Journal 10: The Complicated Choice

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A/N: Hello everyone! Here's another entry from Brandon. This covers Ch. 9 The Curse of a Conscience. It's where Brandon and Charlotte fight about what happened during the engagement party. A lot of us hated Brandon for that, and maybe we still will after reading this, but we may understand him better. Hope you like it!

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I grew up self-reliant, not because I didn't have family to support me, but because I knew one day, I'd have to be the rock that kept this family together and all the other families that depended on us for a comfortable and financially secure life. 

I was going to be the head of the Maxfield family, of Maxfield Industries. 

It was drilled early into my head that it had, inevitably, become a part of me.

My father and all the other Maxfield heirs before him were sterling examples I couldn't, wouldn't dare shame. 

While it pained my father, and occasionally frustrated my younger siblings, I was so self-reliant that yes, it was rare that I heeded their advice. 

But sitting inside a blasted car, eating cold fast food take-out and pulling my hair out was a new pathetic low for me that I found myself dragging my feet to Dad's house in an ungodly hour.

The entire household was asleep. I still had all my keys and security access so it was no trouble to slip in quietly, depositing myself in my father's library where he stored plenty of his high quality liquor.

I stripped down to my dress shirt and pants and was contemplating the bewildering evening I had over a glass of whisky when I heard my father stroll in, in his slippers and robe, seemingly unperturbed by my irregular and inconvenient visit.

He told me Nelson had discreetly knocked to let him know I arrived and I bit back a curse because now I had an audience expecting an explanation good enough to have been worth their sleep. I didn't really want to talk but my father's one of those people who didn't have to speak to insist you give him what he wanted and without further delay. 

I didn't say much. Figured I didn't have to because the moment I started with the fact that Simone was at the engagement party, the slight change in his expression spoke volumes.

Dad didn't hate Simone. 

They've gotten along well enough in the numerous times they've socialized in many events. 

I never told Dad that Simone and I had an arrangement but despite my rigid control over my business and my life, I had no doubt that Dad knew a great many things and conveniently used the knowledge when the necessity arose.

From his unsurprising lack of surprise, he clearly knew I had been seeing Simone before he dangled Charlotte in front of me. Why he still asked me to pursue her when he knew I was with another woman still puzzled me. It was obvious that he adored Charlotte like a daughter, and for all his cunning brilliance, he never actually interfered with his children's lives—at least not as blatantly as he did with mine. It made me restless to hold back the question but I tamped it down. I admired my father and although I often deluded myself that I could one day be as great as he is, or better, I didn't actually believe it. But he already had way too many advantages over me. To ask him was to show him I was faltering in his ultimatum. So I kept mum even though I wanted to put a fist through my mouth.

To my initial relief, he didn't interrogate me for the rest of the story.

Ironically, my relief turned into agitation because I needed someone to explain why the entire evening went horribly wrong. 

I had my infuriatingly stubborn fiancee I could shake (or kiss) awake until I had an answer but she would probably smack me in the head with the shovel I'd dug myself a hole with. I had my ex-best friend I could strangle information from but he would probably just swing at me and we'd both come out of it with broken and bloodied noses. I had no plans of looking like a street thug on my wedding day, standing by the altar and waiting for Charlotte to walk down the aisle in a snow-white gown.

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