Third person's POV
Summer found his way to Matthews flat with the help of the family butler. “We need to talk,” Matthew didn’t move. Slowly, he closed the door. The entry opened into a small sitting room, and Summer turned when he reached the center of the sparsely furnished room, his expression hard.
“I’m leaving in the morning. I’m going to be appalled to find out that my intended is in love with another man and it’ll be up to you to make clear that it’s you. That means you talk to Eros McCarthy today. Got it? ” Matthew looked at him pensively, then took a towel from around his neck and wiped it slowly across the lower half of his face.
“What about Mimi? ” he asked finally. If the man had the gut to punch him, Summer couldn’t have felt sicker. But he kept his face expressionless. “What about her? ” Matthew laughed shortly. “For one thing, she’s in love with you. For another, I believe you have feelings for her.” Summer didn’t answer, and in fact, felt powerless to move.
Matthew grazed at him, perplexed as if trying to interpret his stony silence and unable to do it. “For chrissake, Summer, if you were looking for a chance, this is it, ” he said, tossing the towel onto the back of a chair and rolling down his shirtsleeves.
“We’ve built you up so much already, I believe Eros McCarthy is ready to let you marry her now. I don’t understand what the problem is.”
“No, you don’t .” Summer glanced down for a second, wondering how much to say, what to confide and decided to say as little as possible.
“I would never marry her for her money. ”
“No, of course not,” Matthew rejoined with just a trace of sarcasm.
“if I honestly believed you would, I’d be helping you onto the next train to the west. But you’d get the money no matter why you married her, and from what I heard, Mr. Eros McCarthys all but endorsed the match. ”
Summer’s eyes narrowed. “What do you mean? ”
“I mean I heard from Janis this morning that her father practically offered you to Mimi on a silver platter last night. And we’re talking the finest of silver platters, Summer. ” he smiled wryly.
“But he thinks I’m engaged to Janis -” Matthew scoffed. “Let’s face it, an actor you are not. I plan to speak with him tonight. I’ve been invited to dinner. It seems an old rival of Mr. McCarthy’s will be there, along with the Archerson’s and McCarthy wants to make sure there are also a few people he can stand. That’s how Janis put it in her note, anyways.”
“Good, ” Summer said, thinking. “Good, you talk to him. Then maybe you can volunteer to break the bad news to me and I can head out first thing. ”
Matthews look was incredulous. “What are you talking about? Don’t you see? I’ll talk to Mr. Eros McCarthy, then you tell him you were really interested in Mimi all along and that’s it. You’re happy, Mimi’s happy. There’s nothing to stand in the way.”
Temptation burned a hole in Summer’s chest. He could pay off Valerian. There was a chance no one would find out. “No." He shook his head. Valerian would keep coming back asking for more. Summer would be a slave to him once again. "No, never”
“Do you deny that you’re in love with her? ” Matthew asked exasperation in his tone.
Summer struggled with the answer. “I wouldn’t- I would not marry her falsely -”
“She Knows the truth! ” Matthew flung out a hand. “for chrissake, she knows you’re penniless and if you were ready to live off McCarthy money before, what’s the difference now? ”
Me? Penniless? Lol, you will never know, that I’ve got more than a billion.
Summer continued to shake his head, holding off demons with waning strength. “None of them deserves to be lied to, “He muttered.
“well, that’s just fine, ” Matthew scoffed.
“Ahh.” Matthew raised his head and looked disdainfully down his nose at Summer. “I see. The drifter can’t give up his freedom, is that it? ”
Summer laughed, a short, guttural sound. “Freedom," He repeated. “Freedom.” He shook his head. The word brought it all back, the unbalanced ledger of his life, the inevitable, irrevocable truth. He picked up his hat and placed it carefully on his head. “Matthew, you couldn’t be more wrong.” he stared for the door, his steps heavy. “Trust me, it’s not the freedom I’m returning to.”
“Then what is it? I don’t understand, ” Matthew persisted irritation clearly on his face. “why back out now when Mimi’s feelings are involved? She deserves better than this, you know” he walked away.
The thought brought him a little measure of comfort. He could have been one of them. In fact, the few times he had come with Mr. Eros McCarthy to McCarthy’s office he’d felt an energy of excitement he’d never felt before. Custom fever, Eros McCarthy had called it when Summer described it to him It seemed like an elaborate game to him with astronomical payoffs and Summer had been good at it; he had an instinct, McCarthy said.
He stopped and leaned against a shop front watching the people hurry by It was sunny but cold, so people bunched themselves into their coats and rushed. Occasionally, he’d follow someone with his eyes wondering if the man were married if he had children if he went home every night to a beautiful wife and a life he could count on. But after a while the envy wore on him, he would never be one of them; it was stupid to think about it.
He wasn’t sure he even wanted to be, he just wants something they had-stability or respectability something like that. He imagined himself remembering Mimi, remembering her fine somber glassy blue eyes, her graceful hands the honey dark color of her hair and how incredibly soft it felt in his hands. He would remember her tears too and it would pain him forever to see in his mind's eye, knowing he was the cause of them.
But if he were to stay the voice in his head murmured, if he were smart enough to figure out a way........ If Valerian Bratts were to die- Summer stopped to his tracks vaguely aware of the momentary congestion this caused on the sidewalk behind him.
Uneasily he allowed himself the thought If Valerian Bratts died no one could discover the story of his family background his acrimony life, Summer had no enemies like Valerian -none who knew the history of his family anyways and who would possibly care if Valerian disappeared?
Have you killed someone?
Summer closed his eyes, how fragile Mimi had looked when she asked him that as if she would shatter like glass if he’d said that he had. No. He wouldn’t kill Valerian He couldn’t do it, he admitted to himself for many reasons, not the least of which was that he couldn’t imagine the act would improve his lot any.
That was it, he thought Suddenly it all clicked in his brain. It wasn’t Valerian Bratts who kept him from staying and asking for Mimi’s hand. It was the secret itself, It was the knowledge that if he were to aspire to marry Mimi McCarthy he could never own up to what he was-he could never tell her that he was lonely, who doesn't care about his son and his own concubine, the fear of letting them know that I’m an illegitimate son to wealth. But he didn’t realize until this moment that it was the burden of having the secret that did the most damage.
He was not ashamed of his mother -no, certainly not that woman who had single-handedly made sure he was educated and cared for in ways that far surpassed the care given any other child of similar descent. If anything he should be ashamed of is his father, that man who had used and abandoned his mother and then callously stopped caring for his son because of his legitimate son.
No, it was not the accident of this birth not that his mother can’t get rid of him during birth but she doesn’t wanna go with his father’s plan to kill him while he was still in his mother’s womb. What a shame, Valerian said something that my father was looking for me?
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