Samantha woke up to her sister’s violent shaking in the evening. She had moved in with her parents again earlier that day and fell asleep in exhaustion.
“What is it, Sasha?” She croaked, rubbing her eyes and yawning.
“See this, come.”
“This,” her younger brother held up his tab showing the latest gossip, which was going viral.
Millionaire in love, the headline of the news read.
Samantha frowned, looking at the photos of her and Axel, that were taken in the Italian restaurant a few days ago and at the airport that morning. Reading further, she felt her blood boiling. The article depicted her as a social climber, using men for their money.
Her father’s booming voice downstairs caught her attention, and she hurried downstairs.
“Who posted this?” Gregory was on the phone when they reached downstairs.
“You dare call my daughter a social climber?”
The Sinclair family stood as they watched Gregory’s outburst.
“Shut the fuck up, Russell. If you don’t take down the news now, I will sue you to the grave.”
“Five minutes, Russell. Else you and your crew can say kiss your asses.” Gregory grumbled one last time and disconnected the call.
“How dare he call my princess that? Damn paparazzi!”
“Gregory, you are scaring the kids. Calm down,” Narmadha whispered.
“Did you see it? Did you notice what he called our daughter? I’ve built a fortune for her and he calls her a social climber. It will take Axel a century to earn the fortune I have earned for my daughter.”
“Gregory, please calm down.”
“Dad, I don’t care what they wrote about me. I care about our family. I have nothing to prove to them,” Samantha piped in.
She stopped her father when he tried to say something.
“Dad, I don’t care. Let the dogs do all the barking.”
Gregory nodded after a while. “I’m suing him if he doesn’t take it down though,” he grumbled. “I don’t want my daughter’s personal life plastered on the newspapers.”
Not everyone knew who she was. Her father was a noticeable man in the business industry. Growing up, she always stayed under the radar. Gregory never mixed his family and business life together. They never went to any of her father’s business parties and he hosted none of the party at their home.
He made sure that his children grew up away from the limelight and had a normal life. They rode the bus to school and college just like normal kids. Both Gregory and Narmadha taught them to live a normal life without luxury. One week they would dine in a five-star restaurant and the next he would take them to a small diner which would be crowded with loud talking.
All the four children knew the value of money and learned that they should take nothing for granted. It pushed Samantha to seek a career out of her father’s empire. She’d never used her father’s name to get things done, and she didn’t want to start it now.
Samantha just hugged her dad before going upstairs to her room with her younger siblings in tow.
Axel must have landed now, she thought as they went to check her phone for any calls or messages. And she had a message from him.
“Landed now, will call you after settling down.”
“Okay,” she typed with a broad grin.
“Was it him?” Sasha wiggled her eyebrows as Ryan took her phone, browsing through the message.
“Yep,” he confirmed.
“Ryan, don’t you have manners?” Samantha exclaimed.
“Ugh! Stop popping the ‘p’. Just say ‘yes’ or ‘no’.”
“That’s the trend, Sammy.”
Samantha rolled her eyes and snatched the phone from his hand.
“So, how is he?” Amelia asked, entering the room.
“Just good?” Amelia quirked her eyebrows.
“Ami, not now,” Samantha huffed.
“Hm… I feel like having a chocolate sundae. Let’s hit the mall. What do you say?” Amelia asked, rubbing her pregnant belly.
“Yay!” Sasha jumped as Samantha groaned.
“Come on, Sammy. Won’t you do it for your niece?”
“A niece?!” They chorused in unison with wide eyes.
“Um… I guess so. Mama bets it’s a girl, she says the shape of my belly says it all.”
“Oh, is Eric going to join us?” Samantha asked.
“No. He’s gone to meet one associate. I’ll drop him a message to meet us there.”
“Okay then, let’s get ready. Sasha, tell mom and dad,” Samantha said, getting up and going to her walk-in closet.
Samantha’s feet screamed bloody murder by the time they finished their first round at the mall. They had their ice cream and when Amelia saw something she fancied she dragged them along. Sasha came to stand beside her with a tired face while Amelia bounced up and down with all energy.
“She should be all tired and cranky by now,” Sasha grumbled under her breath.
“My feet are dead,” Ryan muttered beside them.
“Where’s Eric?” Samantha asked.
“Oh, he’d be arriving any time now. He’s in the parking,” Amelia informed.
Fortunately, their bodyguards carried their recent purchases, so they walked with no added difficulties. Gregory never allowed them to go alone in public without security.
Samantha noticed Eric coming and the sister’s shared a look before sprinting towards him, not caring if the crowd cast them weird looks.
Eric grinned widely as his sisters came barreling at him. He knew what would happen. He must buy goodies, for the one that reached him first, and it was a tradition the sisters have followed since childhood.
Sasha was the first one to reach him as Samantha panted beside her. “You’ve gotten faster kitty,” she said to her sister in an envious tone and hugged Eric.
“You win every time and it’s my turn today,” Sasha beamed.
“You got a five-second head start,” Samantha complained.
“Nonetheless, Sasha won today Panda,” Eric piped in.
“Don’t call me that. I’m not a Panda,” Samantha scowled.
“Of course, you are. Look at you, you look like one with your round bottom and you always wear black and white. See, even now you are in black and white.”
“Are you calling me fat?” Samantha huffed.
“No, just cute like a cuddly Panda.”
“Oh, stop it you two. Come on, Big B. Let’s go,” Sasha whined, pulling his hands.
“All right, so what do you want, kitty?”
“I saw this really nice bracelet with charms. I want that,” Sasha grinned as the others who had reached them now groaned louder. The shop Sasha mentioned was on the opposite side of the mall.
“I think I’m gonna eat another sundae,” Amelia drawled eyeing the food court which was a few feet away.
“I want one too,” Samantha joined and Ryan had no qualms about picking sides, which left Eric and Sasha to go alone.
A few hours later…
Samantha was wasted by the time they reached home. She dragged her exhausted body to the bed with her eyes half drugged with sleep as her mobile rang.
“Hey, it’s me.”
“Axel, hey. How are you?”
“Good. How was your day?”
“You sound so tired.”
“Okay then, I’ll let you sleep.”
“Good night, Axel.”
“Good night, Sam.”
Samantha didn’t realize when sleep embraced in her arms. She had slept in the same position with her phone in one ear as exhaustion got the best of her.
The next morning, Samantha had to drag her body out of the bed. She remembered talking over the phone when she stood under the warm spray which soothed her aching muscles. She frowned, trying to remember whom she spoke to–it felt more like a dream.
Sighing, she massaged her sore legs. Samantha hated going to the mall just because she had to walk a lot and always ended up with a sore foot.
When she came down, her family was chatting merrily at the breakfast table. She gave them a broad smile before taking a seat next to her mother.
“Mmm… It smells so good, is that–” She asked with wide eyes as she got a glimpse of the food.
“Dad hired an Indian chef when you said you are moving in,” Ryan informed.
“You’re the best dad in the world,” Samantha squealed hugging her father before grabbing the plate and filled it with fluffy Poori and masala, her favorite food. Her siblings chuckled as Samantha let out an appreciative hum at the taste of mashed potato heaven. “This is so good,” she murmured in appreciation.
“I tasted it for the first time today and I like it,” Amelia stated.
“Mhmm… Now, that I’m here, I’m going to introduce you to so many goodies. Oh, and I’m meeting this chef after breakfast, I’m having a traditional Indian meal for lunch today,” Samantha grinned.
Gregory smiled, seeing his children’s happiness made him happy. Samantha has been just like her maternal grandmother. She went to visit her grandparents a few years back during summer holidays and when she came back, all she talked was about the food her grandmother cooked for her.
Her grandmother had taught her to cook a few Indian dishes during her time there, and Samantha preferred the spicy delicacy anytime of the day.
“Does Axel like Indian food?” Sasha asked out of the blue and Samantha choked on her food.
“Um… Don’t know. I found out that he liked Chinese, Italian and Spanish, considering his mom is from Spain,” she responded. Speaking of which, she hadn’t checked her phone for any calls or messages.
Quickly finishing her breakfast, she ran upstairs to her room. Sure enough, her phone had four missed calls and two messages from Axel.
“Where are you? Are you All right?”
“I’m going out with my family for lunch. I’ll talk to you later.”
She immediately called him back and when he didn’t pick up, she left him a voicemail. “Hey, sorry for not answering your call. I was downstairs having breakfast with my parents. I moved in yesterday and my sister-in-law took me to the mall. Call me when you get back. Have a great time!”
She stayed in for the rest of the day relaxed on her bed, thinking about the work for tomorrow. With Axel gone, her task list doubled. Though Axel told that he would help her, she had declined, saying she wanted him to relax and his only focus during the trip should be his family.
She didn’t know how much help Denzel would be, and she grew tired just thinking about all the work she had to do.
Axel missed Samantha. He didn’t think he would miss her so much. The next morning when he woke up just the thought of not seeing her smile in person or kiss those soft lips, made him sad. He didn’t get to talk to her much, and he missed hearing her voice.
He was happy to meet his mother’s family and his grandpa Joaquin on top of all. The old man talked merrily and his words of experience gave him the motivation and determination to finish what he has started.
The latest news on business magazine had him grinning ear to ear. Alexander McGregor has become the honorary vice-chairman of the McKenna Enterprises. That was faster than he thought. Axel could see the plan he set in motion all those years ago going on in the right direction.
Pulling out his phone, he typed a message. “Congratulations! Xander.”
“Don’t congratulate me. I am not glad to find out I’m engaged without my knowledge,” his best friend replied.
Axel called his friend and frowned when he told him everything. His mind calculated the outcome, and he grinned at the end. Apparently, Xander had gone to dinner at her father’s place. Alicia coaxed Xander to act as her fiancée before her ill father. Xander had played along as this would get him closer to their goal.
Only they knew Seemus Weston, his once principal and the CEO of McKenna Enterprises wasn’t sick. Seemus became the CEO after the death of Alicia’s grandfather a few years ago, making him wonder why Seemus got the position instead of Alicia’s mother, who always showed up to the meetings on behalf of the company. He’d need to have his private detective look into this.
One thing that made him think was that Alicia never jumped into a relationship this fast. She never started a relationship. Alicia usually lured the prey–wait until they were drugged with lust. She would keep them as long as she was entertained and threw them away when someone else caught her attention.
When this was all done, he would be the new boss of McKenna Enterprises and Samantha was a bonus he didn’t expect when he first planned his revenge. He’d not have only everything Alicia ever wanted, but also a family.
Oh, he couldn’t wait to rub it in the face of his nemesis. He will marry Samantha and start a family with her. He will show Alicia he wasn’t wasting away like she said he would. Axel knew Samantha would never hurt him like Alicia did.
His feelings for Samantha only have increased as he now acted on his attraction with an open mind. He thanked his lucky stars for sending an angel to him. He will make her happy–shower her with all the love she deserved.
What will Samantha think if she finds about his plan? Will she be able to understand his need for revenge?
He didn’t think Samantha had a mean bone in her body. They promised to stay true to each other, and he knew he had to tell her everything before she found it herself. Axel might talk to her after this trip. He didn’t want her to leave him, but he won’t lie to her either. He only hoped that she would understand.
“Axel.” His mother beckoned him to come over as she talked animatedly to a couple he never met before.
Axel composed himself and with a polite smile, he walked towards them.