My Twisted Lovers - Book Two of The Forbidden Lust

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Chapter 106

It broke everything. It broke me.

It was sudden, too sudden. He was doing better so him and Mother went away, she was the only one with him when he died. In the weeks coming up to it they’d been arguing a lot. Dad’s brush with death had changed him, his desire to keep face was gone and he was talking about selling the business all together just to be free of the burden of needing to be at the top all the time. Mother was furious, her whole life was built on the reputation of being the best and she wanted it kept that way.

Dad was changing but she wasn’t, then all of a sudden, he was gone and she was in control.

The changes he’d made were stopped immediately, the foundations we’d spoken about starting ended. Mother wanted everything back in the family, all the power and all the wealth. I knew we’d had some threats, both on our person and our business, Mother tried to hide it but people talk. Then it all went away, like we were suddenly under some kind of protection that made us untouchable again. Antonio turning up seemed to seal that deal, Mother announcing that she would be marrying this younger man and that our futures were secure now.

I didn’t hate him the way Tommy did. I mean, I wasn’t thrilled that my mother was marrying a man the age of her sons but I’d hoped that it would soften her enough she would accept mine and Helena’s unconventional love as well.

Of course it didn’t, Antonio was just like everything else in her life – an act.

It was then I realised that I had to make a choice, spend the rest of my life being an actor in her show or build a life for myself. We came up with the plan, we would be together away from this place and I’d make sure my mother knew that if anything happened to prevent us from being happy together then she’d lose me forever. My mother’s only Achilles heel – her love for her sons.

Then Emma came back and I knew that no matter the threats, I couldn’t protect Helena and Emma’s unborn child at the same time without a solid plan. My mother wouldn’t think twice about ruining someone to preserve her family name. It was one thing for me and Helena to go be together, never coming out publicly and staying away from the people in this world whilst they thought I was just off somewhere living with Emma. Now people knew there was a baby there were expectations, if I tried to leave she would get rid of those expectations, one way or another.

I should have stopped her, I should have done something at the party but I was in shock. I thought buying myself some time was the right thing to do, to work it out, but now I’m staring at all the messages I’ve sent to Helena with no response and I know that was wrong. I should’ve picked her, I should’ve done more.

There’s a knock at my office door. “Come in.”

Her bump enters before the rest of her body, wrapped in a skin tight dress that I know Emma would loath so was probably picked out by my mother. I push my phone into the drawer, after checking it a final time in case by some miracle Helena has contacted me. She hasn’t.

She shuffles in uncomfortably, running her hands up her arms the way she has since we were children when she was nervous. “I’m sorry I didn’t come sooner, your mother hasn’t let me leave the cottage.”

I nod, my mother hasn’t let me see her either, making sure the staff she has on that extra pay roll keep me away and report back.

She takes a seat in front of my desk, lowering herself slowly into the chair as she holds the bottom of her back. I never actually thought I’d ever see her pregnant, after we were forced to get married we kept our hands off each other. It wasn’t uncommon for people in our position to keep partners outside the marriage, after a year or so we would’ve needed to start trying to have kids but neither of us were in a hurry so finding out she was fulfilling those needs with her tennis coach wasn’t a huge surprise. Of course actually leaving your partner for the person you were having an affair with was almost unheard of.

“I’m so sorry Chris, I know the position I’ve put you in is awful. If I thought I could do it any other way and give this baby the life they deserve I would have. I have nothing Chris, my parents said they’d rather both me and the baby were dead than take in the bastard child of a man who left me. I had to come here, I knew you would look after us, I didn’t have a choice.”

She could’ve tried, she could’ve done it all alone. Then I think back to the neighbour of Helena’s, struggling to keep herself fed just trying to take care of children alone. There is no humanity in our world, not if it interferes with your money or reputation.

“Are they coming today?”

She nods. “My Dad says that we can’t ever mention that the baby isn’t yours, he said that giving the child the Vanderbilt name is the only decent thing I’ve done since I spread my legs. I’m so sorry Chris, I will make this work. You won’t have to do anything with the baby, you don’t have to see him or act like his dad when we’re home. I’ll even leave again and live with him at boarding school if that’s what you want, like my mother did with my brother.”

Emma’s father and my mother have always been a vicious pair. Everyone knows he hits his staff and his wife, but of course we all say nothing. It’s not like you can ring the police on a man that actually owns them. When Emma’s brother was born he had some difficulties, was born prematurely and had some issues with his lungs. Her father saw this as a weakness, becoming harder on him than he was on anyone else. When her brother went off to boarding school her mother went with him as a den-mother for the halls he slept in. She used the guise of his condition to say she needed to be there but anyone who actually knew the family knew it was just an excuse to get away from being used as a human punch bag.

They would never have taken care of Emma, the only thing she was good for to him was to get her to marry well and continue his bloodline with half Vanderbilt grandchildren. I can’t believe she ever tried to go to him.

“My mum is coming though, my brother is still in Europe and father is working so they won’t be there but at least I’ll have her... Have you heard from Helena?”

At the engagement party I didn’t realise Emma had followed me out, she’d heard the whole conversation between myself, Helena and Brianna. She was shocked to say the least that I was in love with another woman but we only had a short time to talk before my mother got her hands on Emma again and forced her to do the rounds at the party before sending her home, making sure to keep her out if my reach since then.

“She won’t return my calls. I’m going to go to her house tonight after the baby shower, mother will be more relaxed and hopefully won’t have me followed if she sees I’m walling to play ball about the baby in front of her friends. What about Philip?”

Emma shakes her head. “Still nothing. I should’ve known he’d have an affair, considering how we started. I just never thought he’d leave me in this position after I gave up everything to be with him.” She strokes her stomach. “I didn’t think he’d be able to walk away from us so easily.”

She’s trying to hold it together but I can see the cracks appearing in her mask. “Emma... If I were to find a way for us to leave, a way where you’d be safe too, would you come with me? Helena, she’s not like other people. She’d want to help you too.”

Emma looks taken a back by the statement, scanning my face like she’s looking for some sign that I’m lying, she won’t find any. The business opportunity with my friend is still there, I still have the money we’d need to start again. I could take care of them, Helena, Emma and the baby. We could escape this world just like we always wanted too.

“Chris, they’d never let us go. The only reason my father didn’t hunt me down was because you protected me by never telling anyone I left, they wouldn’t be able to hide it if we all disappeared. They’d come looking, then it wouldn’t be me or you that they’d hurt to get us back, it would be her. She’s the expendable one. I hate this world Chris, as much as you do. We always talked about what it would be like to get out but I can’t think that way anymore. I have to think about the baby. If you could get us all out safely, free from your mother or my father’s wrath, then I’d leave in a heartbeat, but we both know you can’t do that.”

I had to find a way. I couldn’t be without Helena, the space she fills in my heart is so empty right now it’s causing my whole body to ache. “I can do it Emma, I know I can.”

She nods. “If you can, I’ll come Christopher. I want my baby to be safe but I also want them to be happy, the way we never were... She sounds like a good woman Chris, I wish I could explain to her how sorry I am for the hurt I’ve caused her. She didn’t deserve this.”

No she didn’t, but I should have done something a long time ago to protect her from this kind of hurt. If I’d just told my Dad back then he could have put things in place to protect her, I had to stop being a coward. I had to step up.

There’s another knock at the door, one of the maids popping her head in with a smile. “Excuse me Mr Vanderbilt, your mother wishes to speak with you. She’s in her office.”

I nod, walking around the desk to help Emma back to her feet. “Could you please escort Emma to the gardens, the party will be starting shortly.” The maid nods, taking Emma’s arm in hers as she helps her down the hall.

I know Emma is scared, so am I. She doesn’t know some of the things my mother has done, how right she is about the danger we’re in, but I can’t keep living like this. A life without Helena is no life at all.
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