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Welcome back readers.
First of all, I really want to apologize for posting a wrong (non edited) file, which I have edited and resubmitted already. It will be changed soon.
This is the final chapter and I am not planning on a sequel right now.
For first time readers, I request you to read the entire series, from the beginning because all the parts are interconnected.
This part is all about the story, so anyone looking for a quick sex will be highly disappointed.
It’s been more than three months since the afternoon I walked out of Tina’s life. It was hard for the first few days, not only for me but also for mom and Meg, but we managed, somehow. I told mom we broke up, not sure if ‘broke up’ was the correct term or not.
“Are you sure about it?” Mom asked.
“Yes. It’s better for all of us,” I answered.
She didn’t ask me any questions after that and I didn’t tell her the true reason for our break-up. Meg wasn’t too happy to lose Tina but, with time, she also realized Tina wasn’t coming back anymore. Since that day, Tina hasn’t called and neither have I.
Angie left her job and she’s trying to secure her place in the fashion world. At first, I thought about telling her about Tina but decided against it. It’s a lifetime opportunity for her and I don’t want her to lose it because of me. I’m not sure if she’s still on speaking terms with Tina or, if she is, what Tina might have told her.
Mom went to sleep early tonight and I’m sitting on the couch, watching late night news, trying to kill some time. I don’t know when I fell asleep but, waking up, I realize it must be really late. I’m about to shut down the TV and go to bed when I hear a very familiar name and, suddenly, I’m wide awake!
I continue surfing from channel to channel, trying my best to get as many details as possible. I’m not sure why I’m panicking but I feel an urge to make sure she’s okay. Obviously, her name still has an effect on me.
I want to call her but decide against it. It isn’t a good idea to call her and ask if she’s okay when I already know she isn’t and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Every channel is live, telecasting the factory in flames. According to the reporters, the fire started around midnight, after a party celebrating the success of fulfilling the biggest consignment of fashion history which was organized by the owner of Femina, Ms. Martina Chambers. The source of the fire is still unknown but the media claims there’s a possibility of arson or an electrical short-circuit.
According to a news source, the consignment was still inside of the factory when the fire started and probably completely destroyed. That’ll be a heavy loss for the company, along with the loss of the factory.
The analysts claim it will be hard for the company to overcome the loss and may be the end of the Femina legacy.
Peter arrives on the scene but he won’t answer any of the reporters’ questions and there’s no news of the person whom I’m searching for. She’s unreachable, the reporter claims.
It’s been almost two weeks since the night of the fire. I’m constantly keeping my eyes on the news and it seems the analysts were right about their claim. Femina has taken huge amounts of money from the market, using their properties as collateral, to fulfill the consignment and, though they’re going to get the insurance money, the amount of the loan is too much to fulfill.
The court orders the owners to sell their properties under the name of the company and the owners are to repay the money they have taken from the market. I see pictures of Tina and Peter coming out of court. Peter looks livid with the situation, he even pounces on a reporter when he’s been asked about the decision. After what he did to us, it’s like poetic justice. Though I didn’t pray for him to lose everything, I don’t feel bad for him, either, when he does.
Tina looks calmer. She says she doesn’t suspect any chance of arson and claims it must be a technical fault that caused the fire. When the reporters ask her about her future plans, she pauses for a moment before saying she must search for a house to stay in. At that moment, she looks so vulnerable that I wish I could be there, take her in my arms and tell her everything will be okay.
It’s Monday and exactly two weeks since the last time I saw Tina on television. There’s been some small updates of properties being sold but I’ve had no news about Tina. I don’t know where she is or what she’s doing. Her house in L.A. was sold and also the regional offices, including the office here in San Jose. I don’t think she’ll ever be coming back to this city, again, and I don’t know why I feel a sharp pain in my heart.
Peter’s property has gone under the hammer as well. That means our old house and our old company is being sold to someone but I’m not keen to know the name of the canlı bahis current buyer. It was taken from us, years ago, and it really doesn’t matter much, to me, who has it now.
Coming back home with Meg, I’m on my way to my room, to change, when mom calls me.
“Olivia, you have a courier delivered envelope waiting on the table.”
Wow! First time in the last nine years. It’s kind of surprising, for me, as I didn’t think there’s anyone who’s willing to courier me anything. I open it anyway and there are papers, in fact, a lot of them! I continue looking at page, after page, after page until I get to the end where there’s a small note,
“Please accept this as a small gift,” signed Alexander Graham.
I’m drawn to the papers for some time, so drawn that I don’t notice mom coming and standing beside me until she speaks.
“What is it?”
“The papers of our house and company!” I reply.
I know Alexander. He’s the only son of Mr. Christopher Graham, the elder son of Mrs. Elizabeth Graham. Alexander’s almost ten years older than me and, more or less, the same age as Peter.
Alexander used to be one of the best basketball players the state has ever produced but that’s all and I’m not sure why, after so many years, he became so kind to us to give our house and company back as a gift. I think his grandmother has a lot to do with this unexpected event.
I don’t bother to change my clothes before picking up my bag and the envelope, I’m more than ready to set off. I call a cab, not usual for me, because these documents are highly valuable and I can’t risk losing them during a jam packed bus ride.
Almost an hour later, I’m standing outside of the main gate of the Graham’s, waiting for someone to open the door after ringing the bell. Garcia opens the door. She must be in her late forties or early fifties and has been working here for ages.
“Can I see Mrs. Graham, please? It’s kind of important, actually,” I say.
She continues looking at me. I think she finds me familiar and she’s trying, hard, to remember me. It’s not her fault she doesn’t remember me as it’s been years since she’s seen me last and I have changed a lot during that time. I help her without being too obvious about the fact I recognize her but she doesn’t recognize me.
“Now, Garcia, stop staring and go tell her Olivia’s looking for her,” I add.
“Olivia! I can’t believe it’s you. You’ve grown so much. How are you? And how’s Rose? Did you come alone? Where have you been for so many years?”
I have to stop her between her long list of questions. She’s obviously quite excited to see me after so many years.
“Relax, Garcia. Why don’t you go tell Mrs. Graham I’m waiting for her, first, and then I’ll answer all of your questions when you come back,” I reply with a smile.
She almost runs to inform Mrs. Graham, she can’t wait for my answers and her eagerness brings a big smile to my face. I’m not sure how to start the conversation with Mrs. Graham. It was okay with me when she announced free drinks but the house and the company? That’s a huge amount of money and there’s no way I can accept that as a gift.
Garcia comes back in no time and I try to inform her about mom and me and she looks amazed when I show her the small picture of Meg that I always carry in my purse. She’s happy and I think she can go on for hours but Mrs. Graham arrives.
“Garcia, have you forgotten your manners to ask people to sit, at least?” she snaps at Garcia, when she saw us standing in the middle of the drawing room.
It’s not entirely Garcia’s fault, in fact, we’re both so engrossed in conversation that neither of us cared to have a seat and I also know I can’t defend Garcia. Mrs. Graham is too stubborn and before I can say anything Garcia replies.
“I’m sorry. I became very excited about seeing her after so many years.”
And that brings a smile to Mrs. Graham’s face, as well.
“That’s okay. I don’t blame you, actually. Now come and have a seat,” she says, indicating the sofa next to her.
“I’ve been expecting you. So, what do you have on your mind?”
She’s to the point without wasting any time.
“I’m thankful you decided to buy our house and company back for us but we left it behind, years ago. Now, we’re more accustom to the simple life and this gift is too costly for a simple family. We’re not denying it because we’re angry with you but can I please say no to the proposal?” I reply.
I don’t want to deny it, directly, and hurt her feelings but I can’t accept it, either.
“You have every right to say no to the proposal, if it’s not okay with you, but in that case I want you to talk to the buyer, directly, instead of me. Please wait while I make the call,” she says before excusing herself to make the call.
When she returns, we chat about almost everything…mom, Meg and my jobs. I come to know she knows about the incident when I went to meet Mark for Tina’s address. To my relief, she didn’t ask bahis siteleri about Tina. The conversation comes to an end when we hear the noise of a car pulling up in front of the gate.
“I must leave you two to decide on your own and, no matter what you decide, you’re always welcome in my place,” Mrs. Graham says as she walks out.
I don’t have to wait long before the doorbell rings and, when Garcia opens the door, I’m thunderstruck because Tina walks in, instead of Alexander, the person I’m expecting to meet.
For a while, I can’t think of anything to say as I stare at her. It’s been so long since I’ve seen her. She doesn’t look as devastated as the last time I saw her, on TV as she was coming out of court. I wonder what she’s doing in this little city. I didn’t think she’d be coming back here as I know she lost her office here so I wonder what she’s doing here. Garcia must know her because she didn’t ask anything when Tina walked into the drawing area.
Tina’s not saying anything and I’m not certain what to say, either. Am I still angry with her? Should I say I’m sorry for her loss? I’m too confused to say anything so Tina who speaks first.
“So, you’re not going to accept it?”
Her question makes it all clear to me, she’s the one who bought our house and company and now she wants me to accept it from her. It makes complete sense though. I hardly know Alexander and I doubt he would’ve had any interest to buy our house and company if Mrs. Graham hadn’t pushed him to do so.
After all that’s happened, I can’t understand why Tina wants me to have it, or how she can think I’m going to accept it, after knowing she’s the one giving it back to me. That must be the reason she used the name of Alexander, instead of her own, in the note.
“No, I don’t need it. Why do you want to give it back to me? What’s this, another plan of yours or is it your way of paying me back for the sex and all? I don’t need anything from you and how can you think I’m going to accept it after knowing you’re the one behind it?” I snap and turn away from her.
I’m too angry to even look at her.
“Because you’re the one who promised me that, when I grew up and had my own money, I could buy you anything and you’d accept whatever it was.”
I face her. Yes, I remember I said that, years ago, to a young girl when she was leaving, with her parents, and she came to wave goodbye to me.
“You bring cotton candy for me every day but I have nothing to give you. Would you like to have my broach as a gift?”
And I smiled. It was a simple, silver broach of her grandmother’s that she always wore and I knew she loved it very much. I asked her, once, ‘what’s so special about it?’ and she replied, ‘she liked it because the color of the stone was completely identical to my eyes’. I took her in my arms and said…
“When you grow up and have your own money, you can buy me anything you wish and I’ll accept it without any question.”
And now, she’s standing in front of me, tears flowing from her eyes, as I’m not accepting the gift she has offered me.
“Simba?” I say, still in disbelief this is actually happening.
It’s been more than twelve years but I still remember the days of that particular summer when she visited her grandmother. She is the only child of Mrs. Graham’s daughter, who used to live in L.A.
It was a beautiful summer evening. I was sitting on the bench in the garden and enjoying the cotton candy I had bought on my way back from my school, when I saw a pair of eyes looking at me through the fence between our houses. I thought she wanted to have some cotton candy so I waved her in. She acted very shy, as if being caught peeking at me.
“Would you like to have some cotton candy, Simba?” I offered.
I hadn’t bothered asking her name because it was already well known to all of us. Since she had arrived, we’d heard either the maids or her grandmother pleading, every fifteen or twenty minutes…’No, Simba, no. Put it down, Simba, and be a good girl. Nooooooo!’
A sound of something breaking or thrown away always followed.
Her grandfather was right to nick-name her after the little lion, Simba, from the movie Lion King. She’s as free-spirited as a lion and there’s no middle ground for her…either she loves it and holds onto it, as if her life depends on it, or she hates it and destroys it, completely.
She nodded her acceptance and that broke the ice. Since that day I bought extra cotton candy, for her, every day on my way back from school and she was always there waiting for me. I loved the way her eyes went big and her jaw dropped when I told her some fancy stories.
We also played together with my toys and dolls. By the time I was too big to play with dolls, I couldn’t resist playing with her. I simply loved the way she adored me. So, except for my school hours, she was always there and it continued, bahis şirketleri until her parents arrived to take her home with them, for almost a month.
That’s the last time I saw Simba. I heard the news of her parents being killed at their own house one morning when she was at school. Maybe that’s what saved her from the assassins and after that, she was sent to a faraway boarding school. I hadn’t had any further news of her until today as she stands in front of me.
Tina nods but her legs give-way and she falls to the floor, weeping. She must be emotionally drained so I rush to her and take her into my arms.
Everything makes sense, now…how she knew I love cotton candy, why Mrs. Graham was there that particular night and why Tina choked so badly when Mrs. Graham called us granddaughters. I realize she lost everything she had to avenge me and bought my house and company back for me.
“Why?” I ask.
She looks into my freely flowing, tear-filled eyes.
“Because I’ve loved you since the first time I laid my eyes on you,” she replies.
I remember she’s said it before but I don’t realize she’s talking about the incident of more than twelve years ago. She continues.
“You’re so beautiful and so kind to me. All I ever dreamed was to be like you. Whenever I was near you, I felt so happy and gushy inside but I had to leave and since I left I always dreamed of going back to grandma’s place to see you again but I didn’t have another chance.
One Wednesday morning, I went to school and I was called into the principal’s office so they could tell me my parents had been killed, by assassins, in our own house. Leo was concerned about my safety, so we moved to London where I was enrolled in a boarding school. I never had another chance to come back to my grandparents’ until I finished high school.
I was so happy and excited about seeing you after so many years but you weren’t there. I came to know about the incidents and, at that very moment, I decided I would destroy them completely and buy back your house and your company.
After I received my degree in fashion designing, I started my own company. We had a textile business so raw materials were never an issue. I started making dresses from it, instead of selling dress material. It didn’t take too long for us to become renowned as a brand and my roommate, and best friend, Anna, helped me a lot, along with Leo.
Almost three years ago, we bought a small production house here in this city and threw a party. My cousin, Alexander, helped me meet Peter. His shipping business was shrinking and Alexander suggested Peter be a partner of our company. He’s greedy but not a fool.
He started investing but in small parts and I paid him back more than usual to make him more interested in investing. It took me more than two years to gain enough of his faith before I offered him a partnership in the biggest consignment ever.
The amount was too large for us to cover but he was too greedy and refused to have another partner. He wanted all of the profits. So we decided on taking money from the market. Alexander is a good friend of his and he mortgaged everything he owned to collect the money.
After the fire, he was left with nothing and the court ordered to sell the properties to pay for the mortgage. I own the property, under Alexander’s name, now,” Tina finishes.
I don’t know when my eyes became big or when I stopped crying. I know about the fire and I have an idea how it started but I need to know.
“How did the fire start?” I ask, without any doubt it was someone who was trustworthy.
I’m shocked to the core! The same old man I met a few times! I know he loved the company so he was the last one I was expecting.
“He was the first one to know about the plan and that was the only time he didn’t argue. I know he loved the company but he loves me more,” she replies.
This is too much for me to take but everything is clear to me now, except the ring. Did she get engaged to Peter to avenge me? I need to know.
“But I saw the ring,” I say
“Yes, I know. It continues to get me into trouble. Peter sold some jewelry to Alexander, along with the mortgage, to raise cash and the ring was part of it. Alexander recognized the ring, as it has your name on it, and he was so excited about the papers and all, he immediately tried to contact me.
My mobile was off so he decided to visit in person as he got the address from Anna. But, to my luck, you saw us and I thought you must have recognized Alexander. There was no way I could tell you he’s my cousin because then you’d have known who I am but, to my luck, you didn’t recognize him.
I gave the papers back to him but I couldn’t let the ring go and it got me into trouble, again, when you found it after seeing me with Peter. I knew you must have thought Peter gave it to me. The way you spit on it left no doubt you thought the worst and there was no way I could face you without telling you the whole story.
I knew you wouldn’t believe any other excuse and I was too close to pulling off the plan so I decided to wait until my plan was fulfilled and now I have nothing to hide from you,” she stops, finally.
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