Eala Chapter 9
I lean back in my chair, looking at the pictures that surround my office. My love made sure that I was surrounded by our family to remind me to be careful and remember that family comes first. I wish Esme was my first and only wife; she's everything to me, and our boys are just as important to the both of us.
I can't regret everything with Elizabeth; after all, she gave me Edward. My oldest son is smart, strong, and goes above and beyond for the family. I just wish he hadn't been conceived with a crazy-ass whore. I had to get a paternity test to confirm Edward was mine after the bitch died.
Edward doesn't know any of this, though. I don't want him to know what hell his biological mother put us through.
Regrets, though, will eat you alive if you let them. I normally let them roll off my back, but after watching my eldest suffer these last two months, it makes me reflect.
Our family used to have the best special asset. Our family and his go way back; most of the dons hire them as part of their security and enforcement teams. They were basically raised as mercenaries.
The difference being, the one that was my friend and employee had been shunned from his family.
I sifted through some papers, worrying about my eldest and his night club endeavors. I had no say in any of it, thanks to my father.
"Are you really that big of an idiot!" I looked up and saw McSuaine standing there glaring, with a gun pointed at me.
"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" I stood up, my hand on my gun.
He snorted. "You're not quick enough, Cullen. Why did you have to dig into me? You just had to fucking look for shit you had no business looking into!"
"I need to know if you're loyal to us, considering you've been shunned from your family."
He growled. "You have no fucking idea what you've done. Everything I've done to protect..." His arm dropped, and he shook his head.
I watched him walk out, disgusted that none of my men caught him, that he got in and out undetected.
McSuaine was dead a week later, and I lost the only person who was helping me make a business deal with the Russians instead of scum na hIodáile.
I sigh, remembering I need to head over to a pub to scope it out before meeting with the Russians for further negotiations. There has to be something I can persuade them with.
I pick up my Desert Eagle Mark XIX and stand up to slide it in the holster at the back of my pants. I send a text to Marcus and Eleazar to meet me at the door, and they're waiting for me when I get there. Marcus is short but beefy, with his age etched heavily on his face. Eleazar is six-foot-tall with a basketball player build and grey peppered around his ears.
To my surprise, my wife is standing in front of the door. My Esme is five-seven with curves in all the right places. One perfectly sculpted eyebrow raises over piercing green eyes.
"Mo ghrá, what is this." I smile, buttoning my suit jacket.
"You need to make sure all of our children show up tomorrow for dinner." Her tone is stern; I love it when she gets like this.
I kiss her lips. "Mo ghrá, is é do mian mo ordú."
She smiles widely. "Go raibh maith agat."
I chuckle, swatting her ass.
"Carlisle," she giggles.
Our driver opens the door for us. Marcus gets in first, then I follow, and Eleazar climbs in behind me.
"You boys know anything about this pub?" I ask, checking my phone and sending out texts to my sons to make sure they know to be at dinner tomorrow.
"My daughter goes there every Saturday with her college friends to listen to bands. She says she feels safe and has a lot of fun." Eleazar smiles. His daughter is everything to him. His wife died giving birth to her, so all they have is each other and the Cullen family.
"Well, I hope it's not loud metal music tonight while we're there," I joke with the guys.
We arrive at the pub and I'm shocked to see a line of people trying to get in. I worry for a moment, but I see Eleazar slip the bouncer money and we get in easily. Entering the pub is interesting; there's all kinds of people from all walks of life enjoying the atmosphere.
I notice there aren't many places to sit as I take in the scene. I walk up to the bar, preparing to order some Jameson when I notice Benjamin's girlfriend. I lean against the bar to greet her. "Angela, álainn."
Her smile radiates. "Mr. Cullen, what can I do for you, big shot?"
I smile at her sassiness. "I was wondering if there was a good spot for us to sit and enjoy some Jameson whiskey."
She nods. "The VIP seating area is open. You can make yourself comfortable over there and I'll get the drinks to you." She points to a nice secluded area with bench seating and chairs.
We take our seats, and I can't help but fall in love with the place. It would make a great meeting place; I can see why Stephan wanted to meet here.
The owner has bouncers at every entrance, one standing at the bar, and two others seem to mingle by the stage. They're making opposing circles among the patrons who are dancing and enjoying the music. I see security cameras spread throughout the club, capturing everything perfectly.
I see a woman come up to Angela; she's five-five, her brown hair in a ponytail, wearing a plain tee with Eala across the front like most of the employees here. What surprises me is the gun on her hip and her gaze constantly scanning the pub. As her eyes land on our little corner, they widen slightly, and she brings her hand up to her neck.
Angela hands her the tray with our drinks on it, and she tries to get out of it, but Angela must be swamped because the young lady makes her way over to us. As she gets closer, her necklace throws me for a loop.
She doesn't avoid my eyes, instead keeping them on me, daring me to look away.
"Your drinks, gentleman." She hands them out perfectly, but I can't help staring at the necklace that has been in my family for generations. Then I see the ring on her finger that's so much like my son's. Emotions begin to swarm through me.
"Go raibh maith agat." I'm sure she can hear the tension in my voice.
Her eyes narrow. "Tá fáilte romhat."
My mouth pops open in shock, and a smirk forms on her face.
"If you need anything else, don't hesitate to ask." She walks away before I can reply.
I find myself watching her every move. I want to hate her, but I find myself absolutely enthralled with her. I watch her bounce a biker out of the pub without any help. I watch her work the pub in all the positions; waitress, bartender, bouncer, and bus boy. After awhile, I overhear that she's the owner. She couldn't be more than twenty-two.
I try to remain focused on why I'm here, which is to make sure we'll be secure here while meeting with Stephan. But knowing that she's the woman that my son has been hiding for at least a year has me wanting to know more.
I hear her yell last call about an hour later, and it's just us and her. She's standing behind the bar measuring us up with her eyes, her arms crossed in front of her.
"I would like to ask you a question," I call to her from across the pub.
She comes close enough for a conversation, but not close enough that we could touch her.
"What's the question?" Her firm tone tells me that she isn't liking this.
"My oldest son, he won't bring a woman into the family. I know he was involved with someone and must love her, but he refuses to let us meet her. Why do you think that is?" I question, wondering if she knows something I don't.
Her eyes never leave mine, a fire lighting inside her. "Maybe it's because when he was just a child he watched his mom murdered in front of him and his father did nothing about it. Maybe he is so scared of losing the woman he loves as much as he loved his mother. Maybe, just maybe, he has trust issues when it comes to the security in the family. Have you noticed how he has extra protection added to the other women in his life?" She shrugs her shoulders as her eyebrow raises. "Just a thought."
My heart stops at just the thought. My son doesn't trust me, our family? "I think you're fucking mistaken," I grit out.
She snorts. "Sure, why not. Either way, get the fuck out of my bar. It's closing time."
I stand with force, knocking the drinks on the table over. I throw down a wad of cash. "I'll be seeing you around."
She smirks. "Not if I see you first." The threat is there. I can see the fire in her eyes as she watches us leave her pub.
The ride back home is silent. I text my boys again, confirming that they know to be at the house for dinner.
Edward shows up not long after his siblings in a sour mood. We still can't figure out where the bugs are coming from. He won't meet my eyes when eating dinner, no matter how focused I stay on him. I notice he's still wearing the Claddagh ring.
"I went to this pub last night, Eala."
I watch my son freeze his movements for a fraction of a second and his eyes finally meet mine.
"Nice place; Stephan wants to meet there on Wednesday. Went there to scope the place out." I keep my eyes on him. His breathing picks up, he makes fists with his hands. I can feel the anger radiating off him.
"Edward, why don't you and I talk in my office." I stand up and Edward is shaking as he follows me.
I spent all night and most of today thinking about what that woman said to me about Edward watching Elizabeth die. I never told him about her death, however, after contemplating everything, I decided last night I should tell him everything. Maybe if he understands what happened, then maybe, even if I have an issue with her, he will bring his grá into the family.
He slams the door, and I turn to him. His green eyes are wild, and I'm actually frightened for him.
"Did you see her?" His breathing is shallow.
His knees buckle, and he falls on the sofa. "Da, please. Please, is she okay?"
I don't think I've ever seen my son like this. My heart breaks at the sight of his welled up eyes and broken expression.
With a soft sigh, I answer his question. "She's fine, feisty as hell. Basically said it's my fault that she can't be with you."
He nods his head but doesn't speak.
"Do you think I had something to do with your ma's death?" I can't keep the hurt out of my voice.
He looks up at me. "I don't think you killed her or had her killed. But why wasn't there more security? How did he get through?"
I sigh, there are those regrets. I should have talked to him sooner. "What do you remember of your ma?"
Edward tilts his head back. "I remember her being distant, spending very little time with me. But when I was with her she told me she loved me." He furrows his brows.
"Elizabeth, she was…" I sigh, trying to find a nice way of putting it.
"Edward, your mom was ill, she was scitsifréine. I'd been trying to divorce her for two years. I wasn't living with you or your mom during that time. She refused to let me see you, and she refused to sign the papers." I ran my hands through my hair.
Edward watches me, waiting patiently.
"I tried to keep security there at the house, but she would shoot at them. Call the cops." I take a deep breath. "Elizabeth hired that man to come into her home and kill her, then he was supposed to shoot you, too, so I couldn't have you." I look at Edward with unshed tears in my eyes. Thank God yet again for Damion having some morals and not killing my son.
Edward runs his shaking fingers though his hair. "He had his gun pointed at me, but he ran away. Ma, she—ugh." He lets out a shaky breath.
I stand up and go over to the sofa and sit next to him. "She hated me, and she hated that I had moved on. I'm sorry that I never told you, that I'm the reason you won't marry."
"I want her, I want to go to her right now. I want to marry her. Da, she's like nothing you've ever seen," he whispers his confession to me.
"I think maybe you should."
He smiles at me. "Yeah."
"Tell me, if you love her so much, what was with the Russian broad?"
He begins to laugh. "My girl can speak Russian, Gaelic, Italian, and a little bit of Spanish."
I chuckle, "It was her?"
He nods, smiling. "You're lucky she didn't shoot you for calling her a whore."
I have a lot more questions, but I know what's more important. "Go, Edward."
He pats my back and leaves the office.
Shortly after, Esme walks in. "Edward seems happier than I've ever seen him."
"Our son is in love."
scum na hIodáile~ Italian scum
Mo ghrá~ my love
Mo ghrá, is é do mian mo ordú~ My love, your wish is my command
Go raibh maith agat~ Thank you
Tá fáilte romhat~ you're welcome