She resigned. Just like that. Instead of coming back to work, she fucking resigned.
Was it me? Was I too hard on her? I mean, Mrs. Rose was right. Arin never took leaves. And the only time she did, I was rude to her, demanding her to show up at work when she was on leave. I was too engaged with my pent up frustration on Stella to have spewed unintended words at anyone.
Arin was the victim of my wrath.
With Brandon's suit in motion, I had to get my bearings in order. I was not going to loose my company to that swine. His only contribution in my life was his sperm and I wanted to keep it such.
"Are the files for the merger been vetted?" I dialled Mrs. Rose for confirmation, who jogged inside.
She stared hard at me, confusion spreading across her face. "I don't know Roger. It's Arin who was handling it."
"Then ask Georgia to get to work and figure it out. I want it in my office in an hour's time." I said. Time was of the essence to beat Brendon and I wasn't willing to sacrifice any of my precious moments, mourning for an ex- assistant.
Well that did not go well. I quit my job. In a flying fit of rage and colossal decision to hamper my future, ensured my doom.
"Is there a problem kid?" dad asked in a concerned tone. His lips parted but not for a smile. It seemed, he was evaluating my issue with his experienced sunken eyes.
"Nope. All fine." I lied.
With a labored breathing, dad cleared is throat. Maybe he wasn't comfortable with me not stating the reason for my worry but in my defense, I only met him a few hours back. It was uncharacteristic of me to dump the massive load of 'his daughter screwed up' information so soon.
If dad was indeed for the long haul, he would eventually know what a wreck his daughter was.
We were driving to the Oswald mansion. Dad, in his infinite wisdom decided to introduce me to everyone. The only relief was knowing Roger was at office. Even if he decided to come back later to meet Stella, I'd escape by then.
"You know I might not know you that well, but I can read a person." Dad spoke, keeping his voice steady but the uneasiness could be felt from a mile.
I contemplated for a few minutes. He was putting in the effort to know me. Then why was I shutting down. With a long drawn breath, I whispered."I might have resigned from my job."
He glanced at me. My peripheral vision could gauge but I pretended to watch the street ahead of us. Dad chuckled, small pockets of air releasing before it roared up. For a person who was supposed to be worried for me, he looked quite nonchalant.
"Florence did this." He wheezed for air while I stated at him, blank. "Once when she was being scolded by my dad, so she resigned."
Was I fucking repeating history here! Classic daughter.
Holding hard at the side of the car, I pressed hard, trying to remain silent. But when dad looked back again, nodding his head gently, nudging me to answer, I broke character.
"It's not the scolding that bothered me dad."My arms waived around in frustration, replaying Roger's words back. "It's the 'come back to office on a leave day' that bothered me."
With a strange, cringe inducing expression, Dad looked at me. He had trouble believing it. "Roger. That man seems rational. Why would he call you back when you took a personal day off.."
Well, it wasn't a personal day to be precise. It was technically a sick day and he might have heard the sounds on the street to assume I was faking it.
Unwilling to admit my mistake, I aired my answer in a lower tone. "It was a sick day."
Knowing what I did was wrong, I remained silent.
"Sorry what?" controlling his laughter, dad asked again.
I spoke with the guilt of leaving a paying job, gnawing at me. "It was a sick day, dad."
"It's okay.. I can talk to him." he patted my palms resting on my knees. Merely with words, he put on the super dad cape.
"NO". I blurted when his answer replayed. I was still in the 'Aw I have a kind dad' mode to have skipped on his words. "The thing is, dad, nobody knows who I am to you. And I want to process the same before telling anyone else. So please can you keep it to yourself while I take a bit more time dad.."
His straightened posture shrugged but he never fought back.
We arrived at the Oswald Mansion. The place looked nothing less than a palace itself. I drank up the sight of the place, the highlights at the entrance and the sheer magnitude of the place.
"It's beautiful.. isn't it!" he proudly presented.
I looked like the kid in the movie 'Charlie and the chocolate factory', astound by the beauty and the enormity of the mansion.
"Yes it is.." my mouth dried up with all the gawking. Still ajar watching the gigantic place, dad tipped up my chin. He let out a sweet, confident smile.
"Shall we go in?" he held my hand, walking us in.
This day took a turn, for 180 degrees. Today morning, I was an assistant to Roger. And by evening I come to know, I was an Oswald. And to top it all, dad matched the version of him in my imagination and the versions noted in mom's journals.
Walking in, I had my unhinged jaw wiped the floor. This magnificent beauty that was this place, must have made its way into the architecture digest magazine. The structural dome in the halls, white pristine Italian marble and the gigantic chandelier hanging from the top, enwrapped the area around with a pale golden hue.
"This is the mansion kid." Dad stated as I scanned the place.
"Ohh it's huge and..." I lacked words to describe it's beauty.
Another voice boomed across the halls, calling out dad's name. With a tap at my shoulder, dad turned my attention to the man, who stormed over to us, smiling all the way. Up close, he too shared dad's features.
"Ahh Mal... Meet Arin."
The new person walked towards me, holding out his hand. "Please to meet you Arin. I am so sorry about Florence." His palm wrapped around mine, patting it softly. His smile drew into a thin line.
"Arin, this is Malcom. My younger brother."
"Aa aa no no no.." Malcom continued nodding his index finger at me. "If Charles is being called Charles, then you can call me by my name."
Giggling, dad interrupted. "No. She called me dad." His face lightened up and he tiptoed while answering like a little kids who received what they wanted as gifts. His wobbly tone carried genuineness.
"In that case, Arin, you will call me Uncle." Malcom continued. He seemed nice. Actually, the whole family was an epitome of candy floss.
Except for Stella Artois Budweiser Heineken. She was a handful the very first time and first impressions lasted a lifetime.
"Come.. let me introduce you to the others." Malcom gestured.
I looked at dad who nodded. Walking, we turned towards a room buzzing with the sounds of crockery and people munching on food.
He waved at Stella and my heart stopped it's beats. I hoped and prayed, shutting my eyes for Roger's unavailability. The woman whom I met at office walked towards us. Holding out her hand, she shook mine.
I nodded, smiling. "Arin Rafferty."
Looking at Malcom, she uttered in her fake accented words. "Who is she dad? I thought you don't date girls my age?"
Ouch bitch. What was wrong with her.
One woman on her father's side and she assumed as I was her father sugar girl. I was enraged at her statement. While she glared at me, I looked over her shoulder, ignoring the annoyed words rattling inside my chest, trying hard to escape.
"She is Arin." Malcom placed his hand on the small of my back, moving me ahead. "Charles's daughter."
"Daughter!" she exclaimed with a spiked tone . "I thought he was not married."
"He was." Malcom continued. "And finally Arin contacted him."
She uttered her pea brain processing. "Why?" shifting her peering gaze at me.
Because God wanted to get rid of you. He was really sorry for creating a numbnut like you who was nothing but an idle weight on earth. As he was too busy, he sent me to do his deed.
"Because I thought it was time to meet him."
She shrugged her shoulders and walked away. I looked over to Malcom in surprise. Justifying his daughter's act, he whispered, "She is..umm..a bit.. busy." Turning me around towards the crowd. "She had a very hectic day."
I smiled. Of course I wouldn't berate a father for his nincompoop daughter's doings. Or in this case, sayings.
"You are just like your mother," holding my face, Malcom continued.
"You have met her too?" surprised at his reference, my heart pounded up. I was a sucker to know all about mom before she had me.
"Yes yes. She has the same manners like you. Always kind."
"Ohh thanks." I was overwhelmed by his compliment.
Hearing his name, Malcom instructed me to check out the place before scurrying.
Walking around the mansion, my mouth stayed ajar. The place was too huge for four people to live in. The whole of London could reside in here.
"Hey there.." a voice knocked me off. "Are you lost baby?"
I turned around to see a man perched on the top of the stairs, smirking at me.
"I..I.. think so.." I looked around the sparsely populated area.
He sat on the wooden railing and slid down all the way to me. Once close, I could smell his intoxicating scent. His lips parted, white pearly sets came on display and his mossy eyes scanned me, extending his hand.
"Hi, I am Xavier."
I introduced myself, the non daugher shorted version. I didn't know what else to say. Thankfully, Xavier talked further.
"You want to look around? I know a great place from where you can see the entire London."
"You mean the London eye?" It was my time to humor others.
He laughed, leaning closer. "Great sense of humor. But no. It's on the rooftop.."
"On top of this house?" I asked, pointing up.
"No. The one on top of Buckingham palace."
"Okay.. lead the way.."
While Xavier walked parallel to me, I marveled at the walls adorned with paintings.
"You like art? he asked, facing me and walking backwards. When I bit into my lips, lending a small smile, he almost hopped on his steps. "Then you would love it."
Xavier walked ahead, narrating every painting's depictions as we passed them.
"You seem to know all about it.." I was impressed. I knew men who called Victorian era paintings, basic photography work. Don't be surprised. Not all people have common sense. But Xavier seemed to know his portraits and landscapes.
"I majored in Art and literature." Stopping at his steps, he halted mine. "You?"
"Finance and law." I held my arms around me, suddenly feeling intimated.
"Brainy," he mocked.
"Nothing compared to you and your knowledge." I was impressed and wasn't stingy to acknowledge.
"Oh come on. Everyone knows art is dead." He shrugged his shoulders low.
"So not true.. It's what's makes us alive." I said, halting his steps midway. His eyes widened when he realized I was quoted some poem.
"Arin, you are one interesting woman.."
Smiling at the compliment, I walked further. My heart was strumming at my ribs and my stomach launched a thousand butterflies. The men I usually encountered on dating apps had only one thing in mind. A third date thing. Or a fifth date, whichever suited you.
But Xavier was different. He was a wave of fresh air on a warm summers day. A dash of minty coolness on a tangerine infused drink. He walked ahead of me and my horny self couldn't help but adore his toned body. Images flew up, which if anyone had the ability to read, would brand me as a pervert.
Xavier opened the grand double doors, leading us to the roof.
The city's overview was mesmerizing. Although I have stayed in London all my life, the night lit city and the shimmering light around, misted my vision.
We both stood there in silence, enjoining the busting afar, watching the night sky blanket under which the city was tucked away.
"I close my mouth and spoke to you in a hundred silent ways." he whispered.
"Rumi." I answered rather quickly, turning to him. The smile on my face pulled at my cheeks, growing wider.
"You know your poets," he whispered.
Yes I do. I also knew the last person who said this to me. Roger stayed on my mind like a thorn stuck inside the skin. It won't go in and neither would it come out. It was stuck.
Xavier closed the distance between us, holding onto me. Closing my eyes I anticipated his next move.
Without disappointing, he kissed me. Starting soft and then slowly deepening, biting my lower lip. I smiled into his kiss and ran my tongue over his. Tasting him, whiskey and cigar, he ran his tongue inside me. We embraced each other in the crispy wind, kissing.
After what seemed like infinity, we parted with him keeping his forehand tilted onto mine, panting.
"You are breathtaking.."
I whispered back. "You too.."
"Let's go back before Stella finds us missing."
I smirked at his words, unable to decipher its meaning. "She won't even know if I am missing. I don't know about you.."
"Trust me. She would know if her brother is missing."
Lightening struck between us. I pulled away from him, scrambling at my steps. He stood there, confused.
"YOU ARE XAVIER OSWALD!"
He smiled and nodded, sliding his hand into his pockets. I walked with both my hands supporting my head with the weight of the realization crushing me.
"Ohh god ohhh goddd ohhhh fucking god." I almost cried out.
"Darling.. calm down." Xavier titled his fingers closer to his thumb, conveying my volume be reduced. "People would think I am doing you."
"You don't know who I am, do you?" I yelled at him. Another affirmative nod had my brain go numb. "YOU DO?"
I freaked out more. Was he kidding me!
"What were you thinking. Recreating Jamie and Cercie?" I shouted at him. All he did was stay calm, walking over and planting his hands on my shoulders.
"Jermie and Cercie were siblings.."
"And WE are?" I flung a finger between us.
"I am adopted."
"Don't play technicality on me."
I walked away from him, not letting him speak and not wanting to hear anything anymore. This day couldn't get any worse. I lost my job and kissed someone related. I hit rock bottom and then slid down some more.
At Murphy co.
"Where is the document.. WHY IS IT NOT READY YET?" I yelled at Georgia.
"It's taking time Mr. Murphy" she whimpered.
"If Arin can do it, then so can you.."
"I am trying to find it." Georgia's eyes teared up. She didn't meet my face and tried hard to hold all the pages in her tiny arms, rushing out. I heard her muffled voice emerge behind her as she complained. "I can't understand how she managed to get the vetting done so quick."
Like an untimely intervention, Mrs. Rose entered.
"Please tell you you have good news for me, Mrs. Rose." I was in a state of turbulence. There seemed to be to end to the rollercoaster of documents I had to sign.
Sighing, she lent out a hand to pat my shoulder. "No I don't Roger. I warned it. I told you.."
She was right. I ignored her suggestion. Although I listened to her for everything, this time I fucked up. She dialed a number and placed the phone on my table. Running my hand through my face and into my hair, I suspended my face over the phone's lit screen.
The call went through and the voice emerged.
I exhaled, tossing away my rage and frustration. I was almost, just almost begging. "Come back..."
Hello all you beautiful people.
Did you like this chapter?
Please do vote and comment.
Who is Roger calling?
And do you think something will happen between Xavier and Arin?
Let me know in the comments.