Under His Control

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chapter sixteen

Thursday, April 2nd

3:14 p.m.

Liam Harrington

-I’ve faxed over the drafts, call me within the week for changes.

Jesus, there’s a reason I don’t drive through traffic during the afternoon.

-You’re amazing Lio! Griff and I will look them over when we return from Paris.

I laid my hand on the horn, letting the asshole that cut me off know, that he was an incompetent driver.

-Keep me posted.

-Of course, Au revoir je t’aime

-Au revior.

It took day five of this suspension for me to realize that vacationing by myself is fucking awful, and I needed work to do. I couldn’t think of any new ideas for Marcus’s exhibition in August, and I had finished all my Architectural projects on Tuesday.

My father called me earlier this morning, letting me know he wouldn’t be able to pick up Cove from school, due to some renovators coming to redesign the basement. So, here I was speeding through traffic to get to Cove’s school, because fucking idiots don’t know how to drive properly.

This is the first time I am picking Cove up from school, since we met back in October, and I guess I was, excited? Jesus, Christ. I’ve been looking into the paperwork that would allow me to give Cove my last name, not only to prove to Katherine that I was serious about our family, but to solidify the fact I was her father and that would never change.

Pulling into the familiar parking lot of Cove’s school, I parked near the front door, so this would be an easy mission of getting the kid, and getting back to the car without being spotted by too many people. I’ve been quiet in the news ever since Katherine became my assistant, so the gossip columns were on stand by waiting to expose my business. I was fine with paparazzi following me, but I didn’t want them disturbing Katherine’s life digging up information on her for the means of a paycheck.

Stepping out of the car, I locked the doors behind me, walking into the front door of Cove’s school, trying my best to remember the confusing directions my father gave me over the phone.

“Excuse me, sir, can I help you with something?” Turning around, I was about to ask the woman how to get to the aftercare center, when she started squealing at me. “Oh my gosh, Oh my gosh! You’re Liam Harrington, like thee Liam Harrington!” She’s giving me a migraine.

“Uh, yeah, I am, can you direct me to the aftercare center, please.”

“Oh, of course! I was heading there to drop off these toys.” She held up the cardboard box in her arms. “Follow me.” I decided to let her lead me, instead of walking on the side her, so she didn’t feel obligated to speak to me. “So, what are you doing here, are you possibly signing up for our career fair.” Well, fuck me. The woman turned around, batting her heavily coated black eyelashes at me.

“No, I’m picking up my daughter.” The woman’s eyes widened as we stopped in front of the door, the sounds of loud children and commotion led me to believe this was our stop.

“I didn’t know you had a daughter.”

“Thank you.” I walked into the room where kids of all ages were running around, watching a movie play while eating popcorn, and partaking in other activities I couldn’t see from my view. “Good afternoon, I’m here to pick up my daughter.” The older woman jumped as she looked up from her crossword puzzle, smiling at me.

“Good afternoon, handsome. Can I have your name and the name of your child.”

“Liam Harrington, picking up Cove Prescott.” The woman looked up at me, attempting to speak when I cut her off. “Yes, thee Liam Harrington, I’m on a tight schedule ma’am.” I wasn’t, but she didn’t need to know that.

“O-Of course, Mr. Harrington, please sign here.” Grabbing the pen from her hand, I signed my signature in the box next to Cove’s name, handing the woman back the clipboard. “You can head into the back, she was doing her homework during my last check in.” I nodded, giving the older woman a wink, as I headed further into the large room, looking for Cove amongst all the kids.

Looking in the direction of a table in front of a long book case, I found Cove sitting in the corner, resting her head on her backpack, watching the kids in front of her play. Stepping over the toys and crayons gracing the floor, I bent down beside Cove, rubbing down the stray hairs on the top of her head.

“Ready to go habibti?” Cove turned around, a wide smile growing on her small face, as she threw herself into my arms.

“DADDY!” I let out a small chuckle, standing up to my feet, adjusting Cove’s small frame around my upper body.

“I take that as a yes.”

“Yes, please.” Grabbing Cove’s backpack from the table, I tossed it around my shoulder walking us out of the room.

“Bye Cove.” The old woman smiled brightly, waving her wrinkled hand at Cove.

“Bye-bye, Mrs. Woodfield.”

“Oh, Cove! Make sure to give your dad that paper in your backpack honeybun.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Walking the way I came to get here, Cove and I made our way outside towards my car, letting the transitioning spring wind blow our hair. I needed to get more styler.

“Anything you want to do princess?” Asking Cove, as I secured her into her car-seat.

“Can we get ice cream, daddy?”

“Ice cream it is habibti.”

.........

Miss Nora’s Parlor

4:02 p.m.

Besides Miss Nora being a family friend, I knew many people of the younger generation didn’t know about her Parlor, so I didn’t have to worry about being followed.

“Watch your step.” Cove grabbed onto my hands as she jumped onto the sidewalk with cheerful laugh, beginning to hop towards the door, pulling me along with her. Turning the antique bronzed handle of the door, the familiar chimes above the planked wood signalled our arrival.

“Welcome to Nora’s- little Liam!” Miss Nora dropped the rag she was using to wipe down the tables on the ground, scurrying her slender frame over to Cove and I. “You must be staying in Seattle for an extended period, you only ever visit once when you come here.”

“My father stepped down as CEO, so yes I’m here permanently.” Cove’s excited giggles about the frozen treats in front of her, made Miss Nora gasp.

“You know I don’t keep up with those media seagulls.” Vultures. She quickly shooed away the topic about the press, giving her full attention to the little human, jumping next to me. “But isn’t this little love muffin your assistant’s-”

“She’s my daughter.”

“Aha! J’ai dit a la jolie dame que tu tomberais amoureuse d’elle!" (I told the pretty lady that you would fall in love with her!) “Wait until Beau hears little Liam has settled down!” A small smile formed on my face, as I rolled my eyes at Miss Nora. “Well, come, come, I have new flavors for you to try!”

Nora and my father’s friendship goes way back to when he still lived in France. They came here together when they were sixteen as foreign exchange students, and eventually decided to stay, as there were better opportunities here than in Saint-Malo. Though Nora took a more humbling career path compared to my father, she is still one of his most cherished friends. His anonymous posts about her parlor, five-star reviews and yearly donations, ensure that she stays in business, to have a comfortable life for herself and her husband.

“Get anything you want habibti, just don’t tell mommy.” I picked Cove up, so she could better see the flavors behind the counter.

“Beau freshly churned the Cotton Candy, Coffee, and Cookies & Cream this morning.”

“May I have cotton candy and chocolate, please. Oh, with sprinkles!” Miss Nora smiled at Cove, running her scooper under the hot water.

“I’ll take the coffee.”

“Go, go, sit, I’ll bring it right over to you.” I nodded, walking over to the window booth, sitting Cove next to me, as I slid into the cushioned booth seat. Cove brought her small hands to tuck her hair behind her ears, bringing them to tap on the table, as we waited for the ice cream. “Here you are my dears.” Miss Nora sat the glasses in front of us, along with napkins and two spoons.

“Thank you!” Cove smiled at Miss Nora before digging into her ice cream.

“I’m going to clean up outside, Beau is in the back if you need anything.” I nodded, taking a spoonful of my single scoop. My eyes fell to Cove who had perked up since I picked her up from school, admiring the little angel of my life.

“Daddy?” I couldn’t help the smile on my face, looking at her ice cream mustache speckled with sprinkles.

“Yes, love?”

“There’s a dance for daddies and daughters soon, can we go?” My privacy suit against TMZ would be finalized within the next two weeks, so I didn’t see problem.

“Yes, habibti, we can go.” Cove smiled, resting her head against my arm, taking another spoonful of her ice cream. Katherine is going to kill me.

“Daddy, will the new babies be habibtis too?” I chuckled at her butchered pronunciation of the endearment term, as I tilted her head up to face me.

“No, princess. Habibti belongs to you.”

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