“I started doing a bit of research into Smythe Enterprises, so that I would at least sound intelligent if your Vater asked me what I knew about it.”
That’s what Leo said before going on to say she wouldn’t like what he had found out. Camilla was confused, what could he have found out?
“What are you talking about Leo?” Camilla asked.
“It would seem that someone wants your Vater’s company and has been playing dirty to get it,” he told her.
“What? Since when? My father never said anything about the company being in trouble,” Camilla said.
“Sabotage, little one. That’s the kind of trouble the company is having. Late shipments, shipments never making it at all. Small things Camilla, but things that make a company look bad, and cause their stocks to drop. Soon, no one wants to invest in them, and the company goes bankrupt, or is bought out for little to nothing. Someone is trying to sink your Vater’s company, and from the looks of the shares, they are succeeding,” Leo told her.
“Oh,” she said. She had no words because her father had kept her in the dark about this.
“I’m guessing you didn’t know about it then?” Leo asked.
She shook her head. “No. Father never said a word about anything being wrong with the company but…”
“But that might explain why he was pushing me so hard to marry, or a least be ready to take over. Although, I don’t know what he thinks I could do to stop whatever is going on,” she told him softly.
“Fresh blood little one, even if it is just passing it to your child. Sometimes doing that will cause investors to give you another chance. This would help your Vater hold on until he could figure out who his enemy is,” Leo explained.
“Okay. So, what do we do?” She asked him.
The stewardess returned with breakfast, and Leo was quiet as she placed it before them.
After she was gone, he continued. “You and I take over. I have friends who can help us, and it won’t be long before we find out who is out to destroy your Vater and his company. For the most part, we’ll keep my name out of it. You will be the one in the spotlight, since you know how I feel about being there.”
She giggled a bit as she buttered her toast. “Yes, but it’s okay Leo. I still love you!”
“Good to know,” he murmured.
Then they ate in silence. After they were finished with breakfast, they decided they couldn’t do to much until they talked to her father. So, the discussion was tabled, at least for now.
Leo pulled out a bit of work he had promised Bruno he’d finished for him.
Camilla pulled out a book to read.
They then sat in companionable silence, enjoying each other’s company until the jet landed. Once they landed, they hurried off into the limo that waited for them.
Camilla had the driver take a scenic route, so she could point out a few things to Leo.
The flight had only taken two hours, so they had most of the day to do as they liked before meeting her parents the next evening.
“So, Leo, what shall we do for the rest of the day?”
He shrugged. “I don’t suppose it really matters much. Although, I was thinking we should look at the house, and see if we’re going to like it or not. It might not hurt to buy a bit of food stuff either,” he suggested. “I know it’s mostly furnished, but we might need things like towels, and maybe dishes.”
“Hm…I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re right,” she mused. “So, I say we swing by there, lose the limo, take inventory of what we need, and go shopping!”
Leo kissed her. “Excellent idea little one.”
So, that was how they spent the rest of the day.
“When are we supposed to meet up with you parents Camilla?” Leo asked.
Stepping out of the shower and wrapping up in a towel, Camilla came out of the bathroom.
“They want us to come for dinner. Mother said that father has some things to talk to me about though. So, she asked that we come early. I think she said Mr. and Mrs. Franklin, along with their son Tim, are going to be there. Although, I’m not exactly sure why that is,” she told him.
Leo frowned a bit but nodded. “I was hoping for now it would be just your parents.”
“Yes, me too. The very fact that Mr. Franklin is going to be there after what you told me has me concerned,” she told him as she began to dress.
“Mr. Franklin is…kind of my father’s partner I guess. I’m not really sure his exact roll in the company, but he’s been there forever, and they make most of the decisions together,” she said.
Leo looked thoughtful. “Hm…?”
He shrugged and winked. “Just hm…!”
Giggling because she knew he was trying to lighten the moment, she walked over and hugged him. “I love you Leo!”
“I love you too little one,” he returned, then pulled her in for a long, hot kiss!
When they broke apart, he said, “How about we go buy a new bed to use until mine gets here? I don’t like this one.”
She looked over at the bed. “But, the frame looks new, the mattress was new, and it was comfortable.”
Leo shook his head. “It isn’t high enough.”
She laughed. “High enough? At least I don’t have to get a running start to get into it like the one you’re having sent here from your house!”
“That may be true but think of all the fun we had with me standing next to my bed, you spread out in front of me…” his voice trailed off as he kissed down her neck and nipped at her mark. “…like an all you can eat buffet!”
She groaned as his nipping began to arouse her along with the memories he brought to her mind. “Ah…Leo…maybe you’re right. Let’s get a new bed, later though, much…ah, much later!”
She then began to unbutton his shirt as he backed her toward the bed.
Bed buying would have to wait until another day!
Later that evening Camilla and Leo walked hand in hand toward her parent’s large home. It was in one of the more upscale and fancy neighborhoods that if Camilla was honest with herself she had never been comfortable in.
Camilla, despite her moneyed background, didn’t act rich, and had never flaunted it. She didn’t run with the rich kids at school.
In fact, her best friend Shelly didn’t have two pennies to rub together, and they were the best of pals all through school. Camilla hadn’t cared though that Shelly didn’t have money and hung out with her all the time. Maybe that was why in school the rich had made their number one priority to mess with her.
Reaching the front door, Camila took a deep breath and opened it. “Here goes nothing.”
Leo squeezed her hand, and they stepped inside.
“Mother, father, I’m home!” She called out heard her voice echo in the large hallway.
“Camilla!” Her mother exclaimed as she almost ran down the staircase on Camilla’s right. When she reached the bottom, she pulled Camilla into her arms with a happy cry. “Oh, my sweet little girl! I have missed you so much, and I’m so happy your home!” She pulled back then, holding Camilla at arm’s length. “Let me get a look at…Camilla! When did you get a tattoo?”
Camilla brought her hand up, covering it. “Um…?”
Her mother shook her head. “No use to hide it dear. It’s not like you can take it off now. I’m just curious as to why?”
Camilla smiled, “Because I wanted too. It’s special mother, I don’t know how to explain it to you exactly, but it is.”
“My little girl is all grown up, and getting tattoo’s,” Mother moaned.
Camilla laughed as she hugged her mother again and kissed her cheek. “I’m not so little anymore mother. I’m almost thirty and married.”
Camilla jerked as she heard her father yell from somewhere behind her mother. She thought she heard Leo hiss right after and moved from her mother to his side to calm him. “Mother, you didn’t tell him?”
“I’m sorry dear, I know I should have but…” Mother’s voice trailed off.
Father marched forward, his face red in fury. “You knew she was married?”
“Well, yes,” Mother said as she turned to face her husband. “I’m sorry…”
Father cut her off. “I know you went off to find you so called soulmate Camilla, but to already have married a man?”
“Yes, father, I did marry him. He loves me, and I love him. So, why wait?” Camilla asked him calmly from where she stood by Leo. She took his hand and said, “Father, mother, I would like you to meet my husband Leo Vogel. Leo, this is my father Willard, and my mother Maryanne.”
Camilla saw her father take a deep breath to calm himself. Then he put out his hand for Leo to shake.
“I would say it is nice to meet you Leo, but I’m in a bit of shock right now,” Father said with a sigh. “I was not expecting Camilla to bring a man home, much less a husband, and it has put a bit of a kink in this evening.”
Leo shook father’s hand, even as he spoke. “Oh, and why is it such a shock sir? I believe she told you she was going to find me. Why has it put a kink in the evening, it should be a time for celebration since Camilla found what she was looking for.”
Father shook his head. “Let us go and be seated. I think we need to talk.”
So, walking into the sitting room, everyone but father took a seat. He began to pace. When he finally stopped, he turned and asked, “I suppose I should ask first if you know anything about who I am?”
“Ja, I do. I did a bit of research before Camilla and I came here. I know about you from Camilla, but I also know what is happening to you company,” Leo replied.
Father chuckled. “Well, if you know about my company, and you’re still here, I can safely assume you aren’t after my daughter for her money.”
“Nein. I am not after your daughter’s money because I have plenty of my own. I’m with her because I love her,” Leo answered.
Father nodded and began to pace again. “I don’t know who is out to ruin me, but they are just about to send me under. It was bad when Camilla left, but after she left it was like all-out war on me.”
Camilla watched her father rub his face tiredly and realized how much he seemed to have aged since she’d left. She told him softly, “Father, Leo and I will help you anyway we can.”
Father turned and smiled at her. “I know you will sweetheart. There’s something I need to tell you thought that I probably should have told you a long time ago. Tim came to me, I guess it’s been almost a year now, and said he was going to court you. I felt like laughing him out of the room because I knew you had no interest in him. He seemed so sincere thought that I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.”
Camilla frowned. “He never said anything to me. I mean, I would see him around, and he took me to dinner a couple of times. We’ve always been friends, of a sort anyway, so I never…”
“In other words, he hasn’t shown more interest in you lately, or more than before anyway?”
Camilla shook her head. “No, at least I don’t think so. Then again, I had my mind on…”
“On what?” Mother piped up then to ask.
“Ah…nothing,” Camilla muttered.
She saw Leo smirk, and hit him in the ribs with her elbow.
“I think what she’s really saying is that even if he had, she had her head in the clouds to the point she never really saw it,” Mother said then with a knowing look.
Camilla felt her face flush because she knew her mother was right.
“The thing is, I invited him and his parents for dinner,” Father admitted.
“Does Mr. Franklin know about the company?” Camila asked.
“Yes, and he’s as puzzled as I am. You know, he has a thirty percent share in the company, right?” Father asked.
Leo spoke then and said, “If you don’t mind my asking sir, how many shares are in Camilla’s name?”
“Thirty percent, and I own the remaining forty. I planned to give those to Camilla on her thirtieth birthday, is she wasn’t married by then,” Father informed Leo.
“And if she was?” Leo asked.
Father was silent for a moment. “On her thirtieth birthday, my shares still become hers. As her husband, you would get her shares then.”
Leo nodded. “Instead, how about you leave them all in her name? When we have children, we can sign stocks over to the oldest, or more than one of them which ever Camilla prefers.”
“Don’t you want your share?” Father asked.
“Nein, I don’t. I will help with the company the best I can, but I prefer to stay in the shadows leaving my name unknown. I don’t do well with crowds, or…people for that matter,” Leo concluded.
“Alright then. We’ll put it in Camilla’s name if that is what you both wish,” Father said as he looked at Camilla.
“Yes father. Unless you want to keep your shares for now, and that is fine with me also,” Camilla told him.
Father opened his mouth to speak, just as the doorbell rang. “That will be the Franklins.”
Mother went to open the door and let them in.
Tim came into the room first and smiled. “Camilla! Your home, I’ve missed you.”
Standing, Camilla gave him a hug. “Yeah, I am.
“So, where did you go?” Mr. Franklin asked as he stepped into the room.
Giving him and his wife a hug, Camilla replied, “I actually just got in my car and drove. I had no real destination in mind, but I ended up in Florida, that where I met Leo.”
Mr. Franklin turned to Leo, and he stood up to shake hands.
“It’s nice to meet you Leo,” Mr. Franklin said. “I’m Walter Franklin, longtime friend of Willard here.”
“Hello sir, it is nice to meet you,” Leo said.
Mrs. Franklin spoke then. “Do I detect an accent? It doesn’t sound much like a southern one.”
“Nein. My family comes from Germany,” Leo answered politely.
A smile lit Mrs. Franklin’s face as she spoke again. “Really? How did you come to be in Florida then?”
Leo gave her a smile. “We lived in California first, but Mutter became tired of the earthquakes and didn’t want to live somewhere cold. My youngest Bruder, Felix, said he had heard there were a lot of lovely ladies to be found in Florida. Mutter decided that was as good a place as any to go then, since she’s been trying for years to unload her four unmarried sons.”
“Four boys, that poor woman!” Mrs. Franklin exclaimed with a laugh. “So, has she been able to marry some of her sons off there?”
“Three of them. Myself, and my Bruders Falco and Tobias,” Leo replied.
Mr. Franklin raised an eyebrow then, and glance over at his own son.
Following his gaze, Camilla looked over at Tim.
Tim’s face was red in anger.
“Oh,” Mrs. Franklin said softly. “You and Camilla are married?”
“Ja, we are,” Leo said as he gave Tim an assessing look.
Mother cleared her throat. “Time to eat.”
So, everyone headed for the dining room behind her, through after that bombshell, Camilla wasn’t sure anyone would be hungry.
Camilla sighed. Talk about awkward!