Good morning! Please stop by and vote for your favorite Property Billionaire. I got the post up late, so you have until 9:30 MDT. Sorry, my schedule was crazy. Today is all about taxes. Hopefully I’ll be done before then!
And now on with Episode 7. Will Charisse finally get some info on Mom?
Raul finished preparing her plate without talking. When he slid it over to her he said in a thick accent, “You have to eat at least half of that before I say anything at all. You haven’t been eating enough.”
Charisse raised her eyebrows and then dug in. The butterflies in her stomach made eating fast difficult, but she forced herself to chew and swallow. Raul poured her a glass of wine and set it next to her glass of water. Then he poured himself a glass of wine.
After he took a sip, he said without as much of an accent, “I will tell you my part in it. Most of it is not my business, and I will try to leave those things out. But you were always sweet as a child, and I hate that they never told you.” In a lower voice he said, “I hate more that she never came back.”
Charisse set her fork down and took a sip of wine, drinking in the surreal moment.
“Let me start by saying Mr. LaRouche was an excellent father. He did everything he could for you and Marie. But he had no idea what to do for Gianna.”
Charisse gasped, glad she’d already swallowed the wine.
“I’m sorry,” said Raul. “This is why I don’t want to talk about it. I can’t tell you the story without giving you my opinion.”
“No please, it’s okay,” said Charisse. “I’ve just never heard you be so frank. Marie would agree with you about Daddy. Please go on.”
Raul frowned and took a long drink of wine. “When you stepped out of the car before the banquet, you reminded me so much of Gianna, not just because you look like her, but also because you had that terrified expression she always had before any social event. It was a difficult moment for me.” Raul took another drink of wine.
Charisse watched him, wondering exactly what he felt for her mother.
He set his glass down and continued. “Of course you know your parents went to a lot of parties. Mr. LaRouche never understood why Gianna didn’t want to go and always made her attend. She found her own ways to deal with it. Ways that maybe a little girl didn’t notice or didn’t understand.”
Charisse drew her eyebrows together, trying to recall times that her mom had seemed odd or not herself. Mostly she remembered her mother looking sad except before school when they ate breakfast in the kitchen with the servants after Daddy had left for work.
“Did she drink?” asked Charisse doubtfully.
Raul sighed, and his eyes appeared watery. “No. She did cocaine. And I was the one who bought it for her.”
Charisse stared at her glass of wine, trying to take it all in. She wasn’t surprised or disappointed. She didn’t know how she felt.
But Raul seemed to take her silence as a sign she was upset. He hurried on. “The cocaine wasn’t my idea. She asked me to buy it for her, and I did. I wish I hadn’t. But I didn’t want to lose my job.”
“Did Daddy know you bought it for her?”
“No. He hated the habit and tried to get her to stop. But he never wanted her to stay home when there was a party either.”
Charisse recalled hearing her parents fight, though their nanny always rushed them to the other side of the house. She and Marie weren’t brought out again until everyone had a smile plastered on their face.
“Is that why she left, because of the parties?” asked Charisse. She hated parties too, but she couldn’t imagine abandoning her children over it.
With a shaking hand, Raul wiped sweat off of his forehead. “I don’t know. I know Mr. LaRouche gave her some sort of ultimatum, and I know the last time she asked me to get cocaine for her, I refused. But someone else got it for her… probably one of her friends. And then she was asking me to take her to the airport.”
Charisse sensed there was something Raul wasn’t telling her, but she didn’t ask. She already had plenty to think about—like was her mother dead? Had cocaine gotten the best of her? She wished Conor were there to talk about it. Raul was obviously spent. He looked like she felt after a therapy session—worn out and depressed.
“Thank you, Raul,” she said quietly. “I appreciate it more than you know.”
Raul straightened his back and slid his servant expression across his face. “I’ll go prepare a bed for you. I assume you’ll be staying here?”
“Yes, thank you.”
“Would you like breakfast here or in the mansion?”
Conor was returning tomorrow. She’d canceled therapy, and she didn’t feel like working out either. Unfortunately that left her with nothing to do but go crazy waiting for him.
“I think I’d like to have breakfast in town. I might spend the day shopping.”
“Very good. I’ll have the sedan ready to take you around 8. No, you need your sleep. Make it 9.”
He stalked off with a straight back, and she heard him climb the stairs. Strangely, she felt better knowing about her mother’s drug problem. It settled a niggling doubt that she had somehow chased her mother away. She hoped her mother was alive, and one day she could meet her.
Her phone dinged. She pulled it out and saw a text from Conor.
“I’m sorry. About everything. I hope tomorrow is a fresh start.”