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63.63% The Exit Strategy / Chapter 14: Distractions and confrontations

The Exit Strategy Chapter 14 - Distractions and confrontations

Chapter 14: Distractions and confrontations

The tour of the McKnight building was as tedious as one would have expected. For the first two hours Mr. McKnight's executive assistant who only looked a few years older than us, was just showing us around the building and introducing us to people which meant I basically had zero

chances of slipping away.

As I was told by Conner the server room was on the fifth floor, so I just had to bide my time till we got there and in the meanwhile think of an excuse that could get me away from the group. The only fun thing about today so far was that the assistant was totally sending me flirty looks the entire time we were here.

Eh! She was kinda hot though.

Finally, after much trials and tribulations we got to the fifth floor, I was just about to use my excuse when someone else spoke up before me.

"Excuse me Donna but can I use the bathroom?" I believe the one in our group who asked this was Fred.

And there goes my excuse.

Donna the Executive assistant stopped talking and turned to face him with a polite smile, "Ferdinand, right?".

Okay my bad! I thought his name was Fred.

Close enough.

"Does anyone else want to go?", she asks her eyes passing over our small group before landing on me. Almost as if she anted me to say yes.

I cleared my throat, it was now or never, "Ah, yeah", I walked up to where she was with Ferdinand then we left the group. Donna motioned for one of her colleges to continue the tour.

My eyes scanned each door we passed, not just to adore my reflection on the shiny glass surfaces but to check for the...

That's when I saw it. The server room.

"This way Blake", Donna's voice said a few moments later when I hadn't realized that I had stopped walking and was staring at the door.

I allowed my eyes to roam over her body unsubtly, before a smirk tugged at my lips, "Don't worry Donna I'm exactly where I want to be".

Her eyes widened and her cheeks flushed before she quickly turned around and continued with both Ferdinand and I following in tow.

"This is it", she said once we reached. Ferdinand headed into the bathroom while I stood there hoping Donna would leave also, "You aren't going in?", she asks.

My eyes scanned back to the server room we just passed, hesitantly I opened the bathroom door, "Yeah", and closed it behind me.

Before the door closed though I saw someone running up to Donna so I did the only logical thing. I pushed my ears up against the closed door to eavesdrop on their conversation.

A few moments later, one of the stalls opened and Ferdinand walked out, he paused when he saw me shamelessly shoved up against the door.

"What are you doing?", he looked at me suspiciously. I had already overheard most of the conversation outside by this point.

I pulled myself from the door and stood up straighter, "Nothing, what do you care".

"Just asking", he rose his hands up as if to prevent me from snapping at him then he turned to wash his hands at the sink.

Ferdinand was not nearly as tall as me, probably five feet nine inches at the most. He had dark rich black hair, pale skin and a faint accent. One could easily recognize that he wasn't American. He was one of those people who blended into the background, well considering he's been in my class all year and I didn't know his name until this morning when Donna actually used it.

Speaking of...

Apparently some employee had come up to Donna about an important call and she'd left in a hurry. I had heard that much at least, before Ferdinand had interrupted.

This was probably my only chance now. As soon as this guy left the bathroom.

Once Ferdinand left I positioned my earpiece into my ear before I too slipped out of the bathroom.

Getting into the server room was easier than I expected.

"That's because of the access key I got you and I also hacked into the cameras, so of course it would be easy for you", Conner scoffed into my earpiece.

That's when I realized I'd said my previous thoughts out loud. I just rolled my eyes at Conner's 'need' to correct me.

"You two shut up", Alana scolded and I fixed the earpiece in my ear.

The earpiece was small so it couldn't be detected by prying eyes but it was also uncomfortable and tickled my ear.

I rolled my eyes knowing they couldn't see me.

"Easy for you to say, you're not the ones breaking into the mainframe of a multimillionaire corporation".

"Uh, neither are you", Conner oh so rudely interjected. "It's my program that's going to actually break into the mainframe all you're doing is inserting a flash drive into the server".

That brought me back to reality from our little banter, "Where do I plug it in?" I awkwardly rubbed my head as I looked around the room.

I could actually hear when Alana face palmed, "Dude just look for a USB port".

"Just look for a USB port", I muttered mimicking her while I did just what she said, then plugged it in.

"Alright we're up. I'm receiving the data", Conner informed, " it's gonna take four minutes to download".

"Finally", I muttered exasperatedly and also unfortunately at the same time when the server doors swung open behind me.

My eyes locked unto Donna's who was scowling at me, "What are you doing in here Blake Bennett!".

Both Alana and Conner's voice went dead on the line no doubt they both heard Donna too.

Suddenly I felt like a douche for smiling so smugly at the Cameron's the other night when I found out they'd both been to prison before since that's exactly where I'd be going now.

What the hell do I do now?

"Distract her", Alana quipped basically reading my mind.

How?

"You're young, hot and extremely good looking, I don't know figure it out", it was Conner this time and by now I was sure that both of them could read my mind.

They were right I've been doing this on every case we've been on. Besides Conner's right. I am always the distraction for a reason.

"Finally", I said the words I'd uttered when she'd first walked in on me, "I thought you'd never show up I've been in this little closet for over five minutes waiting for you".

Her eyes widened a bit before she took a step further into the room, "you were waiting for me?", the scowl on her face was slowly being replaced by an amused look.

"Of course", I replied "you've been on my mind since I've gotten here".

"Oh my gosh, I can't listen to this", Alana commented into the earpiece. Luckily Donna couldn't hear her. I assumed Alana left since I didn't hear her again after that.

Donna was probably about twenty-four she was hot no doubt, she was blonde and had dazzling blue eyes. She was a little bit too desperate but hey, it was working out in my favor.

She stepped into the room and closed the door behind her, "So what are you going to do about it Blake?", she smirked wickedly and I was wondering if this was the same Donna who had seemed prudish yet almost shy as she'd been ogling me during our tour this morning.

Before I could register her change in attitude her lips were on mine. I obviously hadn't thought this whole thing through.

I resisted the urge to pull away.

"Just thirty more seconds", Conner's voice said awkwardly through the earpiece.

Thirty seconds too long.

I kissed her back though with not nearly as much enthusiasm as she was using. She basically forced her tongue into my mouth.

On the bright side: she was a good kisser.

***************

Ten minutes later I was back with the rest of the group feeling a bit flushed and slightly violated.

I ended up getting what I came here to do. But nothing was worth what I just went through.

Siara wasn't paying me enough for this!

I think I need to be a little less dedicated to my job.

The day didn't end quickly enough. I didn't miss the secret winks Donna kept sending me all day and I had to fake a smile or two until I could put a good two hundred miles between us.

In other word I was glad to leave.

We got back to campus at around four o' clock. I got into my Camaro and drove to a Diner where Conner had texted me to meet them.

As I entered the Diner I saw Siara, Conner and Alana all sitting at the table and I made my way over to them.

"Hey", I greeted as I sat down at the empty chair. Siara offers me a small smile, Conner smirked as I handed him the flash drive and Alana rolled her eyes and took a sip of whatever she was drinking.

I ordered something to eat before we started on the plan.

"Tonight when you hang out with Calder just keep an eye out okay", Conner said.

"Try and find anything we can use against him", Alana added seemingly in a better mood than when I'd just gotten here.

I couldn't help but laugh as I finished off my fries, "Guys this isn't my first time I know what I'm doing".

Conner smirked obviously getting my innuendo but Alana's face drained of all emotions before she quickly looked away.

I wondered what was wrong with her. She's been acting strange since I came here and I was about to ask before I got a text which I realized was from Zadia when I pulled my phone out.

Zadia: Come by my place in 10 minutes my dad is here and he wants to see you.

My heart almost stopped in my chest. What the actual hell was going on. The last person I wanted to see was her dad. I had somehow managed to put all this drama out of my head all day.

I internally groaned at the thought of being alone with an angry Zadia and her father.

But I texted back none the less. I've put this off for long enough.

Me: I'm on my way.

"Guys I've got to go", I stood up quickly taking some money from my wallet and placing it on the table.

Conner nodded, "Where to?".

"Zadia want me for something", I muttered.

"That's your fiancée right?", Siara questioned. Oh no..

"Ex-fiancée", I corrected her yet sounding a bit unsure myself at the moment.

"Not according to the media", Siara said puzzled, "The news is claiming you both rekindled your relationship and your engagement is back on, I distinctly remember them saying sources close to you have confirmed it".

Hat the hell? What sources-

Heather... it all made sense now. I mean, who else would be considered sources close to me.

I sighed, I knew that somehow this was my mother's fault.

That's when my eyes met Alana's, "Are you gonna tell your fiancée that you hooked up with Calder's assistant today?", she cocked a brow. Find authorized novels in Webnovel, faster updates, better experience, Please click <a href="https://www.webnovel.com/book/the-exit-strategy_21716062205129005/distractions-and-confrontations_58311102198511729">www.webnovel.com/book/the-exit-strategy_21716062205129005/distractions-and-confrontations_58311102198511729</a> for visiting.

Siara's eyes widened and she looked at me waiting for an answer just like Alana.

Huffing I looked down at the time on my phone before I answered, "I didn't hook up with anyone. All we did was kiss for a few minutes. Look I've gotta go".

******************

I got to Zadia's apartment in record time. She greeted me with an award-winning smile that had me taken aback completely and if that wasn't enough then I was completely shocked when she pecked my lips as if it was a normal thing to do.

To say I was shocked by what was happening would be an understatement.

When I looked over her shoulders I saw her father standing there taking in our little exchange and that's when it all made sense.

Of course she was putting on a show for him. But why?

It's no doubt that her father thinks that Zadia and I still have feelings for each other. The version of the story we had told him when we called off our engagement months ago was actually that we agreed to be on a break so that I could focus on school and Zadia could focus on her career. The media had immediately latched unto the news of our separation and published headline after headline about our failed engagement and I hadn't bothered to correct them. We had to reassure Zadia's dad though that our break wasn't permanent. After all, he had invested so much into getting us both together.

I gulped.

I had no plans on putting on this charade with Zadia again. I don't even know what she's getting out of it. But when my mom suddenly showed up trying to drag me back into company business again. I should have known that somehow I'd end up in this whole situation again.

The only thing is that the first time our feelings were real. The first time Heather's company was in ruins she forced me to date Zadia and I fell in love with her and we got engaged not only would it join both our families but there was a proposal for a merger between the companies and that would've saved Heather's company.

When I found out the truth about why Zadia was with me I called it off but like I said before we basically told her dad we were only postponing our wedding until I graduated university.

I had no intention of marrying her anymore.

And as for Heather I found a solution for her problem so she wasn't the least broken up about me calling off the engagement that ended any prospect she had of merging with the Winters.

My mom got to save her company, so she left me alone and didn't say much about our breakup. Zadia worst of all didn't seem to care either. I was the only fool who thought she actually cared for me.

That's why I'm still skeptical as to why she's doing this whole charade now. She has an ulterior motive and I intend to find out what it is.

"Good evening Mr. Winter", I greeted him once I was inside.

He ignored my outstretched hand and pulled me into a hug.

"How many times have I told you to call me Dexter", he smiled broadly, "I've been trying to get in contact with you for a while".

Crap. "I've just been a bit busy", I answered lamely.

He waved dismissively, "Never mind that we should all have dinner together soon, maybe we could do breakfast tomorrow", I nodded, "What about that friend of yours?".

"Wayne?", I asked to clarify and he nodded, "he's alright now thanks to you his family's doing better".

"Glad to hear", he smiled fondly. But Dexter Winter was anything but a fond person.

"Anyways I called you here about those paintings of yours I've been hearing so much about", I looked at him curiously. "I'd like to purchase one for myself that's why I had Zadia call you over here. That and I haven't seen you in a while". Was he serious.

I couldn't help the smile that broke out on my face afterward as I shook his hand. I knew he was deceiving me somehow but getting any recognition for my art was a bit too surreal to resist.

"I'm really glad you both decided to stay together. I look forward to a prosperous relationship between you both, even though your mom's company and mine didn't merge what you and Zadia have is true love and nothing beats that".

My eyes flickered between him and Za nervously before I managed a stiff nod.

Zadia nervously scratched at her neck with a small blush on her cheeks seeming even less inclined to correct him.

I was sure he was putting on a front for his daughter as much as I was sure that Zadia was putting on a front for her dad by pretending to still have feelings for me.

The evening went well until Dexter left, which had me all sorts of confused and suspicious... considering our last conversation over the phone when he'd actually threatened me.

"You should leave too", Zadia stood by the door holding it open her eyes glued to the floor. Her affectionate persona which she'd adopted while her dad was here was long gone.

"Za", I said walking to her placing both hands on her shoulders, "I shouldn't have accused you of stealing from me. I was wrong and I should've known better".

Her eyes snapped up to mine as if she was surprised I had suddenly developed the ability to apologize.

She closed the door and walked back inside as if actually considering accepting my apology.

Then she looked up at me all of a sudden and asked, "Are you still with Natasha?".

To say I was completely stumped by her question would be an understatement.

"What?", I stumbled out.

She rolled her eyes at me, "You heard what I said Blake".

"What does that have to do with anything?", I asked her back instead.

She shot me a look that predicted my soon possible murder by her hands but I stood my ground.

"You can't be with both of us Blake", she said dryly and I couldn't help the snort that cane out of my mouth.

"I can be with whoever I want Za and so can you, the last time I checked we weren't really together. This..." I motioned between us, "was just a business deal remember? A business deal that got cancelled. Nothing more".

She flinched at my word and I almost felt regretful until, "I'm not going to let you ruin this for me Blake just because you are a man whore and can't keep it in your pants. If the media get ahold of your little fling with that stupid model then this business deal as you call it would be the least of your problems because I refuse to be seen by the public as the stupid girl who sticks with her cheating fiancé!".

"Oh my gosh!", I shouted exasperated. "We are not together. We will never be together again".

She rolled her eyes then snapped back, "That's not what you just told my father".

I flinched, "I didn't see you rushing to correct him either?".

"My dad always gets what he wants".

"I don't give a shit about your dad. I never agreed to call back on our engagement. This whole thing is being forced on me and even you want me to just go along with it?".

She shook her head as if in disbelief, "Then why didn't you say that Blake. If that's how you really feel then why didn't you say that to my dad".

I looked away and we lapsed into a silence so tense it was almost tangible.

Dexter was a dangerous and powerful man, you don't just tell him no. If I did that then I knew he'd come after me, because he's done it before. He wanted us to be together and it had nothing to do with love or else he wouldn't have offered to marry off his daughter in the first place just so he can turn a profit. Dexter had an ulterior motive that much was evident and based on past experience I knew it was better and safer to tell him what he wants to hear. That look in his eyes from earlier, Zadia might not have noticed but I knew it very well. No one goes against Dexter and leaves unscathed.

No doubt Dexter must've gotten to her. He probably threatened her like he did me. Not that either of us would ever admit it out loud. For now I need to find out what Dexter would gain from a union between me and his daughter, since Heather's company was now out of the scenario.

My eyes narrowed at her and I knew whatever I said next I would've definitely regretted, not just because I was angry but because she was completely right. And she knew it. I feared her father, because I understood all too well that he was a man to be feared.

So I left and got my Raymond disguise and that night I ended up on Calder McKnight's yacht with a whole bunch of other entitled assholes.

"Raymond you made it", Calder greeted me. I nodded forcing a smile with my already somber mood.

"What the hell happened to you?", he asked noticing my scowl.

I sighed rubbing my hand over my face, "Bad day that's all".

His face lit up with such an electrifying smile that I almost forgot that he was a total douchebag, "Then you've come to the right place".

He brought me into a room filled with some more guys and a lot of women but I was too bummed to even appreciate them.

After he introduced me to everyone he handed me a drink which I downed immediately.

I spent the next few hours dancing drinking and trying every little thing Calder handed to me. Fortunately we didn't do any business talk and unfortunately I wasn't paying close attention to my surroundings as much as I'd told Conner and Alana that I would.

The last thing I remember is Calder handing me a glass of something called 'white lighting'. That's the last thing I drank before it was lights out for me.

I don't even remember how I got home.

****

My alarm went off at six thirty the next morning. It took all the willpower I had not to grab the device and hurl it across the room.

Thankfully the curtains were closed, shielding me from the assault of the bright sun. I felt like I was dead inside. I was glad yesterday was done and over with though. Thank God.

I was beginning to regret making breakfast plans with the Winters right about now. Luckily I didn't have a headache, I just felt like I could vomit my entire stomach out.

I groaned pulling my body toward the bathroom in a zombified motion as I brushed my teeth then pulled on some clothes.

I grabbed my phone on the way out of my room and checked the time.

Crap! It was almost seven. I was running late.

I was half way into the living area when I heard voices from in the kitchen which I immediately recognized as Alana and Siara. They were talking about some guy that I was yet to know about.

"... and I just love him you know", I heard Alana say sounding so deflated, "but he doesn't see me that way and I'm miserable without...".

That's when I stopped eaves dropping and walked into the kitchen where they both were.

Both ladies seemed to go pale when they saw me, even though I had no idea what was going on.

They stared at me and I stared back awkward until I asked, "Who are you two talking about", I cocked an eyebrow at them waiting for them to elaborate but neither of them said anything.

So I just shrugged, "Okay", I drawled out "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to but I have to go, I'm meeting the Winters for breakfast. Bye".

They both just waved at me awkwardly as I left, still saying nothing.

I would get to the bottom of that later.

To my surprise I arrived at the restaurant before Za and her dad. Little did I know at the time that it wouldn't be a good thing.

Neither did I know today would be just as crappy as yesterday.

I was seated at our table when I saw someone walking up to me. I had expected it to be Zadia so I quickly stood up with a broad smile to greet her but instead I was met with Natasha's piercing green eyes.

Before I could even open my mouth to speak I felt slender fingers wrap around my arm. On my right I saw Zadia who was currently staring daggers at Natasha.

When Natasha smirked at Zadia I knew things were only going to go downhill from here.

"Blake who is this? Aren't you going to introduce us?", Natasha asked innocently, her thick French accent emphasizing her words.

Zadia's eyes narrowed further obviously aware of who Natasha is and that I'd already introduced them at my exhibition before. I knew Natasha remembered Zadia but I could tell that by acting otherwise she was pissing off Za and she was enjoying it.

Once again I opened my mouth to speak and once again I was interrupted but this time it was Dexter who interrupted us.

"Yes Blake", his cool voice came from behind me why don't you introduce us".

Only three words came to my mind right then.

Screw

My

Life!


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