When the dust settles
The joys of life were like water bubbles. It would only remain for a moment after which puff. The same feeling was what almost all of us felt after out win.
With the judgment that Brandon was defeated and his case dismissed, I heard a voice in my head. Mother’s voice. The words of the judge although were for me to retain my business, it felt as if the decision had her finally rest in peace.
She suffered all his tortured and yet, stayed under him because she knew the repercussions of leaving. I would be left with no fortune and wealth, amassed by her father and forefathers. Brandon’s marriage to my mother was only for money and the moment he got it, he stopped caring for her or me. Deep dived in his reckless ways of drugs and brothel visits, Brandon was the absentee father who tortured my mother and eventually resulting in her death:
Today, my mother’s voice sounded peaceful. She finally was laid to rest in both my mind and heart.
But the aftermath of facing a demon too were suffered by us. Facing a man like Brandon always led to loss, no matter what. When the news of Charles and Malcom’s resignation surfaced, we reached their place. Unlike all the other times, Oswald mansion’s entrance was surrounded with press and fans, all ready to get a peek of Arin and me.
Engines in full throttle, the last mile towards the end of the driveway was quickened. Inside the mansion, Arin matched as if all her anger over these few months were redirected towards her father. The moment she shoved the door to his study open, Charles stood up from his place. He stubbed his cigar and gulped the last of the amber liquor before hissing between his teeth.
“Come in kiddo.”
Arin walked in, her heels clacked on the marble as if they would dig a hole to the other side of earth. With flaring nostrils and ragged breath, she hit her palms on the mahogany desk, steadying.
“Can I talk to Roger first?” He tossed his hand in my direction.
Arin’s head tilted to me, her reddened eyes scanned my whole body and I could feel the heat radiate off from her.
I stated my defense. “I swear I had no clue.”
Seeking clarity from her father, anger liaised Arin tilted her head for her father’s words. With his nod and gaze towards the door, she set off for the outside the same way she barged in.
Upon her being completed out of sight, Charles signed and fell back on the chair. I remained standing, awaiting an explanation.
“Let me cut to it. The resignation was impending,” he spoke in a rather sincere tone.
“For lack of understanding, why was it so? I know for a fact, you didn’t do anything wrong.”
Charles nodded. “Yes but sometimes not doing wrong does not mean you don’t have to resign.”
I was tired to play word games. With a hand pulling my tie to release my neck of months of formal wear torture, I took a seat.
“My fiancé is racking her brains to understand why you decided on something without telling us anything of sorts. I have seen her suffer at the hands of a man whom I am ashamed to call my father. After all that, after all she endured, what she surely didn’t expect was a news of this nature from her father.”
I was seething, having always felt guilty for Arin’s suffering, may it be the tabloid leaks or her past profession. My words were supposed to nudge Charles into conveying the truth but it let to him display a smirk.
“You really love her don’t you?”
Who doesn’t? She was perfect.
However I tried to stay on topic. “You are deviating Charles.”
Pulling up, Charles walked and sat beside me. “What will you do for my daughter? For her happiness?”
It seemed like a trick question all father’s asked for their daughters. I was sure, this seemed like a wrong time and place for a marriage interview yet, I obliged.
“Sure about that?” He smiled with raised eyebrows.
“An hour back, I thought I was going to lose Murphy enterprises to the man called Brandon. Yet, it didn’t hurt me more than to see Arin seated behind helpless. All the wealth in the world I would have dedicated to her if that would bring a smile to her face when she sat in the court. Is that is enough a reasoning? Or shall I continue?”
Soft air puffs were released by the man who sat beside me. His chest heaved and eyes watered. “Sorry to say this but I felt like you were giving an interview.”
My legs jolted up the chair. I moved over to the window feeling the heat of anger rising inside. Here was, opening up my heart to the father of my fiancé and there we seemed to be in some sort of merry trip, laughing at my words.
“Sorry Roger,” Charles wiped his face and with that his smile too settled behind frown lines. “You gave a good answer but I wanted to see if you would understand the reason for me to take the decision.”
I turned. “The reason being?”
“My daughter’s happiness. Nothing else mattered when it came to Arin’s well being and her success. And because she is tied to you, in a way for your happiness too.”
Having only known love and care through nannies while growing up with grandfather, Charles’s words pulled my heart strings. His words stirred the feelings of longings and family. This was how families were supposed to behave; loving and fighting for each other unlike mine which was always about fighting to pull each other down.
Charles walked over to the door and pushed it open. He looked over his shoulder, eying me. “I am really happy for the both of you,” were his words before he walked out.
How did my dad manage to resign without the board? I was a member and nobody informed me. I dialed Xavier’s number but like all other times, was switched off. With my door rattled off its hinges, I opened it.
Dad stood in front, smiling like it was a normal day. I remember my mother telling me about times when one would be filled with so much anger that words would refuse to come. This was one of those times for me. I walked inside my room, tossing my legs on the table and tapping on my phone as dad entered.
“I know you need an explanation,” he walked in with raised hands as if he was ready to surrender. My eyes remained glued to the phone, ignoring his presence. Taking a seat near, dad tapped his finger on the table to grab my attention before leaning back. “Fine. Don’t talk. Hope you would listen.”
From my peripheral vision I could see him awaiting my reply. When none came, he sighed and leaned forward, holding his chin over his resting knuckles.
“I promised your mother that till the time she wanted, I would remain away from you both. As much as I love her, we both were wrong in taking a decision of such magnitude on your behalf. You didn’t get to choose, we did it for you. So when you came into my life again, I took a vow to make up for the lost time and protect you all ways possible.”
My head turned to him, inches my inches. By the time I fully faced him, his reddened eyes plunged my heart.
“Brandon’s case seemed weak but he was coming on strong and although Roger was a better man, sometimes in a world of ours, bad people win, kiddo.” As if reeling back from our days in the court and anticipating the decision, dad looked at a distance. “Malcom and my decision to resign was only to protect you kids from the monster that he was.”
“What did you do dad?” My heart thumped into the rib cage. My head felt as if it was floating at his words. Holding onto the corner of the desk, I felt sourness creep up in my mouth at the next of his words.
“Malcom and I got a few members of Brandon’s team to confess about his wrongdoings. We got all the proof again him and we took that in case he came on too strong and your case because too weak.”
“But why did you resign?” I Cried out.
“Because we had to sign non-disclosure agreements and had to give those members the leverage to know, they wouldn’t be harmed. It was a small price to see you and Roger have a win which you both truly deserved.”
Sliding off the chair, I knelt in front of dad. Holding his fisted hand, I leaned my forehead over with the streams of tears running over my face. I heaved for air, throat bobbled for water as the news of my father’s biggest sacrifice settled in me.
“You could have told me dad,” was mostly air than words as I lay indebted to the man I called dad.
The irony of it all, one father was willing to sacrifice everything for his child while the other, whom we fought in court was ready to take everything away from his own flesh and blood.
Tipping my face up, dad wiped away the tears and cringed his face, watching his hand covered with mascara lines. “Is that coal?”
It made me laugh. He too chuckled, placing his forehead aligned to mine. “Don’t worry about anything, kiddo. Brandon won’t come for you and he is well taken care of to ever disturb your peace or sanity.”
There were a million things I wanted to convey and a million more that stormed up but when dad held me up and embraced me, all questions, thoughts and emotions died down. What remained was peace. Washed over with a sense of gratitude and love, I stayed in my father’s hold for moments long enough to forget the day.
Patting my hair and kissing the top of my head, misty eyes dad looked down on me. “You know I talked to Roger? Like the dad talk.”
I wiped away the residue tears, laughing at his words. “Really what did you say?”
After a hand wave in the air, dad straightened up. “Something about not taking my blessing before asking for your hand in marriage.”
The soft being that he was, pulling a lie over his daughter even in a fun way was difficult. With a smirk that turned to become a smile, dad bit his lower lip, expecting me to believe the story. Upon my nod, he sighed and raised his hand up in surrender. “Fine. I asked him how much he cared for you?”
My eyebrows touched my hairline. “And?”
There was no answer about Roger’s reply. A soft smile and he ruffling my hair led me to believe the answer my favorite men shared was good enough for dad to find Roger still in his good books.
Walking out, I met Roger in the hallway. He was talking to Xavier. The moment my eyes landed on him, Xavier shielded his body with Roger in front.
“Over his dead body,” he cried out.
Roger chimed in too. “Ya over my.. wait what? No..”
I ran in circles behind Xavier who ducked and scurried. Unlike the past few months, Oswald mansion chimed back to life with laughter and talks; happy ones. There was no brooding and defiantly no serious discussions. The clouds of lingering doubts and fear all faded as this day proceeded.
With Roger beside me, I knew I was loved by a family who treated blood bonds with utmost care. I was lucky to have them in my life. I always thought fairy tale stories are not for everyone. I was wrong. Every girl deserves a fairy tale and I too got mine. There was a villain and helping friends, there was a love that was meant to last a lifetime and family who supported their own.
It was all in all a perfect Disney movie altogether.
With that, the dark clouds called Brandon leaves their lives.
With this chapter being of unofficial ending of Arin and Roger’s story, the next chapter will be a sneak peek into the near future.
Let’s give them the farewell they deserve guys..
Comment and let me know which part of the story was your favorite, reading about them..