C8 CHAPTER 08: The Deal
“We can’t lose Dad, Claire. Please do something.”
Alexa looked worried, with tears still streaming down her cheeks.
“Don’t cry. I’ll do anything as soon as I find out what happened.”
The doctor came towards us, a sympathetic look plastered on his face.
“Ms. Braganza, your father needs to undergo a surgery. We need to operate him as soon as we can. His heart has two holes, and he’s in a very dangerous state right now.”
At that moment, I instantly knew that Mr. Herrera was right. I think it’s time for me to beg. It is time that I set my pride aside and be a good daughter even just for once.
“We will perform the surgery as soon as we receive your permission. For now, I think you need to prepared a huge amount of money for the operation expenses.”
I nodded, trying to look tough. Alexa tugged my arms and looked me straight directly into my eyes.
“What can I do, Claire? I should help you.”
“You don’t have to... Just let me think about this for a moment.”
She kept quite for a while as a sign of agreement. I take that opportunity to think about Mr. Herrera’s offer. If only I’ve accepted it earlier, I wouldn’t be feeling this bad right now.
“Whatever happens, I know you’re only doing everything you can for us, Claire. I’ll understand and respect your decision whatever it is,” Alexa stated, as if she can read my mind.
I smiled sadly at her. That night, we visited our Dad at the Intensive Care Unit before going to sleep. Although I couldn’t call it sleeping, anyways. Cause I was awake the whole night, still thinking about that offer.
The night passed by so quickly. I prepared myself for a very long and tiring day today because I’m going to pay a visit to Herrera residence. I’m going to accept that deal even though it hurts my pride.
But before that, I decided to come to our school in order to file a leave. Just for a week so that I could spend more time in looking after our Dad.
“You’re here. How are you feeling? How’s your Dad? Darren told me that you saw each other yesterday. What happened?” I was bombarded by the intriguing questions of my favorite co-worker, Teacher Elijah.
“Nothing happened. And thanks for asking me about Dad. Although he’s still not fine. He needs to undergo a series of test and surgery.”
“That’s bad. But don’t worry, Claire. I know you got this. He’s going to be fine soon, I’m sure.”
I just gave him a sweet smile.
“Why are you here, anyways? Who’s looking after your Dad?”
“Oh. I left Alexa with him. I told her to call me every hour in order for me to be updated on what’s happening there. I’m just here to file a leave.”
“Oh. I see.” He nodded his head several times.
I cleared all my stuffs at the desk before pulling out the papers that I need in order to get a leave. I was about to go when Elijah asked something again.
“Are you going back to the hospital after this?”
For a moment, I stopped. Should I told him? I think there’s no need to. And even he’s the one who introduced me to this stupid deal, I don’t want to dragged him into this mess. This is between me and his best friend.
“You’re lying.” He smirked.
He shake his head several times while smirking like a lunatic.
“Are you going to accept Darren’s offer now? You know what, Claire? That money he was offering to you could be a big help to your current situation. You don’t need to hide something from me. You just wanted to save your Dad, that’s all. There’s no shame on that. You’re the best daughter I’ve known in my whole life. You’re a good person, Claire.”
I can feel the warm liquid at the corners of my eyes. I always knew that he is a good friend. Elijah was more understanding than what I think he is.
“Thank you. Honestly, I don’t know what to do anymore, Elij. I just wanted to save our Dad.”
He stood up before giving me a hug.
“You don’t need to hide something from me, Claire. You can always show me your vulnerable side. I’m your friend, keep that in mind.”
“Thanks, Elijah.” I smiled at him.
“No worries.” He wiped my tears away before letting me go.
I bid my farewells to him before stepping out of the teacher’s lounge. I headed to the office and waited there until our school principal signed my papers. After that, I sighed heavily, still hesitating to do the next step to complete my mission today.
I ride on a taxi hoping that my fare wouldn’t be that much because I only have a few bills left on my pocket. Thankfully, there’s no heavy traffic or anything along the way to Herrera’s residence.
I got there earlier than I thought. It was already two o’clock on the afternoon but still I haven’t grab anything for lunch. My stomach was already complaining but I didn’t pay any attention to it. The only thing that matters to me right now is the answer to the question on how could I talk to that rich and arrogant man.
“Do you need anything, ma’am?” their security guard asked.
“I need to speak to Mr. Darren Herrera. Is he here?”
“Yes, ma’am. I’ll ask him if he wanted to talk to you. By the way, what is your name, ma’am?”
“Claire. Claire Braganza. Please tell him that I have a very important thing to say.”
“Sure, ma’am. Just wait here.”
Their security guard left me there, waiting nervously for his answer. A few minutes later, he finally came back with a very surprising news.
“What did he say?” I asked.
“Sir Darren told me to let you in. Come on, ma’am. He’s waiting for you inside.”
I smiled even though my heart is already pounding very hard on my chest. I feel like I couldn’t breath anymore, and I tried harder not to faint any moment from now.
He was standing right where he is the last time Elijah and I came to this mansion. He turned around, looking at me from head to toe as if I was a prey to him. He smirked before giving me that signature arrogant look on his face.
“Why are you here, Ms. Braganza?” he asked, even though I know that he obviously knew the answer to that question of his.
“I’m... A-accepting your o-offer,” I uttered those words.
“What? I couldn’t hear your voice. Louder please.”
“I accept your offer.”
“Clearly please, Ms. Braganza.”
“You should clean your ears,” I said, pissed by his arrogance.
“Oh. Is that why you came here? Noted. You can leave now.”
“No! That’s not it.”
“Then what is it?”
“I’m accepting your offer. You can rent me as your wife.”
He grinned devilishly before looking at me with his eyebrows furrowed.
“I’m sorry, but that offer was already expired.”
“What? I thought...”
“You thought what, Ms. Braganza?”
I looked down, trying to suppress my tears. What now? I could only asked myself that question. That offer was the last and only thing that can save our father.
“Please... Mr. Herrera... I’m sorry for everything I’ve said earlier... Just let me do the job.”
“Really? What if I already hired someone? Someone who’s more capable for the job? Someone who could really act as my wife?”
“Then I’ll do better than that someone, Mr. Herrera I promised.”
He chuckled. How I wanted to wipe that smile out of his face. If only there’s another way to save our father.
“Do you promise me that you’ll do anything?”
“Y-yes.” I gulped.
I looked at him unbelievably. How heartless could this man be? Does he knows why I’m doing this? If only...
“You’re so heartless...”
For a moment, he lost his smirked. But after a few moments, it was back on his face again.
“I already told you, Ms. Braganza. You’ll come and beg me for this offer. This wouldn’t happen if you accept the deal earlier.”
I looked at his eyes. All I could see there was no other than hatred. How could a human be like this cold? Is he a monster?
I started to get down, bending my knees. As it reached the cold floor, I swallowed everything including my pride. My Dad will surely be disappointed if he saw me like this. If he saw me begging pathetically. But I’m doing this for him. I’m doing this for my family.
“Please...” My voice was starting to crack. “Let me be your wife, Mr. Herrera. I’ll do anything for you... Please...”
My heart shattered into a million pieces as I heard him laughed at me. I felt the urge to cry, but I couldn’t let him see me like this. I tried to suppress my sobs, but I failed.
“Finally. You’re hired, Ms. Braganza. Congratulations.”
He offered his hand to me as a sign of a successful negotiation. But I couldn’t look up. I couldn’t because right now, I was already fully occupied by crying. I can’t explain how hurt I am during this moment.
“Ms. Braganza? Are you... O-okay?”
I nodded before wiping my tears away. I finally looked up to him, still suppressing my sobs. I saw a bit of concern on his eyes but maybe that was just my imagination. Why would he care about me or my feelings? I was just a rented woman for him.
“D-deal.” I grabbed his hand and shook it.
“Are you... Crying?” he curiously asked before letting go of my hand.
I just shook my head before composing myself.
“Let’s talk about the deal, shall we?” I asked, before inviting myself to their couch.
If he only thought about me as a toy, then I’ll be willing to play this little game of his. I vowed to make this man taste his own medicine not now, but someday.