Chapter thirty nine
Days and nights flash by fast when I spend it with Arabella, the love of my life. It has been exactly a week since her birthday and I can’t still wrap around the fact that she loves me back, this dreamlike feeling that I have only clear when she says I love you whenever I say it to her or she tells me without me having to say it.
Heated arguments about that fucker ex of hers still haven’t fully sorted out of my system. It still clings to me like a virus attached to its host, no doubt from a business perspective I gain immensely so does he. But the thought that he would go out of his way to contact her knowing full well we are together is not sitting well with me.
I could terminate the merger or even sell out my shares in the Spencer enterprise in a heartbeat if it meant he would get the fuck away from her, but it would upset her because she knows my intentions already. I regret being so vocal about my intentions behind my refusal for the merger.
Frustration sipping through every nerve and bone in my body I tell my self I have to trust her and not get paranoid or read too much into things. They might have been together for six years but that was the past and I am her present and I intend to be her future.
A knock on the door jolted my attention back from my conflicted thoughts making me realize I have been zoning out by just sitting and staring at my Mac Book that had the monthly report sent by my Executive Engineers from Kratos in Los Angeles.
“Sir it is quarter to 12 and you have precisely half an hour for your lunch date with your mother at Le Gavroche.” Informed Janis as she stepped inside my office.
“Thank you, Janis.” Shutting my Mac Book I got up buttoning my blazer button.
“You are welcome. And also I would like to inform you that none of your properties in Brooklyn will be available for the next six months, the contracts for leasing all expire around that time.” Janis informs standing on the other side of the table.
Tabbing my index finger on the table I contemplated what to do. I wanted to shift her from her present place as soon as possible, if it was here in Manhattan I could easily accommodate her but she would never agree to shift her office here in Manhattan, I have already had that conversation with her.
“Janis scout for other properties, I don’t care how much it cost. But make sure it is in the prime location and do it ASAP.”
“Sure sir it will be done.”
“Is that all?” Putting my phone in my blazer pocket.
“That’s all, for now, Sir,” Janis informed.
“Fine.” I gave a slight nod and headed towards the door with Janis following behind me.
I arrived twenty minutes earlier than my mother which was good because given how she was extremely mindful of punctuality it was always a plus to be early than late. This was one of the many quirks that I have acquired from my mother which has proven to be very helpful and beneficial for my own personal growth and also especially for the running of King Enterprise.
The restaurant I was in was one of my mother’s favorite restaurant, it has its own wine cellar housing some of the most exquisite wines of the world. I ordered my mother’s favorite red wine Chateau Lafite 1787.
I messaged Arabella letting her know I was free and would be willing to come pick her up from her office anytime she wants. With a couple of convincing words from me, she agreed to stay with me this week too. I am hoping in time she will be willing to move in with me. It is becoming impossible for me to stay without her, especially sleeping and waking up alone is something I don’t look forward to.
I need her in every way.
Glancing up from my phone, I saw my mother walking towards me and I stood up immediately to greet her.
“You’re looking well.” I gave a quick peck on her cheek and pulled out the chair for her opposite me. I settled into my chair once she was seated comfortably.
“Thank you, son. And you are I must say glowing. Is it because of the woman you are with?” She studies me with her keen sharp grey eyes.
I chuckled. My mother didn’t waste even a minute to bring up the topic of Arabella.
“It is the new facial cream I’m using I guess mother.” I joked.
She huffed unamused by the joke,” Enough with the jokes son, I was looking forward to this meeting with you since yesterday. I want to know everything about her and don’t be like last time where you dodge and change the topic every time I talk about this lady of yours.” My mother pointed out accusingly. She had a determined look on her face, her stubborn chin lifted slightly to show me she was going to have her way.
I smiled at my mother’s no-nonsense attitude,” I like the new haircut mother, it suits you.” I tried to divert the topic again steering her attention towards her new hairstyle. Her usual dark shoulder-length hair was cut short that reaches just above her neck.
“Why thank you, son. Your father doesn’t seem to have a liking for my new bob cut especially the bangs I am adorning. But I told him he has to accept it because it’s my hair and I happen to like it.” My mother nonchalantly shrugs running her fingers through her front hair.
I was not surprised by her information, my father might be the dominant retired business mogul turned Philanthropist to the world but it is an unspoken fact that my mother Nicole King runs the empire and my father’s life with her stubborn, iron fist. And my father lets her have her way most of the time mostly because he was so in love with her and adores her so dearly.
“I’m sure he loves it he is doing it just to irritate your mother.” I tried salvaging my father’s wrongs in front of my mother.
“I don’t think so. He has no idea nor cares about the fashion trends, if it were up to him he would be happy wearing khaki shorts and a polo shirt.” Her eyes widen in horror as if an image of my father wearing the attire flashing on her mind was something too scary.
Shaking her head,“Anyway where were we before you decided to cleverly divert the topic.” Her lips pressed tight in annoyance.
Before I began speaking we were interrupted by the waiter. Pouring the red wine and taking our orders he left.
Taking a sip of the red wine. I filled my mother in on the details of Arabella. I tried to be discreet about giving out all the information but my mother kept firing intrusive questions after questions.
“So you are officially seeing this woman?” She rested her elbow on the table clasping her hands her calculated eyes fixed on mine.
“Yes I am mother and her name is Arabella. Please address her by her name.” I calmly stated. I am not liking the way my mother’s tone was headed towards.
My mother just looks on not giving a damn about my request. Clearing her throat hard eyes fixes on me,” Son addressing her by her name is up to me not you. And let me just get straight to my unwillingness to open up to this woman of yours.” She pauses taking a sip of the wine and continues.
“Caroline attended a charity ball last week and she happened to meet the acquaintance of Claire Spencer wife of Henry Spencer of the Spencer Enterprise and she informed Caroline that this woman of yours has a reputation of seeking out and targeting wealthy bachelors. Her son was a victim of this woman you are seeing, but she was able to stop her before she could ruin him completely. Her exact words were she was a gold digger.”
Before my mother could go on and before I let my anger get the better of me. I spoke up as calmly as I could and trying my best not to be disrespectful towards my mother,“Since when did you and aunt Caroline start listening in on venomous gossips mother.”
“Since never but if the gossip happens to be about my son or related to my son, my attentions are fully earned.” Retorted my mother sternly.
“Then I respectfully suggest you turn away from it because mother that woman and her son are nothing but spanning lies and are a complete example of the word hypocrisy. Once you meet Arabella all your doubts will be cleared and you would see that she is nothing like the way Claire Spencer projected.” I clenched my fist tightly underneath the table.
“Son you must understand where my apprehensions are coming from. It’s been 28 years since I birthed you and never have you ever decided on introducing any of the women you dated and to top that you were so tight-lipped about sharing anything about her. So naturally, I am curious and I have every right to be skeptical about her.” My mother’s reasoning voice was unrelenting and with judgment.
Frustration and anger sipping through my body. I waited for the waiter to leave after placing our food on the table. I suddenly lost my appetite for the duck confit served before me.
I sighed,” Mother I understand where your apprehensions are coming from but to form an opinion about Arabella based on some vile gossips which are absolutely preposterous and so untrue is wrong. And this is very out of your character mother.” My mother was never one to indulge in gossips nor let it influence her decisions. This attitude of hers surprises me.
My mother eyes me with seriousness,” You are in love with her.” She stated as a matter-of-factly.
“Yes, I am,” I answered truthfully without any hesitation.
“I see now why you are very defensive of her.” She nodded as if she was understanding how important Arabella was to me.
She held out her hand and gives my hand a gentle squeeze,” I’m sorry for forming an opinion too fast based on mere gossips son. Let’s start over again. Bring her to meet your father and me the next week Sunday for dinner.” She gives me a reassuring smile.
I returned her smile,” It’s okay mother you need not say sorry I understand why you said what you said. Sunday it is then.” I breathed out a sigh of relief and continue eating so does my mother.
“Leaving aside the negative opinions I do have the right to be skeptical about the woman who stole my son’s heart don’t you agree.” A tight smile graces my mother’s lips.
Shaking my head I chuckled. One can never win with my mother, I just hope Arabella will not crumble under her scrutiny. I’ll make sure she has my full support no matter what.
“You are entitled to that mother.” I pretended to agree just to shut the topic.
“The King Enterprise is a lot more than just a business enterprise, it is not some startup innovative company that just sprang up overnight in the silicon valley. We have a deep history, tradition, and legacy, a dynasty that spans from generations.”
I cut in annoyed as to why my mother was suddenly reminding me of our family legacy,“Whats with the sudden legacy talk mother.”
Serious eyes meet mine,” The reason I am bringing this up is simple. Since you are the heir to the King dynasty you have deep responsibility riding on your shoulders to carry forward the legacy which your great-grandfather had built with his sweat and blood which no doubt you are doing quite well. And I am very proud of you but introducing the wrong person in our mists can create havoc in many unimaginable ways which we already had a display of it in the Collins household.” She paused stressing the importance of her words.
“I just wanted to warn you from now that I cannot and will not tolerate it. So I do hope you would reflect on these words of mine.” My mother warns taking a sip of the wine. Her tone was no longer hard but it was laced with worry.
Giving her hand a gentle squeeze as a sign of reassuring,“Mother I will. Please don’t exert yourself too much and disturb your peace when there is nothing to get worried about.”
“I trust your judgment son so I won’t worry.” She smiled and we continued eating our lunch no longer talking about my relationship much to my relief.
My mother filled me in on the progress of our family charity foundation The Kings foundation which my mother was the CEO. By the end of our lunch, the atmosphere around us lighten. Once my mother drove away I headed towards Sebastian’s office for some much needed sane conversations.
“I can’t believe you got yourself whipped Dom,” My friend Luis Mercier stares at me completely baffled sitting across me on the sofa beside Sebastian. He is a good friend of Sebastian and me, he is the CEO of the multi-billion dollar Hotels, resorts and shipping industry, Mercier & co.
" You should try it, Luis. It isn’t as bad as we thought it would be,” I chuckled. Luis, Sebastian and few of our other friends during our college days have made this non-binding pack that we would settle down only when we hit the late thirties and until then it would be just us dominating the business world, parties and relationships with women will always be non-exclusive.
Little did I knew I would be head over heel in love.
“No thanks. Unlike you I like varieties and if memories serve me right I know you did too. This woman must be something. I would love to meet her, when will it be.” He regards me in eagerness as Sebastian looks on at him in amusement.
“How long will you be here?” I would love for him to meet my Arabella. It’s time I slowly start introducing her to my family and close friends.
“I’m going back tomorrow. Shall we all meet up tonight over dinner.” He suggested.
“We have other engagements later in the evening. Maybe next time.” An engagement I’d gladly give it a miss if I could.
“See this is what happens when you get whipped. You no longer associate much with your friends, it’s always I have to check up with her or the I is replaced by us. We can’t make it or we have to see.” He accuses.
“It’s business, Luis,” I stated dryly.
“If you say so. What’s up with you two assholes. We didn’t meet up for some months since Ibiza and I am introduced to two lovestruck guys. This one turned up last month looking like a deranged lovesick puppy.” Luis’ eyes fixed on Sebastian making him shift on his seat uncomfortably. It clicked instantly what Luis was talking about.
“Shut up Luis,” Sebastian growled but I didn’t miss the awkward tone mixed with that annoyance.
“I speak whatever I have observed. And my conclusion was you were a mess.” Luis deadpan eyeing Sebastian challenging him to contradict his truth. Sebastian looks away from his gaze meeting mine but there was no emotion in it, it was blank.
I decided to end this awkward situation which Luis was clearly unaware of by steering the conversation to business,” How is the new resort running in the Maldives. You inaugurated last month right?”
This instantly changed the whole dynamic of our conversation. Now I have fully succeeded in engaging Luis in talking nothing but business and I can see that Sebastian seem more relaxed as he joined in on the conversation.
Luis left but I still lingered on. I have things I need to get it out of my chest.
“What’s bothering you,” Sebastian called out as he leans his back on the sofa, legs comfortably stretched and arms crossed over his chest as his gaze meets mine.
I look away racking my hair in frustration,” The merger party with the Spencer Enterprise is tonight.”
“I see. You are bothered by what actually Nic.” He paused, regarding me with a knowing,ook,“Her seeing him again and changing her mind about you?”
“Do you think she would do that.“I returned abruptly. My breath clotted in my throat at his words he hit the right target. This was bothering me the whole time. It gives me a crippling feeling and I hated it and above all, I was scared to lose her.
Despite my apprehension, Sebastian chuckled,” Nic you are bothered by things which are totally baseless. Do you think she would be with you if she still hopes to get back with him? She is clear about what she wants and her position with him. You’re just worried and bothered for nothing.”
Sebastian continued as I remained silent taking in his words trying to clear my foggy fucked up mind.
“She loves you Nic. Bury the doubts and just enjoy being with her.” He stated matter-of-factly.
“And as for Spencer, we know full well about guys like that. The social climbing whores. That’s it nothing more.” He returns dryly a slight smug smile plays at the edge of his mouth.
“You are right.” I nodded taking in all the words he spoke. Now that I hear it from someone else perspective I came to realize that I’m stressing over a non-existence problem.
“It does sound absurd...” My words were cut short by the ringing of my cell phone. I fished it out of my blazer pocket to check, it was Arabella,” Excuse me.” I muttered and pick up the call.
“I’m free sweetheart. Do you want me to come pick you up now?” I asked.
“Please do. I call up just for that.” She returned.
“Okay. I’m moving out now. See you.” Having said that I cut the call and got up to leave.
“Why don’t we hang out just us at the shooting range tomorrow evening,” I suggested as Sebastian walked me towards the door. I don’t want him to feel left out especially given our situation with Arabella. So why not hang out just us as we used to like always.
“Sure. I’ll make sure I beat your ass again.” He smirked.
I huffed,” Keep dreaming.”
Walking out of his office I headed towards the elevator. Once I got in I roughly pulled out my necktie and shove it in my blazer pocket unbuttoning the top two buttons as well.
Agitation still latched on my body but I am much calmer than I was before I came here.
“She loves me and not him.” I mentally went over it repeatedly assuring myself as I stepped out of the elevator and walked out of the building towards the car where Arthur was waiting for me.