Then Paul came out and interrupted, like the sniveling junkie he was. How could such a worm produce the shining light that she was, goodness personified? Maybe her mother was a saint and Sutton nothing more than a lousy sperm donor.
“Silas, it’s nice to see you. Thank you for coming in. I see you’ve met my step-daughter.”
Sutton could act civil, but that’s exactly what it was—an act.
The angel came by and placed two beers on the table. I dropped my head again, avoiding eye contact with her. When she left, I looked up again and stared at Paul directly.
“Let’s not waste time. I’ll give you the money and you’ll have three years to pay it off. If, in that time, you don’t pay it off, I’ll be here to take your daughter as payment instead,” I said bluntly, and pointed to the young girl at the bar. It was a bold move even for me, but if Olivia never wanted me, at least she’d be safe, cared for, and comfortable in my charge—something her father had proved time and time again incapable of procuring for her.
“What could you possibly want with her?” He was less aghast at my proposal of owning his daughter than he was at my willingness to take her. I already knew he was blind to her value, but it made me hate him even more.
“That’s not your business. Do we have a deal?”
Paul took a sip of his beer and immediately spat it out. He walked over to the girl and, out of nowhere, pulled her hair, dragging her over to the table, yelling about how the beer wasn’t cold. Maybe he was putting on a show for me, but what he didn’t know was that I had no qualms about killing him on the spot.
Seeing men treat women like garbage wasn’t new to me, I always kept my cool, I always looked on, gritting my teeth because I had a job to do. But this time something in me snapped. I got up, broke a beer bottle on the side of the table and tossed the sharp edge at Paul, landing it right beside his eye. She looked at me with her eyes bulging in pure shock. I wanted to kill Paul in that moment. I wanted to break each one of his fingers, slowly, hearing him scream in agony. I wanted blood. His.
Paul placed his hand on his eye and looked shocked at the blood that was there when he pulled it away. I could practically smell his fear as his hands began to shake.
“You make a habit of harming women, Paul?” I asked quietly, walking toward him.
“No, but she should know better. She should never have served you a warm beer. She’s a goddamned barmaid for Christ’s sake!” I removed his hand from her arm patiently and looked into his face making sure he truly saw the beast that lurked inside me.
“Do we have a deal?”
The girl would be mine and he could live his life alone, just like he deserved to be.
“Yes, yes. I can have the money by then so it won’t be a problem.” It was always a problem with Paul Sutton, his word was worthless.
“Then you will never touch my merchandise again. If you do, and I will know if you do, I will come back and I will kill you.”
I looked at the sweet rose, lifted my hand, and gently pushed back a strand of her hair that had come loose from her ponytail. I handed her my card and watched as her delicate fingers took it from me.
“If he or any one of his friends hits you again, you tell me.”
I walked out of the bar then, but every day for years after that encounter, I went back to the shithole and checked in on her. I was there guarding her when Paul got tossed into the slammer shortly after for possession. I had no idea if she remembered our bargain, that more slip ups from her dad brought us one step closer to an eternity together. She barely spoke—she never touched me. But whenever Olivia approached me, she cast her eyes down avoiding my face, yet treated me with nothing less than tenderness. I chalked it up to her nature and not to any special treatment for my part.
During that time, I became consumed with her, memorizing every inch of her. I would drive up to the bar every day at the same time and watch her close up, make sure she let herself into the apartment without anyone bothering her. Those daily visits became an addiction to me, making sure she got home safe became an obsession. As the days went by, the stronger my urge to take care of her became. I would go from five minutes waiting outside the bar, to twenty, and then up to an hour. If she ever needed anything, I made sure she had it. I also wanted to make sure that Paul wouldn’t be able to pay off his debt so that I could really own Olivia. Ruining Paul took very little effort on my part. The man was a perpetual failure and I could basically step back and watch his world fall apart. I didn’t lift a finger to help him or hurt him unless it concerned Olivia.