I woke up with an excruciating pain in my head, the aroma of food engulf me as I pulled the chair while rubbing my fingers on my aching temple and sit across the person who is observing my every movement like a hawk. She must've listen to me coming.
"Good morning hijo" Nono greeted me in her soft melodic voice while making my favourite pancakes. She is like second mother to me who is in my life as long as I can remember.
She starts working as my nanny then as a head cook at my parents home. When I turn 18 and bought my own penthouse she shifted with me, after all she is my Nono. My parents trusted her with my life.
"It's not a good morning for me Nono" I groaned again.
"That bad" she asked pointedly sliding my coffee towards . Leave this woman to discover everything about me. I thought.
"Hmm" I just hummed. My head is throbbing so badly that it feels like tons of bricks are thrown onto it. I guess lack of sleep does that. It's quite usual nowadays.
"Here" she passes me an Advil with a glass of water which I gulp immediately. I pass her a grateful smile.
"Mr. London called" she spoke not looking in my eyes but concentrating on flipping her pancakes. She knows damn well that I hate people talking to me but not looking in my eyes. I makes me feel ignored and I know she doing this deliberately. She definitely wanted me to ask her something. But what?
I cleared my thought to get her attention. She raised her eyebrow pointedly that means I'm the one who interrupted her and not the other way around. Oh! God this is not good.
"He wants to talk to you" she speak in a monotone still avoiding eye contact
"That's it" weired
"Hm...um.. that's all hijo"
I narrowed my eyes at her she's hesitant and she does that when she's hiding something. She looked at my face and huffed. I know she's contemplating her options. This must be serious.
"Stacia is there"
I banged my fist loudly on the island counter. That woman. She is on a mission to make my life a living hell. Listening to my mother and marrying her was the biggest mistake of my life.
"What did she do now"
"Hijo she... um... She" Oh! C'mon Nono
"What" I screamed loudly and stand abruptly knocking down my chair alongwith.
"With your child"
"What in the bloody hell"
I was now pacing in my damn kitchen trying to contain my burning temper. That vile woman. How could she? I rarely loose my temper, and she is fortunate cause I haven't let my control loose.
"Hey my freaking fellows hope y'all are doing not fine without me" a cheerful voice interrupted my pacing
"Did you know this?" I asked the first the thing came in my mind to my intruder.
His glowing expression turned grim within a minute, flickering his eyes from me to Nono, who is now standing beside me rubbing my arm.
"Yeah" he replied timidly. He never fails to amaze me. Obviously, he knows it's not new that he knew something about me before me. Perks of being Dad's personal informer. Dylan being this early at my house without any reason is impossible. Now I know why.
"It's not mine" I feel the need to explain myself to both of them, a weird habit my father have implant in my head. I still don't know reason of.
"We know" Nono spoke calmly. I don't how she can be calm, whereas I'm anything but calm.
"It's just one of her games" Dylan gritted under his teeth. Not new, he was never really fond of her.
"My mom would've fallen for it" I know the answer but asked otherwise.
Both of their faces turned sullen. I knew it. I don't understand how could she fall in one of her trap, after all this time.
"Shit" I cursed turning around banging my fist on the island table.
"Everything will be alright" her voice is gentle, I want to oppose her but now is not the good time and I don't want to stressed her anymore for me so I just nod at her and turn on my heels to get ready and face this new headache which is obviously waiting at my parents home. Seriously, I loathe that woman.
After taking a hot shower my brain could able to function somewhat rationally. I'm going to make her repent for her every sin very slowly but painfully. She would plead for mercy but ain't getting any. I had warned her to not mess with me. I chuckled menacingly to myself. Darling you're going to see my bad side and will regret the day you first meet me.
I come out of my shower in my rob and meet my Informer friend who is sprawled on my bed as if it's his own which annoyed me even after all this time. I rolled my eyes at him and hit his leg with my leg just like old times and went straight to my closet.
"Matt is a whipped" Dylan chuckled lightly while rubbing hands on his face and sitting on my bed. I just shake my head at Matty silliness. For the past whole week he's jumping on our bones to help him get his Ms. Special. I don't want to remember how many times he had told us about his glorious escapade of New York. There was always a gleam in his eyes whenever he talk about her no matter wherever we were. I have never seen him this excited for any girl. Many a times, I caught him zoning out with a goofy smile lingering on his face. It is still unbelievable seeing him falling for a girl like this. Un-fu**ing-believable.
I wore my black suit and came out the closet. Standing in front my dresser I peeked at my friend I bet he was thinking the same thing. Matty. As I was combing my hair-
"I'm happy for him" Dylan muttered under his breath with gloomy expression on his face. My thoughts wandered to my cousin Dylan, I think I know why he is feeling this way after all he had been in Matt shoes a long time ago, one of the rare times I have seen him genuinely happy with someone other than our family. I don't know the whole story behind the break up except that their have been a misunderstanding. A very big one. Big enough to make Dylan loose his mind. I have seen him breaking down, resorting to alcohol to numb his pain and as the time passes for all of our sake he starting pretending he is happy and had moved on in his life. But I can see through his charade, I want to help him but he don't want to talk about it, not then not now.
Matty haven't explained his 'love Story' to me that vividly because he knows the whole Stacia tragedy. Well I'm glad for that because one more repeat of his story, without any doubt will make my ears bleed. It's not like I'm not happy for him. It's just maybe....just maybe I envy him... maybe I crave for that feeling. But I don't know maybe I just desired it.
I guess Matty being unaware of the Dylan's past might have shared his story with every depth of emotion, which must be too much for Dylan. It definitely have taken a toll on him.
I wore my cologne and watch on my wrist still thinking that how three of our lives had taken an unexpected turn. We all are unaware of what our future entails.
One is getting divorced.
Second have lost the love of his life.
Third don't know where his supposed lover is
Great just f**king GREAT.
A hand rests on my shoulder and I let out a shaky breath. I looked at Dylan and nodded my head from the mirror. It's like he can see where my thoughts are going. Always the insightful one. He slide his hand and stand straight. Here we go with work.
"I have got the information" My sour mood drastically changed. Ah! Game on. My lips curved lightly and I turn around to hear the good news.
"She's going to regret it so badly" he smirk and handed me a file. I looked at him with a questioning gaze. As if understanding my question he answered with his hand behind his neck and he do when he is going to say something which he know I'm going to hate.
"I'm going with Matty"
"That Bastard" I cursed. "That moron had really turned into a love sick puppy."
Dylan laughed lightly while I read the shocking revelation that the file contains
"I have the same expression"
I was gobsmacked with this newfound information.
"Not me Dylan, she needed all the luck when I'm going to expose her true colours"
Dylan patted my shoulder as he look straight in my eyes
"Handle yourself carefully"
My whole body got tense at his word. I give him a pointed look pursuing him to speak it's like he want to say more but is holding back. Dylan phone blared with a 'despacito' ringtone he took out his phone giving it a confused stare which wiped immediately when he sees the caller. He show me the caller ID and I chuckled lowly. Only that jerk can pull this stunt of 'special ringtone'. He once did it with my phone and called me intentionally during a board meeting Oh! boy if that didn't made me furious. But I settled the matter with him in the gym during our next morning workout.
Dylan leave after a while to catch his flight. I brushed off what he was about to say earlier and eat my food half-heartedly just for the sake of Nono. I have already lost my appetite because of that wicked woman games. I pick and wear my black suit jacket and called my secretary to reset my schedule because after all this stupid mess I have a company to handle.
I kissed Nono cheeks and bid her farewell. I check around while I passes through living room where maids are working dedicatedly. Tim, my driver have already opened the door of car while I slide into after giving him a nod.
The whole drive my father words echoed in my head. The last time in which we decide that it's now time to end the title of London from Stacia name. It's time to put an end on our game and play the last stroke. Dad loves to plays with the mind of his enemies patiently till they tired enough to think and then he play his masterstroke making them disable. That slow pain always carved inside their heart. And you can't do anything about it. I learnt his ways even if took me long to understand them. Maybe it's because half of my life I use to hate his guts. Hatred towards his behaviour of not showing love for me rile my anger to no bound. I made stupid mistake at my young age which I'm definitely not very proud of.
My father is a hard headed man who loves my mother wholeheartedly. He was a softie when it comes to my mother and my younger sister but emotionless when it comes to me. I used to get jealous of my sister. Now I laughed at my childishness. Mom use to shower me with gifts & pamper me with all love which in a way irritates him to no bound. He thought too much accessibility of material stuff will spoil me, which obviously did. They got into many fights because of me. Most of my life I never understood that man. His way of showing love for me was very distinct, there were very little moments he grace me with his love which was again in his own way.
After an hour I arrived at my parent's mansion which is at the outskirts of the city. The same old Italian mansion I have grown up into. Nothing have changed and nothing can change in this 18th century mansion, credited to my father, who strongly believe in preservation of old things which coincidentally I liked too.
I came out my car before Tim could open the door and climb the stairs to enter to same living room where I know my parents hopefully would be waiting for me. A smile crept on my face at the thrill of anticipation I was feeling just to see the face of Stacia when all her lies fell apart. Haha..
Her chapter in my life is going to end soon. I can't be more than happy to get rid of her and today is the start.
As usual Dad is standing near the window looking afar towards the garden area thinking deep with stoic expression on his aristocratic face. And then there is my sweet mother who is sitting on the leather sofa alongside Stella talking animatedly with her.
As if on cue my father looked up straight into my eyes. I let out a small smile with a nod, in response to which the scowl on his face vanished. He got the message. Game On.
Before I greet my mother Stacia wrapped her arms around my neck and bend me slightly down to give me a peck on my lips. I give her a blank expression and step aside from her embrace. I pick the tissue on the glass table to wipe the remanants of her touch on my lips.
Stacia noticed my action and frowned but still manage to pull a fake smile on her perfect make-up face and greet me in her No-so-polite voice
I arch my brow at her.
"How have you been?"
"Without you, blessed"
Her cheshire cat smile dropped at my response.
"Graham sweetie" my mother greet me in her soft gentle voice
I look at her and genuine smile captured my lips. I hug her and relaxed lightly in her embrace.
"Thank you Graham. Thank you so much. I'm going to be a Grandma" she smiled brightly little freckles on her cheeks is visible but she is still manage to capture anybody's heart with her beauty.
I broke our hug but hold her by the arms in my embrace and looked at her teary eyes. Damn, she is so happy. The truth will hurt her, but I have to do it for all of our sake. I'm sorry Mom.
I looked at Stacia and spit my next word harshly
"So, you're pregnant" It comes out like a question not like a statement.
My mum look confused at my tone but let it slide and manage to pull a smile
"Yeah" Stacia replied cheerfully
This whole time my Dad sit silently watching the scene which is about to unfold.
"Hm.... I guess Congratulations" Stacia beamed clearly misunderstanding my underlined sarcasm. Mom smiled dropped slightly and brows furrowed at my cold gesture but that didn't stop me from dropping the bomb with my next question
"So who is the father?" I asked calmly while tilting my head to the side, even though I knew the answer but Stacia face expression worth it all.
Her jaw was hanging open like she didn't catch what I just said, soon realization dawn on her and now all the glow on her face drained and what I see afterwards is a slight gleam of fear in her eyes and her whole body movement freeze. Yup, baby I know your darkest secrets.
My mother gasped loudly and direct her full attention toward Stacia asked
"What is Graham saying Stacia" Obviously my mum would question her.
"I d-don't know mom" she stutter with a nervous laugh to which I chuckle. She still think she can fool me.
She soon will be close to breaking down and I'll break her just like every other time. But this time in front of my family and this stroke is intended to crush her absolutely.
"You don't?" Well, that was a rhetorical question. Stacia face is so scared like a deer caught in the headlight
"What's happening?", Mom don't like people avoiding her, "Can anybody tell me? Adam "
My father just shrug his shoulder, contrary of being very aware of the fact that the ball is in our court. Ofcourse, I learnt playing games from him afterall he is a pro in this.
"Graham" Mom heaved a frustrated sigh I just shrug my shoulder and stared at Stacia making squirm
"Stacia" and now she is irritated
My father is trying to stifle his laugh at Stacia's pale face which died instantly when Mom glared at him. It's actually nice of him to diffuse the tension in the room. He stand up and pulled her close to him to sit beside her, with holding her hands in his.
Eventually all the attention is focused on Stacia who is standing awkwardly putting her weight from one feet to another. I know she won't give up until she get her way afteral she is Queen of manipulations. That's the reason our marriage still exists.
"Baby what are you talking? You're the father and this is our baby. Don't you remember the last month when we decide to give our marriage a second chance"
Okay now she is using me as a bait. I take a seat on the sofa and relaxed a bit. This will be fun.
"But I did not remember having sex with you" I replied bluntly.
"No honey we did" she emphasised her words lowly pretending to seem embarrassed to talk about our sex life in front of my parents.
She opened her purse to took out a file and hand it toward me. When I didn't move a muscle to retract it. She heaves a heavy sigh to calm her irritation and put the file at the glass table infront of me
"I know you don't believe me. But please just look at the dates of conception. It's within those days we were there." She pleads politely this time tries to look innocent. I raise my eyebrows at the file and reach for it. The news it discloses was confirming her claim.
"Oh! Yeah! It is actually" I feign a surprise and shock look. From the corner of my eyes I can see her lips quirked in a smirk, believing that I have fallen in her trap. I give her that she actually made a good plan. Even conception days are same. But sweetheart you forget who you are crossing.
"But that still doesn't prove that this child is mine" I stated while directing the file at her stomach and drop the file with a thump.
Her smirk dropped and stress line started pressing on her forehead. She have to work hard to convince me. So, she upped the level of her game. I know she is offended that I indirectly accuse her of cheating and it will been fun to watch her reaction.
She came near me and kneeled down so her face is inch away from me and cupped my face in her hands, all for dramatic effect. And now Ms. Actress is going to cry.
"Graham I'm not lying. I swear to the God this baby that this is ours." She sniffed as teardrops escape her brown orbs and cascade towards her cheeks. "I know I may have never been a best wife. But I can't imagine myself cheating on you. I can never do that to you, to US. I love you..... (hiccup)..... so damn much" she sobbed loudly with eyes nearly closed.
Her acting skills is on point. But she fall where I want her too.
"WoW!!!" I fake amazed. I glanced at my watch and realised that I have wasted more time than expected on this drama. It's time to end it.
She opened her eyes to see the effect of her performance. I fished my phone out my suit jacket and called Tim to bring the surprise.
After Tim brought the file I stand up pulled the photos out and throw them at her face.
She catch some of them and stand from her crouched position. Her bewildered face telling me that she never expect me to know about this. Well guess what Surprise...
Mom curiously stand up and crouched to pick a photo in which my unfaithful wife is cheating on me with none other than my enemy and surprisingly these pictures are of same days which she claimed are her conception days.
I was aware of her affair but never give a shit to know the detail of it, because I never cared not until she tries to blackmail me with our families joint business to love her like an actual wife which was really a bad move on her part. As far as I know Stacia, she is the most selfish woman I have ever met so and giving our marriage a second chance is bullshit. Thus, I planned to take a bait on her, my first step was to take her in my confidence so I started with the lie of forgiving her and feed her with another bullshit of giving this shitty marriage a chance, but on the side, I asked Dylan to collect all the information on her.
What I come to know hard to say but not surprise me because Stacia is Stacia that is why of all other man she chose to be with, she got that punk, for what? To destroy me, and even have the audacity to think that she can convince me of becoming father of my enemy child. It's clear to my eyes that he is using her to get to me just like she was using me for all these 5 years. I can see that's why they are together they both wants to take avenge. But one thing they forgot is that there's nobody, I mean not-a-freaking-body even born to take me 'Graham London' down.
The thing I have learnt from Dad in all these past years is to beat your enemy with the stroke of surprise, just at the right moment hard enough to leave a mark so that they always remember the owner of the pain. It's a very long tiring process for a person like me still we get to it to savour the taste of winning.
I looked at my mother adoringly, who is going to get most hurt out of all this and that's the only thing which is making me angry because I don't give a shit about Stacia and her wicked games, up until she started to play with my family.
I straightened my posture, time to act like a Good husband but before I can act my best performance of the year, my mother takes all the glory. Dammit Mom!!
She slap Stella so hard that Stella fall face first. Me and Dad give each a look and I nodded him to stop her before she ripped Stacia in two pieces. Mom balled her hands into fist, but before she can punch Stella who is trying to get up, Dad hold her by her waist and pulled her back which was really difficult cause she is fighting hard to come out of his iron grip. I can't even stand my mother when she is this angry. Thank God her anger is not directed toward me.
I crouched beside Stacia and helped her stand up while she is limping from her right side, I can guess her 5 inch heel was broken from the fall. Her left cheek was pink with a visible slight handprint on them. Oh! Mother.
"You whore" Mom screeched loudly.
Dad was trying hard gripping he hand to calm her down which was proven to be impossible with every passing second. The fury in Mom's eyes can kill anyone, who dared enough to just looked into her eyes.
I move to my parents side, the grip of Dad on my mother arms loosen, enable me to hold her and give her a side hug. She breath a sigh of relief in my embrace while Dad glared at Stacia. Anger is radiating from his body, he can't bear my mother in stress. Stacia avoided the gaze of my father and took a step back still limping on her feet. She knows it's waste of energy to use her tactics on my father with her lies when his piercing gaze can see right through your soul.
So, she turns towards me and open her mouth
"These are photoshopped Graham. I can't do this. I-I never cheated on you. I swear baby. Trust me"
"Yeah! Sure" I chimed sarcastically.
"Check the file, it includes the proof of those disgusted pictures being original"
Dad turned to me with a slight smirk tugged on his lips, definitely pleased with my work.
Of course, I won't leave any loose ends.
My focus shifted to the woman in my arms, she is looking so delicate and fragile. Her dreams are crushed, I kissed her forehead and rests my chin on her head letting her breakdown in my arms. I was roaming lightly my hand over my mother head who is sobbing slightly. My heart constricted in my chest with her every whimper. Dad has turned around towards the glass window looking outside, he can't see her like this.
Mom wiggled in my embrace and I obliged the silent request by letting her go.
With her puffy eyes she looked at me adoringly and touch my cheeks with atmost affection. Then she turned around towards Stacia and instantly glared at her with incredulity. A little while later, Mom masked her expressions solemnly, even I can't read her now and then took predatory steps towards Stacia. That's Mrs. London you get.
"Leave" that's all my mother said before turning on her heels and leaving not just Stacia but all of us dumbfounded. I wasn't expecting her to be this composed. I thought she will lash out at Stacia. But this is definitely not a good sign. Mom's silence is an invitation of a big storm.
I peered at Stacia who is looking at her feet and was about to open her mouth to interjected- but dad's got every attention.
"Send her the divorce paper" Dad speak in his gruff voice with bored look on his face, but at the same time looking in the eyes of Stacia, challenging her to refuse him.
Dad never like her enough to accept her his daughter-in-law even though she is the daughter of his best friend. And that's the reason he is not a least affected with her departure from our family unlike Mom who loved Stacia just like Ella.
After Dad left hastily to check on Mom, I feel the strong urge to go after him and give the comfort a mother needs from his son. Before I entered the hallway, Dad walking ahead of me, suddenly halfway he turn around, his gaze met mine which silently says that he'll handle this and give me the nod towards inside, gesturing me to execute the rest of the plan.
I nodded at him stiffly, still contemplating about my decision and turn back to enter the living room to see Stacia stumbling on her feet didn't saying anything this time but looked at me with hurt, regret and pain.
Ironically, it should be me who should wear the expression of a victim and not her. Lucky me, I guess.
"I'll drop you" for lifetime. I want to add this badly, but not now. Stacia is still a very useful asset which I'm not intended to waste, at least not right now. She is a pawn in this game and I'm this close of getting out of this mess I get myself into 5 years before.
I left the mansion with a promise to myself to visit in the evening and check on both of my parents.