As each stood outside, they realized they couldn’t delay it any longer. It was time to tell the respective persons what they had decided. While one was going to disappoint the person on the other side of the door the other would have the words the other wanted to hear. So one was wrong and one was right? Yes?
Oh my, if only life were that simple. Both wished it could be, as they thought back to what had brought them to this…
~*~The Past Days~*~
Sitting in his office on a muggy day that reflected his mood, Philip deliberated on what he should do. Days had passed since he had received the call dealing with the proposal he had made to the Bechtel Company--something he still hadn’t told Chloe about.
It was such a hard decision to make. Either way, there would be sacrifice. If he went with Chloe and Vicky they’d have a great time, but if he did go he could also lose his chance, his opportunity to make Titan more his—to step out of this father’s shadow. But if he stayed to use that opportunity—to take the chance he was being offered he would hurt his family—the two people he cared about most.
Putting his head in his hands Philip sighed with frustration. What should he do?
Mimi came out from the Dance Company’s building to be not so happily greeted by the overcast humid day as she stood there—deep in thought. She still hadn’t given Jason an answer and time was running out. She had mentioned a couple of things to some lead instructors and she had been reminded in no uncertain terms about The Company’s policy and the actions that would be taken if it was violated in any way. So why on earth would she even consider going?
Jason had said he could probably find a way around the policy and it was rumored that he had done it for others before. It made sense since he was such a prominent figure in the New York dance world. But Bella was right about one thing. Mimi had always prided herself on making it on her own and never taking hand-outs. Plus, even if she let him help her that didn’t mean that it would work. The Company rarely allowed any leeway when it came to its strict rules. You either followed them or were out.
So why would she take that chance? Deep down she knew the real answer. Somewhere, somehow, because she sure hadn’t planned it, she had fallen in love and the thought of losing him was unwelcome, unsettling.
Victor Kiriakis may have been a terrible father, but he was revered in the business world. Titan, the small business he had started could never have grown to become the formidable awesome monopoly it had become without Victor’s supreme intellect and shrewd business measures. Not just shrewd, Philip thought with a bitter smile.
Once he had taken the company over he had gotten a full measure of it, but even as a teenager he had started to see the signs. Sure, his father had built Titan from scratch, but that didn’t mean everything was on the up and up. The more he became involved with Titan the more he saw just how shady many of his father’s dealings were.
His mother was no saint either. With and without Victor she had engaged in her own underhanded activities. It was okay though because Philip had never held any grand illusions about his parents. Though he loved his mother and had tried to love his father he held no great degree of respect for them. Their frequent business trips and lack of understanding about their own son had left Philip feeling very cold and distant from them. Nothing about them would ever shock him and he had no plans of following in their footsteps—ever.
Philip groaned, still uncertain of what he should do. If his father and mother were the people that he had convinced himself that he cared so little about, then his wife and daughter were the complete opposite. Never had he loved, respected and cared for two people as much as them. They didn’t make him feel inferior like his parents had.
Yes, even his mother. He knew she didn’t mean it, but Victor’s cold unfeeling ways had been like a curse—a curse that had invaded the life within those dispassionate stony walls of the outwardly deceiving mansion he had grown up in. Besides, she had always been too much of a business woman to devote much time to her son.
Because of the way he had felt for much of his life, on the day he had joined hands with Chloe in marriage, he had vowed to never take his family for granted. He told himself that he would use the Brady example—the people who had saved him every summer from the iciness of the Kiriakis house. Shawn probably would say though that Philip was taking his family for granted by working late so many days and nights. But Philip disagreed. He was doing it FOR them. That made it okay, right? Besides, he never held back from showing them how much he loved and cared abut them—something that separated him from his parents completely.
At least, he saw it that way.
Falling in love was something so new to her. Years of dance had consumed so much of her time for so long that lasting relationships had been hard to build. She had never really even had a best friend until Bella. Even with a close knit family like she had, she had never been completely happy growing up in Brooklyn.
School had been painful at times. She supposed it had been partly her fault. But she couldn’t control other people and she hadn’t had the time to deal with how petty and jealous some of her schoolmates had been. Dancing was something they had never understood and Mimi’s confidence and belief in her craft just made them dislike her even more. Then there was the fact that she never stayed after to engage in any after-school activities because she had to rush to dance class. All of it was okay though because Mimi loved what she did and she knew that one day all the hard work would pay off.
Her humor, sarcastic wit and toughness had aided her at times but she hadn’t felt totally comfortable and happy until after she moved to New York. In New York she started a new life with the support of her parents. Finally, she was living the exciting life she had always wanted and she had a new roommate too who she got along with famously. The only thing lacking in her life was…
She had never really paid attention to it before. Why would she have? Solid friendships had been hard enough that a solid relationship had also looked to be out of the cards. In junior high and high school there had been some boys, but once they got wind of her time consuming dance schedule they had slowly begun to lose interest. Having a girlfriend that spent many a weekend in one dance competition or another had just been too much.
College hadn’t been much better and by that time she was living in New York. There had been a couple of guys, but nothing serious. She was so involved in the dance world and in exploring the new city she lived in. In Brooklyn the guys hadn’t cared much for her independence and in New York she had gotten some of that too, but mostly she had just never been able to find someone who interested her for that long.
That was until she met Jason. The first time they had seen each other hadn’t been too friendly. Mimi supposed Bella was right. She could be pretty picky when it came to the opposite sex. But Jason hadn’t given up and as Mimi spent more time with him, delighting in the fact that they both had a shared passion for the world of dance, she found herself feeling for him in a way she had never felt before. It was exhilarating.
It was just too bad Bella couldn’t see it that way.
~*~Days Later Once More~*~
“You’re making a mistake.”
“Thanks for your support Shawn.” Philip answered his cousin gruffly. They were sitting at the counter of a small Irish pub in the city, drinking beers and munching on beer nuts. Though neither was acting relaxed at all. Both of their features were outlined with tension.
“What? You think I should be happy? How about what she’s going to say, huh Phil? You don’t like my expression…wait till you see hers when you tell her this “wonderful” news.”
The sarcasm in Shawn’s voice was evident. “I can explain it to her.”
“I’ll tell her that I’m doing it for them, for both of them.”
“Oh that’s great.”
“It’s the truth, Shawn! Sure, she’ll be disappointed at first, but in time she’ll see how good this is going to be for us.”
“More like for you.” Shawn answered dryly.
“You going to deny it? How can you say this is for them? They don’t care about the business. There was a time when you didn’t even care about it either, wanted nothing to do with it. Then Victor dies and you take it over and you become this insane person who lets work eat him up day after day. Don’t you see what you’re becoming?”
Philip could feel his anger building, the pain of hearing his father’s name quickly turning to fury as the words his cousin was saying crept inside him, harshly. “You don’t get it!”
“Hey!” The owner called out, getting annoyed with the two young men whose heated confrontation was getting louder and louder by the minute. “You two! Take it outside if you want to fight! Don’t need none of that garbage here!”
Shawn lowered his voice some, wishing he could make his cousin see that he was making the wrong decision, the worst one he could ever make. “Look Philip, all I’m saying is…family should always come first. Its two weeks Phil. She’s going to be gone two weeks. Can’t you find a way to go with her for at least one of them?”
Also trying to relax himself more, Philip answered: “There’s just no way Shawn. We have to get everything started now—the meetings, the promotional campaigns, all of it—there’s just no way I can go and make sure all that gets done too. I can’t pass this up Shawn.”
“Why not Philip?”
“Because it’ll be the first thing I’ve done for Titan that won’t have anything to do with HIM. This is all MINE.”
That power hungry look… Oh yeah. It was the same. Shawn had spent very little time around Victor, but he had seen in the man that same look—it was nearly haunting. “And what are you going to do Phil the day you drive her away? Because you will if you keep up like this—you know that don’t you?”
It was like he had become two separate parts—two split personalities. One part listened to his cousin—heeded his warning and feared that he may be right, knew that he should go with his family. But the other saw it another way, justified what he was doing because it was for THEM. It wasn’t selfish. It was a way of making their life even better.
“I know what I’m doing.”
“No you don”
Philip angrily cut him off. “What the HECK do you even know about it?! You’ve never even been married! Every relationship you’ve had has been meaningless!”
Shawn shook his head with bitterness, Philip’s words cutting. It was true that Shawn had never found that one special person, but the way Philip had made it sound….Fine. Let him be a fool. Let him learn the hard way. He’d done all he could do. Just one more thing he had to say…
“Congratulations Philip. You’ve just elevated your position to one Bonafide Jackass! By the way…go take a look at yourself in the mirror…look hard Phil…look hard at who you see there…” Shawn got up off the stool quickly, making it shake back and forth, slapped down some money on the counter and walked out of the pub.
Philip shook his head, but turned to look at the mirror that faced the bar, seeing….
He shook violently, shaken to the soles of his shoes by what he saw there…the face of his father…grinning evilly at him or was that a look of sadness?...He closed his eyes hard…Shawn’s last words still running through his mind…
When he opened them again the vision was gone, but he looked down, noticing his hands still shaking. Stop it! He ordered himself. Don’t let him get to you. And as for Shawn, he’s wrong too.
You know what you’re doing… you know what you’re doing…
“You’re out of your mind!”
“So glad you think so highly of me Bella.” Mimi answered cryptically. She wasn’t that shocked by her friend’s reaction to her news, but a little bit of support wouldn’t hurt either. They were on the rooftop of their apartment, sitting down at the small table.
“Ria, you can’t do this!” Bella answered passionately. How could her friend want to do something so…
“I can and I’m going to.”
“He’s not worth it Ria!”
“That’s where you’re wrong. He is totally worth it!” Mimi stated with passion.
Ria, I’ve tried to be understanding. I’ve tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I can’t sit back and let you make such a horrible decision. He’s a loser Ria—a complete loser. Look at how he grabbed your arm the other night—like he owned you or something! Then there have been the times I’ve been wearing shorts or whatever and he’s just so blatantly checking me out!”
Mimi got up, her face livid. “OH Please! That is such a lie!”
Bella got up too. “How can you even say that? How long have you known me and how long have you known him? You know I would never lie to you. Ria, I’m saying this as your best friend—he’s bad news!”
Mimi started laughing cruelly. “Oh my gosh! How could I have not seen it before? You’re JEALOUS.”
Bella’s eyes opened wide. “WHAT? Oh Ria. You have let this bastard poison your mind!”
“Why else would you be getting so upset about this?”
“Because I care about you of course, because I don’t want you to throw away everything you’ve worked so hard for! I mean you can’t be serious Ria! You’re just going to let The Company go, like that?”
“I LOVE him Bella. It’s that simple. He said he’ll help me anyway. I trust him.” Mimi was trying to stay calm, but the more she heard from her friend, the angrier she got. How could she be so awful about this…she had to be jealous, right?
Bella closed her eyes, slowly opening them again. What had happened to her? You know what’s happened to her, she told herself wryly. She’s fallen in love and its blinded her completely…blinded her to the truth. Because no matter how hard she tried to feel differently Bella just couldn’t change her views on that disgusting boyfriend of hers. He was hiding something. She just knew it and it would only be a matter of time before the sick truth revealed itself—because there was no way Bella believed that Jason loved Ria. No way. It was just another one of his many lies.
“Fine Ria. Just don’t go away with him…at least not now. Finish off the rest of your time with The company and then go away with him.”
Mimi smiled bitterly. “I’ve made up my mind Bella. I’m going with him and you’re just going to have to accept it.”
“Save your advice for your novels okay Bella? Since you seem to prefer to live in that little fantasy romantic world of yours…not the real one.”
Bella looked at Ria as if she had slapped her. How could she…
She started to walk away, but slowly turned around and faced her.
She spoke quietly, warningly. “I’m only saying this because I care about you, but since you refuse to listen…I’m just going to say one more thing…Search deep inside you Ria, remember why you came here, what has always been your main driving force…then answer this…
Can you just give it up…that easily…Can you honestly do that?”
She turned away and walked down the steps that led back to their apartment, leaving Mimi to ponder what she had just said. Could she…could she just give it all up like that? Because, what if that was what she was doing?
She loved him…
But what about her first love?
NO! Bella was wrong…Mimi was right. She was right…she was right…
So he stood outside their home…
She stood outside his apartment…
Their decisions had been made…
The dissenting voices were being ignored…
It was time…
Time to tell of their choices…
Choices that would take them on a roller coaster of vicious twists and turns…
But what happened when the ride stopped?
To be continued…
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Posted on May 19, 2002, 8:51 AM from IP address 18.104.22.168