We Didn’t See it Coming
Rupert Houston must pay, Aniyah, twenty-eight years old, thought as she stared at the number on her cell phone of one of the wealthiest self-made businessmen in South Carolina. She was his mistress—until he decided that she was no longer of use to him.
Without hesitation, Aniyah tapped the touch screen with the tip of her middle finger on her right hand, allowing the call to go through. As she paced the kitchen floor of her apartment, three rings chimed in her ear before his voicemail came on.
“Bastard!” she yelled; she knew he was avoiding her call.
His home phone was next on her list to call. Aniyah did not care who answered. Extremely frustrated with him, she called the number. To her surprise, Rupert picked up.
“Kenley is not home, call back later,” Rupert said, assuming that the call most likely was for his youngest daughter.
“Why didn’t you answer your damn cell phone?” She startled him.
“How did you get this number? This is a private line. How dare you call my home?” he yelled.
“Obviously, it’s not too private. I got it. Again, answer my question: Why didn’t you answer your cell phone?”
“What if my wife or one of my girls had picked up? Have you lost it or what?” Rupert was furious.
“I’m one of your girls, too. Don’t I count for anything?”
“Aniyah, okay, you made me aware of that. I’ve left you in my will. I’m willing to give you any money you need right now to take care of yourself, but that’s where it ends. My wife has medical problems, and I don’t want to do anything to upset her. Her doctor’s orders are to keep her calm.”
Aniyah listened to him. She had convinced him that she was his illegitimate daughter from his pregnant Mexican servant, Tessa Sanchez, whom he fired years earlier.
“I don’t want your pity story. I could bust up your happy home anytime I want to.”
“I know that, Aniyah, and that’s what I’m over here fighting for you not to do. My girls and my wife think the utmost of me,” he said as he pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket. He wiped the sweat that began to moisten his face.
Aniyah giggled. “They won’t be thrilled to hear that you slept with me. Your family will flip over the shocking news. I’m the daughter that knows the real truth about you.”
Rupert played the situation over and over in his mind, how she was supposed to be his treat for one night on a business trip that ultimately turned into an affair. How was he to know that she was the child of the Mexican servant that he had impregnated and then fired?
“What kind of creature are you? You knew I was your father, yet you still slept with me.”
Aniyah laughed out loud. “Get over it. You want a better story than that one? I do have one.”
Puzzled, he asked, “What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about one of your other precious daughters.”
“Which one?” Rupert said, wishing he could reach through the phone to grab and shake her for the way she was talking about his daughters. “Just say what you have to say.”
“I don’t know those damn high-class bitches’ names. But one of them is banging your dear lawyer friend.” Aniyah laughed wickedly.
Rupert stood up and yelled into the phone, “You’re lying.”
“Don’t call me a liar, you poor excuse for a damn papa. I know what the hell I’m talking about. I may not be one of your high-class daughters, but I can find out shit when I want to!” she shouted back. “If I say one of them is banging the damn lawyer, then she is. Call the bastard and find out.”
Rupert slammed the phone down in her ear.
“Oh, no he didn’t!” she hissed as the dial tone rang in her ear.
Aniyah tried to call him back but he did not answer. Infuriated, Aniyah began to throw whatever was within her reach across the room. As much as she hated the way that he treated her, there were redeeming factors about Rupert. She admired his natural hair with salt-and-pepper waves. The suits that Rupert wore were tailored for his muscular body. His skin was as flawless as hers. They used to endure facials when they were together, when she was all that he thought about. All she thought about now was that he had to pay. She sat on a plush white loveseat and began polishing her toes in a deep beet-red shade.
• • •
Rupert was relieved that he would have some time to himself. After all, his favorite girls were out having a day of their own.
Stepping inside his walk-in closet, which was filled with his collection of designer suits, ties, shirts and shoes, he removed his silk
blue tie and tossed it onto an ottoman, followed by his blue pinstriped suit jacket.
Too exhausted from a long day at his construction company, Rupert walked out of the closet and made his way to the double-pane plate glass window. He looked out at Lake Murray to relieve himself of the tension from work and the personal problems that dominated his mind. The water always kept him calm when work became too stressful, but now his personal life was in turmoil, like the choppy waves of the water in the wintertime.
Leaving the vision of the lake, Rupert picked up his cell phone and called his attorney.
“Baron Chavis’ office,” the secretary answered.
“This is Mr. Houston. Get Baron on the line, Sara.” he ordered.
He waited for a moment until his attorney picked up.
“What can I do for you, Mr. Houston?”
Instead of bringing up Aniyah’s gossip, even though it baffled him about the accusations she made about one of his daughters, he simply asked, “That new will I had you to draw up…you better still have it on hold. You didn’t file it, did you?”
“I have it right here on my desk in front of me. It won’t go any further until you give me the okay.”
He sighed. “Thanks, Baron; I don’t know what I would do without you. I’ll get back to you soon enough. I wanted Aniyah to see me give it to you. Talk to you later, buddy.”
Rupert hung up and went back to stare out of the window. His cell phone rang, distracting him from a sailboat going by. He looked at the number displayed. No way was he answering another call from Aniyah. The last ring grew silent and he was relieved.
Once again, the gossip that Aniyah shared with him ran across his mind like a marathon runner. It can’t be true. Everyone who
works for him knew the Houston Rule. Plain and simple—nobody dealt with any of his girls. Period! It was his duty to pick the right men for them.
Baron was his longtime attorney for all of his personal and work business. Rupert trusted him like he was his son, but to clear any doubts he called the Chavis Law Firm again.
“Sara, get Baron on the line immediately.”
Baron again picked up. “Mr. Houston, you needed something else?”
“Are you or are you not messing with one of my girls?” he asked calmly.
Mr. Chavis hesitated. “Noelle and I only met up one time at a coffee shop. We chatted over a cup of hot coffee,” he said, speaking of the second of Houston’s three daughters.
“You son of a bitch.” Rupert realized that Aniyah’s gossip was true. “What happened after that?”
“Absolutely nothing,” Baron fibbed to cover himself.
Rupert marched back and forth on the white carpet below his feet; tension etched furrows in his forehead. He didn’t believe a word that his attorney was saying.
“I’m warning you, Baron, there better not be anything else.”
“I promise you, Mr. Houston, it was a brief encounter.”
“Get off my phone.” He hung up and called Aniyah back.
“I spoke to Baron and he swore to me that he and my Noelle only met for a cup of hot coffee.”
“Your precious girl is your lawyer’s whore,” Aniyah insisted.
Rupert yelled, “No one bad mouths one of my girls. Aniyah, you’re despicable!”
“Your lawyer is lying to protect his ass. He’s banging her and I can prove it.” The phone beeped.
“Hold on, I’m not finished with you. I have another call,” Rupert said as he switched over to another line.
“Dad,” his youngest daughter said, but was corrected in the background by her oldest sister, Milandra.
“I mean, Father, I need to talk to you.”
“I’m busy. Make it quick. What is it?” he asked abruptly.
Kenley talked a hundred miles per minute. “My sixteenth birthday is coming up. I realize my sisters had their parties at the yacht club,” she explained. She sat across from her mother and two older sisters as they waited on their lunch. “Father, it’s a new day. I want to have my party by the pool at home. Can I please break this crazy tradition?”
“Damn it, you called me for that? Speak to your mother!” he yelled and hung up.
Rupert switched back to the other line. “Aniyah, take back what you said about my Noelle.”
“Get your ass to a computer.”
Rupert went to the far end of the east wing of the house to his study. He logged on to the Internet on his laptop that sat on a desk with a gorgeous cherry finish.
“What’s your email address?” she asked curiously.
He was hesitant about giving Aniyah any of his email addresses, but Rupert gave up an email address he barely used.
“You better not be playing around. I have no time for foolishness.”
“Shut up! Just get ready to see with your own cutie eyes,” she flirted.
The email finally came through to his computer screen. He clicked on it and downloaded the image. There, in vivid color, was his daughter, Noelle, in the arms of Baron. Her breasts were partially exposed.
“Now who’s telling the truth, dear Papa? My half-sister looks great in that position.” Aniyah laughed. “I’m sure your friends would love to get a copy. Don’t play with me; I’m no one to mess with.” She threatened and hung up on him.
Rupert called the Chavis Law Firm again. The secretary picked up and turned the call over to her boss.
“Yes, Mr. Houston.”
“Baron, you’re lucky you’re not here right now. I would strangle you to death.”
“You can’t be serious. You’re not still sweating me about Noelle and me having a cup of coffee together, are you?”
“I saw it with my own eyes. I’ve got the email to prove it. You’re sleeping with my Noelle. No one touches my girls, you bastard. You’re fired! Send over all the files from my company and my personal files, too. Do it right away and stay the hell away from my Noelle or I’ll strangle you with my bare hands.”
“Okay, I admit, we had a little kiss. Is that any reason to fire me?”
Houston clearly saw the email image in his mind. “Liar!” he yelled and threw the cell phone across the room, smashing it against the wall.
First Aniyah, now you, Baron, and my precious daughter have betrayed me behind my back. Rupert started to get up and felt lightheaded. He gasped for breath and his chest tightened. He grabbed his chest, attempting to unbutton his shirt, as blood rushed to his head. Trying to make his way out of the bedroom, he tumbled onto the floor.
There Rupert lay with his right hand on his chest. He mumbled, “My life is over.”