Claudio quietly opened the door and peeked in. He heard Clara sniffling as she sat on the side of the bed and stared down at her phone.
Clara lowered her head as shivers racked her entire body,
“He wants to see us...wants to take us out to eat at a fancy restaurant he says…”
Claudio crept closer and gently said,
“Isn’t that a good thing? Maybe we can resolve whatever conflict you have with him and your family then?”
Clara choked out a laugh and shook her head. She hadn’t told Claudio about the remark her Father made just as he left the house. He didn’t know him like she did. He didn’t know the things he was capable of.
Claudio snuck around and sat down on the bed beside Clara. He took her hand and kissed it.
“Look at me. Everything will be fine. You can go out today and get some new clothes for the occasion, maybe even get a haircut or go to the spa? Treat yourself and don’t stress out, love.”
Clara smiled sadly through her tears and laid her head on Claudio’s shoulder,
“He’s an evil mean man Claudio...he may come off as a gentleman of high breeding but he’s terrible. In his eyes I’m a social pariah, nothing more, someone who disgraced the family name. To him that’s the equivalent of killing someone. He doesn’t want to reconcile. That much I know…”
The day of the dinner Clara went downstairs and grabbed leftovers for breakfast. She noticed Mason sitting down with a plate of tiramisu at his side.
“Hello sweetheart. Are you nervous about dinner tonight?”
Clara let out a breathy laugh as she picked up her food,
“More than you can understand.”
Mason looked around the room before leaning in and whispering,
“You know...I use to be in a specific line of business and I do still have some skills. I happened to…”look up”...your father and I have got to say he is a real piece of work. From what I’ve gathered he’s a ruthless businessman with ties to the nobility of Champ les Sims. He’s very very powerful and for him to come all this way for a daughter who ran away and married someone else? He’s up to something…”
Clara felt a now familiar pain in her stomach and closed her eyes to count to ten. She let out a breath and shook her head,
“I forgot who you were for a while…”
Mason leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms,
“Clara. You are my daughter, even if it is by marriage, I want to help you. I know something is wrong.”
Clara pushed herself away from the table with shaky arms and whispered,
“There’s nothing you can do against him…”