ORIGINAL CONTENT OF D.C. BLU. DO NOT COPY AND/OR REDISTRIBUTE WITHOUT THE AUTHOR’S PERMISSION. PLAGIARISM IS CRUEL. PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL.
Bilal’s new favorite pastime was to torture Gabe with images of Cody. After the day Gabe recorded the message for her, every morning a new picture of her showed up taped to his bathroom door. The first picture was of Cody playing cards with Donya. The second picture was of Cody stuffing her cheeks with pasta. The third was of her staring out a window, looking toward his mother’s garden courtyard. This morning’s picture was of her, Molly, and George laughing. There was no picture with him in it and that slammed against his already bruised psyche.
Cody was living without him.
He had taken pictures of Cody before, but it was with the knowledge he was right there. But now he wasn’t. Did she miss him? The only hint he got was the picture of her staring out the window. She looked so lonely, sad. Or maybe she wasn’t lonely or sad at all. Maybe she was just enjoying the view.
Normally, he could read Cody like a book. But lately, he wondered if he read her all wrong. She never asked for much. She didn’t want fancy clothes, jewelry, or spa treatments. She didn’t want parties or to rub elbows with celebrities. Cody had two loves, food and sports. No, three loves, food, sports, and her friends/family. He knew that now. He understood that now.
She wanted the freedom to enjoy time with these people she considered a part of her circle. Though he’d known that all along he’d wanted to be the only one, her only world. Just like she was his whole world.
Yes, he had his family, his organization, and his company, but he was willing to give that up just to be with her… Or so he thought. Now he realized he had it all wrong. He wanted it all without giving anything up – her, his company, his organization, and the respect he thought he deserved.
He rarely sacrificed but he wanted her to sacrifice what little she had.
Gabe ran his hands over his head and stared at the wood planks of the floor as he sat on the edge of his bed remembering how she used to cling to his body when she slept.
Now, he longed just to wipe the crumbs from her mouth when she made a mess from eating. He should have…
No, it was too late to regret. It was time to move forward.
Gabe got up from his bed and went to the room across from his. He opened the door without knocking.
Bilal popped up, in a fighting ready stance.
“What can I not ask for?” Gabe asked, ignoring the man’s threatening gaze.
“You can ask for anything, but it’s up to me to grant it.”
He’d asked to speak to Cody before, and was denied. But he could send her messages. The message he had sent before had been days ago almost a week, but he’d not heard a reply yet. Had she received it? Did she hate it? Did she hate him? His muscles tensed at the thought. “Tyler Delarosa. Am I allowed to speak to him?”
“No, but I can pass him a message.”
Bilal took out the recorder.
Gabe stared at it for a moment wondering if his cousin really sent the message to Cody. He clinched his jaw and fists knowing there wasn’t anything he could do about it regardless. Being powerless pissed him off. Instead of dwelling on it so it could fuck with his head, he began speaking, “Tyler Delarosa, as of the moment you play this message, I, Gabriel Lloyd Walthour the Third, President and major shareholder of Walthour and Hours Conglomerate, relinquish executive control of the company over to you permanently from here-“
Bilal clicked off the recording. “What the fuck are you-“
Before Bilal could finish, Gabe slammed his hand into the other man’s throat, cutting off his air while his cousin was momentarily distracted. Though Gabe could finish off his cousin in the next blow he took a seat at the table and calmly waited until the man caught his breath.
Revenge felt good.
Wheezing, banging his chest as if trying to force air into it, Bilal stared viciously at Gabe. However, Gabe just watched him, curious to see how long it took the man to recover. Though Donya treated this man well, if Gabe killed him, she’d only be angry for a little while. His mother’s heart wasn’t but so big.
Just like his own heart. Only a few people could occupy that space with Cody taking up the majority.
Once Bilal finally found his footing again, he stood up straight and raised his fist as if he wanted to hit Gabe but instead, he dropped it. “Pull that shit again and I’ll beat the shit out of you.”
“Are you blaming me for your lapse in concentration?” Gabe’s eyebrow lifted. How funny.
Bilal gritted his teeth, clearly wanting to retaliate. And Gabe was slightly surprised he didn’t. Bilal wasn’t known for his impulse control. It was either his respect for Donya that held him back, or something else.
“You gave me permission to send a message so don’t be half-ass. Sit. I need to finish.” Gabe commanded felling more like himself.
And Bilal did.
After he finished with that message, Bilal pocketed the recorder and asked, “Why?”
“Why what?” Gabe didn’t move from the seat and stared right into Bilal’s cold gaze.
Bilal remained quiet for a moment before he asked, “Why didn’t you finish me off? If you had finished me off, you could have taken what you need. The other guards are no match for you. So why didn’t you?”
“Beating you wouldn’t get me Cody back. Fighting my way out of here won’t make her forgive.” Beating Bilal would only give him temporary satisfaction. And Gabe didn’t do temporary. He played for keeps. Even in business, when he made a deal, he didn’t make it for short term gains, he did it looking at the long term benefits. And to him, Cody was long term, permanent.
“And you think giving up your company would?” The man scoffed. Gabe read the man’s body language that seemed a bit nervous. He should be. Even though Bilal was quicker, Gabe’s strength could snap the man’s bones.
Thinking of Bilal’s words, it was clear he didn’t understand much of how his company worked. Gabe still had majority share, therefore he had the reigning vote when needed. He didn’t give up control totally. And the company was already in Cody’s name. However, he wouldn’t tell his cousin that, because he liked seeing this Bilal who was unsettled. If he was right, by taking the man by surprise physically and mentally, he had created an uncertainty in Bilal. His cousin didn’t know how to calculate unknown variables and that made him unbalanced. Probably even more dangerous.
Regardless, Gabe never answered Bilal’s question. Instead, he stared at the man and asked a question of his own. “How does what I do with the Walthour name, have anything to do with you?”
“Are you stupid? Bellini and Sadik are now deeply involved with the company. They’re intertwined. And now you’re giving it to an outsider?”
“Tyler’s one of mine.” If Tyler was an outsider then so was Val, but Bellini and Sadik took her in without pause. Though it wasn’t public knowledge that Val and Tyler were blood related, it didn’t matter. Tyler and Val both proved that they had the knowledge and ability to hold their own. Talent. Ruthless talent that he would not pass up on and allow competitors to snatch up. He may not like Tyler, but he respected that evil mind of his.
And if Bellini-Sadik tried to give Tyler trouble because of the change in ownership, not only would they be fighting against Tyler’s insidious brain, they’d have to fight Val. And anyone who fought Val not only fought against her assassin knowledge, they fought Matt’s backer, Ivan Voronin. Bellini-Sadik might be able to take one of them, but not all three. And if one was provoked, it was like poking the hornet’s nest.
Radford’s DNA might have produced those children, but Gabe saw the real potential in them. Letting them take over the company and the organization would not only provide greater benefits in the future but it would allow them both to rise and combine in ways that it hadn’t in years. Gabe might suck at relationships, but when it came to business, he knew his shit.
“There will be push back from the organization.” Bilal warned.
Gabe lifted his chin slightly, keeping his face straight even as he laughed internally. Tyler and Val might be taking over, but they were still second in command when it came to Gabe’s final decision. However, it was clear Bilal didn’t understand. He was still just a grunt with a narrow view of things.
His new decision freed up time for him to spend with Cody whenever and however she wanted, something he should’ve done long ago. And if she didn’t want him anymore, this decision gave him all the time he needed to pursue her all over again.
And with this decision…a new plan began to form. “I have another request… This message is for Donya Walthour…”