37: “Penny for your thoughts?”

Anna

As we both heard the doorbell sound one more time. We detangled from our cuddle and looked towards the door.
” Are you expecting someone?” I asked while I wiped the tears off my face.
“No, none that I know of” Philip straightened himself then stood up. He checked the time hanging on the wall of his sitting room.

” It’s only half past eight”

” Yeah, pretty late for someone to call in” I replied.

” It could be Natty or Sunny visiting”
I nodded those are the only two who could show up announced to their brother’s home.

” Let me get the door.” As I was about to join him, he disapproved by shaking his head at me “Sit, I will be back soon”

I nodded. He walked from the couch into the hallway that leads to the entrance of his house. I sighed, while I wait in anticipation I took the remote on the couch to continue F.R.I.E.N.D.S tv show that was on. I smiled as Rachel told Ross they were on a “break” and The whole group of friends were believing the sarcasm.

In my solitude and state of mind with Friends playing in the background, I darted my eyes on Philip and the guest who had just walked in… Someone I haven’t met before.
I tried to stand up but the spang of pain triggered my memory that I was incapacitated for the moment.
However, Philip’s smile tells me the guest is not a stranger but someone he’s well acquainted with. Someone who seems to be a father figure…..

Omg! That’s right! A father figure. Must be his stepfather!

” Hello, ” the guest approached me with the same stride as Philip does. ” You must be Anna” he squatted to my level smiling. His brown eyeballs light up at me. The hair on his head was cultured and you could tell it does look good and well kept. The grey hair and the aura he leaves off was like that of George Clooney.

” I am glad to meet you” he continues with his British accent becoming evident. ” Philip, be a lad and introduce us” he smiled up at Philp.

” You weren’t having trouble doing that, Father ” Philip ‘s response confirmed my assumption that the man who had just situated himself beside me was indeed the stepfather.

” Common, did I teach you nothing?”

He nudged Philip jokingly. You can tell they both have a good cordial relationship. But why does Philip refrain from talking about him?

” Fine” Phil sighed ” Anna, meet James Ashton. My father ” he fakes a cough after he asserted the “my father”

” Nice meeting you Mr James. ” I smiled at my intended father-in-law.

Shoot did I just say that? Where is the thought coming from? I am not sure we are even there yet?”

” Come, on call me Ashton. He looks from Me to his son. ” Sorry I had to come in and ruin the atmosphere. My flight had a bit of delay. I called Natty, she said she was busy and with Sunny in Milan.”…. With the explanation coming off on the event that led to his coming here, I could see Philip unnerved and all.

Philip cuts in ” Father, it’s fine. You’re always welcome here.”

” Father doesn’t like to take the private planes, he calls it mismanagement of power,” Philip explained. Not that I am curious but it made sense to me. I smile at the bants between this father and son.

” I like to travel with other airlines to learn about the management ” Ashton defends as he sat across from me.

” Helps you build your mindset too” I
interfered

” Now, whose flight is being delayed?” Philip said with a sigh. ” is it okay to reroute your trip and take the jet?” He asked

” I will be fine. I am heading back to London anyways”

” Where from?” I asked out of curiosity. I assume Philip is aware of his father’s trip and schedule. I just needed to kill my curiosity.

” Spain.” He smiled then continued ” Ever been to Spain, Anna?”

“No, I haven’t ”

” Beautiful country. You must visit ” not if it’s beyond my pay grade. I looked at Philip to save me from the upcoming discussions. The med was becoming weary and the feeling to go into slumber is starting to come.

” Father, would you like anything to eat or drink?”

“Not at the moment. I will figure myself out once Pedro comes back” he retrieved his mobile from his pocket and starts to type a message.

” Your mother sends her regards”

” and I too,” Philip replied ” Anna, wants to retire now, I will be back once I set her up in the bedroom”

” That’s okay, don’t mind me. Do your business. ” Ashton smiled and turned to me” Your leg must be weary my dear”

” I am so glad to meet you. Sorry we couldn’t talk at length”

He waved me off ” we have all the time I’m the world to talk, my dear. You have a good night rest”

” Thanks and have a safe fight back to London”

“Thank you”

*******
As we both approached Philip’s room. He smiled down at me.
” Sorry, father is a bit of a talker”

” No, he’s lovely. I like him already ”

“Yes, he leaves off a good first impression. He did that the first time I met in”

I raised my eyes at him ” You didn’t say he was an impressionist ”

” I always leave that out for people’s curiosity” he defends, I nudged t him
” Did it rub off on you?” Philp’s question reminded me of the first time he actually opened up about his stepfather. I had assumed Ashton was no different from the typical mindset of a stepfather not liking or connecting with his stepson.

Maybe, just maybe..one of his reasons- for seeking attention or being deviant as a teenager. Well, I thought wrong, there is Ashton in the living room, in his son’s house.

” A penny for your thoughts,” he asked while he climbed the stairs with me in his arms.

” Who is Pedro?” I asked

” That’s father’s Personal assistant. He must be someone within the city running errands for him.”

” Oh ” was all I could let out. This family sure have human resources at their beck and call. Good thing, they don’t misuse it.

“Any family secret that I should know?” I asked jokingly in hope to distract him from studying my facial expressions. Philip nods his head and his rich laugh came off. “Care to share?” I continued once we entered his room. Phil placed me and my feet carefully on the bed and went about to tuck me in. He watched my furrowed brows and laughed again.

” Anna, you can ask me anything ” he nudged my nose with his little finger

” Okay, did your family kill people to gain power?”

” You mean like the old aristocratic power?” He sighed ” No, not in my lifetime or grandpas”

“I was just messing with you. I had no intention, it was all to distract you. ”

“Well, you’re a good distraction Annie” my stomach and lower loin caved as he called me by my pet name. I will assume it’s a pet name now. He smiled as I blushed within his touch on my face and kiss on my lips.

” You can have some rest. I will be back” lost for words or anything to say, I gave him a nod as he leaves the room.

*******
Philip

He was the last person I figured would be at my doorstep. Considering we had just spoken earlier in the day while Anna was sleeping and there was no plan to reroute his flight to New Jersey.

Did mother put him up to this?
Both of them really need a vacation as Jonah suggested.
I rubbed my day old beards as I entered the living room Pedro had joined father. They both seem to be comfortable in their own space. Pedro used to be our playmate, whose parents worked for us and passed with my dad in the accident.

As an orphan, he has since being under our wings. Mother brought him up alongside with us. More like retribution for what happened to his parents. When he completed his management classes he sorts the need to join the firm. He’s been family ever since we took him into out wings not that mother doesn’t remind him of his place once in a while.

” Pedro, its good to see you mate.” we both bundled in our hugs and pecks like old buddies that we are.

” I have missed you mate,” Pedro said as we detangled from out hug. ” America treating you alright?” He asked giving off his mixed Italian/British accent.

” Yes, it’s been great.” Father with all smiles looked at us. You could tell the fill of pride within him.

” Pedro is engaged to be married, ” Father said

” Really?”

“Yes, mate. Its about time ”

” That’s lovely. ” this is joyous news, I hugged Pedro.” So wonderful mate.”

” You’re to be my best man”

“I won’t miss it for the world” I gave him a pat. “And the lucky girl?” I asked.

” Remember Brianna from secondary school?”

“Shoot, she’s is the one?”

” yeah”

“That’s wonderful, thought you were a sissy back then and wouldn’t speak to her”

” Thank you. Now I a grown man” in courtesy he bows with a smile on his face.

” That’s wonderful, I am glad mate.”

“Thank you.” Pedro returns to sit down. ” where is your lovely lady? Sir Ashton tells me she’s beautiful beyond words” my gaze fell on my father as he smiled.

” She is indeed. She just retired to bed. Having a bit of weary ankle ”

“Sorry to hear that.”

“It’s all good. What can I offer you?”
” I am fine. I found your wine cellar. Helped myself with some wine.” Pedro replied. He always makes himself at home wherever he finds himself.

” Good. And you father?” I sat beside him.

” Get two glasses lets join Pedro”

.” okay” I went around the couch into the kitchen to get the cups..

” How was Spain?” I inquired

” It was good as planned. Greece acquisition is a sealed deal. ” Ashton replied.

“Thanks for taking the trip. I didn’t know who else to ask for the favour.” I hand him his drink while poured some for myself. “And I didn’t want mum to give me her fair share of concerns about going all the way to Greece.”

” I know son. I did tell you Greece was going to be tough because of the partnership with Spain.”

” Yes, and I was ready for the challenges besides you thought me to always go after what I want if it’s a good deal. Greece offers were good, considering the tourist attractions legal opinions and assets matters in Greece now more than ever.”

“I am glad its a closed deal” Pedro inferred. “Cheers!” We raised our glass up in unanimous.

” When is your flight back to London?”

“Why? Are you tired of seeing our faces?”

“No! I am just asking ”

Ashton smirks at me.

” Its Tomorrow’s evening “Ashton replies.

” Oh okay. Then you must be free to see the firm before you leave?”

“Yes, I intend to meet everyone ”

“Cool. ”

We all diverted our attention to the tv show playing. After an hour we retired for the night. Pedro found a good spot on the couch and was asleep in no time. Father covered him up with a blanket which I gave him while He retired to the spare room in the basement.

Standing across the room, I watched Anna in her sleep. Sleeping so calmly. I watched for what seems to be an hour. I didn’t want to ruin or disturb her peace.

This woman has brought so much to me. Family ‘s understanding and friendship. She has thought me that I can always invest in other things besides firm acquisitions. And I am not about to let go of this woman. My Annie. I know there will be an unforeseen battle in London but I am ready to stake my all, I couldn’t do it for Bianca when she needed me but I will do whatever it takes to protect her.

With Greece acquisition out of the way, I need a new focal point. I sent out an email for a board meeting in the morning since my father is here, he might as well join us.

After the emails, I sent a folder with Anna’s details to my PI before I placed a call to him at the third ring a voice came in

” Do you ever sleep!” He grumbled into the speaker.

“Hi, to you too,” I replied.”I need a favour, Ken.”

.”Speak”

“My girl had a break down last night, I need you to find out why it happened. Sent you a pdf copy on her details ”

” Would that be all?” Ken asked.

” Also, find out who is been calling her office line for the past six months and visiting her home. I need a thorough job on this”

“Have I ever failed you?” I heard his sarcasm and smiled.

” Get on it asap. I hope to get results in three days ” I end the call. Giving off a sigh. I approach the bed to lay beside Anna. She turned in her sleep and cuddle me closer.

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