After breakfast the next day, Ryan sat in a corner of the sitting room. He needed to finish the financial model he’d been working on the entire week. Olivia, still in a nightgown with a MacBook in
hand, lay on the big couch. Though immersed in his work, he never lost awareness of her presence.
She adjusted her head on the pillow. “Dad says with you he’s sure to close many deals pretty fast.”
“Really? I’m flattered.”
She smoothed out a crease on the hem of her gown. “He’s so proud of you.”
“Well, wait until I deliver this deal.” He squinted at the screen. “It’s grand!”
Olivia sat upright. “Which deal is that?”
He lifted a finger. “Wait a sec.”
After punching in some numbers, he straightened. Whoa! Could he have missed something. He moved the cursor to the formula. Yes, the workings were correct—profit on each electric pole was eight
hundred dollars, with a guaranteed demand of at least one thousand poles per month.
He cupped his mouth and turned to her. “Goodness me!”
“You sound like you just hit a jackpot.” She came over.
“Look at the money we stand to make.” He moved the cursor. “Eight hundred thousand dollars per month.”
We stand to make? Yes, that’s right. I’m now part of the family.
“Are you serious? How?”
“We’ll soon be manufacturing electric poles from plastic waste.”
“Who’d buy such?”
“The government. All the legislators support the deal. Saves on trees plus, the waste’s taken care of.”
“Wow, you’re such a genius.” She rested her hands on his shoulders and her chin on his head. “This is what you’re working on?”
“Yes. We’re going to see the Minister of Energy on Monday.”
“I dunno how, but Dad always gets his way. I can bet my life on it. You’ll get the deal. Carry on, lemme not distract you.”
“Um, it’s okay. What are you working on yourself?”
“Just surfing what to expect in the first trimester. I should start taking iron tablets… No, no, go along, go on with your work; don’t listen to me, I’ll only distract you.” She pursed her lips.
“It’s nothing important, you see!”
“Whatever concerns you and our baby is important to me.”
She leaned in, her boobs against him, and pecked the back of his neck. “Each day you make me fall in love with you more and more.”
“That makes the two of us.”
“You always say exactly what I wanna hear.”
He turned to face her and slid a hand around her waist. “I mean everything I say.”
“You’ll make me cry.” She eased away from him. “Um, time’s flying so fast. Please carry on. I don’t want to be the one derailing you.”
“It’s Saturday. We have all day.”
“Can’t wait for dinner. Should we share the good news after celebrating Natasha’s name day or before?”
“I think after. Let’s not steal the spotlight from her.” He focussed on the screen. “I’ll be done in a few.”
He’d never imagined his work could be such fun. Just knowing his input was appreciated was fulfilling enough. The money came as an afterthought. Damn Vincent! He’d made work seem a burden.
An hour later, he moved over to the couch and anchored her head to his chest. “I’m done.”
“Oh! Pretty fast.” She stood. He pulled her back, but she broke away from him. “I don’t trust that smile of yours.”
He offered his hand. “Come. I wanna tell you something.”
She smiled. “I know your trick. Say from there.”
He stood. She backtracked. He reached for her arm, but she dodged. Hid behind the couch, table, and anything she could find along her way as he ran after her. Finally, he caught up with her, and
hefted her up over his shoulder.
His grip tightened around her legs until they reached the bedroom.
She thumped him on the chest. “You! Don’t you get tired?”
He caught her wrist before she thumped again. “Can’t get enough of you.”
He slid a hand on her boobs. She nudged it away. “Stop.”
He sat on the edge of the bed and put his foot between her feet, anchoring her torso on his thigh. “Really?”
Her fingers sped down to the hand he’d tucked in her pants. “Wait.”
Damn it! He couldn’t wait. He leaned back and admired every inch of her slender body, mussed locks of hair swirling around her face. She looked appetizing. Goddamn delicious.
“Are you sure you don’t want any of this?”
She smiled. “Of course, I’m sure.”
He scrubbed a hand over his jaw. “Um... Okay.”
“Someone’s pissed right about now,” she whispered.
“It’s written all over your face.”
He braced an elbow on his knee to hide his face. “I might’ve given you the wrong impression. I’m not just all about sex.”
She slid her fingertips down the length of his spine and up again. “It’s good you say that; I was beginning to wonder.” She unfolded her long legs in front of her, her usual calm voice betraying a
hint of warmth, interest.
He yanked his mind right off those long legs. “What came to your mind?”
“I assumed that’s all you think about when you see me.”
“Not at all.”
“C’mon, I hear sex means everything to men, and that’s why they cheat.”
There she goes again, her father’s infidelity.
“I don’t think so. People are different.”
She smiled. “Well, if you say so.”
He tucked her lock of hair behind her ear. “Um ah…” Tipping her chin, he kissed her. “I can’t resist you.”
She closed her eyes. "Honey, I love your wildness." Her voice was hardly a whisper.
He groaned. “Ah, I can’t help it. Please… allow me—”
“Since when did you start asking for permission? I’m all yours, honey.”
He grinned. “Say my name.”
“Ryan.” She slid the sleeves of her gown free, plunging her large boobs onto his face. “I can’t help it either.”
He heaved a deep breath and brushed his tongue over her nipples. “Buggins, you’re so sweet.”
Lifting his chin and pressing her lips to his, she spoke into his mouth. “You’re the best.”
She rose on tiptoes and pushed her underwear down to her knees then wiggled out of them.
Later that evening, Ryan looked on as Olivia knocked on her mother’s door.
“Just in time for dinner. Come on in.” Katelyn shook his hand, then smiled at Olivia. “Wow, you look gorgeous.”
Olivia hugged her. “Thanks, ma.”
What a beauty! Olivia’s strapless, grey satin dress accentuated her thin waist, hugged her hips, and flared out a little.
And Katelyn! In a magnificent, gold-tinged gown and pomaded hair, her look fit the occasion--Natasha's name day.
Laughs rippled from the living room where men dressed in suits and bow ties sat around the large table.
“Your dad’s delighted at your coming, Ryan,” Katelyn said. "He's completely besotted with you."
He moved to the round table.
“Hey, buddy.” Justin, looking sharp in a vintage tuxedo tailcoat, hugged Ryan, then turned to Ambrose. “You remember him?”
Ambrose smoothed his black frock coat and shook Ryan’s hand. “Yeah, I know Ryan. Thanks for coming to the funeral.”
“Sorry for your loss.”
Mademoiselle Rosa, in a white uniform, arrived. "Gentlemen, if you'll accompany me to the dining room."
A stout butler, resplendent with a smoothly shaven round chin and a starched white cravat, helped each one find their spot at the table. A delicious aroma hung in the air. Huge platters of
exquisite chicken stuffed with savory fruit and nuts; seafood drizzling in sauces; cheeses, bread, vegetables, and bottles of wine lay in wait. Ryan’s mouth watered when he spotted the fish fingers
and tartar sauce.
“Bon appetite!” Justin roared.
Ryan no longer viewed Justin’s high spending on such dinners as extravagance, as he’d done before. After interacting with the financials of Justin’s consortium of companies, and now, considering
his own six-figure salary, he’d soon host such dinners in his own house.
With his usual tact, so familiar to Ryan, Justin directed the conversation at the table.
It first began on politics, but Katelyn, seizing the first pause, at once turned to Ryan to draw him out of his silence.
“I hear you’re meeting the minister on Monday.” She passed him a serving spoon. “You must be excited.”
He smoothed the napkin on his lap and took the spoon. “Um, yes. But I’ll be more excited once we sign the papers.”
Justin looked about the table, perhaps wondering what to start with. “Ryan’s never forgiven the MPs for increasing their salaries.”
Olivia filled her glass with water and held it halfway to her mouth. “But really, it doesn’t make sense at this time when people are dying of famine.”
“No, it doesn’t.” Katelyn rolled her eyes and smiled at her husband. “I wish the two of you the best of luck. With all this corruption in government!”
“Everyone in government wants to do business with this dude.” Ambrose looked at Justin. “And they always pay him on time.”
Chuckling, Justin patted him on the shoulder. “We just happen to give more scholarships in our CSR than any other company. Perhaps that’s why.”
Olivia wrapped the chilled wine bottle up to its neck with a napkin and poured Ryan half a glass. “Speaking of corruption. Why do people tend to get corrupt once they enter politics?”
“Please pass me that.” Justin pointed at the salt dish in front of Katelyn, then asked Olivia, “How so?”
“Look at David. As a human rights activist, he really fought against MPs salary increments, but now that he’s an MP, he’s supporting the increments.”
“No wonder someone called our politicians shitholes,” said Mike.
Layla squirmed in her seat. “Oh, don’t remind me of that clown, but I agree with him.”
Katelyn waved at the butler. “More salads please.”
“Who saw today’s headlines?” said Justin.
“Eish, how can they print such gossip?” Layla snorted, exposing her bewitching gap, so similar to Olivia’s.
If they’d dressed the same, Ryan would have had trouble differentiating between the two sisters.
“What are you talking about?” asked Katelyn.
“A Gospel Artist was spotted in a brothel,” said Olivia.
Justin held out the wine glass as the butler filled it. “Don’t you people know. Scandals sell more than good news.”
Katelyn’s mouth went agape. “Which musician?”
Olivia scooped some chicken onto her plate. “Oliver, he sings such powerful worship songs.”
“That reminds me.” Ryan forked a fish finger. “There’s this guy whose music really inspires me. But I got the shock of my life when I read his biography.”
Ambrose leaned forward. “What did you discover?”
“Married thirty women and died of HIV.”
“Aren’t we all weak in a particular area? His just happened to be on women,” said Ambrose.
Mike cleared his throat. “It’s good to inspire by example. Anyone can utter inspirational words.”
“Daddy is my hero, he buys me pizza,” said Natasha, raising a general laugh.
Carol spoke over a mouthful, “Mommy’s my hero. She can give me anything I want because she’s now in heaven with God.”
“Mom’s dead,” said her brother David.
Carol’s voice shook. “No. Daddy said she’s in heaven.”
The chatter and laughter was replaced by the clatter of knives and forks. Everyone seemed to lower their heads.
Ambrose craned his neck and kissed his daughter. “Yes, she’s in heaven. Watching over us.” He shot his son a sharp glance. “Mama’s not dead. She went to be with the Lord and we’ll join her one
Justin squeezed Carol’s shoulder. “Do you like pizza? Daddy will buy you one today. Yes, Daddy?”
“No, daddy doesn’t buy us good things like sweets, only mama does,” said the little girl. “Isn’t it daddy, you always say there’s no money?”
Ambrose’s forehead wrinkled. “No, baby. Um, ah, I—I—I’ll buy you whatever you want—“
“Have some.” Katelyn passed her a plate of fish fingers. “So yummy.”
Carol’s words stabbed a wound in Ryan’s heart. Unlike Ambrose, he’d be a great daddy. A hero to his kids. He pitied Elizabeth’s kids.
After dinner, the men went upstairs to play chess while the ladies remained in the living room with the kids. Divided into two parties, each pair sat in a different corner. Ryan against Justin.
Mike’s animated chatter confirmed what Ryan had all along suspected—a frosted relationship between dad and son.
An hour later, they came down.
Olivia pulled Ryan aside. “Did you tell him?”
“I freaked out. Did you tell your mum?”
“Not my mum, she’s yours too. Yes, I did tell her.”
“What did she say?”
Justin overheard them and came closer. “You wanted to tell me something?”
Katelyn came from behind. “You’ll soon be a grandfather. Olivia’s pregnant.”
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