Axel's Revenge

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Chapter 16

Axel groaned as Andrea talked about her best friend Dani for the umpteenth time. Sebastián, her fiancée rolled his eyes and chuckled as he caught Axel’s eyes. Sebastián worked at his grandfather’s company and eventually met Andrea when she worked for Grandfather Rodriguez eight months ago.

Andrea’s fiancee was twenty-eight-years-old with a calm and gentle personality, unlike his cousin who was the extreme opposite of calm. His lovely cousin liked to talk and now she talked his ears off. He had four cousins from his mother’s siblings, all girls. With him being the only brotherly figure, they all looked up to him and he too acted like a protective brother.

His mom Sara was the eldest followed by his Aunt’s Juana and Gabriela. Andrea and Luciana were Aunt Juana’s daughters. Aunt Gabriela had two teenage daughters Marina and Silvia.

Axel concentrated on his cousin’s rant. Andrea met her American friend Dani when she went to the university of New York. Axel never met her friend, but they were like conjoined twins.

“She pushed our engagement party to Saturday, just because she wanted Dani to attend,” Sebastián explained.

“Yeah, she works for the world’s number one grumpiest boss and can’t afford to travel on the other days,” Andrea said with a roll of her eyes.

“So, she is coming all the way to Spain just to attend your engagement party?” Axel asked in surprise.

“Duh! And she is my maid of honor.”

“Okay.”

Axel gave a puzzled look as Andrea whispered something to Sebastián and he looked at Axel uncomfortable look.

“Ask him now,” she whispered again to Sebastián.

“Ask me what?”

“Ah... it’s- ” Sebastián stammered.

“Axel, you know Sebastián has no one else to call family except us. He is not good at making friends either. So, we were wondering if you would be his best man,” Andrea blurted out and Sebastián shifted in his seat.

Axel smiled warmly as he responded, “Of course, I would be honored to.”

“Thank you,” Sebastián replied and looked relieved.

“See, I told you he would agree,” Andrea smiled.

“Yes, you did,” Sebastián said pecking her lips.

“Axel, I need a favor. Dani will arrive here on Saturday morning and I want you to drive me to the airport. Sebastián has a meeting in the morning. So, he will join us at the party.”

“Sure.”

Axel sipped his iced tea once Andrea and her fiancée left. His mind wandered back to Samantha. After she began working for him, this was the first time they were staying apart and he missed her more than he thought he would be. She became his first thought when he woke up and the last when he went to bed.

His mobile beeped, showing an incoming message.

“Hey, how’s the trip?”

Axel smiled, looking at Samantha’s text. Warmth spread through his chest just on seeing her name on his mobile display.

“It’s good. Just chilling out, sipping the ice tea. What about you? How was your day?”

“Good. Tried to have a girl’s night this Sunday. It was going well until the boys crashed and turn it into something much more.”

“I am just realizing that I knew nothing about your family. Tell me about them.”

“At least you asked now. Well, I have two brothers and a sister. My elder brother Eric manages dad’s business along with him, younger brother Ryan is in college, my younger sister Sasha will graduate from high school this year. Then there is my mom and my sister-in-law Amelia, they pretty much rule the house.”

Axel grinned at her long message and thought he knew nothing about her family. He was about to type a response when his mobile beeped again.

“Oh, I forgot to mention our cat, Mr. Whiskers.”

“Your family sounds great. So, what did they say about us?”

“They like you. They are having a good entertainment just by pulling my leg at every chance they get.”

Axel smiled on reading her message. He never knew how it would feel to grow up with siblings.

“I can only imagine how it could be. Hey, do you think I can meet your parents now?”

“Why not? I mean, if you are willing to then we can arrange something.”

He thought about it for a moment and meeting her parents felt like the right thing to do.

“You’ve already met my parents. It’s only fair I meet yours and get to know them.”

Samantha grinned from ear to ear as she read his message. He wanted to meet her family.

“Sure. You can come over for a weekend or dinner.”

“Weekend sounds fine,” Axel confirmed.

“Or better why don’t we invite Sara and Henry too. We can have a barbecue in our backyard.”

Axel smiled at her thoughtfulness. At that moment, Axel liked her more. Alicia never got along with his parents. He remembered once his mother got ill he had to take a few days leave from the school to look after her. When he dated Alicia, she never asked a word about his mom’s health.

“Mom and dad would love to come over. Thank you for inviting them.”

“I love Sara and Henry. They are nice.”

“I’m glad you do.”

“Hey, the new client is on line two. See you later, boss.”

“That sounds extremely sexy coming from you now. Bye, Sam. Miss you.”

Samantha read the text again and again with a blush that crept on her cheeks.

“Miss you too, Axel.”

∞∞∞

It was soon dinner time and Axel stood in one corner chatting with his cousins. Andrea nudged Axel in his ribs pointing the door and his other cousins snickered next to him. Axel’s jaw ticked at the sight of the brunette who walked in as if she owned the place.

“Axel!” Vannina squealed and her face lit up like Christmas lights.

“Busted,” Andrea sang under her breath as she pretended to sip her expensive wine.

Axel scowled at his cousin. “Who invited her? I thought this was a family dinner.”

Their conversation was interrupted when Vannina launched herself at Axel, rubbing her fake boobies at him as she hugged him. Axel bit his lips to stop a snarky comment from forming and pushed her away with his left hand as his right hand clenched around the glass of water he was holding.

“Vannina,” he gritted out, not bothering to hide his displeasure at seeing her. She was a family friend of his grandfather Rodrígez Del Campo and showed up at all their family gatherings.

Vannina never tried to hide her interest in Axel and his own grandfather was happy at their non-existent union. Well, to Rodrígez Del Campo money and power was everything next to family. Vannina and Axel’s union meant a strong business empire. Rodrígez and Vannina’s father Oreal’s joint venture made to the top ten in the marketing charts, where Axel has only made to the top thousand.

Axel caught his mom’s eyes and Sara jumped to his rescue.

“Vannina darling, how are you?” Sara cooed.

“Aunt Sara! Oh, I missed you,” Vannina chirped as she hugged Sara.

Axel rolled his eyes as Andrea snorted beside him. Their grandfather had a soft spot for the girl and that was the only reason they had to put up with her antics. Grandpa Joaquin accepted the flowers from Vannina as they shared a few pleasantries.

Andrea squeezed his hands in assurance as she led him further to the dinner. Axel followed her to the dining room wondering how the evening would unfold.

∞∞∞

“Papa, please try to understand. We are not interested in your proposal. My son won’t marry Vannina. He’s not a commodity and he’s already got a fiancée.”

The previous night had gone well. Everything was going fine until Rodrígez announced that Axel would marry his friend’s daughter, Vannina at the breakfast table.

“Fiancé?” Rodrígez bellowed.

“Yes.”

Sara squeezed Axel’s hand under the table to keep quiet. Axel didn’t have to be told twice about how to behave in front of his grandfather with a temper like a volcano.

“Who? That good-for-nothing secretary of his, the social climber who crept her way up the ladder? I’ve heard a lot already. I am doing you a favor and saving your boy from that girl.”

Axel clenched his fists under the table and his jaw ticked as his expression changed. His face no longer held the calm and composed facade. His grandfather was not on good terms with him for years and now he wanted to arrange a marriage to cement the business partnership with his friend.

He now understood why Vannina showed up once again for breakfast this morning. Vannina flirted with him shamelessly and he had to retire early to bed last night, just to avoid her. Someone tried to open his room after a few minutes and he didn’t have to open to know it was Vannina. Fortunately, he remembered to lock the door.

The gentle breeze did nothing to calm his raging nerves. They were in their backyard that overlooked their beautiful rose garden. This was supposed to be a relaxing morning event with only their family and now Axel couldn’t wait to get out of that place.

“Enough!” Sara slammed her hands on the table, startling everyone including Axel. His mother was always calm and rarely lost her temper. “Papa, my son’s life is for him to decide. We’re here to spend quality time with our family and I would appreciate if you don’t drag your business in.”

Rodrígez grumbled as his face turned red with anger. “Mind your words, young woman. I am still your father.”

“And he is my son!”

Henry rubbed Sara’s hand in a soothing motion and her posture relaxed.

“Quiet everyone! Rodrígez, your daughter is right. No more business talks at the dinner table,” Grandpa Joaquin chastised.

Rodrígez was not pleased, but he kept quiet as his father’s intense glare bored holes in his skull.

“So Axel, tell me about this girl of yours,” Grandpa Joaquin asked when the tension died down.

A ghost smile spread across his lips at the mention of Samantha as his girl. She was his girl. “She is someone who made me smile and see everything with a different perspective. Seeing her smile makes my day, and she is someone I feel comfortable with and she understands me better than anyone else, apart from mom and dad, of course.”

“No need to say more, son. The smile that lit up your face on hearing her name is enough for me to know that she is the one for you,” Grandpa Joaquin beamed.

Rodrígez pushed his chair aside and left the table without finishing his food. He didn’t hide his displeasure and none seemed affected by his tantrums. They were used to his behavior and they knew he would be sulking for a long time.

Sara’s mom passed away after birthing their younger sister and her father turned cold after her death. She eyed Vannina who toyed with her food, a permanent scowl etched her features and Sara sighed. She wouldn’t let her father decide her son’s future. She married the man she loved and her son would marry only for love. She would definitely not have it any other way.

Axel smiled fondly at his mother. He felt blessed to have his parents, and he felt ashamed for putting them through so much pain during his younger years, all because of a girl. He would never repeat the same mistake again and he would make sure that the happiness lasted.

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