chapter forty five
Queasy at the pit of my stomach and my heart pounding rapidly in my chest.
What is this man talking about? For the first time looking into those emotionless dark eyes made me realize how psychotically dangerous this man is.
He frightens me so much!
A chuckle passes his lips as he regards me with his elbow resting on the table and thumb slowly rubbing his lower lip. He was enjoying my rather frightened demeanor which in a way slowly helped in harnessing my fear into anger giving me the strength to form words in my mouth.
“What do you mean by harming people I love. You bastard,” I asked again my tone dripping in contempt at this man before me.
He gives a sugary smile and leans his body closer towards me as he rests his hands on the table making a steeple gesture,” I would get one of your loved ones killed. It can be your Grandpa or your best friend Jemima Morretti or Micheal or your uncle John.” His voice was laid back as if he were discussing the menu on the table.
“Do I need to go on.” He raises a brow giving me a cold chilling smile. That eerie feeling that hits me whenever he was near me envelops me in a vice grip.
I was frozen, I was breathing only through my nose with lips pressed firmly together because I was sure if I opened my mouth only tight frightened gasps would come out.
But on the other hand, even if I was frightened to the core, I was desperately trying not to show it on my face. I won’t allow this man to bask in knowing that he has managed to invade my whole being with his vile plans. So I clasped my hands firmly on my lap underneath the table to ease the nerves that were building up by the minute.
“I’m sorry Carino for this discomfort but tell me what would you have done if you were in my place. I’m a desperate man right now. I want you, I love you, I’m crazy about you. I re.”
“Love?” I scoffed cutting him off. Does he even know the meaning of love?
“Yes, Love,” There is no blinking to his eyes as he held mine.
A mocking laugh passes my lips,” Really? You don’t even know me. We’ve never even interacted properly except that first time at Robin’s studio and the other time when you stalked me in the park. Do you even know the meaning of love?” I glared at him as I threw angry words at him.
“I don’t need to explain my self and my love for you.” He dismissively shrugged.
I chuckled shaking my head at this insanity,” Ah! So this is how you show your so-called love then by threatening me with bringing harm to my loved ones if I don’t comply with what you want? Can you even evaluate everything you’ve just spoken out.” I glared at him and gathered my handbag from the empty chair beside me and stood up pushing the chair roughly behind.
I am done entertaining this madness.
“Stay the hell away from me and my boyfriend. This is your last warning next time there will be a restraining order slapped at your smug face.” I pointed my finger at him as hard eyes meet his. My voice held strength that lacked before.
He chuckled unphased by my threats,” The more you resist me, the more you unleash that fire in you it makes me crave for you more. And not to mention Dominic’s want for you, it disgusts me yet at the same time it pumps up my adrenaline this insatiable want to snatch you away from him. His perfect treasure.”
Pausing he leans back in the chair,” In this race between losing and winning between him and I. I always strive to win and I do too. This time you happen to be the priced position we both want. And by all means, I’ll have you, so Carino do you think a mere restraining order would keep me away from you.” He chuckled again and fished out his phone from his blazer pocket.
My eyes tracing every movement of his as he swipes and unlocks his phone tapping on it and places the phone on the table.
“My people told me your grandpa made a huge sale today at his shop. They were so diligent to send me a video of it.”
I watched as he played the video for me. It was grandpa interacting with his customers. With a shaky hand, I picked up the phone and watched as every move of my grandpa had been recorded.
“You see Carino I’ve my people track each and every movement of his. Just one call and his poor old soul will be snuffed off just because of his granddaughter’s selfishness.”
“Don’t you dare.” I seethed throwing the phone roughly on the table. He smiled casually and picked up the phone.
“This was just a warm-up and you’re already all fired up. I like it.” He laughed.
I was literally shaking all over, goosebumps raising my flesh. I bit my lower lip hard to control my nerves.
This wasn’t happening. I have to tell everything to Dominic, he was right all along this horrid person really knows how to terrorize people’s mind.
“Then leave him and be mine. I’ll treat you like a Queen.” He stated matter-of-factly dark eyes regarding me.
“I would rather die.” I seethed coldly with clenched teeth.
“I thought this transaction between us was suppose to seal our union but you are too stubborn for your own good. Guess will just have to do it the hard way.” Saying that he makes a call.
“Go ahead.” He utters those two words and cuts the call. A satisfied smile playing on his lips as his cold eyes holding me captive.
“If anything happens to my grandpa I swear to God I’ll not go down quietly. I’ll fight you with all I have.” I grabbed the edge of the table tightly my knuckles turning white with the force I’m using.
“Who said it was your Grandpa. You’ve others that are dear to you other than him right.” Blood rushes to my face and then my ears, my legs wobbly as my mind swims on the storm he was unleashing. Jemi? Mic? Who is he targeting?
“Ah! Right on time.” He smiles as his phone rings, he picks up and held it to his ear,” Speak.” He commands as he continues to listen to whatever the person was saying on the other end.
“Perfect.” His eyes meet mine while still engaging on the phone. He had a satisfied smile on his face as he hung up the phone.
“You might want to call your best friend Jemima.” He casually states as he leans back in the chair comfortably folding his hands against his chest.
I didn’t need to be told twice I quickly rummaged through my bag for my phone. My heart palpitating rapidly and body shaking uncontrollably like as if I were having a seizure. Taking out the phone I speed-dialed Jemi.
The phone rings but there was no answer. I dialed again and was chanting pick up! Pick up! repeatedly in my head, my breathing getting harsher as the ringing continued.
I let out a frustrated sigh as the phone went unanswered but I didn’t waste time in redialing her number. I made sure not to look at the evil sitting before me and instead concentrated my eyes on the table.
Finally, after four rings, Jemi picks up.
“What took you so long to pick up.” I got straight to the point my voice losses the calmness that I was trying so hard to maintain this whole time.
"Sorry, Ell. Robin and I met with an accident but..”
My breath gets knocked out of my chest the moment I heard the word accident, I was rendered completely speechless. My eyes widen in horror as I lift my head up to meet that dark coldness before me watching and enjoying himself at the effect his cruelty has on me.
"Hello, Ell. Are you there.” Jemi’s voice from the other end brings me back from my numbness.
“Ye.Yes.” I stuttered.
"Nothing to worry about okay. The truck got the bike and not us. Just small scrapes, we are perfectly fine.”
"Are you sure?” My lips trembling as tears threatened to spill.
"Yes, Ell. I would tell you if I wasn’t. We’re at his place now.”
Her assurance didn’t ease the storm brewing in my heart. I had to go meet her.
“I’ll come there right now okay.” I rushed out my apprehensive words.
“Don’t Ell, I’ll be coming home and besides I have to get to the court in two hours. Breathe! nothing to get worried about okay.” She assured me again and I nodded forgetting that she couldn’t see me.
"Okay?” She repeated her words again making me realize I was standing numbly.
“Okay. I’ll see you later then.” I replied with relief enveloping me. She said her bye and kept the phone.
“You sniveling monster.” My voice coming out in a shriek as I pin him with my murderous glare. I’ve never hated anyone as much as I hate this man before me. There was no remorse nor shame to his face, in fact, he sits there as if whatever he was doing was the right thing with a sense of entitled smirk on his face.
“This time it was the bike that was crushed but next time it will be their skulls I’ll be crushing.” He casually puts his threat but his steel dark eyes convey nothing of the casualness of his voice. He would definitely put his threat into action, I was sure. A shiver passes my whole body at the revelation.
“How dare you. You think you’re above the law, you think we are not going to find out about the driver. All your maliciousness intent will be exposed, you just wait.” I equally threatened him as my heart races and mind running with endless possibilities of trapping him.
“That’s a beautiful counter plan, Carino.” He smirks shifting his body on the chair.
“But you see. It won’t matter if he gets caught, my whole intention was for him to execute my order and prepare himself to sit behind the bar if caught. He is a pathetic fool whom I picked up with some cash who agreed to spend his life behind bars for executing my plans and his silence. He has to feed his family but his poverty-stricken ass can’t do it so what happens when someone throws cash his way to take care of his hungry family in exchange for his freedom.” He raises his brow tone lacing in contempt as if being in Poverty was something to be looked down at.
I was befuddled by his malicious revelations. I felt the room spinning around me as I slowly sank down on the chair to keep me from collapsing.
This monster has meticulously planned out all his actions and I feel so helpless. Oh! So helpless.
Swallowing the tight lump in my throat I met his gaze,” I hate you with every fiber of my being and if you think that I would be with you then you must be the most delusional person. Because I would rather die. I love Dominic and nothing is ever going to change that.” My eyes glossy with the tears threatening to spill. I was frustrated, scared and angry.
Every time I try to maneuver my way out of the maze he puts me in, he manages to block my path trapping me. Right now at this very moment I feel defeated and suffocated by his presence.
Maybe once I’m out of his sight I might be able to wire my brain to come up with a Plan but right now all I can do is sit numbly.
“I know you would say that that’s why I prepared my self for it. I am hurt but as long as you don’t end up with him or anyone. It’s all fine.” He returns calmly palm rubbing on his chest with a calculative twist on his lips.
“Do you think Dominic is going to let you get away with this? He is surely going to find out.” Just saying these words out loud makes me feel safe.
He laughs out loud at my words and stood up from his chair and walk towards me, one palm resting on the table and the other on the chair I was sitting in he leans his body closer to me invading my space. I turned my head looking away from him but he grabs my chin firmly with his fingers and turns it lifting my head up so that I was forced to make eye contact.
“So much faith you have in him don’t you tsk tsk. Let me tell you a secret.” He leans in and whispers those last words on my ears before releasing my chin and walks behind me pulling out the chair beside me and sits on it facing me.
“I know he released his watchdogs on me. But as always I happen to be one step ahead, right now at this very moment to his watchdogs I’m attaining a conference meeting with my executives in Boston.” A menacing smile passes his lips and a gasp escapes from mine. He was calm, I was not.
"How?” He voices out my question with a raised brow,“Several decoys that resemble Me.” He reveals smugly.
My head hangs down with his revelations, I no longer have the strength to look into those cold eyes. Nor do I have any contradicting words to tell him, I felt my throat constricted. The despair is so crushing to acknowledge the fact that he has really sized up and planned everything all too well.
He wants to own me and bring destruction to the life I have with Dominic and I fear he is going to succeed.
“Don’t be sad about leaving him, Carino. In time you will feel nothing for him and maybe learn to give us a real chance. But for now, go home relax and wait for him to come back from LA and end it with him once and for all.”
“I won’t.” I hissed glaring at him.
“Then watch as I slowly snuff the life out of the people you love.” He returns coldly.
“I hate you.” I enunciated each word voicing out my feelings with passion.
He sighs rubbing his face with his palm and meets my glare,” At least you feel something for me, hate is also a feeling right. This way I’ve already succeeded in invading your heart and mind.”
I raised my hand to slap him but he quickly stops it by grabbing my wrist. I flinched at the strength he uses to grab my wrist, this time a tear trails down my cheek. His eyes follow the trail of the tear and release my wrist that had his red angry finger marks. I could see a hint of remorse in his face which quickly disappears and replaces with that coldness.
“I’ve been patient with you all this time Carino don’t make me lose my cool.” He calmly warns.
“What could you possibly do to cause me more misery than you already have.” I let out a bitter laugh.
“Believe me my intention wasn’t to cause you misery. I just wanted to let you know I want you and I intend to have you but you seem to fight me so much thereby making me take these extreme measures. But don’t worry I won’t let you face this alone, I have someone who would assist you when you face Dominic. One second let me call and invite him here.” Saying that he fishes his phone and tells whoever that person is to come where we were at.
No sooner he cuts the call the door opens and closes behind me. I didn’t bother to turn to look but the moment my eyes lands on the person as he comes in front of us my eyes widens in shock.
“Richard?” A disbelieve tone passes my lips.
“Hi, Ell.” He had the audacity to smile at me and takes a seat opposite us.
“You can use him to get your point across to Dominic. I think I don’t need to elaborate on what to do.” Nicholas instructs as I continue to glare at Richard with pure loathing and disbelieve.
“And you this time you better not disappoint me. Remember the consequences of failing me.” Richards’ face pales as Nicholas coldly reminds him of who he is and what he can do to him.
“Carino look at me.” His tone calm and soft as he turns his body to face me. I do as told wondering what more does he have to say.
“I would have stayed with you for longer but I’ve some important matter to take care of so I’ll leave you with him. And just an advance caution Carino your phone has been tapped, your every move monitored and the others too. So don’t think of crossing me, I don’t take betrayal very well. I’ll see you soon and hopefully with the answer I would want to hear from you.” He takes my hand and holds it with so much pressure as he leans down to kiss the back of my hand which makes me internally cringe-making my skin crawl in disgust. I roughly pull my hand away from him and literally wiped my hand on my skirt.
He chuckles as I did that. It was amazing to see how nothing affects him. He was a deeply disturbed man with an insane obsession to possess whatever Dominic has. It chills me to the bone.
“I’ll leave you two to discuss the plan then. You’re an attorney and a smart one at that, you’ll know what to do.” He winks giving me an adoring smile and walks out of the room.
No sooner I heard the click of the door closing behind me I picked up the nearly half-empty wine glass and threw the red liquid on Richard’s face.
“You miserable disgusting person. How could you? Tell me how much did he pay you, what was your price, Richard?” I lashed out at him.
Silent meets my anger as he takes his time in rubbing his face off the red wine with his white handkerchief which gets stained thickly with the red liquid. Stains that would need special care to get it off, unlike the stain that was between us which would forever stay. He has ruined whatever little connection we’ve had between us even after all that he had done to me.
He chucks the stained handkerchief on the table after wiping his face. Hazel eyes met mine, there was no familiarity with it, I was looking into a stranger’s eyes.
“You don’t and will never understand Ell. You stay in this bubble world you’ve created so tightly which you are so satisfied with it that you see nothing apart from it. Do you know how much I have to struggle to get to the top to take my company to the billionaire listings?” His tone sounding desperate. But was it for my understanding or his distress that his company wasn’t where he wanted it to be I wondered.
“At least I’m in a bubble where my mind isn’t polluted with planning on ruining people’s lives.” I returned coldly.
Six years! Six years I’ve spent my life with this man and I never saw this side of him. Or was it he displayed it but I was too naive and stupidly blinded by the love I had for him that I brushed it off by layering it up with my own blinded excuse for him.
“No one is ruining anyone’s life Ell. Don’t be so dramatic. Anyway, I don’t need to explain myself to you. Just do as you’re told Ell, he doesn’t play so you better be wary about crossing him. Let me know what your plan is I’ll be there to execute it.” Saying that he stood up to leave.
“What did I ever do you, Richard? All I ever did was loved you and was true to you, I gave it my all. Please tell me what did I do so wrong to warrant this.” I held his gaze with pain squeezing the life out of me. His betrayal and complete lack of regard for me were breaking my heart all over again.
He looks away as if to gather his thoughts and meets my gaze,” You are just the collateral damage for me to reach the top Ell. Please don’t take this personally. At least you are getting another billionaire out of all these.”
With a blank expression, he held my gaze for a second and walks out of the room. I burst into a fit of frustrated cry as soon as I heard the door clicked behind me.
How did things get so bad? Being with Dominic was as easy as breathing and our love so simple and pure. My heart always full but right now I felt so empty and scared.
Wiping my eyes and my nose with the tissue, sniffing, and hiccupping I dialed the only person I always turned to when I’m at a crossroad in my life. To seek a sense of clarity a gem of wisdom to fight through the difficulties of life.
“Grandpa,” I called out as soon as he picked up the phone. I could taste the misery my voice held.
"Ell so good to hear from you. Is everything alright.” His tone automatically shifts to apprehension. Tears run down my cheek uncontrollably upon hearing his comforting voice.
I bit the inside of my cheek to contain my crying but I couldn’t. I ended up crying audibly as my grandpa patiently waits for me to cry out my pain.
Composing and wiping my face with the tissue, still hiccupping I spoke,” I’m at a crossroad, Grandpa. No matter which road I take, I still end up losing everything. I’m so confused and scared I don’t know what to do.” There were so much helplessness and desperation in my voice.
"I’m glad you called to settle this pesky problem of yours Ell.” His tone light and warm making me smile despite my sorrow. Grandpa’s sense of humor always coming in full bloom to make my burden lighter.
"Have you tried everything in your capacity to conquer it?”
“No.” Saying that out loud awaken something in me; hope.
“Well, then you’ve wasted time and energy crying before you even tried. But it’s never too late nor is anything impossible. Straighten up, pray to God for wisdom and strength kick that fear out of your system. Fear only blinds us and consumes our willpower, never let it become your master.” He admonished.
"And as for solving that pesky problem of yours. I say start by digging for the loopholes identify it and you will automatically find your way to fix the problem.”
Loopholes! This word immediately casts a moment of epiphany for me. Nicholas was no God, his plans might appear flawless but there has to be a loophole which I can manipulate to my advantage. This revelation tilts my lips into a huge grin. I have a feeling I might have just hit my first loophole in that bastard’s plan.