Chapter 92: The last laugh
Even though she was hesitant, Natalie pushed the huge wooden door open, and then looked back at Elijah and Peach, mumbling, “This is it.”
Calmly Peach walked past her, entering the office, and Elijah let out a soft sigh before following her into the room, then Natalie closed the door, leaving the two alone.
There was this long pause between them as they both stood awkwardly in the center of the room while she stared at him.
“You knew you weren‘t going to go to jail, didn‘t you?” Peach asked, her voice calm but not exactly pleasant.
“I had an idea,” Elijah replied, not looking at her. “I just… wasn‘t quite sure if I could pull it off. But I am glad I did.”
A look of hesitation crossed her face for a second before she seemed to settle down and took a deep breath before speaking again, “I‘m just glad you and Matt don‘t get to go to jail.”
‘But there are more your lips are refusing to say,‘ Elijah thought to himself, watching as Peach fidgeted slightly with her hands.
It was no secret to her, at this point, that her husband was not a simple man and the fact that he could challenge the Hayes in such a way by what he did to Elmer made her realize that she wanted him by her side more than ever, not only in love but in every aspect of her life.
Calmly, Peach darted her gaze around the huge office, feeling a sense of uneasiness rise up within her.
“I can‘t believe I own this place… Thanks to you.” Peach muttered under her breath, taking another deep breath, before looking at him once more, “But I am scared and nervous… A bit shaken up, and… I don‘t know where to start.”
Running her hands through her hair, she took one last steadying breath, mumbling, ‘This place has been operated by the Hayes for years, and everyone in here is loyal to them. Can I even be able to handle this position without running afoul of them?”
For a moment, Elijah stared at the look of sheer panic on her face, and he slowly took his hands out of his pockets, closing the distance between them to grab her hand gently, asking, “You want this company, right?”
“Well… yeah, yes. Of course.” Peach said, watching his eyes for a second, and then a small smile graced her face. “But I want to run it with someone I can trust… someone that has my back, umm… someone who‘s really smart, handsome, strong…”
Even though he knew where she was going with this, Elijah couldn‘t help teasing her as he mumbled, “I am getting a bit jealous here. Like how can you describe someone else in front of your husband like that? Take pity on my poor heart, woman.”
A wide laugh erupted from Peach, and she shook her head lightly as she gave his hand a quick squeeze, letting out, “You know what I mean.”
When Elijah raised a brow, his expression blank, she chuckled, leaned closer, and said, “I want you as my partner, not only in marriage but in business.”
Silent moments passed between them after those words as Peach stared at him, waiting for a response. When none came, she glanced down at her hand which still held onto his before lifting her head to look back at him and mumbled, “I know you have other plans, but-”
“I would love nothing more than to be your business partner,” Elijah replied with a smirk, leaning his body towards hers as his free hand reached up to stroke his fingers against her cheek.
Her eyes locked on his, staring deeply into them before she finally smiled, closing her eyes briefly as she let herself enjoy the moment, and then opened them once more, gazing at him fondly as she whispered.” Good. Because I was thinking about changing my name on the will from Peach Hayes, to Darius, so this place can have no ties to that family.”
The mood grew more affectionate, and they were so wrapped up in each other‘s gazes as the silence stretched between them, that it felt as though time itself stopped.
And when Elijah finally leaned in, brushing his thumb over her lower lip to part them, the door suddenly swung open, causing Elijah to swing his gaze away from Peach and onto an elderly man, storming into the room with a glare directed straight at Peach.
She instinctively stepped backward, pulling her hand from Elijah‘s grip as she turned her body to face the old man, saying calmly, “Excuse me?”
A scowl etched itself across the old man‘s wrinkled face as he growled, “You must be Peach Hay-”
“Darius,” Peach interrupted firmly, stepping forward.
Her tone made him shut his mouth instantly, and he cleared his throat, turning away from her just to meet Elijah‘s icy stare.
“You are?” Elijah prompted, not bothering to hide the annoyance in his voice.
“I‘m Mr. Daniel Ferguson.” The man responded in a low gruff tone. “A member of the board of directors. I heard about what happened to Elmer, and I thought…”
“You thought to bash in here and say what?”
A look of surprise flashed across Daniels‘s face for a split second as he locked eyes with Elijah, and he thought, ‘This company is already dying. Now that Elmer is gone, it‘s only going to sink to the bottom from here. So I don‘t know what you two are proud about!
Then he quickly schooled his features into a neutral expression and said, “I thought to come and congratulate you two, and introduced myself to the new shareholder of the company.”
The fakeness in his tone annoyed Elijah to no end, and he folded his arms, raising his eyebrows as he watched Daniels, who remained calm, although a hint of nervousness appeared in his eyes, and then he said, “That‘s good because a board meeting is happening this Saturday, and we‘re expecting all employees to attend, whether or not they want to.”
“Of course, sir. That‘s very kind of you.” Daniel responded quietly, glancing sideways at Peach, who was standing silently by Elijah. “Now, I should probably return to my office and start preparing for this meeting, of course.”
The sarcasm in his voice annoyed Peach to no end, but she didn‘t dare show any emotions on her face.
For a moment, she kept silent as Daniel left the room, slamming the heavy oak door behind him, and then she turned to look at Elijah, “Did you hear the way he said those words… Like a joke or something.”
“The last laugh is what matters, darling,” Elijah responded in a deadpan manner, smirking.
One after another cars pulled out in the yard of the Hayes mansion and soon enough all seven of Madam Jewel‘s children were out of their vehicles.
Immediately, Matthew, Cora, Amelia, Tommy, Eli, and Dean stopped, staring wide–eyed at Elmer‘s bruised
up face, and when he opened his mouth to speak, Eli shouted, “Damn!!”
A look of annoyance swept over Elmer‘s face at his brother‘s reaction but before he could make a snide remark, Amelia spoke up. “Who messed you up like that?” As the oldest, Dean felt anger rising inside of him that someone would dare raise a hand to hit his brother, a Hayes, and he looked down at Elmer before asking coldly, “Who‘s the animal with a death wish that was stupid enough to do this.”
A wave of embarrassment rushed over Elmer‘s face, and he stared away from his siblings before whispering, “It‘s okay guys, don‘t worry… I can handle this myself.”
Shaking their heads as they looked at one another, Cora sighed, “Elmer, don‘t even try to downplay this shit…”
“Yeah, we aren‘t buying it,” Eli added, glaring directly at Elmer.
But his brother simply narrowed his eyes and walked off, leaving them all with a bewildered look on their faces.
“This is unacceptable!” Mathew uttered firmly, looking over at Dean and the others
“Whoever that asshole is… He better be praying for nine lives because he‘s going to be needing them pretty damn badly for this shit he did.” Dean muttered darkly.
Reaching for her teacup, Madam Jewel raised it to her lips and took a long sip just at the moment Elmer marched through the doorway, and she immediately spat the tea out as she choked on the liquid, coughing furiously, clutching her chest, and tried desperately to catch her breath.
“Elmer!!” Madam Jewel gasped out as she set the cup on the table and stood up.
With a frown, Elmer moved forward towards his mother, and soon the others walked into the living room and Madam Jewel darted her eyes toward them before looking at Elmer.
“What happened to your face!” She exclaimed, trying to keep her voice under control as she took a step forward toward him.
When silence met her question, she frowned, and then asked again in a slightly raised voice, “WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR FACE, ELMER!”
A weak sigh escaped Elmer‘s lips as he averted his gaze and murmured, “Elijah,” 1
The room immediately went cold at that name, like everyone had been frozen solid and couldn‘t move from the sheer shock they felt.