Chapter: 04

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RYLAN

This wasn't how I had imagined the day to turn out. This day was supposed to be enjoyable for Ava. Instead she shed tears. I was one second away from getting the hell out of this place but stopped when Ava nodded to a milkshake.
    
That brought me back to the thoughts of a feisty little waitress.
    
Elena.
    
I was intrigued the moment she stepped in and shielded Ava. Why would she do it? Out of pure goodwill? Or was it how she planned on earning Ava's complete trust for some reason? That would justify Ava's undue attachment to her.
    
It's difficult to believe that in today's world people would lift a finger for someone else unless it's serving some ulterior motives of their own.
    
Could be depressing, seeing things from my perspective but I deemed it advisable. That's how things work in the real world, one works their way up the ladder and stays on top of their business.
    
My thoughts were interrupted when I saw her walking up to us. "A chocolate milkshake for the pretty girl!" She stopped before us and most dramatically placed the glass in front of Ava who in turn giggled.
    
"Elena, he is my Daddy."  Ava grabbed my hand and beamed at her. I supposed that was my cue to introduce myself.
    
"Rylan Parker." I stuck my hand out and noticed her look at it. There was this split second of contemplation in her crystal blue eyes before she overcame it.
    
"Elena Smith." She passed a polite smile while taking my hand. I stared at her hand and was irked at how perfectly it fit in mine.
    
Retracting my hand, I gulped down my annoyance. "You defended my daughter there. You were risking your job." I slightly tilted my head, awaiting an answer.
    
"That woman was clearly crossing her limits." Her face contorted a bit in annoyance before she exhaled and the small smile was back on her face.
    
"Would you like to order?"
    
"A black coffee." She nodded and took her leave. Leaning back in my seat, I watched her retreat till she was out of my sight.

The moment we walked in through the door Ava left my side, hopping her way to Stacey.
    
"Did you and Daddy have fun?" She asked, bringing in a lot of enthusiasm in her words.
    
"Hm…A lot of fun!" I drawled to which Ava seemed to take no notice. Stacey on the other hand raised a brow at me. "What happened?"
    
There couldn't have been a more appropriate timing for my phone to ring and interrupt us, saving me the trouble of engaging in an otherwise long conversation. I however was less amused the second I saw the name flashing on my screen.
    
"Ava will fill you in." I excused myself and walked off to my study and closed the door behind me. I had a fairly good idea as to what this call was about and would kill to not have this exchange.
    
"Dad."
    
"I suppose now is a good time to talk?" The start of the conversation was hint enough that it was exactly what I thought it was about.
    
"Yeah, pretty good."
    
"You have been avoiding my calls." He said dryly. I let out a humorless chuckle.
    
"I had no reason to avoid your calls, did I?" There was a crisp edge to my voice. Even if he did catch on to the note of ill-disposed sarcasm in my words, he didn't show it.
    
"None I could think of." He took a beat.

"Your grandfather's will, I hope you remember that." I rarely regretted my decision. It was one such instance. I regretted picking up the call.
    
"I do."
    
"And?" I heard him heave a sigh of disappointment.
    
"Rylan, you have worked hard for Parker Realty and I hope you know how much effort I have put into our business, in taking it where it is. I would hate for it all to go to waste."
    
"I know."
    
"And what have you done about it? You only have six months left, Rylan! Have you found someone suitable for marriage?" Narrating our experience at the diner to Stacey seemed a more tolerable alternative to the discussions I had been thrust into. In fact I would have done anything to get out of this.
    
"I'm seeing someone." The words were out of my mouth without thinking.
    
After a long few seconds of silence he asked. "You're seeing someone?"
    
It was done and now I couldn't go back. "I believe that's what I said. Yes."
    
"So why haven't we met her?" His question came out quick and with a tone of underlying suspicion.
    
"Well, I wanted to know her, make sure I wasn't making any bad decisions." I kept my voice even.
    
"Right. Bring her to dinner this weekend." This told me he still had his doubts. I wasn't surprised by it though. He was my father and knew me too well.
    
"I'll be busy." I made up at once. There were a few meetings but nothing that couldn't be rescheduled.
    
I pressed my lips together in sheer annoyance. He wasn't letting it pass and I wouldn't be able to avoid him for much longer. "Next month."
    
"Well, now that it's settled I would like to get back to my work now."
    
"Of course." Only after he hung up did I take a moment to realize the consequences of my unthinking lie. I had until next month to find myself a girlfriend.
    
FUCK!

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