“Go in!” he said and I held myself from asking why me first? Turning the door open I walked in and was about to look back at Zachary whether he is coming or not when my eyes fell on the person who was sitting on the sofa and stood up as soon as he saw me.
“Dad?” I heard my voice croaking at the end and tears fell down my cheeks when he walked up to me with his arms open for me.
“Oh, my sweetheart!” he said as I ran into his arms and he embraced me lovingly pulling me up to him.
“Dad!” I sobbed into his chest while he rubbed my back occasionally patting on my head.
“How are you my princess?” he cooed into my ear. That made me cry even harder. It’s been so long since I had heard him. I have missed him terribly.
“Juliette,” he said as I withdrew back and he wiped the tears affectionately. I looked up at him. He seemed to grow older from the last time I saw him. He didn’t even dye those gray hair from the sides, which is something new because he never loved seeing those gray hair on his head.
“Mom? Where is mom?” my eyes searched for my mom inside the room. I thought if dad was here then mom and Jace must be here too. But I didn’t see them.
“Dad where is Jace, Mom?” I asked gripping his suit while he nodded his head no which immediately drowned me into disappointment.
“Why?” I cried bobbing my head disappointed.
“Don’t worry darling, they will be here soon. I wanted to meet you so I came here as quickly as I could. They will be here soon” he said as he cupped my cheek and smiled down at me.
That reminded me what had happened previously. What were the conditions that made me; we separated away from each other. My marriage, Nicholas, Zachary. Realization hit me and I looked back at Zachary who stood near the door with his hands inside his pocket. I turned back to dad and whispered: “Did Zachary do something with them?” I referred mom and Jace.
Dad looked taken aback for a moment but then he looked to where Zachary was standing and then back at me.
“Dear Mr. Zachary can never hurt us or our family” dad said smiling down at me. That confused me. Why would he not hurt my family?
“How are you so sure? What is going on?” I asked when we heard a clearing of a throat.
“I can hear everything you know?” Zachary said and I looked back at him biting down on my lips. I thought I was whispering. How can he still hear? Has he got the ears of a dog? No wonder he is a dog.
“It’s great to know what you think of me!” he said sarcastically rolling his eyes.
“Did I say out loud?” I questioned myself to which dad gave the answer “Yes dear! You did!”
“It’s great to have here Mr. Swanson. Thank you for coming on short notice” Zachary said as he walked forward and both of them shook their hands while I stood in the middle looking at them as if they were aliens.
What’s going on?
“Thank You for taking care of my daughter,” dad said and that made me snap my head towards his direction. I looked back at Zachary to find him already looking at me.
“Is there something that you need to clarify dad?” I asked looking at Zachary. He narrowed his eyes at me and asked dad and me to take a seat on the office couch.
We took a seat with dad right next to me on while Zachary chose to seat across me on the single sofa.
“I know you two are hiding something from me, and I don’t like it. Dad!” I turned to him “Please! Tell me, what’s going on? I am fed up of being in dark. These past few days have been very hard for me. I have been seeing the other side of my life and I am not really liking it. Dad do you know, Emmett is alive! He betrayed me. He is not the person with whom I was in love and even his identity was not true. He was playing with me, with my sentiments and emotions. Dad! He betrayed me. Do you know who he is? He told me that his name is not Emmett bu-“ dad cut me off in the middle “But Nicholas Greer” dad completed while I sat there with my mouth wide open.
“Y-You knew?” I asked slowly to which he replied by nodding ‘yes.’
“Wow!” I exclaimed rubbing my face with my palms.
“From when?” I questioned.
“From the beginning!” he replied. I turned toward him in disbelief.
“What? From the beginning?” I questioned and he shifted in his position nodding positively.
“Wh- What?” I exclaimed in disbelief. “Wow, dad! Just wow! Then why did you not tell me about this? And I just don’t understand what did I ever do to be involved in all this. Why does Em- I mean Nicholas wants to kill me? Why did he hide his identity and how do you know his real his identity? Why is Zachary involved in all this and why am I kept in the dark?” I snapped rudely at dad.
He sighed and looked down.
“Juliette!” Zachary called and I looked at him. “He is here to clarify all these to you. Easy there!” he narrowed his eyes whilst I glared back at him.
Does he think himself as my father?
“Okay! I’m sorry dad!” I said sighing as I looked back dad. I felt guilty for snapping at him. Look at him, he came all this way to me and what did I do? So ungrateful of me.
“It’s okay princess. I understand what you are going through but please trust me. I was restrained from telling you the truth. I wanted to tell you from the beginning that that guy is not good for you, not only because I knew his true identity but also because he threatened me that he would hurt you and Jace if I told you about him.
“What! But why?” I questioned not believing what dad unveiled before me.
“That is why I am here to tell you everything. Okay? But before that please promise me that you will hear until the end and you won’t judge me until I reach the end” dad said and suddenly anxiety began to build up inside me.
“Why does he want me to make a promise like that? It must be really something that I guess I wouldn’t like and I think he knows it. This is the reason he wants me to make a promise to him?” I wondered and nodded my head agreeing that I will listen till the end. But I didn’t make any promise because I knew I could break them if I didn’t like what he was going to present before me.
“Okay! So it’s a big story” he said as he rubbed his palms on his pants probably because he was nervous. Whenever my dad was nervous he would have his palms all sweaty and he would always rub it on his pants which my mom hated the most.
“Tell me, dad!” I asked slowly encouraging him to tell.
“So, do you remember how we became so wealthy all of a sudden?” he said and I gave him an astonished look.
“What? I mean yes. It was because you worked hard for our family and-“ he cut me off.
“The story begins from here. It is not what you think! I did something to reach this position and I am really ashamed of it!” he said and he cupped his face hiding his face from me.
That didn’t really help me. My nerves tensed up and I looked back at Zachary. He sat calmly and stared between us and then averted his gaze away from.
Not a help!
“Dad!” I reached forward and held his hands removing it from his face. Though I was the one who was in the state of passing out any second, still I compromised with myself for sake of my father and ensured him that I was there and I will not judge him.
“I got myself into this mafia world,” he said and suck in my breath in complete disbelief.
“Believe me, Juliette! I did all this for you!” he cupped my face. “For your mother, for Jace, for our family! Because we were in a very condition that time. We were broke and we would have ended up in the gutter if I did consider getting myself involved in this mafia business!” he said lowering his head and I nodded agreeing with him.
“I knew how much you hated crime and criminals. I never wanted to see those hateful eyes that you always had for those criminals for me. This is why I hid it from you and Jace” he finished and I withdrew my hands from him. He looked at me as if he was hurt by my actions. But I reassured him that I was not angry by putting one of my hand back on his. A small smile appeared on his face by my action and he held my hand tightly assured.
“So, mom knew everything?” I asked and he nodded.
“Your mom also hated all this but she chose to compromise for her family,” he said and I nodded.
“Then we were back in the society. We were rich, powerful but people didn’t really knew our true identity. I made sure nobody found out who I was. I made sure that you and Jace have a normal life away from all this crime. But you know that phrase ‘Avarice is root of all evils’ I became greedy. I wanted to earn more money and because of that I did a mistake. That is when I met a person named James who was in this mafia business. He was known for selling all types of illegal drugs. We became partners and we earned lots of money” I exhaled out air and looked up to the ceiling while he continued.
“We were always in profit until James betrayed me,” he said and that made me look back at him.
“He sold some important weapons without me knowing and to top of that he had stolen it from a powerful mafia don. That don got to know all this and they captured James but James put all the blame on me. He said that he did that because I had ordered him to do that. He said that he was working under me and I was his boss. He lied to them to save his life putting mine in danger. The don’s name was Vito. He would have killed me that day but I remember one of his men coming up to him and whispering something to him about me. All of a sudden, I saw a new phase of my life. The man claimed that he did a background check on me and my family. He came to know about my dad and your grandfather, Joshua Sullivan had left billions on his will in your name. In your name Juliette” dad held me by my arms “In your name” he smiled.
“What?” I asked in disbelief.
“Grandpa?” I questioned.
I don’t even remember him. He died when I was merely three or four years old because of Cancer. Jace was not even born at that time and he never really got to meet our grandfather.
“Yes! All of a sudden I came to know that father was also into mafia when he was young and he had saved billions. That just blew my mind. Trust me, I didn’t have any idea about all these things unless that man brought this out. How he even came to know I don’t know but as you were my daughter and the only grandchild to my father that time, he had signed all his possessions to your name. I came to know about his will and came to know that you would be the owner of all his possessions once you turned twenty-one.”
I leaned back against the couch in disbelief. Is there anything more surprising left?
“Vito came to know about this too and he was astonished that I didn’t have any idea about all this. Surprisingly, he even got to know about the betrayal. He killed James for playing with him before me. He killed him before me because he wanted to plant fear inside me for him. All of a sudden he freed me. He told me that I can go enjoy my life with my family.”
“I was confused but happy that I was walking alive from his cage. I came back to our family and took a decision that I would give up on mafia. I had got to know that the mafia world was not meant for me. I didn’t belong there. It seems as if father didn’t really have any trust on me so, he signed all his will on your name Juliette. I thought I have earned enough to lead a happy life away from crime and criminals but everything fell into pieces the day you brought Nicholas home referring him as your boyfriend. You kept on calling him Emmett when I was sure that I had seen him somewhere beforehand. So, one day he himself told me the truth. That his name was Nicholas not Emmett and he wants that money that my father has left on your name. Because according to the will, Juliette could only pass the will to her husband after the age of thirty. I don’t understand my father had planned such a will but it was clear that Nicholas wanted the money and he would go up to any extent to get it. But for that he needed to marry you and wait until you reach thirty for him to get the money. But there was a twist!” dad said and I stared at him waiting for him to complete.
“The twist was the will had this clause which said: ‘If something happened to the will holder, her/his possessions will automatically be given to the one on whom the will holder has made the nominee.’ It maybe her husband, father, mother, brother but only relative to the will holder.”
“So, it was clear that Nicholas wanted the money and only because of that he had planned to marry you and after marriage he planned to get the possessions to himself. I stood against this. I threatened him that I will unveil his identity to you. Do you who stood up for him and threatened to kill my family? It was his father. I came to know that Vito was his father. Vito Greer was Nicholas Greer’s father and all this was his plans to get the money. He threatened that he would kill Jace and your mom Jessica if I dared to open my mouth before you. I was helpless! I am sorry Juliette” tears fell from his eyes as he lowered his head leaving my hand and he wiped his tears.
“Dad!” I said slowly.
“You had no idea about what was going on and that is when all of a sudden you came up to me telling me that Emmett proposed you and you two decided to get married. I was devastated. I was letting it happen. Everything was before me but I couldn’t do anything. I was failing from saving my own daughter” he sobbed and tears fell down from my eyes. I couldn’t believe how stupid I was. How did I even fall in love with a fake person? Dad had to go through all this because of me.
“I wanted to save you. I wanted to save my whole family desperately and you know ‘A drowning man will clutch at a straw’ I did that to save mine and my family” he said and that strike me.
“Bu- But why did Emmett chose to hide his identity from me? Why did he not tell me his real name? It was not as if I knew him so why Emmett over Nicholas?” I asked the question which has been nagging me from the beginning.
“He wasn’t hiding his identity from you,” dad said and that made me even more confused than I already was.
“Then from whom was he hiding?” I asked and looked behind me towards Zachary.
“This is when Mr. Zachary enters,” he said and I looked back at Zachary to find him filling a glass of water from the jug for himself. He didn’t even look at us. I turned back to dad and looked at him confused.
“My my sources, I got know that Nicholas was a married man,” dad said and that gave me a mini heart attack.
“What?” I stood up from my seat in anger.
“Juliette! Listen to me, dear. Please sit down” dad said and took me some minutes to calm myself before I sat back on the couch.
“Not only married but he even killed his pregnant wife,” dad said in rage and something strikes my mind.
That reminded me of those conversations of Zachary’s men which I overheard beforehand when I was trying to escape.
“His wife is Zachary’s sister,” I said slowly and we heard a loud crash and I looked back to find the jug of water on the ground. Zachary threw it angrily on the ground and rubbed his face.
“Excuse me!” he said as he came back and took a seat back on the sofa.
I was just going to open my mouth when dad interfered continuing “So, I got to know that he was hiding his identity from Mr. Zachary Sullivan and Mr. Zachary was in search of him because he had killed his sister. That was my ‘A drowning man clutches a straw.’ I got in contact with him and told everything about Nicholas. But the problem was Vito. Vito is the mastermind in all this. He was the one after whom Mr. Zachary was. It was his plans to kill his own daughter-of-law. I don’t know why he planned to kill her and he used his own son a pawn. Nicholas was just a pawn in this game. All Vito wanted was money. He wanted it from you, Mr. Zachary’s sister. And we knew that he would go to any extent to get the money. For that we, Mr. Zachary and I made a plan. The plan had you getting married to Mr. Zachary. We had a deal that until Vito and Nicholas is taken care of and out of the game, we would protect you. Because Mr. Zachary wanted Vito and Vito wanted you. In order to reach Vito it was necessary for you to be with him. If you got married to Mr. Zachary your will and life is saved. So, that’s what we di-“ I cut him off this time.
“So everything was an act? The marriage and being held away from home was a plan?” I asked o which dad nodded a ‘yes’ slowly.
“We had a deal, Juliette! Don’t worry!” dad said all of a sudden his face lit up.
“Deal?” I asked.
“Mr. Zachary has promised that he would protect you from Vito and Nicholas and he will even end this marriage once they are out of this game” dad finished and looked at Zachary smiling at him.
“End this marriage” I muttered to myself.
“Oh, Juliette I know this is all messed up but trust me Mr. Zachary will protect you because we have a deal. I know you don’t have any wish to stay in this marriage and neither Mr. Zachary has any wish for the same. He will free you after Vito is in his hands” dad said and I stared at him blankly.
What is wrong with me?
“I know this is hard for you but princess please let us take care of you. Please hold up for more days until Vito is captured. He will no longer be able to hurt our family” dad said while I sat there quietly.
“What do you say? Juliette? Say something!” dad said squeezing my hand.
“What will I say? You both have made every decision by yourself and we have reached this far. Do whatever is appropriate” I said as I got up from the seat and walked across the room to the window.
“Juli-“ dad was cut off by Zachary.
“Mr. Swason! I think it is enough for today. You traveled all this way here. You need rest. Let Cosmina take you to the penthouse where you could take some rest and you can join us in our house when Mrs. Swanson and Mr. Jace arrives” Zachary told him and I heard when he dialed Cosmina. Their conversation didn’t reach my ears as I was busy sorting out the wrong pieces of my filthy life. I stood there looking out of the glass window. Tears spill down my eyes like a stream. I cursed for having such a fate.
All of a sudden I came to know that my dead grandfather has left a will on my name, and the money is wanted by my ex-fake fiancé. My so called present husband whom I thought until yesterday is the one who is going to hurt me came out to be the one who has always tried to protect me. My own father had secrets from me and me, I am so stupid to fall head over heels with a fake greedy person.
I am the sole reason of my downfall. Nobody is to be blamed for it. It all happened because of me. How could I be so blind in love that I didn’t even notice the worried face of my father and the greedy face of my lover?
I guess this is life and my marriage is just a business deal.