Second Impressions

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The Proposal

The three guards stayed outside once I entered Edmund’s studio on the second floor. It was enormous with an impressive library. The dark wood walls were covered with old books.

I couldn’t stop myself, I was magnetized and grabbed one, opening and checking what I was looking for. My jaw dropped, these were first edition books and a whole collection of them.

No way! These must be worth a fortune, I thought while I ran a hand through the pages. Only this room in this household was worth more than the house itself.

A throat noise brought me back to the present and I closed the book carefully, placing it where it belonged, out of my hands. Edmund Rothschild sat on his chair silently, his old hands pressed together, his kind but sharp eyes on me.

A Baroque-style painting was placed on top of him. It was dark and dramatic, with a naked woman being hurt in the middle of a war scene. A hand dagger was placed on her stomach while the assassin kissed her on the lips. It produced a strong emotional response in me, I suddenly felt like her, like I was bare and soon to be stabbed. Well, this is terrifying.

I felt lightheaded, my mind shifting into different scenarios.

Why would Oliver summon me here while we danced? What would Edmund Rothschild want to say to me?

“We have a proposal for you,” he said as he waved his hand showing me where to sit.

Intimidated, I sat in front of him. Oliver appeared behind me and stopped once he stood right beside Edmund.

It felt like a dejavu from yesterday’s dinner, the two brothers staring at me, but tonight was the Christmas event and while everybody was enjoying themselves downstairs, we were here. My mind started worrying about what Edmund could possibly discuss with me.

They were the good ones, right? They couldn't be worse than Anna and Darius.

“Olivia, you are a smart girl”, Oliver said with his smart tongue, watching the peacock brooch on my left breast.

Something is up.

Edmund gave a nod and Oliver placed a blank check with a pen in front of me. It had my name and today’s date with Edmund’s Rothschild full name. My eyes grew wider when I saw that it had no amount set.

“I don't understand”, I said, confused. I watched how the two of them studied my reaction. It felt like this wasn't their first time like they were used to doing this little routine.

“We are giving you the choice of starting again,” Edmund said. His eyes were soft, he didn't have to use any force to make me quiver, he already had a powerful aura. “What is the sum to make you and your sister disappear, Olivia?

Holy cow. I thought this only happened in movies.

“You can write the sum you want,” He added.

He sounded so serious. His intention was to pay his way forward from the start. Are these people so used to getting what they want with money?

”You must be desperate”, I said, hiding a nervous smile. I didn't know how to behave in awkward situations like this and it felt so unreal.

“We are being practical, everybody has a price”, Mr. Rothschild continued.

“You and your sister had lived a life of real struggle, Olivia. I encourage you to think about it, this could solve your problems, you will never have to work again in your life” Oliver added.

Like if they know about our struggles.

that was true, our lives hadn't been a bed of roses, but, wouldn't it be nice to accept an offer like this?

I imagined myself writing a six-figure check, maybe even a seven-figure just to see how they would react.

I could pay my debts, start a new business, write my novels, and Sarah would not depend on her rich boyfriend.

No, Ollie, you are better than that.

I can not make such an important decision for my sister. This is Sarah’s life, not a game. I had to remind myself.

Feeling disgust over my thought I felt the need to rip the check apart but my intelligence guided me into controlling my urges. If what my sisters said was true, it was better to not poke the bear. This family could be dangerous and doing something disrespectful would not be the smart move.

“As much as I would enjoy accepting your money, Mr. Rothschild. I am afraid you picked the wrong sister. This has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Sarah.” I took a step back leaving the check untouched.

“Maybe you should bring this proposal to her, but the fact that you are coming to me tells me you want to hide this from your son. So my answer is no.”

SLAM, Edmund's fists crashed on the table making a hard noise. I found myself stumbling back in the chair.

“I only want what is best for Alexander... You wouldn’t understand”, He said with deep pain.

“With all due respect, she is the best thing that has ever happened to him.”

“No, both of you are just...an inconvenience,” He said coldly.

I rushed to the door, I wanted a way out of this room fast. What my sister got herself into and why I didn't understand. Maybe it was smart to take the money and leave this family for good, but I knew that was not what she wanted.

“Not so fast”, Oliver's voice came with a warning tone. “The jewel is off limits”

“I don’t want this fucking bird” I replied angrily.

“Calm down Olivia, How about seventy-eight thousand dollars?” Edmund said.

What are they talking about, nothing of this makes sense. I didn't stop at their words, I just kept walking to the exit door.

“Seventy-eight, nine hundred and eighty dollars with twenty six cents.” “Does that specific sum ring a bell”? Oliver said coldly.

I froze. My private loan, that was the exact sum
.

“Trustbank is one of our many banks. You know… The one you are in debt with?” a wicked smile appeared on his face, his eyes gleaming. “You owe us, Olivia.”

“And I will... pay you, I mean”.

The brothers stared at me, probably thinking they would not reach this scenario.

“The offer stands until tomorrow morning. But remember, no one can know”

“I don’t remember signing any confidential agreement, so If you excuse me, I want to leave, now”

“Don’t you care about the baby?” Edmund said in pain.

Baby? What baby?

“Your sister is pregnant, Olivia. And that child will never be a Rothschil” Oliver said coldly.
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