"Hush! Angelica, you know too well that is not true. I always listen to you. I listen too much and look at you, you are spoiled rotten. And what in the world are you over reacting about? You and Joaquin have always been good friends. You were inseparable since you were kids, I have always trusted him like he is my own son. Stop whining Angelica." My father tried to reason with me.
"Oh sure Papa, you trust him. That was a long time ago before he became a prick!" I retorted.
"Watch you mouth Maria Angelica, you don't use that language with me" my father cuts me with a scowl on his face, "You are incorrigible hija, if your mother was ..."
I insisted, "I am just speaking the truth Papa. When we were in the university, I avoided him like a plague. He is a virus, he is such a ..."
"Prou! N'hi ha prou amb la seva paraula bruta. I have decided and given my word. I have asked Joaquin to manage the Operations while I am travelling while you take charge of the finances and helping him out. Just like you help me out. Help him with the information he needs to know so he can make good decisions. You are good at that. Be', I really have to make a phone call, I am already running late as it is" my father said that with a tone of finality.
I crossed my arms and gave my father the worst dagger-look I could muster. He looks at me, his face suddenly breaks into a little grin, his eyes sparkling and I was really feeling furious.
"You look exactly like your Mother when you're angry when you wrinkle your nose that way" my father chuckled while I tried to keep the fierce expression on my face. He teased and taunted me, "Now tell me, what was that bag you wanted so much from Chanel? Do you have that picture you cut from the catalogue? Come on, show me so I can bring it with me"
"No" I said trying to be firm, "I am not falling into that bribery trap again. Mai!"
My father couldn't help it, his smile broadened, "Well if you insist on being stubborn, I know what to get you anyway" he said grinning now.
I so hate my father. He is too charming. I can see why my mother could not stay angry with him. I miss her so much. I hope she is proud of what I have become and can see how I wrestle with this man she loved till her last breath. My thoughts bring me to her scent and her smile and her soft laughter.
"Angelica my sweetest" my day dream got cut by my father's soothing voice, "Don't go there. I miss her every single minute of my life" he says and it's as if I saw a dark cloud passing. I gave in, I tiptoed and gave my father a tight bear hug.
"I miss her so much Papa, and I will miss you too, terribly. I don't want you enjoying yourself too much in Paris. I particularly do not trust those French women." I joked and continued hugging him tightly. My father hugged me back.
"No other woman can hold a candle to your mother, Angelica, seva mare era el meu únic amor," my father said softly to my ear. I felt tears starting to well up in my eyes as I feel him let go of a deep, heavy sigh. I broke away first to allow him to make his business call. I putter sound needlessly in the office reviewing the tags on his luggages then the driver came in. I motioned and nodded for the driver to pick up the bags and I hand him over my father's briefcase. I caught at the corner of my eyes a familiar figure. My heartbeat jumped to crescendo. I pretend to be looking at a journal on my father's desk, but my father saw him and waved him to go in. And just about then, my father shuts his phone.
"Joaquin, my man, just in time. I was beginning to worry I would have gone before you came around. How is your father? Tell him he better work on his "putting" and our bet is still on," my father's smile was so warm and wide I wanted to choke him and belch.
And then I hear that voice my throat automatically got dry, "Yes, my father has been relentlessly training himself for the rematch and has been on the green at least 3 times each week now ever since he lost the last bet with you. I can only deduce he is preparing for the next round" and they both cackle and chortle, I wanted to morph into mutant Mystique.
"Angelica will be giving you a walk through on the budgets and current state of finances, the books are updated and she will see to it that you have access to all the reports you need to see. You can access from your laptop if you will plug it in or just use the PC in the library if you need to browse files on your own. Or just use mine. Angelica has all the passwords," he sneaks a look at me, my father is going to get me all riled up. "That would be just too easy for you Joaquin eh?" and he puts his arm around Joaquin's shoulders, "Now if my Princess here gives you any problem" he looks at me and winks, "you know my number" and they both laugh.
I chimed in, but my voice cracked, "I resent that." I sulked.
I felt a rush of blood flooding into my face when Joaquin looked at me, he was smiling and those naughty deep brown eyes were slightly twinkling, "You should not worry about anything Don Enrique" and he looks back at my Dad, "Angelica and I will definitely work together very well, we always did."
I throw Joaquin a dark look but my father turned to face me so I smiled sweetly. "Well I do have a plane to catch and hope to be back in three weeks. If I can be back earlier or there are snags in the negotiations, much later, I will call you sweetheart" and he buzzes me on the forehead. I wrap my arm around his waist and walk beside him to the foyer and to the car. Joaquin walked with us but stayed on my father's right side while I stayed on the left. We watch the car move out of the curve and out of sight. The house is located at the centre of the estate.
I walk past Joaquin and went straight into my quiet room behind the library. I was finalizing some balance sheets when I realized it was a quarter past seven. I stretched my back and yawned.
The room, my father's office was dark and quiet except for a small lamp in the corner. I stopped dead on my tracks when I heard papers being shuffled. Is he still here?
TO BE CONTINUED