Caught:A Dark Mafia Romance

By: Piper Stone

As the tears finally began to fall, streaming down my face, I leaned my head against the chair, clawing the upholstery, wanting so much to talk to my father. Just like we used to. I wanted to be able to see his face, to tell him how sorry I was. I wanted to forgive him for what I thought was so horrible. Now, I’d never have the chance.

And for that, I’d never forgive myself.

I closed my eyes, reliving every moment like a beautiful slow-motion video, the pictures and images, even laughter and tears creating such a vacuum of emotion that I sobbed openly, allowing the tears to flow. I’d lost my whole world. When I was finally able to close my eyes, I could see his face, but instead of the gentle smile he’d always given me, I witnessed what could only be described as terror. He was warning me.

What in the hell was going on?

The morning dawned overcast, the dark clouds indicating a stormy day. That was just fine with me. I wasn’t in the mood to deal with any bullshit or lies. I wanted to know the truth about my father’s company, including seeing the financials. I hadn’t earned a Master’s in business administration during my time in Virginia without learning a hell of a lot about running a business, including various stock options and tax benefits. At least that would prevent some lowball asshole from trying to get one up on me.

Fucking no way. I would secure the best possible sale, hopefully to someone who would allow the employees to maintain their jobs. The car was waiting for me just as Mr. Rutherford had said, the driver pointing out different sights as if I’d never been to the city before. I didn’t bother to correct him. I was far too nervous, and his bantering was actually helping.

When he passed the street where I knew my father’s office building was located, hackles raised on the back of my neck. “This isn’t the way to Markum & Associates.”

“Why, yes, ma’am, it is.” He glanced in the rearview mirror. “Oh, you weren’t aware of the move about a year ago.”

“Move? No.” I guess there was a significant portion of my father’s life that I didn’t know about, including his successes or failures. We’d talked twice on the phone since my move, although he’d left a few additional messages. I kept my face near the glass as the driver headed for the more upscale part of the city. The high-rent district. I couldn’t have been more shocked when he pulled the car in front of what had been my favorite building to visit as a child.

The entire street was always decorated to the nines for Christmas, this building in particular holding all the glorious reindeer and Santa’s sleigh. Every year my father took me here. The fact he had an office in the building was cathartic, filling me with additional regret. “Thank you.”

“Here’s my card. Just call me twenty minutes before you’re ready to leave. I’m at your disposal for the entire trip.”

He had such a twinkle in his eyes as he handed me his card. “Thank you, Bernard. You are a godsend.” Renting a car might be in order.

“And may I say, you are much more beautiful that the picture on your father’s desk, Ms. Markum. I’m so sorry about the loss of your father. He was a great man.”

The words were like a knife cutting into my very soul. “Thank you, Bernard.” I stood on the sidewalk, looking up at the building for at least five minutes before I was ready to venture inside. Finding my father’s office was on the top floor made me laugh. He hated heights of any kind.

“Ah, there you are.” The deep voice was kind, but certainly not what I’d call friendly.

“Mr. Rutherford?” The set of double glass doors depicted a new logo I’d never seen, but there was still only one name on the door. His name. The receptionist gave me a pleasant nod, but she was obviously having difficulty. I noticed a few open doors just off the main hallway and everyone I noticed was staring at me, their eyes drilling into me. What had they been told?

“Yes, but please call me William. We are going to be spending a good deal of time together, at least until the imminent sale goes through, so first names will be more pleasurable.”

“Wait a minute. What do you mean by imminent sale? I haven’t agreed to a single thing as of yet.” You bet I knew something was up by the flash in the man’s eyes. The instant was quick, but I’d seen the greed in his eyes.

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