“Did you see the conference James held in Moscow?” Amelia asked from behind the counter and Izabella shook her head, focusing on wiping all the tables.
“No.” She absentmindedly answered.
“Here. They asked him about that time you could’ve been injured by that reporter at the supermarket.” At that, Izabella peeked up.
“Really? It was published?” The older woman nodded, showing Izabella the front page of the new magazine.
How she didn’t see that, she didn’t know.
“It says he plans to sue the next agency that mobs you.”
“Sue them?” She looked to her father with exasperation, her displeasure clear on her face.
“Yes.” He stated blankly, his gaze fixed on the papers in front of him as he answered her.
Izabella groaned and plopped down on the cushion beside him. Once again, he was doing paperwork in the living room.
“That’s not necessary though.” The middle-aged man sighed and closed his computer before facing his distraught daughter.
“Princess, this is something that had been going on since before us. Many people have complained about being harassed by the media and it’s getting out of hand. It’s practically the reason I made you guys wear face masks every time we went out when you were younger and now that you’re older, you can decide for yourself. The reason they stopped flocking around the café was because I threatened to file a lawsuit. As a father, I can’t sit back and watch my only daughter being manhandled by some random guy, so yes, the next person who does so gets sued.” He was as serious as a judge.
He was ticked off when he saw how that man had handled her and had sent Jacob to have a talk with his agency.
The agency had originally wanted to sack him, but Mr. Knight knew Izabella wouldn’t be happy about it if she ever found out, so he suggested the man was given a second chance.
However, when Jacob had reported to him that the same man had harrassed her once again, he didn’t think twice before having him sacked.
“I see your point, but-”
“He did it twice.” Izabella’s eyes widened a fraction.
“You knew?” She asked and he nodded.
“I had him sacked.” She was about to protest when he held up a finger.
“I didn’t blacklist him. Be grateful I didn’t.” After that, he kissed her head and went back to his laptop, typing whatever he was before he closed his computer.
Izabella got up and walked into the kitchen, grabbing a pringles container from the cupboard and heading out into the garden.
The garden wasn't as lovely as it usually was in spring or summer given that most of the plants were dead and those that weren’t were slowly giving up on life.
Without the birds chirping and the vibrant coloured flowers, it seemed dead and empty, but the silence was comforting, like that of a still, dark night.
The sun was up, but it was hidden by the grey clouds, casting a sullen shade on the city below.
Amelia had closed the café a little after lunch since she had to go shopping with Marcy and hadn’t wanted to leave Izabella alone, so it was pretty early for her to be home on a weekday.
“Izzy.” A voice came from behind her and she turned to see who it was.
“Oh! Leo, how are you?” Her mind immediately flashed to the conversation she had with her brother about Leo’s new job.
Sure, she couldn’t force him to accept the job, but she felt guilty knowing he had so much potential and was keeping it bottled up, driving her around whenever she needed.
“I’m fine. You brother talked to me about the job offer. You didn’t have to do that for me.” Izabella smiled as she chewed on a pringle, offering him some and pulling back when he refused.
“It’s fine. I feel like I’m holding you back. You need to use all that knowledge for something better, besides, you’d still be working for my family. You’ll see Mia more often though.” Leo’s face reddened and Izabella saw it despite his attempt to swallow his embarrassment.
“How so?” She could have heard the eagerness in his voice and smiled to herself.
“She’s Jacob’s personal assistant since four days and she’s amazing. His past PA was too busy eye-raping him to actually do work.” He laughed at that and she joined him.
It always pleased her when she made others laugh, just the sight of them laughing gave her immense joy.
“That’s why I haven’t seen her lately.” Izabella supposed she wasn’t supposed to hear it because of how quietly he spoke and chose not to indicate she had.
“I’ll think about it.” He responded, knowing fully well that he was going to accept it, after all, Mia was there.
“Okay.” Izabella smiled his way and continued eating as he walked off.
She had done something and it made two persons’ lives better tenfold.
“What’s up, princess?” Sean asked as he sat in the seat Leo had just gotten up from.
Izabella sent him a smile and shook her head, continuing to eat her pringles and staring at the dead vines clinging to the cream marble fountain a few feet ahead of them.
Sean stuck his hand inside the container and took out three, stuffing all in his mouth at once and grinning at Izabella she she rolled her eyes.
“Do you think I should visit the shelter? I haven’t been there in a while.” She voiced her thoughts after a few moments of silence and Sean snapped his head towards her.
“Yeah, you should go.” He advised and she hummed, nodding her head.
“Want me to drop you?” He asked and she shook her head.
“Amelia is going tomorrow and I’m going to go with her.” Sean sat up straight at that.
“Speaking of Amelia, Jacob told me she covered for you when you lied to him.” Izabella winced, reminiscing in the memory.
“About that, I’m sorry?” The young male rose a questioning brow at his sister.
“You’re asking or telling me?” Izabella groaned and face-palmed.
“I’m sorry, okay. He asked me and I just got this feeling that he was being genuine. We slept in different rooms for goodness sake!” Everyone knew it was wrong to go home with some random stranger, but Enrico wasn’t any random stranger and it seemed as if only she understood that.
The man had saved her life more than once and she was grateful.
Izabella finally felt it was time to tell her family about the incident at the café.
“I have somet-”
“Izabella!” Mr. Knight’s yell rang through the house, reaching the outside and beating against their eardrums.
Izabella sighed and got up, thinking she would have to postpone telling them.
“Yes dad?” She asked as both she and Sean walked into the living room.
Mr. Knight and Jacob were standing in front of the television, their shoulders tense and jaws clenched. Like father, like son.
“Why didn’t you tell us?” Jacob asked and Izabella grew more confused.
“What are you talking about?” She furrowed her brows, stepping closer as they moved away from the television, the image on the screen left her frozen.
It was him, the same man who had attacked her at the café.
“Gosh, Izabella! Why would you not tell us about this? We’re your family! I’m your father. How am I supposed to protect you when I don’t know you’re in danger?” Mr. Knight was angry and Izabella felt slightly guilty.
They had arrived back in the country hours ago and Izabella hadn’t told them.
“I was just about to tell Sean when you shouted.” She mumbled, looking down like a little child caught writing on the wall.
“Izabella, you have to tell us these things. You can’t just depend on Enrico to get justice. Would you have told us if he had actually achieved his goal?” Her father questioned, stepping closer to her and she nodded, her eyes already welling up.
“Y-yes. I-I would have, but t-this is different.” She protested weakly and released a sob when she felt strong arms wrap around her.
“I’m s-sorry.” She sobbed and clutched Mr. Knight’s shirt as she cried onto his chest.
“I’m sorry.” There was complete silence as he cried and after a minute of standing, Mr. Knight sat down with her on his lap when her knees buckled from the sobs racking her small frame.
“Look at me.” Sean demanded and she shook her head.
“Please.” He begged and she finally did, wiping her tears as she leaned away from he comfort of her father’s arms.
“It isn’t your fault. I don't know how I would’ve felt if that had happened, but you need to think of how we would feel if we found out from another source. You need to tell us these things, okay?” Izabella nodded and he smiled, kneeling in front of her and hugging her.
“Don’t cry, princess, just don’t let it happen again.” She nodded and hugged his neck, sniffling quietly.