The touch was cold and slimy. The smooth snout of my dog nudged my free hand that slipped off the mattress. His licks tickled my fingers. Storm was whiny, pursuing to wake me up.
I groaned. The bedroom was still dark, the blinds closed as the morning sun peeked through. I turned over and extended my arm to the other side of the bed. The space was empty and cold. My eyes shot open. And the memories of last night came flooding back. Harper was gone. I bolted in an upright position, raking through my messy hair.
I hadn’t realized how I fell asleep. I was so tired. My body felt it. I woke up feeling a little like myself this morning. The imprint of Harper lying in my arms throughout the night still lingered. The smell of vanilla remained on the sheets. She stayed the night and I held her.
I fucking spooned!
I rubbed my face hard.
Fuck! I broke my own damn rules.
I sighed. Accepting it. It wasn’t too bad, the feeling was natural and warm.
But I couldn’t help knowing this was more than a fuck. I woke up alone. I always woke up alone, but this was different. I wasn’t the one walking out from sex, this was Harper sneaking out from me.
“So that’s what it feels like.” I sighed and looked at Storm tilting his head.
But it was for the best. I had to deal this shit on my own.
The two eggs sizzled in the hot pan. I sipped my coffee as I flipped them over with a spatula. The smell of breakfast woke my baffled senses. I stood idly at the stove. My mind drifting to the last two days. I felt more confused than ever and was unsure about everything. It was a weird space to be in, when the world you’ve built gets broken into pieces in a matter of a few days. I felt a change, like a bubble that popped exposing everything I tried to block outside.
It felt great to have someone there for me, to ease the pain a little. I didn’t think it would be Violet. I was standing at a crossroad and I didn’t know what direction to fucking choose.
I sat at the table and ate the eggs. I sucked at cooking. The rubbery taste was unpleasant, but I ate it anyway. I didn’t really care. There were a lot get through these crucial weeks. I just needed to pull through it. I had to.
But who was I kidding, I still felt like shit.
My phone rang, snapping me out of my miserable thoughts. I picked it up idly and without want, not bother to check who called.
“Honey? Eric?” The tender voice of my mother filtered through.
I gave a weak smile. “Hi mom, how you’re keeping up?” I felt guilty for not being there for her right now, like her eldest son should be and handle all the affairs.
“Keeping it together.” She sighed. “How you’re doing honey? I didn’t hear from you since yesterday afternoon. Is everything okay?”
“Yes. I just needed some time alone.” I answered.
“I know, you take all the time you need Eric.” She assured.
The side of my mouth hiked up. I knew I couldn’t take all the time I needed, there was too many things to get done. But I loved my mother for caring. “How’s the funeral arrangements going?”
“It’s done.” She answered.
My eyebrows popped up, not believing it could happen so quick. “Already?”
“Yes, it’s in three days’ time at St. Andrew’s church.” She sighed, her voice slightly breaking.
“Okay.” I said thickly. “I’ll come over as soon as I can.” My mother might need me.
“Don’t worry about it son. The company needs you more. It’s what your father wanted. He left the company to you in his will. You should’ve gotten the documents yesterday afternoon?”
My eyes widened in shock. My father left the company to me? “I thought it would’ve gone to the shareholders. Dad left it to me?” I swallowed. “I thought he wouldn’t do that?”
“Your father was tough on you for a reason Eric, he knew you were going to succeed him.” She explained.
Tears pricked my eyes again. I blinked them away. “My assistant brought documents last night.” I said firmly.
“Good. Read over it okay, and decide what you want to do. Take care son and see you later.”
“Yeah, you too mom, we’ll talk later.” I cleared my throat and ended the call with a click.
I dropped the phone on the kitchen table as I sprang up from the chair and jogged up the stairs to my bedroom. I walked to the dressing table; the thick envelope still laid where Harper placed them. I picked it up, bold letters of ‘Confidential’ printed in red. I tore the top open with a loud rip. And took out its papers hastily.
My eyes scanned the printed words. Page after page. I breathed in deep and shut my eyes tight. I rubbed the bridge of my nose. It wasn’t just losing my father and uneasy developed feelings for my assistant I had to deal with. I had the company to handle too, after learning the truth of my new position there.
I got up steadily and walked into the spacious en-suite bathroom. I looked into the copper framed mirror above the basin as I leaned my arms against it. My left hand rubbed my jaw, the two-day stubble pricked. I hadn’t shaved yet. I observed myself with narrowed eyes in the mirror and huffed out. I looked haggard and unsettled.
A heavy load settled on my shoulders. One that was Bolt Investment Inc. It was my responsibility now. Surprised my dad had the confidence in me to do all along. My lips twitched at the comforting thought.
The urge to call Harper about the news snapped into mind. It’s something I always did, almost by instinct now. But I shook it away. This is one moment Harper can’t be called upon. I didn’t even know how to approach her any longer after last night. My mind and feelings in complete chaos.
I needed to think.
About everything. Every aspect of my life!
I splashed cold water on my face and finally looked at myself dead in the mirror. Not knowing what my reflection stood for anymore. But I needed to get it fuck together. I cracked my neck and swung my arms in a round motion, inhaling and exhaling aloud.
“I’m Eric fucking BOLTON!” I grunted. A mantra I had to keep telling myself.
I was the CEO. I dreamed of this moment. Not thinking it would materialize. I could take the title if I wanted it.
The question was, did I?
Thank you all so much for reading! I hope you enjoying it. Next weeks chapters will be interesting, filled with unexplored feelings as the gala masquerade approaches.