36 | Bonus Chapter Pt.4
“I’m so sorry but I can’t do this anymore, Blaze. I’m tired of you. I’m tired of constantly being left in the dark. I’m tired of your possessive nature. You always hurt me and I can’t keep ignoring the fact that you have tons of secrets that I have no clue on. I hope you move on with some new girl. It would make me happy. I always had commitment issues Blaze…which is why I can’t do this anymore. Please, don’t contact me from now on”
Her written words keep circling inside my head like some endless loop that won’t just fucking stop!
I feel like killing myself for always being such an arse. I always feared for this day to come, the day when Phoebe will finally realize that she’s better off without me.
I have this really strong feeling that Diana might be somehow involved in Phoebe’s sudden departure because the last time I checked, she was all smiles near me.
Then there are the tabloids…
Those fucking tabloids!
I swear I hated being a billionaire sometimes. This is the cost of fame - To be always securitized by strangers over your personal life even though it’s not their fucking business. But no…They just have to poke their nose in your life.
I was one step away from ripping that paparazzi’s throat, the one who clicked mine and Diana’s image.
‘Blaze Hunter reigniting his blazing flame with former lover…’
What the fuck? Like WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!
Talk about ultimate cringe...
I don’t know what type of journalists the press was hiring these days but clearly, this was just too low.
Reigniting my flame, huh, my ass
I threatened my entire PR team to wipe the mere existence of that photo of me with that bitch. They did succeed. But something that Diana said before leaving the ball intrigued me.
“You’re better off without her and trust me; you’re going to thank me one day…” Those were Diana’s parting words to me before she rushed off. What irked me, even more, was the fact that her eyes were swollen red as if she was crying for days.
After she left, for a moment I contemplated hunting her down and demanding an explanation for her absurd words but soon decided against it.
I don’t want anything to do with that bitch. I was just so fucking enraged when I laid my eyes on her. I don’t know why I felt this way but her sight definitely struck a chord inside my head.
She was still beautiful like the first time I saw her. In fact, I should thank her for making me realize that beauty’s not everything. She was the pure definition of a social ladder climber. I had to admit, the sex was good, but that was just it.
I had no feelings for her.
Not even one bit, na-da
Apparently my dear audience, never, I repeat, NEVER turn your fuck-buddy into your girlfriend, especially someone who’s a money-sucking whore like Diana Pietro.
Yeah sure, maybe she did harbor some serious feelings for me, but trapping me into marriage, now that’s a step too far!
What hurts the most was the fact that her unborn child wasn’t mine. Oh, wait no, let me rephrase that, the child that I thought was mine was of someone else’s.
I didn’t love Diana but I sure did find myself loving that child since the day she announced that it was mine. So it was pretty much of a disappointment when it turned out to be my classmate’s.
But honestly, it didn’t really matter. At least not with Phoebe by my side. But of course, being the jerkface that I am, I lost her too.
I missed her, so much…
I never thought that you can feel so much for one certain person. Being the introverted ass that I’ve always been, I never thought that it would be possible for me to even love someone.
I’ve dated a very few women and honestly, all of them have been somewhat pleasant. But Phoebe, she was a whole new level kind of different. Even after all these months, I still don’t know what drew me so strongly towards her. I was still on the verge of finding it but eventually, I lost track as soon as she left me.
She left me
It was still hard for me to swallow the bitter pill of the fact that she left me.
It was almost like she couldn’t wait to distance herself away from me. I mean, who the fuck flees away from a hospital right after a car crash?
Speaking of a car crash, my heart feels a bit in ease as I recall dad handling Arthur’s men.
That fucking bastard!
Apparently, he didn’t think wisely when he decided to roadkill me along with my girlfriend (Well, ex-girlfriend to be more precise – Shit, that hurts). Arthur was the guy who sold Andres’s ex-fiancé in a prostitution ring. That dude has been involved in the mafia for over years. Having a best friend like Andres did come with lots of perks along with some downfall.
For instance, the day when I found Phoebe at the cellar, that idiot was careless enough to leave Arthur inside the cellar after tormenting his lame excuse of an ass.
I still feel guilty for treating Phoebe like a whore. But in reality, I was fucking terrified. I wasn’t really angry at her, I was mainly angry at Andres for being so careless but I was scared of Phoebe because of all the intense feeling that kept me binding towards her.
Her gorgeous forest green eyes captivated me, begging me to explore the depths of them. I never felt this quickly drawn to anyone and the fact that she might have some dirty secret didn’t help my case either.
Sure, I liked her, but I didn’t even know her. Then after Woodward’s gala, we started dating and those four months were the best time of my life.
Underneath all those layers, laid a fragile vulnerable girl who’s tormented by her past. I know that there’s more to Phoebe’s life than she’s telling me, but still, I remained patient.
Every day, I could feel myself practically itching to ring my PI for running a background check on Phoebe’s life but I didn’t. Because I didn’t want the biased details that a stupid file would portray her as I wanted to get to know the real her. The girl with whom I fell madly in love with.
Yes, I really did love her. The fact that I would ever be able to love someone so much after leading such a terrible childhood was beyond me. I had my childhood psychiatrist to thank for that and after witnessing my parents loving each other so much, I changed my opinions about love.
But for fuck’s sake, love shouldn’t hurt this much!
“When was the last time you actually ate something edible?” Alana questions me as she stares down at my dejected form with a grim look marring her beautiful face.
I was hunched on the floor beside my coffee table with a bottle of Johnny Walkers standing proud beside me. I could almost see myself right now – the pathetic excuse of a man pining over a woman, a woman who’s constantly rejecting him.
Great Blaze, just fucking great!
I raise my bottle of scotch in the direction of Alana’s face as she glares at me with a ‘Bitch, what the fuck?’ look. She was still dressed in her work clothes which consisted of a form-fitting black shirt with a white chiffon blouse.
She looked cute
Cute as a button…
Ok, that’s it. I reached my limit and now I definitely should stop drinking.
It wasn’t like I turned gay as soon as Phoebe left me. I just didn’t find myself appreciating any girl anymore. Like the ones, I would normally find attractive. Like my company’s HR head Janet, she was always attractive to me but I never pursued anything with her because mixing business and pleasure creates a lethal combo.
The fact that I’m now finding myself drawn towards Alana means that I’m definitely out of my mind. Don’t get me wrong, Alana’s drop-dead gorgeous but I’ve never seen her that way because she always considered me as her brother and the feeling has always been mutual.
She rolls her eyes and lets out a huge huff before stomping her way inside the kitchen. She returns soon with a pissed look on her face and inquires me, “Why is your fridge full of junk? Where’s the maid even?”
“Oh, I fired the red-headed bitch along with her mother when she tried to make a pass at me last week, thinking that I was drunk and Evita’s off to visit her pregnant daughter” I reply nonchalantly with a shrug before taking a long swig of my scotch. The burning sensation feels good compared to the ache that’s been inside my chest for weeks now.
“Blaze, this is absolutely unhealthy and if you’re gonna drink, have something to eat with it at least” She shakes her head in agitation and starts rummaging inside her white Hermes bag. Picking up a ziplock bag of what looks like almonds, she saunters in my direction and holds them out to me.
“Have some nuts, I’m going to and prepare you some coffee” She says sincerely.
“No thanks, I’ve got sufficient nuts down here” I point towards my crotch and watch her eyes widen like saucers upon hearing my statement.
Jesus Christ! Did I just seriously say that?
Her face turns red like a tomato before she yells, “Blaze!”
“Shit, that sounded wrong” I mumble under my breathe and slump down on the couch.
“Man, I gotta get you heartbroken more often,” She remarks with an amused snigger and shakes her head.
For some reason, I feel tears welling in the corner of my eyes as I turn my face away from her.
“Heartbroken, huh? I’m such a pathetic excuse of a man” I release a small sob and hear a few shuffling sounds only to feel a warm body pressing against mine.
It took me a minute to realize that Alana’s small petite frame is pressed against my giant slumped form as she perches on the armrest of the couch which I’m currently occupying.
Her hands run up and down on the length of my arms in a comforting manner and I feel myself starting to relax.
“Just because you’re heartbroken doesn’t mean that you’re pathetic Blaze. You’re a human and just like any other human, you feel pain too. You experience emotions because it’s a part of you. I know that you miss Phoebe but know that the girl has been through so much that it’s almost a miracle that she’s still standing strong.
“I know that you also suffered a rough past. We all have our pasts. Just give it some time. You’ve both been through a lot of things. Don’t fall into this pit of depression because she left you. I know that you love her but think about yourself too. Think about your parents and your brothers. How will they feel if they see you this broken?
“It’s ok to feel sad. You’re a person with emotions too. Just because you’re a man, it doesn’t mean that you’re made of stone. You’re allowed to cry, to feel” As she’s done uttering her words, I start weeping like a small broken boy who’s never been able to let go of his traumatic past.
As my body keeps shuddering with sobs, she gently strokes my hair like a mother would do to comfort her son and for the first time, I feel glad to have a friend like her.
By the time I feel my eyebags drained from all the tears that I’ve shed, she swings her legs over the armrest to stand up on the floor and gives me a wide smile before announcing, “Now, let’s get you something to eat”
“So, I’m thinking about going with the new launch,” Andres says before stuffing his face with a spoonful of sizzlers.
“That’s great” I reply nonchalantly before slicing a small portion out of my T-bone steak.
We were currently dining inside at Harvey’s which is a lavish dinner opposite my office. After receiving quite an earful of lectures from Alana about my unhealthy eating habits, I decided to resume living my normal life which doesn’t consist of downing bottles of Johnny Walker and Dalmore.
“Hey, did you meet this half-cousin of yours?” He asks me and I find my mind wandering back to the time when I visited Landon Ruiseart.
I have to say, he was indeed a remarkable man. I kind of expected him to be a hermit with no social life since he led a very private life despite being a billionaire but fortunately, I was proven wrong. He was cold at first but after finding my identity, he kind of looked lost and confused for a moment.
I don’t blame him. I mean it’s not every day you encounter your half-cousins with whom you share blood.
I knew that he was a self-made billionaire from a pretty young age but I was absolutely floored by his success when I ran my background check on him. The fact that he was very humble despite all his accomplishments, made my respect for him grow tenfold.
I’ll admit that it was very awkward when we started talking about Grandpa Marco but eventually our topic steered into safer territory when we started discussing our mutual liking for sailing. He was a very confident person with a good understanding and within a few hours, we became close. Maybe he sensed the fact that I always wanted an old brother figure in my life.
This took place a week back inside his lavish Manhattan penthouse when I flew to New York to attend a business conference. I was overjoyed for a brief moment, pushing aside Phoebe’s absence when I found out that he’ll be permanently moving to Seattle within a few months.
However, I never told him how I came to know about his existence. The fact that he visited Ava’s apartment didn’t leave my mind but I did not risk asking him the truth because I didn’t want to ruin the budding relationship among us.
“Dude, you ok?” Andres probes when he sees my dull expression.
“What do you think?” I scoff spitefully when my brain reminds me that safe-guarding Andres’s secret made doubt grow inside Phoebe’s head and take a bite of my steak. Despite the rich flavorful juicy taste of the meat, it feels like sandpaper inside my mouth.
It’ll get better, I keep reassuring myself.
“Honestly man, it’s been a month! Get over her already” He groans and jabs his fork inside his plate of sizzlers like he’s angry at it.
Instead of answering him, I look up to see my best friend and frown.
There’s a lining of dark circles underneath his eyes like he hasn’t slept for days. He just looks tired.
Before I can question him about his well-being, I watch his eyes widen fractionally at someone behind me before they narrow into slits with anger.
I turn to look behind me on instinct and find myself staring at Phoebe’s best friend, Ava with an unknown man.
They were chatting animatedly before sinking on the chairs that were located on the other side of the spacious diner. They were seated on the window side of the diner.
I could literally feel the heat waves of Andres’s anger crashing down on me as he stared at the duo with contempt.
“Am I missing something here?” I ask in bewilderment whilst being inwardly amused with Andres’s reaction because I don’t think I’ve ever seen him jealous. At least not in a long while.
After Andres’s fiancé’s death, he turned into a shell of a person that I pitied often. I wasn’t unaware of the fact that Andres was sleeping with Ava. Clearly, he developed deep feelings for her despite him agreeing otherwise but I wasn’t blind. I knew my best friend. He was clearly smitten with the beautiful Raven-haired beauty that’s Avalynn Hayes, but he was just too egoistic to admit it.
I turned to look behind my back again to see Ava laughing at something the blond dude said. They looked like they were really close to each other. The man sitting opposite Ava looked almost like they were of the same age with straight dirty blond hair and hazel eyes.
The sound of cutleries clanking against glass plates brings my attention back to my seething best friend who looks like he’s one second away from blowing a gasket at the man sitting with Ava.
I refrain from the urge to blast in fits of laughter as he rises from his seat to storm in the direction of where’s Ava seated.
Ava looks up from the diner menu with shock as she sees Andres approaching her like a raging black bull. What made the situation even funnier was the fact that she was wearing a dark red bodycon dress which reminded me of the Spanish bullfighting.
This is going to be interesting…
At first, I see both of them engaged in a heated argument as the other guy stares at both of them uncomfortably. Then suddenly, Ava lands a slap against Andres’s face which causes me to choke on my glass of wine as I take in the scene.
Thankfully, there were very few diners to witness the scene unfold, or more like they didn’t care what was going on.
I see Ava storm off from the place before her eyes land on me and all I could do was offer her an apologetic smile. Andres remains like a garden flamingo as Ava dashes away from him with her eyes brimming with tears with the blond dude on tow.
I throw my napkin on the table before motioning the waiter to bring the check. After paying for our meals, I stride over to Andres who was now sitting on the bench near the parking lot with a forlorn look on his face.
“Hey man,” I approach him cautiously with my arms folded over my chest.
He nods silently with his mouth pulled in a gloomy downward line as he stares at the back of his car. I could tell that he was upset which makes me wonder what exactly went down between these two. I knew very little about his relationship with Ava because I was busy fixing my own but as harsh as it may sound, I could tell that Andres deserved that slap.
I know that despite his sleeping arrangement with Ava, I knew that he was being a dick to her. I heard from a mutual friend of mine that Ava witnessed Andres sticking his tongue inside another woman’s throat and unfortunately, Ava was present in that club too with another friend of hers.
I didn’t see any point in him hogging her when she’s out with another guy because clearly, that’s not fair. There have been numerous times where I’ve disapproved of his way of approach in life after his ex-fiancé aka Martha died. I knew that he was hurting but what annoyed me was the fact that he was unwilling to move on from something that took place almost six years back.
“Let’s head back home,” I say to break the tension and he nods before following me inside the parking lot.
Sometimes I wonder to myself how I ever managed to not run my company to the ground whilst coming to the office with a massive hangover every day.
Oh yeah, Bethany’s coffee!
As much as I disliked my personal assistant’s consistent flirtatious batting eyes look with that ‘come hither’ face, I did appreciate her coffee and of course, her efficiency. That woman was a miracle worker except for her flirtatious antics.
It was a shame to fire such a good employee for her flirting but the workplace is absolutely prohibited from this type of behavior. So, I’m still busy looking for a new assistant.
A soft knock resonates through my office oak doors and I say aloud, ‘come in’.
“Sir, there’s someone here to see you” My assistant’s redhead pops inside the small space between my office doors and I nod my head urgently, not bothering to ask who it might be.
It’s probably the trade department’s senior manager coming here to show me the annual report.
“Hey” A subdued feminine voice grabs my attention because the last time I checked, my trade department’s senior management wasn’t a female.
I look up from the résumé of some woman named Lauren whom I’m considering for hiring as my assistant only to see Ava walking inside my office.
Seeing my gaping mouth, she frowns momentarily and this causes me to quickly seal my mouth shut.
“I’m sorry. I’m just shocked to see you here. Please seat down” I motion her over the white leather seats in front of my mahogany desk and watch her gracefully sit down on one of them.
How can Andres not fall for a woman like her?
She’s eye-catching gorgeous with her lithe posture and exuding confidence persona. She was humble, humorous, and soft-spoken. This also made me wonder, how blind is my cousin Noah to not fall for her. I never liked that gold-digger Camille.
“Figures. Just for the record, I’m not here for Andres” She grimaces and shrugs before continuing as I nod my head, “I wanted to talk about Phoebe”
My back goes straight at the mention of her name and instantly I start firing questions after questions at her, “Is she alright? Is she hurt? Did something happen to her?”
Her eyes widen at my constant interrogation and she raises her hand to calm me down like I’m some raging wild animal.
“Whoa, calm down there. She’s fine. Well…physically at least” Her words make me frown.
Ok, I know that she’s really bipolar sometimes and that she often has nightmares at night, but that doesn’t mean that she’s admitted to some mental facility right?
Seeing my skeptical expression, she quickly explains, “She’s not unstable. It’s just, she’s just so lost. She really cares for you-”
I cut her off and release a bitter laugh, “Huh, I highly doubt that. If she did care for me then why did she leave me?”
She closes her eyes as if she was expecting this and says, “I know that you’re upset but please understand that she’s been through a lot of things. She has seen things that no sixteen-year-old’s supposed to witness. I shouldn’t even be here to tell you this but I am because I can’t see her moping anymore. What I want to say is that don’t give up on her, please. I know that she can’t be a bit difficult but I know that you both love each other, which is why I don’t want you to give up on her. I know that I’m asking too much from you but please, just listen to my request”
She pleads with me but I find myself playing the words where she mentioned that Phoebe loves me.
Does Phoebe Carter really love me?!
A newfound hope starts budding inside my system and I look at Ava with a small smile.
“I really want to understand her Ava. It’s just…it’s almost as if she has some walls around her so high, that I can’t get past them” I mutter morosely as I stare at the white flowerpot placed at the corner of my office room.
“I know. It’s just difficult for her to trust someone. You’re her first-ever boyfriend for whom she actually had feelings. She has always been closed-off. After all the things she had to suffer through, I wouldn’t blame her for being the person that she is today. Just be a bit patient with her. That’s all I’m asking from you” She ends her request and offers me a sheepish smile.
Before I can respond her phone starts ringing, capturing her attention.
“Hey” She greets whoever that’s on the other side of the phone, “Tell her to wait with the cake inside the lobby. I’ll be back within a few minutes”
She hangs up her phone and looks at me before saying, “I’m so sorry but I got to rush. It’s one of my colleague’s birthday. I’ve got to return to the office”
I nod my head in understanding and promptly open my mouth to speak when I watch her rising to leave, “I really appreciate you for coming here to tell me this Ava”
She looks right in the eye with a weird expression etched on her face and rapidly shakes her head as if she’s trying to get rid of her thoughts.
“It’s no big deal. Phoebe’s my best friend, Blaze. I’ll do anything for her” She replies and turns towards the doors of my office.
Before she can exit, I say, “Andres cares about you too, you know”
She pauses in the doorway and tilts her head to look at me sideways before responding, “Well, he has a really weird way of showing it”
With that said, she leaves.
I barely finished putting mayo on top of the chicken patty when I heard the dinging sound of the elevator, alerting me of someone’s presence. This causes me to look up in confusion because I wasn’t really expecting company at the moment unless it’s Ian and Alana coming here to lecture me about taking care of myself...again
God forbid it’s them. I may love them but they can be really annoying sometimes
However, my wary reaction morphs into shock when I see who’s standing in the foyer with bright swollen red eyes.
I can’t even get words out of my mouth as I stare at her after what seems to be a month.
A month? Christ, it feels like fucking eons…
However, the next words that tumble out of her mouth cause me to stay rooted in my place.
“I killed Diana’s father”
A/N - Any ideas on what might be Blaze’s reaction? Let me know your thoughts on it and brace yourself for the next chapter my lovies, because it’s going to one hell of a ride ;)
Also, a short reminder that only two more chapters of this book’s left. I can’t believe that I’ve reached the end...