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Marcel still could not piece together what he would do about Patricia’s request. Wouldn’t it be so easy? Leave her with her pain, just offering one or two words of sympathy without going overboard, trying to wipe out the feeling of hurt she was feeling but trying so hard to hide? It should not be too hard if he did not feel this incredible desire to keep her away from harm. Marcel had arrived at the conclusion that he was definitely in love with Alexa and not Pat. He hadn’t even thought he might be in love with Pat; his feelings for Alexa were quite clear. He truly and really loved Alexander Branson with every fiber of his being but Pat…
Marcel rubbed his hand over his face. What had he done to make Pat make that silly request. Even the thought that she might have talked without really meaning what she said did not pacify him. He knew for a fact that women always meant whatever they said most of the time. he couldn’t leave her now, Marcel knew. He had the irresistible urge to make sure she was alright and not hurting. He had never wanted to protect anyone this much, except Alexa. For a long time in Marcel’s life, he had wished for a family, someone to call his own, not by chance but by blood. He wished he had a sister whom he could protect from all the odds of life even if his life depended on it. Marcel had thought that he craving for a family would be satisfied immediately Michael appeared but no; instead, Marcel had won for himself a very formidable enemy. What he had done to make Michael so defensive, Marcel had no idea but he hated it badly. Pat on the other hand, made him feel as though he actually had a sister. He wanted to protect her, wipe out the slightest hint of pain and fill her with joy. Marcel wondered when he had started to feel this way, it was probably even the instant she had sailed into his office, staring him down without flinching. Marcel smiled to himself. Anytime he switched on that domineering part of himself, he was assured of victory but he couldn’t have been more wrong. She matched him stare for stare and Marcel had been amazed, if not floored. She had gone beyond that to worry about his safety countless number of times, saving his ass from trouble time and again. Marcel had never fallen facedown into a trap but Michael was a genius. He had seen Marcel’s yearn for a family as his weakness and had exploited perfectly.
With what Marcel vowed solemnly to disregard Pat’s request. He would do all he could to make sure she felt as little pain as possible. The door bell chimed and Marc frowned, not expecting a visitor. Being at home wasn’t one of Marcel’s hobbies but what could he do? He had left Tel Communications and the only thing he was doing was to keep contacting his company in Germany, ensuring that they were moving on fine. He reached the door without even thinking about unbuttoned shirt. Immediately he opened the door, his breath all but vanished. “Alexa” he breathed.
Jeez, how could anyone not fall in love with her? She was beauty personified from her sparkling hair to the sole of her equally sparkling slippers. He had noticed the cloth immediately the door was opened. This was the same gown she had worn when she came to him some months back, offering her body to him. His breath caught at the remembrance. That day, two things had happened: he had loved her and hated her. Thinking of the way she had shakily asked him to make love to her, Marcel had wondered what devil had possessed him to take advantage of such innocence, but he couldn’t deny her. That was a temptation that he was sure could belly even the devil himself. Watching her strip before him had been the last straw but the moment he had broken her maidenhead, horror had filled him. He couldn’t begin to stomach the fact that he had slept with her under pretense, taking the woman that originally belonged to his brother, but to think that he had taken her virginity and innocence in the process was downright horrifying. He had taken his anger at himself out on her, treating her worse than he had earlier.
Marcel did not know how long he stood at the doorway, ravishing her with his eyes but when his eyes left her body to return back to her eyes, he was a bit pacified that he hadn’t been the only one going down memory lane.
Alexander felt hot lead running through her veins and she had to try hard not to whimper at his feet. Marcel definitely knew the enormous power he had over women and he was weaving it without mercy. Her mouth felt like crackers as she stared at his exposed chest. Every muscle protested with every move he made. He was built like a powerful brick wall and Alexa knew all too well how they felt beneath her palm. That one night had been enough to burn the feel of him into her memory. Even though the night had been a total mistake and a disaster, Alexa chose to cherish those minutes when Marc had treated her like a queen, when she had felt the very height of pleasure. What happened afterwards was nothing to write home about, especially when Marcel had discovered that she had no experience at all, through the very obvious stains on the bedspread. Shame had washed over her, and then she had thought she was with Michael but now, she was glad she wasn’t. she could not begin to stomach the idea that she had lost her innocence to someone as evil as Michael.
“Marc” she finally breathed. Marcel noticed in horror that they had at the entrance for what seemed like eternity. She brushed past him into the house and he perceived the fragrance of his perfume. His blood ran hotter and he took him time to steady himself before turning to follow her into the sitting room. When she was safely seated on the couch, he noticed the tension radiating in her pores. She looked terribly uptight. He stood behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders gently. She tensed, jerking slightly. He did not remove his hands; instead, he began a steady massage until she started relaxing. They hadn’t exchanged words but it seemed as though they spoke without actually speaking.
“Your uncle’s health is taking its toll on you” he said softly.
She sighed softly and he wished he could capture that sigh. His fingers continued their ministration and a soft moan escaped her mouth. This was getting dangerous, he thought as his blood ran as hot as a volcanic eruption. “These past few days have been…” she murmured breathlessly. “Terrifying” she finished. “Pat has withdrawn completely”
Marcel’s hands stilled and then continued. It had been two days since Pat requested that he stopped trying to lighten her burden, why hadn’t he gone to her again. She must be terribly lonely and frightened even if she pretended not to be. Alexa sighed again in delight as his fingers worked tension out of her. Her head relaxed against the backrest of the couch, turning her face up. Marcel’s fingers stilled and her closed eyes opened. He swore under his breath as his resolve vanished. He bent and covered her mouth with his. All his organs were on high alert as he crushed her mouth. He was staggered when he realized that she was just as he remembered, her hot yielding mouth felt exactly the way they had that night. He deepened the kiss and her fingers went to his neck and hair. His hands went to her hair, remembering the texture perfectly. “Oh sweetheart” he breathed and deepened the kiss. Belina’s words came flooding Alexa’s brain and she stiffened. Marcel felt it instantly and he drew back despite the furious protests of his body. “Sweetheart, you are quite safe with me”
Alexa swallowed. “But why?”
Marc frowned. “Why what?”
“Why did you kiss me like that? Like you… like I… I mean,” she swallowed. “You don’t have feelings for me right?”
Marcel stared at her and would have laughed if the situation hadn’t been a serious one. “I don’t?” he asked vaguely, standing. “Jeez, you have been under my skin for God knows how long. I can’t look at you without wanting to kiss you till your lips were branded with my name; my fingers itch to mark my possession of your body for the whole world to see”
Alexa gasped slightly at the plain revelation. He went to her then and pulled her to her feet and into his arms. He put his nose in her hair and breathed deeply. “But I don’t think you want this honey” he kissed her forehead. “I hurt you so deeply sweetheart; you were in a relationship with Michael not me”
She withdrew to look him in the eye. “We were both subjects of his deception” she murmured. “While you were acting as Michael, I fell in love with you, not the name”
Marc stilled. He stared at her for a long time, stoned and she stood on tip toes, planting a firm kiss on his mouth. He seized her instantly, taking control and kissing her until they both came up breathless. The happiness bubbling inside him could not be compared to anything he had ever felt. They laughed, kissed, laughed again. “I love you Alexander”
Felicia was finally going to see Michael – the real Michael – her blood boiled in anticipation of the meeting. She approached Michael’s secretary and informed her that she had to see Michael as a matter of urgency. “I am sorry ma’am, but he specifically asked not to be disturbed”
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Felicia fixed the girl with a stern glare. “If you are scared of being fired, then get ready because I am sure he would fire you if you don’t let me in. if you are nice enough, then you might even get the good luck of working Zedpro Limited” the name of the company in question rang a bell in the girl’s ears and she shifted nervously. Felicia pitied her, she knew just how difficult it must be, working for the devil himself.
“I would just call ma’am” she said.
“Just tell him that Felicia Adams is here” she murmured with a smile.
The speed with which Felicia was sent to Michael’s office was staggering. She breathed at the door, telling herself to remain calm and somewhat indifferent, just as Pat had instructed. Felicia never thought she would take orders from someone else but she found herself respecting the woman. she did not have to open the door, the door opened and, standing before her, flesh and blood, was Michael – her husband, or ex. It took almost a minute of staring to make her get her wits back. Her anger had frozen and boiled to a dangerous level within the space of seconds. She concentrated on taking in descent breaths without giving in to the urge to strangle the man before her. Michael had paled and she thought he might be sick. Too early for that, she thought.
“We meet again husband” she said steadily with a devilish smile crossing her face. “Do we proceed to the confines of your office or would you rather we wash our dirty linens in public?” she asked with a raised brow.
He instantly got the message and opened the door wider for her. She swept into the same office she had entered when she visited Marcel, only it was different now. A different person was in this office, choking out any feeling of warmth. Immediately the door clicked shot, she heard the roar before it even started. “How did you get yourself out of jail?”
She turned and smiled. “You see Michael; it is funny how a small gesture of kindness can thwart evil. When Marcel had got me released, he hadn’t known the world of good he was doing himself”
“Marcel had released you?” he roared. “That weakling”
She smiled and then laughed heartily. “no one is as weak as a walking corpse Michael, which is what you are. It is not yet time to get hypertensive Marcel, I advice you sit down” she said.
“And who do you think you are to give me orders?” he asked.
“It is an advice you swine,” she said as anger sipped in. she breathed and sat gingerly on one seat. She waited until Michael had obliged then she aimed without wasting time. “Marcel saved me, and now he is one of my own. You are taking a swing at one of my own and I want you to dissuade for your own good”
Michael snorted. “So Marcel wants to use you as a tool to get himself out of the much expected jail term?” he laughed. “Tell him he failed. What can you do?”
Felicia smiled. “You don’t know me Mike” she said, calling his short itinerary. “You turned me into a deadly serpent, the acid did that effectively. Now, the Felicia sitting before you is a viper. I guess you knew that, that is why you went through the trouble to be rid of me” she laughed softly. “You would secure Marcel’s release or pay for it dearly”
He snorted disgustingly. “What can you do?” he asked again.
She extracted an envelope and passed it to Michael. He pulled out the content in fear and his panicked immediately he stared at a picture. The pictures nearly slipped from his grasp and he clutched tightly, staring at himself, naked with Denis. Several unimaginable sights lay on other pictures and he roared. “What is this?”
“It is good that I inform you that I have the whole erm… performance recorded and taped. You have been warned.” She stood up. “Good day Michael” she floated out, leaving Michael shaken terribly.
Pat left her mum to sleep, contented at last that her mother was having a little sleep. She picked her phone. It was the guy she had asked to trail Michael. Immediately he had threatened her family, she had decided to get someone on his tail in case he tried anything funny.
She picked up. “Hello J” she said but immediately blanched when the guy’s words floated to her. “What?”
Michael raced, putting the car on top speed. He was ending all these. Marcel had haunted him enough and it was high time he did the needful. The gun he had just purchased bounced in his pocket. He was tired of having Marcel in the face of everything in his life. He might go to jail, but he would make sure that Marcel did not live to see his downfall. Did Felicia honestly think she had summed him up? That a cheap blackmail would have him hiding behind his tail? He laughed as he turned the wheel. It was already very dark and he liked it. Liked the fear it would create. He got to Marcel’s house and parked. Getting into the compound was easy. He only had to tell the gateman that he was visiting his brother; it was not his fault that they were so identical. Michael was about to knock but decided to try the door. Surprisingly, the door gave way. He entered with a smile.
Michael stared at the sitting room in disgust, seeing Marcel everywhere. Everything seemed to possess his thumbprint and it annoyed him to death. The door at the entrance opened and he turned. He saw his carbon copy standing at the door saw his sudden surprise and watched as the surprise vanished as he stood like an immovable mountain at the entrance. He moved slightly away from the door but did not enter. “I guess you finally decided to pay me a visit” Marcel said.
Michael looked at him with contempt then laughed. “Visit?” He laughed louder. “It is more like a farewell” he ground out. His bitter words floated through but he could have been talking to a deaf mute because Marc did not say a word, neither did his expression change in the least. After a long stretch of silence, Marcel opened his mouth.
“Well then, I guess it would be great if you tell me why you are after my shadow”
Michael scowled then smiled, one of those calculated smiles aimed at frightening the other party. “Your shadow? Your shadow was not around when I started the chase. You had been in my dreams even before I glimpsed your existence” he breathed. “All my life, I had to live with the constant reminder of the fact that dad preferred you to me” he laughed as he saw a flicker of emotion on Marcel’s face. “The old conceited man, always ringing his desperation to find his missing son, the one he had named after his father”. Marc almost gasped. “That is right, you bear the name of our grandfather.” He rasped out bitterly.
“I see no reason why I should be despised for that. I definitely did not choose to make you-”
“Shut up” Michael roared. “You swine, of course you did. When I could not get the man’s love, I settled for his wealth but the man won’t even let me have that” he hissed. “I discovered your whereabouts and hid it from him but the man was one strong headed swine” Marcel concentrated on remaining calm even as his temper rose several degrees. “Do you know the pathetic part?” Michael asked, looking slightly demented as he gestured wildly. “The man died and split his will between us” he roared. Marcel could not believe his ears. All of these had been because of properties? Even without Michael continuing, Marcel almost knew where he was headed.
Michael’s hand stole into his pocket and Marcel became still as stone as he stared at the flashing pistol. Michael rubbed his left hand on the gun and spoke on. “My first thought was to finish you instantly but I couldn’t” he said and laughed. “You looked so much like me, I thought shooting you would be equivalent to shooting myself, so I waited. When the stupid lawyer decided to search for you in Germany…”
“You deceived me out of there” Marc completed, feeling bitterness creep into his mouth even as he was super aware of the gun.
“Good boy.” He admitted. “But I would have to do what I couldn’t. You are my nightmare, always in my shadow” his face turned terribly furious and animated and Marcel felt his blood turn to ice. “I might crumble but I won’t give you the satisfaction of seeing my fall” he said fiercely. The gun was firmly aimed at Marcel.
“Michael, stop this, you are being stupid. I have no intention of sharing your inheritance” Marc stated, seeing that Michael would really pull the trigger.
“You lying snake, of course you would. At least you know it is partially yours”
“I am serious”
“Shut your mouth. My mind is made up, I have had enough of you”
“Marc” she heard a familiar voice shout. Christ no! He blanched. What was Pat doing here. He was about to yell for her to leave when she jumped in through the door. His head jerked to Michael and he saw the evil smile on his face. With the gun still aimed at him, Michael pulled the trigger. Everything happened all of a sudden – the ringing sound of the gun echoed, mixed with the shrill sound of Pat’s scream. Marcel found himself being shoved aside and then, the earth stood still.
Marcel grew as pale as sheet as Patricia’s body jerked. “No” he rasped out. The bullet had hit Pat squarely in the chest. “No” he ground out. “Pat” he screamed, scarcely remembering his own voice as he wrapped his arms around Pat’s falling body. “Pat, no… please talk to me” he begged, his eyes watering as blood spread across her chest. “Pat… Please…”
She smiled faintly as her eyes closed. “I… love…… you” she breathed.