The sun has settled down for the day and the carnival lights lit up the entire area, making it look like a Christmas night, minus the stars.
“It smells delicious,” Samantha stated, inhaling deeply. As soon as she exited the car, she could smell all sorts of cooked food from different flavors of popcorn to hot dog and she couldn’t wait to get in.
Axel bought the tickets for them both and they made a beeline to the entrance. The place was huge with all sorts of exciting rides for children and the adults. Small shops and food stands littered the place. The cosplayers entertained the children and were taking pictures with children.
A wide grin made its way to Samantha’s lips as she took in her surroundings, which brought a lot of warm memories from her childhood. Back then, her parents took them to the fairs in different places. As a child, she’d always looked forward to those trips. She missed those days and couldn’t thank Axel enough for bringing her here.
“What do you want to do first?” Axel asked.
“Hmm… I don’t know. Maybe we should try a few rides before eating something,” she suggested and Axel led her towards the rides.
Happy couples and excited children buzzed around them, spreading their contagious joy. Excitement vibrated throughout Samantha’s body as she looked at her surroundings, trying to decide the ride she wanted to go first.
“Axel! That one, please.” She tugged at Axel’s blue T-shirt excitedly.
Axel looked at where she pointed and his grin widened noticing the bumper car ride. “Sure.”
They spent the next hour riding several rides, excluding the giant wheel. Samantha felt like she would explode with all the foods they were trying. Axel chuckled and held out his hand for her to take when she ditched her empty ice cream cup.
“I think that’s enough for today,” he stated with a smile. “Come on, they’re about to start the fireworks.”
Samantha nodded excitedly at the word. She loved fireworks and never missed a show on July 4th. The crowd was gathering around for the show about to start and several couples surrounded them. The entire place vibrated with happiness and so much of positive energy.
Everyone cheered when the fireworks lit up the dark sky, one after the other, spilling rainbow stars and little hearts on the sky. The booming sound of firecrackers was something Samantha always loved and this event was the highlight of the entire evening.
One guy in the front got down on his knees as his girlfriend burst out in happy tears. The girl nodded furiously when he popped the questioned and the crowd swooned when they kissed with fireworks in the background.
“Sam, look up,” Axel whispered and Samantha’s breath caught in her throat when huge red hearts lit up the sky.
Another firework has gone up the sky with a boom, this time it lit up the sky with letters forming four beautiful words.
I love you, Samantha.
Samantha gasped as the letters registered in her mind. “Oh, my God!”
Axel embraced her from behind kissing the bare skin on her neck.
“This is beautiful,” Samantha sniffled with unshed tears as she turned around, unable to take her eyes off the sky as more little hearts lit up the sky.
“Not more than you,” he whispered capturing her lips in a soft gentle kiss. “I love you, Samantha. I now know the difference between real and unreal. What I had with Alicia was never love, it was just an infatuation. I allowed it to ruin my life, but you saved me. I will love you and cherish what we have between us for the rest of my life.”
“I love you too, Axel,” she whispered and held him close as they once again looked up at the sky, admiring the fire stars that decorated the night sky.
It had been a week since Alana’s scandal and Alexander’s press conference.
Samantha didn’t wait for Alicia to do anything to Axel or Alexander. She’d leaked Alicia’s video online and the media went ballistic over it.
The media cornered Alicia McKenna and she wasn’t seen by the public since then. No one knew her whereabouts. The police have identified the man in the scandal video. Lorenzo Valtini was the most wanted criminal and the Interpol has even offered a bounty for his arrest dead or alive.
Samantha browsed through the newspapers with a satisfied grin.
“Is there anything else you want me to do?”
Samantha looked up to see Kenley, who sat opposite to her in her office.
“No, Kenley. I appreciate everything you’ve done for us,” Samantha said in a sincere tone. “Here, take this check.”
“I–uh… I can’t take this,” Kenley pushed the check towards Samantha with a look of guilt.
“No hard feelings, Kenley. I am paying you for your job and I do not expect anything else from you,” Samantha stated and pushed the check towards Kenley.
“But…” Kenley chewed on her lower lip, unable to say no and, she couldn’t accept the check from Samantha. She’d done a lot to her family and even got her a permanent job with Daniel Santiago’s company. What more could she expect?
“Take it, Kenley. It’s something I give you as a token of appreciation for your loyalty,” Samantha stated once again.
Kenley had proven useful in the past week. She leaked the scandal videos to the media and she even tracked Alicia’s sexual partners and a few agreed to sell the photos to the media for a good sum of money.
Samantha was overwhelmed with Kenley’s sincerity and she couldn’t have expected more from her.
“Thank you,” Kenley accepted the check with a small smile. “Is there anything else you want me to do?” She asked again.
“No. That’s all.”
“Thank you. I will never forget your act of kindness. My mother is recovering well and the doctors said that I could bring her home soon,” Kenley replied with unshed tears that warmed Samantha’s heart. “I said awful things to you, Ms. Sinclair. I-“
“I’ve already forgiven you, Kenley. Take care of yourself and your family.”
“Sure. Thanks for everything. I will be forever indebted to your family,” Kenley sniffled, getting up from the chair.
Samantha watched Kenley leave her office with a warm smile and went to see Axel, who was buried deep in a file, not even noticing her arrival. While Samantha was busy with the revenge plans, Axel busied himself with the upcoming projects, working overtime to finish the work on time.
“Hey,” she called softly and he looked up at her from his file, his face immediately lighting up with a dazzling smile, she’d come to love.
“Come here,” he called and she went to him willingly. Axel pulled her towards him and placed her on his lap, burying his face in her neck, inhaling deeply. “You look so beautiful today,” he crooned in her ears.
A soft chuckle left her lips as she relaxed in his hold and leaned her head back to rest on his shoulder. “You’ve said that eight times since morning,” Samantha teased.
“I’ll tell you as many times I want to. It’s the truth and every time I see you, I feel like I am looking at you for the first time.”
This had Samantha double up with laughter.
“Okay, I went overboard with that one,” he agreed with a sheepish smile. “But, it’s refreshing to see you every time. You make me forget all these tensions and pressure around me,” he spoke honestly.
“Yeah.” He nodded.
“That’s a good thing. Hope I can be refreshing all the time,” Samantha purred.
“You’ll always be, Sam. Now, are you hungry?” He asked, looking at his watch.
“Come, let’s get some food then.” Axel allowed her to get up and got up from his seat before taking his phone from the table.
“We can ask Denzel to order lunch,” Samantha suggested.
“Nah… I am in here since morning and all these files are suffocating me. I need to get out and this way we can spend some time together,” he grinned.
After a few minutes…
They were at a nearby restaurant. Samantha watched Axel browsing through the menu with a relaxed look. He’d never once asked what happened with Alicia. She knew he was seeing the news, but he never paid much attention to it more than a few minutes.
“So, Kenley came to see me today,” Samantha started.
“Mhmm… What did she want now?” Axel asked, sipping his water, his blue eyes paying complete attention to her.
“She’s working with Daniel and she was the one, who managed to collect all those details about Alicia,” Samantha explained.
“Are you not happy with the revenge anymore?” Samantha asked curiously. “You never once asked anything about it since the party and I feel like you didn’t even think about it.”
Axel smiled softly. “I was once blinded by the need for revenge. It pushed me to work harder,” he told her. “But not anymore. I’ve found my new inspiration and it’s you. I don’t care about anything else as long as I get to see your smile and hear your voice every day.”
“Revenge is sweeter, but it also turned me colder, emotionless and arrogant. They called me heartless. I hated the person I’ve become over the years. My parents were not smiling with happiness anymore. I could only see the worry on their faces when they saw me.”
Samantha swallowed the invisible lump that formed in her throat.
“You showed me the light, Samantha. You made me fall in love again and my father made me realize, the best revenge is to live happily in front of the people, who tried to push you down. I am doing just that. I asked myself a question and when I was scared that I might lose you if I continued on the path I was going, I decided that I didn’t want to lose you.”
Axel took hold of her hands in his. “I decided to let go of my need for revenge. I let go of everything that happened in my life before you. The revenge doesn’t thrill me anymore. Alicia deserves everything that happened and I want to leave it at that.”
Samantha felt overwhelmed with his response and nodded mutely with unshed tears. “I love you, Axel.” She couldn’t agree more with everything Axel said. She had to let it go before it got to her. Their happiness was more important than anything else.
“I love you too,” he replied softly.
“You’re right. Nothing is important than what we have now,” she agreed softly and Axel kissed her knuckles.
Their food soon arrived and they talked about the things they had to wind up before they took a break for their winter wedding. Keith has agreed to step in to help during their absence. Axel will be signing a power of attorney to Keith, who’ll be running his company with Eric’s help until Axel gets back.
The sun smiled brightly upon them as they toasted for their new beginning.