vietnam Discovery

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