Axel's Revenge

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Chapter 6

The meeting went without a hitch. “All right, see you then.” Axel got up from his seat extending his hand to Jenson.

“Not so soon, Axel. I have a party invitation for you,” Jenson said, taking Axel’s extended hand.

“You know, I don’t like parties.”

“It’s important, Axel. The Jackson’s are throwing a party for closing a huge deal with an Australian company. They have invited many big shots, and this is our chance to socialize. We might strike new deals after this party. I wouldn’t be asking you otherwise,” Jenson stressed.

“We took eight years to grab that huge European deal. We cannot just rely on the existing customers for the rest of our lives,” Jenson added when Axel didn’t respond right away.

“Okay. When is it?” Axel wasn’t pleased with this, but he had to agree to their business.

“This Friday seven p.m. at Four Seasons Hotel,” Jenson face lit up with a victorious grin.

“Sure,” replied Axel, and turned towards the door.

“Oh Axel, bring a date,” Jenson threw in with a wink.

Axel grimaced, glaring daggers at Jenson.

“It’s the party rules. Don’t ask me,” Jenson shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly and Axel knew the old rat was not even sorry in the least.

Axel exited the office with a furious look and Samantha followed, sensing his mood change. There he goes again, all grumpy. Even though she has worked with him for only a year, she knew when to keep her mouth shut. Grumpy Axel was never good.

“Drive me home,” said Axel as they got in his car. Samantha complied without giving him any response, knowing would earn her a snarky reply. The silence throughout the drive was unnerving and uncomfortable.

Axel fisted his hands, he was glad that Samantha was driving the car. He didn’t think he could concentrate on the road in this state.

“How dare he suggest me to bring a date?” He muttered.

He should just skip the party. Yeah, that’s what he will do. Let Jenson handle the new deals, he wanted no new deal at the cost of a freaking date.

Samantha glanced at her boss but didn’t comment. She knew he didn’t date, and he didn’t fancy women. Her conscience said a woman was a reason and she couldn’t agree more.

The anger she felt for the unknown woman who changed him into this increased within her. If she ever found that woman she would give her a piece of her mind, she vowed.

She didn’t know why she felt that way. Axel’s smiling face a few hours ago flashed in her mind, she would do anything to make him laugh again.

∞∞∞

When Samantha parked the car in Axel’s driveway, he got out without another word, and stormed past his parents to his room upstairs, slamming shut the door behind him, the sound resonating throughout the house.

Sara gave Samantha a puzzled look.

“He was invited to a party this weekend.” Samantha blurted out with a shrug and pushed her hands deep into her pockets.

“So? Why he is acting like a brat then?” Sara asked.

“Ah... Jenson asked him to bring a date.”

Henry shook his head as his shoulders sagged in defeat, his expression crestfallen.

“Oh,” Sara responded, casting a forlorn look at her husband, her lips set in a thin line.

Samantha contemplated asking the reason behind Axel’s bad mood when someone talked about dating or girls. The words almost crossed her throat, but she swallowed it hard, deciding against it.

It was Axel’s story to tell. She was his employee and it shouldn’t bother her much or does it?

Samantha chewed her lips thoughtfully. “I’ll just go,” she announced and turned on her heel to leave.

“Oh, wait, I didn’t offer you anything. Let me get you some refreshments,” Sara said in an urgent tone and turned towards their kitchen.

“It’s okay. I just had lunch and I have so much work to finish before I leave for the day,” Samantha said, declining her offer with a warm smile.

The older woman nodded, her bright expression has faded long ago. Samantha could feel her pain as a mother, having to see her only son withering away with no interest in a future which involved a family of his own.

Samantha left his car and took a taxi to the office. He didn’t say if she could take his car, she had noticed the change of expression in his parent’s face when he offered her to take his car for the night with Sara whispering something to Henry. She has understood that Axel allowed no one to drive his car.

Shrugging off the stray thoughts, she jotted down a task list on her small notepad.

∞∞∞

Axel didn’t come out of his room for dinner.

“Sara, I think you should talk to him this time,” Henry suggested giving her a plate filled with food she cooked for that night’s dinner.

Sara nodded taking the plate from his hand. She didn’t know what she could do to change Axel’s perspective on women. She tried everything in her capacity to help him out, he wouldn’t relent.

He was no longer the young, carefree, and fun-loving kid she had known. She still remembered the day when she got the news of her only son being admitted to the hospital.

“Mrs. Finlayson?”

“Yes.”

“We are calling from the city hospital. Your son Axel was admitted here earlier.”

“What? W-what happened?” Her voice cracked as her heartbeat quickened.

“It’s better if you could come in person, ma’am.”

“I’m coming.”

She informed Henry, who was at work and together they rushed to the hospital to find him in the emergency unit.

“Hello, we are Axel’s parents. What happened to my son?” Henry asked one nurse on duty, his voice cracking.

“Are you Mr. Finlayson?”

“Yes,” Henry replied, casting a worried glance towards Axel’s bed.

“He is fine now, Mr. Finlayson. He tried to drown himself earlier this evening. A fisherman who saw him jumping from the pier saved him and brought him in.”

“What?”

“We don’t know the reason yet. The cops are waiting for him to wake up so they could take his statement. They are in the waiting area with the man who rescued your son. Why don’t you go there? He should wake up in an hour, and I will tell you immediately,” the kind looking nurse suggested with a look of sympathy.

They thanked her and hurried towards the waiting room to speak to the fisherman.

Seemingly, the fisherman has seen a couple talking on the pier and the boy jumping into the cold water once the girl left. By the time he steered his boat to the pier, Axel had swallowed enough water that filled his lungs and had stopped breathing. He had performed CPR and called 911.

Sara assumed that the girl was none other than Alicia and they must have broken up. Axel had always been way too kind and trusting. He didn’t pay heed when she insisted that Alicia was not good for him.

He was so much in love with her and always dreamed of a future with her, always making plans. She was his first love. Sara never liked the girl. She could tell the girl didn’t love Axel back. She blamed herself for her son’s condition. Had she done something earlier, he wouldn’t have ended up with a broken heart.

It took time before Axel talked again. They transferred him to another school as he couldn’t digest seeing her every day making out in front of him with another boy toy of hers.

He had started consuming alcohol much to their dismay. It took a year before they could bring him out of that habit. Though he had stopped drinking and concentrated more on his work, the Axel they knew before Alicia was gone.

What remained was a cold shell with a beating heart that was too scared of being broken again. He never talked to a girl or dated again. He stopped talking to his friends and locked himself inside his room for days at a time.

Henry wiped Sara’s tears bringing her out of her thoughts. “He will be fine, my love. I can feel it, he’s changing just give him some time.”

“Will I ever get back my Axel who always made fun of me? Laughed with me? Did all the chores with me? He doesn’t even touch the cookies I make anymore. Do you remember how much he loved to eat the cookie dough when I baked? How much fun do we use to have on holidays? All gone because of a girl,” Sara said between her sobs.

Henry rubbed her back soothingly. “He has started laughing once again, Sara. He is conversing with us with more ease than before. Did you notice how he was looking at that new girl? His face always brightens when the girl laughs. He couldn’t take his eyes off her when she ate with us yesterday.”

Sara smiled widely. “Yes. After what happened this morning, I thought he was changing. He knew very well that girl was in the kitchen. Yet, he walked in without wearing a shirt and kept teasing her. You should have seen her face. She was red like a tomato.”

She laughed out loud at the memory. She didn’t miss the little exchange that went between her son and Samantha. Axel always came down for breakfast after getting ready for the day, not before. It was obvious he liked Samantha, why would he get angry about the date?

“He’s changing. Samantha is good for him. We shouldn’t let him ruin this. Let him take this slowly but we just have to keep a close watch. That girl is a keeper,” Henry responded with a fond smile. “I just hope that he doesn’t push her away.”

“I will take this to him. Are you not coming?” Sara asked hopefully.

“Nah... I did my part yesterday. Now it’s your turn,” Henry shrugged earning a playful glare from Sara.

“All right then, don’t forget tomorrow is your turn,” she said walking towards Axel’s room.Axel didn’t come out of his room for dinner.

“Sara, I think you should talk to him this time,” Henry suggested giving her a plate filled with food she cooked for that night’s dinner.

Sara nodded tiredly taking the plate from his hand. She didn’t know what she could do to change Axel’s perspective on women. She tried everything in her capacity to help him out, he just wouldn’t relent.

He was no longer the young, carefree, and fun-loving kid she had known. She still remembered the day when she got the news of her only son being admitted to the hospital.

“Mrs. Finlayson?”

“Yes.”

“We are calling from the city hospital. Your son Axel was admitted here earlier.”

“What? W-what happened?” Her voice cracked as her heartbeat quickened.

“It’s better if you could come in person, ma’am.”

“I’m coming.”

She immediately informed Henry, who was at work and together they rushed to the hospital to find him in the emergency unit.

“Hello, we are Axel’s parents. What happened to my son?” Henry asked one of the nurses on duty, his voice cracking.

“Are you Mr. Finlayson?”

“Yes,” Henry replied, casting a worried glance towards Axel’s bed.

“He is perfectly fine now, Mr. Finlayson. He tried to drown himself earlier this evening. A fisherman who saw him jumping from the pier saved him and brought him in.”

“What?”

“We don’t know the reason yet. The cops are waiting for him to wake up so they could take his statement. They are in the waiting area with the man who rescued your son. Why don’t you go there? He should wake up in an hour, and I will tell you immediately,” the kind looking nurse suggested with a look of sympathy.

They thanked her and hurried towards the waiting room to speak to the fisherman.

Seemingly, the fisherman has seen a couple talking on the pier and the boy jumping into the cold water once the girl left. By the time he steered his boat to the pier, Axel had swallowed enough water that filled his lungs and had stopped breathing. He had performed CPR and called 911 immediately.

Sara immediately assumed that the girl was none other than Alicia and they must have broken up. Axel had always been way too kind and trusting. He didn’t pay heed when she insisted that Alicia was not good for him.

He was so much in love with her and always dreamed of a future with her, always making plans. She was his first love. Sara never liked the girl. She could tell the girl didn’t love Axel back. She blamed herself for her son’s condition. Had she done something earlier, he wouldn’t have ended up with a broken heart.

It took some time before Axel started talking again. They transferred him to another school as he couldn’t digest seeing her every day making out in front of him with another boy toy of hers.

He had started consuming alcohol much to their dismay. It took a year before they could bring him out of that habit. Though he had stopped drinking and concentrated more on his work, the Axel they knew before Alicia was gone.

What remained was a cold shell with a beating heart that was too scared of being broken again. He never talked to a girl or dated again. He stopped talking to his friends and locked himself inside his room for days at a time.

Henry wiped Sara’s tears bringing her out of her thoughts. “He will be fine, my love. I can feel it, he’s changing just give him some time.”

“Will I ever get back my Axel who always made fun of me? Laughed with me? Did all the chores with me? He doesn’t even touch the cookies I make anymore. Do you remember how much he loved to eat the cookie dough when I baked? How much fun do we use to have on holidays? All gone because of a girl,” Sara said between her sobs.

Henry rubbed her back soothingly. “He has started laughing once again, Sara. He is conversing with us with more ease than before. Did you notice how he was looking at that new girl? His face always brightens when the girl laughs. He couldn’t take his eyes off her when she ate with us yesterday.”

Sara smiled widely. “Yes. After what happened this morning, I thought he was changing. He knew very well that girl was in the kitchen. Yet, he walked in without wearing a shirt and kept teasing her. You should have seen her face. She was red like a tomato.”

She laughed out loud at the memory. She didn’t miss the little exchange that went between her son and Samantha. Axel always came down for breakfast after getting ready for the day, not before. It was obvious he liked Samantha, why would he get angry about the date?

“He’s changing. Samantha is good for him. We shouldn’t let him ruin this. Let him take this slowly but we just have to keep a close watch. That girl is a keeper,” Henry responded with a fond smile. “I just hope that he doesn’t push her away.”

“I will take this to him. Are you not coming?” Sara asked hopefully.

“Nah... I did my part yesterday. Now it’s your turn,” Henry shrugged earning a playful glare from Sara.

“All right then, don’t forget tomorrow is your turn,” she said walking towards Axel’s room.

∞∞∞

Axel stared aimlessly at the busy city from his balcony when she went inside his room.

“Axel.”

“Mom?” His questioning look turned into a relaxed one when his eyes landed on the dinner plate.

“You missed the dinner tonight.”

“I’m not hungry, mom.”

“You know you could talk to me about anything right? It-it’s just hard to see you like this, Axel.”

Axel released a sigh of defeat. He knew well what she meant. Even after all these years, his mother feared he would do something reckless like the day he tried to end his life.

When he understood the pain, he put his parents through he changed his view on life. He lived for their sake, to keep them happy and give them a better life.

“It’s nothing, Mom. Jenson wants me to bring a date for this party and you know the rest.” He gritted his teeth.

“What have you decided?” Sara asked.

“I am skipping it,” he grumbled under his breath.

“Why don’t you take Samantha?” Sara blurted out with an innocent expression. “It’s unnecessary you have to date the girl you are taking to the party, right? It will be like another meeting of yours in a different situation.” Sara added, smiling as Axel frowned mulled over the idea.

“That’s... that’s a good idea, I guess.”

Sara did a mental fist pump, doing a happy tango. “Of course, it is. I can tell, you have no qualms about taking Samantha.”

Axel thought about it and in fact, it was a great idea. Samantha was professional, and he was comfortable being with her. He would ask her out tomorrow.

“What did you make for dinner? It smells delicious,” he asked curiously lifting the lid.

Sara beamed and happy tears filled her eyes on noticing his full-blown smile. It has been years since she saw him smile like that.

“It’s your favorite chicken linguini pasta.”

Sara, grinned ear to ear as she watched her son dug in. Henry was right and Axel was changing because of Samantha though he has not realized it yet.

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