Chapter 67 Dying to Try Them
That same day, Caroline was peacefully sleeping when Mia and Ian walked inside of her bedroom to wake her up. They stood by each side of the bed and got on the bed. Mia leaned in and pressed a peck on her forehead. “Mommy, wake up,” Mia said in her sweet little voice.
Ian pressed a peck on her cheek and followed up, “mommy, wake up.” She smiled and slowly opened her eyes. She sat up and pulled them both into a hug. She kissed them both on the cheek and said, “good morning, my little angels.”
“Good morning, mommy,” they responded in harmony. Caroline smiled and said, “today mommy will not go to work, alright?” They both nodded. “We will play all day!” Mia exclaimed. Caroline nodded. “I will get dressed. Go downstairs for breakfast, okay?” They nodded and jumped off the bed.
Ian grabbed Mia’s hand and they walked out of the bedroom whilst holding hands. Caroline got up from the bed and went to her bathroom. After doing her morning routine, she walked inside her closet, looking for something to wear. She looked at her sports clothes and remembered she had not gone to the gym in a few days. She then promised herself she would go later in the evening.
Caroline got dressed in a black blouse with a deep V-cut and white thin vertical lines and bell sleeves. She also put on some mini black shorts accompanied by a black Gucci belt. She finished off her outfit with some black high heel wedges. She tied her beautiful long hair into a high ponytail and did put on some accessories before walking out of her bedroom.
Caroline walked down to the terrace, where her family gathered to have brunch. Caroline took a sit and Elizabeth announced, “I have invited Persephone to have brunch with us. She should be arriving soon.”
When Persephone arrived, they greeted her and then enjoyed brunch together. Caroline and Persephone walked to the living room after having brunch, where they found the servants decorating the mansion with Christmas decorations along with the sound of Christmas music accompanied by the refreshing scent of the pine tree. Caroline grabbed two red ornaments from a nearby box and handed them to the twins. She grabbed another ornament and handed it to Achilles. “Go hang them on the tree.”
The kids carefully placed the fragile ornaments on the tree. The maids looked at Caroline and she spoke, “we will take it from here. Go decorate the staircase.” The maids nodded and left the living room. Caroline crouched down again to grab two other ornaments. She handed one ornament to Persephone as she commented, “isn’t Christmas the best holiday?”
“In some aspect, yes. In others, no.” Caroline chuckled and then said, “of course, there is more work, but I love to spend my time with the twins when they are not in school. Plus, I make the most profit at this time of the year.” Persephone snickered as she stepped closer to the Christmas tree. She placed the ornament on the tree and then Caroline. They then sat down on the couch, watching the kids continue to decorate the tree.
All the servants were busy today. They all had to decorate the mansion with Christmas decorations. The butler walked around with his silver pocket watch in hand, making sure everything was running smoothly and in time.
The chefs were in a hurry to bake some Christmas cookies before Elizabeth took over the kitchen. They had to have everything backed, all baking supplies washed, and the kitchen organized and cleaned.
By the time Caroline and Persephone finished helping the children decorate what was left of the Christmas tree, Caroline sent them to swim in the pool as the nanny watched them. Then, Elizabeth stepped inside the living room and grabbed both Caroline’s and Persephone’s wrists, and took them to the kitchen.
They walked inside the kitchen, where Elizabeth had Mark, Taekyung, and Charles lined up by the side of the kitchen. “What are we doing here?” Persephone asked. “You’re becoming one of my mom’s slaves,” Mark responded.
“What?” Persephone uttered after nervously laughing. “He’s right,” Taekyung followed up. Charles clicked his tongue and said, “it shouldn’t be that bad.” Elizabeth looked around the kitchen and spoke, “Mark, you are on washing duty. The leaves are already in the sink.” Mark whined, “why can’t I do something else?”
“Because you can’t cook,” Caroline countered. “Caroline, you will take care of the meat.” Caroline let out a sigh. “Taekyung, you will cook the chicken.” He nodded. Elizabeth looked and Charles and added, “you will be on tying duty. So, for now, you are dismissed.”
“What about me?” Persephone asked. “You and I are going to supervise them. Plus making the dough.” Elizabeth met eyes with everyone in the kitchen and added, “get to work. Go on.”
As everyone completed their tasks, Persephone looked around, and then she had to cut the vegetables and arrange the other fillings for the hallacas. Charles spent most of the time eating the cookies the chefs had backed for the children as he walked around the kitchen. After everything was ready, they gathered all the ingredients in the ginormous kitchen island. “So, do you do this laborious cooking every year?” Persephone asked.
They all nodded, and Mark commented, “it’s a waste of time, really. All we need to do is buy them and we don’t have to go through all of this.”
“You’re such a crybaby, Mark,” Caroline spoke, “you know this is tradition”
“You should be grateful you only do some part of the work. Your abuela used to do this all by herself the night before Christmas eve.” Mark rolled his eyes and Taekyung leaned closer to him. He elbowed Mark and showed him a playful smile, making Mark smile faintly.
Elizabeth looked at Persephone and said, “I will show you how to prepare it, dear. First, you grab a banana leaf, and you place it in front of you, like so. Next, you take the spoon and place some of the dough on the leaf. You spread the dough and then you grab some of the chicken and meat Caroline and Taekyung prepared.”
Persephone looked up at Taekyung and asked, “you know how to make the entire recipe?” Taekyung nodded. I have been living here for four years. It would be a shame to not know how to prepare this traditional Venezuelan dish.” Then, Persephone looked back at the instructions Elizabeth was giving her.
“Then, you will continue adding the decorations. You will add the onion rings, red pepper, raisins, caper bush, and olives. Now, we close it up and add another leaf. Once it looks like this, almost like a gift, you give it to Charles. He will be in charge of wrapping it.” Persephone nodded and then they all continued the laborious job.
When they were finally finished, wrapping all the hallacas and tying them, Elizabeth made sure to put them all to boil in a large pot. After, she placed the hallacas to the side, waiting for them to cool down before placing them into the freezer. “So, when do we get to eat this?” Persephone asked.
“The twenty-fourth,” Caroline responded. “What? I thought this was for today.” Mark shook his head. “Don’t worry it’s not that far from now.”
“I was dying to try them. We did not just spend eight hours cooking for nothing.”
“Unfortunately, you will have to wait. It’s part of our tradition to only eat them on Christmas eve-.” Caroline interrupted Taekyung’s explanation to add, “which would be considered Christmas day in Venezuela.”
“I admire how you’ve decided to continue your culture. Despite the long time you’ve lived here,” Persephone said to Elizabeth. Elizabeth smiled and then Caroline commented, “of course, this used to be more fun. We used to make the hallacas at night and we would drink and joke around, enjoy each other’s company, but last year Mark got drunk, he woke up the twins, and almost burned down the house, so this year, we’ve decided to do it during the day, without alcohol, sadly.”
After they looked around the messy kitchen, they decided to make their way out to the kitchen to let the servants clean up their mess. Caroline and Persephone walked out to the pool where they found the nanny trying to get the children to go upstairs to take a bath.
Caroline called the children’s names and they instantly listened to them. She grabbed a nearby towel and wrapped it around Ian. She then wrapped a towel around Mia as Persephone did the same for Achilles. Caroline looked at the nanny and said, “we will go give them a bath. Please, prepare some snacks for them.” Louisa nodded and made her way to the kitchen.
“Mommy, I’m hungry,” said Mia as they walked inside the mansion. “I know, Mia. We spent this entire time cooking for Christmas that we forgot about lunch today.” Caroline and Persephone took the kids up to their room and gave them a bath. They took them down to the living room, where they had their snack and then the three of them fell asleep in the living room.
After watching the three toddlers cuddling together, Caroline and Persephone went to the movie theater to watch a movie. Caroline had taken Brownie out of her cage and took her into the theater to accompany her.
After watching a movie, lunch was finally ready. Caroline and Persephone went to the living room to wake up the children from their slumber, but to their surprise, Charles had already woken them up and he had been playing around with them in the living room. The two women stood beside each other with a smile from ear to ear, watching Charles spending some quality time with the children.
“You would be a great sitter,” Caroline commented, “should I fire Louisa and hire you instead?” Charles pretended to think it over for a moment and then said, “how about... No.” Caroline chuckled and said, “that’s fine. It’s time for lunch.”
In the CEO office of the Sabbatini Group, Liam was in the middle of signing a document when Marcus knocked on the door. He went inside the office and stepped closer to his desk. “Mr. Sabbatini, I was not able to see her.”
“Why was she in the middle of a meeting?” Marcus shook his head, “Chairwoman King’s assistant told me she did not go to the office today.”
“That’s weird,” Liam commented. “Well, I found out she does not go to work on the weekends.” After hearing that, Liam made the connection that she was probably spending time with the twins.
Because he never knew Caroline lived in Miami, he was never able to find out her schedule. He always knew what she would do when she was traveling, but her never knew what she was up to when she was in Miami. “I was able to leave the gifts with her assistant.”
Liam nodded and responded, “that’s fine.” Marcus then added, “Ms. King seems to be working on a new project. If this new project launches, we will not be able to surpass her.” Liam nodded. “I am aware. I want you to find out what she is working on. We cannot let C&K be above us any longer.” Marcus nodded. He then left Liam’s office and got back to work.
Liam opened the cabinet on his desk to his right. He grabbed a cigar that rested inside of the cabinet. He cut the head of the cigar with the cigar cutter and lit it. He took a puff of the cigar as he thought of how to call off his engagement with Rebecca without harming Noah in any way. Liam took out his cellphone and called his lawyer and friend, Samuel.
Liam planned to talk about the custody of Noah with Samuel. He stood up from the chair and walked to the floor-to-ceiling window, puffing the cigar between his fingers. When he finished talking with Samuel, he called a friend he had made over the years.