The was something nagging at him. Xavier knew he had never seen Isidora prior to their first meeting, but there was something to familiar about her that stood right at the edge of his mind. He had been plagued that whole day, prompting him to show up at her house. If he could have bought himself more time, maybe, just maybe he could have figured it out.
“Xavier, shouldn’t you be at work?”
‘Which means you’re normally at work. You go in even when you don’t have to. Is something going on?”
“I’m fine.” He had to admit that the abrupt change in his otherwise permanent schedule had been altered. A great deal of his time and energy was consumed with Isidora. Finding an opening was critical in getting close to her. Anson Giannopoulous was like a second father to him when he had no one else to turn to. By God’s good grace, he’d come to meet him through his son Alexander. What he respected most about Anson was his honesty. He was blunt and had a knack for spotting small changes in one’s expression or behavior, which made it near impossible to lie.
“There’s only one of two things that could get a man to change his routine. You either stopped loving your work or started loving a woman. Which is it?”
“I think as a CEO, you’re in the wrong profession. You should have become a detective or private investigator. But to answer your question, it’s true, I’m miserable with my job. For the last two years I’ve been tossing around the idea of quitting. I’m certain I’m burnt out.”
“And about the woman?”
“I’m not seeing anyone.”
“You’re relentless you know that?”
“It’s in my DNA. So who is she?”
“Honestly, I don’t know yet. I’m still trying to figure her out. She’s a violent one. She beat down a guy that put his hands somewhere he shouldn’t have. I also arrested her for assaulting me.”
“Her reaction seems justified in the case of that pervert. I’m assuming she didn’t know that you are a detective?”
“Not at first. The funny thing is after I handcuffed her to check on the victim, she somehow picked the lock on my cuffs and threw them at me.”
“Gutsy woman indeed. And you like her?”
“I can’t say I know much about your history with women, but I would have never suspected a rebel of a woman to be your type.”
“Ordinarily she wouldn’t be. I held no belief that I’d ever want to date again but she’s changing my perception little by little. Pinning her down will be no easy task. She defies and threatens me every time we cross paths.”
“A man always needs a worthy challenge. Sounds like you’re going to have your hands full. I wish you all the best Xavier.”
“Thanks. I’m going to need all the support I can get. Speaking of support, how’s Alexander?”
“I haven’t heard from him in a few days. You know he’s a loner. Despite you believing I’m a human lie detector, I’m having a difficult time understanding what little he shares with me. He’s difficult to crack. When I look him in the eyes I can tell somethings wrong. He said he doesn’t blame me for Ava putting he, his brother and sister’s up for adoption, but I don’t know what to believe. Anytime I try to get close to him, he pulls away.”
“I wish I could help.”
“I’ll keep trying in hopes he eventually feels comfortable enough with me to share what’s got him so chained up.”
“It’s by sheer luck he trusted me enough to befriend him. Just be patient and he’ll open up.”
“I’ll remember to use those words when you’re out of your mind dealing with that woman of yours.” Xavier grinned knowing he’d lose sleep over Isidora. The doorbell rang and Xavier answered it. Anson’s other son, Christophe stood smiling back at Xavier.
“Yo, what are you doing here?”
“Nothing, just relaxing.”
“You, relaxing? There must be something going wrong with the planetary alignment.”
“Get inside Chris.”
“Hello dad.” Xavier shut the door and watched Chris embrace his father. Watching them reminded him of the times he shared with his own father. They used to be very close and his dad was affectionate toward him even if Xavier wasn’t in the mood to receive it. That old pain resurfaced in his heart when he thought about his father and siblings. The last time he had seen any of them was when he was eighteen. He enlisted in the military without telling his father and enrolled in college. Never did he ever want to set foot in his childhood home while his mother still lived there.
” Xavier, Xavier?”
“You lost in thought or something? Get in the kitchen and help with dinner.”
“Don’t forget I’m older than you Chris.”
“Pulling the rank card doesn’t suit you. Get those feet moving geriatric.”
“Will do pretty boy.”
Preparing a meal together helped them all grow closer to one another and find which of the group is the weakest at cooking. Naturally, Christophe’s pampered life left him handicapped in domestic duties. Xavier was thankful to his father for teaching him to get a little dirty as a child. He learned to gut fish and had a knack with woodworking. He gave up building for law enforcement but yearned to go back to a simpler life.
Anson’s third born, Mona also led a pampered life. She figured she could have what and who she wanted including him if she worked her feminine magic. Honestly, he was beyond repulsed by her lack of character, she’d use any tactic to gain the upper hand. What worked on other men hadn’t worked on Xavier. As a gentleman, he rejected her in the nicest way possible only to watch her pout. He despised woman like her. Not long after, Alexander showed up and fell in step with the rest of us. None of us were expecting Mona to do any hardcore work, still to his amazement, she still had a difficult time snapping peas.
“Alex, how are you?”
“Where have you been?”
“Home.” Conversations between Alex and his father always boiled down to one worded answers but like clock work, Mona jumped right in filling the silence about her day. She loved to hear herself talk and by this time, Xavier had zoned out concentrating on the work before him. Dinner was coming together quickly, Alex still had his head lowered, quiet and Mona was still chattering away. Maybe there was a slim chance that one day he wouldn’t have to go home to an empty, cold silent house, Xavier thought introspectively. He would hang his hope in Isidora and pray for the best.
The dinning room table always looked as if they were ready to feed an army. Greek families held a few things in common with his Cajun background, there was usually a pile of fresh seafood at the dinner table, especially his favorite, prawns. He may not have grown up with a lot of material goods, but food was never in shortage. There’s was also the fact that he had a large family, just like the Giannopoulous’s. They’d gather together every summer and have a cookout to strengthen the familial bonds over a full belly. While they ate, the doorbell chimed once again.
“Are you expecting someone else, dad?” Christophe inquired.
“Don’t get up, I’ll answer it.”
“Errand boy goody two shoes.” Chris joked. Looking through the peephole, he could only make out a silhouette. Carefully opening the door, he pushed the screen open finding the stranger’s back facing him.
“How can I help you?”
“This is the third time we’ve unfortunately crossed paths. Why are you here?”
She turned, facing him with her arms crossed over her chest. “Who else would I be?”
“It’s an understatement to say I’m shocked seeing you here. Are you lost, or have you been stalking me?”
“Neither. I have no interest in you. Why are you in my dad’s house? What are you scheming?”
“Your what?” Now it was coming together, the reason Isidora was so familiar to him. How could he have not made the connection sooner? Isidora was the youngest of Anson’s quadruplet brood. Anson only mentioned her one but not by her name. Whatever it was about her, Anson’s heart bled over her the most. “Right now we’re having dinner. Let me prepare your father to see you so he won’t be too taken aback.”
“Get out of the way.” Side stepping him, she walked through the entrance watching everyone digging into their meals.
“Hello dad.” Anson looked up from his plate, eyes round as saucers. He couldn’t believe his daughter was standing in his home. She looked identical to her mother, Ava. Christophe and Alexander’s mouth dropped agape and Mona turned her lips up in disapproval.
“Yep, it’s me in the flesh.”
“You can’t announce yourself like this.” Xavier hissed in her ear.
“How many times do I have to tell you to mind your business?”
“Wait, you two know each other?” Mona asked.
“I have no idea who he is.”
Ignoring him, she turned her attention back on Anson who was still speechless. “I’m not here to cause trouble. I just stopped by to say hello.”
“You’re Alexander, right?”
“Yes, how’d you know?”
“There’s not much I don’t know, kid.” Alex’s lips tugged upward leaving everyone at the table shocked. Not even Xavier could have pulled a smile out of him. Pushing back from the table, Alex approached his sister and hugged her tight. “You should know I’m not the touchy-feely type.”
“Neither am I but I suppose we’re going to have to get used to it. Do you want to join us for dinner?”
“Like I said, I just stopped by to say hello. Maybe next time, Alex.”
“But you just got here.”
“I am irresistible.” Mona scoffed and rolled her eyes. “Do you have a problem?”
“What if I do?” Mona challenged.
“Ladies, let’s not fight.” Mona had no idea she could be beaten to a pulp and by the looks of things, Isidora doesn’t discriminate between family or stranger.
“I’ll be going.”
“Wait, I’m Christophe by the way.”
“I know. And that over there is Mona.” Mona lifted her brow at being labeled, ‘that‘. Never had a woman dared to utter a negative word to her face. She was a queen and should be treated as such.
“Look here sweetheart, I could buy and sell you three different ways. Be careful how you speak to me.”
“You can’t be serious, right? Buy and sell me three different ways? I’d like to see you try it. Please round out my weekend, I need some comic relief to make me laugh. Again, I’ll be leaving.”
“I’ll walk you out.” Alex offered. When it was safe to speak, Mona went on a verbal tirade about her sister’s insolent behavior. Anson and Christophe stared at one another in disbelief. How could she have come and gone like the wind? And why’d all of a sudden Alex become so talkative?
Next part here: Full Circle
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