His parents are dead
The Subaru Forester sped through the huge open gate, and drove through the yard, into the garage, and then Melina hit the brake pedal hard.
Her little interaction with Elijah had her in all her feelings, and her mood was a mess as she pushed the car door open and stepped out onto the concrete of the front walk. In front of her was a two-stories, enormous fancy mansion with glass panes and a white wraparound porch. Palm trees were lining the driveway and an immaculate flower bed along the side.
The frown she had on didn’t leave her face even after she got to the front door of the mansion and hit the doorbell.
As she was about to ring it for the second time, someone opened the door, and she was met by a tall man in his late sixties with graying hair that wore a light black three-piece suit with a tie that matched his neatly brushed hair perfectly. “Miss Melina, how lovely for you to visit… Good morning.” The butler spoke quietly, a smile plastered on his face.
With a sour expression on her face, she pushed past him, entering the house as she asked,” Where is my grandmother?!”
Butler Gary shook his head at her rudeness, even though it wasn’t the first of its kind, and he closed the door before facing her.
“Madam Jewel is inside the living room, Miss Melina.” He replied politely. “And my parents?” Melinda raised her voice a bit at that last question.
“Your father has left for work, I believe, and your mother… Well, I haven’t seen her this morning, to be honest.”
“Well, take me to my grandmother!”
Melina’s aggressive and demanding ways were nothing strange to Grey because he had served the Hayes family, long before Melina or any of the grandchildren were born… long before Mr. Hayes betrayed his wife.
“Sure, Miss Melina. Please follow me.” Butler Gary responded calmly as he walked past her.
It didn’t take long for them to get to the all-white, marble living room, and when Melina saw her grandmother, sitting on a chaise lounge in the middle of the room with one leg crossed over the other, a book in her lap, she rushed past Butler Grey. “Melina,” Madam Jewel looked up, eyes narrowed and mouth pressed into a thin line.
She set down the book and stood from her seat, her eyes never left Melina’s figure as she asked, “What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be in the office… at work.”
“Grey, leave us!” Melina ordered without looking away from her grandmother. After bowing slightly to Madam Jewel, Grey turned away from both of them and walked out of the living room.
Seeing from her grandmother’s expression that she looked displeased with her, Melina stopped herself and looked at her feet.
For several moments the two women stood there awkwardly, neither saying a word.
Finally, Madam Jewel sighed deeply and sat back down on the couch, and then she motioned for Melina to sit beside her.
Silently, Melina approached her grandmother. After sitting next to her, she placed her hands in her lap and waited for whatever lecture Madam Jewel was going to give her. When she remained silent for so long, Melina finally dared to look up and meet her
“I told you when you decided to marry that lowlife because of some stupid bet with Jessica that it was going to end badly, and yet here we are.” Madam Jewel said, shaking her head.
The statement made Melina feel uneasy, but she remained quiet and let her grandma continue speaking
“I don’t know why we expected anything different from you…” She continued. “You’ve always been like this… stubbornly refusing everything I tell you to do. Is it because your father is my
first born… huh? That’s why you are so stubborn, isn’t it?”
“Grandma, it was a couple of million dollars bet. Of course, you didn’t expect me to not agree to marry that guy. And I’m sorry that it ended like this, but I don’t regret it.” Melina muttered, staring at her own hands in her lap. “After all, Jessica has wired the money to me.”
When her grandmother furrowed her brows, Melina pouted and said, “Also, Jessica’s father is the chairman of TMX incorporation… Their family is not just wealthy, they have an extremely high reputation. Of course, I was going to marry some stranger for her amusement and some good cash.”
Even though Madam Jewel was mad about how ugly the situation had been getting recently, she knew Melina was right, and how important her granddaughter’s friendship with the Astors was for their family.
“I have seen the news… Couldn’t you allow this entire matter to go? It wouldn’t kill you, would it? To let this thing fade in the background. Did you have to make a spectacle out of a terrible decision on your part!” Madam Jewel scolded her, her tone stern.
“Grandma!” Melina exclaimed, surprised by her outburst.
“I don’t need that cockroach you married to still have his name attached to our family and keep bringing scandal to the family name!”
“Then it’s not just me you should be getting mad at! Peach is now seeing him… She and her mother are hooked up on him. They even have him leeching off them, and he stays at the motel!”
The name, “Peach,” made madam Jewel stiffen, and her expression grew darker, her face growing harder.
It was like that name triggered something in her mind, and soon after, Melina heard Madam Jewel whisper, “Why are Grace and her daughter suddenly getting involved with this family
“I don’t know. Maybe to prove something to us or something else. But what I don’t understand is why choose my no-good ex-husband! Are they trying to join forces…” Melina paused, noticing that her Grandmother looked less than pleased and more troubled than she usually did “This your Ex, Elijah… Who is he?”
A tense silence followed those words. The air was thick with tension between them, and Melina nervously scratched her neck, feeling uncomfortable being under her grandmother’s glare.
Finally, Madam Jewel broke the silence, and she gave Melina the coldest glare as she asked,” Who is your ex-husband, Melina?! Like… What are his parents’ names? Where is he from? Who is he related to?!”
A sense of uneasiness came over Melina once more, making her even more worried than she already was, and she felt a lump forming in her throat. Of course, she didn’t know much about Elijah. She didn’t care to know. Marrying him and winning her money was the only thought on her mind. She never asked him in-depth about his life, or anything important about him… And she sure as hell wasn’t planning on ever asking about it. “His parents are dead.” Melina lied with a bold face, forcing a smirk across her face. She knew that if she told the truth, her grandmother’s wrath would be doubled… and maybe even tripled if she found out that she knew nothing about the man she called “Husband” for years.
“So he’s just a nobody with no backing and no future prospects.” Madam Jewel scoffed dismissively. “What’s his last name?!”
“Darius,” Melina said, remembering the one thing she did ask Elijah about.
“Darius… I don’t think I have heard of that family before… That means he’s truly unknown. What makes you think he could be useful to Grace and Peach?”
“I’m not sure, Grandma. But the chief of police recently helped them with the reporters issue.
Another silent pause occurred, and then her grandmother sighed heavily as she began to speak again, “Bamford doesn’t wiggle his tail for anyone. So this must be a big deal. I’ll see what I can find out.”
“Thank you, grandma.” Melina nodded softly, giving a faded smile.
Frowning at her granddaughter, Madam Jewel shook her head and said, “‘Until we can find out what is going on, I advise that you stop giving that useless man a chance to continue ruining
our family’s image… And don’t waste time on your ridiculous media plots. Do you understand?!
‘I have already accomplished what I needed to… Peach and Elijah’s reputations are ruined, and mine is now intact.’ Melina thought, feeling satisfied with herself as she nodded at her grandmother.
“For now, I will let Peach and her mother be. But if I find out that they are coming for our family, then I will have to act, I promise.” Madam Jewel said firmly, her lips tightened firmly.
A smile made its way onto Melina’s lips as she nodded at her grandmother, knowing full well that Madam Jewel meant every word.
“Thank you, grandma,” Melina said, hugging her grandmother tightly with a grin.
The sound of footsteps immediately filled Melina’s ears, making her break contact with her grandmother. Her attention was instantly shifted to the direction of the door, where she spotted her mom.
“Good morning, mother.” Martha greeted Madam Jewel humbly before focusing on her daughter after her mother-in-law had nodded in response to her greeting.
Seeing her brought a wide grin to Melina’s face, and she said to her grandmother softly, “May I be excused?”
When Madam Jewel nodded, Melina grabbed her bag and walked toward her mom, whispering, “Let’s talk somewhere else.”
Quietly, Martha followed her daughter out of the living room and into the hallway before she finally asked, “Why are you here so early? You know the old lady doesn’t like when you guys don’t show up at work!”
“I needed grandma’s help.” Melina replied simply before continuing, “Miss Grace put her hands on me this morning when I went to the motel to talk with her.”
A look of raw anger flashed across Martha’s eyes and quickly disappeared without a trace. “What?!” she whispered angrily. “How dare she?!”
Shrugging her shoulder, Melina pouted with sadness in her eyes, and Martha gently patted her back as she said, “Don’t worry. Your father will hear about this the moment he comes home.”