And the foundations crumble
A few days ago, we came to know of Brandon suit. We anticipated his move to tarnish my image and he played rightly into it. I was the collateral anyways. But what I didn’t understand was the other documents which he seemed to have filed too. Arin had our lawyers check on the claims Brandon was naming against me. As of now, all records were sealed. They would only be opened on the day of trail.
“How am I supposed to calm down?” Charles’s voice floated across. He had been losing his patience every time his phone rang. He was roped in on the plan by Arin. Although heartbroken about his brother’s betrayal, Charles put up a brave face for her. After all, a father’s love triumphed a brother’s. And moreover, it wasn’t even a loyal brother to begin with.
Arin sat with me at the Oswalds’ while Charles got the last of his pawns moved as we instructed. Looking up from his phone screen, he sighed. “It’s done kids. Hope it works.”
Arin pressed onto my knuckle, her way of expressing her love and support. She rose up from the chair, seemingly calmer than usual. Holding her father’s hand, she seemed to exude the same calm as she did a few seconds back for me. Having seen her nervous and scared, I was taken aback by her new avatar.
“Let’s get this over with dad. Come Roger.” She lent her left hand for me, Charles was holding her right. Tucked between us was the stronger one amongst all of us.
Moving out of his office, we walked behind him, slow in steps to the board room. With Charles speeding up, anticipating the meeting, he left us both behind. I held Arin closer to me, pulling her aside while the crowd of people streaming towards the board room increased.
“This is your last chance. Are you sure want to do it babydoll?”
Her a lips curled up, displaying her widened smile. There was not a pinch of doubt on her face, not even to the slightest. Arin Oswald Rafferty exude confidence as if she was the stream emanating from the mountain with it. The original source.
“Am I sure of what? Roger Murphy, don’t tell me you are having doubts,” she chuckled.
I nodded, telling the correctness of her assumption. “Of course I am having doubts. I was since the time Brandon filed his first lawsuit against me and you got involved.”
There was no more words left to confess that I was scared. Not only for Murphy enterprises but also for my loved ones, especially Arin. She already had been through enough, last year with her mother’s loss and then Stella’s act of selling her information to the tabloids. I wasn’t willing to tag her alone to the grave journey I was undertaking.
Seemed like Arin understood my apprehension. Tiptoeing, she kissed my cheek, rubbing her cold nose on my stubble. “There is no way for us other than to dive and emerge on the other end.” Before I could counter, she placed her finger on my lips. “No more running away, Roger. Let’s face that fucker once and for all and get it over with.”
Although her confidence was comforting, I still had my apprehension. “I am sure if we go after him,” my finger danced between us, trying to get her to register what I meant. “We, being the word to grasp, he would not only try to take me out but anything that supports me.”
Arin swung her head back, uttering a loud laugh. “Then it’s a good thing that your fiancé is made of rock. Brandon would break his skull before he could penetrate the tough exteriors of Oswald and Murphy combo.”
There was no way to convince Arin of the repercussions and she seemed to have made up her mind. The strong woman that she was, convincing her felt wrong. A part of me was glad, elated. She was sticking with me, even after knowing the impending consequences.
Xavier, who slid out of the board room gestures for us to get in. We moved swift, trotting in. The board room was full, panel was complete. Everyone sat around the elongated table, their heard turned to Charles who stood at the entrance, commanding the room. Before he could address the gathering, Malcom stood up.
“I don’t want to bother anyone but Charles, Roger shouldn’t be here. He had given away all his powers to Arin and only she can be here,” he tossed a look at Arin.
Her jaw twitched. Her hand clenched the arm rest, knuckles turning pale. Running circles on her knuckle, I tried my best to calm her. Charles must have noticed his daughter’s agitation to speak.
“Thanks Malcom, but we all know that Roger took that cursory decision to save Murphy from the lawsuit. He would regain all his powers once the cases are dropped.”
Although Malcom was less than satisfied, he couldn’t argue with his brother. When he plopped back on his chair, Charles cleared his throat. “Thank you all for coming on such short notice. We have an important decision to make here. One is, that I am asking the board to vote for the removal of a member.”
As the crowd murmured, all eyes fell on the screen which displayed the documents, all pointing to Malcom’s financial fraud. He knew what was on display for his head fell, unable to counter or view the screen. After a brief presentation, Charles handed all documents to the board members, all of whose vision remained glued to the sheets. There was pin drop silence in the room. Nobody bothered talking.
It was only Charles who stood watching ever one. Malcom too knew the consequences to remain silent. With a unanimous voting, Malcom’s fate was sealed. Although he wouldn’t be part of the board and the company anymore, he was still related to Charles as a brother.
After the meeting, the room was emptied with the exception of Arin and Charles. I sat in with them, an onlooker of the family betrayal. It wasn’t something new to me, having being involved with a father who ensured every step of my life was filled with nails and thrones.
“I can’t believe I didn’t see my own brother doing this to me, to us,” Charles growled into his palm that cocooned his face. Arin held his face in her hand. Her own eyes were filled with tears, witnessing her father crumble in the aftermath of a blood betrayal. The bond he must have trusted since his brother’s birth was broken today. “I am so sorry my child. I should have known that there was someone aiding Brandon. I didn’t know,” he heaved, gasping for air as of the whole room suddenly feel short of air.
Arin held him in her embrace, patting his back and whispering softly in his ears. After a few minutes, the man rose up from his chair. Determination sparked in his eyes when he tossed a look at me and then at his flesh and blood. The woman who braved all this and more and came out unscathed.
The door sprang open. Appearing in front was Xavier who held stacks of sheet in his hands. “Roger, a word,” he gestured at me. I walked out with him.
There was no reason to doubt that his expression were anything but scared. I assumed it was Brandon’s next blow, something below the belt. Arin walked out with us, followed by Charles. Xavier stuttered, scanning the carpeted floor for words as if they gray rug would help him with them.
“I want to talk to Roger alone. Can you guys please..” Arin’s hand waved in the air, cutting his short.
Although Charles nodded and walked away, letting us have our privacy, Arin was determined to know. “Did you find it?” She questioned him.
With Xavier soft head bob, her hand fell over her mouth.
“Will someone tell me what’s happening?” I asked, rather annoyed at their mimic play. There was silence between Xavier and Arin. They both knew something that wasn’t privy to me. “For the love of god would one of you talk?”
Arin was the first to stutter. Mirroring her was Xavier.
“Roger, mate,” Xavier’s head rose up, yet his eyes remained looking away into a distance. “Arin asked me to check on Stella’s background. She had her doubts on her.” When I nodded, he sighed and continued. “Turns out, she was cheating on you.”
I chuckled, my shoulders heaved. “I know that,” I was genuinely calm. Arin sent Xavier on a quest which even I could have answered. “You guys were thinking this would be the news that would devastate me?”
Arin nodded sidewise. “There’s more,” she said.
Xavier’s eyes pleaded to her. He wasn’t ready to risk the next words. I braced for impact, inhaling all the air in the area. “Stella was cheating on you with Brandon.”
True to their expressions, it was the news that shook the ground beneath me. The news that rocked the foundations of my trust.
Aaa.. So Stella was involved with Brandon. While she was engaged to Roger, she cheated on him with a man. A chapter had a flashback on it. Now you know who the man was..
What are your thoughts?
Let me know.. I would love to hear..
Also, please do check out ‘The King Killer’ if you like cliffhangers, dark mafia romance and a female protagonist, you wouldn’t get enough of it.
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