Chapter 1 ~ The Call
“…Till the end of time, through darkness and in light, my heart, my soul, my everything. I am forever yours.”
“That was beautiful, who wrote that?” Her sweet soft sound always made me smile.
“Axe, that’s an incredible poem, you have an amazing talent, thank you for sharing it with me. Who is it about?” Her big brown eyes and mahogany coloured hair, sparkled brightly as we lay beneath the old elm tree we had claimed as our ‘special’ spot.
“You Butterfly, always you.”
“Hey.” I had dialled the one number I had buried under a false identification in my phone, the one number that could destroy me all over again, the number to the one that haunted my dreams.
…Hey, how – are you?... I could sense her hesitation, hear the crack in her voice, we hadn’t spoken in years and now, now we were being forced to talk under the worst of circumstances.
“Trav said you were flying in for the funeral. I’m picking you up, what’s your flight details?”
…Um, you don’t have to do that, I could catch a taxi?...
“What’s your flight details, Danny?” I huffed out in annoyance.
…I get in at ten tonight, international, gate two…
“Fine, I’ll be there.” I flopped down on my desk chair and looked out through my office window, the busy city life continued despite the absence from our hearts.
…How is Dad, really?...
“He’s a mess, Dan, how the fuck do you think he’s doing?”
…I didn’t – I wasn’t – you know what Axel? It doesn’t matter, how are you coping?...
“There’s no need for that shit,” I warned.
…I’m sorry I wasn’t fucken there okay, you think this is easy?...
“You haven’t been there for a long time, don’t pretend like you give one ounce of a fuck now.”
…Do you think I’m fucken psychic Axel? I loved her, I loved her okay and she’s gone, I’m fucken broken, She was the only real Mum I had… I could hear the strain in her voice but I refused to weaken.
“You couldn’t find time in your busy life to see her? Call her? Anything?”
…I couldn’t – we had – never mind, I’m not fighting with you, not today. It doesn’t matter anyway and I’m not getting into this over the phone when she’s just died, thank you for picking me up, I’ll see you tonight…
“Yep,” I snipped before hanging up.
That had been the most we had spoken since she left, Daniella, My butterfly – the nickname I gave her when we were younger, my adoptive sister and the continuous thorn in my side. She had followed her dream and joined a prestigious ballet company straight out of high school, well, the last day of high school. Since then, she has toured the world but tonight, it will be the first time she’s touched down on home soil in seven years. I can only hope that our time apart has been enough to douse the flames that burned in my chest, for the only woman I had ever loved and the only woman, I have ever let, break me.
She and I were adopted by the Hutchinson’s, Pamina, who everyone just called Pam and Travis. Daniella was adopted by them first, when she was seven and then me, well I was thirteen when they took me in. Danny was twelve by the time I came along and from the moment I arrived, we were inseparable, she was my best friend and most favourite person in the world, far different from the frosty distant attitude we had these days. No, I don’t even know that woman anymore, she is nothing to me now, nothing other than a tainted memory of a foolish child.
“Mr Hutchinson? I have rescheduled your meetings for today, however, I still think you should go home, sir. Be with your…”
I raised my hand halting her incessant mouth. “Gail, I only asked for you to push back my meetings, not for your opinion. The only reason I told you what happened last night is that you are my assistant and in charge of my schedule, not my friend…” The middle-aged woman’s mouth hung agape, I was never friendly with those I employed. “Nowhere in your contract does it state I require your sympathy or concern, please do not disturb me again unless it is important and only business related.” I could see the vein on her temple begin to pulse and she looked at me as though she was mentally picturing thousands of needles all stabbing me at once. “Will that be all?”
Her teeth gritted, jaw clenching so hard I thought her teeth would crack and shards would come loosely falling from her mouth. She narrowed her grey eyes, “yes sir,” she sneered before walking out of my office. I exhaled a deep breath, I wasn’t always this way but this is what I had become, detached after rejection and a cold, calculating, misogynistic, asshole.
I knew I was a desired man, I could see it in the way the women would do anything to gain my attention, the stupid thing being, the crueller I was, the more they sought my affection and approval.
My uncaring, steely, aquamarine eyes were enough to have grown men cowering and all broads bending over, lifting their dresses. Top that off with my charming ‘boy-next-door’ look of shoulder length blonde hair which was always combed back, and my pearly white teeth, not to mention the aesthetically pleasing, rock hard body I hid beneath a well-tailored suit on my 6ft 3 frame. Yes, I was the epitome of all things masculine and dominant and I oozed it from every pore.
My astute, shrewd and savvy attitude towards business made me the success I was today, but with all my qualities, I could not obtain the only woman I had ever wanted. No, she is to blame for the demoralising hatred I possess now, and she will be within my reach, for the first time, in seven years.