EARLY morning the next day, Ingrid stared at her husband who is still asleep. Although he looks calm in his sleep, she notice tiny stubbles and on his eyes some slightly dark circle forming.
"Oh my poor husband, what can I do to ease your burden?" she softly whispers, her eyes roam around his face, memorizing every inch of him and before she could wake him up, she slowly gets up then called Gary.
"Gary, good morning. Sorry if I wake you this early, but may I ask of my husband's schedule for today?"
"Oh, I'm about to get up, Madam, don't worry. Can you wait for a sec? I'll just check his schedule for today…"
"Okay, Gary," her eyes are on her husband's,
"uh.. Madam, he is scheduled to have a conference call to the VeanCo this morning, some documents that needs his signature and I think that's it for today…"
"What's with the conference call all about? Is it that important?"
"Ugh, it's the monthly financial report, madam,"
"Oh, can you handle it in behalf of my husband?" Gary's jaw drops and speechless. "Gary?" Ingrid calls his attention.
"I.. uh… oh… ahh.." he stammers since he did not represent his boss ever since he started working for him. Although he knows how, but then…
"I trust you can do it for him, Gary…" she continued, "…well, you see, I've noticed my husband's exhaustion and just one day off will do. He needed to take a break and spent time with his children.. especially Clark. The boy seems down lately…"
"Oh… well, s-sure thing, Madam. I'll do my best…"
"Thanks Gary, you're the best! I'll be the one to inform Clifford about this… and oh! You could follow us to the resort after your work, I'll treat you some pampering..." she smiled as she imagines Gary blushing profusely.
"Oh no, no need, Madam.." indeed Gary blushes.
"I won't take no for an answer, Gary.. see you later! Bye!" she ended the call, went to her husband and snuggled on his side. He stirred.
"What time is it already?" he huskily asks. His voice tickles her ears.
"Time to make love…" she naughtily answered that caused him to open his eyes wider and he grins at her.
"Oh you naughty wife…"
Without ado, he immediately went on top of her and started kissing. "ohhh… how much I miss this.."
"Uhh.. before I forget, love, I already excused you from your work today and let's have some family bonding later. Your son misses you so much and I noticed that your eyes start to have some dark circles. You're too exhausted. Please, for one day, relax. Besides, I miss you so, so, so much!"
"Whatever, love… what time will we go? So that, you know…?" he said wriggling his brows. She chuckled.
"Hmm… before lunch… we still have some few hours for our… hmm.. sexy time…" she teased.
"Oh yeah! Much better! So, shall we start then?" he grins.
At the kitchen…
"Grandma, why is dad and mom not here in the dining table yet?" Clark curiously asks.
"Uhh.. I think, they are still asleep, honey…"
"Should I wake them?"
"No, no, no, don't…" the old woman tries to hide her smirk knowing that the child's parents are having some alone time. Ingrid already informed them that they would have their late breakfast and have plans to have a quality time with their children later.
"But, they shouldn't skip meals grandmamma…"
"Oh! yes, but I think they have started to eat their breakfast already…" the old woman grins.
"What? But you said they are not awake yet?" the child's brows crease.
"I, uh, what I mean is.. uh.. that they will eat their breakfast later. Yeah, that's right. Let's just leave your parents alone. They miss each other so they are still on the bed. Don't you like spending your breakfast with grandmamma?"
"I love spending breakfast with you, grandmamma, but can I join them? I miss my daddy, too.." the grandmother can't help but to laugh.
"Oh you smart young man… it's the kind of bonding that is only applicable for your parents. When you grow up, you'll understand it. Don't be sad, your mom planned that your whole family will go to the resort and have some quality time together. Don't you wish for that?" the child's eyes twinkle.
"Really, grandmamma? Yayy!! Okay.. I will just leave them alone for now."
Few hours later, they were already at the resort. Clark's happiness is so obvious in his eyes that he walks in the resort proudly as if bragging about his dad who is holding his hand while he also carries Edric on the other hand and Ingrid carries Avyanna.
The people at the resort could not help it but to stare at the family and others intentionally passes by and stops in front, greeting them then diverted their attention to Clark and the twins. Clark is squealing every now and then while the twins are unusually behave and would oftentimes giggles if they hear Clark's laughter. It was dark when the family decided to go home.
Meanwhile, outside the resort…
The Briggs just came out from the resort when they noticed the commotion. He immediately instructed one of the bodyguards to check it.
"Sir, there's a man lying down outside the resort and almost dead. The passersby witnessed that an old van without a plate number stopped and then dropped the man unconscious."
Immediately he alerted the police and called for an ambulance. Then one of the security personnel shouted.
"This is Orlie!"
"You know this man?" Clifford asks.
"Yes, sir, he is one of the workers here. He is one of the hardworking men here. This is such an unfortunate event!" someone gasps.
"Oh! by the way, where's his daughter? I thought this is his rest day? He has planned to take his daughter in an amusement park… don't tell me…" another staff said in horror.
The ambulance arrived. Clifford becomes curious of the man because he looks familiar to him.
"Update me of his situation." He instructed one of the staff who will assist the man. "We will shoulder the hospital expenses and also have some background check of the man."
"Love… these people are heartless! How could they do that to that poor man! And my… I heard he has a daughter…" Ingrid looks at her daughter and embraces her with tears on her eyes. "I will protect you with my life, darling…"
"Hush now, love… everything will be alright…" Clifford consoles her.
Orlie was immediately brought to the hospital. He was unconscious for a few days and was confined for weeks before he was released. It was the company where he's working shouldered his hospital bills and even gave him salary.
The police investigated what happened to him but he denied anything. He only said that the reason of his beatings was that he failed to pay his debt to a certain loan shark. He also denied that his daughter was kidnap. He reasoned that he brought his daughter to his relatives for her safety. The police half-heartedly believed his reasons but then they could not pursue any investigation since Orlie did not file any case against the men who beat him.
When he returned to his post, everyone showed their concern to him and commented that he should report the men who beat him even if he owed them money. But then, Orlie just shrugged his shoulders and thank them for their concern.
One afternoon, he was summoned to go to Lance office because.
"Oh, Mr. Orlie, come and sit. How are you?" Lance greeted.
"I now fully recovered, sir. By the way, I just want to say thank you for covering for my hospital bills. I will pay them through salary deduction." Lance just shakes his head.
"No need. The company has allocated budget for employees' emergency. I called you because we will promote you to head the Maintenance. I heard that you are a hardworking man and that you have a daughter to raise on your own. It's also our way of helping you get out from your debts and just live with your daughter peacefully. Will that be okay with you?"
Bitterness filled his heart. How could he betray the people who only showed him good? But his daughter is at stake, too, so he should do what needs to be done. He thanked Lance McNaught and just accepted the offer.
There's no harm done, right? It's just work. But he knew too well, that he could gain more access to the Briggs and the Howards. He could observe them closely and he could report to the boss about the family's whereabouts.
"Good day, Mrs. Briggs! It's been a while since you visited our store." The store manager greeted, she just smiled at her.
Ingrid is in the mall right now to have personal time. She misses shopping, going to spa and just wander around. She bought new dresses, bags, shoes, accessories and went to the children's section to buy clothes and toys for her children.
While she's in the middle of her shopping spree, her phone rings.
"Yes, love?" she answered.
"Where are you?"
"I'm here at the mall, shopping some stuffs… why?"
"Oh, I just miss you. I'll be in a meeting in a few minutes might spend the remaining time with you. It'll be a boring meeting. Can't wait go home. What time will you finish so I can fetch you?" she chuckled at his impatient remark.
"I don't know yet, I'll be going to the spa later. I'll just message you." her husband let out a breathy sigh.
"Did you bring the bodyguards with you? How many?"
"Yes, I have two.." she wandered around.
"Only two? But I told you to bring at least seven…" his voice now sounds so upset.
"Love, I'm in the mall, there's no one who could harm me here…"
"Oh gosh, Ingrid! Don't you know that you are giving me a heart attack now?"
"Oh no, they wouldn't dare…" without Ingrid's knowledge, Clifford already had sent his men to look out for his wife secretly. He knew her too well that she doesn't like to be surrounded by many bodyguards.
"Okay, I'll just finish everything here as soon as I can so that I could be with you wherever you are later."
"Yes, love. That would be very nice. See you. I love you!"
"I love you more."
After her shopping, she went to the spa and pampered herself. Later, she decided to go to a high-end café with some serene ambience and had a great view of the garden. This is her favourite café ever since and everytime she went her, she feels relaxed and she could freely think of anything.
For the first time in months, she could experience those things she did in the past, to feel free. Not that she feels caged or regretted being married and having kids, but there's something with just being alone with herself, surrounded with such a great view. It rejuvenates her to face her responsibilities with new vigour and fervour. It clears some clouds in her mind. Added to the soulful jazz played in the background, it's calming her soul.
"Here's your order ma'am." The waiter interrupted her, as she was lost in deep thoughts.
She smiled and thanked the waiter. While she was in the middle of her reverie, someone stood beside her table.
"Oh, wow! Ingrid what a lovely surprise to see you here."
"Sheldon? What are you doing here?" her brows creased.
"I was just waiting for someone when I saw you coming in and it would be rude of me not to greet you."
"It's okay. We don't have any business to discuss so I won't mind." She shrugged and faked a smile. Annoyed by his presence, she almost rolled her eyes.
Before she could answer him back, another waiter went to her and handed her with medium size envelope.
"Excuse me, ma'am, someone handed to me, he said to give it to you." her brows rose, but she did not commented and just received an inch thick envelope. Ingrid feels suspicious.
"Where is he?"
"He went that way after he handed me the envelope." She asked what is he look like the waiter just said that he's in his early forties, not so tall man and he's wearing a white shirt, black jacket, faded jeans.
"I am sorry ma'am, but I am not that good in remembering faces unless I've seen him always."
"Oh, it's okay." She took the envelope and was about to open it when Sheldon interrupted her, again.
"Where's Mr. Briggs?" Ingrid almost forgot his presence that she could not help but roll her eyes and she placed the envelope in her bag.
"Are you not busy, Sheldon? Sorry, but I just want to eat alone and in peace." Her remark brought embarrassment on Sheldon and his face flushed.
"Uh, sorry. I'll leave now." He said apologetically.
She felt bad for treating the man that way when he did nothing wrong, but she's just not comfortable hanging out with him. Yes, she has forgiven him, but she it doesn't mean that it's okay for her to hang out with him.
Ingrid could no longer wait for her husband, so she decided to go home and just informed him that she's on her way home. Just when she placed her phone in her bag, she noticed the envelope. Out of curiosity, she opened it. To her horror, she dropped the envelope and cried.
Clifford, on the other hand, was so bored with the meeting but he could not just leave and has no idea what was happening to his wife.