Chapter 10

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Javier's POV

I rocked my heels back and forth on the marble floor in the office space as I waited to see Mr Wraithe. It wasn't a meeting I looked forward to and I'd rather have chosen to remain seated in the not so fancy reception, with bland ceiling decor and peeling white painted walls. Mr Wraithe was a schadenfreude who reveled in other people's misfortunes, his job of a loan shark was definitely not the right one for him. I busied myself with one of the issues of vogue magazine that lay discordantly on the oak table to pass time. I flipped through the pages, not really scanning its content, stopping at eye catching images and making mental notes of vacation locations.

"Mr Callaghan, Mr Wraithe will see you now," The Hispanic receptionist smiled in my direction and I nodded.

I got up, buttoning my navy blue suit jacket with blue buttons and smoothening the folds in my crisp trousers before walking in the direction of his office.

"Hullo Mr Callaghan!" He drawled with a somewhat mischievous smile on his sun burnt face. My eyes moved down to his mouth where a huge piece of tobacco smoke hung casually. I always wondered how he could talk so normally with the death stick hanging out of his mouth.

"Hello Mr Wraithe," I extended my hands forward for a shake and he closed it with his hard calloused hands. I shuddered lightly thinking of how many good souls have ascended to heaven and bad souls have descended to hell by that hand.

"Aha! Javi, my boy! What brings you to this side of town?" He asked, after we were both seated.

"Drew sent me," I sighed.

"Oh really!" He feigned surprise and I resisted the urge to roll my eyes.

I looked round the office at various paintings of naked Hispanic women and a few of the awards and plaques he had collected. My eyes caught sight of a painting balanced in the centre of the wall right above his desk of a strikingly beautiful woman—also Hispanic—with shiny black hair and a captivating smile. I wondered who she was when his hoarse voice cut through my thoughts.

"Ah! I see your eyes have finally landed on my wife," he laughed, a sound that rumbled like the music produced by a bass drum. "It's okay, everyone stares at the painting. It's my best one yet. Got it done for $13,000," he bragged.

"As if I care," I muttered under my breath.

"Let's get back to business, Mr Wraithe. As much as I would not love to be here all day, I have other engagements."

"Start whenever you're ready," he urged me on with his hands.

I leaned back in the leather chair and it creaked from the change in position. My eyes met his from across the room and the tension in the room thickened like a piece of bread in broth.

"Drew wants you to stop lending money to his boys."

He laughed. Started out as low chuckles to full blown hard laughter. My brows scrunched up in confusion, then my expression hardened and I could feel the anger and impatience slowly seep into my blood.

"Did I say something funny?" I asked.

"Oh yes! I apologize for my uncouth behaviour but we both know that isn't possible," he chuckled.

"And May I know why Mr Wraithe?"

"I don't force anyone to lend money from me. I'm a loan shark and I see everyone as clients irrespective of who they are. If Drew's boys come in here to lend money, then by all means they'd get whatever amount they wish for. I wouldn't have to chase after anybody if they pay back on time," he said with a smirk. I didn't know which irked me more, the smirk on his face or the way he casually filed his fingers in a serious meeting.

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