Cold Heart

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Unexpected Surprise

A few days later.

Claire’s home, Jasmine Qoya 124 Street.

“Babe, please stop!” Claire giggled as Miles Tanner, her fiance kept raining her with his kisses. Miles’s hand was all over her body, asking her to let him do more.

They were lying on Claire’s bed while Claire was still doing a few of her works.

“You’re killing me, Claire…” Miles sat beside her, stroking her reddened cheek. “How much longer will you make me wait…? We’ve been together for more than a year now,”

“I know…” Claire chuckled, stopping his hand again. “You know I can’t...I’m not comfortable, knowing my father is in the other room,”

“Exactly, we’re here… in your room… closed wall and all?” Miles sighed. “Come on babe, we’re gonna be married soon, right?”

“Miles!” Claire yelped and jumped up when Miles grabbed her boobs.

“Argh,” He whined. “You’re killing me,” Miles slowly scoffed. “I don’t think you’re uncomfortable doing it when your father was around…cause all I know, you never up to it anywhere...made me think that you just don’t trust me,” Miles said.

Claire was stunned for a while before letting a breath out. “No, Miles… I’m sorry if you think that way...I’m just--”

“Yeah, I know,” He cut in. “I’m just gonna go home now, see you tomorrow night,”

“Miles…” Claire tried to call him again but Miles seemed too upset to hear all about her explanation again.

Claire got a theory about testing their relationship with time, including Miles’ patience, her trust, and fear. Claire believed something easy to get will be easy to lose too. She knew her relationship with Miles needed more time, they still barely knew each other.

Not to mention dealing with her own issue about her mother, how her mother left her father for another man, or the fact that she cheated too many times from her father. Made her swear that she won’t fall on the same mistake her mother did nor her weaknesses for sex.

Claire looked down at the floor before deciding to check on her dad. She opened the door slowly and took a seat beside her father’s bed.

Sometimes, Claire talked to her father, telling him about how her days went. Claire was hoping even though her father couldn’t respond to any of her words he still heard her or at least felt her support.

Almost two years ago Harrison came to Qoya City and met Claire for the first time. He explained a lot of things and apologized for not seeing her sooner. Even so, back when Claire was still in high school her father took care of every bit of her needs in education even though he’s not physically there with her until he came to meet her.

A year later, Harrison had a stroke that made him paralyzed. From that moment on, Claire decided to take care of her father. After a few months, having the treatment in the hospital with the funds that were coming from Harrison’s ownership of the company, or what’s left of it, Claire decided to move her father’s treatment to home-care which was good for the company too.

Claire knew his father was struggling to make his company keep running. It was the last thing that Harrison told her before the stroke incident, which made her father couldn’t talk or move his body. He couldn’t eat, the food was transferred through infusion, but sometimes he could open his eyes and just stare at one spot for a long time.

Knowing her father’s condition made Claire have it coming when someone from the company told her that the company should be sold to survive and could have a new fund from the new owner.

***

The next day, when Claire was in her office, she received an email from a notary in town who asked her to come regarding her father’s company.

Claire knew the notary, it was the same notary who often helped her father and her regarding the company’s buyer since the company had been sold piece by piece long before her father came in town or was sick. Therefore, later in the afternoon, Claire went to visit the notary at his office.

“Ms. Neverner,” Mr. Waller Johnston, the notary, greeted her.

“Mr. Johnston…” Claire shook his hand. “May I ask what this is all about…? Has the board found a new investor?”

Claire was feeling a bit anxious inside since she knew that Mr. Johnston never called her if it’s not about selling the company, and the last piece of the company cannot be sold for her father’s sake. All this time the company was the one who funded her father’s treatment, both the hospital and the home-care treatment.

“I’m afraid he’s not exactly an investor, Claire… It’s a buyer… Your father’s company, CGX got a new buyer instead of an investor,” Waller put his elbows on his table. “The CGX’s lawyer, who’s also your father’s lawyer, called me this morning…He said the board has agreed to sell the last bit of CGX, it’s the best way before the company’s worth goes lower…”

“I see…” Claire whispered, looking down.

She was worried if she couldn’t carry on to pay her father’s treatment when there’s no money left from the sale of the CGX, considering that the CGX’s worth kept falling and it was the last 15% piece from CGX, the rest had been sold way before her father came to town. Or so she heard.

“Well then… I guess that leaves us with no choice but to sell…” Claire softly said.

“But...there’s another thing,” Waller quickly said. “The buyer wanted the whole last share of CGX…”

Claire stared at Waller for a while, feeling confused. “... I’m not sure I’m following… I thought--”

“Your father holds more than 15% of the CGX, according to your father’s attorney, he has another 40%, as in frozen assets which untouchable for everyone...except you. I mean, that is according to his will… I can second this matter because your father told me about this before he got sick,” Waller explained.

Claire was speechless for a second, thinking and wondering inside before speaking.

“I see... It-it’s fine… I’ll give the whole 40%... if that’s the buyer’s term,”

“It is his term, the buyer, I mean…He’s on his way here too, to discuss and arrange things with you if you don’t mind...? I’m sorry to tell you on such short notice, but the buyer is a very busy person. We might not get the chance to meet him in person again,” Waller slightly shook his head as he was searching in a pile of paper.

Claire was staring at Waller’s desk with her empty eyes, wandering minds. What should she do? She thought. She was still in her own mind when suddenly, Waller lifted up his face and shouted.

“Mr. Colten! Come on in!”

Claire craned her neck. Suddenly everything went very slowly in Claire’s eyes. Her eyes widened between her parted lips, she’s pretty sure she stopped breathing too.

Seeing someone she met once, walking across the room. Someone who strangely made her heart beat faster but also stop at the same time.

Someone that made her question herself whether she’s going to meet him again or not for days and made her feel guilty over Miles since she felt secretly cheating for having a crush on a stranger.

Her mysterious client was there. Hunter.

This is way too weird to be just a coincidence.

This can’t be a coincidence!

Wait…

It hit her like a light bulb in her head. There’s no way he came to her place without purpose, and no wonder he asked too many private questions.

My father is the guy he’s talking about. Claire thought.

Claire was still stunned as she watched Waller and Hunter shake hands. Hunter was never looking at her.

“Claire, this is--”

“I know who this is... We’ve met.” Claire cut in, stood up, looking straight into Hunter’s eyes.

“Oh,” Waller chuckled nervously as he was reading the situation that suddenly got intense. Waller felt like he needed to give them some time alone.

“I’m, um, gonna check the tea.” He said, missing from the room without anyone responding to what he said.

Hunter just stared back into Claire’s eyes coldly, emotionlessly. He noticed how upset Claire was from the way her cheeks reddened and her gaze which he found intriguing.

“I guess now I know why you wanted to take care of your father,”

“You don’t know me, Mr. Colten.” Claire slightly squinted her angry eyes, “Assume away all you want...but this is the first time I ever heard about this…!”

“What is it about your dad that made you willing to sacrifice so much for him? Do you even know what kind of person he is?”

The way Hunter said those words were flat but also very frigid, rude.

Claire took a step forward. “The right question is, Mr. Colten...What is it with you...and my father,” Claire said strongly. “Is this the...thing that you told me about when you strangely-- spied on me, pretending to be my client? You really couldn’t just tell me everything, straightforwardly that day?”

Hunter coldly scoffed.

“My business is with Harrison, don’t you think I would rather see your father face to face if I could, than come to you in the first place?” Hunter said in a cold and sarcastic tone.

“Well, since you didn’t really want to explain anything, let’s just finish thisbusiness of yours,--as soon as Mr. Waller comes back,” Claire said, crossing her arms.

Her chin was up as she kept her eyes in contact with Hunter. “And no need to sweat, Mr. Hunter, I’m willing to hand it all away, anyway..!”

Hunter was just so frigidly calm and his eyes were relentless. “I won’t, and I couldn’t agree more,” he said.

It was a perfect time when Waller came back into the room with his housekeeper bringing a tea set in her hands.

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