Read The Trap Of Ace By Eva Zahan Chapter 77
The last time I saw him was at the police station. After that night, Ace handed him over to the police for trying to force himself on me. And as much as that night managed to send a shiver down my spine for months after that, I pressed down on my grudge against him and thought rationally. Yes, what he did was wrong, but he was drunk at that moment. Not that it gave him any excuse to do that to me, but I decided to let things end and requested Ace to withdraw his complaint.
Even I did wrong to him, though it was nothing compared to the deed he tried to do. But for the sake of our years of friendship, I decided to let him out after fifteen days of his jail, much to Ace’s dismay. He wanted him to rot behind the bars forever.
Even though he apologized for his actions endlessly, I had told him to stay away from me and not to try to reach out in any way.
But here he was today, probably with his fiance. I just hoped Ace wouldn’t see him here.
The woman beside me stood up and he rushed to her side immediately, before turning to me again. Glancing at my bump, a soft smile etched on his face.
“How are you doing, Em… I mean, Emerald.” He cleared his throat awkwardly.
I nodded. “Good.”
I didn’t say anything else as he fidgeted in his place. “And… Achilles?”
“This is my fiance, Sarah,” he said, making that woman smile at me. The look in her eyes told me she knew more than just about my designs.
“Hi, I- uh, I wanted to introduce you myself, but I didn’t know how you would react. Warner told me so much about you that I feel like I know you for years!”
My eyes cut Warner. “Then he must have told you the reason behind our distance now?”
Guilt flashed over his eyes as he looked down in shame. Sarah squeezed his hand.
“Yes, he told me everything.” Her voice came out soft. “You don’t know what guilt he was going through for years. He still curses that night. I can’t say he deserves your forgiveness, but he’s extremely sorry, Emerald. Nothing can justify his act, but it was not him. The alcohol, the anger, the jealousy and his heartbreak made him react like that. You knew him for years, he isn’t that person.”
“I’m so sorry, Em!” Warner took a step forward, eyes pleading. “I know you hate me. But please, maybe for the sake of the friendship we had, forgive me? I don’t want any place in your life again, I lost the right to be your friend again, but at least say that you forgave me. It’ll be easier to live thinking that my best doesn’t hate me anymore.”
Something clenched in my heart. The burn in my eyes made me look away. Even after the hatred, I had missed his presence in my life. He was my best friend after all. Even deep down, I knew he wasn’t the person I met that night.
But sometimes, if a relationship is broken, it can’t be fixed. So we better stay away from each other.
“I know that wasn’t you, Warner. That’s why I made Ace let you out of jail. Honestly, I don’t really hate you, I never did. But yes,” I looked at him in the eye, “the hurt you gave me that night, I can’t forget it so easily. Yes, I can forgive you for that night. It’s been years after all. But don’t expect me to be all nice and friends with you. We’ll be the way we have been for years.”
When I said I would forgive him, a light of hope had lit in his eyes. But as soon as I finished my talk, it died down.
“Em…” He let out a sigh before nodding. “Thank you. At least I’ll get your forgiveness. But I will always hope that maybe someday, we could be friends again.”
“Maybe.” Glancing at Sarah, I flashed a small smile. “All the best for your future.”
“Thanks,” she nodded as a small smile tugged up Warner’s lips.
When the car screeched to a halt, I looked out of the window.
School hours were over. So most of the kids were out in the playground, running and skipping around. Some were leaving with their respective parents.
“Don’t you think joining the football team will add more pressure on his shoulders? He already has his studies and swimming lessons to take care of,” Ace grumbled for the third time since our son informed us that he was taking a part in the football team.
I smiled. “Don’t worry, he can take care of all of them.”
I was thankful that Warner and Sarah left for their turn for check up before Ace showed up. Otherwise I was sure Warner wouldn’t be going home today, which was now in this city, he would be on the hospital bed instead.
He gave a slow nod. “He’s my son after all.”
Only his son?
I raised my brow. “I didn’t remember it was you who gave birth to him.”
A husky chuckle reverberated through his chest. Leaning in, he brushed his lips against mine. “Yeah, but I was the one who made you pregnant.”
Letting out a huff, I scrambled out of the car. “Yeah, but I was the one who carried him for nine months in my womb and gave birth to him. So he’s my son.”
Rounding the car, he strode to me, wrapping a possessive arm around me. “Our son.”
And that broke out a grin on my face.
“Let’s go and meet his teacher now. He must be waiting for us.”
Nodding my head, I let him guide me into the school where we met Archer’s teacher, with Archer present in the office.
“Don’t worry at all, Mr. Valencian. He’s very good at whatever he does, be it studies, swimming or football. I’m sure he can manage it all without hampering his studies,” assured Mr. Devaski from the other side of his desk.
“We know that. But still, we don’t want to place much pressure on him, you know? He’s just a kid,” I said, glancing at our son, who stood straight beside the desk.
At my addressing him as a ‘kid’, an almost non visible crease formed between his brows.
I bit back my smile.
At just eight, he was much more mature and quiet than most of the kids of his age. To say, he was just like his father. He liked to keep to himself, wouldn’t share any of his thoughts unless it was necessary and tends to observe everything quietly. Not only did he have his father’s characteristics, he got his looks too. Same dark hair, grey eyes and facial features. But when Ace had stormy grey eyes, his were slightly smoldering.
I sometimes feared that he was missing out his childhood due to his being serious most of the time. He didn’t even have many friends other than Raphael, Tess and Caleb’s son and Calvin, another boy in his class. That was it.
“Rest assured, Mrs. Valencian, we’ll be making sure we don’t give him much load,” Mr. Devaski said.
“Good, make sure to stick to your words. I don’t want my son to suffer in any way,” Ace warned, pinning the middle-aged man with his sharp gaze.
That poor man fidgeted on his chair, clearing his throat. “Sure, Mr. Valencian. Don’t worry about that.”
Ace gave a curt nod. “Anyways, how’s his studies going? I hope he’s on his best behavior?”
Archer sneaked a glance at his father, not saying a word.
Mr. Devaski laughed. “Oh, his studies are good. He’s a genius in every subject. His behavior is also good, except…” he drawled out, casting a look at Archer.
“Except?” Ace titled his head.
“Except the occasional glares he sends to his teachers.” He let out an awkward laughter as Archer did the same thing he was accused of. His narrowed eyes fixed on Mr. Devaski. “But it’s alright. Kids can have tantrums sometimes. I can understand.”
My eyes widened. “Archer? Is that true?”
He didn’t say anything, just removed his gaze from his teacher. His posture was too proud to be sorry for his behavior at all.
“Young man?” At Ace’ voice, he turned to his father, as obedient as ever.
I got jealous of Ace sometimes that he had more control over our son than I had. But at least Archer respected and feared his father which was good.
“What am I hearing? Is it true? If it is, then may I know the reason for your behavior?”
Mr. Devaski watched Archer from behind his glasses that fell in the middle of his nose.
“They waste my time asking irrational questions,” was his short answer, tone polite.
Ace nodded. “Then it’s understandable,” saying, he stood up, buttoning up his coat. My mouth fell open at this. “You have anything else to say Mr. Devaski?”
That poor man closed his mouth that opened followed by mine at Ace’ response, and nodded his head. “N-no, Mr. Valencian. That was all. Hope to see you soon at our annual sports day.”
Giving a curt nod, Ace wrapped an arm around me and ushered us outside; Archer followed closely behind.
Once outside, I shrugged his arm away and stomped inside the car. After they piled in, I glared at both of them. Both of them didn’t meet my eye.
“Then it’s understandable? Really Ace? How come that is understandable? He can’t be just rude to his teachers!” I fumed, placing a hand on my stomach.
I didn’t say anything before Mr. Devaski to avoid creating a scene. But I just couldn’t let it go.
“Relax, Rosebud. Don’t worry, he won’t be rude to them anymore,” saying, he grabbed my hand. But I snatched it away, making him grimace.
“I don’t mean to be rude. But they always ask stupid questions and talk like I’m a two years old kid who doesn’t know anything,” Archer grunted from the back seat.
“They’re your teachers. They do what’s best for you. So don’t say like they’re stupid. They know what they’re doing.” My tone came out hard.
“Archer,” warned Ace, sending a sharp look through the rearview mirror. “Apologize to your mother. Didn’t I tell you not to talk back with her? If it’s your mistake, then apologize. Don’t argue.”
He went quiet, before mumbling, “I’m sorry.”
I looked out of the window, still mad at his behavior. He even didn’t go along with the other kids in his class. In his opinion, they were too annoying for his liking.
When I didn’t say anything, a small hand caught my wrist softly. Turning around, I found his smoldering grey eyes watching me in hope that I would forgive him.
“I’m sorry, Mom. It won’t happen again.”
A sigh left me. How could I stay mad at him for so long when he would look at me with these eyes?
“I’m sorry too,” said his father. “Are we forgiven?”
At this, a smile curved up my mouth. “Yes, but make sure not to repeat it, Archer.” Then I looked at my man. “And you too, don’t encourage him with his mistakes.”
“Done. Thank you, baby. Let’s go now.” Kissing my hand, he ruffled Archer’s hair which he didn’t appreciate at all, before driving off.
Sighing, I leaned back against the seat. Though I let this matter go for now, I’d have to talk to both of them about it, especially Ace. Archer’s behavior worried me.
I just wanted him to be more carefree, to be playful just like the other kids at his age.
At a squeeze on my hand, I glanced at Ace. His dark eyes met mine.
“I’m starving. I hope you’re ready to feed me,” he said, in his deep husky voice which sent a shiver down my spine. I very well knew which hunger he was talking about.
My eyes went to the mirror where our son was sitting quietly, watching the passing road, unaware of his father’s double meaning and with a too proud stance to say that he wasn’t feeling even a little guilty of his glaring at his teachers.
I shook my head.
I didn’t know what I would do with these two stubborn Valencian men.
They got on my nerves sometimes. But then, they were the best things that ever happened to me. And I loved them with everything I had.