Chapter forty nine
I reread the contents of the letter, repeatedly with careful sincere eyes, afraid I would miss out on something important.
“Nic you are driving me crazy by your pacing, what did she write about,” Sebastian calls out but his voice seemed to be coming from a distance.
I racked my hair with my fingers as trepidation slowly sank into me making me go numb and vision blurry with anger towards them and self-loathing taking its residence inside my head.
It’s all my fault. Only this thought beginning to consume me at this great revelation. My past mistakes have come to seek its retribution and it knocked the most important thing in my life, my Arabella.
But it’s not too late to ratify my wrongs right? Will I lose her. I would go insane if I do.
"Fuck!” I hissed racking my hair again and turned to face my best friend who was sitting on the chair patiently waiting for me to come down.
“I need to get in touch with Ethan,” I ground out sitting down on my chair speed dialing my top security head and started barking up orders on the things that needed to be taken care of first. One thing at a time; carefully crafted steps.
I was in a landmine built by Nicholas and a wrong step will blow everything up. Hurting my love which in turn would automatically cause nothing but havoc for me.
“Why do you need Ethan to get Stefan’s help in protecting Bella and her family and friends,” Sebastian questioned eyebrow raised leaning on the table with his hands.
Stefan is the head of the FBI, he would know how to handle these things better than I and my team would. Let the expert settle it the best way they can, no harm in getting extra specialized help. Like I say one wrong move and everything goes in flames.
I passed the letter to him which he took it and began reading.
“So he planned this out well huh. And typical of him, he chose the perfect people to do his baiting.” Sebastian placed the letter on the table.
“Spencer!” That fucker’s name coming out between clenched teeth. I will make it my lifelong mission to destroy him bit by bit.
“That joker will be easy to knock off Nic. What we need to worry now is Aliyah, it will damage you badly if she publishes that book and..”
“I don’t care about my reputation. Let her bloody write whatever she wants. As long as Arabella is safe here with me that’s all that matters.” I retorted angrily interrupting him in the middle of his talk.
In a way, I deserved it for the way I hurt Aliyah. But now that she and her brother are targeting the most important person in my life I will fight tooth and nail to seek my retribution for causing distress to my Arabella.
“No Nic. Think about what this will do to your parents. And Grammy will not take this well. We will find a way to stop her, the moment we do that Nicholas will have less leverage to carry on with his plans to destroy you and keep Bella in harms way from him as well.”
I know whatever he says is the truth. My parents especially my mother would be extremely disappointed and devastated in the way I handled things with Aliyah. I wonder whether she saw the picture of me with Cecilia.
“Nic..” Sebastian interrupted my train of thoughts bringing me back from my zoned out stage.
“Aliyah needs to be stopped at all cost. Deal with Aliyah and I’ll see what I can do about Nicholas, seems like he has figured out ways to clear himself from your radar.” Sebastian stated pulling out his phone from his blazer pocket.
“Ethan did inform he caught on some abnormal behavior from him, he seems to make an appearance in two places that are at opposite ends within fewer minutes. How did it not strike me that he must be using decoys to escape my detection? Fucking shit!” I balled my fist wanting to ram it on the table.
“It happens, don’t beat yourself for it. That fucker is insane, who knows what else he has planned.” Sebastian shrugged as he continued typing on his phone rapidly and faced me.
“And what’s up with Cecilia. Bella did ask me about her, she was trying her best to be discreet but I could see it clearly on her face that she is unhappy with your association with Cecilia. I have a feeling she might be teaming up with Nicholas gave how Spencer is with him too.”
I let out a cold chuckle at the mention of Cecilia. She will be sorry if she is working with Nicholas. There are things I know about her and these pieces of information I have about her would make certain someone she had been trying to avoid, extremely interested and make her life difficult. So for her own sake, she better not be with Nicholas.
“She was a mistake one that I’ll rectify once and for all,” I stated matter-of-factly.
Sebastian raised a brow but nodded in understanding without asking me to elaborate on it and instead asked me.
“How are you going to approach Aliyah?”
“I don’t know.” I replied pinching the kneaded brows together, ” I don’t think any negotiation is going to make her stop and since Nicholas is with her, she is emboldened. Although I feel it’s out of character of her to do this.” My voice trails off. Aliyah may be Nicholas’s sister but from what little time I had spent with her, she was kind and above all forgiving and loving.
Arabella’s gentle temperament at first reminded me of her. But of course, nothing can compare with my Arabella.
“She is that psycho’s sister Nic. The same blood runs through her veins as he, don’t cloud your judgment based on the few months you guys were together. Who knows she might be worst than him. Remember how she went nuts when you tried to break off with her.” Sebastian cautioned giving his two cents into the matter.
How can I forget that episode with her? It will forever haunt me until I live. Holding the knife against her wrist threatening to kill herself if I set my foot outside her penthouse. I calmed her by staying and had a heart to heart talk with her, I stepped out of her penthouse knowing I douched a bullet of my own making. But I was wrong she went ahead with her threat and I will forever bear this guilt.
Sometimes in life, we make our own right decision not really thinking of its repercussions because we are completely blinded of adamantly focused on wanting to be the right one. At least in my case, I was that. When conscience hit me of how wrong I was to play with someone’s feelings, their life I brushed it off by telling myself that I was doing the right thing.
That it was the best way I could get to Nicholas after what he has done to me because what could be worse than to live each day that your mortal enemy was dating your baby sister. I enjoyed rubbing it on his face and taunt him how I would enjoy using her. But of course I never got physically intimate with her, I just couldn’t do it. If giving a peck on the lips or cheek can be called as intimate then there is no arguing there.
Bitterness and vengeance switched off all my morality.
I wish I could turn the clock and stop myself from making such a bad decision but I can’t and now I have to sleep in the bed I made.
I deserve all the humiliation Aliyah wants me to go through. I deserve it!
But somehow I just have this gut feeling that Aliyah might be forced into this.
Our conversation gets interrupted by the ringing of my desk phone.
“Yes, Janis,” I called out receiving the phone. I chuckled as Janis informed of the person who decided to make an appearance.
“Send her in,” I ordered and hung up the phone.
“Who, ” No sooner Sebastian asked me that. There was a knock on the door.
“Come in, ” I called out sitting up straight.
“It’s been a long time Dom.” She greets eyes fixed on me as she steps inside my office room and walks towards me.
She gave a slight glance at Sebastian giving a small smile which wasn’t returned instead he blankly stared at her as she takes a seat next to him.
“It’s been what four years? Three?” Her ruby lips twitched at the corner, hinting a slight smirk.
My eyes held hers longer than I intended to. She looked different, instead of her usual blonde hair she had scarlet red long wavy hair, carelessly curled at the end, it looked fake. There was no burning hate or pain in her eyes as she held mine, surprisingly it held warmth. Her slender hand caressed the Pearl on her neck as we went on staring at each other.
A clearing of the throat from Sebastian broke my gaze from her and instead rested on him. He gave an eyebrow raised tilting his head towards her as a sign to address her.
“Why are you here Aliyah?” I spoke meeting her gaze again. I’ll have to appear ignorant of all the schemes she and her brother had concocted.
This time she gives a full smile, her lips stretched out on both ends, fingers still playing with her pearls.
“I needed your help.” She pronounced letting her fingers slight down from her neck and resting it on her lap.
“Why?” I casually stated leaning my back on the chair.
She hesitated a bit fiddling with her fingers on her lap eyes cast down.
“It’s my brother.” Her voice soft as she meets my gaze again. It held vulnerability.
“He..he wants me to cooperate with him to bring you down. I don’t want to but.” She fiddles aggressively with her fingers, chewing on her lips. Eyes downcast again.
I gave a raised brow at Sebastian. Who adjusts himself on the chair and turns his upper torso to face her.
“And you are here easily defying him and coming to Nic for help? I’m sorry but I find it insulting that you would think my best friend would be dumb enough to believe you came here on your own accord.” Sebastian’s voice held a hint of anger.
“I’m telling the truth.” Her voice determined as she faced Sebastian and then me,” I need your help, Dom, you have to believe me.”
There was a clear desperation on her voice but it could be all an act too.
“Aren’t you worried about your brother finding out about you coming here?” I asked.
She grabs her hair and pulls it out from her head which had her usual blonde hair. She tosses the red wig on the table.
“I had to disguise myself to come here. He is watching my every move. I had to sneak out. Look, Dom, I risked everything to come to you. I could have cooperated with him because hey, after all, he is my family right?” She pauses as her eyes roam from me to Sebastian.
“But I didn’t because I know its wrong and whatever issue you and I had its all in the past. I know you are guilty about your actions and I forgave you. I have found my second chance at love with Roberto my husband, we have two wonderful children and I’m happy.”
“I’m sure Nicholas offered you financial security which you are quite frankly dearly in need of?” I dismissively returned as I held her gaze. Her explanations didn’t hold my interest, I’m not buying it.
Aliyah married a man whom her family didn’t approve of, simply because he was a middle school teacher, not someone an heiress should marry. But she went ahead anyway, which I admire her for that. She married for love, not for anything.
“Roberto is it your husband.” I sat up straight resting my elbows on the table.
“Didn’t he made with an accident last spring and is in no condition to go to work. You’ve spent most of your savings for his treatment which I think if you remember I sent you a cheque to help you with but you declined.”
“Roberto would hate it if I ever took the cheque.” She tells me cutting me off.
“Fine. But why should I believe you, Aliyah? You of all the people have every right to seek retribution for the distress I caused. Why would you sight with me again and not with your brother?”
“You are right Dom you caused me so much distress but half of it was of my own doing too. At that time I didn’t realize it but it’s been a long time Dom since that happened. I’ve had nothing but time to reflect on it.” She takes a long sigh.
“Now that we are talking about it I want to confess something to you.” She meets my gaze, palm cradling the pearls.
“I never harmed myself. I became so obsessed with you that I was going to keep you at all cost, so I made up that lie. But you never came back and my dad forcefully admitted me to the rehab. Not once asking me why I was so unhappy and depressed, he was ashamed of my behavior and of course, my brother the golden boy of my parents didn’t help either. He told my parents I was conspiring with you to bring downfall to the Ramirez empire, that I was losing my mind. So I got locked up, I thought I would never be happy but Roberto changed that. Even though my family cut me off I’m happy. No amount of designer clothes or luxuries can ever replace the peace I found with Roberto. ” I passed her the tissue as tears slight down her cheeks.
“Thanks.” She smiled tapping her eyes.
“If not for me, Dom, for your girlfriend’s sake you need to help me. She is in danger given how my brother is obsessed with her just because he knows how important she is to you. He will do anything, cross all boundaries of ethics and morals to bring you down. And judging by how your girlfriend is she will do anything to protect you too. Do you want her to be the sacrificial lamb?” She asked looking from.me to Sebastian.
The mentioned of Arabella completely caught my full attention. I couldn’t help feeling extremely happy about the length Arabella would go to protect me and this makes me even more determined to become the man she deserves.
“What can Nic do for you,” Sebastian asked.
“I want you to pay me $500,000 in cheque and another half for me to start my own bakery. My brother was willing to pay me more than that and also help me reconcile with my parents but I would never be indebted to that man.”
Sebastian chuckled, ” Didn’t you just say that your husband would never allow you to seek help from Nic.”
“I borrowed the money from the loan sharks for Roberto’s treatment and if I don’t pay them on time I’ll be in big trouble.” Her eyes held fear as she held mine for a second before facing Sebastian.
“And the bakery,” Sebastian asked again. He was nitpicking on everything she was speaking, which was a good thing because that way she knows we are on to her.
“Financial stability for my family since Roberto can no longer go for work.” She returned, her tone held so much sadness at the mention of her husband.
When we said nothing in return she spoke up again.
“Please, Dom, Sebastian. You guys have to, believe me, I will never cooperate with my brother. And as for reconciling with my parents, I don’t need my brother’s help to do it. I can do it on my own.” She grabbed the arm of the chair tightly, ” I swear it on my children, please believe me and help me.” She pleaded tears rolling down her cheeks.
Sebastian and I, our gaze met for a second. We both believed her.
“We believe you, Aliyah. But just to be clear if you decide to in any way in the future flip the switch and decide to betray me_”
“It won’t happen.” She interrupts me voice carrying a lot of determination. There was nothing but determined sincerity as she held my gaze.
“Fine. I’ll have my PA address the issue. And of course, you need to sign a contract as a proof of guaranteeing me about your loyalty and any bridge of the contract will have tough repercussions on you. I’m I clear?” My hard gaze bored into her. I mean business and I won’t pad an eye to straighten her out if she betrays me.
“I’m indebted to you Dom. You have my full corporation.” She assures and grabs the wig and puts it on.
“You may leave now. I have things I need to gather to.” I dismissively stated as I scroll through the messages which my top security head Ethan had sent me.
“Thank you, Dom.” She smiled which I couldn’t return. Vulnerable or not I didn’t like that she attempted to threaten Arabella even though she was forced to do it. There will be no friendship nor any sort of cordial relationship between us.
I share an extremely regretful past with her and that’s that.
“I’ll take my leave, ” she mutters and gets up to leave.
“One thing Aliyah,” I called out as she held the handle of the door to open.
“Yes.” She turned to face me.
“Every conversation we had has been recorded and you will be watched so if I were you, you will not even in the slightest entertain the thought of betraying me or cause distress to Arabella,” I warned.
She smiled looking down shaking her head.
“It’s good to see you so in love Dom.” She gave a sad smile, ” My children and my husband are everything to me. I would never do anything to jeopardize the life I’ve built with such decisions. Bye Dom.”
The moment the door closed behind her. Sebastian didn’t waste time to speak.
“She seemed sincere, I believe her. But no harm in keeping a strict tap on her Nic.” Sebastian cautioned.
" I will.” I agreed.
“So what now. Aliyah is taken care of now how do we get Bella. Any news from Ethan?”
“Everything is secured. Stefan has taken full charge. I’ll send Arthur along with some security to go fetch Arabella and in the meantime, I need to pay a little visit to someone and straighten everything out once and for all.” I said those last words between clenched teeth, as anger bubbles inside me.
“Do you want me to come?” Sebastian offered.
“No you stay here I want you to be here when she arrives,” I replied putting the phone inside my blazer pocket and stood up from my chair to leave.