Tricked & Tormented

He was in a foul mood because of his future father-in-law. When they were together in his office, the older man said to him, “Lord Seton’s estate is up for sale. I was thinking that I could buy and give it to you and Camilla as a wedding present.”

Patrizio scowled at him. “No, thank you. I already have a home.”

“Your London flat is fine for you alone but when you and Camilla marry, you will need a bigger place, especially when you have children. London is no place for raising a family. You need a home in the English countryside and Lord Seton’s estate is one of the finest. The children will have plenty of room to run about and explore–“

“Mr. Beechworth, I don’t want you to buy Lord Seton’s estate. My London flat is good enough for Camilla and me.”

“But what about when you have children?”

“Camilla and I aren’t even married yet and you’re talking about grandchildren.”

“It was part of our deal.”

“Are you familiar with the story of Laban?”

“Laban?”

“Yes. He was the patriarch Jacob’s uncle. Jacob wanted to marry his daughter, Rachel but on the wedding night, he discovered that the bride was her older sister, Leah. Laban had tricked him. So, in order to marry Rachel, Jacob had to work for Laban for another seven years.”

“What does this have to do with us?”

“I wanted your company but you wouldn’t give it to me unless I marry Camilla. When I signed the deal, she wasn’t part of it. You tricked me.”

“I don’t have a son who would have been my heir so a son-in-law is the next best thing. You marry Camilla, you get the company and when you retire, your oldest son will take over.”

“I feel sorry for Camilla.”

“Why? She’s marrying the man she loves.”

“Yes, but I don’t love her. For me, she’s Leah, not Rachel.”

“And who’s your Rachel? That African woman you were running around with?”

“I might have known that you would have tabs on my every movement.”

“You’re marrying my daughter and will soon be running my company, it’s important that I know everything about you and make sure that nothing jeopardizes either.”

“Well, you can rest easy. It’s over between Leticia and me.”

“Good. Make sure it stays over between you. I don’t want Camilla to get hurt.”

“I don’t want her to get hurt either but she will be when she finds out that you tricked me into marrying her.”

“Yes, but, she’s not going to find out, is she?”

Patrizio grimaced as he poured himself a cup of coffee. He hated what he was doing to Camilla. She was a lovely girl. Very sweet and not a snob like her mother. She deserved better than what she was getting. She deserved to marry a man who loved her. What her father had done was underhanded and reprehensible but what about him? He wanted the company so badly that he was going through with a marriage he didn’t want.

He had been a fool to think that he could have both the company and Leticia. He didn’t realize that he had been dealing with a man like Laban. Now he was stuck. He had gotten what he wanted but at a cost. He had lost Leticia, his Rachel.

He pushed the cup of coffee away and rose to his feet. He went over to the window and looked out at the city below. Where was she? he wondered. What was she doing? Was she thinking about him? Was she with another man, trying to forget about him?

He closed his eyes, tormented. Not a day went by when he didn’t think about her or ache for her. Many times he was tempted to call her and there were times when he would sit at his desk in the study in his flat and gaze at her framed photograph. It looked like she was staring right at him and smiling. He remembered when he had taken it.

They had gone to her flat after a night of dinner and the opera. She had looked so lovely that he couldn’t resist taking her picture. Afterwards, he had picked her up and taken her to her room. They barely made it to the bed where after hurriedly stripping himself and her, he ravaged her, driven by a hunger only she could arouse in him and assuage.

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A sound behind him alerted him that he wasn’t alone and opening his eyes, he turned around. Camilla was there leaning over his desk, watching him. “Are you all right?” she asked.

“Yes, I’m all right. What are you doing here?”

She looked at him in surprise. “Darling, have you forgotten? We’re supposed to be going to the ballet this evening.”

He had completely forgotten. Her father had gotten the tickets for them. “You can’t be working all the time,” he had said to him. “Go and enjoy an evening at the ballet with your fiancée.”

Dragging his fingers through his hair, he said now to Camilla, “I’m sorry, it completely slipped my mind. I’ll be right back.” He left the office and went to the washroom where he spent several minutes.

When he returned, she went up to him and hugged him. “How about a kiss?” she said.

He lowered his head and kissed her on the lips. “You look lovely,” he said. “Like a ballerina.”

She smiled. “Yes, when I saw this dress it made me think of my favorite ballet, Swan Lake.”

“Are you ready?”

“Yes.”

“Let’s go.”

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