His Ink

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Chapter Twenty-Five

Erika Nadine

I woke up to the sound of a knock on the door, but Mr. Dick wasn’t distributed even when the golden rays of sun were dancing on his face through the window he somehow slept, a hair strand falling loosely on his face, his lips parted slightly, the sheets laying lazily on his lower body showing of his bare torso. The man really looked absolutely hot.

I groaned when there was another knock on the door, I climbed out of the bed and sauntered towards the door, my hands rubbing sleep out of my eyes.

I let out a yawn before opening the door. “Good morning, Miss Nadine!” Amy greeted me with a bright smile on her face.

“Amy! I told you not to wake them up already.” Lily scolded her younger sister.

“It is 10:00 am!” The fourteen-year-old defended herself and I gasped as I looked at the clock on the wall.

“I know the time, but you could have let her sleep lord knows she got any last night.” The eldest daughter grinned, and I blinked my eyes.

Heat rose to my cheeks as I understood her pun. “Hey, we did nothing last night.” I argued meekly and bit my tongue in embarrassment.

Lily blinked her eyes then glanced down at my outfit which was only a sweatshirt, his sweatshirt and soon a grin broke out on her lips, Amy however didn’t get the point. “I Never said you guys did it, but I meant that Ryan is a heavy sleeper, he snores so loudly and strangles the person sleeping next to him to death.” Her chuckles filled the room.

“He is not so bad in bed.” I defended my so-called fiancee and her laughter only doubled, I slapped my forehead and rephrased it. “I’m sorry, that sounded wrong I just want to say he doesn’t strangle or snore.”

“Oh god! You’re so hilarious, I like you. I’ll have someone send you your breakfast to bed and Mom will come in two hours so get dressed, I’m sure she will like you.“ She smiled before turning on her heel and Amy followed her, I closed the door processing the information.

I sat on the bed mindlessly as panic rose inside me. My mind wouldn’t stop flashing memories which have never left my bones.

“Wake up, you stupid slut!” I jerked my eyes open when I felt a slap across my cheek, I jumped out of the bed in fear.

She was towering over me, her alcoholic breath fanning my face that remained staring at the ground, praying that she should keep her hands to herself. Little did I know my prayers weren’t answered.

“Answer me, bitch! Where is my alcohol?” She demanded, her words slurred slightly from the effect of alcohol.

You drank it!

I wanted to give her a sharp reply, but I could only dream.

“I do-don’t know mo-mom.” I stuttered and dared to gaze at her red face.

A rough hand gripped my throat and squeezed it, making my six-year-old self gasp for air. My little fingers clasped her hand in a desperate plea to let go.

“How many should I have to tell you to not touch my drinks?” She shouted in my face.

Hot tears ran down my face before I could answer her, black spots were dancing in my head.

“I should teach you a lesson, slut.”

“No.. please.. no!” I begged through hoarse voice.

“Shut up, bitch!” She yelled and let go of my neck, I greedily inhaled air and she punched me in the gut which knocked me onto the ground.

Before I could recover from the jolting pain caused by the punch, she kicked me in the ribs, making a loud scream rip out of me.

Save me Dad!

My vision blurred as streams of tears continuously flow down my stinging cheeks. She grabbed me by my short brown hair and lifted my head up to meet her gaze.

“Next time if you ever touch my drinks I’m going to fucking kill you, do you understand bitch?” She yelled, and I nodded my head, not courageous enough to stand up for myself.

In one swift motion, she threw my head down onto the hardwood floor and I watched her retreating figure stumble across the stairs before everything turned black.

I was knocked down, I felt pain that most kids couldn’t handle, day after day I longed to run away from her, I wanted to hide myself but I couldn’t.

Did I deserve to be hatred by my mother?

What was the fault I did? Taking birth?

If it’s so, I had never wanted this life.

Why did she not abort her pregnancy if she hated me this much?

“Erika?” I heard them call my name when my knuckles were gripping the sheets fiercely.

“Miss Nadine!” The voice snapped me from my drowning thoughts. I swallowed the tears pooling at the end of my eyes.

“Yes, sir?” My voice was dripping with affliction, one that no one could notice.

“Are you okay?” His voice came again. It wasn’t commanding or soothing, filled with concern, and a part of me believed that he saw the lingering pain.

He was the man that would trash my work and call me an inefficient but also the same man who would reach out to ever depth of my distress.

“Erika?” The voice came cool. It reminded me of my father.. no my sperm donor and it felt like a kick in my guts, but I ignored it.

He was supposed to be mean, cold-hearted, rude and annoying like everyone. Why couldn’t he be that way?

Your fate will eventually fuck up everything Erika!

I didn’t need another heartbreak, I already had enough heartbreaks for a lifetime.

Erika! Push him away before he could break your heart all over again.

“Your mom will be here soon, we better get ready.” I said passively, trying to stir the topic.

“Fuck!” He cursed and climbed out of the bed. I knew this would work, the walls standing taller than me were my only refuge, I never wanted to let my guard down for him or for anyone.

~

~

~

I sat on the edge of the bed watching the raven haired hunk pacing back and forth in his room. He certainly looked nervous and for some unknown reason so was I.

What if his mom doesn’t like me?

Sure, this was all fake, so it wouldn’t really matter, but if she found me rude, she wouldn’t lash out on Mr. Dick, right?

I took a deep breath and hoped I wouldn’t fuck up things. Maybe I should calm him before he slammed his head against a wall.

“Mr. Kingston, you have called off a meeting yesterday, sir.” I reminded him, hoping to divert his attention.

“I’m well aware Miss Nadine!” He sighed but wouldn’t stop pacing back and forth.

“Sir, then when do you want to attend the meeting?” I asked him, keeping my tone blank. He gazed at me intensely, almost making me squirm under his stare.

“When you still keep track of my meetings, it’s hard to believe that you’re not my assistant, Miss Nadine.” His voice was void with emotion.

“Yes, sir, but I’m not your assistant.” I reminded him and watched him settle for clenching his jaw.

“Then you should stop with this ‘sir’ charade.” He demanded, and I rolled my eyes.

“Why, sir?” I decided to piss him off.

“There there there comes another sir.” He snapped, and I grinned.

“It sounds amazing, doesn’t it, sir?” I taunted him and he narrowed his eyes down at me.

“You don’t go around calling your fiancé as sir, do you?” He growled, and I shook my head.

“No, I don’t, sir.” I replied, and he glared at me.

“Then the sir should go.” He commanded me like the way only Ryan Kingston would do.

“Yes, sir, as you say, sir.” I flashed him my smile, and he huffed before slumping on the couch with a scowl on his face, I dared to keep my mouth shut for a few minutes before opening my mouth to laugh like a maniac and soon he joined me.

I watched him throw his head back and snicker, and I didn’t know why I felt a tingling in my stomach. But whatever it was, it didn’t last for longer when there was a knock on the door.

Ryan got up from the couch and sauntered towards the door. He took few seconds to grip the doorknob and turn it. He gripped it until I could tell that he was nervous.

When he finally opened the door, the door flew open to reveal Amy, who was smiling widely. “Mum is waiting for you two.”

The CEO’s shoulder tensed, and I couldn’t help the nervousness growing inside me. He turned back to me and extended his hand. I wasn’t quite sure why he did that, but I took his hand and we walked out of the room.

We sauntered in the corridor and climbed down the stairs. With every step, my nervousness was only becoming stronger, and I had to remind myself that Ryan didn’t have the same mother as I did.

I certainly didn’t expect his mom to wear a black cloak and pointed hat and flying on a broomstick but I expected her to be adorned with jewellery from tip to toe and face filled with make-up and a haughty smile dancing on her lips.

I almost awed when we reached downstairs to see a woman dressed in a simple black dress, staring back at us with wide chocolate brown eyes and a sweet smile dancing on her lips showing off her dimples.

Well shít! My expectation was wrong.

Ryan left my hand and took two painful steps towards that woman and I realized it was her, his mother. She smiled at him and started walking towards him.

Little did I expect her to walk past him towards me and throw her arms around me, pulling me into a bone-crushing hug. I blinked my eyes and glanced at Mr. Kingston. His expression broke my heart. “Oh, my god! You are so beautiful.” She smiled when she pulled back from the unexpected hug.

“Thank you, Mrs. Kingston.” I mirrored her smile and wondered how much this would have hurt Ryan.

“Oh silly, call me Tricia also it’s lunchtime and I don’t want to keep you waiting.” She smiled and hurried off to kitchen, I glanced back at Ryan who was scrolling through his phone busily but I didn’t miss the twitch of his muscle in his jaw.

As we sat down for lunch workers started serving us. I gasped when I looked at the dishes, half of the table was filled with various chicken dishes like roasted chicken, grill chicken, chicken wraps, salad and soups, chicken curry with rice and the rest halfway was typical British food which included Shepherd’s pie, Toad in the hole, Yorkshire puddings, Eccles cake and wine.

I couldn’t understand their obsession for chicken, but when I remembered Ryan’s answer for my question about his favourite food, I realised that they made the diverse dishes only for him.

However, silence never engulfed us since the three lady Kingstons’ wouldn’t stop laughing and giggling. Their chatter was so loud that the clinking sound of the forks was barely audible.

“Tell us about yourself, Erika.” Tricia smiled sweetly, and I tensed beside my fake fiance.

“I- I was born in the UK.” I paused, “however, I- I grew up in America, I did my graduation in Stanford University later worked under Evans’ in Seattle, then I moved to NYC to work for err, Ryan. I’m the laziest employee, not my words; they are his.” I said something, and ended up pointing my finger at Mr. Dick, who was lazily twirling the fork in between his fingers.

“I regret doing something, and if I could undo them, I would have done it ages back.” He snapped, but that didn’t bother me. Despite the clenching jaw and the icy glare, the words weren’t directed to me.

“Cool down, boyo!” Lily giggled and glanced at me. “Imagine being able to move out of UK, I was never so lucky. You have hella cool parents.”

“Oh my god! Yes!” Jenny agreed, and I gave them an awkward smile.

Who is going to tell them?

“Did your family moved out of London or only you did Erika? Give me your parents’ number maybe we should make them give a lecture to our mom.” Jenny chuckled and Tricia shot a glare at her whining daughter.

That would have been a simple question for everyone, but not for me. I swallowed the lump formed in my throat, suddenly I started feeling suffocating around everyone. I could feel their eyes on me, Ryan’s curious stare was boring into the side of my head.

“I’m an orphan and I grew up in foster homes.” I lied and stared at the carpet on the floor to avoid their gaze.

“We are sorry, dear.” Tricia’s was the first to speak and her voice sounded genuinely apologetic although she didn’t have to be.

“It’s fine, I’m over it now.” I replied back and picked up my fork.

“So where did you guys meet? When did you guys meet? Was he an asshóle to you too? Did he ask you out or was he egoistic?” Lily fired question after question and I frowned because my fake fiancee and I didn’t discuss our non-existent love life.

“You should answer it, it will be fun to watch you tell our tale.” I flashed Mr. Kingston a devious smile, and he narrowed his eyes down at me.

“But babe, you are the one who stole my heart so I don’t even know when how everything has happened. So answer them.” He smiled contagiously and pecked my cheek.

Babe?

“No, I want to hear you say it. You can do that much for me, right?” I blinked my eyes at him innocently.

“Well, the first time we met Erika called me as a pervert.” He shot me a playful glare, and I shoved his arm.

“You came back following me asking for my number.” I defended myself and he raised his left eyebrow.

“More like returning the phone which you left on the footpath, but you had to be delusional and you called me a pervert.” He growled and I bite my tongue.

“You threatened to fire me.”

“You came late by four minutes fifty-five seconds.”

“That’s because you bumped into me on the road.”

“You had your eyeballs stuck to your phone screen.”

“Ugh you-“

“Yeah, me?” He raised his eyebrow tauntingly.

“Oh my god! You both I didn’t sign up for a yelling contest.” Jenny interrupted our blaming fest.

“Yeah so you see Day 1 was shit, we hated our guts but when she started working for me, it amazed me how she would move with grace, when she did a presentation her eyes would dance on everyone’s facial features as her lips and feet move effortlessly, when she gives or takes the files from her coworkers she used to flash this killer smile of hers, it was hard not to fall for her.” My fake fiance finished his fake appreciation by planting a fake kiss to the side of my head.

“And you?” Lily asked me.

Okay fúck!

“He was an asshóle for the most of the part, but his steps were calculated and confident, he wasn’t anything like Rodger. But I admired him for the way he acted around woman, also he was everything that would make a girl feel beautiful and blessed to be his and that’s maybe it.” I smiled back and the three sisters awed.

The chatter continued with Lily, Amy, Jenny, Tricia and me talking about something continuously, Ryan however, took a vow of silence. At first I thought he was passive because of the estrogen presence in the room, but he would glance at his mom occasionally said that he was apologizing, regretting whatever he did.

After a few minutes, I also saw Tricia staring at her son his gaze was however not on her. He was mindlessly twirling his fork. I gasped when I looked at his place; he hadn’t even ate a quarter of his food. I didn’t miss the worried expression that crossed on Tricia’s face when she realised her son hadn’t eaten at all. I expected her to ignore him because that was what she was doing since morning, but she gazed at Lily and pointed at Ryan’s plate.

As if Lily understood that silent command she gave a nod and smacked Ryan playfully. “Why aren’t you eating bo when Amy, Jenny and I have spent hours to cook the food for you only?”

“Since when did you start cooking?” Ryan snorted, and she frowned.

“Am telling you we cooked for the first time for you. You don’t even want to taste it.” She groaned, and he rolled his eyes.

“I should rather be careful, who knows what poison you have put in this.” He pointed at the roasted chicken and she scowled.

“I should have totally done it to get rid of your annoying self.” She fired back.

“What if I end up with a sick stomach? I intend to make it till my 27th birthday.” He gave her a mirthful smile

“We know you’re lame, why are you trying hard to prove yourself as lame?” Jenny scratched the back of her head and I chuckled at her dramatics.

My ex employer threw a dirty look at all of us and picked up his knife. He scrunched his nose but digged into his food. Since I sat right beside him I literally heard him hum when he chewed on his food. If I didn’t glance back at Tricia, I would have missed the small smile on her lips. She looked happy to see her baby boy humming in content as he savoured the delicious food.

The whole glances and gestures she made to get her son to eat were worth watching and my heart made multiple flips.

She cares for him, even if she doesn’t admit it.

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