Virgin Bride(7)

By: B. B. Hamel







4





Erin





The night before, I got a stay of execution. I expected to go home and see my father, but instead he was called away on some business dinner But tonight, I know he’s going to be there, waiting for me, ready to grill me on every little thing.

As I ride home in the back of the black town car he sent, I can’t help but feel nervous. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking agreeing to spend time with Griffin. I want to pretend like I’m just following the instructions my father gave me and trying to get as close to him as possible, but that’s not it.

Truth is, I’m way more interested in Griffin than I realized. I don’t know why my father told me that he’s some kind of creep and monster. Griffin seems like a really good guy, a genuine father and a kind person. Plus, I know he’s interested in me, which really was the plan from the start.

But I never expected him to be so handsome and charming. I’ve never had a man like him interested in me before. I always thought I was a little too plain, a little too boring. I can’t help but feel excited just thinking about Griffin, and I want to get to know him in a real way.

But I have a job to do. I have to keep reminding myself that. It’s for my family, and like my father always says, family comes before everything.

Which is funny, actually. Because really my father comes before everything. His businesses and his successes are always more important than anything I do. He sent me away to school overseas under the pretext of getting me a good education, but I suspect he just didn’t want to have to deal with me. My mother didn’t try to keep me around either, which didn’t surprise me. Lynette Fisher is more interested in her little cocktail parties than she is in her offspring

The car pulls up in front of the house and I climb out. My nerves are getting worse, but I just have to ignore them and keep going. I head inside the house and shut the door behind me.

“Hello?” I call out, wanting to get this over with.

Ward appears at the top of the stairs. “You’re late,” he says.

I frown at him. My brother is older than me by two years and he’s practically the same person as my father. He’s being groomed to take over my father’s businesses when he gets a little older. We’re not close, not at all.

“I have to stay as late as he wants me to,” I say to him, continuing on into the house.

“Doesn’t matter,” he calls out after me. “Remember, you don’t really work for him.” Ward comes halfway down the steps and leans out into the hallway.

“Actually, I do,” I say, looking back at him. “And if I’m supposed to do this freaking insane thing, I’m going to actually act like it.”

Ward frowns at me. I’m not sure he even understands how this whole thing works. But before he can keep on trying to be the bully he loves to be, my father calls out from his study.

“Erin, come in here.”

I roll my eyes at Ward and head through the kitchen. Father’s study takes up most of back of the house. I knock once on his door then head inside.

Rick Fisher looks at me from behind his desk. His suit jacket is tossed over the chair next to his desk and his tie is halfway undone. He’s clearly been drinking, which makes my heart beat faster. My father isn’t a nice man when he’s drunk, but I’m hoping he just started.

“Sit,” he says.

I take a seat in front of him, feeling nervous. If somebody were watching this from the outside, they’d never know that I’m his daughter. Rick has never been a nice man. In fact, he’s always been controlling and intense. There’s not much kindness in him, and I was practically raised by a long string of Hispanic nannies, which is why I speak Spanish really well. Rick is a harsh and cold man, but he’s given me everything, and he is still my father. Although I don’t feel like I’m an important part of the family, they are still blood.

That’s part of why I agreed to do this in the first place. I don’t know why I even still care, but I do want my father to be proud of me. I want to fit in with my family, even though I’m not really an asshole like they are. I agreed to do this task because I hoped that my father would respect me for it and finally give me the interest and respect that I deserve.

But as soon as he speaks, I’m not so sure that’ll ever happen.

“You’re late,” he says.

I sigh. “Like I was telling Ward, I have to stay as late as he wants me to stay. I need to keep up the façade, right?”

He nods slightly. “That’s right. Good. What do you have for me?”

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