The CEO's Little Stripteuse
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Take it off slowly, inch closer, tease and make 'em believe you're all theirs--Make it perfectly ecstatic. Abigail's code was as simple as they come and had worked impeccably for years with her one and only rule: No touching. But when she pisses off a snob who didn't like it very much, it was up to a certain billionaire to save her from his covetous hands. Except, he isn't quite ready to let her go just yet.
“My mother got flowers today— the loveliest she’s ever got. Too bad she won’t be able to see them this time. She’d smile at them and rest them on the lounge table as a reminder that she was loved.”
To everyone else, the speech was lovely, but to Abigail, she knew there was nothing but a fervent mockery of the whole situation. She eyed the closed box with nothing but contempt. How could one woman be so foolish? So implicitly blind?
“I placed them beside her casket because that’s where she would want them. Open and bold for everyone to see so that she could have a reason to love him.” She said ‘him’ with so much venom, but the congregation only nodded in blind sympathy, as they knew not what was really in Abigail’s heart.
Ever since her mother met Mark four years ago, no one but her had ever known what truly happened within the walls of the Jenison’s house. Mark was the perfect husband to the outside world, and her mother’s never-ending glee of marriage was never seen by the public as something she was suffering from.
She had only been six months into the marriage when Mark first laid his hands on her, and Abigail had called the police in pure fear for her mother’s life.
To Abigail’s surprise, the woman dismissed the accusations to the police and scolded her for interfering in what wasn’t ‘her business’.
Abigail knew from then that this wouldn’t be the marriage she had hoped for her mother after her father passed. Her loving dad would’ve been so disappointed in what her mother’s love life had become.
The worst part was, that wasn’t the only time.
But Mark, with his charming smile, his endless money and his soothing, conniving tongue, always found his way back on her mother’s good side. When it became too much, he started bringing her flowers, jewels and diamonds every time they had a ‘disagreement’. She would love the flowers the most, as she was always a florist by heart.
Mark never hesitated to make Abigail’s mom ‘happy’ with the scented symbols of pain and wholly being shadowed as an apology for whatever crime he had done to her the night before. They were all forgiven, in her mother’s eyes at least, and after four years of begging, pleading and bawling to her mother to leave him, she never listened until she ultimately left forever.
Abi had found the flowers on the porch this morning before the funeral, at the house now void of all screams, shattering glass and Mark’s presence since he vanished.
‘I really did love your mother, Abigail. I wish you could see that.’
She had flung the note in the fireplace and was about to throw the flowers after them too. But then, she knew her mother would’ve kept them until they withered away and died, just like her love for her, and ultimately her life.
“Nice, aren’t they?” Her humourless chuckle echoed in the small mic as all eyes flickered to the rested roses. “She would’ve loved them indeed. They were her hope, after all, for a happy life one day.” Except, that day never came. She wanted to add but decided against it when she realized that a hundred people’s views on her mother would’ve been tarnished.
Let the dead be the dead. There was nothing she could do about it anymore.
Countless times, despite her mother’s requests, she had reported the homely affair to the police. Nobody helped. Nobody looked. Nobody cared.
Now it was all too late, and for the mere peace of her own conscience, she had reported it one last time to the police, telling them that Mark had killed her mother. But Mark’s lawyer pointed out that her mother had a ‘failing heart’, which was the cause of her death.
The saddest part was, she wasn’t even lying.
“My mother got flowers today. And I hope she continues to smile at them as if they were her redemption. Surely, there isn’t any force in this world greater than love,” Abigail ended softly with her heart in a contradicting mess.
She didn’t believe it one bit. She only said it for the sake of everyone and her aunt, who had asked her to share a few words of ‘her mother’s life’. Or lack of rather. She only did it out of respect for the mother she once knew but lost four years ago.
There isn’t any love in this world. It’s greed, lust, submission and pleasure. Maybe in some perfect world, people are actually out there who knew about it, or better yet, felt it. But as for her, there was no love in her life after her father, and none to come ever again.
She was sure of it.
Abi placed the mic back in its holder as she made her leave from the pulpit. She didn’t give the casket that much of a glance as she walked past it, her heels clicking against the tiled church floor as she headed for her seat in the very back.
She kept her head straight, appreciating the gloom that the dark clouds provided, along with its showering downpour to wash away her past. Eyes lingered on her as she stepped past each row, maybe in a scrutinizing, sympathetic or confused way. She wouldn’t know, though. She looked ahead all the way to her empty bench, where she returned with her cold, stoic expression.
She pulled on her black dress as she listened to another lie of friends talking about what an ‘open minded’ and ‘loving’ person her mother used to be. Yet, it didn’t matter anymore. There was no need for her bitterness on such a day.
So, for the rest of the day, Abigail accepted condolences, smiled where she was required, bid farewells and ultimately said goodbye to her mother and her past.
She strolled down the street with a single suitcase rolling behind her, and an image of a new life far away from where her darkest days were spent and where her worst memories sat.
She vowed never to step foot into that man’s house again, and she burnt the money Mark had sent her out of pity. Guilt, maybe?
She didn’t care. She didn’t want anything to do with him or his belongings, and she especially didn’t want anything of her mother’s to remind her of the dread she had to witness.
Hence, with all the clothes and belongings she had bought herself from her own money, along with her few chattels and her recently achieved Degree in Marketing, Abigail flagged a bus and set off to a new life she hoped she could find. Somewhere in the city, maybe?
Abigail had no clue what she’d find or what she’d become, but she knew for sure that she would write her own story.
Indeed, Mark was an evil, monstrous sorry excuse of a human being, but her mother was and always will be a coward who chose her abusive husband over her only life and daughter.
Let them bury her. Let her stay there in a box condemned to the earth forever. She placed herself there.
At least she’ll surely leave with her prized flowers.
“From the top again, Jerry. Tell me the issue.” Theodore pinched the bridge of his nose as he felt the hint of a familiar friend coming to visit. His headache.
Jerry, Theodore’s COO and oldest friend, held the document firmly in his hand that Theodore refused to take.
“I just finished processing the reports from the Italian winery. Apparently, the reason why the production has been so slow is that 2000 acres of the vineyard are infected with Grapevine Trunk Disease,” Jerry explained as he glanced over the report.
It had been appalling news to him too when he first read over the file only an hour ago. But it surely explained the production, or lack of, rather, with the Italian vineyard.
This upset Theodore even more. In the wine business, that was probably one of the worst things that could’ve happened. “For how long?”
Jerry gulped as he eyed the file again, even though h
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