Ignoring Jerome’s call, Elijah met Peach’s eyes and let out calmly, “Answer it,”
Her eyes darted upward to meet his gaze before looking down at her phone screen and then accepting the call, putting it on speaker. “Peach, dear! Are you alright?” Madam Jewel’s voice came from the other end of the line, causing Elijah and Peach to scoff at her fake concern.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” Peach said calmly, not breaking eye contact with Elijah. An awkward silence settled on the line, and it took a while before Madam Jewel spoke again. “Are you… sure?” Her tone was almost concerned, but they could hear the underlying hint of disappointment in it.
“Yes,” Peach mumbled, struggling to cage the anger that flared up inside of her. “But… I heard… this morning that the motel burned down, and I was worried because that’s where you and Elijah with Grace stayed.” “Yeah… It did burn down.”
“And you are fine… Where are you guys staying?” Not wanting to answer that question, Peach didn’t move her lips as she sat there, her jaw clenched tightly against the urge to lash out her feelings at her step-grandmother.
“You know what?… You and Elijah should stop by at the mansion and let’s talk in person… I have a proposal for you guys.” Madam Jewel spoke in a low, calm manner.
Looking up at Elijah, she gave him a what-should-1-do look, and he nodded his head slightly, telling her to agree.
“Umm, okay. We will be there soon,” Peach said reluctantly into the phone, her voice strained from holding in all her emotions.
“Okay then… We will see you both soon.” Madam Jewel said before the call ended, causing Peach to finally sighed heavily, tossing the phone on the bed. A frown etched her face, and she ran her fingers through her hair as she whispered, “Gosh, I hated every second of that conversation. It just made my stomach flip over in disgust.”
A faint smirk made its way to Elijah’s face as he walked over to Peach, rested his palms flat on her thighs, and whispered, “Pretence and patience are the two key things in dealing with people you hate, darling… You got to know how they think, and you need to listen carefully to every word they say, or else it can cost you a lot.”
The way he said those words, with no emotions, and a blank expression as he stared right into her eyes made chills run down Peach’s spine.
His hands slowly slid their way up her legs until he placed his hands on either side of her hips, and leaned forward to brush his lips gently against hers. “We should freshen up and then go meet those laypocrites,” Elijah whispered against her lips, siniting ather.
By ten am, Peach and Elijah were seated in the backseat of the car with Dice behind the steering wheel, eyeing Elijah in the mirror. And then when he and Elijah’s gaze accidentally met in the rearview mirror, it finally clicked to Elijah that he needed to call Jerome back
For a second, his gaze darted towards Peach, watching her focused solely on the window in front of her, and then he quickly glanced away from her, taking off his phone “], what’s up?” Elijah said casually after Jerome had picked up his call.
“Good morning, boss… Sorry for disturbing your honeymoon, but we did a little interrogation with the fools the started the fire at motel, and it seems like I this was a unanimous decision. these men met the Hayes family at the mansion, and with the entire family present, the decision was made to burn down the motel.” Jerome uttered, his voice sounding tense.
Looking back at Peach, Elijah gripped and tightened the phone as he let out, “I see. Thanks for the heads up, I…”
Immediately, Peach looked away from the window and looked at Elijah, raising a brow, but he simply smiled before ending the call.
“Is everything okay?” She questioned, concern lacing her words. “Don’t worry, darling… Everything is good,” Elijah reassured her. The drive to the Hayes mansion suddenly came to an end in the family’s garage, and Elijah looked over at Peach, taking her hand in his before pushing the car door open and getting out, leading her behind him.
After Dice joined them, Elijah and Peach walked into the mansion with him, and when they reached the living room, Madam Jewel with her seven children was seated on the couches, their eyes glued to them as Peach and Elijah walked over to an empty sofa and sat down next to each other.
Right from the beginning, the tension in the atmosphere was palpable and they all semesta bit irritated to see how calm Peach and Elijah were
“Peach honey… where did you leave Grace?” Madam Jewel asked, trying to act casual about the whole thing as if it was nothing but a normal situation. “My mother is well and safe.” Peach replied with ease, her voice cold as ice
Suddenly, Dean’s face contorted into a scowl, meeting Peach’s eyes with a look that seemetto say, ‘What the hell is wrong with you?!
“What kind of response is that?! Mother asked you where Grace is… and not how she’s doing?!” Dean spat, shooting daggers at Peach, who was now glaring at him “I think my wife answered correctly,” Elijah intervened, his tone soft yet itim
“No one asked for your opinion, you arrogant bastard,” Dean snapped at blujah, ansing Peach’s eyebrows to furrow together.
The calmness on Elijah’s face seem more deadly than any rage as he stare bat hatiku spoke, his voice dangerously low, “I didn’t hear Peach asking for yours either the who are you talking when you shouldn’t be, hul, Dean?”
A faint smile curve on Elijah’s lips as he sized Dean with his eyes, and the fifty-four years old man lost his shit, and lashed out, “Mother, please remind me why you think it’s a good idea to help this piece of trash!”
“Watch yourself, Dean! And calm the heck down!!” Tommy yelled at Dean, his face contorting into a scowl as he glared at his brother.
“How about you two stop talking?!” Madam Jewel yelled back, causing everyone in the living room to fall silent.
With a sigh, Madam Jewel turned her gaze back on Peach, smiling warmly, and said, “Honey, I know how much that motel meant to you and your mother. It was your home, your source of income, and where you and your husband should be staying right now… So hearing that it burnt down saddened us, and it’s so devastating that happened to you and Grace.”
‘Then maybe you shouldn’t have fucking burnt it down to ashes?!’ Peach thought, her anger growing as she stared into Madam Jewel’s eyes and gritted her teeth as she kept a neutral expression.
When she looked over at her husband and saw how calm he looked, his advice from earlier popped into her head and Peach whispered in her head, ‘Pretence and Patience…’
“I know it’s going to be hard for you to recover and stand on your two feet again, so I am offering for you, Elijah, and Grace to come to stay here with me until you can get your life in order.” Miss Grace said calmly, and without any emotion whatsoever. “No,” Elijah immediately responded, his expression still as composed as ever. A single word made the entire Hayes family to flinch as they looked up at Elijah with wide eyes.
“Excuse me?” Madam Jewel stuttered, obviously taken aback by Elijah’s refusal. Taking a deep breath, Elijah repeated himself, “No.” “Look here, my mother is being generous and showing you kindness, but you want your ego to grow bigger? What is going on with you, Elijah!? Do you realize how stupid your refusal is!?” Cora snapped, her voice laced with annoyance and frustration as she glared at him.
Their little plan was getting ruined by just one word, and it had all of them pissed off and worried, especially Tommy, because he thought for sure if the motel got burned down, that will leave Peach and Elijah at a disadvantage and they will have no other choice but to live in the Hayes mansion.
“Stupid? Cora, I wouldn’t call that stupid. I just don’t want my wife or my mother-in-law living here,” Elijah stated, a smug grin on his face. “I don’t see the issue with that.”
“Elijah, I will advise you to think about this before allowing your arrogance to run you hradfirst into something that could very easily end badly,” Madam Jewel warned, narrowing herryes at him as she continued.
Meeting her cyes, Elijah took a moment to look at her, and then he smirked, letting out, “I said what I wald, and I meant it.”
The living room immediately fell gulet as everyone watched Elijah stare directly into Madam lewelryos with this smig smile that clearly said, ‘This isn’t happening’
Reln, Madani mwel scowled, svering her eyes on Peach, and sald, “Peach, honey… I know
love can blind one and make them a fool, but-” “My husband alreally said, ‘No! What else do you want to hear from me?” Peach said, her expression soured, feeling irritated. Those words left the Hayeses in total shock, and for a couple seconds, everyone sat in stunned silence. “Peach, you are being foolish and disrespectful right now!” Dean blurted, his face contorted into a frown. “Albert will be.” “Don’t bring my father name into this discussion, Dean!” Peach cut him off sharply, causing his bottom lip to hang loose. Scowling, Amelia glared at her niece and then lashed out, “What has gotten into you, Peach!! Even when Melina was married to this fool, she knew how to put the family first and put him in his place!! Why are you respecting him, instead of looking at the big picture?? You are making a mistake, dear!!”
“No, I think I am making the right decision, Amelia.” Peach refuted, her tone turning colder as she shot Amelia another heated glare.
“It seems like I thought wrong about you, Peach… Since you have chosen a side, I don’t think I want you involved with anything that has to do with this family… including the companies…” Madam Jewel said, her face filled with distaste and displeasure.
A blank expression flashed across Peaches face, as she clenched her jaw tightly, and then she mumbled, “What are you saying?” “I heard that the entire motel burned down…” Madam Jewel said, her voice monotone, and completely void of any emotion, and it caused everyone in the room to go silent. “Were you ahle to salvage anything from the wreckage?”
A look of horror quickly spread through Peaches face as her mind went over everything that she lost, and then she blurted out in her head, ‘Grandpa’s will! It burned too!’