Hazel hurried off to work, her determination evident in her brisk pace. Upon her arrival, she called for an urgent meeting with the Starlight. team, delivering the important announcement about the termination of their contract. The moment her words reached their ears, the Starlight workers sprang into action with unwavering commitment.
The office atmosphere buzzed with a palpable sense of urgency and hope. Their desks were cluttered with blueprints, design drafts, and countless ideas. It was a frenzy of creativity and determination as they embarked on the task of restructuring and redesigning their project.
The team understood the high stakes involved; Tesco Empire demanded nothing but the best. Moreover, they were aware that other prominent companies would be fiercely competing for the contract. This realization fueled their motivation as they aimed to rise to the challenge and excel in every aspect of their work.
Ethan sat restlessly in his office, a storm of annoyance brewing within him. The day had started on an unpleasant note, and his mind was far from the matters at hand.
Just then, Axel, his trusted employee, entered the room with a crucial announcement. “Sir, the board members are already assembled and waiting,” Axel informed, his tone laced with a sense of urgency. Ethan’s reaction was immediate; he sprang from his chair and promptly exited his office, striding purposefully toward the boardroom.
Upon entering the boardroom, a hush fell over the room. The usual murmur of conversations ceased abruptly as Ethan’s presence loomed. large. An inexplicable air of tension hung in the atmosphere, leaving the board members feeling uneasy. Though they couldn’t pinpoint the cause, an ominous aura seemed to envelop their boss.
Taking his seat at the head of the long table, Ethan wasted no time in directing the meeting to commence. The presenter, already nervous, began his presentation with a visible sheen of sweat forming on his forehead. Anxiety radiated from him as he stood before the projector board, and even his accent appeared to irk Ethan slightly, manifesting in a faint scowl.
The presentation proceeded, but Ethan’s focus remained divided. His irritation, more pronounced than usual that morning, colored his perception of the proceedings. He watched the presentation put forth by
his employees with growing disinterest and a rising sense of irritation.
Ethan’s day was taking a turn for the worse, his thoughts involuntarily drifting toward his wife. The previous night had been marked by her incessant complaints about his late returns from the office, and it seemed that his prolonged hours at work were making his home an increasingly uncomfortable place. The once cozy sanctuary had transformed into a battleground due to Bella’s demanding and contentious nature.
As he glanced at his phone, a slideshow of pictures featuring Liam and Hazel filled his screen. Ethan couldn’t help but feel an unexpected attachment to them, a sentiment he hadn’t anticipated.
His reverie was abruptly interrupted when Axel called out to him, snapping him back to reality. Ethan’s head snapped upright, and he realized that the entire room was focused on him.
“Finished?” he inquired sourly, his demeanor reflecting his foul mood. The presenter, aware of the boss’s irritable state, nodded hesitantly. Ethan seemed like an angered beast, ready to pounce at any moment. His fingers drummed lightly on the table, a sign of his restlessness.
“That will be all,” he dismissed curtly, swiftly rising from his chair and leaving the room in a hurry. The employees exchanged puzzled glances, exhaling collective sighs of relief. It was unusual for the boss to remain uncharacteristically passive during a presentation, let alone failing to critique it.
Inside his office, Axel followed after Ethan, witnessing his boss removing his suit jacket as he entered.
“Have Devin arrange a field day for Tiny Tots,” Ethan instructed abruptly. “Right now?” Axel queried, a hint of confusion in his voice.
“Yes,” Ethan replied tersely. Axel stood momentarily bewildered.
With a sigh, he reached for his phone to make the necessary arrangements before Ethan added another unexpected request. “And… get me some casual clothes, Ethan instructed.
“Casual clothes?” Axel repeated, perplexed by the request.
Yes. A jean perhaps.”
It was field day at Tiny Tots, and the excitement among the children was
palpable. They formed a cheerful line and entered a bus that the school had thoughtfully provided for their adventure. The kids chatted with each other, their voices bubbling with enthusiasm.
The bus eventually came to a halt in a nearby exclusive park where arrangements had been made for a delightful picnic. The children’s eyes. widened as they beheld the feast laid out before them. Excited squeals filled the air as they eagerly anticipated their meal.
After eating, the children wasted no time in exploring the recreational equipment provided for them. The park, being exclusive and closed off to outsiders, allowed the kids the freedom to roam and play without any worries.
Amid the laughter and playfulness, Liam decided to stroll off on his own. He clutched his crayons and drawing book, longing for a quiet spot to finish his drawing. He wandered away from the boisterous crowd, seeking solace in the peaceful surroundings.
However, his solitude was short-lived as two other little boys approached him, urging him to join in a game of cops and robbers.” Liam shook his head, adamantly refusing their invitation.
“Come on,” they insisted, trying to convince him. In their enthusiasm, they shook him roughly, causing him to stumble and fall. Liam let out a cry of surprise and discomfort.
A protective voice intervened, growling at the boys. “Hey! Don’t do that.” It was a stern warning, and the two boys quickly retreated and ran off, leaving Liam behind.
Struggling to stand up, Liam felt a sting on his knee and fought back tears. He whispered, “I’m okay,” but couldn’t help sobbing softly as he brushed himself off.
A kind and gentle hand reached out, offering help. “Are you okay?” the soothing voice inquired. Liam nodded with a small, trembling pout while trying to wipe away his tears.
Examining Liam’s scraped knee, the stranger picked him up and cradled him gently. The little boy found comfort in the man’s arms, and his so b s began to subside. “There, there, it’s okay,” the man reassured him as he headed toward the exit of the secluded park.
As they left, Devin, who had been overseeing the field day, approached, concerned. “Is there a problem, boss?” he asked.
Ethan, now carrying Liam, shook his head, his expression showing a mix of concern and care. “No, no problem, he replied, his protective instincts kicking in as he comforted the young child in his arms.
Still holding Liam, Ethan headed to a small, nearby store. The shop was empty of customers but fully stocked with various items. He found a quiet corner and carefully sat down, cradling the young boy in his arms.
Gently, Ethan began to remove Liam’s shoe and stockings, inspecting his injured knee. To comfort the child, he purchased a lollipop from the store, offering it to Liam while he tended to the scraped knee.
As Ethan worked on cleaning the bloodied leg, Liam’s curiosity got the better of him. “Do I know you?” he asked, wiping his eyes. The man before him felt strangely familiar, yet Liam couldn’t quite place where he had seen him before.
“I don’t think so,” Ethan replied, finishing his task and leaning back in his
Liam’s young mind was filled with the cautionary lessons he had been taught by his mother about not going off with strangers. He felt conflicted but oddly at ease in this man’s presence. “Mummy said I shouldn’t go off with strangers, he mused aloud, his gaze fixed on Ethan.
Ethan met Liam’s gaze calmly. “Do you want to go back?” he asked, his tone gentle and reassuring.
Liam hesitated, his eyes darting around the quiet and peaceful store. “It’s quiet here,” he remarked, a hint of contentment in his voice. The store offered a sense of tranquility that contrasted with the noisy playtime of the other kids at the park.
“Do you work at my school?” Liam asked, gazing at Ethan with curious
Ethan considered his response for a moment. Well, he did technically own the school now. “Yes,” he replied, his gaze gentle as he looked at the young boy.
Liam, though clearly still a child, had a certain maturity in his demeanor and speech that caught Ethan’s attention. “How old are you?” Ethan inquired, genuinely interested.
I’m four years old, Liam replied, the lollipop still in his mouth. He was quick to return the question. “How old are you?” he asked, his curiosity
shining through. Ethan couldn’t help but chuckle lightly.
“I am thirty years old, pup,” Ethan responded with a smile. He watched ast Liam focused on his paper and pencils.
The little boy’s mood soured momentarily as he grunted in
disappointment. His paper was torn, and his pencils seemed to have disappeared. Ethan, noticing his distress, quickly procured another sheet of paper for him.
Liam got to work with renewed passion, doodling away. The atmosphere. in the store was calm and soothing, with the distant sounds of children. playing outside providing a pleasant background noise.
Liam appeared to be deeply engrossed in his drawing. He was a quiet child who often preferred solitude, avoiding the noisy chaos of his peers.
Curious about Liam’s art, Ethan pointed at one of the drawings. “Who’s this?” he asked.
Liam looked up, a bright smile on his face. “This is mommy,” he replied. proudly.
Ethan chuckled at the child’s depiction, which bore little resemblance to Hazel. “She’s beautiful,” he remarked sincerely.
“Yes! Mummy’s really pretty. I love mummy,” Liam replied dreamily, his adoration for his mother shining through his innocent eyes.
“Would you also give me a nice drawing?” Ethan asked the young artist, his tone polite and curious.
Liam adopted a contemplative expression, weighing the request. After a brief moment of thought, he reached out for a fresh sheet of paper and promptly began sketching.
“But, your friends are having fun. You sure you don’t wanna go?” Ethan inquired, showing genuine concern for the boy’s well-being.
Liam shook his head, his hair falling gracefully around his face. “Kids are noisy, he stated with a hint of distaste, which earned a hearty laugh from Ethan. The little boy seemed wise beyond his years.
But you’re also a kid. Aren’t you?” Ethan asked, his amusement still evident.
Liam shrugged nonchalantly, his mannerisms reflecting a level of
maturity beyond his age. He then looked intently at Ethan, his eyes. narrowed in serious contemplation.
“Mr., you sure I don’t know you?” Liam asked once more, the furrows on his young brow deepening.
Ethan found the boy’s curiosity endearing. “Why? Do I look like someone you know?” he inquired with a playful grin.
“Do you have a twin?” Liam continued his questioning, his young mind trying to make a connection. “You look like that guy that bullied Daisy,” he said with a faint frown.
“Daisy?” Ethan queried, genuinely curious now.
“My little sister,” Liam clarified, adding that touch of sibling affection.
Ethan noted to himself that, despite being twins, Liam still considered Daisy his “little” sister, finding her cute.
“What if I was him?” Ethan prodded, curious to see how Liam’s perception would evolve.
“No, you’re not. That guy was big and grumpy and he looked mean. He also looked really important; he was in a suit. You don’t look important,” Liam declared, offering a childlike but astute analysis of Ethan’s
Ethan couldn’t help but burst into laughter at the boy’s candid evaluation. Despite Liam’s initial impression, Ethan found himself charmed by the young boy.
Liam, momentarily offended, stopped his drawing and folded his arms in protest. “Am sorry,” he said between chuckles.
Ethan ruffled Liam’s hair gently, appreciating his candid nature. “Then why did you come with me?” he asked, his voice tinged with genuine curiosity. Ethan couldn’t believe he was having such a profound conversation with a four-year-old; the child was exceptionally bright.
Once more, Liam simply shrugged, his attention now focused on his bandaged knee. “I guess I like you,” he replied casually, as if stating the most natural thing in the world.
With Liam’s drawing now complete, he handed it to Ethan, who paused to look down at the little boy. His genuine smile shone brightly. Thank you, Liam, Ethan said warmly.
Liam froze, his brow furrowing in confusion. “How did you know my name?” he asked, his inquisitive eyes narrowing slightly.
Ethan offered a nonchalant shrug this time, opting to keep his identity hidden from the child. Liam let out a small yawn, signaling his growing hunger.
“It’s lunchtime already. You must be hungry,” Ethan observed. He reached. out to help Liam into his shoes. Although the injury was minor, Ethan couldn’t resist the urge to carry the young boy. With Liam cradled in hist arms, Ethan couldn’t help but bury his face in the child’s hair, which carried the familiar scent of Hazel.
fallenent, everything e
faded into the background. Ethan had
fallen in love with Hazel’s children, and he wished to have one just like them.
As they approached the group of children, Ethan gently placed Liam on the ground. The young boy turned to him with gratitude in his eyes.
“Thank you, Mr…?” Liam trailed off, waiting for Ethan to complete the introduction.
Ethan hesitated for a moment, aware that Hazel might not appreciate her/ children meeting with him, despite his harmless intentions. Names eluded him in that moment, and he glanced around for inspiration.
“Butterfly?” No, he quickly dismissed the whimsical thought. “Wood. Mr. Wood,” he replied with a reassuring nod.
“Okay. Thank you, Mr. Wood,” Liam said politely, finally joining the group of his peers.