A Billionaire's Promise
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On the day she lost her grandfather, the most important person in her life, Mia Stewart discovered her grandfather got her entangled in an arranged marriage for some reasons. Faced with two challenging choices; one to live as his granddaughter and heiress to his company while being married to Aziz Garrett, the youngest and most successful billionaire in South Lake Union for three years and also being in charge of her late parents properties. Or to watch her inexperienced aunt take over a larger percentage of shares of her late parents companies while also becoming the heiress of her grandfather's companies. Because of the circumstances, Mia had to make a choice she hopes never to regret, even if it means not being with the one she loves.
Chapter 1: Grandfather's Will
Running in the rain with all the strength she could muster, Mia Stewart had tears rolling down her cheeks in torrents. The rain splashing and wiping against her face succeeded in washing the tears away but it did nothing to stop the continuous flow. Her long blonde hair was wet and dripping chill drops of rain water, while sticking against her scalp and her party mini denim skirt was torn because of how fast she ran amidst the traffic but it didn't matter.
Nothing else mattered to her now __ not even the expensive diamond rings she always adorn on her fingers. Mia wasn't the least concerned at this point if she's lost a few of them in her panic.
Arriving at the huge exquisite gate of her grandfather's villa, she stopped abruptly as a sudden rush of regret overwhelmed her.
If only she hadn't listened to cousin Riley's silly suggestion of going to party with her friends at the popular 'Waves Club' in South Lake Union. If only she had stayed back with grandfather like Xara had suggested. If she had listened to that suggestion, she would at least have been by his side before he passed on to the great beyond. She would have talked long with him and listened to his never ending fountain of wisdom and fatherly encouragements.
But because of her reckless zeal to always be in her 'awesome' high moods, she's lost that chance forever __ she's lost the only person who cared most about her and the only one who mattered the most in her entire life.
Mia has just lost her only surviving direct family, Grandfather Mattio Stewart, the helmsman of the Stewarts.
Some minutes earlier, after arriving Waves club, she was yet to fully get into the vibing and partying with her friends when Butler Hale's call came in. At first, Mia wanted to ignore his call thinking he was going to nag her once more on grandfather's usual orders that she returns home, but on second thought, she had received the call.
"Ms Stewart," She heard the butler's shaky voice almost immediately. "The...the Chairman..." When Mia had sensed something was wrong, she immediately excused herself from her friends and had walked to a slightly calmer section of the club.
"Mr Hale what's wrong? What's happened to grandfather?" She had impatiently asked.
Sniffing back his tears, Butler Hale had courageously announced the heart wrecking news to her. "You have to come home immediately. The Chairman has passed on."
Initially, Mia didn't understand him. Probably because of the noisy environment she was in or because her brain simply refused to register that 'Fact'. However, when Butler Hale had repeated himself, Mia had slowly digested the shocking information as she felt her whole world suddenly crashing beneath her while every sound around her became null. And without an idea what she was doing, she ran out of the club and into the dark rainy night as her heart continually sank deeper than ever before.
Clubbing while it rained used to seem like a brilliant idea but now, this would be the night she regrets the most in her life.
"Grandfather..." She would mutter at intervals. "Please! This can't be."
But as she ran, it all slowly registered in her head and then, she couldn't stop her tears from rolling continuously down her cheeks. Butler Hale wouldn't dare to make such an 'expensive' joke. She wouldn't deny it. Actually, she couldn't deny it.
Had grandfather been ill? She doubted the possibility of that. Mia had always made sure to check with his doctor twice every month and Doctor Jace had always assured her that grandfather was healthy.
Perhaps, she was the clueless one. If only she had known.
"Grandfather!" She sobbed, collapsing onto the wet cold floor as her vision blurred.
Mia wasn't concerned that the entrance of the villa was already crowded or that many people __ with their umbrellas over their heads, were watching her in pity. The guards around could only bow their heads sadly, not daring to approach her as she cried so convulsively at the gate.
"Poor child. Who would look after her now?" The crowd muttered amongst themselves.
"Ms Stewart!" Mia heard the Butler's voice as he ran over to her in company of Xara _ the head cook and assistant chief of staffs of the Stewarts household.
"I'm sorry young Ms. I'm so sorry." Xara cried, falling down to her knees beside Mia and pulling the crying girl into her arms.
"Xara pl-please...please take me to grandfather." Mia said through her tears.
"Young Ms." Xara cried, hugging her even tighter.
"Please, just let me see him." Mia sniffed, feeling her eyes sting her. "I have to see him."
Staring at the cold, immobile form on his bed, Mia had a woebegone expression as she silently wished he could just open his eyes and talk to her.
It was past midnight since she had knelt by his side, taking note of every little details of her precious grandfather for the last time. And it seems, she's only just realizing, how thin grandfather became before his death.
Just tonight, Mia learned from Butler Hale that Grandfather Mattio had been ill for over six months and was diagnosed with a severe heart disease.
He never wanted her to know so he had instructed Doctor Jace and all the house staff never to breathe a word of his condition to her or anyone else. But it seems Mia's Aunt, Meredith must have known about his condition for a while now and likewise her daughter, Riley. But they all kept it from her.
At this moment, Mia felt extremely conflicted but her grief was greater than all other ill feelings she felt within.
Butler Hale and Xara had patiently stayed by her side all through the hours she's been in here, mourning him.
"Ms Stewart, I think it's time you let go." Butler Hale said after yet another hour was past.
"Yes, Ms. Stewart. Mr Hale is right. At this point you might end up catching a cold." Xara agreed. She walked forward to Mia and pulled her up from her kneeling posture. "I've instructed for a warm bath to be prepared for you. Come on now, you need to be prepared as there's still a lot ahead of you." She added in a motherly manner.
Mia nodded slowly as two more streams of tears, rolled down her cheeks.
But before Xara escorted her out of the room, she took one last and long look at his pale and lifeless form before he was covered with the white sheet.
Riley stared satisfactorily at her reflection in the vanity mirror. Cordelia did a good job as always.
"What do you think Ms. Piper? Do you need a few touch of..."
"No it's fine." Riley interrupted the anxious Cordelia. "This should do." She added dismissively.
"Alright, Ms." Cordelia bowed her head slightly towards Riley before she packed up her make-up box and exited the room.
Although she's a highly skilled make-up artist, Cordelia has long worked for the Pipers as Riley's personal make-up artist and as such, she's naturally familiar with Riley's unusual or impromptu demands. It was no surprise to her when the young Ms had requested she gave her a gloomy-like make over, such that would easily portray how well she was grieving over her grandfather's death.
As Cordelia walked down the hallway from the second floor of the enormous Stewarts main villa, a young maid from the Pipers household hurriedly passed by, nodding in brief greetings to her.
Noticing her haste, Cordelia easily understood where she was headed. She offered a warm smile to the younger woman before she walked on.
Riley was taking one last look over her appearance while trying to feign a perfect sad expression, when the gentle knock on the room door interrupted her.
"Is that Beverly?" She asked without turning to the door.
"Yes Ms." The person across the door responded.
"Come in." Riley said as she ran a hand through her long, black silky hair which she had just disheveled.
"Ms Piper." Beverly walked in and bowed slightly. "Ms Stewart is back." She gleefully announced.
Turning swiftly to face Beverly as her round-shaped, golden brown eyes twinkled with mischief, Riley hurriedly asked. "Really? Mia's back from the club?"
"Yes Ms. She's being escorted to the general living room presently." Beverly reported.
"Awwwn," Riley said pretentiously. "How heartbroken she must be. There's no one else now. She's completely alone in this household." She smirked. "Let's go."
Urging the maid to lead the way, Riley adjusted her long black mourning dress before she joined her.
Just as Riley had known it would be, all eyes turned in her direction immediately she stepped into the large living room which was vastly occupied by close and distant relatives of the Stewarts.
The crowd of mourning relatives with red, swollen eyes immediately began another round of excessive bawling and weeping when they saw her.
"My God! Riley's become so pale."
"Grandfather's sudden death must have come as a huge shock to her."
Several of the Stewarts and their relatives couldn't help but exclaim.
"Oh my poor girl! My poor Riley! Look how suddenly thin you've become." A petite woman with short red curls, cried as she stood up from her seat and hurried towards her.
"Mom!" Riley immediately held the woman's hands as tears quickly pooled in her eyes. "I can't believe this is happening." She sobbed.
"I understand my darling. Come here." The middle aged woman, Meredith, pulled her sobbing daughter into her arms.
Mia sitting on a couch, wrapped up in Xara's motherly arms, watched the scene but couldn't be bothered by Riley's or her Mom's hypocrisy.
After some minutes of crying in each other's arms, both mother and daughter wiped their tears and sat down.
"Uhm Mom, now that grandfather is dead, we need to know his Will right?" Riley's sudden unnecessary question, sparked a mixed reaction amongst the crowd, drawing Mia's attention immediately.
Although she had directed the question to Meredith, it's obviously meant for everyone's hearing.
Mia sat up from Xara's hold instantly. Glaring in shock and disappointment at her cousin, she thundered. "What the heck Riley?! How could you think of that at this moment?!"
"Shut up Mia! Riley is right. We need to know grandfather's Will immediately."
"What?! Aunt Meredith how could you say such a thing? Grandfather's still lying in the mortuary yet to be buried, but you dared to think about his Will at such a period? Don't you have any sense of decency? Even if you never respected grandfather in his life time, you could at least spare some respect for the dead. Goodness!" Mia countered back. She refused to be intimidated by her self-conceited relatives.
"What?! Oh my gosh! Did that child just talked back at me? Do you think you could still run to your grandfather and cry after a little scolding from me this time? You said it yourself, 'grandfather is dead!' And as such, the living must keep on living right? Or do you want us all to join him?" Meredith hollered, visible lines squeezing between her brows at the thought of this unruly niece of hers that's always in disagreement with her decisions.
Mia was stunned speechless by Meredith's words to the point she felt like crying. If Grandfather Mattio were alive, he definitely wouldn't have imagined such a thing happening.
"I won't allow anyone talk about Grandfather's properties or even his Will while he's still in the mortuary. In fact, I won't take it likely with anyone who dares to talk about such things while the family is in mourning!" She finally said.
"And what makes you think you could make such decisions on behalf of the family? You're just an unfilial granddaughter who went to party while her grandfather was in sick bed! So, what right do you think you have to try being domineering before us all?" Riley's words cut deep into Mia's tender heart and hurt her so intensely.
Especially because Riley was the one who made her go to the party without even informing her that grandfather had collapsed. Mia desperately wished she could go back in time to a few hours ago. But it was too late for that now. Now she must stand unwaveringly against her scheming relatives that never really cared about her or grandfather Mattio.
"Riley that's enough!"
"But Dad she's..."
"I said enough! Okay?" Kenzo Piper who's been silent since, suddenly thundered, making Riley and other extended family members present, to flinch in fear. Kenzo was known to seldom get angry but when he did, it always produced a disastrous result.
"Mia is right. How dare you both have such unbelievable ideas when the family is in such a situation?" He continued.
Mia almost couldn't believe her ears when her Aunt's husband stood up for her. But of course, she expected it to be short lived in as much as Aunt Meredith was present.
"Honey, it's not so. We're just trying to state facts here. The matter of my late father's Will isn't avoidable and as such, we'd definitely have to talk about it now or in the near future." Meredith turned to look at her husband as she talked, making emphasis on the 'my late father's Will' to make him remember that it was a matter concerning her family and as such, he held no much power in issues involving making or contributing in family decisions regarding the Stewarts.
Of course, Kenzo Piper got the message. He cleared his throat unnecessarily then slowly and gently said.
"Of course the issue of the late helsman's Will isn't avoidable. But I think we can discuss this matter after late Mr Mattio have been put to rest. Besides, we still have guests coming to pay homage to him." Kenzo cleared his throat once more before he sat down. His words gave both Meredith and Mia an out.
Moreover, the other family members agreed with his words.
While Mia heaved a sigh in relieve, Riley glared at her and secretly made eye communications with her Mom.
"Hmm, the Stewarts are really an interesting family." They suddenly heard a deep voice said as the entrance door of grandfather Mattio's villa opened and two familiar men, marched in the residence.
The younger man stepped into the middle of the large, grand living room and said. "I do have the late chairman's Will but as my fiancée had said, we must put the chairman to rest first before such issues would be discussed!" He announced and as expected, his words caused an uproar in the entire living room.
"The Chairman's Will?"
Everyone, Mia included, turned to look at him with widened eyes and dropping jaws. Their bewilderment at the sudden turn of events, almost unbelievable.
Chapter 2: His fiancee?
When Mia turned and saw the men, her eyes widened in surprise over their sudden appearance.
As her grandfather's most favorite grandchild, and as a fact that she lived with him all her life, she immediately recognized them.
The younger, taller and really handsome man having a firm build and a confident aura, with his darkbrown hair in a taper-fade cut and dressed in a black three-piece suit, was none other than the famous Aziz Garrett, the CEO of G-tex Corporation. One of the largest and top most successful company in South Lake Union extending all over Seattle and even Washington at large.
Aziz Garrett was grandfather Mattio's most trusted business partner. Also, he shared a relationship somewhat similar to that of a 'grandson and a grandfather' with the late chairman.
The other man, with shiny black hair neatly combed back and dressed in a brown suit was Barrister Grey, her late grandfather's lawyer.
However, Mia wasn
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