ORIGINAL CONTENT OF D.C. BLU. DO NOT COPY AND/OR REDISTRIBUTE WITHOUT THE AUTHOR’S PERMISSION. PLAGIARISM IS CRUEL. PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL.
5: Hot & Sour Soup
Brilliant, ruthless, cunning, and deadly, Gabriel Walthour never got caught for the shit he pulled from what Cody saw. He came from generations of money and power on his father’s side and generations of dubious connections on his mother’s side. A half Turkish half Italian beauty, his mother was a product of a not so honest “business” environment, AKA mobsters. Gabriel inherited not only his father’s head for money and business, but his mother’s family’s evil machinations as well as many if not all their connections. The Walthour history was one of the first things she researched on the computer her father gifted her at the age of ten. It took a lot of leg work to dig up his mother’s more darker side, but she found enough to make her very weary of the Bellini-Sadik partnership, as it was known.
Cody learned firsthand at an early age not to ever go up against her father. It was a month after Gabriel first brought her to Detroit to live with him. She was eight at the time and stayed on a floor in her father’s business high-rise in the heart of downtown. It was a secret location he kept to entertain his many mistresses. After he brought her there, the parade of mistresses stopped. They were no longer allowed to darken that doorstep.
However, one of his lady “friends” didn’t get the message or was just stupid. One day, Cody woke to hear noises in the apartment. She got up thinking it was the housekeeper or her guardian, because it was rare that her father visited.
What she found was a half naked woman straddling the lap of one of the building security guards on the couch in the living room.
The beautiful woman wore a blue thong, matching lacy bra that showed off perfect creamy breasts, and spiked blue high-heels. Her hips gyrated into the guard’s pelvis while she began loosening the guy’s tie. He groaned every time her hips pressed down on his bulge still covered in his pants.
Cody was familiar with the act. Where she lived before she ran away often had similar scenes. But Cody wasn’t sure of the rules now in this new environment. Was she supposed to go back to her room, get into the closet, and stay quiet so that the two didn’t know she existed? Was she supposed to make the man dinner? The woman? Did she let the man touch her or was she supposed to touch him… Cody shivered hugging herself turning to go hide in the closet. That option suited her just fine.
Before she made it to her room, she heard the door open.
“Lloyd!” The woman gasped.
“Mr. Walthour, I-“
“Did you forget I have surveillance all over this building?”
Hearing the familiar voice, Cody excitedly ran back to the hallway and stopped just before the hallway’s exit.
Five pair of eyes turned in her direction. Two of the men her father brought with her were scary looking. Big. The woman and the guard were now standing looking guilty.
“Cody, go back to bed.” He ordered.
“You have a fucking child here? What? Are you fucking children now?” The woman snapped whirling on her father.
Instead of answering her, he said, “You’re not supposed to be here.” Her father took a hand from his pocket and straightened his tie as he eyed the guard. “But I see you had help getting access.”
“You can’t just shut me out. I’ve been with you for years!” The woman stamped her stiletto heels.
“A mistake I won’t make again. Take them. Cody. Bed.”
She turned and left to go to her room, dejected that they wouldn’t be watching sports like he always did when he came to visit.
When she heard the front door close, she faintly heard someone say. “What do you want us to do with them?”
“Unfortunately, they saw Cody.”
“Understood, sir. I’ll call disposal.”
At the time, Cody didn’t understand what disposal meant. But over the years, she learned that her father wasn’t only a legitimate business man, but a man with his own personal death squad.
So she should have known better than to make a deal with Satan’s idol.
Yet she did. Years later, Cody made a deal with a man who believed people where disposable.
Seventeen-year-old Cody had listened mortified to her friend Bailey explain how he and his brothers would be disowned. Bailey’s father had found out about his sons’ elicit relationship and instead of trying to deal with it, threw them away like trash.
Unable to stand by and do nothing for the guy she had come to see as friend and family she called the one man she knew who could help her.
“Hey?” Her father’s ominous voice loomed over her nerves. “What’s going on?”
“I need a favor. It’s…pretty big. So if there is something I can do to help or if I need to pay you back…”
“You’re babbling. Spit it out. Are you in trouble?” His tone grew darker and she feared that he wouldn’t help. Anxiety clawed at her.
When Bailey hugged her, she flinched, unaccustomed to the sensation. But instead of pushing him away like she normally would, she allowed his strength to push her forward. “I need you to talk to an acquaintance of yours. You always call him Radford. I think you’ve done business with him before.”
“What’s going on, Cody?”
Bailey looked up at her abruptly, as if he heard who was on the other line. Cody felt like crawling in a hole. Did he know? Bailey had been slowly trying to find out who she was in love with, but Cody had tried her best to avoid and dodge the subject. Had she given too much away?
She pulled herself together, ignoring his worried gaze and said, “I… I have a friend. He and his brothers are in trouble.”
“The Radford boys that you have been hanging out with lately?”
“No- Yes.” No since in lying, the man always knew.
“What is he to you?”
Why was it any of his business? “My…my boyfriend.” She told him like she told Molly. When her father didn’t reply she asked, “Hello? You still there?”
“Why does he need help? What has he done that requires my intervention?”
“I can’t tell you the why. I made a promise. But I can tell you, that their father, Mr. Radford, is planning to make it look like they died. It would really destroy their life in so many ways. And their mother would be devastated.”
“What exactly did he do to piss Radford off?”
“I can’t tell you. But you know what he’s like. You can deal with him on a business level. He seems like the business type.”
“I’ll help but there will be a stipulation.”
“What’s the stipulation?”
“Break up with Bailey.”
What? “Why?” She asked upset, because she actually liked Bailey. “Shit- Sorry. Can I at least hang out with him?”
“If he’s a problem, you need to separate yourself from him. You are not allowed to be dragged into anything messy.”
“But he’s my friend!”
Abruptly, Bailey took her phone. “Mr. Walthour,” Bailey said into the phone as Cody stared at his handsome face in disbelief. “Your daughter is like a sister to me. Nothing is going on between us. She’s pretending to be my girlfriend to protect me. Nothing more. I would never take advantage of her, because she’d kick my ass. Plus, I only love her like a best friend.”
Joy overtook her at his words. He felt the same way about her as she felt for him.
When Bailey nearly threw the phone at her and fear etched across his face, Cody knew her father was shitting bricks.
“Yes?” She said back into the phone.
“You want my help, you tell me everything. I’ll set up a lunch.”
“Yes, sir.” She nodded.
“Give me the details of how you would like me to handle this and I will go over it. Make it worth my while.”
“Yes, sir.” Relief washed over her as she smiled and gave Bailey a thumbs up. “Thank you, sir-“
“And expect that you’ll be doing as I tell you from now on. All major decisions you have about your future are to be approved by me first. If I tell you to do or not do something, I suggest it be followed. If you decide to defy me, Bailey and his brothers will suffer in your place.”
Was he for real? Of course he was. Though he wasn’t too demanding as long as she stayed out of the public eye and didn’t let anyone know who she really was, she wondered if his new rules would change things. Truthfully, she knew if he had demanded more from her up til now, she had no room and would have no say to object. Her father never gave her the illusion that she controlled her own life.
“Understood?” His voice interrupted her agonizing thoughts.
Straightening her spine, she looked at the new friend in her life that had staved off the loneliness. Whatever happened, it would be worth it. “Understood. Goodbye.”
It was in that phone call, that Bailey realized how much she “cared” for her father. And it was also when he understood fully why she accepted his relationship with his brother so easily. Because she herself, had no room to judge.
Cody woke trying to find some sort of balance. With a mild headache and surfacing memories, she moaned at her stupidity. How could she think to go up against him?
She needed a pain killer. Staggering out of bed that night, she wobbled to the bathroom and grabbed a bottle of aspirin. Her legs continued to drag her to the living room where the well defined body of all straight women’s dreams stood in her condo, waking her fully and clearing her aching head. Positioned at the panoramic window by the kitchen bar with only a towel around his waist was Gabriel. It was the first time she saw him with his upper-body exposed. He usually always kept himself covered around her. Did he think she wouldn’t wake up?
“No, tell the director I said if the products aren’t delivered on time, I’m calling off the event.” Her father was conducting business, oblivious of her standing there gawking. His bare back was smooth skin over hard defined muscles. So broad and strong…she followed the lines of his wide shoulders, his powerful arms and torso to the narrowing of his waist and slight dip where his towel started, barely covering his ass.
She swallowed the drool pooling in her mouth. This man gave mouth watering a new fantastic flavor. He slowly turned around and she caught a glimpse of his beautiful sculpted abs…very nice.
When he was fully turned around, she had to tear her head away from the beyond delicious view of him to focus on his face.
Ignoring his hard expression, she jerked her head away, walked across to the kitchen, opened the frig, and stuck her head in to catch her breath. She hadn’t even realized she’d been holding it. Not cool, Cody. No ogling your father. But she could admit he had a very nice body. Observation only… Right? Right. She shivered for a moment trying to think of other things. Maybe she should call Bailey. Talking to her friend always cleared her head. He was such a level headed guy.
She cringed as she realized she almost destroyed everything with her tantrum. She had selfishly thought only about herself, not realizing her brothers were also under her father’s thumb. If she tried to anger him again, he could use them against her. He would use them against her. He could take away all the financial support he offered them, making them homeless, and their life worthless. How could she be so stupid?
“Cody,” her father called, snapping her head back to where he stood by the bar with his arms crossed over his chest, his nearly necked hip leaned against the counter. “Are we going to have any more problems?”
“Nope,” she said, facing the hard reality of her situation. “I will be…obedient. Just don’t hurt them.” Now she understood the full weight of that verbal contract. She had sold her soul to the man in order to protect and save the guys she cared so much about. Otherwise, she’d have lost them to their father’s ruthlessness. So in essence, she traded one evil bastard for another. I feel like a fucking fool… Yet, she knew it was the right thing to do and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.
He said nothing for a long time as he just stared at her. Finally, he said, “I put your things on your desk. Don’t foolishly throw them in the future.”
She chuckled looking back in the refrigerator. Anywhere but that muscular chest. That very, very sexy chest. “Of course. Whatever you want,” she said grabbing a bottled water.
“You’re mocking me.” His deep dark tone always carried an edge, rough and yet smooth. Rarely loud, never soft, just deep, even, heavy.
“Surprised?” she asked wondering what else she was supposed to do — submit like a meek puppy? Of course. That is what she did for the past ten years. She sighed standing up and shut the frig door. She opened the bottle of aspirin and popped a few then she drank down the cold water.
When he didn’t say anything for a while, she looked over at him. He stood not moving, and just stared at her. Those eyes… Every time he stared at her with those penetrating pale eyes, she felt like he saw into her soul and knew all of her demons. Or maybe he was stealing her soul since he had none of his own.
She lowered the bottle and asked in the most respectful tone she could scrap together, “Sir?”
“Anaheim is playing tonight.” She knew that was a command to watch the game with him. He didn’t know how to ask if she wanted to watch or even compromise.
She nodded, stuffing away her weariness, and went to the couch. “Sure. I’m hungry,” she said walking toward him to go get her phone. He didn’t move, but stood there watching her. When she got close enough to him to smell the fresh clean scent of his skin, her own skin heated. The aroma reminded her of oceans and open skies against his darker natural scent. He’d been in her bathroom in her shower gel…showering. All that glorious gold/olive skin… She didn’t need that image!
“Excuse me?” She tried to sound polite instead of breathless.
He stepped back just enough for her to squeeze by. And that squeeze had her heart thumping being close to him. So easily she could grab the towel from him and… She shook her head from the weird and wild thoughts.
“Is Chinese okay with you?” He asked after her.
“Are you mad at me, Cody?”
She snorted. “Nope.” She lied walking across the room to her desk.
“Now the truth,” her father said. She felt those eyes watching her.
“Do you care?” She laughed. Her father didn’t do gentle or kind so it was odd hearing the question. There was no hint of actual concern in his voice, so she couldn’t tell if he was serious or just trying to play a role.
She picked up her phone and noticed she got a message from all three of her roommates. They must be worried. She also saw her new number. When she turned she found him looming over her.
“Cody, I want you safe.”
“Fine. Now stop crowding me. And go put on some clothes.” She ordered snapping back into the Cody she recognized, because if she didn’t she might reach out just to see how real those muscles were and get burned by the arch-demon Gabriel’s personal hell.
“Yes, ma’am,” her father said in deep rich tones that danced on her skin and heated places she refused to acknowledge.
However, he didn’t turn to leave, instead he stepped closer. “Remember today. Because if you ever run from me again, I won’t harm your brothers. They are too useful. Instead, I will have them hunt you and drag you back.”
Anger pulsed through her as well as the need to kill something. What was she, some kind of property? A dog that ran away from home?
“Understood.” She gritted out the words, knowing he could destroy a person without touching them. Before when she lived in his business complex, she witnessed him single-handedly destroy lives with one phone call. The thought sickened her. She walked around him to the couch and turned on the television.
Later, when her father finally joined her on the couch, he sat in the middle unnerving Cody. They always sat on opposite ends and yet the man now sat too close. She looked at him confused only noticing his sweat pants and no shirt. He always wore a shirt around her.
What the hell?
She swallowed and turned back to the game hoping she could ignore him. During the second half of the game, Gabriel’s phone, balanced perfectly on his thigh, began to vibrate. He glanced down before he scooped it up and stood, all six feet five inches of his height stretched before he placed the phone on the coffee table.
“Chinese?” She asked, knowing the building security had just buzzed him. The building’s security would be the ones to bring up the food because his father didn’t let unauthorized personnel beyond the twenty-second floor. The building was a high profile condo high-rise that held elite homeowners. The building was owned and managed by the real estate branch of her father’s company.
His only answer to her question was a grunt before he walked in long leisurely strides to the door. She kept her eyes glued to the television screen to keep from following the flex of his back and his beautiful strut to the door.
The man has all but enslaved me to his whim. So why am I so infatuated by such an evil bastard?
Power. It had to be. Women loved powerful men. Yes, she was just a slave to her stupid hormones. And her own foolish loneliness. She sighed, pulled her thoughts together, and got up to pull the coffee table closer. The coffee table would serve as a table for the food and a place for their feet while they ate. She went to the kitchen and opened the frig to grab her father a beer. She closed the door and turned to the counter to grab a room temp bottle of water for herself.
She made her way back to the couch and found her father already setting up the food. They worked quietly, pulling out cartons of sweet and sour chicken, chicken with broccoli, egg foo young, vegetable fried rice, steamed dumplings, beef chow mein, and a container of hot and sour soup around the table. Both of them ate a lot so most of the food would be gone in an hour if not sooner.
When she grabbed the paper plates her fingers brushed his. It was all she could do not to jerk her hand back in reflex as a blush reddened her cheeks. Stop it! She told herself, not wanting to feel anything for the bully. She should hate him. Yeah, he had provided for her when her mother never did, so maybe hate was too strong a word, but she shouldn’t feel for him.
His fingers brushed against hers again. But she could have sworn it was deliberate. Her head shot up to see the mischievous glint in his pale eyes. It was deliberate! She was tempted to ask why he was playing with her, but she didn’t want to know. Maybe it was a new form of torture.
She remembered their earlier conversation about how she needed to get over her fear of touch. Maybe this was his own sick twisted way of therapy. Well, she didn’t like it. Not one fucking bit. It made her too aware of him and her skin too sensitive.
She sat down with her plate of food and fork to eat. However, before she dug in, she felt his large hands on her ankles and found her feet being pulled into his lap.
“Okay…” She tried to stay calm, but there was no way of helping the irritation. “What the hell, Gabby?”
“Eat.” He ordered.
How the hell was she supposed to eat like this? With her heart hammering, her breathing erratic, and her hands slightly shaking. And her damn feet touching his hard thighs!
But the man didn’t seem the least bit distracted as he picked up his plate from the coffee table. He ate and watched the game like he’d done it a million times. Probably had too with one of his mistresses. That thought hiked up her irritation.
I’m your daughter, not one of your damn mistresses. She thought shoving a broccoli into her mouth. Even if she wanted to be with him, she didn’t want to be one of his many conveniences. No way in hell. She almost felt sorry for his wife. Almost. Her sister gave her the inside scoop on the woman. A shopping whore, Molly often called her. The only thing she cared about more than her image and social standing was the newest runway fashion.
After a few minutes of watching an intense game, Cody almost forgot where her feet were. She had eaten all of her food, had placed her empty plate and fork on the coffee table, and was so into the game, she almost missed that her phone rang.
She reached for it and sat up to read the caller ID. She grinned before answering it, “Hello?”
ORIGINAL CONTENT OF D.C. BLU. DO NOT COPY AND/OR REDISTRIBUTE WITHOUT THE AUTHOR’S PERMISSION. PLAGIARISM IS CRUEL. PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL.