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Chapter 8

  • "You shouldn't have dragged her family into this. We don't know the person you are helping."
  • Bash's assistant/bodyguard said the first thing as soon as his boss came out of the bathroom after freshening up.
  • The traveling and the temperature of Sao Paulo had taken a toll on Bash. He would rather avoid those southeastern countries where he felt stuffed and suffocated, but his vision led him to where he never wanted to be in the first place. His fair skin was turning red, and he got rashes too, which had him in the worst mood because even the water there didn't suit him. And then, his man brought up a matter he hated to think of for so many reasons that he stopped counting, knowing that would take him nowhere. He hoped to sign the contract with Mr. Iglesias fast, and then only he could return to NYC for his movie promotion, away from that humid city.
  • Wiping his face, Bash tossed the towel on the dressing table in the room where Emily's grandfather's butler brought them to freshen up as soon as they arrived at the Iglesias Estate. He took a seat from the ex-militant Julian, standing by the window, holding his wine glass. "If she hadn't done this- " Keeping a neutral expression on his face, Bash showed his right leg where he had a bandage wrapped around, " -and followed me quietly to the garage that night, I wouldn't have done what I have done to her today."
  • No one dared to raise her hand at him, let alone look down on him. But that girl. . .how dare she? Bash might not be the most pampered boy in the Miller Household, but they were considered royalty. There was a cost to even being friends with his family. He built himself as someone no one would want to mess with, even in their imagination. And then, one day, that fallen heiress arrived and looked at him like he was some random guy one sees on the street or public transport, and even got the nerve to follow him around to reach her grandfather, a person Bash set a goal to make a deal with him. How did she think he would let her go like that?
  • Julian didn't look convinced and got an unsettling feeling in his stomach. He wanted to say more, but something was stopping him.
  • "She has been stalking me. To get close to Mr. Iglesias, she followed me everywhere."
  • And there came that accusation from Bash again. But anyone in his place would have reacted the worse, yet he resisted the urge to ruin a person that could never stand on her feet again. From his look, everything seemed normal, but when he said the next thing, the color of his eyes began to change from icy emerald to pitch black. There was delicious cuisine on the table with traditional yet old drinks from Brazil, where he felt the pull in his heart more for his wine research, but that didn't help him to forget his anger.
  • "What if she has pictures with her?" Bash couldn't help but snap in his suppressed rage. "Someone had already forged them and sent the copy to Eline. And you don't know how hurt she looked to get those pictures of me with random women."
  • Julian's features tightened, and he decided not to say a thing to Bash, who looked very pissed.
  • Bash couldn't forget those pair of brimming eyes. He tried to explain himself to her, but she avoided that conversation, telling him she trusted him with her life and that he didn't need to worry about her, even though his girlfriend looked hurt after getting those pictures in the parcel with no address on it. It wasn't even a week when he brought his Eline to Sao Paulo for his business and the place where his girlfriend was born. And then they received that parcel, and that night at his pre-birthday celebration, Madeline caught him with that stalker girl and ran out of that club, looking hurt and betrayed again. He had to go after Eline, bearing the pain in his leg after sending his men to catch the James Heiress, but eventually, they failed, and Madeline again forgave him and treated his wound herself. His girl had always been sensitive, kind, and forgiving for as long as Bash could remember, and she never left his side when Bash had nothing with him to call his. For her, he could go to lengths to hurt the person who made his Eline cry, and that was what he did. And he wouldn't stop until that smile returned to Madeline's face, which was gone after getting those photos.
  • Bash smiled, but that didn't reach his eyes. "It has to be her, that Milena or whatever she is. Some lass who thinks she can get whatever she wants, and I believed that girl needed a reality check, that she couldn't use me to get close to her grandpa!" Raising his head, he looked at Julian with a clenched jaw, and a warning lingered in his tone, "I will do worse if it turns out that she is the one who sent those pictures of me to Madeline to break us apart, Julian. You, all of the people, know what I am capable of, don't you?"
  • "Still. . .it is their family matter. We shouldn't have interfered, let alone helped someone we barely know." Julian voiced out his thoughts, pushing away everything that kept him from talking his mind. "Mr. Emmanuel Iglesias only said that his granddaughter had abandoned her father and ran away with her boyfriend and their daughter in the crisis with their company that happened because of the fall of the former chairman. And. . .that girl is barely nineteen. How could she have a three-year-old daughter?"
  • "Ever heard of teen pregnancy, my friend?"
  • Bash again laughed that off, shutting Julian up with just one statement.
  • Unlike other employers like his father and elder brother, Bash considered his men as his family and never stopped them from taking someone's side whom he was totally against generally. Suddenly, a thought struck in, and he frowned at Julian, "I didn't tell you to bring me her information, Julian. Then, how do you know so much about that girl, if you don't mind me asking?"
  • Julian's features tightened, and his grip, too, on the wine goblet. He changed his expression to neutral quickly before Bash could see that and started questioning him about something that he couldn't answer or even wanted to believe that his employer would believe.
  • Still, he gathered some courage in him and started, "Actually, I know some officers in the local poli. . ."
  • Julian was interrupted by a knock on the door, and he made eye contact with Bash before heading to the door. Just like that, Julian missed the chance to break it to his employer, and he might regret it one day for hiding the information from Bash.
  • It was that butler again standing on the other side, and Julian moved aside to let him in after getting Bash's permission.
  • Bowing slightly, the Oldman said, "Mr. Iglesias has returned just now. He asked me to take you to his office, sir."
  • Bash looked a bit startled but was quick to hide that. "O__oh, alright. Julian? Did you bring the file I gave you last night?"
  • "I forgot that in the car, Mr. Fernandez. Give me a minute, and I am bringing that to you."
  • "Sure, no problem." Bash said dismissively and then told the butler politely, "You can go now, sir. We will be there in a minute."
  • The Oldman bowed to Bash again and side-glanced at Julian. A hint of disappointment flashed in his eyes as he read the militant's expression and left the room, feeling heavy in his heart, eyes tearing up for that little girl who was fighting alone there.
  • Defeated, Julian looked up and found Bash wearing his suit with his back facing him, and again, Julian sighed in defeat before heading out of the room. He wished things were in his control. If he knew the way, he would have done everything he had in him to stop the disaster from happening, where the only one who would be affected the most would be Bash.
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  • Bash had to join Emmanuel for dinner, not being about to deny him when he insisted on him after sealing the deal in his office. They had finally become business partners, so Bash had to stay back and think about a way of warming up with the senior James.
  • But all Bash's attempts at talking about business didn't work when his business partner drowned himself in his drinks and sulked about how lonely he felt without his family presence in his home. His wife couldn't bear how their only son was bedridden and couldn't survive with those tubes around him. Bash could see the tears in that man's eyes when he talked about his wife and how she died in her grief. Bash resisted the urge to roll his eyes at Mr. Iglesias and sneered at him for wasting his time like that. He promised Madeline he would give her a lift to the airport, but it seemed like he couldn't make it there on time to see her off. Fuck me!
  • "It all happened because of that woman."
  • Bash was startled by the sudden outburst. Emmanuel's expression turned murderous as he looked straight behind Bash, who also followed his gaze and found a portrait of two couples and one toddler in the picture. It would be the only family photo he saw in that mansion, but again Bash looked uninterested and turned his back on it without seeing the people there clearly for once.
  • "I wouldn't have lost my son and wife today if it wasn't for her abandoning us." Emmanuel's voice held so much hatred and hurt that even Bash felt sorry for him and his loss. "What hasn't my son done for her since she was born? He sacrificed everything for her. Eriberto even baked her birthday cake the day he wished to spend time with his late wife in the graveyard, but for that girl, he used to stay home and celebrate that with her. He braided her hair, drove her to school, took her to the shopping, attended her every performance and parent-teacher meeting or doctor's visit, putting his meetings on hold, and then, when he needed her the most, she left him just like that and never came to see him? Ungrateful, just like that woman she chose for Eriberto."
  • Although Bash had no idea what this man was talking about, he quietly poured that man a glass of water and tried to calm him down, seeing him breathing hard. "I am sorry that you have to go through this alone."
  • Emmanuel smiled bitterly at Bash. "Not everyone can be as lucky as Lorenzo, your father, son." Bash went stiff when suddenly Emily's grandfather said that. "Your brother lives with your father still, doesn't he? If I had a grandson like your older brother, I would have spent more time with my son and brought him back to life. My wife wouldn't have lost hope and be there by my side."
  • "Indeed." Bash smiled forcibly at Mr. Iglesias. As long as he could remember, Bash never mentioned his family and their business in LA. He couldn't remember if he had ever used his father's title when he started his business after making his name in Hollywood. Then how did this man know about Bash's father and his family? "Andrew is a family man. How do you know about him?"
  • "Your dad called me for you a few days ago. Your grandfather and I used to be friends. Why didn't you tell me that Lorenzo Miller is your father?" Bash's hands formed into fists under the table. Emmanuel looked sober, and now, Bash wished that man to shut his mouth before he completely lost it. "I know your family very well. Lorenzo once came to my home with a marriage proposal to Milena, but Eriberto made it clear that he would never allow his daughter to marry someone double her age. We lost contact after that, but you could have told me about your father, Sebastian. I wouldn't have put your project on hold and kept you waiting here."