Holding on her to harness, she jumped off of
the side of the mountain. With sweat dripping
down her face, she pushed the stray pieces of
her caramel hair out of her face, the sweat
lingering on her climbing gloves. Her athletic,
navy blue tank top clung to her, while her
trousers were a bit baggier, allowing her to
move more. Even through the scorching sun,
she still had a passion for climbing.
Breaking her concentration, her phone rang in
her back pocket. “Hello?” She answered, still
trying to catch her breath.
“Caden? Where are you? We need to talk.”
called the muffled voice of her father.
“Dad. I’m busy. Can it wait?” Caden sighed, her
father seemed to call her about every little
thing that happens.
“No Caden, this is important. How fast can you
get to my office?” he asked, his voice
sounding quite unusual.
“Dad, I’m in the…” Caden started trying to
quote her location but stopped on recalling that
her parents would flip if they found out she
was back to doing what they said no to.
“Um… I can’t get there right now!” Caden
redirected her statement heightening her voice
as well so he could hear her properly.
“I need you here as soon as possible. it’s
important… very important Caden.” He told her
in vague words which left her confused. What
could possibly be so important that they
couldn’t talk about it over the phone?
Walking into the office building, my straight
hair was flying behind me. My blue jeans were
clinging to my legs while my white chiffon top
and stiletto heels gave off a look of business
casual. I chest out a little, letting my shoulders
hang and not sag in other to give myself a
small boost of confidence before speaking
with my father.
“Good morning Miss Caden.” Greeted Jenny,
my dad’s secretary.
“Morning Jenny, please inform my father of my
arrival.” I requested. She smiled with a nod
and headed back into his office, leaving me
alone in the waiting space.
Not too long later, she came out. “He’s ready
for you Miss Caden,” She told me with a bright
“Thank you Jenny.” I murmured as I gave her a
light pat on the arm with a smile on my face
before walking into my dad’s office.
“Good morning dad.” I greeted with a smile
just as I walked in. I walked over to him and
gave him tight warm hug. Sitting down on the
other side of the table, I decided it was time
he let out what was troubling him.
“Caden, I needed you here a day ago. Where
“Dad, I had to drive to the airport and then take
a jet. The flight itself took a few hours and by
the time I got home, it was late. What is so
important that we couldn’t talk about it on the
phone?” I asked just after I was done with my
explanation. My brows squinted as I noticed a
strange wave of despair wash over his face.
“Dad, what’s wrong?” I asked with as worry
filled me. Dad was rarely a serious person
around me. Something was very bad about this
As he got some papers together, he stood up
and made his way over towards me. Cupping
his face with my hands, I told him, “Dad, I love
you so very much. What is wrong? How can I
fix it?” I asked truly ready to fulfil his heart’s
desire. Anything to make sure the smile on his
face returns. He exhaled quite loudly as his
“C, when you were younger, this company
suffered a lot of financial troubles. I took a
loan from a friend of mine, then President of
the Norman Enterprises. After some time, I
simply couldn’t pay back yet. We’ve been
reinvesting our money so we can grow further
and Mr. Norman was a very good friend of
mine so he understood. After Norman passed
away, his son took over. Unfortunately, he’s not
nearly as compassionate as his father. He now
demands we return every single cent or he’s
going to take away everything. Your grandfather
worked so hard to own this, he put in his
blood, sweat, and tears into this. Our family
cherishes this company too much to let go of
it without a fight.”
“Dad, we don’t have to give up the company,
we’ll find an alternate solution. There are
multiple ways to fix everything. I know what
this company means to you, and I know all of
the jobs at stake if this doesn’t work out. I’ll
help you fix this dad in whatsoever way I can. I
mean it.” I assured him as I put up a warm
smile and squeezed both of his hands in mine
but the sad look in his eyes remained. It was
devastating to see him look this devastated. I
understood this was a huge problem. Our
family as well as a lot of employees’ bread
and butter was resting on his shoulders.
“If we are unable to pay him back soon, he’s
going to take our company but C… It does not
have to be so only if you could… agree to his
condition.” Dad stated and I furrowed my
brows for a minute trying to analyse what all
this might be about. Nevertheless, I was ready
to pay heed and work my ass off to help him.
“What is it?” I asked still holding his hands in
I watch him hesitate for a while, lurking his
eyes left and right. Contemplation filled his
every move. I could see something was really
troubling him. If only he could understand how
willing I was to help him.
“Dad, what is the problem?” I asked as I
placed a hand on his cheek so he could lift his
eyes back to me. I made sure to look into his
eyes in order for him to see that it was okay to
speak up and that I was really willing to help
“He says… He asked for your hand in marriage
as a sacrifice for all the debt we owe him.”
“Come again? I’m sorry dad. I…I think I
misheard you,” I stumbled out after giving him
about a minute of blank stare.
The sad look he gave me was enough to know
this was real, all too real. This isn’t possible!
This isn’t the 1500s were people barter their
children! I slowly withdrew my hands away
from his. I stared at him for a second with
squinted brows quite in disbelief of what was
turning to reality. Eventually, I stood up and
walked away from him then suddenly stopped
then paced to and fro for quite a while trying
to understand the implication of such an
absurd request but I just couldn’t. This was
preposterous. I suddenly stopped then turned
to him and rested both my hands on my hips,
while I shook my head.
“Let me get this right… This very same man
wants to… he’s ready to forget everything, all
we owe him if only I accept his marriage
proposal?” I asked a little dried out about the
I watched dad nod his head in accordance. My
brows slightly furrowed as I took my hands off
my hips and folded them across my chest.
“And? What did you say… Did you… accept his
proposal?” I asked suddenly needing to know if
my father was in on this. Was he ready to truly
give me up in such a manner? Dad’s eyes
widened for a second before he shook his
head as he got up from his seat and walked
up to me.
“C, Of course not. I told him that I couldn’t give
up my baby girl to the devil himself. I…I
initially refused but then… Caden, I thought a
lot about it and…” He explained as he looked
right into my eyes but then he suddenly looked
“C, this company is both yours and your
sister’s inheritance. It would be an utter
disgrace to your grandfather if everything is
ruined in just a moment.” He stated but I
remained calm, watching and trying to
understand where he was driving to. He shifted
his eyes back to me.
“A lot of employees such as Jenny will
become jobless. They won’t be able to feed
their families like they used to… A lot is riding
on this.” He added and all I did was stare at
him. His conclusion slowly hit me.
“You want me to marry a man I know
completely nothing about!? A total stranger!?” I
asked quite taken aback by his strange
decision to give me up instead. He placed
both his hands on my shoulder.
“C…I’m not…I’m not ordering you to marry
him. I’m just asking you to think about the
lives that’ll be in lost if you… if you do refuse
this proposal.” He tried to explain but the more
he spoke, the more I shook my head in
disbelief. I shrugged my shoulders as I took a
step back so his hands were off me.
I shook my head at him in disbelief while
staring at the man I’ve called father for years.
The man I believed to protect me more than
any other person in this world. It was this
same man that was ready to throw me into the
lake of burning fire just so everyone else can
be better. The truth was that… I didn’t even
know if I could make sure a huge sacrifice. I
mean, I’m not prepared for this at all.
“I can’t believe you.” I told him as I kept
shaking my head. Refusing to hear or give him
a chance more to speak up, I walked past him,
picked up my handbag from where I left it then
stormed right out of his office without looking
I sat in my car and rethought everything in my
life. Anger boiled from within, my dad and I
never had any problems. We had never asked
too much of one another. I understood he was
desperate and it was his desperate self
speaking back in his office. I was just too
overwhelmed with emotions to let him try to
reason with me. Truthfully, I hated seeing him
so helpless, knocked down and beaten but
then again, this was my life we were talking
about. Marriage isn’t a child’s play. It’s not
something that can be decided overnight. It
takes two to tango and in this case, we’re so
not in tango. I gulped down hard, hating this
very stage of my life. I couldn’t let this end
this way. I needed to do something. Perhaps,
a little talk with this strange man will put
everything back on the right track. I’ll have to
reason with him and let him know that I wasn’t
a pushover, someone to just say yes to his
order because of his threats. I put my car in
drive then drove off while preparing my mind
for the unpredictable future.
To be continued…