Under His Control

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chapter thirty-one

7:20 p.m.

Paris, France

Liam Harrington

“You could at least look like you want to be here, Liam.”

“Hilary.” I looked up from my sketch pad. “Stop talking.” Though part of me was ignoring work to give Katherine my undivided attention, I really did need a break. For the first time, I’m admitting I’m overwhelmed. Drowning myself in work was a coping mechanism I used, so I wouldn’t have to deal with all the problems surrounding me. Assignment after assignment, paintings and blueprints done nearly every week, all so my mind wouldn’t roam to my endless regrets. But now, I had a serotonin by the name of Katherine.

“If you would have just came here back in March, we wouldn’t be in this predicament, now would we.” Hilary scuffed as Gavin began descending the plane onto the runway.

“If you didn’t misplace my blueprints, we wouldn’t be here.” I spoke, not bothering to acknowledge her. She did this just to piss Katherine off. The eight years Hilary has worked for me, I’ve ignored all the advances she’s thrown my way. Especially since she got her boob job just to get my attention. When she’s not pissing me off or trying to get into my pants, she’s amazing at her job. Which is the only reason I haven’t fired her.

“Do not blame me for this, you give me so much stuff to do!”

“We have now landed in Paris, please watch your step when exiting the jet, and have a great day.”

“If you want a pay cut just say that.” Unbuckling my seatbelt, I stood up from my seat, placing my sketch pad into my briefcase.

“Please, who’s going to put up with your mood swings and insulting behavior like I do.” Turning to face Hilary, I slipped my phone into my pocket, adjusting my grip on my briefcase.

“A lot of people, money makes people do crazy shit.” Hugo led us down the stairs of my jet, towards the Range Rover I was renting while I was here. Whatever Manon needed me to fix, I was hoping it wouldn’t take long. Katherine had about five weeks left of her pregnancy, and I want to be by her side in case the twins came early.

“Bonsoir, Monsieur Harrington, Mademoiselle Stafford.” (Good evening, Mr. Harrington, Miss Stafford.) Olivier spoke, once Hilary and I were secured into the truck. “Ou aller?” (Where to?)

"Le Château, Olivier." (The Château, Olivier.) Olivier hummed in agreement, pulling out of the airport onto the Paris freeway.

“Hugo, check in with Hank.” I spoke, grabbing my phone from my pocket to text Katherine.

“Yes, sir.”

Me:

-Just landed.

-Going to finish this ASAP.

-I love you.

“We’re heading to the sight, after our meeting with Manon.”

“Mhmm.” I hummed in agreement, arranging a flower delivery for Katherine tomorrow.

“You being distracted is the part of the reason why we’re here, so can you focus, please.” Inhale calmness, exhale the urge to leave her stranded on this damn highway. I placed my phone into my pocket, once we grew to the entrance of The Château. Hugo stepped out of the passenger seat, opening the back door for Hilary and I.

“Hank hasn’t responded, sir. I will call while you’re in your meeting.” I looked back at Hugo, letting Hilary walk into the hotel ahead of me.

“You can’t check his signal?”

“Not from our distance, there will be variables interfering.” I let out a sigh, buttoning the front of my suit jacket.

“Keep me posted.”

“Yes, sir.” Walking into the lobby of the hotel, Manon quickly made her way over to me in her tall platform heels.

“How gracious for you to finally bless us with your presence.” I rolled my eyes, accepting Manon’s hug.

“I apologize, I’ve been busy personally and with business.” Manon placed her hands on her hips, raising her perfectly groomed eyebrow, as her red lips were in tight smirk.

“Personal busy, huh.”

“Not you too.”

“I will get it out of you before you leave, you’re being all mysterious, and surprisingly happy. Which is concerning.” I rolled my eyes.

“Meeting, Manon.”

“Alright, Alright.” She chuckled, signalling one of the guards by the door over to us.

“Raph, escort Liam and his assistant to my office.” The buff man only nodded, as Manon walked back to the front desk, conversing with a few of her workers.

“My assistant is over there.” I nodded in the direction of Hilary talking on the phone near the elevator. Turning back to face the man, he nodded, presenting his hand out wanting me to lead the way. Walking in the direction I listened in on the ending of her conversation.

-He’ll be in Paris for a few days.

“Come on, Hilary.” She jumped turning to face me, before ending her call. “Who were you talking to?”

“A potential client.” Hilary placed her phone into her purse, zipping the bag shut. I was about to ask a follow-up question, but I decided against it as we stepped into the elevator. I didn’t have the energy to play twenty-two questions with her today. “Peter Thomas, wants to meet with you before we leave.” Manon’s guard stepped out the elevator first, leading Hilary and I to her office.

“What for?”

“Madame Bernard, will be up shortly.” I nodded at the guard as he left us alone in Manon’s private lounge.

“He didn’t say, but why does that matter, he’s a walking bank.”

“I don’t take projects because of the payout Hilary, you should know that by now. Call him and cancel.” Sitting down on the small couch, I helped myself to a small glass of Cognac while I waited. I’ve been doing less drink for Katherine.

“We should at least here what he has to say, Liam.” Looking over the rim of my glass I stared at Hilary in annoyance, taking a sip of the chilled liquor.

“The answer is no.” I sat the glass on the coaster, lifting my wrist to check the time. “This little business trip is ending as soon as I sort this out.” Hilary huffed, sitting across from me, helping herself to a few pieces on the chocolate tray.

“Sorry, for the hold up. Let’s get started.” Manon smiled at me, opening the door to her office.

“Phone, Liam. I’ll interrupt if its something important.” Hilary held her hand out, for me to hand over my phone. Manon lightly snickered, as she walked into her office.

“As soon as Katherine calls me, bring me my phone.” Hilary rolled her eyes, taking my phone from my hands.

“Yes, sir.” Walking into Manon’s office, I shut the door behind me, walking towards the small board table.

“I don’t even work with her, and I want to fire her.” Manon slipped off her freshly pressed white blazer, taking a sip of champagne. “Taking your phone, what are you twelve.”

“Lets not talk about it, I’m working on my anger issues for that exact reason.” Manon chuckled, sitting across from me at the table, plugging her laptop into the projector. “I fixed the mishap, is construction going to be delayed.” Manon zoomed in on the area in question, pulling up pictures from the build out.

“It shouldn’t. Terry says if we extend this level, it should even everything out.” I hummed, circling my changes for a comparison. “I was thinking either extend the suite or add some spectacle for that floor.”

“That could work.” Manon stood up from her chair, walking over to stand behind me.

“Even and odd elevators, is that doable?” Manon leaned over my shoulder pointing at the elevators.

“Doable yes, in the budget no.”

“Shit, how much? An extra, a hundred?”

“Depends on technology.” I trailed of the side to my scratch paper to calculate the numbers. “I’d give a rough estimate of two-hundred grand.”

“Two hundred! I can’t do two-hundred, Liam. The new build out is going to at least double that.”

“Scratch it for now then. Regular elevators, though they’ll be slower, is in the budget. You’ll save at least ten thousand.” Manon huffed, rubbing her fingers through her hair.

“Okay, regular elevators it is.”

*KNOCK*KNOCK*KNOCK*

“Come in!” Manon called out to the owner of the hard knocks against her office door.

“Sir.” Hugo entered the office, with a tense expression on his face.

“Yes, did you reach Hank?” Hugo bit his lip. “What is it?”

“May I use your television, ma’am.” Manon raised an eyebrow at Hugo.

“Sure, what’s going on?” Manon handed Hugo the slender remote from her cabinet. We watch as Hugo found the BBC News channel, hitting the program for the Seattle News.

“Yes, Philip, I am currently outside the multi-million dollar penthouse, of business mogul, Liam Harrington. Well the closest I can get. WPD, showed up thirty minutes ago, after, a frantic 911 call. Four people have now been pronounced dead. We have no further details on the victims. Back to you Phil.”

It felt like I couldn’t breathe. No, I couldn’t breathe, I know I can’t breathe. It felt like my lungs were tightening, and my airways had closed. There’s no way, there’s no fucking way.

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