It was Tyler’s dad, Kevin Douglas. He was in his expensive tailored suit, a little gray hair and glasses, covering his piercing gaze. He was intimidating. Especially as I saw how he looked at me. He wasn’t happy with my presence here.
“It’s been a long time, Mr. Douglas. Nice to see you.” I smiled at him, still not moving.
“Could you please go and change? I will be waiting for you here.” He sat on the couch, without even waiting for my answer. I turned around and walked back to the bedroom. I put on jeans and a red t-shirt. I grabbed my phone and stared at it, doubting a little about calling Tyler. But I didn’t want for Mr. Douglas to wait for me too long. So I shrugged my shoulders and went back to the living room. There I sat on the couch on the opposite side of Tyler’s dad and stared at him. He put his phone on the couch and bore his gaze to me.
“Well, I must say this. You grew up in a stunning young woman. With time you’re looking more and more like your mother. She was very beautiful...” He trailed off, not finishing his sentence about my mom.
“Thank you, Mr. Douglas. But I am sure, you’re here not to compliment me or to talk about my mom.”
“Back to the business? I like it.” He sat more comfortable, resting his hand on the back of the couch. “I want you to disappear from my son’s life and this time for good.”
I was shocked. How was it even possible? I finally was able to be together with Tyler. He and I were genuinely happy. We were making plans for our future. And now this man before me was telling me that I should leave Tyler alone?
“Why should I do this?” I leaned my back on the couch, folding my arms over my chest. “Tyler and I... We love each other. He’s happy with me and I am with him.”
“Is it an engagement ring? Had my son proposed to you?” He pointed his finger at my left hand.
“Yes.” I stared back at him. I wasn’t going to back away this time. I wanted to fight for my relationship as I never did before.
“Heck! My son is adorable!” He laughed loud and long. My brow wrinkled in confusion. What’s so funny about this? “How could he marry you if he’s going to marry the daughter of my associate in early August? Do you know that he is engaged?”
“I saw the news and their photos. So yes, I know that he was engaged.” But he never answered any of my questions about her. So I just assumed, that she wasn’t longer the part of Tyler’s life. Since he was with me. Though I didn’t want to give Tyler’s dad the satisfaction of knowing, that he was right. That in truth I know nothing about Ty’s engagement.
“A little correction. Tyler is engaged with Penelope. We arranged this marriage a year ago. The main preparations hadn’t needed the participation of my son in it, but closer to the date, he will need to help her. That’s why she came to New York. She will be here within an hour.”
“Arranged marriage? In which century do you live in?”
“It’s not about the century, Vera. It’s about business and power it brings with it. It will do well to our company and Tyler agreed to it. Penelope fell in love with him at first sight. She’s crazy about him. That’s why her father and I proposed to them this idea of the marriage. She was happy to agree. Tyler hesitated at first, but he knew that our company will benefit from this.”
My voice stuck in my throat. I felt suffocating. Is it true? How was it even possible? I knew that Tyler loved me. I was sure that he was sincere when he asked me to marry him. Then why? Why he didn’t tell me anything?
“I see... Tyler wasn’t honest with you, Vera. He was ignoring me and Penelope for the last few months, so I decided to find out what was the reason. I was surprised to know, that it was you. Especially when I found out that you’re living together with him. I waited for him to come to Washington, so I could come here and talk to you alone.”
“Listen, Vera. I don’t have so much time. Penelope will be here very soon and I want you to understand. He told me back at the end of December that he had doubts about the wedding, but he didn’t tell me that he wants to call off the engagement. If he wanted to marry you, he should have talked to Penelope and to cancel the engagement. But he didn’t do that. He will marry her, he knows that is the right thing to do... He just wants to keep you near him. He’s too selfish and I guess there is my fault in it. The only role for you is to be his mistress. Is that what you want?”
Tears were pouring from my eyes, my heart ached from all this information. It hurt like hell. It was our last chance to be happy. I knew, that we could be happy. He and I were perfect for each other. But Tyler ruined it. Why did he wait to talk to me? If only he was honest with me, we would have figured this out. But he didn’t. Had he thought that I will be so in love with him, so I will agree to be his mistress, while he will be married to this girl? I need to leave this place... No. I need to leave this town. I know what I should do. I closed my eyes, wiping away my tears.
“Okay.” I said to Mister Douglas. He smiled at me.
“It’s the right decision. You’re a beautiful and smart woman. You deserve so much better than my son. Could you please go and pack your things? I will bring you to the hotel...”
“Sure.” I wanted nothing more than to leave this place once and for good. I got up from the couch and went to the stairs.
“Vera?” I turned around and looked back at the father of the man, who I loved the most and who hurt me more times than I could have even count. “Just know one thing. Tyler isn’t in love with Penelope, he never was actually. He likes her that’s for sure... But for their marriage to work, he needs you to be out of his life. This is the only reason why I am asking you to leave him alone. It will be easier for you to get over him too.”
“As if it even possible...” I shook my head and went upstairs. 40 minutes after I was ready to leave this apartment. I put keys and my ring on the kitchen table where they belonged.
“Mr. Douglas, could you please give it back to your son? When he will be back.” He only nodded at me with a hint of a smile on his lips.
The front door opened and a gorgeous young woman stepped inside. She’s even more beautiful than in photos. She rushed inside and wrapped her hands around Mr. Douglas’s neck, kissing him on the cheek.
“Kevin! I am so glad to see you!” She stepped back from him and looked him over. “You look very nice.” She had a cute accent, but she talked confidently and quickly.
“Penelope, you’re flattering me too much.” He laughed.
“Who is she? Is she the reason why Tyler hadn’t been talking to me since December?” She narrowed her eyes and stared menacingly at me. I wanted to disappear. Her presence made the atmosphere toxic. She was a perfect match for Tyler. I could easily see them on the covers of magazines together.
“She’s leaving already. Vera is a smart girl, she knows when it’s time to step back. She won’t cause you any trouble. I talked to her and we came to an agreement. She won’t bother you and Tyler anymore. You shouldn’t be worried about her. You could continue the preparations for your wedding and I am sure, as soon as Tyler will be back home, he will help you with everything.”
“I hope so. I always knew that this long-distance thing wasn’t for Ty. I tried talking to my dad, but you know how strict he is. He was telling me over and over, that I should stay in Italy, that there will be time for me to move to America... I suspected that Tyler won’t be faithful to me, but I love him too much. I could forget about his unfaithfulness. It doesn’t bother me. Because since I am here, he won’t have his eyes for any other woman.”
“Of course.” Mr. Douglas walked to me, placing his hand on the small of my back. He was forcing me to leave this place. I followed his lead because I wanted to be out of here. “Settle down, Penelope. I guess your luggage will arrive soon? You will have a week before Tyler will be home, so you could throw him a surprise. Nice lingerie, champagne... You didn’t see each other for 4 months, so I am sure he missed you.”
Hearing this, I felt the urge to go to the bathroom. I rushed to the front door with my suitcase in my hands and went straight to the elevator. I took my phone and sent a message to the one person, who could help me right now. Mr. Douglas joined me just in time, the elevator arrived. Soon enough, while we were inside, he turned to me.
“Vera, know that, I am not a monster. I just want the best for my son and for my business. He will thank me some day.”
“You will be better without him. All that he needed to do is to break up this engagement. If he would have done it, it wouldn’t be in my power to fix it. I would have been forced to accept his desire to be with you. But he didn’t. He’s a coward, Vera. He didn’t stand up to me when he was in high school and I forced him to be with Cindy. Or when he was coming back to our hometown to see you while in college.”
“I just don’t get the one thing... You’re so sure in your decision, but what about Tyler’s happiness? He’s happy with me.”
“I am sure he is. But do you really have so little love for yourself? He was hurting you over and over and still... you had been returning to him each time.”
The buzz of my phone saved me from answering. He was right. I even didn’t have any answer to his question. I looked at the message and a small smile appeared on my lips. When we walked out of the building, Mr. Douglas looked at me quizzically.
“I will take a taxi. Thank you for the offer.” I was so ready to leave when he stopped me and handed me the piece of paper. I stared at it. It was a bank check on 100.000 dollars.
“Take it, Vera. It’s a little compensation for my son’s behavior.” Did he really think that I will take it?
“You’re delusional, Mr. Douglas. I never wanted Tyler for his money. I needed him. Because I love him. You will need them, I am sure the wedding you’re planning will be huge.”