Billionaire's Peeping Piper

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XXXV. Wild Girl

In the dining room sat a man who claimed to be Emerson’s father.

His eyes traveled around the room, from the chipped paint on the wall to the framed photos on the wall.

His sight halted at the window.

Outside the window were Jackson, Walter, Arden, Hayden, Crystal, and Dustin.

Jackson whispered into Walter’s ear. Walter’s eyes went towards us before he nodded firmly.

I told Jackson to tell Walter to keep everyone outside. Jackson handed Walter a few twenty-dollar bills and the keys.

Money just in case they want to grab something.

Keys just in case they have to escape.

Three teenage boys should be able to keep a young girl and baby boy safe.

Maybe I’m overthinking the situation, but when a man arrives with many other men in dark clothes, it’s never a good sign.

Arden rushed over towards them, and Walter said something. Arden made a phone-like image with his fingers. I’m sure he wanted delivery for some food. Teenage boys are walking blackholes.

Jackson took out his wallet and handed him a few twenties.

I should talk to him about carelessly handing people money.

“Those children,” Harrison said.

Crystal and Dustin were bouncing the basketball back and forth, with Hayden monitoring them. He’s making sure the ball doesn’t end up on Dustin’s face or, even worse, Crystal’s face. Dustin may cry, but Crystal will bitch for days.

“Are they perhaps my grandchildren?”

Grandchildren?

Please.

How can you, a man I’ve never met, comes here and claim my children as their grandchildren.

My face is ugly. I know it.

“Emerson never mentions having a father.” That’s a lie. Emerson did mention his father before. He simply doesn’t like talking about him.

Harrison’s lips curled into somewhat of a smile, “I wouldn’t blame him,” he said. “I wasn’t the best father.”

At least we agree on something.

“Why are you here?”

“It’s pleasant to know you’re excited to meet your father-in-law.”

I crossed my legs, “First of all, I’m not even sure you’re Emerson’s father. Secondly, even if you are, you’re not welcome here.”

Even if Emerson is here, I’ll say the same lines. Emerson ran away from his family for a reason. I don’t care how nice the old man looks; if Emerson feels like shit talking about him. He isn’t welcome.

The door behind me opened. Without looking, I know who it is. Jackson settled beside me. He’s afraid that something would happen if I stay in a room with a strange man.

The bodyguards Harrison came with are waiting in the other room.

Jackson leaned towards my ear, “Walter and Arden will make sure no one comes in.”

“Thank you.”

Harrison cleared his throat and reached for the inside of his coat. Steadily, he pulled out a folded paper. He unfolded it and slid it across the table.

Inside the picture were three people.

A man.

Woman.

And finally, a young man.

“Emerson.”

“This was the last photo we took as a family before Emerson left.”

Emerson’s physical features from his early twenties and youthful years weren’t all that different. Except for one thing, he looked absolutely miserable in the picture.

I know Emerson’s smiles.

This isn’t it.

I place down the picture, “I stand by my earlier statements.”

He smiled, “You’re quite the wild girl, aren’t you?”

“Wild girl?” I repeated. “I don’t believe you’re here, in my house, just to disrespect me.”

“Emerson-” he said. “had always been such an adventurous young man.” He exhaled, “Always pushing past the boundaries.”

“Why are you here?” I wasn’t interested in his story or anything else he has to offer. There is a reason why he’s here.

“Impatient, aren’t we?”

I leaned forward, “You seem to know me quite well. Read up on me?”

“You’re much more daring than on papers.” He’s not even hiding the fact that he investigated us before he arrived.

“You seem to know everything about me, but I barely know anything about you.”

“You know I’m Emerson’s father.”

“I hope you’re not expecting a hug.”

“I expected you to close the door on me.”

“I was tempted.”

“To close the door or to find out more about Emerson’s past?”

“I’m curious, but it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have closed the door.”

Amid the silence, Harrison burst out laughing, “I like you.”

“If only the feeling were mutual.”

“I supposed your image of me isn’t particularly tasteful.”

"Less tasteful now.”

“And why is that?”

“Your circles are getting on my nerves. Why are you here?”

Harrison exhaled sharply, “Straight to the point, aren’t you? I wanted to see my grandchildren.”

“You had nearly eight years to visit. Why now?”

“I supposed I could’ve,” he said. He exhaled again, “But, how could I visit children I didn’t know existed?”

Emerson ran away from home, so it isn’t a surprise that Harrison didn’t know about his grandchildren.

It’s a sad thought.

An elder man who didn’t know about his own child’s whereabouts or his grandchildren’s existence.

From the photo, it looked like Emerson is the only child of the family too.

“How did you find us?” I asked.

But I wasn’t having any of it.

Pity?

Maybe, a little.

But that’s it.

I don’t know this old man. Why should I spread my arms for him and welcome him into the family when my husband ran away from him. With how Emerson reacted, I wouldn’t want this type of man around my children.

“I have my ways,” he said. His eyes went around the room, “Just didn’t expect him to hide here.”

“You’re familiar with this place?”

“Quite,” he responded. “I grew up in this town.”

This feels like the type of situation where there would be dramatic music in the background. My hometown is the same place where this old man grew up in.

What are the chances?

Then, the memories arrived.

I remembered the first time I mentioned my hometown to Emerson.

It was a week into our marriage.

***

Inside the bathroom, I dried my hair. The loud sound rushed into my ears. I could feel large arms circle my waist and sweet lips pressed against my neck.

I pushed Emerson’s face away, “No more. It still hurts.”

Emerson smirked before he thrust his waist against my butt.

I turned off the hairdryer and set it down. “The answer is no for there too.” I ran my fingers through my slightly damp hair.

Emerson shoved his face into my neck, “You’re a meanie.”

“Meanie?” I turned towards him and folded my arms. “If I were mean, then I wouldn’t have let you shove that-” I grabbed his crotch, “up my asshole.”

He inched closer to me with the same smug smile. “Okay. Okay. You’re not mean.”

I huffed a breath and turned back towards the mirror, “Is everything packed?”

Emerson moved towards the other room and flopped on the bed. “Yup.”

“Our passports?”

“In the bag.”

I went into the room and grabbed my pants, then put them on.

He dug into the suitcase and pulled out the passports. “So-” he said, flipping through a booklet, “California huh. I can see that.” He chuckles, “San Francisco.”

“San Francisco?”

“Yeah. Where we’re going?”

I chuckled, “I’m not from San Francisco.”

“But, you said you’re born in the city.”

I sat beside him and put on my socks, “I was born in San Francisco, but I’m not from there.”

“Where are you from?”

“MistVille.”

“MistVille?” He questions slowly.

“Yeah.”

“You grew up in...MistVille?”

“Yeah.” I tucked a strand of hair behind my ear, “Something wrong?”

“Nothing wrong.”

I chuckled, “My hometown too boring for you?”

Emerson smiled in return, “Boring, huh.”

***

Thinking back now, I should’ve noticed his odd behavior.

“So?” I question.

“For him to hide in such a location. How impressive.” He cups his fingers together, “Didn’t think he had it in him.”

How arrogant. “Don’t think the world revolves around you,” I said. “He’s here because of me. Not because he’s hiding from you.”

Harrison chuckled, “Lun. How’s your sister?”

“Which one?”

“Nina Lun.”

“What about Nina?”

“I haven’t seen her in about a decade? Such a talent. I heard she’s married to quite the man.” His eyes went towards Jackson, “And the younger sister doesn’t seem to fall short.”

I stood up, and the chair behind me moved back. “Do you see tea here?” I exaggeratedly look around the table. “No? No. Why? Because we aren’t here for tea time. No tea time. No chit chat.”

I have half a mind in throwing the old man out of the house.

I know his games.

He’s bringing up meaningless topics.

He’s avoiding my questions.

And I don’t like it when someone avoids my questions.

Particularly the man who made my husband’s life miserable.

“You’re not the type who enjoys small talks, are you?”

I leaned forward, “It seems like your investigator isn’t as good as you thought.”

“Then, I’ll make this short.”

You should’ve made it short a while back.

“I’m here for the children.”

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