Plum

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19.

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Jessica looked at him and blinked, a smile came on her lips and she nodded.

“I understand Mr Torres; I will never hurt your wife. It might seem that I am taking an advantage of her but I assure you I am not. I have had offers from various designers to co-design with them but I wanted someone who would be a genuine partner and a great friend. I knew no one could be better than Plum,” Jessica said.

Jessica was smooth; she had a way with words and an aura that was manipulative. He couldn’t give his verdict yet, he had to wait. But Plum had to be careful. His wife entered the dining area and sat beside him. She gave Jessica a bright smile.

“I think I should leave,” Jessica said, “I have a shoot tomorrow.”

Plum nodded and gave Jessica a hug.

“Hey! Mr Torres, if you don’t mind, since you want Plum to take your permission. Can we go to a club tomorrow night?” Jessica asked, he didn’t miss the subtle taunt. He gave her a menacing smile of his.

“No Jessica, I will not allow Plum to go to a Club. She is underage,” Arsenio said.

Plum whined and stomped her foot on the floor, she turned to him and gave him her pleading eyes.

“Baby you are legally not allowed to drink and you can go to jail if someone catches you,” Arsenio said.

“Mr Torres! I have connections in the club and I am sure you do too, no one can catch us!” Jessica pleaded, “and Plum loves clubbing!”

Plum nodded her head vigorously. His baby girl liked clubbing, he didn’t want that, couldn’t she like pottery or something?

“I think I have made my answer clear, you may leave Ms Smalls,” Arsenio said in his sombre tone.

Jessica gave a pitiful look to Plum and walked out of the house. His Plum turned to him and scowled.

“Tomorrow is weekend,” she whined, “what will I do all day?”

“You have me, a husband, who loves you a lot,” Arsenio said and took her hand in his and started to walk towards the elevator.

“Arsenio San, please you can also come! I love the club sphere,” she pleaded.

“Atmosphere,” he corrected her.

“Whatever! Please let me go!”

“You heard me once, now get on the bed, I want you,” he commanded.

She looked at him with insolence shining in her eye, god he loved spoiling her so much. She would get bratty and he would spank and correct her ways, it worked beautifully.

“On the bed,” he said again.

“No,” she said.

“Plummy…” he warned.

“San…” she copied him.

He cocked his head on one side and stared at her.

“Baby girl, I want to spend my weekend with you. It seems something or the other keeps coming up and I don’t feel I am spending enough time at home. I am absolutely free this weekend,” he tried to reason with her.

She lowered her head and nodded.

“It’s just that I d-don’t w-want to l-lose my new f-friend,” she mumbled and looked up at him.

His heart clenched at her sad office. Damn Dae Jung for schooling her at home, he should have allowed her to make friends, he should have made her independent but how could one when she walked with an air of vulnerability and fragility around her. The fact that she was allowing anyone to be her friend meant how desperately she wanted people of her age around her to the point that she would do anything to make them happy.

He sat on the bed and pulled her on his lap; he kissed her softly and looked at her with a tender expression.

“Never ever think that you will not have friends,” he said to her. She bit her lip and nodded.

“You are a talented girl, a very beautiful and talented girl, people want to be friends with you trust me my squirrel,” he said, “but having a lot of friends does not mean that they are all true friends. If you see anyone who is surrounded by many ‘friends’ then it is just because they have something that those friends don’t. And it puts these individuals in a very vulnerable position because people are friends with them not because of who they are but because of what they have.”

She listened to him with rapt attention, she was his good girl.

“You are someone who has money, talent and beauty. And trust me, many want to be your ‘friend’ because you have this and not because you are a generous and loving and pure human being. You are vulnerable my sweets and with your innocence it is easier to take advantage of you,” he whispered, “Just like Mr Smith, he got through you so easily. And you trusted his act so easily without doing any research on him.”

Plum gasped and bit her lip; she looked so pained by the fact.

“But h-how w-will I e-ever know,” she whispered.

“Be careful; don’t open all your secrets at once…”

“I told Jessica that you spank me,” she panicked.

“Yes, you see private things between a husband and wife should never go out in the public. They will never respect it and probably use that information for their entertainment and that way our respect and dignity will lessen their eyes. Be mysterious,” he explained.

“Then what after that,”

“Be diplomatic, it is the best way to go ahead without upsetting a lot of people. If you take a strong stance early in your career then there is a chance that one section of people might not let you progress just because you were not on their side. Once you are on the top, then you can make your views known, even then don’t ever be too anti-someone. Be cunning,”

She nodded. Her eyes were wide, he didn’t like giving her these lessons, it would take her innocence out but he had to teach her to survive.

“So let us take Jessica, she calls you up, takes you to a party and then suddenly offers you a partnership. That seems fishy to me baby girl, I might be wrong but there is no harm in being alert and vigilant,” he said to her.

She nodded.

“But why would she come to me? She is already so successful….”

“And that’s where you should be careful, listen to her conversations, observe her smiles and be as alert as possible. She might be giving you all the work and pretending like she is doing all the work when in fact she is not doing anything or she has an ulterior motive,” he said.

“Okay, I will be careful, but what if she is a cheater?” she sniffed, “I will not have any friend.”

“One can be truly alone only when he does not love his own self. You are an amazing girl my squirrel and it is time you realise that,” he said, “sometimes it is okay to love yourself.”

“Do you love yourself?” she asked.

“I do, but before me, I love you,” he said. He felt so raw in front of her all the time, he never knew he would feel like this for anyone, her love for him was so unconditional and pure that his heart felt full all the time. Every day he woke up, she was the one he was most thankful for. He looked at her and he knew he was hers more than he was his own.

She kept him in her heart and loved him with a devotion that made him the luckiest man on earth. He would observe the reverence in her eyes whenever he said something, the respect she had for his authority. A little girl, his wife, he never knew life would come to this.

“But should we be private with each other?” she asked.

“Initially in every relationship it is best to guard your secrets but once you are sure or once you are in complete love with them and you trust them then it is best to tell them everything,” he said, “because secrets then turn into poison which might break their relationship.” He said.

“Then I want you to tell me your secrets,” she whispered and looked him in the eye.

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