Perfect Illusion

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Chapter 10: I Can Ruin You

Daniel's Point of View...

Daniel picks up his father’s lamp and smashes it against the table, sending millions of shards plummeting to the ground.

He stares at the destruction he has made, completely out of breath. Beads of sweat cling unto the sides of his face and drenching his T-shirt. Blowing out a shaky breath, he slowly slumps unto the chair, his face hot red from fury.

He has never been this angry before.

Well...

There is that time with the stupid waitress at Basil Kitchen two months ago.

The waitress that finally has a name.

Alexandria.

He clenches his fists tightly.

He can’t believe that he has to enter an arranged engagement with her. Seriously, has his dad gone that low just to save Daniel’s reputation?

Daniel knows he has been a major pain in his stepfather’s ass these two and a half years ever since his mother died. His life had spiralled out of control when he got the call that his mother had passed in her sleep in the hospital bed. At least she didn’t die in pain. Even though Daniel knew her death was imminent, he still couldn’t grasp the idea that the only person who had stood by him and taken care of him was... gone.

Just like that.

His life just went downhill from there. All the booze and women helped numb a little bit of his loss. It helped him to forget about her, forget about the fact that now he is forced to live with the man that she re-married, the man who hates Daniel but still needs him. Harry Kerrington never cared for Daniel, but when he realized that he could be useful to him when he was an adult, well, he would never let this good of an opportunity come to pass. Harry needs an heir to his company, but that proved difficult seeing as how he hadn’t any children with the previous women he married.

And being the businessman he is, he never trusts anyone.

Except family.

So Harry offered Daniel a proposition. That he would continue to support Daniel until he is an adult in exchange for him to take his place as the company’s CEO. Of course, even when Daniel is head of the company, Harry will still control him from the sidelines, making sure that he wouldn’t fuck up.

Daniel laughs at his. He will always find a way to fuck up. One way or another. It’s an accidental habit of his.

He thinks of his engagement with Alex. Harry has really done it this time.

A fake engagement.

Wait till the press gets a hold of this. His stepfather and his little empire will be screwed.

He knows he can’t say a word about this arranged engagement. But it will be fun to see the look on his father’s face if it leaks out to the media.

No. He can’t.

But he should.

It will be payback for everything he has done to Daniel...

“Daniel!” The all too familiar voice echoes through their house.

Speak of the devil.

“Where are you?”

He doesn’t reply. But his stepfather finds him anyway.

Harry Kerrington stands at the door, his hands folded and his face forms into a snarl when he sees what Daniel has done to the lamp.

“What did you do?” His stepfather raises his voice.

Daniel flinches.

Harry walks over to where the lamp shattered and picks up a long shard of glass among the other pieces scattered all over the floor. He examines the glass in his hand, focusing on the sharp tip of it.

He laughs.

“You know this shard of glass reminds me of the same one in Basil Kitchen when the girl dropped the champagne bottle after pouring its contents over you?” He chuckles darkly again.

All colour bleeds out of Daniel’s face.

“Yeah. I was there the morning after to clean up the mess you made.” Harry grits his teeth.

“How did you know about... that?” Daniel has the nerve to ask. “I made sure the whole incident didn’t make it to the press. I even went through hell scouring the internet for any footage of news about it and removing it-”

“You are a fool to think I wouldn’t know about it,” Harry releases the shard of glass to the floor. “You can’t hide it from me. I have eyes and ears everywhere. I know all about your escapades in that restaurant. I know that that girl humiliated you in front of everyone. I know that you have this hatred inside of you ever since she did that, and you have been wanting to have your revenge on her.” Daniel clenches his jaw.

“I know what you’re thinking,” He continues. “That I had purposely arranged an engagement to someone you absolutely hated. Well, I didn’t know the Alexandria who was the daughter of my arch nemesis is the same Alexandria who was waiting tables at Basil Kitchen two months ago. I was shocked too when I saw her today. I now know why you dislike her. She is indeed a stubborn one, and she can never keep her mouth shut. It will be very hard to control her. But... I can now that she has signed the contract.”

“You know I hate her.” Daniel says. “Why do you still make me go through with the engagement?”

“I think it’s good for you to get involved with someone you absolutely can’t stand,” Harry walks over to him, grinning.

He is taunting Daniel.

Well two can play at that game.

“I will make her life a living hell.” Daniel sneers. ”I will. She will regret having ever signed the contract in the first place.”

“No.”

His eyebrows lift in confusion.

"No?" He repeats.

Harry shakes his head. “No. I will not allow you to torment the girl.”

“Why the fuck not?”

“Language, Daniel.”

Daniel rolls his eyes.

“I can’t let you as you put it ′make her life a living hell.’” His stepfather says. “You have to treat her nicely. You have no choice. This engagement is a ploy and you have to play the part. If the hatred shows, the media will know your relationship with her is fake. You have to treat her like she’s actually your fiancé. Treat her with love and all that kind of crap young adults do these days.”

“What? No freaking way!”

Harry slams his hands down on the table. “You will do as I say, Daniel Kerrington, or god forbid I will strip everything you have and everything you are, and you will be living in my version of a living hell. For the rest of your life.”

“You can’t make me.” Daniel spits. He feels like an eight-year-old saying that, but at this point, he doesn’t actually care.

“I can and I will.” His stepfather counters back. “I own you, Daniel. Ever since your mother died, you belong to me. And you will do as I say.”

“I don’t need you anymore. I can live on my own, without your help or your money.” Daniel gets up from the chair and starts to walk away, but Harry shoots forward and grabs him.

“Don’t you dare walk out of this room.” His stepfather growls. “You will regret it.”

Daniel chuckles. “I’m not afraid of you.”

“You should be.” His fingers tilt Daniel’s chin up so they are now face-to-face. “I can ruin you, Daniel.”

Those five words causes a chill to creep up his spine.

Daniel knows that Harry has complete power over him. He feels helpless, like a lamb up for slaughter. If Daniel completely cuts off from his stepfather, there is no guarantee what he will do to him.

“I’m not afraid to say that. You may call me harsh, and you may hate me for saying that, but I can care less. I don’t want to do it, but if I have to, I will ruin you.” His stepfather speaks, a low and dangerous tone, ” You can say you don’t need me, but you and I both know the truth. Somehow, in your own twisted way, you still care for me and you don’t want to leave me.”

Daniel looks away abruptly. He hates that Harry is right.

His stepfather smiles, a one that promises victory.

He knows he has already won.

“Be nice to the girl, will you? ” He says before making his way towards the door. “Oh and by the way. This goes for the both of you: step out of line, and suffer the consequences. You do not want to cross me.”

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