"Do you think your brother will still be an asshole just like last time or this time he'll be more tempered and treat you like a real adult?" Dani asks me. We are on our way to the meeting, in the car that the firm sent to pick us up. As usual, he has a point and maybe that is the only reason why I don't want to attend this meeting.
Seeing my father and talking to him after all these years, is not immensely hard or unendurable. I accepted the terms that he has finally earned his redemption towards me and himself. Torturing him for his past and his youth isn't the justice I'm aspiring to achieve in my life. I optioned for mercy and love instead and the act of letting it go, since it is better for my soul and heart. Through the years, I've discovered that I'm a duplicate of my father's appearance and mind.
Why I shouldn't forgive him. Forgiving him is as I'm forgiving myself. What we have is shared between him and me and sacred only to us.
But when it comes to my brother Calum, everything is reverse. I doubt that he will ever eliminate the hatred that he still has towards me. He always tries to remind me that I'm the daughter that didn't exist until a couple of years ago.
"I actually want to see or hear him insult me for a billionth time, but in front our father and not in some isolated corner," I tell Dani.
I do want him to do that because I have the permission and strength to insult him back and to put him in his own place. He was and still is jealous - that's a fact. Our father's affection is split between me, our young brother Arthur and him. After my "famous" return to the family I didn't know, our father at the beginning was more inclined towards me and forgot about his existence for a year or two. Arthur who has a gentle heart accepted me and welcomed me with open arms, but Calum is prepared to make my life a hell after the stint I did on him.
After I my adoption, Mayra convinced me that maybe it will benefit me to find more about my biological parents and if they are still alive or if I have living family members whatsoever.
I managed to find a financial support sustainable enough for my cause and with Mayra's help, I hired an investigator. I didn't have any hope, nor I wanted to know if my parents are alive, but my mother convinced me to do a research about my origin. After it, I just waited for any information. Eight months passed and the first news came. Apparently, I have a brother who is working as a lawyer in a prestigious New York firm.
Shock was the first thing I felt. Then anger. And then pain. How can he just forget about my existence and not look for me? Am I not important to him? I'm his kin, and maybe his only closest family member. Or he is happy and he doesn't want me. Or maybe he doesn't know that he has a sister.
Doubt, clotted hatred and anger were growing inside me and made me feel worthless. I was questioning everything and I hated everything. I wanted to forget and move on, but something inside me didn't let me. I had a shitty life so far and maybe if this is another shit that I have to face, probably it won't be bigger than the others that I've had so far. So I took a leap of faith and went to New York.
Harry. That is his name. According to the file that I received from my investigator, he is one of the most promising lawyers in the country and the youngest partners in the firm he works for. At least, we are both intelligent and share love towards intellect and reason.
I made a fake appointment so I can see him in person and find more about him from his own words and actions. I waited and waited and as I was about to leave his office, he came. My first thought was - this man can not be my brother.
We don't look anything alike.
But as the meeting progressed I found some resemblance between us in the way he spoke. Or his sharp tongue and words that are full of honesty and assurance. He is confident, full of himself and not ashamed of who he is.
"Don't worry, Ms Lenox, we will definitely win this case. Have faith and be sure of the outcome. Don't worry about a thing. When they hear that Harry Specter is representing you, they will drop the suit and you will walk out of the meeting richer." Here is a man unaware of my lie and still offers me victory. Maybe he will accept me or he will leave me to live in peace and forgets me, just like he did before.
"Thank you, Mr Specter. I appreciate your belief in my case and also for offering me confidence that I will win. It means a lot to me that someone actually cares for me and will do anything to help me."
"Please, it's my job and I will do anything in my power to win this, and Ms Lenox - trust me we will."
I was counting the seconds before I leave his office and also doubting if I should, at least, give him some kind of an inkling of who I'm or the real purpose of this meeting. In a split of a second, I decided that now it's "do or die" moment.
I took a breath and said to him. "Mr Specter, I'm you biological younger sister that you didn't know that existed until now. I've decided that it's time for you to know who I'm. This is my leap of faith and will you be there to catch me?"
He continues to stare at me dumbfounded and I can hear his laboured breathing. I take a breath as well and continue with my "speech". "Now, I will give you a moment to compose yourself and to tell me everything you know. And, please don't be shy or don't even try to lie to me, because trust me - I will know!"
The colour from his face is gone and he pales. He is, indeed very, very shocked. He has this exceptional terrified look and in that moment I know that I've made a mistake. Whatever he know or is prepared to tell me, isn't any good. Secretly, he is aware that I'm also not prepared to know it or to hear it. But my will for discovery about my parents is stronger than anything. Even though another fiasco shit is about to happen, I'm prepared to witness the turning moment that will change my life forever.
The drive to the firm is short and fast. I'm trying my best to make small talk with Dani and being focused, but I do know that he knows that I'm not paying attention at all. My anxiety grows bigger and bigger with each passing moment, making me unease and pale. I'm counting the minutes mentally like a mad woman and hoping for the best.
As we enter the company's elevator I move to the farthest corner, pulling my back straighter than I've ever had and take a defensive position with a stern look on my face. Noting my defensive mode, Dani makes space in the elevator for my "ready for any attack" position. My agitated posture allows me to be prepared for anything or if someone is bold enough to offend me or try to say something to my face that I don't like.
As the elevator is going up, my mood turns from "prepared for anything" to "fuck me I'm going down and regretting this". Dani senses my worries and automatically moves beside me. It's like he noticed my aura and secretly tries to reassure me that everything will be fine.
He faces me and looks me straight into my eyes. His are full of hope and care, while mine are with iced fear. Just by looking at them, my heart slows down and my breathing becomes slower, controlled. I nod so he can know that it works and I give him a shy, reserved smile.
I hear a ding and the both of us exit the elevator. We are on the right floor where the meeting will be held. I take a large gulp of new breath, straighten my spine and make my way towards my office.
I don't know why I worry so much when it will be just numbers and some old men saying how the company is doing great and approximately about an hour from the start, I will be out and headed to my therapist. I have bigger shit to deal with than being afraid of my stupid brother or the stares of pathetic, grumpy people.
"You don't have to worry so much. It can kill you one day," Dani says to me while I'm fixing my makeup. He truly doesn't miss a thing.
"I know. It's just ... Ugh ... It's in my nature to overthink and to be worried. I'm afraid that something will go wrong and that I won't be able to control it or fix it."
"C'mon Matilda. These people don't know who are you for real and you don't own them ANYTHING! They are pathetic sons of bitches who have boring lives and need a distraction in their life. You, being powerful and influential is consider a threat to them by themselves and by destroying you, they will finally find their lost manhood. Just let them talk shit for an hour, go to your appointment, rest and go out. Don't forget about the bar tonight. Okay," he winks.
My breathing stops for a second when he mentions "the bar" and falsely, like I don't care, continue to watch myself in the mirror.
Ugh. Do I really have to go there?
On the bright side, Vyanna will be by my side so I won't have to worry about a thing. I know that everything will be fine and there is nothing to be afraid of. Just a small get together with our friends and then I will be home and having a tight sleep.
From time to time, I catch myself mentally thanking him for his and their unconditional friendship. I love his faith in me at this moment and for being there too. As my "personal" assistant, his presence is required, but I do know that he comes only for me.
I check my watch and there are only 10 minutes left until the meeting. Nervously I check my suit and I can see that it isn' wrinkled. So far, everything about my appearance is spotless, which is another sign of my apprehension.
As I'm marching towards the door, Dani calls my name and as I turn, he unexpectedly slaps me lightly.
"You are little pale, so you needed a little color. Now you are perfect." Surprised by his honesty and intention, I thank him and leave the office with a prayer on my lips.