Maybe that’s why she’s ignoring me on purpose right now. She doesn’t wanna get hurt again.

“Thanks, boy,” her father says. He sips the juice from the glass. “Delicious. As always.” He takes in a deep breath as if he’s savoring it. “Boy, call out the chef, will you? I need to speak with him.”

“I’m sorry, sir. I would, but he’s busy making dinner. Our guests will be here any moment.”

“Are you sure you want to take a real opportunity away from your father?” he says, lifting a brow. “I’m sure your father won’t be happy with you making that decision.”

I don’t like the way he’s looking at me, nor his tone. But I sigh and do what he wants because that’s my job. “I’ll go get him right away, sir.”

I turn around and walk back to the kitchen. My father immediately bombards me with questions. “And? What did they say? Did they enjoy it? What did his face look like?”

“He loved it. Said it was delicious. He looked like he was savoring the taste,” I reply, trying to forget the fact that she’s out there too. “He wants to talk to you.”

“Oh?” My father places his hand on his chest. “I’m flattered. Can you take over back here for a sec?”

“Sure,” I say as he walks out. I swallow away the lump in my throat and stare at the food. Then I open the door a little bit and peek through the opening. I know it’s wrong to listen to their conversation, but my curiosity gets the best of me.

“I want you to work for me.”

“Wait, really?”

“Really. I’ll give you your own restaurant. Head chef. Full time. Name your price.”

Wow. This guy’s offering my father his dream job. But I’m not sure I’m happy about that. The last time we met him, he didn’t exactly make a great impression. All he’s got going for him is that he has multiple restaurants and hotels across the world under his name, or so I’ve heard. I don’t doubt my father’s happy about this opportunity, but I just hope her father doesn’t abuse mine.

When my father comes back, he seems over the moon. However, the moment he looks at me, his smile vanishes. “What is it?” I ask.

“He offered me a job, but he wants me to do everything without you.”

“Why? What did I do?” I frown, offended that he’s singling me out.

“Well, since his daughter will be around too, and she often comes to the restaurants he owns, he doesn’t want her to interact with you.”

“You mean he’s afraid I’ll try to flirt with her?” I say through gritted teeth.

“Well, he didn’t put it like that, but—”

“Don’t even try to explain it,” I say, holding up my hand. “And you’re okay with this? Me losing my part-time job?”

“Well, there’s plenty of other work you could do,” he says, trying to grab me, but I immediately pull away.

“I liked this. I liked working with you,” I say. “I can talk to him. Maybe he’ll change his mind.”

“No, wait!” my father yells as I march out the door.

He’s too late to stop me. I’m already by their table before he’s even clutched the door. I don’t care if he watches.

“Why do you want me gone?” I ask Davis bluntly.

He looks up with an arrogant smirk on his face. “Excuse me, who are you?”

“I’m his son,” I say, clenching my fists together. “Why can’t I continue working with my father?”

Davis just laughs at me.

I grind my teeth. “What’s so funny?”

With a condescending look on his face, he says, “The fact that you think what you do is work.”

Fuck him and the fucking horse he thinks he rode in on. It takes all my patience right now not to sucker-punch this fucker out of the restaurant.

“My father and I are a team. We’ve always worked together.”

His face darkens. “And now that’s going to change.”

“What’s your problem?” I ask, cocking my head.

“My problem is you trying to talk it up with my daughter,” he hisses.

Wait … Charlotte’s the reason I’m getting fired? I make a face. “You think I’m going to flirt with her?”

The sudden mention of the word her has caught her attention. She briefly glances my way, and at that moment of pure hatred, our eyes connect. But I don’t see the same happy, smart girl I once saw. All I see is gloom and the wish for things to end quickly. As if she pities me.

And it only makes me want to grab their glasses and smash them to the ground.

I’m not the one who needs pity. She is.

But she immediately looks away and stares out the window as if I’ve ceased to exist. As if we never even talked at her father’s wedding and she doesn’t remember me. But I know she does. I could see it in her eyes.

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