Chapter 16

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CLARA

I sat in the middle of the couch worrying that I was going to be in trouble real soon. I was watching my husband-to-be walking back and forth while getting intense with his father on the phone.

I went straight to Mateo's house after the meeting because he just disappeared and I understand that he was really confused. I lied to him. I hid things from him. I didn't tell him that I was working with Rafe's twin brother or to the person he knew as the real Rafael Sloan, very much alive.

I knew I was going to be fried and toasted once he's done talking with his father.

"I told you not to interfere with my life anymore, Dad. I am sorry, okay? I am your only son. I know... I know," he sighed, "I never wanted the position? Yes! How many times do I have to tell you?" he nearly shouted, but trying to compose his voice. I knew that he respected his father so much.

"Clara has nothing to do with it. She was only doing her job." Mateo looked at me with his worried eyes, massaging his nape. "Look, I'm tired, Dad. I don't want to talk about this. My wedding is coming soon. Can't you just be happy with me and think about our family for just one second?" he paused, his voice tight.

"Okay." he sighed sharply. "She's here. Yes, I will talk to her. Bye, Dad." Right after he ended the call, he turned off the phone, pulled out the battery and bitterly threw it on the couch next to me. I jerked.

"I'm sorry," I whispered, biting my lip.

He shook his head in disbelief, "Is this the reason why you've been avoiding my calls this past few week?"

I looked at him. He shut off his eyes and exhaled heavily.

"I am sorry. I don't have any excuse to say because I was wrong. I was wrong from hiding things from you because I don't have a choice. Elizabeth asked me this favor. I couldn't even believe it myself. They wanted me to help him and I am the only person who could assist them."

He sat next to me, his expression unreadable. "So, he's back," he snapped. "W-what else did he want?"

"The company is the only thing that he wants. It's his sole purpose from coming back." I couldn't tell him everything. It was the only way I could protect our relationship. I wanted our personal lives out of it now that his father had shown an interest in the company that Rafe built all of his life. It was too unfair just to sit and watch Travis and his family lose everything. I had to do it.

"You didn't want me to see your face while you stay with Eli. Just don't tell me that you—" he stopped. "Are you staying with him?"

"He didn't want to stay with his old house. He's engaged to someone else if that's what you are worried about and so am I with you." I touched his hand, "Please, Matt... I don't want us to fight.

He shook his head, "I just can't believe it, Clara. It's not that I don't want him back and alive. He's still my cousin but everything's going to change now. My father would not let it go. How about Stephon?"

"Rafe knows about him but Stephon doesn't know. I don't want to tell my son about him. I don't want to involve him."

"What about you? How did you... I mean you can't deny you're not affected by all of this. You loved him all these years and—"

"Shh..." I pressed a finger to his lips, "I love you and I am going to marry you. Okay? Tr—Rafe and I are done a long time ago. We are just two people now who had a tragic past. A painful past. He has nothing to do with my present now, okay? Please, just trust me on this." I cupped his face with my palms then pressed a kiss to his forehead.

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