C h a p t e r O n e
"Sign here" Uncle Barry, our family lawyer, points to the white document with his short, stubby index finger.
He's not my blood uncle, but I consider him as one. He's my father's, Best friend. They have been since they were in diapers. I love Uncle Barry, and he's always treated me like a Son. He'd also got me out of trouble countless times, but today, he wouldn't be helping me out of this one.
I stared at my dad's expressionless face as he gives me a single nod, cautiously watching me as he'd always done my entire life.
I gripped the pen in my hand, feeling it about to snap in my grasp.
I was stalling.
My father and Mr. Marcus Vargas agreed that his daughter and I would marry once she turns twenty-one.
Mr. Vargases company was unstable and needed to merge, so he chose the most succeeding company globally, which was my father's company.
I just turned eighteen a few days ago, and now I am sitting in a room with a marriage agreement staring right at me, fvcking taunting me. I'm signing my life away to some girl that I've never seen or met before. I don't even know her name or age.
What in the fvck!
Dad said it was better not to know a single thing about her. He says it'll only fill my head with unwanted distraction.
What the fvck does that even mean? This marriage proposal is an un-fvcking-wanted distraction. I had a million colorful words that were at the tip of my tongue, ready to paint Uncle Barry's office. Instead, I remained quiet. Although, I'm beyond livid about this arrangement. Dad knows it, but he doesn't give a fvck about how I feel. I pushed back the bile that was creeping its way up my throat.
"Ry!" Dad warns.
Why was he doing this to me? Dad and I are very close. We have a healthy father and son relationship. Sure, he's strict, but he loves me.
He, along with mom, raised me right and made sure that I didn't become a member of a gang or throw my life away on alcohol and drugs. So, why was he doing this to me? I expect this behavior from mom, but dad? No! It so was unlike him.
I clenched my jaw and signed the fvcking contract. Slamming my pen down afterward, I stood up and stormed out of the office.
I was about to release the beast if I had stayed any longer, and I'm positive dad, and Uncle Barry wouldn't appreciate the outcome.
I got into my car, just sitting there in complete silence, thinking about this whole fvcked up situation that I am in. It's a fvcking fiasco if you ask me.
I punched the steering wheel twice. I was furious! How can our fathers decide our fate? How the fvck were we suppose to be happy after being forced into this deception? It just didn't sit right with me.
I never wanted dad's company. I wanted to go to college and build my own company from the ground up with my best friends, who I consider brothers. Blaze and Shayde. I don't ever see that happening now.
We've been best friends since the age of seven and have been inseparable since. We did a lot of crazy shit growing up, some that could have exponentially landed our asses in jail multiple times, but Uncle Barry was always there to rescue us.
Shayde's parents are wealthy, so he's an entitled rich kid just like me. His father is the Chief Justice of the United States, and his mother was born with money who also inherited millions from her grandfather and father's death.
blaze was an orphan at the age of three. He was told that his father skipped town, and his mother died from an overdose.
A middle-class couple, Mr. and Mrs. Shaw, adopted him. They moved from Georgia to New York when Mr. Shaw got a promotion.
The three of us didn't become friends instantly. Shayde was the infamous trouble maker at five years old. He was always broody and a loner by choice.
I was popular, always surrounded by the other rich kids. It was overwhelming at times. I'll hide out in the library during recess and lunchtime to get away from the popularity.
Blaze became the new kid. By then, we were seven years old. One day during lunch, Blaze was bullied by Tommy and Sawyer. I stepped in and helped Blaze kick their asses. The fight piqued Shayde's interest, and since then, we've become inseparable.
Junior high, we became even more popular, especially with the girls. High school was no different. We joined the school's football team and partied like there was no tomorrow. None of us ever dated girls; it was always one-night stands until Lana. I stopped all my bullshit when I met her.
My parents adored her. They commended her for saving me from partying and having meaningless sex with random chicks. Up to this day, I still don't know how Lana managed to do it. She changed me without me even realizing it.
My phone chimed, breaking me free from my thoughts. It was a text from my heartless father. He's not cruel, but at this moment, he fvcking is.
Dad- Meet me in my study at 5 pm.
I internally rolled my fvcking eyes and dropped my phone down in the middle console. I started up my car and drove out of the parking garage like a maniac.
I drove to the pier to meet my brothers for lunch as we had planned.
"My condo tonight," Blaze said with a smug look. "I'm having a few people over."
The last time he had said that, he ended up having a shit ton of people, causing the cops to show up and shut the party down.
"I'll be working late, but I'll come by after." Shayde responded, typing away on his phone.
The waiter took our food and drink order, then hurried back to the kitchen.
"What about you? Bring Lana," Blaze said after taking a sip of his water, eyeing me through the rim of the glass.
"I'll be there." I frowned.
I'm still pissed off.
"Hey, you alright, Bro?" Blaze asked.
Shayde put his phone down on the table. I could feel his gaze on my side profile, waiting for me to answer.
"I'm good," I lied. I was far from good.
They both stared at me, not convinced at all, but I was glad they didn't press on. I didn't feel like talking about it.
We had lunch then went our separate ways agreeing to meet up later.
"Have a seat, Son," He said, pouring himself a drink from his minibar.
I sat on the chair, facing his desk. I was already feeling the anger building deep inside me.
He sat in his chair and took a sip of his amber drink.
"This here," a folder glided on his desk towards me. "It's a contract of what you can and cannot do while you wait for your impending marriage."
I eyed the folder briefly, then flicked my eyes back to him.
"Just make sure you read it carefully. We can't afford for you to taint this marriage agreement." His tone was stern that matched his grim expression.
Taint? Jesus! Was he serious? I'm dating Lana, have been for two years. I wasn't some kind of fvckboy he claims me to be.
I kept my anger at bay, though I'm not going to lie, it was pretty damn hard to do, especially being around my dad since he threw me into the lion's den today.
Mom was worse. I couldn't stand being in the same room as her, and if I had to, my ass stayed as far as possible from her. Our relationship was estranged ever since she tried to send me off to boarding school when I was five. Dad went against it, thank God, and his holy crew.
"Ry, did you even hear a word I just said?" Dad's voice brought me out of my thoughts.
I blinked and frowned at the folder.
"What am I to do with Lana? Just discard her like she's just some piece of trash?" I vehemently asked.
"I think you know what you have to do." His words only stirred my anger.
"Know this; I hate the fact that you put me in this predicament. You had no right. I can't see myself ever forgiving you." I spat out. "Why couldn't you just divorce mom and marry this chick instead?"
My dad raised a brow, he was amused, and the corner of his lips curved up slightly.
"You will thank me in the end, Son," He said confidently, emphasizing the last word.
I grabbed the folder from his desk and stood up.
"I highly doubt it. Don't hold your breath if I were you." I fired back, storming out of his study.
This fvcking sucks.
It wasn't fair to her or me. My stomach twists, knowing I was going to break her heart in a couple of hours.
We walked inside and was greeted by Blaze. He handed me a beer while Lana went to say hi to a few friends. There were a lot of people everywhere as the music blared throughout the condo. How the cops aren't busting down his door right now had got me enthralled.
"Hello, Ry. It's been a while." Katelyn purred in her sing-song voice.
"Hey, Katelyn," I took a deep breath and turned my attention to Blaze, who had a full-on grin on his face eyeing Katelyn and me.
Fvck this shit.
I walked away, making my way to the kitchen. Katelyn and I had a thing way before Lana. We were both drunk one night, and one thing led to another. I never touched her since then, and she never stopped trying to fvck again.
I spotted Shayde playing beer pong. He had a brunette in his arm. Shayde made his last shot and shouted out his victory. He walked towards me and gave me a bro hug, then draped his arm over my shoulder.
"Bro, that chick wants to know if you're down for a threesome?" He asked, tilting his chin towards the brunette that was just in his arms moments ago. She saw us staring, and she smiled at us from across the room.
"No, Man. I'm good." I replied, downing my beer.
He must be drunk to even propose that offer to me. Like I said earlier, I wasn't some fvck boy my dad claims me to be.
"Your loss," He chuckled, eye fvcking the brunette.
Just do it, Ry. It has to be done.
"Lana, we need to talk," my voice came out gruff.
She shifted in her seat to face me. Her eyes were full of worry as she stared at me.
I didn't want to hurt her. That was the last thing on my damn mind, but I had to end it with her before it was too late and things got out of hand.
"I can't see you anymore. This has to end. I'm sorry." I blurted out, staring into her dark blue eyes.
"Why? I don't understand, Ry," Her voice trembled as tears filled her eyes.
My heart ached. I was a complete asshole, and I blame my dad for my actions. Lana has been nothing but sweet and caring. She didn't deserve this, and it was eating me up inside.
After a few moments of silence, I break it.
"I don't expect you to understand, Lana. You deserve someone better, and right now, I'm just not it." I averted my eyes; I couldn't bear to see her break in front of me or the other way around.
"You're right. I do deserve better, Ry." She whispered. I thought she was taking the break up well, but nothing prepared me for what she'd said next.
"I deserve you." She got out of my car, and at that moment, my heart broke into a thousand pieces.
I am truly sorry, Lana.