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“Roman,” Arsenio answered the phone. He had just received a few calls from his rival, Roman Black.
“Arsenio,” he answered. Arsenio frowned realising his tight voice, Roman was the kind of man who wouldn’t be recognised as cold in attitude. The image of Roman was like that of a smooth talker who could talk you to your ruin. He was sleek, venomous and thrived in intricate plots. On meeting Roman one would probably think of him as a jovial guy but that was a façade, he was a snake. Understanding Roman required experience in life and Arsenio had a lot of that. So it was a matter of concern if Roman was angry.
“Roman, is everything alright?” Arsenio asked.
“Oh nothing is right you a**hole, you better come to my Dad’s place in the Hamptons, with your brother and little wife,” Roman snarled.
“What the hell are you talking about?” Arsenio snapped, “And the hell is the matter with you.”
He turned around and found his Plummy looking at him with concern while Hector simply looked suspicious. The two puppies were vying for Plum’s attention, sitting in her arms, but her eyes were on him.
“I am not telling you on the phone Arsenio, where is the fun in that? Don’t worry though, you will know everything once you come to my Dad’s place, and please wear something nice,” Roman said and hung up the phone.
Arsenio slid his mobile in his pocket and frowned.
“It was Roman, he has ‘invited’ us to come to his Dad’s place at Hamptons,” Arsenio said.
Hector just frowned while Plum too didn’t look sure of what was happening.
“It d-didn’t f-feel like he was inviting us my Arsenio San,” she said and Arsenio nodded at his squirrel, she just brought her lip in between her teeth and looked deep in thought.
“Don’t worry baby girl,” he said and walked to her. He caressed her cheek and she hesitantly smiled. Chantal purred loudly and Hector took the cat towards his room.
Arsenio helped her out of the car; she had a little basket in her hand holding Hamburger and Velvet. She was well dressed as well in a tangerine dress with a thick overcoat covering her. They walked to the entrance of the house and knocked, Hector stood beside Arsenio and waited patiently.
The door was opened by none other than Damon, he was stone faced but it softened when he saw Plum. Arsenio’s temper flared and his cleared his throat. Damon looked back at him and nodded tartly and welcomed them in the house. The fireplace was flickering in the living area and Roman stood by it, he looked extremely angry.
“I am here now Roman,” Arsenio drawled.
Roman gritted his teeth and walked up to him, he stared in his eyes and Arsenio noticed the ugly emotion in them. He looked furious and bloodthirsty and out of nowhere Arsenio felt the punch on his face. Arsenio reeled back and snarled loudly and looked at Roman, the man was seething.
“You fucker, you and your family, they ruined my life,” Roman screamed. Arsenio snarled and was about to punch him back when Hector stopped him. Roman looked at the action and grinned.
“Oh don’t stop him Hecty, this is just some good old boxing bro, like back in college,” Roman snickered, his eyes looked crazed though.
“I mean I remember back in those days when you guys had nothing, I remember introducing you to underground fighting so that your broke ass could earn something and you would probably buy a new pair of shoes for yourself. I mean that sad excuse of chucks, they made me pity you,” Roman laughed.
Arsenio’s ears burned, poverty was not something he liked ever, and it made him do things that he didn’t like just to survive. Underground fighting was one of those; he was dirt poor when he entered college. He had nothing except a pair of shoes on his feet, two shirts and one pair of jeans that he would wear every day. Hector’s condition was the same, they were just two brothers saved by the fate with a full scholarship at Dartmouth and eyes full of dreams to make a better life for themselves. They didn’t have money but they had dignity and self-respect.
All his life he had faced jeers and teases of people, two Hispanic boys with a crack whore for a mother. He had scrubbed toilets at diners to fill his stomach because his mother was invalid; still he would come back home and study all night and submit his home work at school on time.
He remembered sitting under the street light once because they had no money to pay for the electricity bills, it had poured that night and all his homework had turned into pulp. He had cried at his helpless situation.
But to throw it on someone’s face like Roman was, that was another thing.
Arsenio gulped and stared at Roman, in that way he owed the guy. Roman was the reason they survived.
“You two were worse than bloody peasants, I took pity on the two of you, you know why?” Roman snarled, “Well because we rich people like to do something called charity. And I considered you two charities.”
“But the issue is you were supposed to remain charities and not get on my level, I mean you are rich because I put you on the path Arsenio. Making you rich is not even my problem but you two ruined my family,” he roared.
Arsenio stood still, today he was taking blows on his self-esteem and he didn’t even know why.
“That’s enough Roman,”
Arsenio turned to find Roman’s father, Roman Sr. standing by the staircase.
“I am sorry boys, Roman is not in a good mood as you can see, he is not happy with his father being happy,” Roman Sr. said. He looked pointedly at Roman but Roman just glared back.
“I got married yesterday, to the love of my life,” Roman Sr. said. A smile appeared on his lips and his eyes clouded with infatuation. “I of course had to leave my wife for my lady love but you don’t find true love every day, I couldn’t let go of her. The little minx had me in her spell.”
Arsenio furrowed his brows.
“My doll,” Roman Sr. called his wife.
Arsenio stared as a short and thick lady entered the room, she wore a knee length dress and held a baking sheet full of cupcakes, and the suffocating smell of vanilla filled the room. Arsenio’s heart started to beat loudly. The lady’s black hair was cropped closer to her shoulders and she had a Cheshire grin on her face, her eyes were stormy grey. The same colour as his.
“Mom,” Arsenio whispered.
The lady’s eyes widened and he saw them fill with tears; the Cheshire grin dropped dramatically and was replaced with equally dramatic wobbling of lips. The sheet of cupcakes dropped on the ground and a fake whimper escaped her lips. She looked at Roman Sr. with eyes filled with pretence of gratitude.
“Thank you,” her voice quivered and she walked towards Roman Sr. and kissed him smack on the lips.
“Anything for you my minx,” Roman Sr. said.
She turned to Arsenio and looked at him with such fake love that Arsenio felt like something was choking him.
“My babies,” she whispered.