Chapter twenty six
“You are Arabella Dickens right?” He walked closer towards us. Hands tugging in the pocket of his faded grey Jeans.
“Yes. And you are?” A crease formed on my forehead my mind latent with confusion. I feel like I have seen him before but I can’t seem to point a finger on it as to where I have met him.
He smiled,” Don’t you remember me. It’s Nathaniel, your senior back in high school. The one who assisted coach Walter for the girl’s soccer team.”
My memory jogged instantly. Oh my God! It’s Nathaniel White the guy whom the whole soccer team used to swoon for, including me, wishing he would notice us. Too bad he was already in a serious relationship with his childhood sweetheart Amanda, who was also our senior and leader of the school dramatics society.
I got up from my seat and stretched my hand for a handshake,” I am so sorry. I couldn’t recognize you. It’s been a long time.”
Shaking my hand,” No problem Arabella. How are you?” He politely asked. One of the many attributes of him as to why every girl had a crush on him. Although he was very popular, and to top that Captain of the school soccer team, he was very humble and polite.
Before I could reply him, Grandpa interrupted us,” I think I should let you guys catch up, I’ll be in the shop Ell.”
" Sure Grandpa. Nathan this is my grandpa.” I made the introduction.
“Nice to meet you, Nathan.”
“Nice to meet you, Sir.” They shook their hands. Once the introduction was over, grandpa left us and we settled down in the same booth that I and my grandpa had earlier occupied.
" So tell me all about you. Where did life take you after high school.” He continued flashing his handsome smile. Gone was that young boyish face I remembered. His features more rugged and chiseled. His beard making him look manly.
“Well I got into Yale, finished my law degree and it’s been a year since I have opened a private practice in Brooklyn with my best friend Jemima Moretti.” I filled him with the basic details of my life.
“That’s very impressive. You have done very well for yourself.” He smiled. His hands rested on the table in a lowered steeple, green eyes staring at me in full concentration as he spoke.
“What about you. If I remember correctly you got into Princeton right?” He was so good in soccer, he easily got a sports scholarship. I always thought he would end up making a very good career out of it.
“Yes, I did. But I had to drop out after a year.” His voice dropped as he said that. There was sadness attached to his voice.
“Oh, I am sorry to hear that.” I wanted to ask him why he had to drop out but I didn’t want to pry and make him feel uncomfortable. But at the same time, I couldn’t help wonder.
As if he could sense my curiosity, he began,” Do you remember my girlfriend Amanda Miller from high school?”
" Yes, I do.” I nodded.
" Well I got her pregnant, it was unplanned. But I did what was best at that time, I dropped out of college, married her and started working at my dad’s car wash shop. I feel sad sometimes thinking about what would have happened if things didn’t turn out the way it did. But when I look at my son all my sadness instantly washes away.” He sounded genuinely happy talking about his son.
“I am happy to hear that. How is Amanda?” I asked.
“She must be fine.” His lips pressed together tightly indicating that all was not well with them and if I am not mistaken there was anger laced in his tone.
“Are you guys no longer together?” I asked confused.
“No, we are not, it’s just me and my boy Steven now. She left the moment he was born, told me she was too young to take the responsibility of parenting. She got into Juilliard, the last time I heard from her was she married a business mogul old enough to be her father. I understand her not wanting to do anything with me but I never thought she would ignore the presence of our son. So for his betterment, I took full custody.” He finished, I could really sense the bitterness vibrating out from his tone talking about Amanda. I felt very sad hearing the news, they were such a good couple and so much in love with each other. And I felt even sadder for Nathan, he is a very good person. I remember how he would always be so encouraging towards the team.
I couldn’t help but reach out my hand to give his hand a gentle squeeze and release it,” I am so sorry to hear about it, Nathan. I wish things didn’t have to turn out that way for you guys. Your son is so lucky to have you as his father.”
“Thanks, Arabella. He is the one that keeps me going, now all I think about is giving him a good life. I took over the shop from my old man two years back and thankfully it is doing well for now. I want to save as much as I can for Steve’s college fund.” He gave a small smile.
" I am sure you will be successful in securing his future. How old is he now?” I asked.
“He will be seven this year.” He smiled.
“Aww in no time he will be in college. Is he interested in soccer too?” I asked grinning.
Nathan let out a small laugh rubbing his beard,” I wish he did. He hates outdoors, I always find him buried his nose in a book. That kid is so interested in science, already decided what career he wants too. He wants to be a Doctor, a surgeon to be specific.”
" That’s really nice, I hope he succeeds in realizing his dream,” I was impressed. I can see a miniature version of Nathan fully engrossed reading a book, ah! the cuteness of it.
“I hope so too. Are you here for long?”
“No, I’ll be going back on Monday,” I stated.
" I see.” He muttered,“umm why don’t you drop by my place tomorrow. We can have a little get together sort of like a mini high school soccer team reunion,” He chuckled and continued speaking,” some of my teammates are also settled here and your teammate Miranda is also here. And who else, oh, I can ring in coach Walter to join us. What do you think, will you be free?” He sounded excited.
“Sure why not. I would love to catch up with everyone.” I smiled accepting his offer. Although I have never ever spoken to anyone from the boy’s soccer team expect him. But then again it will be nice to catch with Miranda and coach Walter and meet his son Steven too. I quickly made a mental note of getting something for the get-together and his son.
“Great! Here save your number and I’ll text you my home address later.” He said handing me his phone.
I saved my number in his phone and gave a Miss call on my number and gave him back his phone.
The waitress came with his parcelled food and once he paid his bill, we decided to leave the diner.
Once we were outside the diner, we hugged each other goodbye and went our separate ways. On reaching Grandpa’s shop, he decided to let Joey take care of the shop for today and go home instead. His exact words to Joey were,” It’s not every day your Granddaughter comes home and by no means, I am going to be stuck here in the shop. I give you full charge of the shop for today Joey.”
Finally home I decided to rest for a while in my room. I was just lying on my bed and leafing through the pages of an old worn out Aquaman comic book. I can’t wait for the movie to release, Jason Momoa fits the role perfectly as the Aquaman and Amber Heard as Mera is beautiful.
As I was engrossed reading the comic then my phone rang. It was Dominic. Lying back down on my bed I spoke to him, updating him about my day and my plans for tomorrow at Nathan’s place. By the time we ended our conversation, he sounded a little off. But I brushed it off thinking he must be just tired and stressed because of his work.
I got back to my reading and slept off in midway and when I got up it was already five in the evening so I decided to go down and help assist Grandpa in the kitchen since he so excitedly told me he would be cooking the dinner tonight.
“Why is everything being done at the last minute. Do I need to take your hand like a child and show you how it should be done? Where is the report submitted by the Aerodynamic engineer after reviewing the models.” I snapped rubbing my forehead and glaring at my executives seated before me at the conference room.
They shifted in their seats uncomfortably and started scrambling what I presume to be searching for the report. Just when I was about to snap again then one of them quickly stood up and connected his Macbook to the projector and started presenting me the report. After five hours of discussing all the details of tomorrow’s launch of my Car manufacturing company, I finally left the office and arrived at the presidential suite of my Hotel, the Elite.
I took out my jacket and pulled off my tie roughly and threw them on the sofa. And walked towards the mini bar unbuttoning the top two buttons of my shirt in the process and poured myself a neat scotch.
Taking a sip of the scotch I walked towards the terrace of the suite and sat down on the sofa and went through those pictures again in my mind that Bastard send me earlier.
Gritting my teeth in anger I chucked the scotch in one shot and placed the glass on the center table before me.
I have no reason to be upset or doubt her not now at least after talking to her.
I was just getting ready for the meeting with my executives, then I received a message from him. When I opened his message it was written as,” Seems like Carino is keeping herself occupied. Too bad you are not the only one she is interested in.”
The message was followed by two pictures of Arabella with a man. One inside a restaurant where she was holding his hand and the other was them hugging each other outside the restaurant.
To be honest a numbing feeling passed through my whole body as I first glanced at the picture. Than anger crept slowly, rocking every nerve in my body, anger not directed at her. But that Bastard Nicholas for stalking my Arabella this way, I knew he had a flower delivered to her at her arrival at the airport. I had my sources watching over her plus she told me about it. These pictures were one sly move from him, the nerve of him.
I might be the one messing up our relationship but never Arabella. I trust her but as a man who is extremely possessive of her, I couldn’t help the bang of jealousy and anger I felt towards that guy when I saw the picture. I wanted to fix him up real bad.
Just to ease my mind and wanting to hear her voice so much I decided to call her, telling Janis not to let anybody disturb me until I am done talking to Arabella. By the time our conversation ended I felt lighter and at ease as she told me about her encounter with that guy on the picture, who was supposedly her senior from high school. I didn’t tell her about the pictures because I didn’t want her to feel upset about it.
I have decided to go back tomorrow after the press meeting which was scheduled in the morning and leave for Ohio to spend time with her and meet her Grandpa as well. I miss her so much and another day would kill me, I don’t care how tired I am, I have to see her.
As I got up to refill my glass there was a buzz at the door.
No sooner I opened it then a familiar voice greeted me.
" Miss me.” He chuckled and walked into the suite.
“You wish Sebastian.” I chuckled and went to the mini bar and poured him a glass of neat scotch.
" Cheers to the new opening.” He said raising his glass towards me.
“Cheers,” Returning the gesture and settling down on the stool of the mini bar.
" So why did you want me here all of a sudden with no proper explanations but just a message saying. Urgent, drop everything come to Sydney.” He eyed me curiously sipping on his drink while taking a seat beside me by the mini bar.
“Nicholas is after her,” I stated and took a sip of the scotch.
Sebastian huffed letting out a bitter laugh,” That Fucker! Does she know everything about Alia?”
I nodded,” She does. I confessed everything to her. Everything about my conflicts with him.”
“And she still stayed with you?” his tone surprised.
“Yes,” I muttered swirling my glass and focusing my attention on the neatly stacked liquors in front of me.
“She’s a keeper Nic.” He patted my shoulder.
“She is, she is very special.” I smiled despite my foul mood.
“Why are we still referring to your girl as She? She does have a name right. Or are you still going to keep her a secret and not reveal her name.” He chuckled.
“Says the man who hasn’t told me anything about his girl.” I deadpan giving him a side-eye.
I would obviously be telling her name to him and introduce them once we are back in New York. But I won’t give it up that easily, I like taunting him like this, the more I act secretively, the more he would grow impatient and curious. This is how it has always been between us, irritate each other for no solid reason.
“She is not my girl. She is already dating some else.” He finished bitterly chucking the whole drink in one shot and setting the glass noisily on the bar counter.
I huffed shifting my upper torso and facing him,” Since when did that stop us. We always go for what we want and always get it. I say go after her, woe her. Make her see what she is missing.” I encouraged. I hardly see him this distraught, this girl has really affected him.
He shook his head,” I can’t.” He heaved a deep sigh looking straight elbows resting on the bar counter,“Not this time. I have to respect her decision, she is not like the women we are used to Nic. She won’t just jump and leave the guy she is dating just because I try to convince her I am better. At least she considers me as her friend, she trusts me. Something is better than nothing right.” He let out a low chuckle.
“Maybe I should threaten the life out of the guy she is dating then.” I deadpan. I hated seeing him unhappy like this.
“You are not the only one wanting to do that Nic, trust me that is the only thing that is playing on my mind over and over again. But if I do that she would hate me forever and that I won’t be able to take it. So I have resigned to the fact that as long as I’m part of her life that’s all that matters.” He finished.
“If that is the case then I have nothing to say,” I muttered.
He nodded,” It is. Anyway, why I’m I here again?” He cocked his left brow at me facing me.
“I need to go back tomorrow after the press conference in the morning and since you are the major shareholder and the only one I trust. I wanted you to oversee the smooth transaction of the opening of the company.”
He shrugged his shoulders casually,“Sure why not. As it is I have a meeting scheduled on Friday here with my executives. I had to come here anyway. I’ll take care of it Nic, don’t worry. By the way, how are you going to deal with Nicholas? Do you want me to get involved? You know I still have that unfinished business with him. I would gladly disturb his peace of mind.” He menacingly finished his face darkening.
Only Nicholas brings this side of Sebastian, who is otherwise always the cool and calm one between us.
“No, for now, we just watch and observe him. And if he crosses his boundary. I think this time we bring him down for good.” I said matter of fact.
“But you know the mind games he loves to play Nic. Don’t forget that.” He pointed out.
“I haven’t forgotten anything Sebastian. In fact, I have my people trailing after him to keep me informed of his steps.” I assured him.
“Good. Let’s hope his obsession with her fizzles out and goes to latch on to other things like the Leech he is.” He spatted coldly.
I nodded in agreement. Hoping against all odds that the bastard will not do anything to jeopardize my relationship with her.
Sebastian and I had dinner together in my suite and I briefed him about tomorrow. Once dinner was done, he left for his suite which was on the same floor as mine to retire for the night.
After catching up with Arabella over a video call, I finally retired to bed. During our conversation, I didn’t tell her about my plans for tomorrow, I wanted to surprise her.
Her as my last thought, I drifted off to sleep.