The Billionaire's Payment(3)By: Alexis Moore
“So stealing from your employer is better than telling her the truth?”
My father had the grace to look embarrassed. “I’ve told her that we have to cut back a little. She is trying, but having friends whose fathers and husbands are millionaires is tough for her.”
“Her father’s a multimillionaire in India!” I reminded him. “He just refuses to spoil her the way you do!”
“Even if you don’t want to do it for me or for your mother, do it for your brothers. Think of what would happen to them if I went to jail,” my father pleaded.
I knew I was being manipulated, but at the mention of the two brothers I loved to a distraction, all my objections faded. “Okay, let me think about it for an hour.”
“Thank you, my darling.” My father grasped my hand gratefully and then released it.
As I turned away I realized that by thanking me already he was acting as though it was a foregone conclusion that I would give a positive answer. I’d always known that my mother came first with him. I’d never minded that fact and hoped I would find a husband who would love me half as much, but I’d never realized until now that he loved her so much he was willing to sacrifice me for her.
I would have expected this from my mother. I’ve always held fourth and last place in her affection. Her pride and joy is my fourteen-year-old brother, David Junior, but she’s almost as equally fond of Rajah my eleven-year-old brother and the baby of the family. My father held the third position. I brought up the rear. My elegant mother made no bones about the fact that she’s embarrassed by my overblown curves. At sixteen when my breasts had finally stopped growing at 36HH, she’d persuaded me to have them reduced to a more acceptable C cup. I had gone along with her to Harley Street, quite willing to have them reduced so that men of all ages and races would stop looking at me as though I was some freak of nature, or a glamour model who had deliberately enhanced my bosom. But when the plastic surgeon had admitted he couldn’t guarantee that they wouldn’t grow back to a similar size, I decided against the operation. My mother had been quietly furious in the taxi on the way back home from that day and things had never been the same again between us.
The irony was that the curves didn’t come from my paternal line as most people assumed seeing mother and me together, but from my maternal grandmother whose curves had made her a famous Bollywood star in the days when voluptuous goddesses had reined supreme.
Jared had agreed with David that the man’s daughter would stay with him in his suite for one week. They had shaken hands on it, but as soon as the older man had left the room, Jared had come to his senses.
He couldn’t seduce the man’s innocent daughter.
He would move the man to another of his hotels and deduct the pilfered money from the man’s salary and bonuses over the next two years. David having to live on less than he was used to and the loss of face of being moved from the flagship hotel should be lesson enough.
Yet, Jared hadn’t called and cancelled the arrangement. Somehow he still wanted to meet his daughter. Why hadn’t her father ever mentioned her? And why hadn’t she attended any of the company’s functions with her parents and brothers? He almost didn’t believe she existed. Even her name, Shakira, sounded mythical. It did something strange to his insides. He needed to see her…so he could forget her.
The intercom buzzed.
He knew it could only mean one thing, but he asked anyway. “Yes?”
“Mr Codrington, Ms Phillips is on her way up.”
As he disconnected the internal call, Jared realized his hand was trembling. Surprised he stared at it as though it didn’t belong to him. He hadn’t been nervous about anything in years! The last time he had been consciously nervous was ten years ago at twenty-four when he’d had to walk into a room and convince eleven people all of whom were at least twice his age that he could successfully run a chain of hotels when they had miserably failed. He had wanted the deal so badly, he had felt sick to his stomach. But having conquered that challenge and won, every other since had seemed a walk in the park.