Chapter 40 - Difficult goodbye [Republished]
I woke up the next morning when indeed I felt I had enough sleep.
Opening one eye and peeping around the room I made sure I was alone.
When I held that file in my hand last night I knew exactly what was going to be my next step.
It was Lucas’s signature.
I would have recognized it from a thousand different ones.
I imagined him bent over his desk, in his home office, scraping his signature on the divorce papers, with his black eyebrows frown, jaws clenched, and lips pressed in a thin line while his beautiful icy blue eyes shedding a tear.
What a silly romantic woman I am, imagining Lucas crying!
I smile to myself for the foolish thought I’ve had.
But that’s what I wished it happened, most probably in reality he couldn’t wait enough to put his signature on those papers and forget he ever knew me.
After all he was just about to die because of me.
I look on the nightstand next to my bed and I see the file resting there and next to it I see my phone which I grab and dial Mike’s number.
After two rings I hear his voice breathing fast in surprise.
“Hi Mike. Hm... I hope you are still in Sicily,” I try a small talk.
“Of course, I am still here.”
“Good. How soon can we leave for the States?” I asked decided to get straight to the points.
“Tonight, if you are ready,” he says.
Damn, so soon?
My heart shrank at his answer. It was all so sudden, not only him coming back into my life but also the reason he came for and my decision to leave, but maybe it was better this way.
With a little luck, I was not going to meet Enzo before I left. Because... what if seeing him would make me change my mind?
Last night was one of our finest. He was sweet, loving and tender and worshiped all of me as I was the temple of his existence. That Enzo I felt all night would easy be the Enzo to make change my mind, leave Lucas behind forever and settle in here, in Enzo’s kingdom.
“Which time should I be ready?”
“Our flight takes off every day at 6pm. I will be picking you up around 3pm. Is that okay with you, Rebecca?” he says, and I could almost see him smirking.
“Yes Mike, I will be ready at 3pm.”
“Good... and Rebecca...”
“It is the best decision. You belong to this business and this business belongs to you.”
I paused taken aback by the certainty Mike had in his voice while I couldn’t yet imagine myself a business woman, but I guess I would never know until I tried.
“Thank you, Mike. I will see you later on,” I replied and hung up.
I checked the time and I barely had three hours to get ready before Mike picked me up.
I rolled out of the bed and stretched my arms and legs to shake away the sleep still hovering over me.
The shower was a blessing, my muscles felt stiff and hurting and the soreness between my thighs was almost cutting weak my knees.
I was going to go back to NY and like a weak woman that I was, I started to have second thoughts, as I was not sure I could keep myself away from Lucas being actually so close to him.
My breath heavies and I feel sweat forming on my temples.
Air doesn’t seem to find its way to my lungs. I can surely recognize a panic attack taking me over.
I can’t breathe and my fists clench while I try to control myself and make the panic attack end faster, but I am not doing a particularly decent job as my knees give in and I crash on the shower floor.
“Fuck, Becca! Breathe... one.... two... three...” I count to ten, my all body shaking and gulping air as much as I can.
Once my muscles relax, I am already breathing better and fight for a regular heartbeat.
That was tense and I hadn’t even left Italy yet.
I toss away all the fears and panic and get out of the bathroom, wrapped in a towel, going straight to the walk-in closet to pack my things.
I am not going to take much time. I don’t even know what I put in the bag as the wish of leaving this place grows immensely.
By the time I am dressed and packed it is already ten to three and I get downstairs as I know Mike will be here soon.
I place my bag at the entrance door, and I take a look around the living room for one last time.
I wished I was strong enough to face Enzo but something inside holds me back and I hate myself for that. Because it was the guilt making me sneak out like this.
I do care for Enzo, for a good while he was my safe place, he was my strength and my happy place.
Just when I turned my back to exit and wait Mike on the stairs outside, the doors of the patio open and I freeze.
I take a deep breath and turn around just to see a ravishing handsome Enzo walking slowly towards me with hands shoved in his pockets and strolling like a feline.
The look in his eyes speaks volumes.
He knows I am leaving and yet he smiles to me, with understanding and so much love that it shattered my heart.
His beautiful black eyes are so soft and he wrap me in a warm hug which melts my heart.
Before I blink his face is inches close to mine, curling his arms even stronger around me.
I dive into that blissful hug, circling my arms around his neck and I can feel his hot breath on the skin of my neck.
I ran my fingers through his silky hair, and I sniff his scent, exhaling with a sigh.
“Becks, I will always be there for you, remember that. No matter what, I will always be there, just one call away,” he whispers, and I believe him.
“Come with me, Enzo,” I ask.
“No, tesoro. This is something you need to do alone. But when you feel you crush, call me before. I will be by your side in a blink of an eye.”
Why he has to make this so fucking difficult?
Why can’t he be angry at me, why can’t he shout and blame me for leaving him?
But then again, this is Enzo.
He said I belong to myself only, and nobody else, and it is time I take myself back, back from Lucas, back from Enzo, collect the crumbles of me and my life and reborn in a woman that stands tall and strong and only then she can give herself to someone.
I hear a car approaching and I know it is Mike.
I pull myself out from Enzo’s hug and run out grabbing my bag on the way and close the door behind me.
I can’t look at Enzo again, so I keep running and get into the car next to Mike before he has the chance to get down.
I put my seat belt on and tell Mike to drive with a choked voice and tears streaming down my face.
I am free. I am finally free to walk by myself and start living on my own.
I am finally walking to the next stage of my new life and most probably it will be hard or maybe I won’t succeed but I have finally the freedom to try.
And I am going to make the best of it.
I slept almost all the flight to NY.
Of course, I took my pills, couldn’t give up on them yet.
Mike told me he would take me home, the house I lived with my family, the house that was the nest of so much suffering and pain, but I was going to change it with the home where I was going to be reigning and be the queen.
It was late night when we arrived and to my surprise all lights were on, the total opposite of what I expected.
When Mike drove the car in front of the entrance the door opened and I saw Rosie coming out, welcoming me.
She used to be our maid before dad forcefully had her and she left one night.
“Rosie...” I whisper seeing her waiting me in the door frame with a wide and caring smile.
“Rebecca, it’s so good to see you back home,” she says and reaches her arms for a hug.
“What...” I mumble looking at Mike questioning if this is his doing.
“I tried to keep everything together, Rebecca. I knew one day you would come home,” he says, and a content smile spreads all over his face.
The house was exactly as I knew it. Nothing changed. It was clean and well maintained as if we were still living here.
Dinner was waiting for us and then a hot, perfumed bath had been prepared by Rosie and I was so grateful.
I relaxed like a queen in the warm water and gave myself the time to tender my muscles and prepare for a good sleep.
The next day I was going to visit the offices. Time to take back what was mine.
I slide under the duvet of my bed when I was done drying my hair and rubbing cream on my hands and I grabbed the phone typing a message to Enzo, my heart filled with content and hope.
Hi, Enzo. Arrived and all is good. I am in my parents’ home. This is where I will live, and I am decided to change it in such way that nobody can ever imagine they lived here. I miss you already.
Instantly my phone buzzes and I answer after the first ring.
“Hey Enzo,” I say smiling and snuggling deeper in my bed sheets.
“Hey, tesoro. How was your flight?”
“I couldn’t tell. I slept almost all the way. But at least I am now in bed, I can take a good rest. Tomorrow Mike is taking me to the offices.” I tell him in one breath. I miss him.
“Why the rush?”
“Well, he says it is better and to be honest, I can’t wait to start. Hey, why are you awake at this hour?”
Enzo chuckles and I could sense something funny in his voice.
“Enzo... where are you?” I ask in a whisper.
“I guess you are in bed now,” he says in a husky voice and he turns me on as much as makes me curious.
“I am. What about you?”
“Hope to get in bed too very soon,” he says but I could swear I felt something fishy in his voice.
I jump out of the bed and ran to the window being so sure I would see him outside, leaned against his car, one hand in his pocket and phone at his ear while glaring at my window.
But I couldn’t see him, and my breath relaxed, somehow upset with myself for acting so childish.
I hear him laughing with full joy. What the hell? Does he have cameras planted in here or am I so obvious to him?
“Not yet, tesoro. You don’t need me yet. You are strong and I know you can do this on your own. Just remember to call whenever you need me... I love you, Becks,” he says and hangs up giving me no time to reply, as if running away from my words.
A knocking at my bedroom door makes me stand up quickly from my chair in front of the vanity and jump right into my high heels, grabbing the purse and rushing to the door.
“Rebecca, good morning. Are you ready?” Mike greeted me after I swayed the door opened.
“As ready as I can be,” I reply smiling shyly and follow him downstairs and to the car outside.
Damn his long legs! I have to run three steps behind him to match one of his long leaps.
He cordially opens the back seat door for me get in and I sit with a deep sigh and a whirlpool of emotions invading my stomach.
I hoped that the drive to the office would be long enough to give me time to at least put off the anxiety I felt.
Mike is driving and I sit in the backseat, whispering mantras to myself and doing the best I can to control the shaking of my sweaty hands.
When the car comes to a stop I look on the window outside to the huge glass office building that I immediately recognize.
The driver was not as long as I hoped.
I take a deep breath for the nth time and wait for Mike to open the door for me and once it’s opened, I see a hand reaching to me to help me get down.
“Welcome back, Rebecca,” Mike says with a deep voice as soon as I pin my heels in the ground.
“Thanks. Well, here comes nothing,” I reply and raise my glare along the height of the building in front of us.
I brush my hands on the fabric of my pencil skirt and straighten my back, gathering all the confidence I have in myself and shape in front of my eyes my father when he does business.
Well, I am my father’s daughter and I can’t be anything less than him.
And as if confidence was my middle name I start to walk towards the entrance, hitting the pavements with strong steps, the huge glass doors sliding opened once the security guys sees me and recognizes me.
A path clears in my way and I see different pairs of eyes staring at me and I hear whispers hidden behind palms.
“Good morning, Ms. Downhill,” I hear someone saying but I don’t look. I completely ignore everybody staring at me or else I would definitely panic.
Mike and I get into the elevator and he presses floor 37th, the last floor where my father’s office is.
Once the doors are closed I exhale a shaky gulp of air before the doors will open and I will have to look tough again.
“Rebecca, you will be fine, you are doing great. Now, I am fairly sure we will find Gideon in the office. As the president of the board, he has taken your father’s office and acts as a CEO. He is one of those that you need to get rid of. Don’t worry, I will be by your side and handle him,” Mike says before the doors open and I find myself in the huge floor of the 37th floor.
I walk out of the elevator, making my way straight to the office.
Just as Mike said, Gideon was at the desk, typing something on his laptop.
Hearing the door opening his frowned eyes snapped towards the door but he froze the moment his eyes landed on me.
“Mike...” he mumbles while his face is changing colors.
The presence of Mike seems to have major impact on Gideon’s state who shifts his eyes on me and looks like his breath has jammed in his throat.
I keep quiet for a few seconds more, standing in the door frame and giving him time to absorb the fact that I am really in front of him.
I tilt me head on one side and without moving further, I speak.
“Gideon, isn’t this a delightful surprise? If I don’t ask too much, can you tell me what are doing on that chair?” I ask him in such a cold, daring tone that it almost has frozen my own blood, less to talk about his.
He opens his mouth to say something but strangely he lacks the words.
Standing up and walking around the desk, he grabs his laptop and makes his way to the door, preferring to disappear instead of facing me.
“Gideon, be a doll and leave that laptop on the coffee table on your way out. And when I say out I mean out, like... I never want to see you again,” I order him and before his white face gets any whiter, he places the laptop on the indicated table and leaves the room in a rush.
“I thought so...” I say for myself while I walk to the desk and take a seat in the huge leather office chair.
I have always loved the smell of leather furniture.
Mike asses me with a content smirk on his face and arms crossed on the chest, looking delighted by the way I’ve started my coming back.
“Mike, let’s do this.”
"Life is a collection of moments."