Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Trading Hearts Pt. 15

Trading Hearts is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons in coincidental. Photo courtesy of www.islandhideaways.com.

Natasha was so engrossed in her argument with Jasmine and Matthew that she didn’t realise that Michael was in the room. Not that she had forgotten him for a second, though.

When he had burst out of Matthew’s office she had nearly dropped her teacup in shock. What the hell was Michael doing in a meeting with Goddard, Matthew and Jasmine? A picture was starting to develop in her mind that she didn’t like, and she prayed that she was just jumping to conclusions. However, the guilty look on Michael’s handsome face was a sign that she wasn’t far from the truth.

He came over and grasped her shoulders lightly. “Before I say anything, Tasha, I want you to know that I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.”

She shrugged off his hands impatiently. “Get to the point, starting with why Matthew called you Mr. King.”

He rubbed his shaved head in frustration and heaved a sigh. “My full name is Alan Michael Austin King. I’m not just a handyman working for King Properties…I own the company,” he admitted, his voice filled with emotion.

Feeling her knees beginning to weaken, Natasha clutched at the nearby conference table for support. Michael rushed to her side to prevent her from falling and was met with a resounding slap to the face.

“You deceitful son-of-a-bi*ch!” She shook with anger. “You were never interested in me, you only wanted to use me to get to my parents!”

Rubbing his sore cheek, Michael shook his head furiously. “Will you please listen to me?” he pleaded. “It was only after you were hired to manage Emerald Bay that we found out the connection. It was a coincidence!”

“But one I’m sure you were happy to exploit.” She threw her hands in the air, aiming a contemptuous look in his direction. “My God, I can’t believe I fell for your bullsh*t! All this time you were encouraging my parents to take the deal, a deal your company offered. You make my stomach sick!”

“Natasha, please, I know I was wrong not to tell you, but I was just scared of losing you. I tried to find a way around your family relocating. Trust me, I racked my brains over this.”

“Oh, poor you," she mocked. "You could have just told me the truth and saved yourself a headache. Did you get off on pretending to be some poor yard boy? Did you and Brian Goddard and Matthew have a good laugh at my expense?”

“It wasn’t like that! I admit I handled this whole thing badly, but you need to know that everything I told you about myself, my family, my feelings for you is true. I love you, Tasha.”

She gave an angry sob. “F**k you, Michael, or whatever your name is. You think telling me you love me is going to make me melt at your feet? You rich guys may be accustomed to getting what you want, but I’m not for sale.”

His jaw tightened. “That’s unfair, Tasha. I’m not like that.”

“How the hell would I know what you’re like? I don’t even know your real name!”

Conceding defeat, Michael slumped into a chair. “I don’t what else to tell you, Tasha. I messed up and all I can do is beg for forgiveness.”

Her face twisted in disgust. “Under normal circumstances I might consider forgiving you for keeping who you are a secret, because for all you knew I might have been a gold-digger. But you came into my parents’ house, ate their food and smiled in their faces, all the time conspiring to get your hands on their property, and that I can’t forgive. We’re done.”

Michael buried his head in his hands as she stalked out of the room. He had just let the best thing that had happened to him in a long time walk out of his life, and he had no one to blame but himself.

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