I feel so terrified to hear from her saying she’s dying. How did her daughter take the news? Where is she, anyway?
“We both agreed not to tell our daughter. Not until tomorrow, at least, but I know she’s going to hate me for this or her father, Seb.” She pauses.
So, am I going to break the news to her? I never met their daughter, and I’ve never even seen her before. Mike and Catie seemed to be good parents, and if their daughter got the looks from both of them, then she was beautiful.
“Seb, I want you to promise me something.” She takes a long deep breath, and my palms turn cold and clammy.
I hold my breath when I feel like I’m not going to like the next words will come from her mouth. In my twenty-five years of existence, I’ve never been in this position, making promises to a dying woman, which I know I can’t say no to. So I have to do whatever she asks me to.
“Whatever, Catie. I’ll do everything you want.” I start sweating even though the room is cold, and I feel claustrophobic.
I open one button of my shirt and loosen my tie.
“I know you’re happy with your life. You’re supposed to be the last person I asked a favor for, but I don’t trust anyone besides my husband. I’ve known you long enough to know what’s underneath that bad boy and playboy image, and you have a good heart, Seb. You have reasons why you choose this life, and you haven’t met the right one for you.” She takes a breath.
So that’s it, and now I’m getting more nervous.
I constantly swallow why a lot of jumbled thoughts pop into my head. Is this what I think it is?
Jesus. Good grace. Hallelujah.
This can’t be happening, and did I just promise?
Can I take it back? No.
I think I’m going to faint before her.
I feel that the worst day of my life is taunting me, and everything is flashing back in my head—it starts from the tabloid that ruins my life, to the meeting that gave me a headache, and to the last words of my dad.
And I’m still in front of a dying woman.
“Before I admitted myself, I finalized my Will, and even my husband doesn’t know most of it. Just me and my lawyer, Atty. Timothy Sanders. I made a copy for myself, and I want you to have it. You don’t have to be there during the reading of the Will, but make sure you secure it safely.” She breathes deeply again. “And you’ll know when the right time to open it, Seb.”
I release a long sigh. So it’s not that bad after all. Thank God.
I’m overthinking, after all. I finally find words to say, “Thank you for the trust you gave me, Catie. I promise you to keep it safe, and I will make sure you won’t come to haunt me.” I want to see her smile at least, so I continue, “So, you will trust me for your daughter, too? You know my reputation, Catie. I mean, I, maybe we can be good friends. I’m not that asshole, and I promise to keep my hands off of her.” I raise my right hand.
She laughs at the lamest joke that I can come up with because I will never forget this moment for the rest of my life. She motions to the drawer. I stand up and pull the drawer at her bedside. I notice a manila envelope. I pick it up with my sweating hand. It is light, but there is something inside other than documents that catch my attention.
“That’s my engagement ring and the necklace she gave to me. It has a pendant—a tulip, our favorite flowers. My daughter likes red, and I like purple. So don’t you ever give her purple unless you want to annoy her.”
I smirk, and I don’t know why. I fold the envelope and tuck it inside my suit.
“So, she doesn’t like purple, huh? I keep that in mind.”
She smiles. “Thank you so much, Seb. I know I can’t repay you anymore, but I know my daughter will. Please take care of her. Promise me, Seb.”
All of a sudden, she becomes too weak, too pale, and she breaths hard. And I panic and shout for Mike, who rushes in immediately.
All I can hear are her last words in my ears and my head. “Tell her I love her so much, and I love you so much, my love.”
I promise, Catie.
I’m still shocked, and all my energy drained from me. I look down at the delicious food on my plate, and suddenly, I lose my appetite. I push it away, still recalling the event earlier.
After keeping what Catie gave me, I strip all my clothes and head to my bathroom. A long hot shower might help to calm my nerves. I stand under the showerhead until I can’t take it anymore.
I think of going out and picking a willing woman for a release. I grit my teeth when I think again. For fuck's sake, Seb. You just witnessed a woman die in front of you, and all you can think about is your dick?
I feel ashamed. My good friend is mourning for the loss of his wife, and there’s a daughter who just lost a mother, and she has no idea until now.
I’m such an ass.
After calling my father about the sad news, I dial my cousin and my best friend, Patrick. After the third ring, he finally picks up.
“You left your office early today, and that’s new. ‘sup?”
I remind myself to play cool, but I can’t tell him about a family emergency because he knows I’m lying.
“Got some errands to run, so...” I lost words. He knows me too well, and if something’s bothering me. I’m not good at lying, and I never lied to him and neither to Trixie. Our family treated us as triplets.
“Seb, what’s wrong?” I can hear the worry in his voice.
After a long breath, I give up. I know he’s going to find out. I have already told my parents, and I’m sure the news travels fast.
“I received an emergency call today. That’s why I had to leave soon,” I explain briefly.
“Wait. What emergency? Is Aunt Jules okay? Or your dad? I don’t think it’s about work because I should’ve known before I left.”
I cut in before he can continue, “Pat, they’re okay. Don’t worry. Why don’t you pass by, and we’ll talk about it? I don’t want to talk over the phone.”
He knows that I never invited anyone into my lair. I never bring anyone here or throw a party. I stay here on weekdays. It’s close to my office, and I spend my weekend at my house.
“On my way, Seb. are you sure you’re okay? You didn’t knock up that starlet, did you? Did you really have sex with her? She isn’t your type, you know. You prefer blonde, tall and long-legged. She just wants your pocket while you’re balls deep in her, Seb. I can tell it.”
I groan, rubbing my eye, but I know he’s just trying to annoy me.
“For fuck sake, Pat! I didn’t have sex with her, and I’m 101% sure I didn’t knock her up. She isn’t definitely my type, and all she had is my picture, and before you can come up with the idea that I have sex video with her, don’t go there.” I pause. “I’m sure my future wife is not yet even conceived. Get in here before I change my mind and go to sleep.” I hang up.
In less than a minute, I hear a knock. I stand up and walk to the door, and here he is, still in the suit, one button open, loosened the tie, and wearing a huge grin on his face telling me that he just gets on my nerves.
He’s already inside before I can even say a word. He sits on my black leather couch while I make my way to my minibar and pour ourselves two glasses of whiskey. I give him his glass then I drink mine instantly. It burns my throat, but I don’t care. I need this.
I collect liquor and Wine, but I’m always responsible when drinking. I sit on his opposite side and rest my head as I rub my temples.
“Long day, huh? And man, are you trying to kill me from anticipation? Or are you gonna keep me from guessing? I get it. It’s bad news,” he talks while I’m looking at the high ceiling of my penthouse. I can feel his gaze on me like he can see through my soul.
“Catie just passed away,” I blur out before he can say anything about my scandal. I look at him, and he’s shocked with eyes wide and mouth gapes.
He shuts his mouth close and swallows.
“What? How? When? I mean, how did she die? Are you sure? How did you know? You’re not kidding, are you?”
“I was there. And I would never joke about someone’s death, Patrick.” I tell him the entire story minus the envelope. He doesn’t ask anymore, and we have another shot.
“Poor Mike. Poor daughter. Did you know anything about her daughter?” he asks me, and I suddenly feel a twist in my stomach.
“Nope. Never met her. Why? Do you know anything about her?” I ask before I add. “Yeah, poor Mike. Catie is still young, though. He would call his daughter tomorrow. I’m sure she’d be here soon.”
“Just asking. She must be hot, you know? Mike and Catie are a fine specimen.”
“Jesus, Pat. She just lost her mom, and all you can think is she’s hot?” I’m pissed, and I don’t know why. I am sure it has nothing to do with respecting the mourning family. I suddenly feel overprotective over a woman I’ve never met, which is odd.
“Jeez, I’m just saying. It’s not that I’m going to bang her. She probably has a boyfriend.”
My chest constricts. Why do I feel this way? I still don’t fucking know.
“Just have a little sympathy, Patrick. You’re such a whore sometimes.” I glare at him.
“And what are you, huh? Didn’t your face just appear all over the news lately? With a drunk woman?”
I groan and press my lips together. “Thank you for reminding me how an asshole I am. I think I should lie low.” But I know it’s impossible.
“Don’t let that woman gets into your brain, Seb. It’ll be over soon. That’s your life, and you should enjoy it. Come to think of it. We don’t know when would be our turn, and you only live once.” He’s right, and besides, it’s not new to me anyway, but Dad’s words are a constant reminder.
“You’re right.” I agree.
“To hell with those sick bitches and assholes.”
I offer him a toast. “Don’t get drunk, idiot. You’re driving home. I’m not going to drag your ass to your apartment. You’re not sleeping here.”
“I should probably go. You look like you need a long sleep.” He rises from his seat and grabs his keys.
“Are you going to the funeral?” I ask. Why did I even bother asking him?
“Sure. I guess we have a funeral to visit.” He shrugs.
“I guess so.” I slowly nod.
I keep turning in bed and thinking about what Patrick said. Yeah, maybe she’s hot.