The thundering words that escaped the tall man’s lips left the girl in front of him paralyzed in pure dread, blood drained out of her system as soon as his soul-ripping words fell over her ears. Suddenly all she heard was a beeping sound in her ears.
Her heart thumped crazily against her chest, she unhurriedly stepped back shaking her head repeatedly which earned a sorrowful look from the man who broke the nerve-wracking news to her.
“W-What?” Finally, a cracked whisper erupted her lips while gazing at the man in pure terror. A heavy sigh broke out of his lips as he smoothly stepped away from the door letting four men step ahead with a wooden coffin in their hands.
Eyes widened, lips parted in horror, and heart palpitating severely in pain, Bella’s hands turned ice cold followed by the tingling burning sensation in her eyes, everything felt so unreal yet true enough to consider a slow poison spreading in the veins.
Her hands trembled harshly witnessing the bulky cops placing the coffin in the middle of the living room, tears swiftly kissed her cheeks fixating her blurry ocean orbs on the wooden coffin. The man who broke the terrible truth to her stared at her bloated face for a few seconds before licking his lips in sadness.
The girl was too young to face this harsh reality but what anyone could do, it was fate, a bitter fact that her father left her earlier than they have ever expected. This is just the way life is, everyone has to go and today was his end.
With a heavy heart, the tall man opened the coffin revealing the pale face of the dead man lying inside it, his body shudder in despair as soon as he heard a loud agonizing scream trembling out of the young girl’s lips.
“NO!” She screamed with her all might not believing the truth that was playing right before her ocean eyes, wasting no second ahead she ran towards the coffin dropping her shawl on the ground in the process.
She dropped to her knees beside the coffin raising her trembling hands, lightly touching her dad’s pale cheeks her watered eyes rapidly tried to search for any trace of life in him but nothing. He was lifeless, pale, and dead without any doubt behind. Her body shivered in horror as she hastily wiggled her head sideways.
“No, no, no dad. Open your eyes no!” She cried out vocally, caressing her father’s cheeks trying hard to feel his breath but to no avail. Her cries steadily turned louder which didn’t do any justice to the grief that the officers were already feeling.
She threw her forehead against her father’s letting her pearl-like tears soak his pale face, “Please wake up! I beg you, don’t do this!” She wept madly squeezing her forehead against his ice-cold ones.
Her wailing didn’t show any help to the sleeping woman, the continuous whimpers of the disturbed daughter brought the other young girl out of her room as well, she stepped out only to see a few well-built suited men standing around someone covering the whole space of the living room.
“Bella,” She called out for her sister only for the men to turn their heads towards her, only one look at her and they knew the bawling colleen wasn’t the only one at loss, this girl was yet to find out the venomous truth.
The men stepped away revealing the lethal reality to the teenager as well, her frowning gaze fell on her crying sister first and then she trailed her confused eyes towards the source of Bella’s agonized screams, her legs trembled in pure shock, eyes broadened and lips shuddered in dread.
“Dad.” A noxious whimper broke out of her lips as soon as she realized what was happening, Bella had no strength to part away from her father while Sarah stumbled back shaking her head like a maniac.
“D-Dad!” A horrified bleat erupted in her throat followed by a loud thud of something coming in contact with the floor.
Sarah snapped her head towards the source of the sound only to find their mother on the floor, her legs on their own took her towards her unconscious mother and the sudden commotion grabbed Bella’s attention as well.
Adding to her pain, she cried even more watching the officers helping Sarah to look after their shock-stricken mother, Bella didn’t have any strength left in her knees to even stand properly so taking the lead Sarah went with the officers to the hospital and admitted their mother in the emergency ward.
The night turned to day and with difficulty, the daughters did their father’s funeral, even though they tried their best to find excuses to wait for their mother to wake up but her condition was saying something else, and the doctors gave no positive response.
“Her heart is too weak and we can’t say anything right now,” These were exact words spoken by the grieved doctor. The officer understood the double meaning behind the old man’s words and advised the oldest daughter to do the funeral as the deceased needed to be buried soon.
Placing a rock over her throbbing heart, Bella gave permission and the officer helped her with the funeral arrangements, Sarah and Bella did the funeral inviting only a few people their father and mother knew.
Ander Hayes was a patient of Cardiomyopathy, because of which he always had heart complications yet the man never lost any hope for a better future and healthy life, but maybe he was destined to die due to his weak heart. The postmortem clearly stated that the aged man died because of heart failure. The heart disease might be one of the reasons for his sudden death but the biggest one was the stress he suffered a few minutes right before his death.
Bella being the mind of her family wasn’t ready to accept that her father lost his life just like that, she knew there was something more to his sudden death, he has lived so long through that disease, so how can he lose his life in a day especially when he was so happy just a few hours before his death? There was something she needed to know and she vowed to get to know it.
After the funeral ended, she grabbed her shawl and securely wrapped it around her shoulders before she decided to reach the only place that could clear her every confusion. Leaving Sarah in the hospital she made her way towards her father’s company only to come in contact with an unusual atmosphere.
Workers instead of indulging in their work were packing their stuff and walking out of the company, what left her stunned was the fact that none of the workers seemed surprised after seeing her visiting the company, they didn’t even care to greet her today like they used to do so.
Looking around, she approached one of the men who bowed his head to her, and finally, a sigh of relief escaped her lips at the thought of someone recognizing her. But soon her relief got replaced with tautness as soon as the man shot her a pitiful gaze.
Ignoring his look she asked, “Where is James?” The man wordlessly motioned at the glass door making her nod at him in acknowledgment.
Uncomfortably, she distracted herself from his sad gaze and walked towards the room he gestured her to, stalking inside the room she finally found the man who could answer her every query.
“James.” She mumbled earning the young man’s attention whose eyes flickered in surprise at the uninformed visit of the familiar girl.
Bella looked around the room with a scowl inspecting the stuff that he had packed up as well, his office doesn’t look like he has any plans to work here anymore. Why is everyone leaving the company? What’s the matter? She needed to know it.
“You are leaving?” Strolling closer toward the anxious man, she expressed her confusion. James nodded with swollen eyes indicating that he had cried a lot as well.
“I am so sorry about Mr. Hayes. I wanted to come to the funeral but I had some important work to do.” James apologized vocally. She nodded her head before looking at him with her bloodshot eyes.
She could see how downcast he looked, his slightly swollen and red eyes clearly told her the fact that he had cried for her father as well after all Ander Hayes was like a father figure to James as well. Taking a deep breath she looked up into his sorrowful eyes.
“Tell me James I beg you tell me the truth. Dad yesterday was so happy then how? ” She let out the question that was messing up with her heart from the time she saw the pale face of her father, tears once again blurred her vision remembering the lifeless body of her father. James sighed staring into her tear-filled eyes.
“Scott betrayed us. He helped Wayne in taking over Hayes’ company completely.” The floor swept off Bella’s feet as soon as she heard the name of the man her father trusted the most.
Scott was the second most trusted man of her father after James. He had been with her father from the day Ander started working in this company, she has met him a few times but never once she suspected him to be such a money-hungry person. How can he betray the man who loved him like his own son?
James maybe was the closest with the Hayes family but they always treated Scott as their proximate as well, no wonder that man was planning to betray her father from a long time ago, after all, he was the one who pushed Ander to have a merger with Wayne’s. So they had been planning to betray her father for a long time. And her poor father fell into their trap.
She wasn’t ready to just let this matter slide, so she looked up into James’ dejected gaze wordlessly gesturing him to go on and tell her everything with proper details, the man nodded and opened his mouth to tell her everything even though he knew it was going to hurt her the most.
“Mr. Hayes was working on the tender you already know. It was really a big risk but he took it as we all knew he will win the tender. We presented the project and the company approved it, we were really happy till Scott came and showed us these papers.” James paused pointing at the papers on the table. Bella hastily grasped the coerced agreement which successfully broadened her eyes in shock.
Ander Hayes with his whole will agrees to sell the Hayes company to the owner of Wayne’s enterprises Smith Wayne.
Not believing the title on the front page, she roughly opened the last page wanting to assure herself that her father didn’t sell the company that he worked his days and nights to build just like that, but another stroke of shock hit her hard when she witnessed the signs of her father perfectly laid on the end of each page.
He signed it! He sold his company! It’s impossible! She refused to believe that her father sold the company he adored the most without any prior information. It’s unbelievable! Something wasn’t setting well with her and her confusion was indeed wiped away by James’ next words.
“He didn’t sign them. Scott swindled his signs. Mr. Hayes trusted him more than anything he showed these papers to him saying these are the papers related to Wayne’s enterprises and he needed his signature. Smith Wayne was also involved in this betrayal. He merged his and Mr. Hayes’ companies only to take over both of them. He lured Scott to work for him as he knew your father trusts him the most. Scott for some money betrayed Mr. Hayes. Bastard!” James snickered remembering the smug face of Scott when he revealed his greedy ass.
“Smith Wayne came yesterday when we won the tender. The tender is also now his company’s. He used Mr. Hayes to get that tender. Mr. Hayes lost everything in a blink and he couldn’t take the shock. I am sorry. I am so sorry Bellaria, I wish I could see through Scott’s lies. I am so damn sorry.” He said dropping his head down in guilt.
Even though any of it wasn’t his fault but he still blamed himself for not being able to see what kind of a fraudster Scott was, only if he could see how greedy that bloody bastard was maybe just maybe Mr. Hayes would have been alive. If only!
James’ eyes narrowed in sadness watching her slumping her shoulders down along with her head as a train of tears hit her cheeks once again, gently wrapping his arm around her shuddering shoulders he pulled her near his chest letting her cry against him.
Tears escaped his eyes as well watching the young girl he always considered as his sister wailing against his chest, Hayes’ family always treated him like their own, and seeing their destruction and downfall all was messing him up as well, it wasn’t just Bella who was disturbed, seeing her like this despondent him as well.
“I am sorry I wish I could help him. I wish I had known that bastard’s intentions I am so sorry.” Bella shook her head sniffling as she tried to take the control of her overwhelming emotions.
After a few minutes, she pulled back from his chest trying to wipe away her tear-stained cheeks but alas! The tears were too stubborn to let her have control over them. She looked up at him with her glistening gaze looking determined.
“File a case against Wayne’s.” James looked at her in surprise.
“Yes, file a case of misrepresentation. My father didn’t sign those papers thinking that they were an agreement. The contract was mispresented. I will take everything that belongs to my father back. I wouldn’t let those killers take away what my father made with his blood and sweat.”
James stared at her not sure about her words. He knew how powerful Wayne’s are specifically Smith Wayne was one of the famous well-known billionaires in the city. And he had done this kind of shit before too, but the look of determination in Bella’s eyes didn’t let him lower down her guard yet he decided to warn her.
“I am not sure Bella. They are powerful I don’t want you and Sarah to get hurt.” A small smile through her tears appeared over her lips as she shook her head.
“I understand your concern and I have that too but I can’t let them take away what rightfully belongs to us, ” She said gulping down.
“I wouldn’t back away. File a case against them.” James sighed finally accepting that the young girl wouldn’t give up and nodded his head.
Bella bid goodbye to James who proposed to send her back but she refused, clutching the shawl around her shoulders with her tiny hand she walked God knows where? She let her heart and legs take her wherever they wanted. And unconsciously she reached the beach which looked awfully familiar yet painfully lonely right now.
The emptiness was covering the space as no one was there to even look at the pure water swirling slowly towards the edge of the shore, her half-opened red eyes gazed at the cold ocean water with nothing but dismal and melancholic emotions. A lone tear trailed down her cheekbone as soon as the memories of everything happening to them in a span of one night flashed before her eyes. Just in a night what has happened to them?
She lost her father, her protector, her friend, it felt so unbelievable that he was no longer with them, just a day ago he was there, with her, happily laughing and talking to her. Her sister was too young to be deprived of the love of a father, and her mother have never had this much strength to take care of her daughters alone.
Bella’s jaw wobbled as another row of tears dropped down her eyes, this wasn’t the time for her father to leave them, he left too soon, way too soon. How will a weak, timid and naive girl like her handle her scattered sister and tarnished mother, how will such a scaredy cat would act bravely for her family? How?
Letting her shivering fragile knees touch the rough sand surface, she shut off her red gleaming eyes cracking out a loud wail off her lips, she wiggled her head sideways wanting this noxious reality to turn into a nightmare. She wanted someone to pinch her and wake her up.
“Please dad I beg you! Come back! Why did you leave us this early? Why?” She pleaded, clutching her chest and felt an unbearable torment against her heart. Suddenly a soft wind caressed her smudged cheek and a familiar melodious voice assaulted her ears.
“Bella.” Against her will she separated her damped eyelashes only to find a wavering frame of her father kneeling in front of her, the sun rays were coming through his fading figure and it was obvious, he wasn’t there. He will never again.
“Dad.” Whimpering out she tried to feel him again but to no avail, her hand went through him making her scrunch her face as another affliction hit her.
“My daughter.” He inaudibly called her making her wiggle her head adversely, she knew that tone, she knew the meaning behind the look he was giving her.
“No dad, you know how much of a coward I am then why did you leave us? Mom needs you, and Sarah needs you,” Her voice cracked up with each word she uttered.
" I need you, please come back.” She pleaded again trying to touch him but nothing. The hallucinated picture of the man bowed his head down in pure agony.
“I know my precious treasure, I know I left too soon, but it wasn’t in my hand. I am sorry.” She cried shutting her eyes once again.
“You’re strong Bella, you are my strength. And I know only you can take care of your sister and mother.” Bella bit her inner cheek denying his claim right away.
“Yes, you are. You’re my brave Bellaria and I know you will be the pillar of your family. I love you, my daughter, your dad is always here with you. Watching you. Praying for you. Always.” She had no power to open her eyes and watch her father once again leaving her alone.
But his last words indeed left a huge dent in her heart, she was indeed still a weakling but for her family, she needed to be strong, for her mother, for her sister, and for the trust her father had in her. She needed to be strong for herself.
Exhaling a breath she steadily unlatched her swollen eyes only to find the view in front of her clear, the ocean looked pure and fresh just as before. Gulping down she nodded her head.
“You’re right, dad. My family needs me. I can’t become weak, just not right now.” She mumbled under her breath gripping her knees. Unhurriedly blinking her eyes she took a deep breath.
“I promise you, dad. I will take everything that belongs to us back. I promise."
Next will be now after some days. Stay tuned.
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