Authors: Jordan Silver
"And Carl never suspected."
"By the time he came home she was already three months old, Joann never breast fed, she'd gotten her body back in shape, so there was no need for him to suspect anything, he was sure pissed though but Joann kept him off my back."
"Where did the story of Mr. Escalante raping you come in?"
"Oh, that was all Joann, she figured that if dad thought I was raped he wouldn't blame me, and she chose him because he's the one who knocked her up, she didn't think he would remember her since he was some type of player back then, and besides she begged dad not to pursue it, not to bring shame and scrutiny to the family. She said since they were so wealthy they would use their wealth and influence to paint me as the guilty party, that I somehow duped him."
"Are we done, because I really need to go." She was rubbing her arms up and down as if she were cold.
"The story checks out partially so far, she was out of school for thirteen months, Carl was in Kuwait...."Drew was busy on his computer, I didn't even want to know how he had access to this sort of information.
"What about the birth certificate?"
"Joann signed it, I think she told dad she did it to keep the stigma off of me, she made him believe that it was me who gave birth in the old hut and that she took me to the hospital later and had me sign her name." Another shrug.
I was only interested in one thing.
I went over to Delia and knelt down in front of her. Drawing her close, I whispered so only she could hear.
"Did you hear that baby, she's not your mom, I know that was bothering you so could you please stop stressing over it now? Give little peanut a break okay."
She nodded and clung to me her body a lot less tense than it was before.
"Thank you Chase."
"You're welcome baby."
"So you mean.....she's mine?" I'd almost forgotten the other people in the room until Vito spoke.
"It looks that way if you'd like to have proof ........" I didn't really know what was to become of this, if one more person rejected or belittled her worth I was gonna lose my shit.
"No, no, no, that won't be necessary, she's her aunty Tessa all over again, I don't need anything else to tell me she's mine, besides like I said, I remember meeting this Joann woman all those years ago, more than once. But she never said........"
He turned to look at Delia, I guess all that he'd heard so far was replaying in his head as he put the pieces of the puzzle together, I'll have to fill him in a little later.
This time when he walked over to Delia I didn't try to stop him, he stood right in front of us, just staring at her with a longing expression on his face.
"I didn't know, had I known I would've come for you, I promise, I didn't know,.......Maxwell."
My father came and led the big strong man with tears in his eyes from the room.
"And once again she lands on her feet, how could an unwanted piece of garbage have so many fucking lives?"
I wasn't quick enough to stop Delia as she flew across the room and slapped her sister across the mouth.
"That's for trying to hurt my baby." Celine had a scared look on her face as she held her bruised cheek and drew back.
Okay then; Delia turned and came back to me with a scowl on her face. I guess she was too pissed to put together all that was going on around her right now, like the fact that she had a new father.
My mind was going sixty miles a minute, if Vito Escalante accepted her as his daughter, which looked more than possible knowing my godfather she had just become the heiress to a fortune that could rival mine. And the daughter of one of the most powerful men in the country if not the world.
Celine has no idea.
When Vito and dad came back to the room he was a bit more composed. I can't begin to imagine what it must feel like to a man who had believed he would die childless, to find out at his age that he had an almost adult daughter. He must be in a state of shock.
He gave Delia a long look before turning to Celine who was now sitting on the floor rummaging through her bag looking for who knows what.
"Young lady, I need some answers and since you seem to be the only one here with any insight into my daughter's life I'll be asking you......"
"I'm all talked out, unless there's something in it for me, after all why should she reap all the benefits?"
"While my young godson threatened to break your neck, I assure you, my punishment for you would be much more severe. Maxwell has filled me in on some of what you and your delightful family have done to her so far, I wouldn't break your neck, for what you've done to my daughter, I would have you tortured before I fed you to my dogs, do not fuck with me.
Excuse me Delia and Rhina." He bowed his head in apology to the two ladies like the gentleman he was.
Celine spluttered all over her face, but in the end self preservation kicked in and the whole story came pouring out.
She talked about how she used Joann's fear of discovery against her, making sure neither Joann nor Carl ever showed one ounce of affection to the new baby.
How She played on her father's guilt for not being there when his little girl was supposedly raped.
The more she spoke the more I wanted to be sick, Vito looked like he wanted to kill her and Delia was crying her heart out, while my family was deathly still.
No one moved as the ever mercenary little bitch told her tale with hardly any inflection or emotion in her voice.
When she spoke of how she went out of her way to make Delia's life a living hell I thought I would really snap and end the bitch.
There was a commotion out in the hallway before whoever was there rushed into the room.
Santino and Rocco Escalante came into the room, both men were a few years older than their brother, Santino was the eldest of the three, with Rocco two years behind.
"Where is she?" Santino spoke, his eyes searching the room until he lit on Delia.
I guess Vito had given them a heads up while he'd left the room earlier.
"Oh my.....Rocco...." He grabbed for his brother's arm before they both made their way towards Delia and I.
They studied her from head to toe, taking in every aspect of her features before Santino stepped forward.
"Hello little Delia, I am your uncle Santino, and this is your uncle Rocco."
"Hello, pleased to meet you." Her voice was small and tired, I think the events of the day were finally catching up to her as she shook hands with her uncles.
"Well Vito, fill us in."
They both took a seat as Vito filled them in on what we had learned so far. They were none too happy to hear about the poor treatment of their niece to say the least.
There was bantering back and forth about what action should be taken, I always knew my godfather and his brothers had reputations for being cutthroat in the business world, but I'd never known them to be vengeful, tonight I was learning a new lesson.
I listened as everyone had an opinion on what needed to be done at this point if anything. Rocco was trying to figure out how to bring charges against Joann and Carl, but for what? Santino kept his silence but he was thinking very hard while doing it.
This went on for some time until the talk turned to other matters, namely Delia's place in their family.
"Of course we have to change everything, those bungling idiots that have been chomping at the bit waiting to pick over our carcasses aren't going to be too happy." Santino cackled at his own humor.
My mom who had left the room without me noticing came in with a tray of refreshments. I forced Delia to have some juice and a sandwich even though she protested that she wasn't hungry. She'd been following the conversation between her father and his brothers with wide eyes. I just held her close, I didn't think now was a good time to tell her their worth, it just might be the straw that broke the camel's back.
"Think of the baby, it's been a while since peanut ate anything and you know that's no good for her." I thought I'd spoken softly enough that only she heard but I underestimated how deeply engrossed in her Vito was.
"Baby, a baby...." Vito was across the room in a flash, taking her hands in his.
"I'm going to be a grandfather?"
"Who the fuck cares, somebody get me out of here, I need to go....."
"Who is this vile creature?" Oh shit I had forgotten all about the drugged out whore on the floor, it looked like she'd taken a nap sitting up against the wall.
"That's the sister." Vito offered.
"Oh is it?" Oh hell, Santino looked.......what the fuck is that look? I don't think I've ever seen it on a human being outside a movie. Sinister was too tame a word.
I had the feeling the Fieldings were in for a world of hurt, and if they thought I was bad, even I knew I had nothing on the Escalantes.
I felt myself shiver as the three brothers turned their attention on Celine.
Damn, she's so fucked.
Well it looks like I have a new father, I'm not quite sure what's going on around me everything seems to be going really fast and I can't seem to catch up.
After Vi.....my....father stopped going on about the baby things had gone something like this.
"Well now she must come home with us."
"Uh, no,.......I respect how you feel, you've just met your long lost daughter, you're excited about that understandably, but my wife stays with me, always, no exceptions."
There was silence following that mandate by Chase, no one spoke for a while, I drew closer to him and accepted his reassuring squeeze, he didn't seem too worried about the outcome so I relaxed against his side. As much as I wanted to explore this new family dynamic of mine there was no way I was leaving him to do it.
"Okay boys, let's go." Vito summoned his brothers and they rose from their chairs to leave.
"Where are you going godfather?"
"You'll see soon enough not to worry daughter we'll be back." With that they were gone.
Chase and I had spent another hour with his family before he decided it was okay to take me home to our own fortress; cue eye roll I had the feeling it might be some time before I saw the outside world again.
We were both a little jolted when the three brothers showed up an hour later on our doorstep with their suitcases.
Chase just shook his head, opened the door wider and pointed up the stairs.
"You know where everything is."
They bounded up the stairs like three teenagers instead of the middle aged men they were.
That was three days ago and now I find myself hiding out.
If I thought having to deal with Chase's over protectiveness was a pain, it was nothing compared to the tyranny of my new father and uncles, now instead of one overbearing male I had to contend with four.
It had been decided that I wouldn't go back to school for a while, that had caused the first argument, the brothers thought I should go to a top notch university to learn the ins and outs of business, my father thought he should just hire someone to teach me the ropes, and Chase said I will do whatever I chose to do as long as we didn't have to be separated.
How something like that could go on and on for hours was beyond me but I soon learned that the brothers liked to argue with each other.
They fell over each other trying to boss me around, Chase thought it was funny, he could go off to the office knowing that no one was getting anywhere near me with my new guardians on the job. He said he had the best of both worlds, our bedroom was far enough away that we could still get as loud as we wanted to so our sex life was in no way hindered and he had someone or ones to run rough shod over me while he was at work. Huh.
"Chase, you have to make them stop." He laughed on the other end of the line.
"Why, what are they doing now?"
"They got ahold of one of your crazy books that says its good for the baby if I eat all natural foods while in the womb, now they're juicing and baking from the pulp or some such thing, the only problem is they wouldn't let me help and I don't think any of them have ever seen the inside of a kitchen in their lives."
He laughed his fool head off but I was being very serious, I don't think I've been allowed to lift anything heavier than a fork since they got here.
I'd asked if they didn't have to go to work and they'd looked down their noses while admonishing me that men of their worth didn't work, as much as they oversaw their dynasties.
When they started talking about my having to meet with their moneymen and board members and whatnot I got a headache. I could barely grasp the concept of Chase's wealth and largesse after coming from such humble beginnings, accepting that I was now the heir to not only my father's but my uncles' fortunes was just too out there.
I'd asked if they didn't have anyone else, no other family member that was expecting to inherit but they had planned to leave their wealth to a committee that would feed certain charities and other interests they had after they were gone, they were only too happy to give it all to me. It was too much.
Chase said I'll get use to the idea in time but I wasn't too sure.
As for my other family, there was something in the works there but no one was telling me anything. In the evenings Maxwell and Drew would come over and the men would lock themselves away while Rhina and I sat talking or knitting baby booties,I would beg for leniency but Chase's face always got hard when I tried and my father and uncles just patted my head and told me it was nothing for me to worry my head about. They scared me.
Celine had been escorted from the Thornton residence by some men that the Escalante brothers had called all hush hush, she'd screamed and cursed a blue streak but those guys made the secret service look like puppets, no expression on their faces not even a twitch.
I didn't even try listening in at the door because Chase had promised to tan my hide if he ever caught me doing that.