Treat Me Just Like That [Part II]

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Chapter 3 Where Has She Been

The next day, Caroline went to the fitness center in the building then she returned to her penthouse. She got ready for work. She received a phone call from Joseph, letting her know he was there to pick her up. She got on the elevator and went down to the lobby of the building. She got in the car and Joseph drove to the company.

“Get me a maid. I don’t know how long we will be staying here. Hopefully not long.”

“Yes, Ms. King.”

When they arrived at the company, they stepped inside the building together. “Is that the Chairwoman?” A woman commented as she saw Caroline graciously walking towards the elevator. Her strong aura gave chills to the employees watching Caroline walk through the company and Joseph followed her. “She is wearing black... who do you think it’s going to be?”

“Black?”

“There is a rumor that every time she wears dark clothing, someone is getting fired.” Another woman commented, “I heard that our branch is doing worse than the other branches.”

When Caroline arrived at her office, she stepped inside and looked around. It was exactly how she left it four years ago. She took off her black wool coat, which she wore over her shoulders, and placed it on the coat hanger. She walked to her desk and took a seat. She took off her dark designer sunglasses and Joseph knocked on the door. “Come in.” Joseph stepped inside her office and walked closer to her desk.

“Mr. Parker has arrived.”

“Great. Let’s get this over with.” Caroline and Joseph made their way to the elevator. They went to the floor below. Caroline stepped off the elevator first. She made her way towards the CEO’s office. Caroline opened the door and stepped inside the office. “Ms. King? What are you doing here?”

Caroline coldly stared at the man as she took a seat in one of the chairs in front of the desk. “Mr. Parker, I trust you know why I am here.”

“Ms. King, the branch has recovered from recent events.” Caroline raised her voice. “Mr. Parker, please. Spare me the chit-chat. I only care about what led to this. I would like to know why I should not fire you.” Caroline crossed her legs and added, “don’t get me wrong, I don’t care about you going on vacation. I could care less about what happens in your personal life, but I want you to tell me how this happened.”

Meanwhile, in the Sabbatini group, Liam was in his office. He stood in front of the floor-to-ceiling window as he looked at the picture in his hand. He took out his wallet, which was the one Caroline gifted him four years ago and placed Caroline’s picture back inside the wallet. He let out a sigh as he overlooked the city through the giant window.

Then, Marcus knocked on the door and stepped inside the spacious CEO office. “Boss, Ms. King is back in New York.” Liam turned around to look at his assistant. “Where has she been all this time?”

For the past four years, Liam has been following Caroline. Every time she went to a new country to expand her business, he would follow after her. Though his efforts were ineffectual. When he arrived, it was already too late. She had already moved on to the next country and it took him a while to know where she was exactly.

After Caroline moved to Miami, Liam never heard the news about her. It was as if she had disappeared. Then, after having the twins, she continued expanding her business and traveling. That one year she was taking care of the twins, Joseph did her job for her. He was traveling and expanding. The results were not the same when she traveled herself, which is why she continued traveling.

When Caroline finished talking with the CEO, she left his office. On her way to the elevator, Joseph handed her an iPad. She was looking at the documents when she commanded, “get me a new CEO.” They continued walking to the elevator.

When they arrived at the door of Caroline’s office, Joseph opened her door for her. Caroline walked to her chair and took a seat. “I didn’t have breakfast today. Get me something to eat, please.” Joseph bowed his head and left her office.

Caroline spent the rest of the morning looking at the iMac screen in front of her. Her eye ached from the long time she has spent looking at the screen. She looked away from the screen to relax her eyes. She called Joseph through the landline and asked him to make her a cup of tea. She stood in front of the floor-to-ceiling window, waiting for her cup of tea.

When Joseph walked inside her office with the cup of tea, he placed it on her desk, then he bowed his head. He left her office, closing the door behind him. Caroline resumed her work until it was time for lunch. Since she had a late breakfast, she wasn’t hungry until after lunchtime. She stood up from her desk and grabbed her designer handbag and made her way towards the door. She grabbed her wool coat and wore it over her shoulders. She walked out of her office and Joseph stood up from his chair.

When Caroline arrived at Roxy’s restaurant, she stepped inside, and Roxy’s mouth fell open. “Caroline.”

“Roxy.” She walked closer to Caroline and embraced her in a hug. “I’ve missed you so much. Where have you been?” Caroline hugged her tightly. “I’ve missed you, Rox.”

“I’ve missed you more, Care.” They continued hugging until Roxy said, “I’m so happy to see you. Let me take your coat.” Roxy took Caroline’s coat. Then, she showed Caroline to her table. Caroline and Roxy sat together, and Roxy spoke, “how could you leave like that? I tried to get in contact with you, but I never could. I tried to get in touch with Elizabeth and Mark, as well. It’s like you just wanted to run away. I remember I saw you a lot on the news, so I was happy to know that you were fine. But I was so worried when you stopped showing up for an entire year. What happened then?”

“Nothing, don’t worry.”

“Where have you been this entire time? Where are Elizabeth and Mark?”

“Miami,” Caroline responded, “we moved to Miami.”

“Why didn’t you bring them with you?”

“Mark is studying right now, and my mom had something to take care of.”

“How could you leave like that, without saying anything?”

“I’m sorry, Roxy.” Caroline was about to place her hands on Roxy’s when she noticed the ring on her finger. “You’re engaged? How could you not tell me?”

“How could I? You ran away, I had no way of contacting you.” Caroline frowned. “I’m sorry, Roxy.” Roxy looked at Caroline and commented, “look at you, Caroline. You look as radiant as ever. It’s as if time stood still.” Caroline chuckled. “I’m still in my twenties, Roxy. I don’t think there would be any change in my appearance.”

Right at that moment, a man approached them and sat next to Caroline. He leaned back on his chair and rested his arm on Caroline’s chair. Caroline looked to the side to face the man sitting next to her. “Hi, cuz. Long time no see.”

“Chuck, how have you been?” Charles responded, “same old, same old. You?”

“More or less the same.”

“I see you are back.” Caroline spoke, “not for long. I will go back to Miami as soon as I finish what I came here for.”

“What? When are you leaving? Will you at least stay here for my wedding?”

“Of course, when is your wedding?”

“In two days.”

“Yes, that is why father and I are here,” Charles commented. Caroline asked, “what? I thought you two came to live here in New York.” Charles shook his head. “Father and I moved to the King manor in Atlanta.” Caroline was dumbfounded. Judging by the look on Caroline’s face Charles instantly knew why she was confused. “I guess they never told you, but father and Victor decided to build the manor after the incident. It is exactly how it was before it got burned down.”

Caroline looked at Roxy and asked, “did you know about this?” Roxy remained silent. “How am I only finding out about this now?”

“Caroline, when grandma died, you were not in a good place. You didn’t show it, but we knew how much you were suffering especially because you kept your emotions buried. Plus, you had been kidnapped the day after the funeral. We didn’t want to tell you just because we knew how much you cared about grandma-.”

“Charles, you are making me sound weaker than I am. It’s already in the past. Now, I am curious about how the manor turned out. Are the gun room and the wine cellar still there?” Charles took a second before responding. He knew Caroline was serious when she called him by his name. “Yes, the stable is there too, we got new horses. Maybe one day you could go there and show us your amazing dressage skills.” Caroline chuckled. “Yeah, maybe I will.”

After having lunch together, they spent some more time conversing. “Caroline, now that you are here, I would like you to be one of my bridesmaids. I was going to ask you to be my bridesmaid before, but I had no way of reaching you.”

“How many times do I have to apologize?” Roxy giggled. “It’s alright. I won’t hold a grudge against you. I just want you to know that the rehearsal dinner is tomorrow. Now that I have your phone, I will send you the details.”

“Alright, Roxy.” Caroline stood up from the table and hugged her cousins goodbye. As she hugged Roxy, she said, “best of wishes.”

“Thank you, Caroline.”

After that, Caroline returned to her company. She sat in front of her computer and resumed her work. It was not until late in the evening when Caroline finished her work for today. Joseph knocked on the door and stepped inside her office. He placed the iPad in front of her and said, “here are some maids I’ve found.” Caroline looked over the profiles and said, “could you choose one?” Joseph nodded. “I want the potential CEOs by tomorrow. I want to leave as soon as possible.”

“Yes, Ms. King.” Joseph bowed his head and left her office. Caroline let out a sigh and resumed her work. Caroline continued looking at the files on her computer until she found the source of all the problems. She saw that everything started going down south for the branch when she terminated the project with Liam’s company. She clicked her tongue. “The project with that asshole cost me more than I anticipated.”

Caroline snickered. “It’s alright. In a few days, this branch will continue to thrive.” Caroline resumed her work. She picked up her cellphone and made some phone calls. She continued her work until Joseph walked inside her office without knocking. “Ms. King, it’s time to leave.” Caroline looked up from the computer screen and chuckled. “You’ve gotten quite brave, assistant Young.”

“I apologize, Ms. King.” Caroline smiled. “There is no need to apologize.” Caroline stood up from her desk as she grabbed her black Chanel handbag. She walked out of her office as Joseph followed behind her.

When Caroline arrived at the penthouse, she sat on the couch in the living room as she ordered some food. As she waited for her meal to arrive, she called Taekyung through FaceTime. After the call finally went through, Taekyung said, “we were watching a movie.”

“Why were you watching a movie right now? They should be asleep right now.”

“If you knew that, why are you calling me right now? I know you weren’t calling me to talk to me.”

“I wanted to know if the twins were already asleep.” Taekyung countered, “well, you could have texted me-.”

“Taekyung, I know you. I know how you lose track of time when you are with the twins. Now, stop the movie and get them ready for bed.” Taekyung was about to say something when the voice of her little girl interrupted him. “Mommy, hi.”

“Mia, my little angel.” Mia took the phone from Taekyung’s hands and sat next to Ian. “Hi, mommy.” Caroline uttered, “aww. My little angels. Uncle Taekyung told me you were watching a movie. Shouldn’t you be asleep right now?” Both Mai and Ian flinched. They looked at each other and said, “good night, mommy.” Mia handed the phone to Taekyung as they made their way to their bedroom. Taekyung leaned back against the armchair as he said, “you are so mean. You have your kids traumatized they just left to go to their room.”

“Good. That means I have them well trained,” Caroline jested. “Well, since you decided to rain on our parade, I will go get the twins ready for bed. Bye, Caroline. I will call you tomorrow.”

“Alright, Taekyung.” Taekyung hung up the phone and at the same time, Caroline’s food arrived. Caroline received her food then she sat in front of the kitchen island to enjoy the delicious meal she ordered from Roxy’s restaurant.

When she finished eating, she went to her bedroom. She went to the bathroom to take a shower. After that, she got ready for bed. As soon as she tucked herself in her bed, she drifted off to sleep.

In Liam’s penthouse, Liam was walking up the stairs to the kitchen. In the dimly illuminated hallway, he found Rebecca about to open the door to the bedroom. He walked closer to her and gripped her wrist.

Halfway of pushing down the doorknob, Rebecca let go. Frightened by Liam’s sudden grip on her wrist. “Liam?”

“What do you think you are doing?”

“I was just trying to see what is inside there. This is the first time I’ve found it unlocked.” Liam coldly looked at her, sending goosebumps all over her body. “Liam, I have been living here for the past three years. I am your fiancée, Liam. What are you hiding in there? Why have you never let me go inside that room?”

Liam let go of her wrist and said, “Rebecca, you don’t need to know what is inside there.” He grabbed the key from his pocket and locked the door. “I don’t ever want to see you near this door.” Liam looked at the door and flashbacks from the times he was with Caroline clogged his thoughts. Rebecca left, leaving Liam alone while standing in front of the door.

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